Thursday, February 23, 2006

So there...

(The names of certain characters have been changed to protect the innocent)

C: Daddy, why is X a baby?
D: X is not a baby he/she is the same age as you...
C: Daddy, why does X cry like a baby?
D: When does X cry like a baby?
C: When I hit him / her!
D: Well, you know you shouldn't hit anybody, and YOU cry like a baby when Morgan (12yr old neighbour) comes over to play with you [babysit-ish].
C: Oh. Yeah.

A Life in the Day of Nilsens

My day starts around 4am, when Lars wakes up convinced he will starve to death unless he has a bottle RIGHT NOW - no amount of 'crying it out' or soothing back rubs will convince him otherwise. Grandma's theory is that he's figured out how to get some extra Mommy time in a 24-hr period.

Back to bed for me, and then the alarm goes off at 5.30am and Nilsen gets up, goes to the basement to check emails, talk to the Swedes, and shower without waking the kids up. He's supposed to wake me up at 6.15 when he leaves the house to drive 30 long slow miles around the Beltway to Reston,VA and his new project mgmt job, before Washington traffic really kicks in. Instead, we have a conversation, he turns on the lights, and I fall back to sleep for an exhausted 30 mins until 6.45 when Cecilie comes creeping into our room and puts her cold feet on my belly to warm up, and we listen to Lars chatting to himself next door.

7am, we're all out of bed and Cecilie is shrieking 'GOOD MORNING LARS!' as we go in to change his diapers. 7.20 and usually we've made it downstairs where I start the kettle boiling for coffee (1st priority - and when I think about how Nilsen & I used to be so snobbish about instant coffee!). By this point Cecilie has requested her Cinderella DVD about 6 times, and we've negotiated a yes/no/maybe so. Then figure something out for the kids' breakfast, whilst saying good morning to the contractors who are ripping out Grandma's kitchen whilst I scramble the eggs. 7.45 and I'm realising I'll never get out of the house in time, especially if Cecilie continues to be so poky about finishing her toast. 7.50, we're back upstairs and I throw up the baby gate to keep Lars off the stairs, Cecilie leaps into the shower and insists no one may join her, and Lars starts banging on the washing machine with enthusiasm.

I pull kids clothes out of drawers, and hear shrieks of 'Mommy! LARS IS GETTING IN THE BATHTUB!' and find Lars' feet sticking out over the edge of the tub, head under the tap and both of them giggling. I pull him out, strip off his pajamas and take him into the shower with us and try to get clean as quickly & efficiently as possible. Then its into whatever clean black clothes are on my bedroom chair (only black because there is no time/inclination to accessorise or coordinate). Kids into clothes, and bundle down the stairs & into the car for Grandma to drive me to Metro. Grandma is then officially in charge for the day.

A quiet 45 min. ride where I slap on some makeup & read the front page of the paper, then hike the 14 blocks to the store where I spend the day selling ceramic pigs, silk flowers and sofas to the wealthy. On a good day Nilsen can stop by on his way home and pick me up (the benefit of starting work at 7am is finishing at 4!) and we get 45 mins together to think of all the things we need to be discussing. On a bad day I do the reverse hike back to Metro, ride 45 mins home and then get picked up by one of the adults in the house and one or more unhappy, hungry children.

7pm, 7.20 and we re-enter the fray, usually with Lars ready to crash well before dinner is finished. The big question is whether or not Cecilie has napped, because if she has you know you're in for some corkers, and a very busy evening of lots of playing and stories. If not, she's falling asleep in her soup and the rush is on to get them in bed before it all ends in tears. Her newest approach to bedtime is having some time alone to read books before its time for lights out - how can I argue with reading time? Her day finishes with a few songs, and the reassurance that Grandma will be right up to kiss her, if she can only lie still with her eyes closed.

