Tag Archives: family

On the eve of becoming a big brother

18 Jun

Dear Turtle,

Tomorrow you will become a big brother “and I’m is very ‘cited about that, amn’t I Momma?” Yes son, you are. Even if you’re worried about the baby “slobbering on my toys”. Apparently babies slobber a lot (yes), drink milk from Momma’s boobies (yes) and like being tickled (um, not so sure).

Sometimes you think you’re getting a sister, sometimes a brother. Most of the time you say you want a brother and a sister. Erm, not right now. Although I can’t make any promises.

I think you are going to be an absolutely brilliant big brother (if I can keep the tickling to a minimum!) You are kind, thoughtful and helpful. You seem to love babies (how you’ll be when s/he is mobile may be a different story!) and gravitate towards them whenever they’re near. Hopefully the novelty won’t wear off (or hopefully it will, I’m not sure yet).

I know that this will be a bit of an upheaval for you. For us all. But only for a little while. The day will come when we won’t remember the baby not being here.

Won’t that be something?

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9 to 5

15 Oct

On Friday we left the house at 9:30am and didn’t get back until 5:30. Just the two of us. Adventuring. God, but it was exhausting. Fun, but exhausting.

Our first port of  call was the mall, to pick up my contacts. Of course there was a potty emergency and he didn’t quite make it to the loo. Not to worry. I had an emergency set of clothes. “Now would be a good time to get his hair cut”, I thought. There’s a kids’ hair salon in there. And his hair was starting to get into one of those knotty messes that are embarrassing and may or may not signify a “bad mother”. Negotiations were entered into. Fifteen minutes outside the salon. He was insistent that he did not want/need a hair cut. Waaahhh! Despair. Time to carry him in. He became comfortable in his surroundings within seconds. And the entire thing was painless. Bribes, in the form of lollipops are the way to go, if you’re wondering. He did baulk a bit when the clippers yoke came out, but I hugged his head and he was grand. He wouldn’t let the stylist blow the hair off him with the blow dryer, so he was covered, completely covered in hairs.

Emergency pants had already been dispatched. What to do? To the shop. To buy some shorts. Now, I don’t know about your child, but I don’t bring mine to the shop when I need to buy things. We generally hang out in the toy section, making a nuisance of ourselves pressing buttons and whatnot when it’s raining. “We” are incapable of going into a shop, buying xyz and leaving without some kind of madness. This time though? Success! Three pairs of shorts at $2 each. Score! And no one got lost. No fixtures and fittings were damaged. Whoop!

 

Kitted out with hair-free shorts and we were off. Let the adventuring begin! To the farm! Of course he fell asleep on the way there. But I had a book and sat in the car for a half an hour and let him rest. He woke up delighted. We had some lunch and headed to the maze. It was as hot as hell in there. Thankfully, I have the most outgoing kid on the planet. He found a 7yo boy and said “Will you help us get out of here? Us is lost. Look, my Mom is here to keep me safe.” (I laughed inside at that). So following the two of them at the speed of light, I made it out. Of course, he wanted to go back in. I did not. “My boy will mind me” he said and ran like the wind. I was torn between following him in (and getting lost myself) and staying out, heart in my mouth.   It was over 6 feet tall and very confusing in there. He was in and out in minutes. Three or four times. He started to turn a bit pink. Thankfully, the tractor appeared. Pumpkin time!!

We picked out the one he deemed “perfect” and toted it back to the farmstand where we picked out a lot of random fruit and berries. The phrase “kid in a candy store” comes to mind. I have never met anyone to get as excited over fruit. We lugged our haul to the car and headed back for an apple cider (not the kind with alcohol). Things started to get a bit mad and crowded then, so we headed to the park.

There’s one just down the road, just off the beach. He had great fun for a little while. Some older kids showed up though, and started picking on him a bit. He was trying to play “Superheroes” with them, but for some reason they started throwing sand at him. And the poor fella, he has a very strong sense of right and wrong, so he was indignant more than anything. I thought it best for us to go. He had taken “agin” those boys, so anything they did was “bold” as far as he was concerned.

Homeward bound, it’s just past 4 and traffic is mental. A mere five or so miles down the road and I hear “I need to wee”. Off the highway I go. Looking for somewhere to stop. We had passed a park about a mile back, so I head in that direction and wee make it to the loo in time!! (It’s the small things). And we can’t stop at the park without actually playing, so play we did.

Then it was really time to head home. And we missed the traffic! Bonus!

Luckily, dinner had been cooking away in the crockpot all day and was practically ready for us, as soon as we got home. Because everyone knows you can’t haul home a pumpkin from a farm without decorating it within the hour.  Which is what we did.

Home

21 Sep

I suppose the hardest part about being an expat is that “home” is always elusive. It is that place in your mind’s eye, idealized by the mere passage of time. The word “home” for me evokes an image of the place where I grew up, green grass, long summer evenings, (even dark winter nights), and everyone knowing my name. It is undoubtedly my parents’ house. The place where I grew up. At least for a moment.

It is slowly getting crowded out by our home. The place where we live.

A funny thing happened when we were “home” in Ireland. I realized that I wasn’t actually home. I longed for my own space. The place where I am in charge (small boys permitting) and can come and go as I please. And dinner doesn’t involve potatoes and livestock every, single, solitary day. I thought I was going to turn into a potato. I just wanted to sit on my own couch, cook in my own kitchen and sleep in my own bed. A month is a long time. Especially when it rained. And it rained. And rained. Every day without fail. We went to the  park twice. Twice in a month. And got rained out. One of those times, my brother (the most heedless man on the planet) took it upon himself to come and rescue us. That is how bad it was.

