Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Poetry In Motion

So I'm sitting here at my kitchen table, surveying the world at large through a big window which now faces our lovely, ENCLOSED terrace. After too many recent sunny days when I became aware that some of our neighbours were taking a more than appropriate interest in our goings-on, I decided (with too much fervor my husband would say) to get us some privacy.

And so with the same zeal normally reserved for a big West End shopping sale, I proceeded to order some bamboo screens and bully my husband into helping me put them up at the weekend. Job done, everyone agreed it was a good move, and now I can enjoy my morning cappucino without fear of inspiring lust (on a good day) or pity (on a normal day) from the youths who live in the building behind us.

Dumpie just shoved a loaf of bread into my lap, begging for his second breakfast of the day. (He's already polished off a giant bowl of banana-blueberry oatmeal, two glasses of mango smoothie, and is now angling for a stack of peanut-butter toast.) Poor Dumpie hasn't recovered from the emotional abuse levied by Egg a short while ago when he pushed Dumps off the sofa and wouldn't let him watch cartoons with him because he was 'dirty' (Ok Dumps did have dried oatmeal remnants stubbornly hanging off him from breakfast, but still...)

Having set the boys up at their mini kitchen table with a box of crayons and a huge pad of post it notes (don't ask - Egg LOVES the small square pieces of paper), Egg has resorted to his favourite arts and crafts hobby, which is scribbling like a madman on the post-it notes, then taping random pieces together and depositing the whole mess into a plain white envelope. Bless.

Yesterday we had a bit of excitement as Pest Control showed up to eradicate our mouse problem. Ok, so maybe it's not a full-blown problem, but we did spot a mouse dashing across the kitchen floor (URGHH!) two days in a row, so that qualifies as a national emergency in my book. Two hapless Asian lads turned up, for about five minutes, laid down a few traps, mumbled a bit of nonsense, and then promptly relieved us of a huge sum of money, with a promise to be back in a couple of weeks. Okey dokey then (sigh)...

I do wonder whether it is possible to live in this city and not come across a rodent. Apparently everyone in London is only ever a few feet away from a rat/mouse at any given time. That's a nice thought to start the day with. Give me bugs any day. Termites, cockroaches, doesn't matter. As long as it doesn't 'scurry', have a tail, or beady eyes I can handle it.

Yesterday at Egg's nursery I noticed that the mean French lady (who got bigger than a person should humanly be able to expand unless they are having quadruplets) FINALLY gave a little baby girl. Hmmm. She also chopped her cleopatra bob into a close-shaven androgenous do and now resembles a flabby pensioner from behind. (Will I go to hell for mocking a new 'mommy'? Do i care?)

Anyway, I've got bigger fish to fry. Dumps STINKS and has to be changed and fumigated. Egg is taping up everything in site in the kitchen and my cappucino sits beside me getting cold. Will this be a good day? Maybe. Or maybe not. Perhaps I'll learn something about the world, develop a new friendship or prove instrumental in changing someones life.

Or maybe nothing will happen and I'll potter about picking up after the boys, mopping up the floor, doing the laundry, absentmindedly applying lipgloss and daydreaming (a la 'Walter Mitty') about a life not yet where I am not an overworked domestic slave, covered in crumbs, with too-long hair, too short a fuse, and dish-pan hands.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Waiting Room Blues

So this morning it was back to the stern but jovial Dr. Kahn, to see if Egg's Pee-Pee Problem had been cured by a weeks worth of sticky sweet orange antibiotic syrup. Nope. We waited in a crowded, stale, depressing waiting room for almost two hours this morning, only to discover that there was no sign of last weeks urine sample results.

Egg didn't mind too much as for the first hour there was a 4 year old girl named Olivia who spurred him on to chase her round the room and mess up the vast array of pamphlets by the door. I even minded them both while her mother gratefully conducted her appointment with Dr. Kahn in private and I tried to keep their combined shrieks down in order to minimize the dirty looks of the other patients.

