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Last weekend, we went to Babies’R'us. I captured for the posterity this picture that, I know, a certain Mommy Grooms and a bunch of giggling friends would have never believed to see one day. We arrived in the middle of the afternoon and left past 10pm, by far the last customers, and $950 lighter.

For those of you who don’t live in the US, Babies’R'us is the supermarket where you can find absolutely everything you need for a baby, except the baby itself. For the baby, it’s simple: just follow Brad and Angelina who started the trend and go help yourself in Vietnam. They’ve got literally tons of them over there at $25,000 each (approximately $4,000/pound or 5,500 euros/kilo: it’s a very profitable business). It might seem a bit steep at first but at least you are guaranteed to get the model you want, healthy and all, unlike IVF at $15,000 a pop with dubious success rates.

But let’s not let these little preoccupations spoil our pleasure: we came back with the car packed full of delights and we can’t wait to have our two little wonders at home with us.

An Authentic Mother Hen
An Authentic Mother Hen
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We don’t know what happened, the kids have been cleared for discharge. Friday, we must spend the entire day and night with them in a family room at the hospital, and Saturday morning we’ll bring them back home. It wasn’t supposed to happen before next week. Time to panic! Watch this little video, you’ll see why…

 

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 (If you are with Children Services, don’t worry, everything will be ready. You are most welcome to come over and inspect. It’s always like that with us.)

 

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At the beginning, I could not help looking at the other babies in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit). There are babies of all the colors - brown, yellow, red, black, white, pink, blue (yes, blue! but then you see the doctors running around like crazy). There are babies of all the shapes - pear, hourglass, beach ball, Play-Doh - and babies of all the voices too. And they’re all ugly, and they all stink, and they all suck, except Max & Manu. We really got lucky to have these two kids. They’re incredibly cute. They almost never cry. They listen to us with intense love and fascination. They almost always poop when we’re not there. Perfect kids, really. So no wonder I was looking around, trying to figure how the other parents could ever want their awful offspring to come home one day. But the nurses quickly stopped me: “Hey, you’re not supposed to look at the other babies!” Ok, ok… but it wasn’t for the reason you think. I wasn’t like staring at these things in dread or disgust. Actually, I was faking it as well as any nurse but it doesn’t matter, you’re not supposed to look.

The first reason is fairly obvious: avoid any negative reaction. They don’t want anybody to look at a 24-weeker and whisper in shock: “Oh my god, he’s so tiny!” when the mom is nearby not knowing if her kid is ever going to make it intact.

Then they don’t want anything that could raise any kind of suspicion, like “Her poop is so green, what are you feeding her?” or “His scrotum is huge! Are you sure it’s normal?”

They don’t want either of any instinctive reaction that could be meant as a compliment but perceived otherwise, like looking at a black kid and exclaim “What a cute little monkey!”

But they don’t even want genuine compliments or courteous socializing between parents. Imagine if a group of parents were gathering to see a charming baby taking her first bath, all laughing and congratulating each other… Well, then the 24-weeker’s mom would start lamenting “Boohoohoo, nobody ever comes to admire my baby!”

So only the nurses can go around and look at all the babies - and they pretty much all say that Max & Manu are the coolest and the cutest. We won’t disagree.

Our investments put on weight
Our investments continue to put on weight

 

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Pius, our dog, has not met the babies yet but he already loves them. A lot!… Too much!

Here is the video…

 

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Cleanliness is sometimes an acquired taste, but the rewards are worth the efforts. Here are 2 pictures and a video…

don’ wanna go
Don’ wanna go
Babies smell like catnip
A clean baby, it’s like catnip

 

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Today is really Father’s Day. Like everybody, the idea I had of Father’s Day was a sexy mama wakes you up in the morning and invites you to a French café for a duck sandwich and a flute of champagne. Everybody dreams about it but I haven’t met anybody who got it all yet.
Well, guess what? I could not believe it but on my first Father’s Day, it’s exactly what happened to me. Lucky me!

