Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Oh, the drama!

I’m emotionally drained. The Boy and I had a big fight tonight, words were said, food was mushed about, and feelings were hurt all around.
 I still don’t know where I messed up. We were having dinner, The Husband wasn’t home yet cause he had gone into work and lost track of time as usual. When he finally called me to tell me he was on his way home, The Boy started getting upset, I think he thought that The Husband was back in the hospital. I explained several times that he was on his way home. So The Boy eats his first dish of pasta and asks for another, halfway through the second dish he loses interest and asks for his binky. Ok, I think, I don’t like it when he leaves food, but he ate plenty and is tired so I won’t push it, and I get out his fruit. With his new tigger spoon (I got him a new Winnie the Pooh cutlery set). This is when things start spiraling out of control. He decides to eat his pureed fruit with his hands (basically sticking all his fingers in the pot and licking them). I tell him that’s not a great way to eat, to please pick up his spoon or I will ignore him until he does. And I turn and keep eating my dinner… The next time I turn around he’s scooped out half the fruit with his fingers and is spreading it all over his high chair tray. I flipped out. “What are you doing?” I scream. “Look at the mess, the waste”, “No, no!” all the while rushing around the kitchen getting a sponge, paper towels etc. And he looks at me and laughs. And then he reaches for the fruit pot again. So I smacked him upside the head (well, it was more of a tap). Knee jerk reaction. Of course he starts screaming and crying like I just killed him, so I say “That’s it, I’m not talking to you until you stop crying and eat your fruit”. Screaming escalates and is punctuated by pathetic whimpers of “Papai” (daddy). So now I feel horribly guilty, was he being a pain because he was worried The Husband wasn’t coming home? did I misread this whole thing? But I don’t want to give in, cause what if he’s just playing me…  So I let him off his highchair, but I’m still ignoring him, he hasn’t eaten his fruit, of course, and he goes off to the Nanny to tell her that he and I just had a fight, hee, hee. Then Daddy comes home and all is right in his world. Of course, I’m still ignoring him, but this phases him not one bit. I go upstairs with The Girl, to put her to bed, and I’m all upset cause The Boy doesn’t love me, plus he didn’t eat his fruit, and you better not treat me this way when you get older, The Girl.
Cut to later, The Girl’s sleeping, The Boy’s taking his bath with The Husband and I hear this conversation: “are you upset Mama’s mad at you?”, “no” a little later as The Husband is explaining how I was right and The Boy shouldn’t play with his food, cause Mama loves him and wants what’s best for him, and Mama’s always nice and pretty The Boy answers with “noooooo, Mama ugly”. And that’s when my heart breaks. Anyway, after his bath, The Husband brings him to say goodnight to me and asks him who he wants to put him to bed. “Mama”. And all is right In my world again.
So tonight I went through about 100 different emotions in this approximate order: happiness, surprise, anger, rage, guilt, sadness, self righteousness, heartbreak and elation.
And I wonder why. This is my conclusion,  I was worried cause The Husband wasn’t home yet and wasn’t answering his phone, so I was tense and when The Boy did a perfectly normal thing for a two year old I lost it and things escalated. All this to say that we, as parents, need to be so careful of what we do and say, and how we react, cause we can avoid most ridiculous situations if we’re just paying attention. Which tonight I clearly was not.
I posted on fb that The Boy and I had a fight tonight and words were said, and a friend asked if we were broken up. That’s kind of how it felt, we had a fight and broke up, then we talked to our friends who tried to convince us to get back together, then the whole ‘he said, she said’, and then we got back together. Basically, tonight I went back to High School for a while, and The Boy’s just two.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gifts and houses

