Living under a rock

Since we arrived in France we’ve been almost entirely without real, bonefide, always connected, not worrying about data limits 21st Century Internet (and hence, Wi-Fi) in the house. For a holiday, no big deal. For an adventure in a new country when you have a million things to sort out, friends and family to keep in touch with, bills and moving practicalities to put to bed, a zillion questions flying around in your head, and a whole new language to learn, it’s a real pain in the arse. Do you know how many times a day you reach for Google? No, because the odds are you just pick up your phone or lift the lid on your laptop and Google away. Not being able to Google anything is amounts to not getting things done on steroids. Do you want to know what days the markets are? Tough, you’ll have to wait until you pass a tourist office and ask there, if they’re open. Which estate agents have properties you want to look at it? No idea. You’ll just have to go into each town and wonder round aimlessly until you find one then go in and be at their mercy. Want to make a cheeky offer on an overpriced house? No-can-do because the agents will only show you houses within 10,000 euros of your stated budget so as not to do themselves out of oodles of commission. Ah, so you want to search LeBonCoin, to bypass the agents and buy direct? Hahaha, no chance. Oh, you also want to reassure the grandparents that their grandchildren will remember them? (Yes, we’d been gone barely two weeks and my mum actually said that to me.) Well, Skype is out of the question. Do you need to find a phone number, maybe a phone number for calling from outside the UK to notify a utility company that you’re not at your old address? Good luck with that one, buddy! You can dial 0800 numbers until you’re blue in the face. No-one can hear your screams. And don’t even get me started on YouTube. It’s impossible learn to do anything that an instructional video could teach you. Every now and again I’ve set my mobile to allow roaming data because I just can’t take any more but try learning a new fold for the cloth nappies (I know there’s a fold for a heavy wetter – boy – out there) based on some fairly shoddy step-by-step drawings and you will fail, trust me. So there you have it.

The only workaround we have is to piggyback on a neighbour’s setup. In theory this means we can take it in turns to wander up the road and sit on a step opposite said neighbours house to use their Wi-Fi. In practice this means James thinks of something he needs the internet for then trots off up the road leaving me pinned under the smalls. Since we got here at least one of them seems to be breastfeeding at all times. Lord knows what’s going on with DD but for a small child of almost three she spends more time on my boobs than the baby. The times that I’m pinned under both of them are when my new found inability to mindlessly surf the Internet – usually reading blogs of women the World over similarly pinned under at least two small children and trying despeartely to see the funny side – is most keenly felt. To make matters slightly worse, getting it sorted is almost entirely in the hands of the property manager, who seems to have trained at the chocolate teapot school of effectiveness. Let’s just say we’re not hopeful that any of this will be sorted any time soon. In the meantime, you can find me under a rock (disguised as a couple of small and hungry humans). Send a telegram or something.

Misadventures in Tandem Nursing

It seemed like a good idea, not weaning during pregnancy, but any thought that tandem nursing might bring serene acceptance of a new sibling are being challenged quite forcefully by a very disrupted DD. When the newborn wriggles in my lap, accidentally brushing her arm or face, she flinches and tries to push him away. It’s sad that what was meant to be my way of showing her that mummy is still here has become a battle ground. It’s three weeks today since this stretch of the journey began and it makes me sad to see her so conflicted, so distressed, about my new role as mother to both her and her little brother. It’s also taking its toll on me as we’re well into newborn growth spurt territory, so keeping up with the demands of the newborn, which are non- negotiable, mean I’m finding it hard to be patient with the demands of an irate toddler.

I really hoped it wouldn’t be this way but it seems I’m going to have to start imposing limits, as hard as that may be on both of us. Luckily there’s a La Leche League meeting on Monday, so I will get myself over there and see whether they can advise. I’m way out of my depth and DD is very strong-willed, so any limit is unlikely to be accepted without a battle, and I’ll definitely need some support. I’ll report back.

One of the biggest emotional hurdles is finding others with experience of tandem nursing as it’s definitely “out there” as far as normal goes, so I’d love to hear about other experiences of tandem nursing. Did you try it, plan to, quit, make it through the other side of these first few challenging weeks? How did your older child cope? Will there ever be a new normal or is all going to be crazy for ever more?? 

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