I get by with a little help from my friends

Last week I was having one of those days.  You know the ones.  Nothing was catastrophically wrong, but the little things were adding up.  Our weekly babysitter/tutor cancelled last minute.  Again.  I had a lead on a replacement, but she flaked out after being very promising.  We started getting hassled about our parking situation, which was doubly frustrating because I thought it was taken care of.  We had to get ready for the rest of our stuff to arrive.  I felt like I should be planning something to take advantage of the long weekend.  So, you see, nothing major.  Nothing un-handle-able.  But the combo was bringing me down.  And this was even before I found out that the battery on our car was dead.

The boys and I were at the playground, providing sustenance for what felt like a battalion of mosquitoes.  I started playing the “how can I lure Henry inside” game in my head.  See, to motivate him, you generally need to have a more attractive option to offer.  “Go outside” is pretty high up the ladder.  The only things more motivating are really food and TV.  But food doesn’t always work and TV is generally more hassle than it is worth getting him to stop.

So I’m out of sorts and gearing myself up for a negotiation with a two-year-old.  I surprised myself and decided we should visit one of our neighbors.  A very nice lady with two girls, one of whom would be at school.  She had mentioned a few times that we should drop by whenever.  I hated to show up unannounced, but she offered, right?

She welcomed us in with open arms.  She sympathized with understanding about babysitters and parking.  She made delicious frappuccinos, which was the official end of my whole30 reset.  Henry had a blast with his pal and her new toys.  We were only there about an hour, but I felt like I could breathe again.

While we were upstairs visiting, I got a text from another neighbor asking about lunch or coffee.  She came over while the kids were napping and we had a fine time chatting on the balcony.

This was the day of the playgroup another neighbor and I started.  So that afternoon I got to hang out with three other moms.

The next day, I got two separate recommendations for other babysitters from my gang.

And once we realized that the car was dead, crushing my nonexistent travel plans, other neighbors hooked up our battery to their fancy charging machine overnight, allowing us to go on our first day trip by car.  (Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli.  More on this soon.)

We haven’t even been here two months, but we’ve really met some wonderful people.  On this no-good-very-bad-day, I was grateful for my network and humbled that I even have a network at all.  It also reminds me to work on being a better friend.  We don’t really have the cool toys or the good snacks here, but I need to keep reaching out and being supportive in my own way.


They have how many what now?

Strides have been made on the Italian learning front.  Longer strides for James.  He did a week-long, three hours/day Italian survival class.  I would have too, but you know, kids.  I’m pretty impressed with him.  He was in the more advanced group and their teacher, a 4’10” fantastic dresser from Naples, does everything in Italian.  He’s been holding his own and then some.  Apparently after he was a little tired one day, his classmates told him to get his act together for the next day.  Because who else who hassle the teacher about all the grammar rules that don’t make sense?

On the home front, we had our first meeting with our Italian tutor this week.  The plan is for her to come once a week at 2000, then watch the already sleeping kids so we can date night.  I really want conversation practice.  I need someone to force me out from behind my books and duolingo lessons and make me say something–anything–in Italian.  Our first session was pretty light on this, but I have hope for the future.

And I definitely enjoyed the date night part of the evening.  James and I hopped in a cab and walked all around downtown.  And maybe ate a little gelato.  I was enjoying it too much to take pictures, but we went from the Pantheon, through Campo de’ Fiori, and over to the Campidoglio.  It was beautiful.  Hard to describe, but it really looked like a movie set.  Gleaming cobblestones, beautiful people bursting out of sidewalk cafes and restaurants.

Ooo . . . look . . . a blurry picture of me with a cat

Ooo . . . look . . . a blurry picture of me with a cat

But back to the Italian.  Our tutor emphasized that you must pause between double consonants.  This means “oggi” (today) is really og-gi.  She noted that lack of the pause will change the meaning of a word.  It reminds me of SNL’s Nuni and Noonie sketches.

James also discovered this during his class.  During an interview your neighbor and share exercise, James told the group that his partner has 36 anni (years).  The teacher immediately stopped him to explain anni.  I’m having trouble picturing how this was done in Italian, but she said “it’s not good” and there was some hand gesturing.  Turns out, anni is the plural of anus.  If you want years, you really need to say ahn-nee.

I cracked up pretty hard.  And then I thought, “Holy tootknockers, do you know the number of people that I’ve told that my son has two anuses???”