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My old skin has packed up on me, so I had to re-invent my blog's look and I hope you guys like it.... I know that it's camper than a row of pink tents, but that's the point! I find it very "a' propos" and even "french" and "Oh la la..".
Now, those of you that know me well will smile remembering that I am slightly obsessed with all that it's french, starting with the kissing, all the way down to architecture, art and food.... End of introduction.

This summer I treated myself and my son to a lovely 6 weeks break in Italy and a lot has happened, but I really cannot be asked to write it all down... I still have not finished writing the Easter saga! I'm bored of it now though, the main facts have been told and somehow, the stuff that was winding me up then, seems very unimportant now, so I will let it slip away at the back of my brain, together with Trinny and Susannah's pitiful attempt at conquering prime-time TV space this week.
It's been a gorgeous family holiday, we've been basking in the constant hot sunshine surrounded by old friends and family (all of it!). I had the chance to re-connect with some cousins of mine that have shown me and my family so much warmth and affection that I ended up wondering why we had lost touch in the first place....
I also helped my parents a lot with the day to day chores, I have happily stacked 4 cubic metres of chopped wood by myself, indulged in a lot of heavy-duty gardening and managed to stick to my diet throughout the stay. I am now back within the realm of the 30" waists and loving it.

Frivolities aside, coming back home after six weeks of being surrounded by the people I know and, in spite of everything, love, had me more than a little thrown....
It's almost as if I left back in july with a baby, being able to predict every little whim of his and to schedule my day-to-day life to almost perfection, and came back in september with someone else's child.
Now, I promise that I am not in the habit of snatching children during my vacations, my similarities with Angelina end with a mouth the size of a small sofa and nothing more ( What? Shut up...).
However, in six weeks, Gabriel underwent a remarkable metamorphosis, going from baby to toddler, to my total and utter dismay.
I know, I know.... I am very happy that my son is growing up and reaching new goals and stuff, but the baby that used to nap twice a day and sleep 12 hours straight at night? He is gone!
The baby that used to eat EVERYTHING whenever he had to? He is gone.
The baby that was very quiet, easy to entertain and that could be taken everywhere? He is most definitely gone too!
Gabriel's face is now lit with a different light.... A beautiful light.... I think it comes from the inner curiosity and intelligence a little one possesses.
Every day it's a voyage of discovery that makes him understand more about his surroundings and it all started when my mum taught him how to sit up from a laying down position.
She would put him on the big bed, belly up, with her and my dad on either side and make him roll on to his tummy and then would make him push on his arms to sit up. Great success!
The only down-side after that, has been trying to put him down at night. Obviously, being laid down on his back, or front, was a signal for Gabriel to perform his "sitting up" routine, over and over and over..... Sometimes it took until to 22.30 before he finally decided to pass out.
Furthermore, his vocabulary got quite impressive for a 14 months old (back then...).
He learnt how to say "Grazie" (thank you) after receiving things in his hands, he learnt that I am "papa'", even if he calls me papapa'.
When asked 'How old are you?' he shows you '1' with his index finger and when asked 'How does the lion go?' he goes into the cutest "GGRRROOOOAAARRRRRR!!" you'll ever hear.
All of this he understands in both english and italian. He can recognise and point at people from pictures too....
With regards to how more and more beautiful he is getting every day, I will only say that (bearing in mind that one must never brag as it is tasteless... apparently....), if he carries on like this, by the time he reaches his second birthday I will need sunglasses to look at him....
So, I am literally bursting with pride.
I'm also bursting with something else, as you'll find out reading below....

Gabriel is definitely my jewel to the crown, my medal of honor.
Sadly though, even my medal has two faces: one smiles, whilst the other one is too busy covering up dark circles to give a shit about anything else...
Since the new Gabriel showed up, I make do with about four hours of sleep at night and almost no rest during the day.
A good night means being able to sleep with only one or two brief interruptions; a bad one means that every hour I am rushed downstairs to give Gabriel back his dummy, put some soothing gel on his gums and calm him down.
A good day means that he will nap at least once, for about an hour and a half; a bad day means that he will go relentlessly from morning to bed-time without giving me the time to shower, clean the house or even empty my bowels if not in his presence.
So, the face on the other side of the medal I was telling you about? Not only is it busy covering up dark circles, but it is also bloated and needs to have a good clear-out.... In private!

Another thing that is getting to me (I am being totally honest here...) is the fact that some days I get so bored and lonely that I can barely stand it....
I know that a child should fill up your days with joy and excitement, but let's be honest here... How long can any of you go playing on the floor some silly game of spinning balls and peek-a-boo to the sound of nursery rhymes without getting an attack of narcolepsy?
To date I can proudly say that I don't really know what is happening to the world, I have no idea if Palestine and Israel have agreed to build a theme park on the Gaza strip or if the Vatican has been finally turned into a legalized underage boy brothel for the clergy ( kind of "All you can eat for €10"...), but I know back to back every episode of 'Peppa Pig" and "Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom"....
I am working hard to get used to this new routine, I even think I got to like cartoons...
The problem is that Gabriel will soon be on to some other thing, some other trick, and I will be left trailing behind him, trying to get used to the new regime, once again hoping that it will include some extra hours of sleep at night.
He will become more and more independent and, when the moment will come to go to school or nursery, I will be struggling to cope with separation anxieties and to jump-start my professional life from where I left it, when he was born.
Risky thing having children.
I annihilated what I am hoping to find myself back at the end of the trip. And it's a gamble and an opportunity.
A gamble because I could wake up one day and find that there is nothing left in me to give to a meaningful career.
An opportunity because I could discover what an amazing person I am and what I can achieve on my own. Like raising and educating a wonderful human being. I could even discover that I don't need to find myself at the end of the trip after all.
I will find myself everyday during the whole voyage. I will find myself in my son's beautiful eyes.
Can I imagine my life without my son? Absolutely!
Do I like what I see? No way!
This makes all the difference.
But I guess you all know that.