Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Little H hanging with the Skinheads

When Pappa Kas saw the first pictures from our local postnatal group, he started calling the group of toddlers for the Skinheads. It is not the nicest name, but when said in an affectionate way I find it quite funny.

Little Miss Nyhus

Little H is definitely the baby with the least hair of the six of them, but I guess that was inevitable. I was called the bowling ball (affectionately I hope) due to my round head shape and no hair up until I was a year old, so I guess that she’s her mums daughter.

Little Miss Castro-Nyhus
Today most of the small ones have at least a little bit of hair however patchy, but the name The Skinheads has remained in our household and Pappa Kas always asks how the play-date with the Skinheads has been when the group has had its weekly get-together.

Being a part of such a group is great, but it’s also hard maintenance, as every time we meet it is time to compare. I cannot talk for the other mummies, but at least, shallow as I am, I compare. Does Little H drool less than any of the others? (no). Do any of the babies scream louder than Little H? (no). Has any other than my precious stains on her clothes? (no) and so on. We are often the last to arrive, Little H with snots under her nose and me with a wet patch on my sweater where I got spit up just as we were leaving the house. We’re always playing it cool though, happy as hamsters, concealing stains while laughing away the fact that I have forgotten Little H’s food.

But apparently I have fooled noone. My yummie mummy facade is a shamble, leaving the hiking shoes or not. Last Thursday one of the mummies confided: “When I feel like a slummy mummy for not having dinner on the table, when my husband comes home from work I say to myself: I am sure that Little H’s mum never has dinner ready for her husband when he gets home”.

Well last Thursday she had…

Friday, 21 January 2011

Ready, steady, go!

After not making any New Year resolutions - not deciding to lose weight, or get in shape or read less glossy magazines I feel strangely un- achieving. Or to be brutally honest: I have become a lazy slob.

Pappa Kas has taken our loss of youth and elasticity seriously and is now out on his cross-country skis twice a week, while I work on leaving my bum-print permanently on the sofa. This week, before I achieved a moment of sanity during a girly lunch today, I have eaten my way through a whole duty-free (MEGA) sized bag of sour sweets. This has been justified by saying to myself that I am only eating the sweeties to finish the bag so that I can start dieting… I could just have thrown them in the bin, but I do not throw away food unless fouls smelling and/ or walking by itself –ehrmmm…

So today I started the RunKeeper on my Ipod (first time since end of October), and power-walked down to me and Little H’s lunch date. We walked an extra long route just to build our appetite. Our appetite? Little H was snoring happily in the pram, and not moving a muscle to help her mum push through the 10cm deep snow on the pavements.

But here’s the dilemma. Power walking and pushing the pram through snow makes you sweaty. Going to meet other mummies, I was obviously not wearing tracksuit bottoms and hiking boots (walk of shame), rather mid-calf boots, skinny jeans and a black knitted sweater under a thick parka.

On my way I met another mummy who came in the opposite direction. She was walking so fast that I did not manage to observe her for very long, but what I saw was a super-fit-kick-ass mummy. She came towards me at the speed of a moped wearing gore-tex trainers, black running tights, black and red cross-country mesh and nylon jacket, topped off with a multifunctional hat with sponsor logos on it. All color coordinated of course and matching the pram. She smiled smugly while passing. What the F****?

I thought I had cracked the code for maternity leave yummieness with the jeans, the tinted moisturizer and the earrings. When did the code change? Probably when 2010 became 2011 and all the yummies made their super healthy resolutions while I was busy gulping down Rioja.

Well, let the battle begin! Today I have walked almost 8 kilometers, half of them uphill, and half in snow reaching up to, if not my ankles, then very close. And tomorrow I am going shopping for that super-fit mummy outfit, hat included.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Being a first time parent is rewarding, fulfilling and hard. I have been skimming through “manuals”, asking fellow mums, trawling the internet, reading parenting magazines- all in order to find out how I join the ranks of super-mums, but it is all very confusing.

The information out there is so overwhelming that I now rely mainly on instinct and (what I have of) common sense. In addition I have a panel of yummy mummies whom I trust and whose babies seems healthy and happy and importantly: they answers my emergency text messages in a flash.

