Another day in the life

Last year, I told you about a typical day around these parts.  Since then, Henry is doing a few hours a week at Italian day care which we are treating as preschool.  Here’s our new usual routine on a school day.  You know, until it all changes again in 2.2 seconds.

4:50 Mac is awake.  I give him a few minutes to settle down.  No luck.  I go to feed him.
6:56 James’s alarm goes off.  I pull the covers over my head.  Why am I so tired?  Is it really just Monday?
7:30 – 8:05 Shower, get dressed, makeup.  Say goodbye to James.
8:05 – 8:15 Wake up Mac to feed him.  Normally, I’d let him sleep, but we already run behind enough as is on school days.
8:15 – 8:25 Head into Henry’s room.  New diapers for the boys.  Get everyone dressed.
8:25 – 8:35 Into the kitchen for breakfast.  Normally we have eggs plus fruit, avocado, or sweet potato.  But we only have one egg left so it is oatmeal with apples and cinnamon.  I work on the oatmeal and fill watered down juice cups.
8:35 – 8:55 We eat.  For someone who loves all food, Mac is being pretty picky about the oatmeal.  Henry is showing off and taking big bites.  I talk about school and how much fun it will be to try to get Henry pumped up.
8:55 – 9:00 Clean that kitchen.
9:00 – 9:20 A dreaded part of my day: getting us out the door for school.  Thankfully, Henry is feeling cooperative today.  At 9:20, we have new diapers, coats, and are locked and loaded in the stroller.

3.25_day 6

Temporarily waylaid after I snap a pic and Henry wants to take a picture of his brother.

3.25_day 5

9:20 – 9:32 We walk to school.  These posts are good for me too because they force me to face reality that, yes, it does take longer than 5 minutes to get places.
9:32 – 9:40 Unload the kids, walk Henry into school, and remove his coat and shoes.  Henry is being Clingy McClingerson today.  His teacher, Valentina, has to actually peel him off me in the end.  No screams; he’s just being a little timid.
9:40 – 9:52 Mac and I are on the town!  After I reload him, we walk to a playground at Villa Ada.
9:52 – 10:27 I give Mac a chance to stretch his legs.  We do some time on the swings, but mostly I just help him pull up AKA his most favorite thing ever.  I also try to keep him from eating rocks, another favorite pursuit of his.
10:27 – 10:50 I recline Mac in the stroller and provide a pacifier to encourage napping.  We walk to the market, and sure enough, Mac closes his eyes right before we get there.
10:50 – 11:05 I visit my new bestie, AKA the egg lady.  Picture giant eggs with Auburn Tiger colored yolks.  Delish.  Once you go egg lady, you can’t go back, they say round these parts.  (20 eggs/6 euro)

Guess which one is the supermarket egg

Guess which one is the supermarket egg

We also visit our produce stall.  We picked this one because they have sweet potatoes, and now I’m working on becoming a regular.  After learning I’m from DC, Duder (I’ll get his name soon) introduces me to another customer who he says is from LA.  (Turns out to be San Francisco.)  But I love everything about this; I’m slowly starting to feel like a regular.

3.25_day 3

I was going to work up the courage to visit the fishmonger (almost all the fish are whole and will involve an interesting display of broken Italian and hand gestures on my part to make them manageable), but no fish on Mondays apparently.  This makes sense because fishermen are probably not out on Sundays.

3.25_day 2

11:05 – 11:35 Mac is still asleep.  I decide to enjoy the sunny weather and just walk around for a bit.  I turn down a few new streets because why not.

3.25_day 4

11:35 – 11:42 Back to school for Henry.  The kids are running around in the play area outside.  This is awesome (1) because Henry looks longingly at all the toys outside every time I coax him inside so I’m glad he got to experience it and (2) he is ALREADY wearing his coat and shoes.  SCORE.
11:42 – 11:54 We walk back home.  It still takes longer than 5 minutes.
11:54 – 11:56 We circle the building because Henry wants to see our car.
11:56 – 12:06 Unloading, de-coating, re-diapering.
12:06 – 12:30 We play.  I keep expecting Henry to ask to watch TV, but he only asks for potato chips.  I can work with that.
12:30 – 1:00 Lunch time!  Henry has yogurt, clementines, and potato chips.  Mac and I have leftovers and clementines.  I try to ask Henry about his time at school.  After spending so much time together, it intrigues me that he now has stuff of his own.  Because he is an unreliable narrator, I don’t even know what some of this stuff is.  Maybe they played with legos or maybe they went to the moon.  Who knows?
1:00 – 1:15 Prep for nap.  Story time.  Henry down.
1:15 – 1:20 Feed Mac.  Mac down.
1:20 – 1:25 Start a load of laundry.  Make popcorn.  Pull some stock out of the freezer for dinner.
1:25 – 1:40 Browse the internets while munching on popcorn and the last of the truffle pecorino from our trip to Pienza that I still need to tell you guys about.
1:40 – 2:45 Get my blog on.  Some combination of writing, photo editing, and link linking.  And Publish!
 2:45 – 2:55 Look up some recipe ideas for dinner.  Glance at a few other websites.
 2:55 – 2:56  Henry is awake and screaming.  They shorted me!  I know it is only a few minutes, but it feels significant.  Henry cannot be persuaded to stop screaming.  Now Mac is also screaming.  Coincidence . . . I think not.
 2:56 – 3:05  Screaming.
 3:05 – 4:00  Everyone is rediapered and has ceased screaming.  We play in the living room.
 4:00 – 4:05 And I have reached capacity.  I offer Mac a top up.  (Mac never refuses a top up.)  I announce that we are heading to the park.
 4:05 – 4:20 Shoes, coats, check diapers.  Finally they are loaded in the stroller with snack packs for their munching pleasure.
 4:20 – 4:40 We walk to Villa Borghese.  On the way, we run into one of James’s coworkers.  His family is out of town, and I extend a dinner invitation.
 4:40 – 5:25 We play in the park.  Henry runs around like a maniac.  I try to persuade Mac NOT to eat the rocks.

