Cough and anger

LittleOne’s first full day at the nursery. The settling in process last week was smooth and uneventful, he played happily and cried only the first time when I picked him up, not when I left. Today he was happy too, but he has a bad cough and we haven’t slept well lately, and he didn’t manage to take a proper nap all day. The baby room at the nursery was too hot and with a stuffed nose, he couldn’t breathe well, poor love… but I needed a few hours by myself, even if I managed to rest only about half an hour, and the rest of the day passed by “surviving” (fold clean clothes, load washing machine, repeat, tidy up living room, clean kitchen, change bed sheets, time to pick up the children). I was sorry I wasn’t there to cuddle him when he coughed, I was happy I didn’t have to look after him all day. The face of the nursery carer when I told her I haven’t slept. She hadn’t connected that if a baby cannot sleep, the mother doesn’t sleep either. I had imagine this day, my first day without the children, differently. I would go for a walk, or shopping. I would have lunch with some friend. I would write. I’m writing only now that everyone else in the house is sleeping. I was too tired to go out. I didn’t speak with anyone all day.

Pallino is angry. Why is he angry? Nothing happened, that I know of. He’s been aggressive with his school mates, shouts at the teachers. Today I picked him up, we both went to pick up LittleOne, we walked home. It took me a hour to do all this, and I was tired before I started. We get home and he says “I expect to find my food on the table when I come home from school”. I was horrified. When did he hear people talking like that? He’s only watching CBeebies and Lego Batman movies. We certainly don’t talk like that to each other at home. I made him cook dinner with me. If he wants his dinner, he’d better work for it. He was fine after that, we actually had fun cooking together. Another weird moment was before going to bed, when he insisted L read another book to him, and started shouting when L didn’t and asked him to brush his teeth. “Never!”, he replied. He did brush his teeth, eventually. Is this just testing the boundaries? I try to stay calm and carry on regardless, and model the behaviour I’d like to see. But why is he angry?

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Mid-life crisis (sort of)

I almost wish I could tell you that I ran away with my 20 year old secretary and bought a Porsche, but I’m always quite low in the career ladder and don’t have a secretary, and my Focus is still OK, so…

My work meeting last week left me a bit depressed. I’m about to return to work and I’ll have significant logistics concerns, juggling two kids, a workaholic husband and my own  work. My job security is something I would happily not have to think about, however I had the clear feeling that I should not take anything for granted. Happy days.

Anyway, I have been thinking about tidying up the house as much as possible before my return to work, and getting rid of anything we don’t really need. It’s a big job, but I will never have all this time at home without working again, so it’s now or never, really. And since I like to study a good theory before actually doing anything, I read Marie Kondo’s book. There is a lot of rethoric and repetitions, like in any self help book, but overall is a pleasant read. And, best of all, I like the philosophy behind it: we tend to accumulate things and lose track of what really counts; if we go through each of our possessions and get rid of anything that doesn’t make us happy, we’ll be left with space and a few precious things around us. We’ll be able to look after the things we love. And we’ll have time and mental space to do what we really like. It all comes down to loving ourselves and avoid excesses, granting space only to what counts. I like this. I’ve been thinking that each room in a home should have some empty space, but it’s so easy to fill up any space you’ve got with things and things and things. Just like we fill up any moment of time with things to do and then we get stressed out and bitter.

Unfortunately L is not of this opinion. He’d keep everything and is not interested in empty spaces, or tidying. Even though, as I write this, I remember that earlier today he saw me putting lots of clothes in bags to give away, and spontaneously picked up a few of his shirts and added them to the pile. So maybe it’s contagious after all. Anyway, I’m focusing on my things, and the children at the same time, and it’s quite enough to keep me busy! I already filled up about 10 big bags with clothes, bags and scarves that I don’t want to keep, and I folded nicely those I want to keep. I still think I have too many clothes, but now I can see them all (one of the basics of the konmari method is to fold the clothes and put them in the drawers vertically, so that they are next to each other, not one on top of the other, in this way you always see everything) and I’ve already started to create new outfits, instead of using the usual old jumper and jeans that were at the top of the pile…

The next step in the konmari method is to sort the books you want to keep and those you don’t want to keep. This is going to be really hard, because we own quite a nice collection of books and we love them. So it’s likely that I don’t want to give any away. However, I will go through all of them next week (some are still in boxes from our last move. So yes, we could get rid of them and we wouldn’t even notice. As for so many things we own. I do remember all my books though) And again, L pretty much disagrees with all of this.

Is this my mid-life crisis? Kind of. I’m getting rid of things I kept for 15-20 years. Clothes I bought and never wore because somehow they never felt quite right. I need air.