When we had been there for just over an hour, Egg started to get bored...really bored...and began looking for amusing distractions. He found the form of the slightly 'slow' receptionist who was packing about an extra 100 lbs and had doleful eyes and a crew cut. She and Egg began playing silly 'games' involving whispers, jerky hand movements and comedy faces. I ignored it at first, but after some time it became obvious that she had let her office duties fall by the wayside in favour of some very engaging childs play.

They began to get louder...and louder...until everyone was staring and Egg suddenly turned to me, bored, and said, "Mama, how much do you love me?" As this is a game we play, I answered, "More than this building" and Egg looked around and said, pointing to his receptionist playmate, "More than that BIG gwirl?"

I started to blush and tried to change the subject, but Egg's next question, as he directed his gaze around the room was even worse. He pointed to an obese young Asian man slumped in the far corner and asked, "Do you love me more than THAT big man?" At this point there was nothing to say as Egg had singled out the two most obviously overweight people in view to measure my motherly love, and everyone there watched me squirm in embarrassment.

Just when I though it couldn't get any worse, Egg thought for a moment, then asked loudly, "Mama, can we measure that lady and that man and see who is the biggest?" I kid you not. I rustled around frantically in my handbag for sweets or anything to distract Egg, but for once I was without anything. He asked again, louder and more determinedly, "MAMA, I WANT TO MEASURE THAT BIG GWIRL AND THAT MAN AND SEE WHO IS THE BIGGEST!"

Moments later we were called in to see the infamous Dr. Kahn who looked a bit worse for wear. Egg was prescribed more antiobiotics after the doctor failed to find the results from last weeks test. He was greatly annoyed with my innocent question about whether I might get a call with the results when they come in and was told in a very stern tone, "Young lady, I have over 3000 patients and I cannot possibly be expected to ring you. You must come and uncover the results yourself."

Okey dokey then. Time to find a new doctor.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

"Pretty As A Princess"

Dumpie was 18 months old on Friday. He is going through the stage where he likes to carry his favourite possessions around the house with him. These currently comprise the following: a tiny brown bear named 'Lemmie Winks', a few Mr. Men books, pieces of my expensive blender, and random objects which fluctuate daily but may include sippie cups, an ill-gotten piece of chocolate, a sock or a toy hammer.

Given that Dumpie has now decided that he is too mature to crawl up the stairs and now insists on gingerly ascending in an adult-like manner, having his arms bulging with 'things' is a great cause of distress for me. What is also a distress is the ongoing 'picking' of beautiful blooms on our terrace. Because we cannot access the terrace from our kitchen, it is agonising to watch Dumps grab a cluster of daisies and gleefully throw them up in the air before going for another handful - knowing that it will take me at least 15 seconds to get out to him, and by then the lovely blooms will be much depleted (sigh). It doesn't help that we blew a small fortune at the garden centre last weekend and all for the destructive enjoyment of our youngest it seems.

The boys now have their own cd player and radio in their bedroom. I have decided that a little bedtime music wouldn't go amiss and might actually stop the occasional indignant bedtime screaming. I wasn't wrong. After bath has proven a good time for impromptu disco moves and grooves and both boys are quite happy to indulge. Dumps favours the metal 'fist-in-air' thrusts and is also partial to the odd twirl. Eggie however insists on his own rather peculiar donkey kicking, galloping, odd jerky moves (reminiscent of his father at many a university disco as i recall). This apparent lack of cool grooving on Egg's part is not yet dampened by peer mockery as it is still confined to non-public venues. In fact, he is utterly unaware of his lack of grace, and in his head he is probably John Travolta, for the other night as he lept about clumsily with glee he proclaimed (to a terribly amused Auntie Ba and I), "Look, I'm like a Princess!!"

Ummm. No you're not Egg. Goshhhhhhh....

Today it's a gloriously sunny Sunday and all feels well with the world. Of course I have not yet gotten out of bed, and as i sit here tip-tapping on my laptop, I am blissfully unaware of the holocaust which awaits me in the kitchen. (Jay earlier got up, poured two bowls of cereal and hot-footed it back to bed with two strong cappucino's).

