Monday, November 26, 2012

Nyquil wrote our weekend's script

Ugh - I wonder if I should have had a flu shot?!  Last year I had a flu shot for, I think, the first time ever - and I got one of the worst colds I'd ever had that I vowed not to have the shot again.  These past couple of weeks we have all been under the weather, with the boys being off a few days last week and then not shaking it into the weekend, just in time for me to start having sniffles.  On Friday night, Noah had one of those nights that reminded me of when they were really little and would wake in the night and be unconsolable - we weren't sure if Friday was due to teething, a sinus problem or an earache, or just generally being miserable and unable to sleep.  With the way he would arch his back and roar, though, I felt as if we were sleeping with a very young, and not so green, version of the Incredible Hulk.  He seemed to not remember it the following morning, though, and couldn't really say what had been bothering him. I think it was probably sinus pain or teething.

Today I had an idea for a new app for the iPad: "Grandparent Control", where a grandparent could monitor from a distance how long his/her grandchild had been watching the iPad and shut the iPad down remotely once an acceptable limit had been exceeded (you can make your own conclusions about why I'd had the idea!). But, I felt fortunate that we didn't have any plans this weekend, meaning that sitting at home nursing our colds seemed like an ok use of our time. 

Today Blake and Matt managed to get to the park, while Noah and I hung out and he got a bit of toast in bed.  I then decided that I was up for a trip to the library since I'm suffering from a lack of reading material, and Blake and I headed off to the Clapham library, where we managed to have a nice time reading and then wrapping up our trip at Starbucks.  He is pretty into his reading, and I am quickly catching on to the world of phonics!  The book he loved discovering today, though, was Where's Wally? (I think the British version must be Wally instead of Waldo) and we spent so much time searching out the characters in the scenes.

All in all, I hope everyone feels a bit better tomorrow and that we can have a normal or close-to-normal week.  What do you do when you or your family is sick to pass the time?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election time

It seems there is only one thing that will keep me up through the night and my 5 hour difference to primetime...and that's the UNC Tarheels playing in March Madness.  I think I'm going to turn in before getting sucked into the election results.

I did vote today, and here's a picture of my polling station:

I hope they got my email at Boston City Hall!

By all accounts, this will be one of the closest elections ever, and if I close my eyes I can almost remember being in the Back Bay apartment I shared with Cindy in 2000 when we woke up to find that there hadn't been a winner declared, and so began the year that the election was won by a guy named Chad, if I remember correctly.  I do feel sorry for all the people in NY and NJ who are having to deal with voting amidst trying to figure out staying warm, finding shelter, and repairing the damage of Sandy.

It also seems from afar that surely the US needs to look at the whole electoral college process; the thought of splitting the popular vote and the electoral college vote seems crazy to me.

I found, in the closet in Blake and Noah's room this weekend, a little navy blue Democrat onesie that Blake wore during election season in 2008. I thought I'd done a post that had some pictures of him in it, but I can't seem to find it.  It's 18 month size, so too small for Noah to squeeze into.

As for us, and the way we celebrate the beginning of November here, we headed off last night to the fireworks display at nearby Crystal Palace park.  Blake loved them, but Noah was not so keen - it is a bit loud and scary for that age, but I still think he kind of liked him.  "Too loud" with a scrunched up face, was how he reported the experience to his nursery teachers today.  I'm sure next year he'll love them...

Some things just don't make sense

It's been hard not to focus on the news out of the US this past week, primarily on Superstorm Sandy and its devastation, but also the news of the last-minute stages of the election, and something else that happened in New York City a few days before Sandy wreaked havoc there for many.

Sandy's aftermath will have no doubt bumped the story deeper into the back pages, but for me this story has been something of a minor obsession.  It's the horrible tragedy of the nanny who allegedly murdered two young children in her care before attempting to take her own life.  I read about it on someone's Facebook page and since then, I can't seem to get it out of my mind.  Perhaps it's the age of the little boy and imagining all the joy he was bringing to the family every day, or the 6-year-old girl who was no doubt a loving older sister to her younger brother and sister, and the fact that they were just so beautiful and happy looking, with so much more living to do.  Maybe it's trying to understand what in the world would possess someone to bring such harm to such innocents, and constantly struggling with the fact that nobody saw  - or did anything about - the signs that the nanny would snap with such horrifying consequences. It could be that it's more compelling to me because the mother kept a blog about the lives of the kids, and if there's one thing I can say about blogging as a mother, it's that it requires commitment but brings joy.  The mother in this case - the father, as well, and the surviving 3-year-old sister, and grandparents - they do not deserve the pain that they must be going through.  It's just so so awful.

