The other day Nico and Leo were talking about what they remember about living in Bordeaux. They were both born in Bordeaux, and lived there until they were 6 and 4 (respectively). Now they're 11 and 9 -- and soon we'll hit the five-year anniversary of our move to Switzerland.
Leo said he only remembered three things from Bordeaux: (1) The chocolate croissants (this is one of the most fantastic things about living in France -- every Saturday and Sunday morning we would walk a couple of blocks to the local bakery and get a big bag of fresh-baked croissants and a loaf of bread), (2) The dog-poop that we always had to watch out for on our way to the bakery (this was pretty memorable for me, too, see merde, alors !), and (3) That we had a toy house inside our house. In the kids' room we had one of those plastic toy houses that's big enough for little kids to play inside, but gave it to friends when we moved to Switzerland. I don't have a picture of it, but here are some pictures of our old house.
Nico remembered a little more. He said he vaguely remembered his school (though he couldn't remember any of his teachers or friends), and he remembered the local crêperie where we used to go to have crêpes for dinner. (Then he remarked that he can't wait until we go to Paris again so we can have crêpes with whipped cream.)
It's very cute when they ask about what happened when they were little. When Nico was barely old enough to walk and talk, he loved cars. We would walk all around Bordeaux looking at all the different cars, and Nico could identify a number of different makes and models. Now, not so much, but the one constant has been that he loves anything that has a long list of different variations that he can draw elaborate charts of.
Leo asked me a few months ago what he was like as a baby, and I told him (truthfully) that he was a hugging maniac. He was the sweetest, calmest baby in the world as long as I was holding and cuddling him, but he absolutely would not tolerate being put down by himself even for a second. Fortunately, when he was a tiny baby, I had the opportunity to work from home (writing my first Java book), and Leo was resting on me essentially the whole time I was working on it. And he has remained incredibly affectionate to this day. He's the huggingest little 9-year-old boy you can imagine.
I feel like I should go through all of our old family photos and make an album of them. One weird problem of the digital photo age is that all our photos are in some hard-drive somewhere, and the kids almost never see them. They'd probably remember their earlier adventures better if they were reinforced with photos.