Thursday, May 22, 2014

Holding Down the Fort

A few things have gone down since Col's six-month post. In chronological order:

I am once again as old as Lars. We marked the occasion with a lunchtime outing to the botanical gardens and an evening of drinks and The Amazing Spiderman 2.
Grey is the traditional English colour for birthdays

We celebrated Easter--Col's first--with church in the morning and dinner at Lars's colleague's house. They have a five-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son who very kindly include Tor in their play. Also, one of their relatives works for Playmobil, so they have acres and acres of Playmobil sets whose color was a little off or who were packaged missing a piece, including a practically life-sized castle filled with knights and dragons. It's cool enough that I want to hide upstairs with the kids and play with it.

"Why, what's in YOUR Easter basket?"

The best of several bad shots--turns out it's easier to get a cute Easter photo of just one kid

"If you're over there, who's holding me?"

We had a spate of nice weather before a few weeks of rain, and we made the most of it at our several nearby parks.
Finally, a swing big enough for both of us

Puffball enthusiast
He demanded to wear boots even on the driest days...
till we figured out he just liked that he could put them on
himself and taught him to don his sneakers

Tor combines "Ironman" by Black Sabbath with
the 1967 Spiderman theme song:
 "I am Ironman! / Does whatever iron can!"

Unimpressed with the anemic bus stop "benches"

Morris dancers: So Oxfordian

Tor found the pink balloon he's holding in the garden of the place we ate lunch. Earlier that day, he had helped me pick out a huge helium Tinkerbell balloon for a two-year-old's upcoming birthday party. Alas, on the walk home, Tor demanded that I carry him while pushing the stroller, and in the kerfuffle, Tinkerbell slipped off her string and flew away into the sky. The rest of the walk involved Tor slung over my shoulder, arms outstretched toward the heavens, screaming "TINKERBELLLLL" as if his heart were broken. Fortunately the passers-by were few.

Never too young for a little guided Macarena

The picture above is the last picture I took of Lars before he jetted off on a two-week conference hop from Vienna to Marrakesh. You know your partner feels guilty about leaving you with the kids when he insists again and again that "it's not a vacation." (Just kidding, you breadwinner you!) Concurrently with this trip, I started a new job at the Oxford University Press--as in, my first day of work was the day before Lars flew out. Here's where I park my bike:
That's right, those are ducklings. They hatched that very same week--obviously auspicious. They live in a sixty-foot-deep fountain in the middle of the quad in that picture, which used to be the cooling pool for the printing press (of course, now all the printing is outsourced, albeit to UK suppliers).I'm digging the work and the people in my office are friendly and willing to help me learn. The essence of the job (I'm officially a Production Editor in the Academic Law Division, and no, those capital letters aren't my idea) is taking Word documents from the editors and managing the production process that turns them into printed books. This is very exciting for me.The kids held up admirably while Lars was away. We got into a routine of getting up sometime before my alarm went off at 6:30. The kids would get in bed with me, Col would nurse and Tor would chat. Then Tor and I ate cereal while Col played on the floor; I made and drank coffee and packed our lunches/bottles/backpacks; and I popped upstairs for a very basic beauty routine and to get dressed in grubby clothes. Then I loaded Tor and Col into our double stroller and walked the 0.8 miles to day care. After dropping them off at 8:00, I grabbed my bike from a nearby school where I parked it overnight and biked the 15 minutes to work. Turns out that OUP has a locker room where I can change after I bike to work, complete with hair dryer, so I've been bringing my clothes and hairbrush in and stopping there before heading to my desk.After work, I biked back to the school by 5:30, get the kids back into the stroller, walk home, and make a rudimentary dinner (we ate a lot of eggs and croissants, chicken nuggets, and quesadillas, to be honest, with fruit since Tor won't really eat veggies). We Skyped with Lars or grandparents, did a puzzle, played outside, watch a video, read books, color, or play with play-doh or action figures until about 7:50, when I brushed Tor's teeth and read both boys two stories in Tor's bed. After prayers, I took Col to his room and nursed him until he was either asleep or sleepy, then put him in his crib.That's when it was time to do the chores. I washed the day's bottles and the breast pump stuff (OUP set me up to pump twice a day in their first aid room, which is pretty cushy), scalded the milk, made the lunches, halfheartedly straightened up or did some laundry, and then showered. I usually made it to bed by 10:00. Most nights, Tor blessedly slept through or got up once, and he had just one nighttime accident while Lars was away. Col is still getting up two times, usually around midnight and 3:00. It's a pretty sustainable schedule--the only bummer is when Tor wakes up right in the middle of a Col sleep stretch.Then we woke up and repeated.

Morning bedhogs

Orco meets Superman

"Obviously I'm hungry, woman" 
The only really rough time I had with the kids was when Tor slipped off a ladder rung at the park and bit his tongue badly. It was bleeding all over the place, so I called urgent care to see what to do. They had me take him to the hospital, since it was a public holiday and no doctors' offices were open. As you might imagine, this meant an extremely stressful bus ride. Once we got there, it was a pretty long wait, and when he finally got seen, they just told us to put some ice on it. So next time he bites his tongue, unless it's flapping open or actually off, that's what we're going to do.The poor kid was very brave, though you could tell he was scared of all the blood coming out of his mouth--after he stopped really crying, he refused to swallow or spit or talk for about three hours, just drooling and keening. But he seemed to gather courage once the doctor saw him, and by the time we got on the bus to go home, he was talking normally again.
"I broke my ice lolly into pieces so I can eat it with my hands!"

Impressive catwalk skills

At a school carnival: cupcakes in the "fairy house"

Baby head not to scale

Wellies again, surprise surprise

Upon Lars's much-anticipated return home, it turned out that both kids anomalously had fallen asleep on the walk home and were passed out. We ate pancakes and chatted and eventually just took them up to bed. (Tor worked for hours on that sign, I'll have you know.)
Note Col in the chair

The close-up

The Saturday after Lars got back, the four of us took the bus to Bagley Wood, about four miles south of town.
A rare 25-degree May day
No Snap-n-Go this time around

Rocking Tor's old sun hat

...aaaand dead to the world.

Get that boy some Ray-Bans

"Let me feel that breeze on my nether parts"

Best part of riding the bus as a family: Tor and a parent get to sit up top
Finally, this tickled me: Tor got to pick out a bag of candy for a prize when he sleeps through the night, and he chose a sour gummy candy called Haribo Tangfastics. Yesterday, he slept through the night, and he selected a gummy shaped like a coke bottle, with a white back and a brown front. When I asked him what flavor he thought it would be, he said, "It's brown, so it tastes like kiwi. And this part is white, so it tastes like snow." This morning, he picked a green and white one. "The green part is apple flavor. And the white part is garlic flavor." Amazingly, he enjoyed it.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Seven Months Old

Being three weeks into a new job, two of which saw Lars out of town, has thwarted my sincere plan to post something substantive. I'll aim for a photo dump in a few days, but here is Mr. Col at seven months, first grinning up a storm and then playing in his new exersaucer. He is more smiley than ever before this month, and also more mobile, scooting and rolling anywhere he wants to go--but fortunately he's still pretty slow!

I was not in on the joke
Mic drop!