Friday, 28 August 2009

At 3 am this morning

Why, just moments after I have changed the sheets, nappy, pajamas, sleeping bag, cleaned up a particularly messy and surprising sickness incident, calmed the child down, gently sat and offered hugs and songs, eventually decided that it is over and so carefully placed the sleepy child back in the cot and gratefully got back into bed myself- does the puking begin again?

And why is it always at 3 am? All this fumbling around in the dark, trying to find towels and clean sheets and remember where the spare sleeping bag is. I can barely find the bathroom at this hour.

And how come the child is, after such a dreadful night, actually quite perky in the morning? -which is a lot more than can be said for his mother, who feels like her eyeballs have been wrung out.

But this day did help me to contribute to the Stuff I Like: My washing machine.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

The one about the mouse

So, despite what I claimed in the one about the pigeon, it turns out that I am actually a bit freaked out by other uninvited live animals in my home.
The other night it was rainy and stormy outside, and feeling sorry for the cat, I tried to get him to come inside. I could just make him out, crouching near the kitchen door. I thought he was sheltering from the storm and was afraid to run in.
I called and made welcoming noises.

I was a bit surprised* when instead of my cat, a mouse ran in. And proceeded to sprint around the kitchen.

Followed by our cat.

I called** for some assistance and Aksel and my parents came (running) to see what was going on.

The mouse hid under the fridge and a fun hour was had (by Aksel and my dad) trying to coax it out. When they finally did get it out, it did a bit more dashing around before it headed out into the night again.

Typically, by this time the cat had totally lost interest and sort of wandered away in disgust, oblivious to all the fuss he caused.

I watched from a safe distance. Turns out I am a total girly when it comes to little brown mice running around the house.

(But I'm not a bit bothered by spiders. Honest.)

* totally freaked out

** screamed in horror

Friday, 21 August 2009

Lucky potato

In our house, people (usually Anna) are sometimes called lucky potatoes. It is a direct translation of the Danish saying "heldig kartoffel".
For example: Grandma and Granddad have been visiting. When they left, they very kindly put some Danish money in the children's money boxes. Granddad said to Anna that he unfortunately didn't have any more 20 kroner coins left. So she'll just have to have a 50 kroner note instead. Hence, Anna is a lucky potato.
(As an aside, we also talk about "sleeping like an onion". This is a bit more complicated. The Danish word for onion is løg. Pronounced sort of like loi. But when I was learning many, many years ago, I said log instead. And so, I also slept like an onion. It is not particularly funny or anything. But it stuck and we still say it occasionally.
I can also sometimes be heard referring to a heat-seeker, like some kind of essential military defence weapon. Something out of Terminator. This comes from the Danish helt sikker which means being completely sure about something. To my British ears, many years ago, it used to sound like Aksel was saying "heat seeker". It is also something that stuck, even though now I know better.)

Anyway. We are counting our blessings and remembering the stuff we like. The things that are good. In no particular order: It was lovely to have my mum and dad visiting and they got home safely (and quickly). My children are sleeping peacefully. We have gaz-illions of home-grown and picked blackberries waiting for a pie. And mum and dad helped make lots of blackberry jam while they were here. The summer isn't quite over yet. We have the two final episodes of Battlestar waiting to be watched. Anna thinks her new Grade 2 teacher is great. Sammy can say Air-Plane. And can tell us in two languages when his nappy needs changing. I am re-connecting with a few old friends. And I am planning a trip to London for Girls-on-tour-2 soon.

And...I found salt and vinegar crisps in Netto today, posh Kettle Chips and everything. We are lucky potatoes indeed.

Friday, 14 August 2009

All the homes I have lived in - no. 1

1967 with nothing but fields around (the tractor is especially for Samuel )

This was my childhood home in a small village. Middle England. I went to the local infant and junior school and then the nearby comprehensive. And some of my best friends lived on the same street as me, or just across the road. It was on the corner, and we had a cherry tree in the front garden that blossomed both white and pink. I lived there until I was 18 when I headed off to university, via Australia.

First extension 1975

My parents did two extensions to the house. First they extended the kitchen and added a living room and loo downstairs. And then in 1983, they added another bathroom and bedroom upstairs.