Then its back downstairs to sort out the toys in the playroom, find all the missing pieces, watch the Olympics, and pack lunches for the next day. One for Grandpa (no place to buy lunch at his office), one for Torbjorn (ditto), and one for Kirsten (lunch in Georgetown ain't cheap!). If there was any way to cook dinner in the middle of construction, then those dishes need doing, but dinner out is probably on the menu for the next month or so.

The day ends with re-tucking blankets around sleeping cherubs, getting the bottle ready for the 4am wakeup call, and pretending to read/solve SuDoKu for 30 seconds before turning out the lights.

We keep promising that in our free time we'll get the trim painted in the Yellow House so the floors can be refinished so the kitchen can be installed so the laundry room (which currently holds all the kitchen units) can be installed so we can finally move in by the move-in date of April 30ish. This would, however, be based on the assumption that there are funds for all of this frenzied activity. Hence, Torbjorn's new job and my old(ish) job and hence the lack of free time. Hey, we're living the American Dream.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The truth

I wanted to be part of the fun too so when Cecilie told me it was only for girls I said that I was a girl too.
No, you're not! was the response and when I asked how she knew I wasn't a girl, I was told that I just didn't have enough hair!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The snow came down...

Oh, we've got tons of it... 14 inches, or 35 cm if you like it better that way. I realize it's not SO impressive to the Norwegians among you, but it is the most snow the Nilsen family as seen in 10 years!

It has brought Washington to a standstill. 70,000 are without electricity in Maryland (we've got it...), and they still haven't gotten around to plow the street outside so we are housebound, except grandpa who's been around the neighborhood looking for good Samaritan opportunities in his truck - he found a plenty!

And the kids are loving it, Cecilie is going down the hills on her christmas present inner tube with a wheeeeeeee, and Lars is jumping up and down with joy! (at least doing jumping motions...) We might even get to keep it for a couple of days, a truly blessed Sunday.

Let it shine, let it shine

I made a discovery (thank heavens for NPR)...

Live performances from concerts arranged by the producer Bill Graham in the San Francisco area from the sixties until 1996...

It is an eclectic mix to say the least: The Allman Brothers, The Band, Cream, The Doors, Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Bob Marley, Metallica, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Santana, Bruce Springsteen, U2,Van Halen, The Who, Neil Young, Frank Zappa, and that's NOT EVEN MENTIONING THE REALLY GOOD ONES. All live, all one of a kind, all free.

It is a radio stream so you don't know what you'll get and you might have to wait a couple of songs to find something you've heard before. The selection is ever expanding, so this musical education is likely not to stop until you reach the end of the internet and want to go home.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Daddy, daddy, I have delightful news...

Not to his mum, not to his dad, Lars decided to take his first independent steps today to his sister... She in turn ran to the top of the stairs and shouted the above, it was all very exciting!

He's been taking steps for a little while, mostly when stood up by an adult and "encouraged" (I've had some luck with using the forward momentum of a hand held walk, aka "the push", the ladies are attractive enough for him, apparently, to walk to them if they reach their arms out, let's call it "the pull" for balance). Today he stood up by himself, took aim for his big sister and stepped across the floor to her - five was the total count of steps, so I think we can mark the date as the official FIRST.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

I've got a fast car

Out driving with the kids, Cecilie is insisting that I am driving too fast (we're three minutes into this conversation... )
C: You ARE driving too fast daddy, the trees are moving away very fast.
T: No, I can assure you, I am following the speed limit.
C: If the police catches you, you, Lars and I are all going to jail.
T: Cecilie, I am going as as fast as the policeman say we can go.
C: What would you say if the policeman stopped us?
T: Oh la la!
C: No human being says "oh la la".
T: Well, I am a human being and I just said "oh la la".
C: Daddy you are a curious person.

Three (and a half) conclusions:
1. Stay away from Cecilie in the afternoon if she misses her nap.
2. I am pretty good at diverting silly conversations.
3. The French are not human beings, and possibly - I am French...
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