The luck of a duck
The luck of a duck
The princess and her pea soup
The princess and her pea soup

 

Who’s Who
Who’s Who

Then we went to check if the kids were still there for real. No problem. We were greeted by the nurses who had hung a beautiful handmade sign above their crib. They just got the names wrong; they wrote “Max” on Manu’s picture and “Emmanuelle” on Max’s picture. I don’t know how they got it wrong, I mean, they’re nurses! Just look inside the diapers and you can tell who’s who right away. They really made us laugh.

 
 
We were all in the mood to celebrate.
We shook hands and pulled out the bottles.

Hand in hand
Hand in hand

 

99 bottles of milk on the wall
99 bottles of milk on the wall

 

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Tomorrow is Father’s Day, my first Father’s Day.

Look at what the storks brought me exactly a month ago…

Merritt took the picture but when she saw it on her screen, she immediately sent my mom a copy. It’s true: it’s so cute that it’s difficult to tell if I posed for Father’s Day or for Mother’s Day.

I think the storks were drunk
I think the storks were drunk

 

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Look at this…

Astronomical…
Astronomical…

 
What is it?
Is it the federal government’s strategic dairy stockpile?
Is it the European Community rebuilding its famous “Butter Mountain“? (1.2 million tons at its height!)

Nope, it’s Merritt’s nursing surpluses. The freezer at the hospital has overflowed so she started to pile up her canisters in our freezer at home. The Hagen-Dazs? Gone. The fish sticks? Gone. My little quiches? Gone…

My crazy goat is milking like a mad cow! The only thing left in the wake of her Milky Way is a bag of Brussel sprouts!

We like Brussel sprouts
We like Brussel sprouts

 
We found a solution to that flood: we are going to produce some Petit Singly, a French specialty… Human breast milk cheese! (and don’t trust these spoilers at Snopes, it’s for real)

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Obama got the nomination today, I’m very happy and I’m not alone. I voted for him the way people vote in America: if you like someone, you send him money and if enough people like him as much as you do, he buys himself a good campaign and he gets elected (assuming the voting machines aren’t rigged against him).

I’m very happy for the country too. Something tells me that if a black man got where he is now, it’s because a lot of people were really tired of the stupid white men that have been leading the nation to war, recession and record deficits for the last 8 years. It’s time for a change.

Part of me feels as joyful and inspired as Jesse Jackson Jr, observing through Martin Luther King’s words that “the moral arc of the universe” will “bend toward freedom and justice for all” on August 28th, the day Obama officially accepts the nomination, exactly 45 years after the famous “I Have A Dream” speech.

But part of me sadly notes with Warren Buffet, the richest man on the planet (whom you can hardly accuse of interventionism), that there is only so much that governments can do anymore. Talking about the world economy last week, he declared: “That’s the problem. You can’t steer it, you can’t regulate it anymore. You can’t get the genie back in the bottle.” Basically, we sold it all to the corporations and we did it in such a way that we can’t even take it back.

Another thought that comes to my mind, as a French expat living in the US, is that it’s going to be much easier for me to explain my friends and family that if I enjoy living here, and especially in San Francisco, it’s because for all the abuses and dysfunctions of the American society - most of the time inherited from naive idealizations of an extremely conservative, religious, racist and violent past - there is a fascinating minority of very progressive artists, inventors, thinkers and leaders that acts as a counterbalance and continue to lead the country forward. Which is what Obama will contribute to…

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Looking at the pictures of Max and Manu from 2 days ago, some readers found them curiously similar - more than brother and sister should be - and they started to wonder if the whole “twins” thing wasn’t just a scam, if we hadn’t made it all up and photoshopped two siblings out of a single image from some obscure reason, like a double ration of food-stamps or something.

Merritt and I could not stand this abject suspicion anymore. So, taking the risk of incubator cross-contamination, we instructed the nurses to place Manu in Max’s fishbowl. It’s the first time they meet, so you people of little faith, watch this video. This is the proof!


 

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