Rather than trying to be a super-person, brilliant at everything, they say it’s best to stick to your strengths and outsource the rest… or something like that.

One of my strengths is a middling amount of web-nous. Middling because there are people fluent in all those nifty languages that pop up when you right click on a web page and choose ‘view source’. And I’m not one of them, probably because I never set my mind to it. And there are other people who are just now viewing source code for the very first time.

I’m also middling on the housekeeping front. But, I’ve been working on a website for a housekeeping genius… and voilà, my house is tidy and there’s an increasingly functional/beautiful website in the works! On Friday, while I edited photos and fidgeted around with widgets, my lovely friend wiped, swept, washed and organised our apartment. An excellent trade off.

Speaking of strengths, Elena is 9 months old, and sleeping should be right up her alley… catch her at the right time of day, or most of the night, and it is. Babies and sleep… quite the contentious issue, I know. Elena is a little less eager to sleep anywhere and everywhere than her big brother was. We were spoiled with our first child.

sleeping on the floor

Louis asleep on the floor, at San Francisco Airport, July 2011

But yesterday Elena managed to fall asleep during her very first bike ride. And it was far from smooth sailing. The bit where she fell asleep was when we’d left the paved path behind and taken to the dirt track, with all the mud puddles and bumps and roots and bridges…

Elena asleep during first bike ride

Elena, asleep on her first bike ride. Bumpety-bumpety-bump.

Biking the coulee vert, ParisGorgeous day for it. We are now fully equipped with two bikes, each with a baby seat on the front.

Actually, Elena’s greatest strength at the moment is charming people. She has mastered waving, she’s had smiling down for ages, and now she can even crawl across the room to meet you.

Elena charms em allAnd a gentle face-stroking gets them every time.

the kids playing

Meanwhile, the other kids were doing what they do best: play!

We had a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, as you can tell, hanging with friends and enjoying the sunshine… just in time too because the weather forecast is all bad news this week.

Other noteworthy events of the weekend: I watched rugby. I generally don’t watch sport, but enjoyed it more than expected. We have come to support ‘Racing Metro’, one of the two teams in the Ile de France, because I go along to French class with a bunch of the players’ wives. And Racing won, so that’s probably part of the reason I enjoyed the game. Plus, good company improves these things, and getting titbits of insider knowledge on the players spiced it up…

I missed the bit where the ref’s leg got snapped; I was upstairs feeding Elena at the time. So far I’ve managed to avoid Luuk showing me a clip of it on youtube. No thanks.

But I’ve gotten off track. I was talking about strengths, and I think there’s truth to that whole ‘play to your strengths’ idea, but it definitely has its limits. I don’t love web page design or construction but, at High School, I did much better in Computer Science than I ever did in English. If I’d loved computers I might have made quite the web-nut, but what I love is stories and language and teaching. I have to work a lot harder to write well than I ever did to succeed in maths or computers… but it’s what I love. It makes me happy.

So I say, play to your loves, considering your strengths. It’s not that I’m a bad writer, it’s just that I have to work at it. I need others’ help. But because I love it, I will work harder and eventually I will be a better writer than I could ever have been at creating websites.

(It’s Sunday evening, and our Chinese take-away delivery person must be lost, so forgive me if this post isn’t a good example of my improving writing skills…)