Someone seemed to be filming a very Rebecca Black style video here today

Someone seemed to be filming a very Rebecca Black style video here today

 5:25 – 6:00 We walk home.  De-coat.  Rediaper.  De-shoe.
 6:00 – 6:36 James gets home.  We debrief, and I head in to cook dinner.  I abandon whatever my plan for the chicken stock was and make chili.
6:36 – 7:30 James’s coworker arrives.  We sit to enjoy the cheesy chili goodness.
7:30 – 8:00 Prep the kids for bed.  Toothbrushing.  Diapers.  PJs.  Storytime.  I go put Mac down while James finishes up with Henry.
8:00 – 8:25 While James cleans the kitchen, I dork around on my phone.  I eventually abandon facebook and go in and talk to James.
 8:25 – 8:45 I’m beat.  I get ready for bed.
8:45 – 10:06  In bed reading.  I’m currently reading Book 2 of the Outlander series.  I was warned this would be addictive and it is.  The first book felt a little bodice-rippy, but I think it was just where the characters were then.  The writing is good, the story hums along, and it makes me want to plan a trip to Scotland immediately.

So that’s our new school day routine.  Henry goes three days a week, except when he doesn’t.  Like if it is raining.  Or we just don’t feel like it.  More on school soon.

Two hours feels incredibly short, but I try to have some dolce vita moments with Mac while Henry is at school.  We go on walks.  We hit markets.  We explore.  We’ve even gone to get cappuccino with James.  Good times.

Another reason I need to learn Italian

Besides needing to stop trying to shoplift produce and to stop talking about multiple anuses, I have another reason to learn Italian.  I have a very beautiful child.  This isn’t just biased mom speak here, although I certainly am that.  I know that he is beautiful because the Italians keep telling me.

Irresistible to Italians since 2014

Irresistible to Italians since 2014

Typical scenario:  picture me huffing away pushing the double stroller.  Usually elderly Italian walks up and coos at the kids.  Sometimes they just flip me a “Complimenti” and walk on.  Other times they want more of a chat.  I just smile and nod while my brain is going a hundred miles per hour to try to keep up.  I once told the little old lady “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Italian.”  She nodded and just kept talking.  In Italian.  I usually try to throw in a few “Henry, say ciao” or similar to hopefully signify that I do not speak the Italian and I am not purposely trying to anger everyone here over the age of 60.

Enjoying said free sucker

People give Henry things.  Our first time in a restaurant, the waiter rolls up with a ball of dough on a plate and sets it in front of Henry.  And then sat back just to watch what happened.  (Henry licked it and then set it down.)  We walked past a flower stall and the man pulled out a rose for Henry.  He got a free sucker at the panini place.  The kid is racking up freebies.

Henry currently draws more attention, but Mac also has a devoted following.  He had a pretty resounding cheek squishing at the pizza place and then the lady stalked him down the street for additional squishing when we paused to chat with a neighbor.  I can’t really blame her.

You can't resist the squish

You can’t resist the squish

A surprising number of people have asked if they are twins.  Mac is big, but not that big . . .

Adorable?  Who, us?

Adorable? Who, us?

So here is my blanket apology to all the Italians I am not properly responding to as you compliment my children.  Learn Italian.  I’m on it.  In the meantime, I am flattered, and I hope my smile and heartfelt “grazie” do the trick.

 

Coloring outside the lines: can it be taught?

I recently finished Rules of Civility.  Set in NYC in 1938, the main character is a spunky gal making it on her own.  I’d recommend the book for many reasons, but the protagonist particularly impressed me when she went after a job in a nontraditional fashion.  Instead of brushing up on her cover letter, she stalked her hopeful boss at his lunch spot, pretended to be meeting someone else, and then dropped a novel of mutual interest on his table.  I’ll let you read whether the gambit works.

Granted, this is fiction.  But these things do happen in real life.  Take this guy: post WWII he borrows money to buy a new car, drives it halfway across the country for a business meeting, parks it strategically, is all like “oh, you like this car,” and gives the car to secure the distributor contract.

I would not do these things.  It isn’t just that I wouldn’t do it; it would never even occur to me to do them.  Take Martine Rothblatt as another example.  There are about a billion examples in this (lengthy) article, but it would never occur to me to start my own religion.  That just seems out of the bounds of things that one can do.  (I guess I am not honoring my Lutheran heritage by thinking that way.)

Or Bill Murray as another one.  Running up to people on the street to warn them about a lobster on the loose just isn’t something you can do.  Right?  (I know, I know, tell that to Billy Eichner.)

The Confidence Code, another recent read, talks about how women are generally great at school because they are good at following the rules; however, rule following may not serve you well in the real world.  The book also mentions that women tend to ruminate about things more, where a guy could just shrug it off and try again.

My confidence is a little on the low side right now.  Some of it is from navigating a country with a foreign language and different customs.  Some of it is from learning how to juggle two kids in public.

I’ve decided to work on this.  I’m thinking about a series of “confidence challenges.”  Baby steps.  Things like purchasing produce at the outdoor market, getting a cappuccino with the kids, taking the kids on public transit, and actually going to the weekly playgroup across the park.  Besides making myself do more, I’m also going to try not to beat myself up about them.  If an Italian occasionally thinks I’m a clueless foreigner, this really should not be a big deal.

This morning at the grocery store, I transacted with the seafood guy.   A first.  Baby steps.  And you never know, by next year I could be approaching random Italians at Villa Borghese to warn them about runaway lobsters.

 

 

confidence code

street market