Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Once in a lifetime... water flowing underground.

I decided to take a suggestion from Kelly, over at Kelly's Korner, and just do a post on what a random day of the week looks like.

Thursday, June 29, 2011

Today was the last day of school for the kids. It was a half day, because of course, "last" day is synonymous with "half" day. What? You didn't know that? It is. And it's understood cross-culturally as well. I always remember back in the U.S., the kids had a half day at their pre-school.

Mina called from the top of the stairs, "Mommy, do I have to wear my uniform today?"

"No, it's grub day. You can wear whatever you want." I mentally cringe at the thought of what she is going to come downstairs in. Damn, I should have put a restriction on it. I ponder the origins of the word grub and wonder why it's used in this context.

Jordan continues to sleep. He had a rough night. Repeat wake ups, crying, bathroom breaks. He's tired.

Downstairs, I pour the coffee.

Thankfully, I had prepared the machine the night before, so all I had to do was press a button. Good thing because I could barely open my eyes.


Seeing the doctor today to deal with whatever eye infection I've managed to pick up. This seems to be the week of doctors. Pediatrician, bone scans, eye doctors. We have weeks like that sometimes. Hopefully this one will be over soon.

Normally, Jeff handles the morning routine downstairs (coffee, Oscar, kid breakfast) but he had to be out of town for a couple days for work.

I get my breakfast ready and feed Oscar, our dog, who is winding around my legs like a cat and shuffling his wet nose into my legs. I feel a twinge of sympathy because it's probably been at least three days since I shaved my legs.

Mina comes downstairs with hair wet from last night's bath, wearing a too short tee - shirt and a size 2T pink ballet tutu. I look at her, and mentally debate what I could say that won't make her remember this moment in the future and decide she hates me.

"Maybe you should wear some shorts under those, Mina," I half-heartedly suggest. Is this really a battle I want to fight, I wonder.

She flashes me her Cinderella underwear and looks shocked that I don't think the outfit is perfect as is.

"Awwwh...." her standard response. She goes upstairs to add a pair of pink shorts to the ensemble. I'm surprised she didn't put up more of a fight. Maybe it was seeing the actual tag on the tutu that said "2T." I let Oscar out of the house. Dog hasn't had a decent walk in days.

I ready the gift bags for the teachers - painted pencil boxes, handmade cards inscibed with her gratitude, Some cute, felted craft magnets, and a bit of chocolate. Repeat idea of ones made before for teachers back home. I bought the wood boxes from Michael's craft store in the U.S way back in February and held on to them.

I also contributed to the parent's monetary collection to buy the teachers something more practical (gift cards, travel vouchers - travel vouchers are a Bermuda thing.) I'm sure the kid's cards will be appreciated, but I'm a big fan of practicality. I also added a card of my own to all of the teachers. I know I always appreciated it when people I worked with took a minute to thank me for my efforts. And I think teachers deserve to hear it from parents as well. Being a teacher is HARD work. The little I know of it (weekly reading with the kids at school, volunteering at class parties, etc) is exhausting. Imagine doing that, plus trying to actually teach them something every day!

We went with a bird theme this year as ornithology was a major topic of interest for one of my kids. And thus, by default, it became a family activity for BOTH of the kids. So much so that Jordan now actually knows what ornithology means and that he wants to be an ornithologist one day. And a chef. And own a pizza restaurant. And travel to India. On Air India. But he only has $0.65 in his piggy bank right now, so it might take some time to save for a ticket. And cab fare, since I refuse to drive him to the airport.

Jordan did not go to school. Again. He's been home all week. We saw the doctor yesterday and she said he had an ear infection. He may also have strep throat, depending on the test results. He's on antibiotics. When he came downstairs, I noticed he was warm again. I gave him some of his meds, he drank some milk and water and refused to eat anything. Mina wolfed down a waffle, some strawberries, and suggested I make her a round of pancakes. I suggested she go brush her hair.