We had a pretty full, though bizarrely uneventful weekend. Saturday we spent the better part of the morning in a real-estate agent’s office looking at monotonous pictures of farmhouses, thankfully The Boy’s Nonna arrived to take him for a walk right before he fell into a catatonic state from sheer boredom. Then, since The Boy fell asleep in the car on the way home we decided to let him nap there for a while and went looking for the only house we kind of liked, just to see the neighborhood before our appointment to actually see it on Wednesday. Of course, we didn’t find said house though we drove around for close to an hour… well, at least The Boy got to sleep.
Sunday we spent a very nice day at the Terme. The kids enjoyed all the attention from all the nice ladies that work there who hadn’t seen them in a while and we enjoyed a nice, healthy lunch. We’ll be posting pictures soon. Late afternoon uncle F  came to visit, as he usually does when he comes back from America. And, just as he usually does, he brought the kids gifts (and actually the adults this time too, thanks Uncle F!). Of course, as he usually does he brings them the kinds of gifts that every mother wishes were taken off the market indefinitely…  Let me set the scene: Back from the Terme at 5ish, I was tired so I go upstairs to take a nap. I was pretty relaxed as I left The Girl with The Nanny(ergo, in good hands) and The Boy with his Nonna, his Dad, his adult Uncle and his 13 year old cousin (possibly the most mature person in the group… definitely more mature than the 3 males). At one point I hear screaming and laughing, I ignore it and go to sleep. When I get up, I go downstairs to make dinner and find The Boy completely soaked, laughing maniacally with a huge water gun in his hand. Seriously, a two year old with a water gun. Of course, everyone else was soaked too, except for, bizarrely, Nonno , who was in the middle of it all, yet completely dry.
So, as I was saying I LOVE Uncle F's gifts… but I’m pretty boring, everyone else had a hell of a time!
The previous gift was a gun that shoots nerf balls… anyone see a pattern here? Anyway, I guess all little boys need an Uncle that buys them stuff that Mom won’t.
Going back to the previous subject, today The Husband and I went back a-searching for the house. We didn’t find it. I didn’t really care cause, honestly, I don’t think it’s the right house for us, but The Husband went back with The Boy this afternoon, and found it (thank goodness, cause I really didn’t want to go looking for it tomorrow too!). Anyway, we’ll see it Wednesday inside and out, so I’ll let y’all know.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Babies make me happy

The Girl has learned to wave. So now she waves… all the time… She waves using her whole arm when she’s really excited, and she waves using just her hand in a back and forth motion, when she’s mellow, or when she’s nursing, or when she’s distracted by something but someone walks in, or out. She waves at you when you walk in the room, and on the way out, and again when you walk back in and again on your way out… get the picture?!?! Don’t get me wrong, it’s adorable, and we make a huge fuss, but we can’t be carrying anything that uses up both hands, cause one hand needs to be free to wave back.  
Though I don't want to sound cavalier about this stuff,  babies  make me happy, they learn the most amazing things on a daily basis, and every day they surprise you.
The Boy melted my heart tonight... since he was a wee baby when I leave him for the night I always say “night, night baby, Mama loves you” and tonight he answered “wuv you” .
On another note, I’m drowning in string beans and chard (green leafy vegetable) so I’ve been looking for ways to cook them, and cook them, and cook them… so if anyone has interesting suggestions please send my way. This is what happens when you have a vegetable garden, everything grows in at the same time and you either have an industrial size freezer or you eat the same thing every day until it’s out of season. So now it’s string beans and chard and pretty soon the chicory is going to come in… I swear sometimes I feel like a rabbit, all our salad came in at the same time, so it was lettuce for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it seems that the green leafy vegetables never end! Though, truth be told, I can’t wait for the tomatoes to come in cause last year we made killer tomato sauce, which we ate for months.
So any recipes for string beans, chard and chicory are welcome!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

On the hunt...again...

Today we have officially started the house hunt again. For those of you who have been through this with us again and again and again, don’t roll your eyes at us! We are firm believers in the “if at first you don’t succeed” approach to life. For those of you who don’t know what in the heck I’m talking about, well, The Husband and I have been looking at houses for the past ten years, almost. No, I’m not kidding. We’ve seen one bedroom apartments, then we graduated to two bedroom apartments, then, as the years passed we looked at bigger places with terraces, we kept looking and renting… then we moved to Cuneo, after seeing possibly 200 hundred apartments in Milan. Then we started looking at rentals again, because we couldn’t buy in Cuneo until we were sure we liked it here. Finally, last summer we decided on a budget (again) and we started looking yet again. Well, then The Husband got sick and yadda, yadda, yadda… still no house. So now here we are again, still renting and looking at houses. It’s actually kind of fun… (hear the sarcasm?)
Anyway, today we saw a house, it was ok, but the yard… enormous… the landscaping… gorgeous… fruit trees, beautiful flowers, so much land… but way over budget (of course!) and the house was tragic… but we seriously thought about it for a few hours, that’s how great this piece of land was.
Then we brought our feet firmly back to earth and realized that the cost of maintaining this wonderfully landscaped ginormous yard would’ve eaten into all of our mortgage budget, so here we are, looking for something to buy….again.
We have finally reached a decision, though, we’re going to start looking for land to build, cause there is no way we are going to find our dream house readymade in Italy.
The Boy and The Girl came with us, they were both amazingly well behaved. The Boy fell in love with the owner’s dog. This fact scared me to no end. It was a cute, mangy, old , little black dog, and The Boy spent the entire time going “Mama, wow, wow” (that’s what we call dogs), and then turning to the dog and going “wow, wow, come on!”. And of course the dog, Arthur, followed us everywhere we went. Why am I scared, you asked? Because I have never, ever, ever wanted a dog. I like them just fine, as long as they belong to other people. I am NOT a dog person. I believe that animals need to be with people that are going to love them like children, so I don’t want a dog.  All this to say that I’m dreading the day when The Boy is going to come home begging us to get one, because I’ll say no and be the bad guy, his dad will cave in 30 seconds (he’s a dog person) and be the good guy and guess who’ll have to take care of the dog when it’s here…
So basically, note to self: Do not bring kids house hunting.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

