"Papoum Papoum." The name says it all as it's meant to represent the tiny heartbeat of a baby or our own happily beating hearts as we think of our little ones. My heart certainly skipped a beat when I discovered this teething doll, named Sweet Pea Baby by creator Sophie Guindon, while poking around Vieux-Montréal on our recent trip.
In the grand tradition of my family traveling across borders before turning one year (my first flight was to France at two and a half months), Leo crossed into Canada at two months. I was turning 30 and Joe's most recent film, The Sleepers, had been accepted into the famed Fantastia Film Festival. A trip to Montreal seemed to be the perfect celebration of our new parenthood, our shared creativity and my 3rd decade of life.
Joe kept busy during our stay in the great city of Montreal attending his own film's screening and catching some of the other programs that the 3 week festival had to offer. I split my time between our Downtown Montreal AirBNB and the beautiful streets, shops and cafes of the city—baby-in-tow—meeting up with Joe between screenings for some quality family time.
On our third day we devoted the morning to exploring Vieux-Montréal and the old port. What became our favorite part of the city was criss-crossed with cobble stone streets, awash in summer blooms and, of course, teeming with tourists and the tacky shops catering to them. Although the old part of the city lacked originality in some of its gift shops, hawking the same wares as all top international destinations (insert “Montreal” on your $10 t-shirt), it made up for it with its galleries and art shops.
Metiers d’art du Quebec caught our eye with its entrance off of the main street in a little side corridor. Designs by local artisans filled the sunlit space, including a comprehensive baby collection. Sweetly embroidered children’s clothes and fantastic, cooky animal pillows were among the most exciting offerings. But the delicate, imaginative Sweet Pea dolls and teething friends were perfectly made for our growing babe.
Sophie, creator and designer of the PapoumPapoum brand, is a native of Canada. Her vision for these precious, keepsake toys came as she was a stay-at-home-mom and made the first rag doll for her daughter. She then devoted every free moment to creating her original dolls and the business was born. With a background in herbal therapy and a love of the planet, Sophie instills the same morals into PapoumPapoum. The toys are as safe as they are durable, hand made in Quebec using environmentally-friendly materials, like her series of bamboo blanket animals. Uniquely created, each toy slightly differs from others in the same collection, and all are made to love for years and years.
“Papoum Papoum… is the sound of a little heart beating, it’s what we feel for a new-born, and it’s also a sound that can trigger a small child’s laughter, the kind that fills the world with sunshine.”
Leo isn’t yet teething so he is still too young to use his Sweet Pea, but I know he’ll be enjoying it sooner than we think. If new parenthood has taught us anything it is that time truly does move too quickly. Another month of his life has already clipped by, filled with his first travels in our blissfully nomadic summer. Now we’ll have his first doll to remind us of these moments and of his first, tender heartbeats. Papoum papoum.