I have asked about everything:
  • Little H’s poo has changed from pesto to mustard- should I stop feeding her banana?
  • She is in a very foul mood, can it be the teeth or is she already rebelling against her parents?
  • Do I dress her as a boy?
This question is especially relevant today as it happened again. An elderly lady asked: “what is the name of this cute little boy?” – A boy? Does little H look like a BOY??
To prevent such situations and to save such ladies from embarrassment when I answer “HER name is… “ I have started to dress Little H in a pink hat regardless of temperature, and with no thoughts on the color scheme of the rest of her outfit. But there are still nearsighted and colorblind pensioners out there so I have to stop fussing over this and worry about more serious mummy business, such as porridge or vegetables for Little H's lunch tomorrow?

Perhaps I should have done what is customary in Spain, and something which would have made Amama Socco, my mother in law, very happy. Perhaps I should have pierced Little H’s ears as soon as she got out of the hospital? This way she would easily be recognized as a little Senorita. With Little H's ears bejeweled in fresh-water pearls it would never be a question of her gender. Funnily enough, when I sent an sms asking the the yummy mummy panel of their thoughts they advised against it…..

Saturday, 15 January 2011

New year - same me

With Little H around there is no way to predict what 2011 will bring, except snot, wet nappies and stains on unimaginable places.  But I can also predict winning smiles, smelly farts, teething tantrums and my feeling of pure happiness every time I see the little Lady’s face or hear her infectious laughter. This year is gonna be a good one!

Many people make New Year resolutions and fail to stick to them in the long term, and so do I. I have made them all, one year after the other: No sugar on weekdays, no caffeine, no impulse shopping, going to the gym five times a week, not watching C.S.I and other rubbish, but highly entertaining TV-series. Who am I kidding? Well, as we all know, no one but me, ending up making myself feeling miserable having failed to go to the gym for the sixt day in a row, so I comfort munch pick’n’mix in front of Horatio and the cringe-worthy C.S.I. Miami. Ah, guilty pleasures.
This year it’s all gonna change – yes, it is! I am a sucker for all life-coaching tips and tricks and have decided that instead of making resolutions I am going to set myself goals, and by being past mid-January (it has taken me that long to figure this out) such goals cannot really be compared to new year resolutions – gotcha!
I’ll share the first one with you, also inspired by life-coaching mumbo-jumbo (read common sense).
Every night before I go to bed I am going to write down five things to be grateful for.
This is tonight’s list:

  1. I am grateful to Pappa Kas for watching Little H while I was rumbling the sales this morning.
  2. I am grateful for Little H sleeping all through the night
  3. I am grateful for not having finished all the home made pizza last night so that I could indulge the leftovers this afternoon
  4. I am grateful for being able to snuggle in the sofa while the snow is falling heavily outside
  5. Most of all today I am grateful for being able to spend most of this Saturday close to Pappa Kas and Little H, feeling how great a family I have!
Trivial I know, but I am smiling so it seems to be working so far.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Little H meets royalty

One of the reasons for going to Elorrio (in addition to visit friends and family) was to have a second Christmas Eve. Call me shallow, call me materialistic, but when we got the opportunity to celebrate “los Reyes Magos” (the three wise men and their bearing of gifts to Jesus) on the 6th of January, I could not decline.

The tradition as celebrated by the Castro’s and Uribarren’s are, as far as I understand, something like this: The Magi comes from the Orient on their camels to visit children during the night of the 5th. As their distant relative Santa, they visit everyone at night leaving presents under the tree and the children set out milk and cookies to feed the Magi after their long travel. I was surprised to hear that such royalty as the Magi is only offered milk and cookies after their long strenuous journey and no local delicatessen. No caracoles /forest snails (eaten for lunch on the 6th), or morcilla, Spanish blood sausage, not even a small cup of Rioja – what a shame, all that way for milk and cookies!

Little H charmes the king
On the night of the 5th we went to the local square and watched the parade of the three kings and their men and donkies greeted the local townspeople. Little H was unaware of all the fuzz, but the square was buzzing with kids high on sugar and with letters in hand. Some kind of queue formed in front of the City Hall where the king’s thrones had been set up. It was time for the little ones to hand over their letters and say their please can I have a horse/ Lego Robot/Little brother for Reyes.

Pappa Kas and Little H

As this was a photo opportunity not to be missed, and that I am too old to hand over my own list, Little H and Pappa Kas stood in the queue waiting patiently to drip drool on one the Kings’ cloak. Pappa Kas assured me that he had sent the “I want” list by e-mail to the Magi, and that we were safe that way, but it never hurts to meet in person. I was certain Little H would make quite an impression and we would be showered with gifts the next morning. And so it was.
Little H sat on Melchior’s knee stroking/patting/slapping his chin, and I think I could hear her softly whisper “new leather gloves for my mum” in the Magi’s ear. Whatever her trick was - it worked. The next morning I got my gloves, Pappa Kas his Nutella and Little H her noisy blinking toys – exactly the items she must have whispered to the Magi.