We had the same building firm do both extensions and my parents were friendly with the builder. A few years later, he was fixing something with the house and I happened to be racing around the neighbourhood dressed up as a French Tart. I was doing a treasure hunt to raise money for Children in Need as part of a school organized thing. We were in teams and had to collect as many of the fifty things on a list that we could get, within a certain time limit. The things included a quail's egg, a fresh strawberry (this was difficult to get then in February) and lots of other weird stuff that I've forgotton. We were up against, amongst others, the Vicars and Nuns team (the boys) and spent much of the race telling the people who had helped us to not help the nuns.

We must have dashed into my house at one point to get something, and the builders were there, but I don't really remember it. But he remembers it very clearly. And would, for years afterwards, mention it to my parents - about the time their daughter was running around dressed like a French Tart.

There are two cats buried in the garden there. And lots of good memories taken away from it. My parents sold it a few years ago to someone who apparently was very pleased that there would be room for his snakes.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

If the shoe fits

We are in the warm up to starting back to school. The relaxed mornings of the summer holidays, when Anna can still be in her pjs at lunchtime, will be a thing of the past.

The normal school-morning routine goes something like this: I get up, ten minutes later than I planned. Samuel wakes up and Aksel and I take turns with him until we are both partly showered and dressed. Anna is normally reading and we both hassle her to get up, get dressed, eat something. It is a frenzy of breakfast, pack lunches, PE kits, homework, school bags and brushing teeth and hair until we are ready to leave, 10 minutes later than planned ( yes, I do see the obvious connection there, but no, I don't think I am getting up earlier anyway).

Samuel has recently added an interesting dimension to the mornings, which threatens to add another 5 minutes of panic and stress to my already unorganized and running late-ness. He likes to try shoes on. And walk in them. And leave them scattered all over the house. And the best shoes are not his own. So, just as we are about to get out the door, my already frazzled self, is quite annoyed to find I have 2 shoes that belong to me but no matching pairs in sight.

And the other two members of the family with feet that need shoeing before heading out the door are usually in the same predicament.

Samuel thinks it is very funny. But then he is the only one that can be carried to the car and dropped off at nursery with only odd socks on and no-one will mind at all - so shoes to him are just not that essential. Unless they are Daddy's and he has just spent 5 minutes putting them on.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Old and missing

My (very nice, young) physiotherapist had a busy holiday from work, he told me. Visiting friends and family all over the country with his girlfriend. Then a week in Norway. Then a 30th birthday to celebrate.

Oh, congratulations, I said.

No, not my birthday, a friend's. Actually, I have a few years yet before I reach 30, he said.

Oh, that must be nice, I said.
So, I am old. And people born in 1983 have driving licences, and careers, and maybe even mortgages.

Thank goodness Anna is home tomorrow. I am baking welcome home cakes and preparing favourite dinners for her to celebrate. It feels like she has been gone for months. And I think she has missed us just a bit too. Aksel and I agreed that we are not letting her do this again until she is 35 at least.

Samuel is still missing Anna. But he also missed his nap today. Anyone know what that was that all about? I got more and more cross while he chuckled and laughed and thought it was totally hilarious to Not Nap. I rely on that 1 hour and 10 minutes, you know. For important worky-type computer work. Not watching YouTube or reading blogs.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Cars, trains, boats and Sweden

Things learnt on the trip to Helsingborg today:
  • Samuel absolutely loved the train.
  • Samuel loved the boat too.
  • We can pretty much make it from our house to a lovely cafe in Sweden in an hour.
  • Stuff is cheaper in Sweden.
  • Shopping with Samuel is still a pain - as helpful as that play table in the shop is while you are browsing, it is a complete operation to get him away from it when you need to leave. (Prying the tractor from his hands, lifting the screaming child up, and trying to exit with some dignity intact. He is really strong.)
  • Although they understand my questions in Danish just fine, I cannot understand the Swedish replies. Must stop speaking Danish when I am in Sweden.
  • Do not underestimate the value of surprise squirty water fountains near a cafe stop in the afternoon - Samuel enthralled = time to drink cafe latte.
  • Having one child for a day trip out is easier than two. He was outnumbered.
  • Having only Samuel with us made us feel like really old parents. We wanted to tell people "this is our second one, you know..."
  • Helsingborg is a great city on a sunny day.
  • Should have taken the camera.