I’m always afraid I will end up with a paper-cut type gash up my entire leg or arm, inflicted by the starched sheets I sleep in whilst staying at my mom and dad’s. My mom is militant with how a house should appear and her beds are no exception. Crisp, stiff, sorted, organized piles of what resemble bed linen with a sand-paper twist stand tall in her closet in the middle of her upstairs hallway. Sleeping amongst these sheets, the texture and smell of the material always whisks me back to my childhood, and perpetually reminds why I made a mental list of ‘practices I will ditch immediately when I move out’ in the first place. I’m all for fresh bed linen, but skin exfoliation while I sleep adds a whole new dimension I don’t care for.
Being back in Canada was marvellous. My best friend got married and standing up beside her on her wedding with other close childhood friends was simply mellifluous. Little Miss Stubborn was also the flower girl and I dont mean to sound mawkish, but she was sweet, she made me proud, and was perhaps the prettiest flower girl in the history of flower girls. I took the summer to catch up with family and old friends that I missed dearly, and seeing them all was wonderful. Ultimately though, the goal of the summer is always to keep the kids happy and entertained and 2014 was a contender to rival the summer of 2013 for them. We were busy camping, going to amusement parks, birthday parties, swimming, play dates, going to the library, parks, the mountains, bike rides, family dinners, going to an art studio, attending a sports and dance camp, playing tennis, and to make my folks sigh less, I even took my troops to church. During a particular service I asked the Albino Hulk in my lap if he had any questions about what was being done and his immediate reply was ‘yes, when is this over?’. Even my dad mentally covered Jesus’ ears so not to offend him while he laughed at his grandson’s reaction and aversion to being forced to sit quiet for sixty minutes. Sixty whole minutes!!! I don’t know what it is-maybe my ears are out of tune too but listening to the congregation sing throughout the masses I attended felt like a slow heavy train slogging uphill. There’s just no spunk or energy. Even the seniors sound like they’re tired of singing the same songs full of repentance and unworthiness to stand in God’s presence. Or….perhaps maybe it’s just me and my ‘Catholic-light’ ways. After all, though I am still a believer, going to church regularly and starched sheets are two items that were on that mental list of mine and hence maybe I just perceived the singing to be blasé. But, never say never-I do admit if I ever decide to upgrade the list, I will sooner start attending mass again than buy starch for slumbering purposes.
The Albino Hulk and Little Miss Stubborn had been seeing their cousins daily which had been wonderful on all accounts. My sister and her clan also stayed at my mom and dad’s because they were in the midst of moving to their new house. Having the nine of us under one roof proved to be akin to a loud and temperamental episode of Little House on the Prairie at times (if one such exists), but for the most part it was great. It allowed me to catch up with my sister and brother-in-law and my nephews, but the biggest gift of this arrangement was the reaffirmation that I am about as interested and in need of expanding the family as I am in need of getting implants.
I have openly shifted my mind on this topic of becoming a mom for a third time countless and countless times, but lately, I have been so content with hanging up my fallopian tubes (as I expressed in a post on my other blog a little while back), and moving forward. I think I am just floored by how much attention and work the kids require at this age, and my energy is not sufficient anymore to deliver on both ends to a new born and the older two. I’m not complaining by the work my clan expects of me-even on those days where my patience is lacking, I’m having such a good time doing so many things with the kiddos and Lumberg that I don’t know how I would fit in a third child easily into our routine. Don’t get me wrong-I still ooze and melt over the sight and smell of little babies, and I love spending time with little people and watching them learn. Proudly, I taught my nephew how to say ‘Nein!’ for ‘no’, (because I think I am one of the few people in the world who thinks German is such a cool language), and also ‘Basta!’, which is italian for ‘enough!’. But, I just don’t know how all these moms of many kids do it-am I selfish to enjoy some of the time designated just for me, now that my kids are getting older and hence, don’t need me at every second? This is the guilt I waltz and wrestle with all the time. When I see family portraits with three, or four, or five kids, I’m always scanning for the flask of alcohol that is surely hidden somewhere in the photo. Like Waldo, it’s gotta be there, you just have to look hard enough.