Pappa Kas gets his wish fulfilled

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

An epic journey

Little H out and about
Our visit to Elorrio did not exactly have a flying start. We left Lier, the cold and the snow on the 29th of December and headed south to celebrate New Years with family and friends in Elorrio. 

The flight from Oslo to Frankfurt was cancelled after we had been sitting patiently in our seats for an hour and a half ready for take-off. Little H was just starting one of her tantrums, so it was not entirely bad having to evacuate back into the departure lounge before her show started. The pilot appologised saying that one of the doors in the plane was jammed and continued-  “to be honest, this is not fixed in an hour…" in a rather dishearthened voice. Poor Mister Pilot, it seemed that his morning was worse than ours. 

We ended up going via Copenhagen and then Frankfurt before reaching the airport in Bilbao late afternoon. Sadly our luggage did not arrive on the same plane. We did not get the bags untill very late the following evening. Luckily Little H had a supply of diapers and other necessities at her grandparents, and a few new cute outfits in her drawer (thank you Amama Socco). As for us, we did a couple of emergency purchases, but we're in general very well stocked in Elorrio. I even have my own drawer in Pappa Kas' old room. 
It is always exciting to see what I have left there from our last visit. This time I found a black t-shirt, black cardigan, some socks, pants and running clothes in addition to some toiletries - in other words- a survival kit. Sweet. At the bottom of the drawer I found "the Trial" by Kafka, a rather pessimistic holiday read. I wonder how many years ago I left that there. Cannot say that I have missed it in my bookshelves back home.

On the flight from Copenhagen we sat next to what seemed to me a friendly, elderly  gentleman, but must have appeared as a scary gremlin to Little H, as every time he said hello/tried to smile at us/look in our direction or talk to the airhostess, she got frightened, pulled one of her faces and started howling. Poor man.
Sophie the life saver
Overall Little H behaved pretty well despite a long and tedious day. We just kept feeding her and letting her squeeze and chew her favourite toy- Sophie as much as she wanted, to everyone’s annoyance.

Well, we are now safe and sound having a lovely time despite wet and sad weather. We do not see much of Little H these days as she is whisked off to the streets of Elorrio as soon as her breakfast porridge has been consumed. Always dressed to impress as Amama Socco is already trying to marry her off to a young eledgible Basque boy of a good family so that she can see her granddaughter more often in the future. 

Me? I'm painting my nails, going for runs, shopping and drinking wine with every meal, while Pappa Kas has the remote glued to his hand and his bum firmly placed in his favourite spot on the sofa. 
Ahhh, famliy bliss.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

No time for contemplation

2010 has ended and the blog has been silent for a while, not on purpose, but life got in the way.

There are so many small happenings and itsy bitsy things I could write about:
I could write about how we spent Christmas Eve at Granny B and Grandad G's flat, where Little H sat in her own chair by the dinner table, and how she later ate wrapping paper before falling asleep in the guest bed her grandparents had gotten her (one of many generous gifts).
I could tell about how little H ate her Christmas dinner wearing a plastic cloak, but still managed to get stains on her pretty purple and white princess dress, and how the Velcro on her tiny shoes destroyed every pair of tights they came in contact with: her own, her auntie's, mine....
I could tell about the freezing cold outside in the days before Christmas and us running out of firewood, with none to buy anywhere. How can a country made of (and by) pine, run out of logs for the fire?
Other to small to mention bits are how the flight(s) to Bilbao increased from two till four and how our luggage arrived two days late. Luckily the frozen Pizza Grandiosa for Tia Eli and Tio Ini was intact and had not left too much of a cheesy smell on Little H’s holiday wardrobe.

What I choose to write about is this:
Christmas time always makes me reflect on how lucky I am, and this one has been no different. It does not matter that the Christmas Day dinner was too salty, that I did not get a single book as a present, that little H had either drool or snots on every photo taken and that Pappa Kas worked so long hours before the holidays that we barely saw him.
What matters is that I am so fortunate to have a wonderful family and great friends around.
Foul smelling spit-up from Little H at any time, her outbreaks in public, the car breaking down (repeatedly), my jelly belly not shifting and me failing to update my blog three times a week does not really matter as I am truly blessed and I know it. I just have to adjust my expectations and appreciate the great life I am living- perhaps that should be my new year resolution ?

Thank you for contributing to a wonderful 2010 and I am looking forward to the adventures of 2011.
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