Monday, April 26, 2010

making Scotland work

That's me breathless from dancing "strip the willow" at a ceilidh on Saturday night. The ceilidh was filled with Scots who could dance, Scots who couldn't dance, men in kilts who could whirl me silly, and one particularly crusty old guy who just liked the polka bits of all the dances. The band leader taught the dances as best he could til he gave up and berated us all in good fun. "That's not really dancing," he said to me on the mike for all to hear, "but you can stay to keep the numbers even."

I'm reading "Einstein's God," and I'm surprised at the fundamental understanding my son has of Einstein's groundbreaking rules of the universe. The other day on the walk home, he said to me, "Time goes faster when you're moving. I don't like waiting. Waiting is slow and boring." "Yes indeed Einstein," I said. He said, "I'm not an Einstein. I'm just your son." I'm not saying my son is a genius. I've got proof of the contrary such as when he started to make fart noises on his arm on the walk home to make time go faster.

We danced til midnight and then had popcorn with our sitter and her mum til 1 am. New friends and a good sitter also make time go faster and I'm not smart enough to turn that into a rule of the universe, though I do have hair worse than Einstein's. We're very thankful that great people seem to find us where ever we land. I'm off to NYC for a few days with other good friends that have found us along the way. Time is sure to fly...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

blogger is having technical difficulties. whatever.

If he can...

I'm having technical difficulties. Within the microcosm of this blog, I keep getting error messages when I'm trying to post pictures. Like all week. Like, even when I download the new software and even when I restart the computer and even when I call my over-worked and technically savvy husband in for help.

On the macrocosmic level, we have been evicted again after our 6 month "assured tenancy" agreement which is standard in the UK because it also seems standard that the Scots can't handle their finances and keep their rental properties. And, as soon as I go down the road of what-have-I-done-wrong, I find that there are 9 other families going thru the same thing. The economy is hard and people can't afford their investment properties and though we're financially secure, our landlords are not. Yet, finding our fifth house in 18 months make me feel more mercurial than G. When I do feel adult-like, I still feel like G above. But, the picture and story that matters the most is the one below.

What you don't see is that it is a windless day. Also, my son and I are stomping through dead wood-pigeon guts and we don't realize it til we go inside. There are also powerlines choking our kite once it is airborne, a yard too small for proper kite flying trying, grumpy neighbors asking us to be quiet at 3 pm on a Scottish sunny day, and G having a full-on tantrum because her socks match despite her best efforts. Despite all of this, we had a great day together. My son seems to make Scotland work just fine despite the crazy housing situation. If he can, I can too.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

...really, I do.

I can take a hint.

I'm a creative cook in my mother's eyes and she often asks the children what I'm feeding them for dinner. Lately, they've taken to replying, "Mummy doesn't really feed us." My sister also asked them recently what they liked for breakfast and my son said, "She hasn't fed us yet." It was 3pm.

So, I thought, right, something is missing here. In their worldview, I'm not feeding them. I decided to sit in the kitchen and respond to every single food-based whim of theirs yesterday at lunch. We had a few courses of peanut butter and jelly, an apple and banana each, cookies, refills of soymilk and juice, red pepper, carrot, and cereal. Nothing out of the ordinary. I even left their half-eaten remains on their plates when they said they were done just in case they had a sudden change of heart.

Off they went to play.

M often makes me popcorn in the evenings. He's mastered the art of kettle corn on a stove top and it is beyond a treat for me. While playing the children found a lost piece of this fluffy goodness, by then at least 2 nights old, but possibly older. They greedily dove onto their tummies while hungrily looking under the couch for more shouting, "Look! Look! She left us popcorn!"

To my knowledge, I'm not described as a duplicitous person by people who know me. But, here, I must confess, I have an ulterior motive writing this blog. Surely, I use it to keep in touch with far flung loved ones. But I will also use it as blackmail and evidence. Blackmail for when they are sullen teenagers and I want them to behave. Evidence for when I'm hauled into a joint session with their future therapists to discuss my parenting style. I will reply to their accusations with this blog and say, "I try, really, I do."

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

survival skills

Observe: mismatched socks, rah-rah skirt with velvet strips, salmon shirt of a different hue-d purple, bald spots cut in by her brother in a moment of "helpful" 5 year-old inspiration. What you don't see: The tantrum and distraction tactics it took just to get the shoes to match and her out the door in a reasonable mood, the other bald spots, the nubbie and stained castle shirt under the salmon shirt.

I kept hoping that no one would notice her on our day trip to the Queen's palace, Holyrood, in Edinburgh. But it is the Queen's palace and it is Edinburgh and G is, what I call, "super two." They chalked it up to our American-ness. What they didn't realize is that it's just who G is right now and I generally only intervene when there are threats of bloodshed or "poo-poo stupid" name-calling.

Earlier this year, I had posted a story of what I thought Bug's brain looked like - the rooms and corridors of facts and animals lining the Natural History Museum in London. Each animal and corner whispering its own stories to him. Below, I offer what I think G's brain must look like. A room strewn with loving colors and an elusive wanted thing stuck in the back under a unknown banana hidden by my children "for later." Because, as much as I love them, I never seem to feed them enough. From my experience with the littles prior to having kids of my own, I know that these super-two seasons can last weeks or months or years or lifetimes. I now know that we will survive this when-G-never-matched season, no matter how long it lasts, because there is random rotting food hidden around my house from which they will feed.
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

of money and baldness

Take a look at my kid. I've often thought that someone could make a lot of money off this mug.

I inherited the ability to talk to myself from my mother. She can often be found in her yard having sweet conversations with herself while pulling stubborn honeysuckle from the earth. I can be found muttering stories for this blog while walking this guy home from school. When I've muttered one enough, I sit down and write it out just for you. But, today, my writing process was scrapped.

Today, I was trying to save money for this kid's future. I was on a very long, long distance phone call with USAA. They don't have international 1-800 numbers, so the charge is all mine to incur. These are the kinds of things I'm very happy to do for my family. I like being a parent. I like worrying about his financial and educational future. I like sticking up for him and his allergies. I like him. Except, when on this phone call to save for his future, he cuts numerous bald spots in his sister's hair.

I was muttering more than blog stories today when I found my disturbingly shorn daughter playing happily with the transgressor pictured above.

I'm trying to figure out how to make money off that mug above as that's the only way I know how to pay off the cost of a hairstylist that will actually attempt to fix the inflicted baldness. Also, when I look at this incident in the big picture of who my son is, I have a feeling that this is not the only cost that I will bear. There's just no way I know how to afford his experimental nature without him footing at least some of the bill....