However, I am not a fool and realize that this opinion and desire could change at any given time during the month. But generally, I am sticking to just the four of us, despite the fact that I go on emotional roller coasters with this topic and always take Lumberg through my loops of insanity. I look forward to travels, taking part in the kids’ school, starting my Master’s in the fall, and just generally doing fun stuff with my family. For starters, I signed myself up for inline skating lessons with the kids in Hyde Park because these are precisely the type of things I want to do. The kids want to learn and I figure I may as well learn with them because I’m not a spring chicken anymore and most types of athletics in my younger years were shrouded and encased by layers of insecurity and lack of confidence in my athletic ability. Alas, I never learned before because I was too ‘cool’ to look foolish. These days I still care of course, but I just care less and laugh at myself from way back then-I was the girl who would scream and look around from sheer excitement when I caught the football from across the field in gym class. I was supposed to run to the other side of the field to avoid being tackled and score a touchdown, but I was too caught up in my moment of actually catching a sport prop because I caught it on the first attempt and hence I needed that moment to relish in my athletic milestone. When it comes to sports, I’m that woman in the Oprah studio audience when she learns everyone has a blender, a bucket of bees, a plane ride, a highlighter, a stuffed dinosaur, and a set of Ginzu knives all under each of their seats-I screamed and jumped like a bunny in an Easter pageant from excitement due to my ‘textbook catch’ that I forgot the other point of the game and didn’t run. Hence, the teacher blew the whistle and in front of everyone, reminded me what I should have been doing instead.
I was also the girl who yelled ‘MINE!’ during a volley ball game in gym in grade 10 hoping to bump the ball over the net to the opposing team. While the handsome gym assistant who was a student a few grades higher watched the game, he witnessed me bump the ball indeed, but instead of over the net, it bounced back into my face, impacting my nose and sending my glasses to the floor. As they crashed on the gym hardwood floor, I heard the teacher blow the whistle again so that I could compose myself. Don’t even get my started on how I rocked the gym strip uniform too, (and here I wondered why said handsome gym assistant wasn’t interested).
It is because I’m not athletic that I took this class with the kids and also because the last time I attempted skating, I introduced myself to a my dear friend Kasia’s parked car. As a souvenir, I left two two dents on her trunk from where my hands made initial contact. I didn’t snap my arms, but I sure gave Kasia a good laugh, as well as anyone else who just happened to be looking out their window into the street. So today, we had a private session booked in the very busy and public Hyde park, but the kids had a great time laughing at me and learning to master their own skills. I sure as hell wouldn’t do this with an occupied uterus and hence would miss out on some fun with my troops.
Holy shit, I really do babble and divert into conversational tangents. Moral of the story is, momma is buying elbow and knee pads and not breast feeding pads these days. (Cue the theme song from the Muppets here. Mna! Mna!)
Being back in London now, the gift of jet lag allows me to sit and type and it is lovely. The streets outside are quiet and it is cool and crisp in the evening. As much as I miss Milan and ache for most of what it offered, I still don’t care for it’s gentle temperature gradient in the summer and how the day time high and night time low differed by just a few minuscule degrees. London goes from the mid 20’s in the day to the low teens in the evening and to me, that is bliss. Walking around in London again has been wonderful and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling which provides a good sturdy band-aid over the cut that is always inflicted in the first few days after saying bye to family and good friends in Calgary. There’s always this void from hugs, tears, and salutations which takes me a little bit of time to organize and shelve, but after a few days I feel composed. But, the sweet side of leaving Calgary is being reunited with Lumberg here in London who has spent most of the summer alone, allowing us to play on the other side of the Atlantic. Coming home is always great-besides many other perks, beautiful flowers greeted me at home in my kitchen from Lumberg, AND as an extra bonus, my orchid survived the summer without me. Despite Lumberg’s lack of attention to it and indirect attempts to kill it, it has blossomed once again. Because of its perseverance, my orchid is now called Rasputin.