System failure

My body is starting to fail me. Jokingly, when The Husband got sick, I said “prepare yourself because the minute you start getting better I’m going to fall apart”, apparently I was predicting my own misfortunate future, or, more likely since I’m not a big believer in future predictions, I brought this on myself. Last week I felt like I was on my deathbed with 104 temperature (40.8°C) and the mother of all sore throats, but last night as I was lying on the bathroom floor, in a cold sweat with intestinal cramps, which, I kid you not, felt like labor pains (for a delirious minute I even thought, my god, am I miscarrying a baby, and then I thought, not possible, as it would have been an immaculate conception and I don’t believe in those either) I realized I had died and gone to hell.
Yes, my body is abandoning me, I have no idea why, but I have never been this sick, this often, with such a variety of random illnesses as now. Of course, the other theory is that since I’ve been wanting/needing to lose weight for some time, but don’t have the discipline to get on and stay on a freaking diet I’ve subconsciously decided to make myself lose weight by being sick and not being able to eat… Genius!
Anyway, today The Husband has announced I must spend the day “resting”, tomorrow I’m going to go to the doctor and get some tests because as the Neapolitans say: nun se pò campà cussi – one cannot live this way. (this’ll be funny only to Italian speakers, sorry to all the Anglos!)
On a much more positive note, The Husband’s white blood cell count is up to 4,000, which though half what it should be, is still three times as much as it was last week so we are all very happy! It doesn’t change much on a practical level as his immune system is still suppressed, but it means that his BM has started working again and that is definitely a step in the right direction!
At this point I think I’ll sign off on the positive note, otherwise I may start complaining about how crap (albeit thin) I’m feeling and that would just get boring!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Appreciating the small things in life

So our water heater died on Saturday, it was fixed today thank goodness but after taking 4 freezing cold showers in the past two days (it’s that hot here! And no, I haven’t washed my hair, I’m not that strong!) I’ve learned the importance of the simple things… really… The morning shower sets the mood for the whole day, can you imagine my day when I start it with “OMG, OMG, OMG it’s so cold!” – as I get under the jet just enough to get mildly wet and then I slam it off, as I’m gasping for air, then soap, and I think “how little can I use, cause I’m going to have to rinse this off…” and then the freezing water comes back on for the rinsing portion of this medieval torture session and I can’t bring myself to get under the water completely (which would make the whole damn process go faster) so it’s right arm, OMG, left arm, right leg, left leg then gasp, gasp upper body, front, back, I can’t breathe, my lips are turning blue, and dammit why won’t the soap rinse off! And then I have to face it again at night, before bed, when I’m tired and would just like to relax… So, really, hot water is SOOOOOO IMPORTANT!
In case you’re wondering, the kids get baths with panfulls of boiling water so they suffered not one bit, we were the ones lugging boiling water pans up the stairs….
Today I went to talk to a therapist, I started a few weeks ago, when I realized that I was freaking out all over the place for no reason whatsoever, so we figured that before hitting the hard drugs I should at least attempt talking to someone. It’s been interesting, and I really think it’s helpful, though I thought I’d be talking mostly about The Husband’s illness and how it impacted our family, and instead we discuss totally random things. Plus, I get homework… who knew… I thought I was done with that when I finally presented my thesis! Anyway, today’s homework is to think about how I think that a very important person in my life sees me… and I’ve realized it’s really, really difficult to try and get in another person’s head and imagine how that person sees us… confusing, eh??!!
Ok, lastly, two cute kiddo moments: The Girl spent all of yesterday making this sound “etta!” and we’re all wondering what she was trying to say, today she’s spent ALL DAY blowing raspberries…
The Boy, who decided to test my patience today by saying MAMA! Approximately 1,800times at the supermarket, came home and decided he did not want to eat what was available (rice and beans, and/or roast chicken, both things he likes) so after arguing and coaxing for a few minutes I move him to the kitchen to eat (in his high chair, no longer at the table with us) and after a few minutes I ask: “Boy, are you eating?”, from the kitchen: “yes”, me: “you want to come back in here to eat with us?”, from the kitchen: “NO!” – so he put me in my place….

