Thursday, September 13, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real} On School Clothing, Visits, Rocky, and Chopping Rabbits

{pretty, happy, funny, real} - "capturing the context of contentment of everyday life" is hosted over at Like Mother, Like Daughter


Maria started school at the nearby ecole maternelle last Tuesday.  For now, she's there during the mornings---Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, from 8:30 to 11:30. (In France, Wednesday is not a school day for young children.)

It's strange to be sending Maria to school at the tender age of three; especially when we are leaning towards homeschooling in the future. But we have a unique opportunity for Maria to be exposed to the French language and culture by going to nursery school.  More importantly, this seems the only way to provide Maria with playmates of her own age--they're all at school, so that's where you have to go to find them! 

L'Ecole Alain Fournier is a light-filled building.  Here and there,  rose vines wind up its concrete exterior.  Maria's classroom has wonderfully intriguing nooks--a book corner, a built in play-kitchen, a corner for cars and other wheeled vehicles, a padded enclave for story time.  There's a separate room for art and a restroom with toddler-sized toilets and sink. The smallness of everything is undeniably charming--everything so carefully fashioned to be used by children. Seeing the low-hung coat hook labeled with Maria's name made my heart go pitter-pat.  There was a clear feeling that Maria was entering society.

I expect I'll be writing more about Maria's school experience after a bit of time has passed.  All this was just a preamble to say that one of the nice things about school starting is the school wardrobe!  It has been fun to unearth the beautiful cool-weather garments that have been awaiting their Autumn debut.  Among them, a lovely, plum, patterned retro top from Bruni and the ever-adorable owl backpack.

Gotta love the owl backpack.  It reminds me of those caterpillars that have scary face-like markings on their bottoms to scare off predators.  I feel sure that Maria is safe from raptor attack while she's wearing it.  Hey, it may also keep rodents away, like those owl statues people put in their gardens!

And this wonderful blue dress from Muschi.  The patterning in the flowers reminds me of slavic art.

See also the color block dress in the pictures below!


Maria has yet to talk about any of the other children at school, but her feelings about our little downstairs neighbor, Pauline, are the same.  They are still good friends!

Pauline is going to a different school on a whole day schedule, so the girls will now see eachother mostly on Wednesdays and weekends.

{another happy}
Taken just after Muschi's arrival.  We did not plan the coordinating outfits :)

As I write, Muschi is in the next room, sleeping off jetlag!  She'll be staying with us for ten days before Paschi arrives and then we'll all go for a week in Provence.  I'm excited to have my mum with me and have some extra help juggling munchkins! And then there's seeing Da and Provence--so much to look forward to!

Maria's school schedules requires all of us to wake up earlier. This has its ups and downs.  One of the difficulties has been that Maria's and Louisa's naps are no longer in sync.  That has made some of my afternoons very long indeed.

After one such afternoon, Donnie came home to find me in a less than amiable mood.   After weathering dinner, Donnie, pater familias that he is, devised a way to energize his family though the difficult post-dinner, bed-prep hour.  His method: put on the Rocky soundtrack and perform a sort of dance-boxing training montage.  It was a little Rocky, a lot Napoleon Dynamite.

Now you know why our landlady heard peals of laughter through our window that evening, and why I'm fond of the man I married.


I cooked a rabbit on Tuesday night.  It was skinned and had the feet removed, but the head was still on when I bought it.  My exact thought when I put it in the cart was, "Well, it's about time I confronted something with a head."  After going through check out, I knew that rabbit had to be on the menu for that night because I couldn't live with it hanging around in the refrigerator.  It still had eyes, after all.

The idea of eating a rabbit doesn't upset me--as cute and fluffy as they are, they're pretty far down on the food chain.  Still,  I knew that carving the rabbit would take a good measure of my self control.  I found some Winnie the Pooh on Youtube and set the girls in front of it.  I didn't want Maria wandering in and asking "was dat?" while I was decapitating Coco Lapin. Once the girls were sufficiently engrossed, I prepped carefully, delaying the moment when I would pull the rabbit out of the refrigerator.  

I don't often confront the creature-liness of my food.  As I stripped the plastic off the package and got a full view of the rabbit's bloody form, a wave of squeamishness crashed over me.  It was much harder to look at than a chicken.

Then I discovered that a rabbit is also much harder to cut than a chicken.  "Why didn't we put a cleaver on our wedding registry? They're so practical!" This thought strayed through my mind as I desperately sawed at a leg joint.  I wanted the rabbit to not look like a rabbit as quickly as possible.  I went through my arsenal of knives, and finally made some progress with the kitchen shears.

The end of the story is that I'm probably going to do this again.  Part way through the cutting, once the head had be removed to the trashcan, my discomfort subsided.  And the stew was tasty.  Using a whole rabbit provides a marvelous variety of flavors and textures, since many of the organs are included.  I'm  excited to try a version with mushrooms.

As for Maria, at dinner that night, she wasn't the least upset that we were digging into Peter Cottontail---a comfortable carnivore, that one!  She grinned at us and asked in her impish way, "who's going to eat the ears?"*

Loulou realizing she got the ears. Actually this is not a picture of Loulou eating rabbit---but it gives you the idea, because the rabbit stew also had spinach in it.

*The ears were not included, by the by."


  1. Loulou is getting so big! I love her little curls in the pic above. Wonderful post!

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