Can you introduce yourself, your first name, where you live and what you do for a living? How many children do you have?
My name is Anna. I live in Paris, I'm 38 and I have a son, called Leo, who just turned 5. I work as a communications manager in the fashion industry.
How would you describe your life with your child?
I think Amour Tempête really represents the daily life of someone who has a child, especially a toddler. Our home is filled with love as much as storms.
I think one of the most important aspects of being parents for us is shared transmission. It’s at the heart of my vision of parenthood. It's what we teach him, what we pass on to him, but also what he teaches us. For example, the fact that Leo's arrival has forced us to settle down a bit more. I tend to do 1,000 things at once and not stay in place. In general, in the life we lead today, we're always doing something. For example, I'll be listening to a podcast whilst doing my groceries or watching a TV-show while I cook. Having a child, especially a very small one, can help us to relearn how to see things, to stop and pick up a pebble along the way for instance. It opens us up and lets us rediscover life through his eyes. For me, that is a very rich experience.
What's more, you learn or relearn lots of things with him. Things we forgot or never knew. For example, my son is really into dinosaurs right now. The number of dinosaurs that existed that I didn't know about, but that I've since discovered, is quite staggering. It's great to know that we're passing on so much to him, but that he too, in his own way, with his child's eyes and his passions, is helping us grow.
What's your favorite way to care for Léo? Why is that? What makes you love these moments?
When I talk about moments of care, I think mainly of moments when he was very small.
I'm convinced that massages are very important in the development of babies, children, and adults alike. Touch is a sense that can be neglected but is actually very important. I know that massages were also very present in the way I was brought up. For example, I have photos of myself as a baby in the countryside, when my parents would give me massages. My mother is a chiropractor and she's also trained as a masseuse, so it's something that was always passed on to me. And it's still with us today.
When Leo was born, we went to a baby massage workshop offered by the PMI. That was a great experience. It's an amazing way to bond with the baby you've been carrying all these months.
We put this ritual in place from the very first days and weeks, not every evening of course, but regularly. We felt that it made him feel good, that he relaxed. Today, we still give him little massages from time to time. It helps him relax. It's something I used to do when I was very little with my parents. They used to give me little messages at night before I went to bed, and that's something I wanted to pass on.
How do you want your child to grow up?
I'd like him to know that we're always there for him, whatever his choices, whatever path he takes, that we support him and love him. I think that's the most important thing, to always feel loved and supported. It gives you wings in whatever project you decide to undertake. I hope that we'll be able to refrain from transferring our fears and frustrations on him, and that he'll be able to be independent. While knowing that we're here and that we may not have the same opinions on everything, and that's normal. I love the saying 'Let's agree to disagree’. And I think it's important to communicate, to set out your arguments. Sometimes we disagree, but that doesn't mean we don't love each other. That's the strength of any relationship, whether it's family or friendship.
How do you think care can help?
For me, it's important to show children from an early age that they can make their own choices. Since our son was a toddler, we've always given him a choice in daily decisions. But it's a guided choice. We'll give him two options. We know that both possibilities are good for him, but at least it gives him that feeling of being 'master of his destiny'. That can help him to feel less frustrated. I think what is very frustrating for toddlers is to feel they have no control. By giving them this choice, it helps them to build themselves up and have fewer difficult moments and shows them that we support them. For example, when it's time to take care of him, we'll suggest that he washes himself or that papa or mama help out. That way, it's his choice. He's the one who decides. As long as he is clean in the end, that is what counts.
In fact, including him in small tasks at every stage of life makes him feel much more responsible. In any case, I've noticed that he's much happier when he takes part in washing up or doing something as simple as tidying up.
I also think that being present with him, mentally present too, is what is really important. These days, we are on our phones all the time and I try to tell myself as much as possible, when I'm spending time with him, to leave my phone aside. It is just the two of us, and that way, we can refocus on the experience itself.
When it comes to bath time, in your family is it rather Amour or Tempête? Do you have a little story to tell us?
It is pretty much Amour. It goes well. He loves his bath time. He has had very delicate skin since he was little. His pediatrician told us at the time not to bathe him more than once a week. So bath time was really a special moment. It was more about playing than just being clean. Now that he's older, he does a lot of running and playing outdoors. He gets dirtier so of course he takes more showers or baths. Right now, for example, he's on vacation in the South of France. Of course, after the pool, we will take a shower to rinse him off. But bath time still is a really special moment, a time for play, when he takes the time to enjoy himself and invent stories. We always stay close by for safety reasons, but it's his moment. I think these moments are very important. For me, bath time is kind of sacred. Nowadays, I take less baths in terms of ecological impact, but it's true that when I allow myself to do so, it's really a special moment. I take the time. I'll pour bath salts and essential oils, light candles and play music. I'll spend an hour and end up like a plum. But I'm making the most of this moment for me. I think that's how he experiences it as well. He really enjoys it, and if you're going to use a lot of water for a bath, you might as well stay in it for a long time and enjoy it.
In terms of anecdotes, I'd say we've had some really lovely bath-time moments, especially when he was a baby. He is a summer baby, born at the end of May. The weather was immediately warm and sunny when he came into our lives. We started with baths in our sink, which was quite big at our country house, where we were lucky to be able to spend the start of my maternity leave. These sink baths were really dear to us, very special. It was also a shared moment between my son, my mother and my grandmother. Four generations sharing this sweet moment. I'm very happy today to have photos of my son with his great-grandmother. She was very moved to be part of these moments with him. It's a real treat to look at those pictures today.