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pay per View

Sunday night, it’s 10.30pm and we just bought a movie on pay per view. For the very first time in months, months… The last two movies I watched were Sex and the City on DVD with two girlfriends at my house, we had to watch it with the subtitles on because The Girl kept crying, babbling and generally being a baby by raining on our parade, the other one was New Moon, at home when a dear friend from Milan came to visit, with repeated interruptions from one or the other kid who kept waking up. Both times The Husband was in the hospital. We are now fixin’ to watch Up in the Air, hopefully all the way through and with no interruptions. Amazing.
The weekend went really well, The Husband is feeling better and so all of us are too. Saturday The Bears came to visit as well as Cousin R, the Nonni and R's dad. We had a wonderful time. We barbecued (hamburgers), the kiddos played in the kiddy pool, the adults tried to have coherent conversations, there was a moderate amount of yelling, some crying, laughter, few tantrums and no meltdowns, so we’re very satisfied. It was great seeing Bear Girl and The Boy actually playing together, talking, really interacting for the first time, they’re getting so big… sniff…
The kids got some great gifts and we got a box of macaroons from Ladurée Paris that are killing me they’re so good. From now on no one is welcome to come visit from Milan without a box of mixed macaroons (just skip the berry ones and the liquorice!)
Today we had to pass on a bbq at friend's unfortunately cause The Husband energy reserves were used up yesterday, so he slept then we played cards with his parents, whom I proceeded to beat at four games out of four… phew!
Ok, enough chit chat, must concentrate on movie, the kids are sleeping, but for how long?!?!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Make no plans

Ok, I’m back, for how long? Who knows! My new motto is: make no plans, cause you won’t follow through with them anyway. I’ll spare everyone the tedious updates of the past few months, suffice it to say that we’re all fine, The Husband is still home and hasn’t had to go back in to the hospital. The kids and I all went through varying degrees of summer illnesses, from “not too sick, just a minor temperature for a couple of days” – The Girl, still haven’t figured out if actually sick or just teething, to “very high fever for three days, incredibly inflamed tonsils and 10 days of antibiotics” – The Boy, to “OMG, I’m going to die, or spontaneously combust, am totally delirious, can’t eat, drink or swallow my saliva, yet somehow I still need to take care of the kids” -  that would be me, the heroine.
Now that we appear to have regained our health, I let my masochistic streak have its way and so have started “sleep training” the kids. Oh the fun we’re having! The Boy, who used to be a great sleeper (we went through the sleep training bit with him as a baby) regressed after The Girl’s birth and The Husband’s hospital stay and so wouldn’t go to sleep alone, and the poor Girl had no sleep patterns whatsoever cause she was always handed off from person to person or had a boob stuck in her mouth to shut her up (my parenting skills the past few months have been exemplary….). Anyway, we decided to right all these wrongs…. I’ll spare you the details, but The Boy now sleeps on his own, after 10 minutes story time in my lap, as long as the door is kept open (fine, I’m reasonable, we compromised), also I can shut it once he’s asleep so we don’t have to keep tip toeing around. It still takes The Girl a few minutes of crying to get to sleep, but the hysterics are getting better and better AND she’s sleeping through the night to 6ish at which time she nurses and generally goes back to sleep for an hour or so in my bed. So DEFINITE IMPROVEMENT all around. I, of course, still wake up 80 times a night to go check on them but am hopeful that I will stop being so neurotic soon, so I can finally enjoy my first full nights of sleep in over 2 years (The Boy always slept great, but also woke up for a night feed till he was one and a half, at which point he started sleeping till 8.30 am but I was pregnant enough with The Girl to wake up every three hours to pee.)
Lately I’ve been filling the little inflatable kiddy pool for The Boy in the afternoon in an effort to fight this insane heat wave we’ve been going through and I had the chance to make a few reflections. First of all, I’m amazed at how hysterically giddy The Boy gets every single time he sees me taking it out of the garage to fill it up with water, he literally gets this manic laugh and starts running circles around me going: “pool, hahahahaha, pool hahahaha, pool hahahaha” with a slight question inflection at the end of pool, like he can’t quite believe that I’m filling it so he can go swimming, and I wonder, what does he think I’m going to do, fill it up and not let him get in? I mean, I’ve NEVER been that mean to him….
Also, I’m constantly amazed at how much completely unprompted, fun games he’ll make up as long as he’s got some water and some sort of container to scoop it up. This of course is true of dirt as well, one day he spent 4 hours playing in the dirt under our pomegranate tree with a shovel, a rake and a tractor.
I so wish there was something to absorb my interest that way, something that I could do, that would be so fun, so inexpensive, that would just make time fly….
I tell you, I’m often jealous of him, of his crazy energy, his unadulterated joy, his unmitigated excitement, as well as the depth of his tragedy when I take him away from his toys for a bath, or bed or food… the ups and downs of being two are just amazing!