And I joined a choir. Nothing special for most people, but I had never done anything like this in the past. I actually avoid any artistic activity usually (apart from creative writing). I’m not even sure how and why I decided to go. It’s close to my place, there was a taster session and I found it relaxing. I still can’t sing, but it’s fun, and it’s peaceful. And it gets me out of the house and on my own for a hour every week, without any tiring physical activity (yes, that would be going to the gym…) A good experience, so far.

School holidays

Our first half term has come and gone. We didn’t make any plan, since I’m not working yet and we can’t afford to go on holiday, but that was good in hindsight, since the baby caught the “hand foot and mouth disease” and was quite miserable for most of the first week. I was hoping to organise some playdates with Pallino’s friends, but I had to look after LittleOne (and I wasn’t sleeping), so Pallino was home most of the week, playing with my sister or watching TV (he was quite happy about that). The second week we visited my other sister and her family.

There was a big change recently: LittleOne stopped breastfeeding. Suddenly he was not interested anymore. I had started to reduce the number of feeds during the day (and he hasn’t eaten at night for several weeks already), but it came as a surprise and left me quite sad and my breast very sore… I couldn’t even hold him in my arms, it was too painful. I had long hot showers for a few days, massaging and expressing some milk to reduce the engorgement, and it took about a week to completely heal. I was sad but it happened at the right time, as I was invited at a work meeting far away from home, and I was able to go. It wasn’t a useful meeting and I came back stressed out and awfully tired, but I’ll get paid for the day. 

In other news… Pallino is inventing stories all the time, and it’s a pleasure to listen to him. He uses his toys, facts from the news (like yesterday it was about  a hurricane, he sent it away with a powerful punch and never came back), or TV cartoons or books. His favourite characters are Batman, Transformers, Paw Patrols, PJ Masks. The Transformers are his favourite toys at the moment. I wish I could spend more time with him, possibly without arguing, but he challenges my authority, rules ecc…. he’s tough but amazing 😉

 

LittleOne at 7 months

LittleOne sucks his right thumb to sleep.

He goes to sleep at 19.30-20.00 and sleeps through until 6.30, without eating. I feed him, I put him in his sleeping bag, in bed, and I leave. 

He strokes my fingers softly when I breastfeed him. 

He loves playing with rattles, kitchen towels, Pallino, music, flying in the air (“Vola vola LittleOne!”), eats everything and is happy when left with other people for a while. 

We haven’t started settling in at the nursery yet. It’ll be tough for me! 

His smile warms you up like the sun. 

His eyes are sweet and pure and trusting. 

Summer

When I was at school, the holidays were three long months with nothing to do. We had the car park to play with the other children and I would spend there every morning and afternoon after 4pm (before that time it was too hot). We children didn’t have any club or classes, it was just us, and our volleyball, skates, tennis rackets, skipping rope, whatever we could find. None of us knew how to play any of those sports “properly”, we just played. We imitated the gymnasts with our balls and homemade ribbons, clumsily dancing to the music. We got bored and then found a little room at the top of the stairs of our building (it had thirteen floors), it must have been something to do with the elevators. It was all dusty and dark. We decided to clean it up and make it our den. And one summer went like that, playing in our secret room. My father would whistle from the balcony when it was time to go home, it was a special sound that I could recognise wherever I was. I would ask for ten minutes more invariably.
The rest of the time I read and talked with my sister and listened to the radio until the middle of the night.

Sometimes we would go to the sea with my dad, in the mornings. Ten minutes the first day, fifteen the second day etc. until our skin was used to the sun and we wouldn’t get sunburned. At the end of the summer we usually had a lovely tan.

My father was travelling a lot for work, and we used to move to my granny’s house when he was not home. There was another car park and other children there, but I remember feeling that I was an outsider and not being able to make any friends. I missed my dad and didn’t like that house. I read all the books my granny and my aunt had there, and learnt to recognise very bad literature.

When September came, I was longing for school. I was bored. My best friend went on holiday with her family at the beginning of September and suddenly there was nothing to do. I never understood the people who hated going back to school, for me it was fantastic: new stationery, a new diary, new books to read…

This year Pallino has spent a long time at home. No classes, nothing to do, no timetable. He likes playing with his toys, finding out new things in his rooms, toys he had forgotten already. He invents new stories every day. He’s usually Batman and will save the day. I had to fight with him to go out, but luckily the local children’s bookshop had a reading every week and he’s always happy to go there. I organised a playdate every time I could, but we don’t know many people yet and many were on holiday or busy. It’s been a tough month for me (after a tough “holiday”), but I feel it was the right pace for him. It’s been a summer free from any commitment, probably the last one ever. Next week he will start school. Good luck little Pallino.