I rounded up the gift bags, made a quick partial lunch for Mina (it's a "half-day after all; no real lunch). Got the kids in the car and navigated my way down North Shore Road. Surprisingly, after nine months, I'm actually kind of comfortable driving on the left hand side of the road. The narrow roads don't make me break into a flop sweat anymore. The kids argue about the music on the Ipod. I don't even attempt to listen to the audiobook I really want (Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth). Talking Heads plays. I admire the way the sun sparkles off the water on Shelly Bay. I do the Bermuda thing and let a car turn in front of me. He toot-toots his horn. Another Bermuda thing.

At school, I park along the field I leave Jordan in the car with the AC on and his stuffed cow for company. No, we don't do this in the U.S. Here, it's done all the time. I'm not too worried. Teachers are 20 feet away supervising kids in the drop off area.

Mina and I trudge into the building. I continue to wear my sunglasses and pretend to be chic mommy, rather than mommy with raging eye infection and hairy legs. We leave a present for Jordan's teacher in her classroom. Mina admires Tuck the turtle swimming around in the tank. No turtles in the US, I remember. Someone told me most classrooms ban them after a salmonella scare. Apparently the news hasn't hit Bermuda yet. I wonder who's taking care of the turtle over the summer. I feel sorry for turtle. All that swimming.

Mina runs into her classroom holding the gift bags. She stops to show them off to a friend and marvels at the chocolates and crafty magnets. I hope nothing falls out. On the way back to the car, I stop and talk with one of the teachers responsible for summer camp next week. I discuss whether she's seen my email regarding the balance. She hasn't. She finds a receipt with the balance due and hands it to me. I stare, cough, and thank her. Sigh. That's a big balance. Must double check her figures. Math anxiety hits me.

We drive home. I notice mallards in Harrington Sound bay and point them out to Jordan. The boats bob gently and the sun sends sparkles across the water. We discuss how old the lead duckling was. We decide he was a teenager because he wasn't following his parents.

At home, I finish giving Jordan the remainder of his medication. He refuses to eat, but grudgingly drinks some Buddy Fruit smoothie and settles himself on the couch for Tom and Jerry. I empty the dishwasher, wipe down the utensils which never seem to get dry, load up breakfast dishes, and ignore the sticky syrup that's all over my fingers. Wash. Remember I have to call the water people and order a tank refill. Our neighbor told me there's a five day waiting period because of the drought.

Normally, this time of the day, I'm usually running; but since I've been forced to give up running for the foreseeable future, I've found it hard to motivate myself to exercise at all. I hate the gym. I hate lifting weights. I grudgingly ride a bike or an elliptical. I've tried water aerobics and water jogging (fail, fail, fail.) I do however still watch what I eat. I'm convinced that diet is more important than exercise for maintaining or losing weight. And eventually, I will run again. And those happy endorphins will return.

I wipe down the counters then check Jordan's temperature. 99.2

I try calling water guy. Call goes straight to automated cell message. I call secondary water guy. He tells me he has three people on hold and could I use the online option? I'm shocked the company is forward thinking enough to have that and proceed to go online. I arrange a day for delivery and wonder whether this will actually work.

I check Jordan. He's moved on to the computer in the office and is playing Yo Gabba Gabba on Nick Jr. He says he feels ok. His eyes are heavy lidded and droopy which always happens when he's sick. But this is the most energetic I've seen him this morning, so I leave him alone. I debate whether I should try to get him to eat something.

It's 10:30. I have to pick up Mina from school in one hour. I mentally triage all household chores that need to get done and decide to vacuum living room.

Mid carpet, I'm interrupted by loud pounding on front door. I look through glass to see man standing there. It's the bug-sprayers. He's going to do the outside of the house. I nod and wonder whether its the chemicals that have caused him to look this way.

Jeff IM's me wanting to know what Jordan's doing. "Watching Smurfs," I reply. Discuss temperature, mood and probiotics.

I launch a full out cleaning assault on bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs. When there's so much sick in the house, I feel like a full scale germ warfare is underway and I have to go even more crazy with cleaning. I scrub bathrooms and disinfect everything with bleach and chlorox wipes. I clean off handles and light switches and door knobs. I stare at the soap dispenser in Jordan's bathroom and wonder why, after nine months, the soap is only halfway gone. In Mina's bathroom, I wonder why she has six toothbrushes on her sink.