The relief in getting home was enormous. Just to see the sun was something. And go to the park. And the beach. And eat something that wasn’t a root vegetable or an animal.If my parents’ house were a meal, it would be bacon and cabbage. But Heidi Swanson’s Summer linguine is more how we roll in this house. Tastes like home.

Surprise!

21 Feb

On Friday morning I had a “conversation” with my Mother. I say “conversation” because talking to her these days involves running around the house after a small boy who has kidnapped the phone, and shouting. All calls must be on loudspeaker. There are no deep and meaningful conversations. I don’t even get the gossip. The Turtle is too busy telling her his news and putting her “to bed” behind the couch cushions.

So our conversation went like this:

Mam: “I was talking to Martin (Da) ….” fades out

Me: “To who? What? Turtle? Where’s the phone?” (It was in his little car).

Mam: “Hello? Hello?”

Me: “You were talking to who? What? … Hold on a second Turtle”

Mam: “To your Father. And I told him I was going on Tuesday.”

Me: “Going on Tuesday? …Hey, come back with the phone!”

Turtle: “I NEED to talk to Granny. Granny?

Mam: “What Loveen?”

Me: “Going where?”

Turtle: “Granny? Granny?”

Mam: “Over to see ye.”

Me: “Who?”

Mam: “Me childeen. He said grand.”

Me: “Who? Da?”

Mam: “Yea. I didn’t book it yet.”

Me: This Tuesday?”

Mam: “Yeah.”

Me: “Oh right.”

Mam: “It’s only E600”

Me: “Oh right.” (Thinking “What will the Hubby say???”)

Turtle: “I NEED to talk with my Granny!”

Mam: “Will I book it?”

Me: (shellshocked) “Grand”

 

So Mam is coming to visit on Tuesday. For 3 weeks. The Hubby doesn’t mind, thank goodness. He is slowly coming around to our last minute ways, but I doubt he’ll ever adopt them. The Turtle doesn’t know she’s coming. It’ll be a surprise!!

 

When other people stay…

5 Nov
  • Things are always slightly out of place.
  • There are weird things on the telly.
  • There are always dishes in the sink.
  • Nothing is ever clean.
  • You can find nothing.
  • You’re always wondering what to cook.

But!

  • You have babysitters! You can spend a night in Santa Barbara. With your husband. Alone. And you can go out for dinner. With your husband. Alone. For your birthday. Hurrah!
  • You also have an on-hand handyman. To look into the weirdness that has been driving you a little crazy.

Surely that makes up for having to remember to close the bathroom door! You are not at home alone with a small boy that follows you everywhere anymore. Close the door. Ahem.

Hanging in there

12 Oct

I am. More or less.

Usually I would characterise myself as rather easygoing. A “go with the flow” type. At the moment though I’m not sure that I am. Everything grates. Every little thing. It’s because I have to let the big things “go”. And I can’t. So the little things are driving me a little bit insane.

I do have larger things to be thinking about. People at home sick and dying. Still though.

Here are the things I want to say, but can’t (and I realise some of them are petty but I can’t help it).

  • Don’t tell my son he can’t do something when I am standing right there. If he’s not allowed to do something I will tell him. If I haven’t said anything it is because he is allowed do it.
  • Don’t try and feed him your crappy cereal while I am in the kitchen cooking him breakfast (and you have seen me).
  • Don’t coerce him to eat. Or try and put things in his mouth. He’s 2! Conversely, don’t berate him for not using cutlery when he is actually eating.
  • Don’t wipe his face while he is eating.
  • How hard is it to understand that you can shower before he goes to bed or a half an hour or so after he goes to sleep? Not while I am putting him to bed. So there’s an hour a day when I would prefer that you did not shower. One hour. Out of twenty four. Why is that exactly the time you go into the bathroom? You may as well be doing the Macarena around his bedroom. He’s 2. He needs his sleep. And yes, his sleep is more important than your ablutions.
  • Do not rearrange the doodads on my mantelpiece. Maybe their arrangement offends you, but that is how I like them. I will put them back one more time, but if they are moved again I will put them in a box in the garage.

There’s more, but just thinking about it is apt to make my head explode. Hopefully getting this much out makes it less likely that you will see my face on the news with a big “Wanted” sign under it 😉

Things done

7 Oct

I am absolutely useless when it comes to “To Do Lists”. I mean, I can make them with the best of them. Colour co-ordinate them. Decorate them with stickers and stars and what not. Beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. When it comes to doing things off them? Absolutely useless. Somewhere, in the deep recesses of my brain there are some cells that equate making a list with actually doing the task. So if I make the list there is almost a guarantee that whatever is on it will never be done. Ever.

But a good way to buoy my confidence? Is to list out the things I have actually done. It helps to consolidate all of the things left to do in my mind. Somehow. I’m not entirely sure how it works. But it does. So here goes:

  • the curtains are made and hung in the guestroom
  • the shower curtain and bathmat have been washed
  • the hoovering and mopping have been done
  • the nets have been washed and rehung
  • the insides of the windows have been washed
  • a modicum of dusting has been attempted
  • the toilets are clean
  • surfaces have been scrubbed
  • mirrors are sparkly (for now)
  • the kitchen tables have been freed from the random bits and bobs that always accumulate on them.
  • I’m more or less on top of the washing
  • I have bought more towels (and shampoo)

But there’s still so much to do. So much. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!

And I have about twenty people coming over tomorrow nigh for “kids’ movie night” – my attempt to get through the horror of the hubby working four nights in a row (arranged before I knew the in-laws were coming).

Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

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