From the screams, crashes and general din I can surmise that all hell has broken loose and it is very possible that Auntie Ba has had her dreams brought to a sudden, agonizing halt by two gate-crashing midgets bearing cheerios. Ho Hum.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Dr. Kahn and the 'Pee-Pee Problem'

About a week ago Egg developed a bit of a 'pee-pee problem' (those are of course HIS words, not mine). This has manifested into random, five-an-hour toilet visits, bothersome at home but lethal when out in public. Egg still holds real terror and fear over...wait for it...HAND DRYERS! They don't even have to be on; merely the thought of a hand dryer attached to a public restroom wall is enough to inspire real terror and dread in his little mind.
Therefore you can imagine Auntie Ba's dilemma when last week in Starbucks (having treated him to a smoothie there after nursery school) Egg suddenly jumped up, said he had to pee and tried to drag Auntie Ba outside to look for a bush on which he could drain his tiny bladder. Auntie Ba (the person least likely in the world to ever publicly, let alone condone such behavior) was horrified, and tried to get Egg to accompany her to the toilets. Egg began screaming and they attracted the attention of a severely anorexic young lady who got involved in trying to cajole my stubborn 3 1/2 year old into stepping inside the bathroom (even going so far as giving him a chocolate bar..which apparently SHE needed a million times more).

Eventually they had to race down the street toward home, Egg making clutching motions towards his groin and threatening to use the street if they didn't get there quickly enough. All this to say, that when he finally did get to the toilet at home, a mere drop came out and it was clear that something was amiss in his waterways and he should get to a doctor pronto.

After 24 hours of Jay and I freaking out that our son might be diabetic (he was after all exhibiting several of the symptoms) I took him into a local doctors office for an emergency appointment. I had two offices to choose from, and given that I had once observed a crazy black lady screaming for her prescription through the outdoor intercom of one, I went for the other as default.

After waiting for AGES in the aptly called 'waiting room', Egg and I were finally ushered into a shambolic but welcoming back office where an elderly Pakistani doctor asked Egg about his symptoms before making him pee in a cup and administering some homeopathic pills.

Five days later the pills had not worked so I took Egg back to Dr. Kahn, where Egg thoughtfully volunteered the information that his 'pee-pee problem' was down to the gingerbread that 'Dada' had recently bought him. Dr. Kahn was much amused and responded to Egg in a fashion that prompted Egg to moments later reflect aloud, 'Mama, doctors can sometimes be pretty funny, can't they?"

Dr. Kahn was much amused by the 'prognosis' and expressed amazement over our precocious little "Egg", clearly taken with him. Next thing I know the session ends up with the two of them in a big bear hug and clutching a prescription we saunter through the office, with Egg loudly proclaiming that Dr. Kahn has the 'best ever in the whole world' bathroom simply because the rather modest facilities are without a hand dryer. (I do wonder whether onlookers may have questioned what sort of a bathroom Egg uses at home in comparison...but oh well).

Anyway, Egg now has to take four doses a day of antibiotic orange syrup, and Dumpie is terribly jealous of this as he suspects Egg is getting sweeties which he is not. Therefore Dumpie has now reverted back to emptying the contents of the fridge on a whim, and at any given time it's not unusual to see my fresh goods scattered in a rage throughout the kitchen, or the fridge door propped open and a little chubby chicken perched on his tippy-toes on the salad crisper, reaching in vain for something higher up.

Given his voracious appetite, I do wonder how we are going to survive the boys' teenage years without one or both of us getting a second job. Already loaves of bread disappear in a day or two and I spend most of my days doling out foodstuffs to eager grubby, grasping hands. It's not unlike feeding animals at a zoo. Only the zoo is my beloved kitchen. And I am also the zookeeper. And of course I don't appear able to tame these naughty monkeys....

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Green Thumbs

Hola People!
Yes, it's been ages since I've written, but if i told you what I've been caught up in you wouldn't believe me anyway, and indeed would think me a possible lunatic, so instead I'll just keep that to myself and continue on relaying the domestic trials and tribulations which make up my everyday.