I think about the comment a friend on Facebook made. She's an ex-pat, who lives in a "developing country." Regarding cleaning, she said,

"Hire someone. Isn't that one the benefits of moving to "these places?"

"I have someone," I replied. "Her name is me, myself and I."

Uh. "These places???" gag.

Anyways, I can't do cleaning people. I've tried many times. We don't work out. I'm neurotic and obsessive- compulsive and passive-aggressive. And they are usually normal and just want to do their job and go home. I clean before they get there, while they are there, and afterwards. It just never works. I try to be nice and just let them do things their way. That never works, so I tell them a few specific things I need done. They are good for a few weeks then get sloppy about something else. Weeks go by and my anger starts building up as I think about all the other ways I could spend that money. And usually 6 months to a year has passed and I let them go. They have no idea what they did wrong and I chalk it up to an "It's not you, it's me" type explanation.

Do you see why I need to run again? It's the only thing that calms the non-stop crazy voices in my head. The bone scan was Tuesday. Shouldn't the results be in by now?

We drove to pick up Mina from school. "Genius of Love," plays on the Ipod. Go ahead, click the link, you know you love this song.

We pull into car line and repeat performance of leaving Jordan alone with AC. I stare at mom in orange tube dress in front of me hitching up said tube dress top. Personal fashion pet peeve - if you are constantly hitching things up, pulling things down, or can't move in it, then this is not a good look for you. I do like orange though.

Get Mina. She decides at this moment to say good bye to each of her friends individually. Grab her, go find Jordan's teacher in car line. She returns work to me and thanks me for gift.

"Say a hello to Jordan for me!"

Both kids got report cards today and I'm looking forward to reading them. Orange tube dress mom returns to car line and rather than pulling forward to leave, she unrolls her window and begin chatting with a woman I thought I liked. Might as well read the report cards now since we aren't going anywhere soon.

Kids did amazing. Excellent reports in everything. Loved by their teachers and praised as helpful and a joy to have in the class. I wonder whose children are being discussed.

En route home, we stop at Pizza House - home of the worst pizza in Bermuda because Jordan requested it for lunch. Given his minimal eating the last few days, I'd be willing to stop anywhere he asked. Grab some pizza and head home. Children trudge up stairs loaded with papers and bags. I trudge up stairs loaded with papers and bags and we compare who is holding more. They dump everything in hallway. I bring everything into kitchen to sort and load.

Set out lunch.

I note picture in Mina's bag of the two of us.

I admire Jordan's journal. Love reading about his adventures. Will definitely save this.

Jordan eats slowly.

Mina runs off to play.

Kids goof around outside in sweltering heat for awhile. I am thrilled Jordan seems well enough to get off couch.

He comes in later to go to bathroom. Then shouts for help wiping. Sigh, it must have been a big one.

I park kids in front of tv to take a shower. When I get downstairs they haven't moved. Babysitter arrives. I put kids down for a nap and leave to go see eye doctor.

Eye doctor visit was successful. Continue to be charmed by quaint Bermuda custom where each patient, upon arriving into waiting room, looks around room and states, "good afternoon" to the public generally. So endearing. Doctor does not keep me waiting! Doctor is lovely and thorough and does not admonish me for the self medicating I have been doing the last two weeks. Remarks as well that the lasik work I had done years ago is excellent. "Wonderful flaps! So neat!" I take credit for it as though I was somehow responsible. NJ girls - I went to TLC laser vision center. He prescribed the right kind of eye drops after dilating my eyes thoroughly. Oops. Did not realize that was coming and wonder how I am going to drive home.

Mental note to self - don't drive with dilated eyes. I get to pharmacy for drugs. Pharmacist and aide have seen me here three times this week and pass looks reserved for haggard mothers and drug abusers. I'm in the former category. They marvel at my amazingly dilated eyes and confirm the time, since I can't read my phone.

I get home by adopting the technique Jeff and I call "Badge of Pride." Badge of Pride drivers take it upon themselves to obey the Bermuda speed limit of 20mph at any cost. Everyone else can go to hell. In my case, I adopt it to save lives, starting with my own. People are capable of walking faster than my car moves.

I get home. Kids still napping. Babysitter marvels at my huge pupils.

