Monday, July 25, 2011

the beef, my lord, the beef

We're in our final few days of the crazy spanish immersion trip, flying home on Wednesday night, arriving Thursday at 11:30am. This means that on my 33rd birthday, I'll be spending more than half of it flying around the world with two children under 5. Hold me.

I'm conflicted about returning. On the one hand, I walk down the wide avenues and look up at blue skies and eat another delicious meal and speak my favorite language with my favorite accent. I have multiple emotional moments a day of seeing my children exploring and learning in this place that was so vital to my childhood, so crucial a part of who I am today. ON THE OTHER HAND, I am having daily headaches that I strongly suspect are due to the tension of living in a small apartment with neighbors in close proximity. The kids won't stop running and stomping and screaming. The downstairs neighbor is an opera singing tutor during the day, and then blasts rock or jazz at midnight. The upstairs neighbor woke me up at 4:30am last night with what I can only assume was very loud sex for 45 FREAKING MINUTES. Who has sex at 4:30 in the morning? I've become adept at managing 2 kids, one stroller, bags and jackets on broken sidewalks, buses, subways and taxis. Adept, sure, but still exhausted. And last, but not least, since 3 days after we landed, the children have been a revolving door of germs and illnesses. The kids and I have all had fevers and coughs and sleepless nights. I'm ready to go back to North America where flu season is not in full swing.

So, as I said, conflicted.

I'm excited to see Josh, and ready to enjoy the rest of the summer and my last month before they both go to school! Did I tell you Josie is starting preschool? I'm devastated, but I am 1000% sure she is ready and will love it.

Thoughts on summer activities for the kids and I? I'm thinking weekly themes like oceans and animals and then trips to the aquarium and zoo and books from the library. Ideas? I need to fill 5-6 weeks of summer, and if it goes well, perhaps we'll continue in the fall!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

apartment living

Those of you who live or have lived in an apartment with children, I salute you. And I also ask, how the fuck do you do it?

Monday, July 18, 2011

happy days

I'm so happy to hear that you all haven't ditched me, despite the long absence! Thrilled to be back.

We're still in Buenos Aires and things are still going swimmingly over here. Weather has been lovely, the kids are loving school, and miracles of miracles, they have actually started to speak some Spanish! Halting, broken, incorrect Spanglishy Spanish, but whatever, I'll take what I can get. Poor Josie has been putting together particularly mixed up sentences like, "I need to limpiar the mesa," or "donde is my conejo?" Baby steps, you know? Gabe has been learning by astonishing leaps and bounds. A few days ago, he was having a hard time of things. He was tired, and cranky, and not saying a word in Spanish, and asking to go home. And then all of a sudden, he picked up a coloring book and said, "quiero colorear esto," and I almost fell over. Since then, he's thrown out several phrases or short sentences throughout the day, and he is clearly understanding 99% of what people are saying to him. I'm amazed, honestly.

Amazed, and feeling a tremendous pressure to lock in the Spanish in the 10 days we have left. I know that sounds crazy, but there it is. I'm so nervous about slacking off when we get back and everyone is speaking English and the kids go to school. Maybe you all could contribute to my accountability? Yell at me periodically. I would appreciate that.

Besides that, we just finished up an amazing visit with Josh for 16 glorious days. 16 days! Of no work, and no work calls, no housework, no laundry (because there isn't a washing machine in the house), and the kids in preschool all morning. We kept pinching each other to see if we were dreaming as we walked the busy avenues and stopped for coffee and ate treats and took the kids to parks and enjoyed the tremendous weather (71 degrees in winter!). It was one of the best vacations we've taken in a long time, certainly since before we had the kids.

Now I'm feeling sad that Josh is gone, and not just because he washed the dishes every day, although there's that too. We've been planning this for so long and now we're nearing the end and it feels surreal. I can admit, though, I'll be happy to see my home and all my things and back to separate bedrooms for the kids!

If I'm being perfectly honest, there is one difficult part of this trip, and that's the sleeping. The kids are sleeping, but I am decidedly NOT. We're in a rental, obviously, and I can't shake this idea that tons of people could have copies of the key. Tie that in with a busy apartment building and echoing hallways and doors opening and closing in the elevator all night long, and it makes for sleepless nights for me. Plus, the kids have lucked into a series of colds and fevers, so we're up a lot at night. Sigh. I'll have time to sleep when I'm dead, right? Or maybe when they leave for college.

Other than that, we're good. I'm eating my body weight in dulce de leche per day and loving city life. Quite a change from our sleepy suburb. I can confirm that this is a great place to visit with kids. Very kid friendly!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

I know.

No, really.

I know.

I don't even have a good excuse beyond the fact that sometimes I think this might be our theme song. You know, minus the "jack in a local bar" and "the unemployment line". Geez, that sounds melodramatic when it shouldn't. Life- just regular old 2 kids 4 and under, husband who works all the time, struggling to be a good mother and partner- has been challenging. Sometimes I look at Josh, sitting at the kitchen table at 1am, still working, for the 4th night this week and I think, man, these times are hard.

But I did what the song mentions, sat up with Josh, made plans with him, talked to him, LOOKED at him, and actually reconnected. Took a step back from other demands and made my family my top priority. It always was, but I'd let other nonsense, irritations, stupidity get in the way. And it has been good. Really good.

Not to mention a stretch of no accidents since March, although let's not say it too loudly and knock on wood while we're at it. We're great.

If you are lucky enough not to see my twitter ravings, the insane plan I mentioned a few months ago is in effect. I brought the kids to Argentina, Buenos Aires to be exact, for 5 glorious weeks. We rented an apartment, put the kids in school, and Josh is taking his first non-working vacation in 4 years. Not the whole time, of course, and I'll keep his exact dates private in favor of the whole safety issue, but a decent chunk of days. And so far, so good. The kids are thriving and venturing out of their Spanish resistant holes and making friends and trying new vocabulary, and I'm reveling in my non-cooking, non-cleaning, non-laundry, children in school every morning days.

And yes, it is every bit as fabulous as you'd imagine. The last few days, though, I keep thinking about blogging this, or that, and thinking about how much I will regret not writing about this. So here I am. Hoping some of you are still around. Hoping you're all well.