Strolling the streets I always ponder how London must have been back years ago and I try to imagine how it must have looked, sounded, and smelled in comparison to today. I’ve enjoyed reading the history of this grand city because as dark or remarkable as it is, it is all truly interesting and a deluge of the most amazing facts. As I tried to navigate on eight little wheels today in Hyde Park, I was cognizant that within its soil, it holds the footprints and blood of crowds that amassed to witness executions near by. As it has for the last couple hundred of years, Speaker’s Corner today allows anyone to divulge their mind on whatever topic they choose. Crowds amass there every Sunday to listen to people talk and debate, however hundreds of years ago, thousands congregated in the same spot (back then known as Tyburn) to watch those convicted of thievery, treason, murder, or affair be hung, beheaded or burned at the stake. Those facing their last steps were granted a final free drink at a local pub (which is still open today-The Mason’s Arms in Seymour Place), and allegedly, this is where the phrase ‘one for the road’ comes from. These streets hold so much remarkable history and I enjoy trying to toggle a mental image of what they might have looked like centuries ago with what I see today. (Chances are that of late, as I wander around alone, my soundtrack of choice will be from Paolo Nutini and hence I borrowed his track for the title of this entry. His lusty and mature voice could sing to me all day.)
And wander heaps I do. One does not need a car in this city as the transit system is remarkable and efficient. Through our bi-pedal explorations, we have discovered the Red Lion Pub to be an excellent venue to sneak into the washrooms with the little ones. There’s a simple and easy way to access the loos from the entrance, where you won’t have to cajole with the staff to let them let your minions pee and the washrooms there are most definitely cleaner and more pleasant than any tube facilities. It’s located right in Westminster by Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, and there’s also a good chance the smell of the food will convince you to stay. Likewise, John Lewis in Sloane Square will let you and your kids pee in style on the top floor of the department store. Also on the top floor, you can treat yourself to scones with clotted cream, and tea. Amen.
To make sure you look sensational as you wander the streets, click on My Bella Lou to decorate your feet in a plethora of colours and styles. I went to their shoe launch back in May and promised Lumberg I would buy one pair of shoes only, but instead I came home with three. (This reminds me of the time years ago I came home with two kittens, after I promised Lumberg I would come home with none. Sometimes, I don’t know why he tolerates me). Anyways, their shoes are hand-made in Italy and they’re so comfortable. I have problematic feet but with these Bella Lou’s, I didn’t get a single blister. If that’s not a pedal-related victory, I don’t know what is. And, chances are, I won’t be trading in my bella-lous for inline skates any time soon to get around town, so I foresee more pairs in my future.
Ocado is a fantastic grocery store that I ‘shop’ from online now, from the comfort of my own couch. I truly believe moms from the early part of the 20th century should have all had access to a washing machine, a dishwasher, and online grocery shopping. Ocado is great at keeping you informed about your order, whether it is late in delivery, if something is missing from your order, or if alternative suggestions for your items can be provided. I plan on using it weekly and you should too.
Lastly from the online world, you need to get your hands on this particular book that I stumbled upon. A group of dads and an uncle came up with this brilliant idea for a book that is guaranteed to make each of your kiddos/nieces/nephews/grandchildren feel warm and fuzzy at bed time. It is a personalized book of a story of a little boy or girl that has lost her/his name and goes on a journey to search for it. At the end of the book on the very last page, he/she finds their name and of course, it is the name of your child. The Albino Hulk and Little Miss Stubborn were so excited to see their name in print and I can’t tell you how many times we have read it since-it’s like an emotional emollient for the little ones. Just google ‘Lost my name’, and create your own little piece of magic.
My glass of wine is finished, the clock has struck midnight, and my work here is done, (as is August, almost!) I’m off to the motherland next week with my minions and then, for us, summer is officially over. I really don’t know why I am heading to Poland because Polish can be heard literally everywhere on these streets that I am oh so falling in love with.