At the bottom on the left is an alphabetical list of the pages in this web site, to help you navigate if you feel so inclined.
A guide to our family photo album covering 1994-2010, showing the principal themes, is here.
A year by year guide to our family time-line from 1994 through 2007 is here.
A photo journal beginning in 2008 is here.
The most recent pages of the album, copies of posts from my WordPress family blog, http://ianstock.wordpress.com/, are linked here:
http://www.zinzins.net/disneyland_weekend_2011.htm, http://www.zinzins.net/peace_train.htm, http://www.zinzins.net/manutd_v_barca.htm, http://www.zinzins.net/xmas_&_alex_birthday.htm.
When any couple moves in together, there is a lot for each to get to know in the other. In our case, we have never had the time!
No, that's not what I mean. I mean that in our case the children also needed to get to know each other and learn how to live together. To give just one example of the powerful dynamics that forming our family set off, each pair of children had an older child, who was used to being the boss. We thus had competing older children, a competition which continues to this day, with neither Daphné nor Nicholas understanding why the other does not simply concede!
Blending existing families is very complicated, much more so than parents typically realize when embarking on the task. All those competitive dynamics, which are hard enough to handle when the children are with both their own parents, become more intense and harder to regulate when each child can accuse one parent of favoring HIS or HER own children. Which of course the children all do in one way or another as soon as they discover that they can. It took ours about a day to figure that one out in 1994. It has continued in many ways unabated through the years.
The parents are getting better at handling this sort of accusation, and through the passage of time and a lot of balancing and gifts the children are more conscious that none of them is actually losing out in any deep existential way. But the fear of disparate treatment is a sore that can flare up with the tiniest seemingly banal incident. And so we move on, trying to get it right, and to get the children to see that nobody is treated exactly the same as anybody else. Which ultimately doesn't matter that much if you are truly loved. They all are, and one day they'll all realize it without the excessive doubts that have characterized portions of the last decade.
Well, to be honest that whole paragraph is more addressed to adolescents, which is who they are now in 2007. When the parents first moved in together in 1994, there were some undercurrents of the kind of dynamics described above, but mostly the children wanted to be kids. Here they are on the left fooling around to avoid going to bed at Le Tahu, our first home, in late 1994. Boy was it ever wild in our house! There is another photo from the same sequence here.
It did take effort, but with help from the Grandparents, the Walt Disney Company, and especially Charlie (our household's original glue), by the time we left France in June 1997, the children were getting along fine with each other and with us. Then the French courts intervened, but that's another story told here: Missing You
In short, they spent most of their time during those early years being kids. Here are a collection of candids, portraits and whatever, with the common factor that they were taken after we all got together and before we left France in June 1997. Pictures of each of them during their early years can be found here: Daphné Petite, Little Tom, Alban Petit, Little Nick.
We moved on, first on a short vacation in New York City, and then across the entire USA on a train. Finally, we settled in Santa Cruz California.
Listing of Pages in the Site
. . . with Alban