Most recently, the big dilemma at home has been the advent of divine weather, and the subsequent refusal of the boys to stay inside and play...preferring instead to cavort on our outdoor terrace like feral children. Our ample terrace is just off the dining room and provides just enough of an enticement for Dumps (being one level up from ground) to continue with the 'heave-ho' antics he indulged in whilst in Florida....who needs a piddly balcony when you have a terrace at your disposal?

This week we have lost the following items to his good overhead right arm (sound familiar?): sippee cups, two balls, several stuffed animals, a spoon, a broom and some play-doh toys. In addition to gleefully hoisting domestic items over the rail (never to be recovered again given that they fall into a locked, closed area which does not belong to us, is rarely frequented, and requires keys to enter) Dumps is a rather fond perpetrator of flower annhilation.

The lovely purple blooms outside of our kitchen fell victim to the snatch n' grab sweaty palms of Dumpie this past week and are sadly much depleted. Meanwhile Egg has discovered some fun digging tools and has used them to joyfully uproot some of our lovely plants and desoil many small potted trees, while at the same time littering our terrace with mud, uprooted greenery and a few smashed ceramic pots (sigh).

Egg has also made friends with the waiter of the excellent Italian restaurant next door. He and Dumps have discovered several large glass ceiling windows outside which when opened, provide a perfect view into the restaurant kitchen, whistling chefs and endless possibilities. Egg and Dumps perch tippy-toed on the iron guard rails, and chat amicably (or if it is Dumps, scream and grunt) to the chefs in the hot kitchen, with whom they are forging new friendships. It is only a matter of time till a sock or a sippee cup falls from the 'sky' into a great big pot and a deep satisfying chortle is heard from above.

Right now Jay is researching our local garden center to see if they deliver. We are planning a 'family fun day out' (smell my sarcasm) to dispense with a decent amount of her Majesty's banknotes, in order to jazz up our terrace for the summer. Of course in a mere few days I expect it will be mere rubble - a graveyard for massacred greenery; but we all need our illusions and delusions and on this front i'll allow my idealistic hubby his.

And I won't even say 'I told you so". How's that for a good wife?

Thursday, 1 May 2008

"Bye Dada!"

So Dumps said his first sentence this morning. Stood at the top of stairs alongside Eggie, he was waving off a lycra-clad 'Dada' in all his biking gear glory. Suddenly, out of nowhere, just as Jay was wheeling his bike out the door, we heard clear as anything, 'Bye Dada!' We couldn't believe it!
Of course he hasn't uttered a tangible word since, content instead to direct orders with gesticulation, grunts and nonsensical vowel pairings as par usual. We completely understand what he is saying, as in a charades-like fashion he impatiently repeats himself until we 'get it'...sometimes making us feel like 'slow' idiots with a lesser I.Q. whom he has to frequently indulge.

This afternoon he decided to partake of burning hot salsa with his tortilla chips, even though he would wince with disgust after every bite. It was as if he had to be included in the ritual of dip, munch, swallow and dip again, in order to enjoy the snack alongside we adults. Finally the inevitable happened, and Dumps puked spectacularly and spontaneously into longsuffering Auntie Ba's cupped hands (who gratefully took 'it' for the team in order to preserve my newly purchased and much-adored black luxury throw. We love you Auntie Ba.)

Eggie attempted to explain a string of naughty behaviours today by blaming it on my consistently doled out 'time-outs' . Apparently the more I discipline him the more he feels himself prone to naughtiness. Wonder if I should let 'Super Nanny' in on this little nugget of wisdom? Saying that, Egg did display a remarkably controlled temper upon finding his beloved stuffed bear Bacon stuffed deliberately in the toilet bowl (newly handwashed this week by 'Dada' after Egg declared him to be too stinky even for his accustomed nose). A guilty Dumps grinned proudly in response to his dirty deed being discovered, not a glimmer of remorse on his cherubic little face. Bacon did not look (or smell) pleased.

On a final note, little Egg has been suffering from nightmares as of late, and has now decided that saying not one goodnight prayer, but rather three "Dear Jesus'" is the key to keeping bad dreams at bay. Bless him.