I wake up kids. Jordan is cool. He comes downstairs with some energy and begins playing with Mina. I start dinner. Kids request pasta. I agree and caution that this is only because they are getting over sick and don't expect to get "kiddie choice" every night. They nod solemnly and laugh behind my back.

Jeff IM's me and we discuss results of meeting. I laugh at his description of it. Feel waves of exhaustion suddenly. The drops burn. My eyes are as red as the rage ghouls from 28 Days Later. I'm not as angry though. That was a good movie. I wish we had it on DVD; I feel like watching it now. Although watching a scary movie alone at home when Jeff is not here is a bad idea. No doubt I'll be up again during the night with kids so its doubly a bad idea. Should just watch NJ housewives and be grateful no one is snarking commentary from the side chair. Feel sad no one will be snarking commentary from the side chair. I love snarky commentary. But not during Gilmore Girls.

Phone call from pediatrician to follow up on Jordan. I tell her he seems on the mend. She is happy but still no results from strep test. Check in tomorrow. Kids begin fighting over computer. I pause and debate whether to interfere. Silence. They seem to be working it out. I read caution warnings for my drops. I note that water guy two has not called to confirm appointment for tomorrow and suspect I will have to call again.

Water is boiling. I break apart pasta in same way as Michael Keaton in the movie, "My Life." Am I the only one who's ever seen this movie? I don't blame you if you haven't. Nicole Kidman whispered her way through that movie as she has done in just about every other movie she's ever been in. But Michael Keaton I just love. Or maybe I just love his character in Mr. Mom. I get them confused.

Wonder what some friends are feeding their kids for dinner tonight.

Feel nauseous suddenly. The drops?

Feed Oscar. Look how nicely he sits waiting for his food. I wish for the hundredth time that someone existed whose sole purpose was to cook for me and feed me on a strict portion controlled diet each day and never allow me any treats. Oscar inhales his food. Amazing.

Armed for battle I warn the kids it is dinner time.

"Time to wash hands!" I shout.

Surprisingly, they don't fight over who gets to wash hands first. They come to table. Jordan discusses how to make a jam sandwich. Mina asks whether Jordan has meds hidden in his milk. I say no. He can take his meds without that. Jordan doesn't eat much dinner; but takes his antibiotics without a fuss. Mina watches. Shamelessly, I cheer him on. He swallows down almost 7 ml in seconds. It took Mina hours to finish 5 ml which we mixed with juice, water, applesauce, milkshakes... ANYTHING!!

Jordan goes to lay down on couch. Mina leaves table and begins chatting with him. No dessert tonight I guess. Feel conked and need to get kids back on a schedule. On cue, Mina reminds me we haven't practiced violin today. I look at Jordan laying on couch and promise we will do it tomorrow when everyone is feeling better.

Time for bath, regular meds, stories and lullabyes.

Bath became a disaster as Mina insisted Jordan get out first, even though he got out first yesterday. I know she is just tired when she says,

"He should get out first EVERY day!"

They chose short stories - Curious George and the Dump Truck, Ten Stars Twinkled. Mina read hers twice.

Time for the "four things" each of them talks to me about individually before they sleep. The four things are usually pretty random; but Jordan almost always says, "I love you mom." That alone is worth delaying bed time for.

Mina chose to use her four things to complain about having to get out of the bathtub first.

Hopefully, no multiple wake ups tonight.

8:15 pm.

I look forward to crashing on couch with vino, goofing around on computer and watching Bravo.

8:16 pm, I hear Mina sobbing. As I go upstairs I tell myself to stay calm, say nothing because no matter what it will never be the right thing. Don't get mad. Just ask her what's wrong.

I walk in. She is sitting straight up in bed sobbing and glaring at me.

"What's wrong," I say?

"I'm staying up all night long!" She screams.

"Ok." I say. "But you have to stay up all night long in your bed."

"With your head on the pillow."

"And the covers pulled up."

"Fine!! She screamed. "But I want my drapes open."

I walk over and open them, then leave the room.

8:44 pm. Silence.

This was an epic post and colossally boring. But, I have a sneaking suspicion that one day, when my babies have flown the nest, I might wonder what we did all day long when they were still young enough to listen to my opinions and thought I had all the answers.
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