Louis started at Pomme d’Api this week. This is like nursery, or early preschool, or daycare. I don’t know what all the different words really mean exactly but here in France they call it “halte jeux” or “halte garderie” which is closer to a direct translation of daycare.

“Halte” means stop or layover.

“Jeux” = play.

“Garderie” is, I guess, similar to carer. Similarly a nanny (and also the building caretaker) is a Gardienne (or Gardien if male).

Thus endeth the French lesson.

All ready for day two at the halte jeux!

This first week is called ‘Adaptation’ – same word, different pronunciation. Monday we went for an hour and I stayed the entire time (with Elena dozing in my arms then sleeping on the floor till another toddler tripped over her… awkward). Today Louis was there for an hour but I only stayed for half the time.

He’s never been much of a clingy kid but I was still relieved to see him busy playing before I left.

Luuk will like this: a toy drill! The drill bit even turns and makes a whirring noise when someone pulls the trigger.

… which perhaps teaches an unhelpful lesson about safety.

Tomorrow he will be by himself for a full hour, Thursday for two hours and Friday for three. He’ll be fine. It’s a great little place, just 500m from home, in this cute old house.

I particularly love the little room up top – which is where Louis’ class is! (It’s bigger than you can see – fills the roof.)

Nothing about this building is wheelchair accessible. We have to leave the pushchair in a shed out front and carry everything, & everyone, inside. Louis is an accomplished stair-climber now but it’s terrifying to watch him descend the stairs – and the inside stairs are steep enough to even freak him out.

He coped totally fine with my half-hour absence, from what the teacher said… from what I understood. I got lots done too, in my half-hour of freedom (well, almost freedom – Elena was asleep in the pushchair). I made a hair appointment and posted two letters. I bought bread and some petit pain au chocolat for me and Louis’s afternoon tea. He ate half of his… and I ate the rest but still only had as much as half a normal size pain au chocolat.

Good thing too as tonight is Lasagna night – beaucoup de calories!

Starting next week Louis will go three times a week. I am fantasizing (unrealistically, of course) about just how much I can get done while he’s there. I’m planning to take a walk after dropping him off – so as to mess with Elena’s sleeps a little less, and to get into an exercise habit.

Fortunately, the market is on tuesday and thursday – the days Louis doesn’t go to Pomme d’Api – so no temptation to get my exercise to, from and around the market. Fortunately, and unfortunately. Yes.