Yesterday was the last day of Luuk’s paternity leave. “Are we trying to do to much?” He asked as we lugged two babies and a plethora of bags down to the car.

“Yes.” I replied, without hesitation. Definitely. But I’m glad of it. We decided to make the most of fine weather and freedom (from work, if not from baby-maintenance and parental-lethargy). Luuk looked at the giant map we recently put up on the hall wall. Its purpose there is to motivate and inspire us to go further afield than Paris. So far, it’s working. Luuk made the call for Foret de Rambouillet: a gargantuan forest, size of Paris, just south west of us.

We stopped for supplies (running out of a few things, plus needed extras for picnic lunch) then went in search of this so-big-you-can’t-miss-it forest. Only, the GPS wanted to send us one way and we wanted to go another – the scenic, through the  forest, not on a toll road, route. So we had words… and drove quite a bit longer than necessary. That GPSLady is not popular at the moment. Louis coped remarkably well with waiting till 1.45 for lunch. We found a lake to sit by and Luuk made sandwiches while I fed Elena.

Then Luuk burped Elena while I ate. Once again, several types of cheese and baguette made up the bulk of our meal.

It was nice to be in the forest. We weren’t far in but enjoyed being surrounded by trees and all that good oxygen.

Louis ate bits of baguette and turned his nose up at the salami and delicious cheese (comte really isn’t that out-there, Buddy) then went and played with the acorns, once Luuk showed him how much fun they could be.

At first he was so unnerved by the high-grass that he wouldn’t take more than a couple of steps from my side.

We need to get out of the city more often. He’s a bit too friendly with cigarette butts and unfamiliar with real, rugged nature, for my liking. Luuk coaxed him with the ball and they went for a kick-around while I looked after Elena.

… who pretty much slept through the entire venture.

After lunch we went for a walk along the side of the lake, taking this gorgeous path through the trees.

Louis brought the ball along, naturally, and happily walked the entire way, as a result.

I carried Elena in our new sling-thing. It’s really comfy and most of her weight is carried by the strap that goes around me, not by the shoulder straps. But in the heat it’s a bit sweaty. Still, can’t complain about the heat less than a month into summer.

After our walk we got back in the car and drove through parts of the giant forest. We went to the town, Rambouillet, in search of the presidential summer palace. Had to get out of town again before we found it…

… but we persisted, as both babies were asleep in the car and we had no choice but to keep driving around in circles until the one-way-system let us out of town…


Then we looked at the map and found another road through the forest to take us home. So, yes, perhaps we did try to do a bit much but it turned out pretty good. And we needed that. The previous night had been a mare. Elena’s great at sleeping for good long stretches but not so fab at going to sleep in the first place.

Unless she’s on one of us. She’ll be straight-up exhausted, too tired to feed, but put her in her bed and she wakes up. Even her lovely bear (from Luuk’s Oma and so lovely and soft compared to Louis’ well-loved toys) doesn’t do the trick.

Tuesday night she just wouldn’t settle and I was up till nearly two, and in tears for a lot of that time. Come Wednesday morning I was a mess…

Luuk took three photos of Louis eating his breakfast and this is the one in which I look the most presentable. But I went back to bed as soon as Elena no longer needed me, and then I slept for three hours. I woke to feed her again, drink my coffee (thanks Luuk) and eat breakfast no.2 (thanks Luuk)… and was somehow cajoled into an excursion to a forest.

Fortunately, last night went much better. I was dreading repeat, but we threw every trick in the book at her and she went to sleep around eleven.

Tricks in the book include: skin-to-skin, cluster feeding, a dream feed, and then basically letting her fall asleep on me… hey! It worked.

I was up once in the night and in that time she sicked up twice and managed to fill a brand new clean nappy, but I coped just fine thanks to that peaceful evening. And today, my first day alone with the two babies, is going pretty well. Elena went down for her first nap, drowsy but awake, and fell asleep on her own, in her basket. Angel.

I got laundry done and wrote my journal, even showered! Probably got the greatest sense of achievement from doing the dishes.

I’m not exaggerating – it’s amazing that this happened before noon.

She’s having her second nap in the sling on my chest: a necessary measure if I wanted to finish making and then eat my lunch.

This sling is on loan from a friend. It’s not as easy on the shoulders as the other one but it is easier to get her in and out, and its great for getting stuff done around the house – or so I discovered today.

Now, for today’s biggest challenge: taking both babies out, on my own… Must post something, so have to do it. Weather will crack soon, or so the forecast says, and it does look that way, so I’d better dash, and take my coat. Perhaps today I’ll buy an umbrella. Hate the things – always poking me in the head – but might just have to get one anyway.