In many ways, it's a story I wish I'd never heard about, and without the Internet, I might not have.  In that sense there's a subplot about the spread of news and how we are going to be faced with more and more stories of things that are really not very close to home, but somehow become just that through a social media that is nonstop and pervasive in our lives.  It also exposed the sad side of free commentary, with online news stories showing posts and comments by people who were so quick to judge: about the choice of using a nanny, on the social class of the family, on immigration to the US, and so many other things that to me did not seem relevant.  What was relevant to me was that an unspeakable and horrible tragedy had taken the lives of two children, and effectively ended the life of their murderer.  Whether the family has money or not is completely beside the point: they have lost two of their most precious assets, and they can't be replaced.  And nobody should have to go through a pain like that - I just wonder how they will recover?  I read one editorial about the idea of "trust", and when we do it (all the time, really), and how this case has shaken so many people who entrust their children to the care of others.  But for many people, what choices do we have?

I only hope that somehow, some day, the family will find peace and will be able to overcome what is no doubt the most heartbreaking, unbelievable, and darkest situation they have ever been faced with.  In the past week I've hugged Blake and Noah so much more than usual, and been much more patient and in-the-moment with them.  Every day is such a gift, and they're going to be grown up so quickly, so for now I just want to hold them tightly and make sure they know I love them.  My thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered such an immense loss.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Blake has been looking forward to Halloween so much; me - not so much!  It seemed to take him forever to decide what he wanted to go as, ruling out all the pre-made costumes that we already own (pirate, knight, Batman, Spiderman) and instead finally opting for something that was really scary - a vampire!  On Monday we went down to Brixton and picked up some red and black fabric, so that I could make a cape for him.  Are you wondering how I found time to learn how to sew since the last Christmas pageant?  Um, yeah...of course, no, I still don't know how to sew, but of course, I need to buy the fabric so that I can think that I actually do know how, or that I can just really quickly learn.  Because really, nothing is impossible, right?

I do firmly believe that nothing is impossible, although I am willing to acknowledge that certain things are most definitely impractical, or illogical.  The creation of a vampire cape would certainly be classified correctly as either of those two things, in fact, probably both of them.  At any rate, we got the fabric on Monday, but it wasn't until today that I started to imagine how I would actually fashion into some sort of cape-like creation that actually stayed around Blake's neck.  Fortunately, my office is in the heart of the import/export textile world of Petticoat Lane Market in the East End of London, so of course I just assumed I could quickly pop into one of these shops before work and either kindly ask them to just cut me a pattern, and oh, maybe they could just actually sew it for me.  And yes, please, a button or snap at the neck would be lovely, thank you!

It was moments like this morning where I definitely will acknowledge that my realm of possibilities most definitely simply exceed what is reality.  The first shop I went into had hundreds of rolls of fabric; did they sew there, I asked?  No, not here.  Ok, do you know of anywhere around here?  Maybe try the shop that is supposedly around the corner but whose name I could not understand, and anyway, there is definitely not a shop here that fits the bill.  I could have bought 10,000 digital watches and 20 boxes of lighters, but there was no tailor in sight.  Oh but look, there is a tailor shop!  Do they sell velcro (because at this point, that's what I was in search of).  No, try the shop on Brick Lane...they might have it.  Does that shop have a name [Brick Lane is kind of long, you see].  Yeah, the name is "Trimming Shop" [or at least, that's what I heard].  Trotted over to Brick Lane and managed to find a shop called Z. Butt Textiles which had a variety of tools and sewing devices which looked really handy, if you know how to sew that is.  I was thrilled they had velcro - hooray!  Did I want the sew-on style or the stick-on style.  I debated a millisecond: stick-on style...yes, please!  One roll was £2.00.  I had about £1.32 on me and it didn't seem like the type of place that took cards.  Quick run to the local cash point and then back, where I decided to splurge for 3 rolls of the stick-on velcro (just in case of botched attempts).  What a result.  Then, the plan was to actually do something about the creation of the cape during my lunch hour, which actually never materialized, but nevermind because quickly it was the end of the day and I had to rush off for a dentist appointment in Herne Hill before rushing home to prep the boys for the exciting trick-or-treating in the neighborhood.  We probably went to about 10 houses total - I'm quite happy to keep it small for the moment.

I managed to construct the cape with the velcro (vowing once again to buy a little sewing machine and teach myself to do at least a simple straight stitch) and it actually looked cute.  Blake was mostly interested in the fake blood that we'd bought, and I'd never managed to find any fake teeth so I drew on some fangs.  He was happy.  Noah was a pirate and Matt quickly drew him an eye patch, and we were ready to roll.  I was totally flustered having never even taken off my coat from when I arrived home to when we went out again, but nevermind.  We had a good time, and hearing Noah say, "Ahoy, maties," and Blake replaying my punny line when he got candy ("Fang you very much!") was enough to keep a smile on my face.  The crazy things I do in the sake of creativity, perseverance and disorganization!

Now, I wonder if I will have to make any nativity costumes this year....

Mr Adorable

Noah's hair was looking so shaggy so we made a trip to the salon yesterday. He seemed so grown up without his babyish sweet curls...