Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The morning of the holiday

Today we go on holiday. Which would make it the perfect time to not be able to find the driving licenses and for Hamish to rip off his nappy and pee in his sister's bedroom doorway. She's still sleeping so she'll never know how lucky she was that he wasn't standing pee(r)ing over her.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Yee-ha! At the American Festival.

Today is the last day of the 50th annual 'German-American Festival of the People'. We read about it on a website where it was described as "The former Truman Plaza in Berlin's Dahlem district ... transformed into an American Village for the German-American Festival of the People.". Fantastic! We went yesterday afternoon and it was indeed just like an American Village, if you've ever been to an American village made from chipboard in a giant gritty puddle where all the houses sell 1/2 metre bratwurst from their front windows.

Essentially it was a large funfair and not much else. I may sound critical but in actual fact we still had a great time. The best bit was Orla riding a horse for the first time. She looked so tiny on it, but managed to stay on and really enjoyed it. In fact she had two shots on two different horses as Hamish decided he didn't like it.

I was really surprised that Orla was so confident about doing it and last night we had a chat about it. She told me that she had ridden a horse before so it was ok. "Really? When??" I asked. "Well, we used to have a horse in the living room that I used to ride". Ah! That'll be the 2 foot high 'Rockin' Pony' we had. No difference really.

More like two dancing dogs.

Friday: a monumental day on the Orla calendar. Ballet in Berlin. When we first spoke about moving to Berlin we told her that when we got here she could do ballet so that she would think favourably about the move. Anyway, it took me a while to find a class close to us and it's been a wait until the summer holidays are over but Friday was the big day - a sort of fore-runner for the class that will start properly on the first Saturday of September.

It started off well when it turned out I had the wrong location and needed to be about 3 miles to the left of where I was. Luckily there was a second class an hour later and we made it to that one. But oh, when we got there what an overwhelming experience it was for her. A dozen little girls dressed in leotards and tutus and a massive language barrier. Orla looked stunned for the first 20 minutes and eventually came and sat on my knee for a bit. Hamish on the other hand was chomping at the bit to get on the dance floor and was murmuring that he needed a ballet dress. The fact that Hamish seemed so determined to get up and join the girls in being 'sleeping princesses' made Orla realise that this could be good fun, so finally off she went and gave it her all.

She was elated with her achievement when the class finished and we came home and looked at ballet outfits on the internet. Hamish wants a pale blue tutu just in case you're wondering. Roll on September.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Pork comes to those who wait

Oh how refreshed I've felt today. I have stumbled through the day so tired that I can barely think. I tried to think of something simple to make for dinner, but I couldn't think of anything beyond pork. I am utterly sick of it, but still I made it. Pork loins in a honey and mustard glaze. The kids are also sick to death of pork. Hamish asked what we were eating, and so fearful was I that if I said pork he wouldn't eat it, I lied and said chicken. I think we're all sick of chicken too.

I am going to be inspired by this Julie & Julia film (if ever I get to see it) and am going to broaden my culinary repertoire---somehow---not sure how yet. It's taken me 30 odd years to get to pork with a honey and mustard glaze, and I feel I need to act fast before we have pork break downs. Stevie has warned me that if I make "meatballs with that bloody pork mince" one more time in the near future he'll lose the will to live. This from a man who claims "It doesn't matter what you eat, it's just going into your stomach to be churned up and made into energy". It's a recipe book tagline just waiting to happen.

Monday, 9 August 2010

The darkest hour is just before dawn

Sleep problems. I have brought it on myself I suppose. Last night Orla fell asleep at 6pm and slept through the night and Stevie & I were both over the moon that for once she seemed to have had a good sleep and would be lovely and happy and refreshed today. I was especially pleased as we had a visit to the Kita scheduled in and I could do with having nice, well-behaved children with me. But today is day 1 of Stevie's latest work trip back to Derby and when this happens I always know better than to think that things might go well.

It's the same if he goes out for the evening. It's a cast iron guarantee that either one or both will play up, not sleep, start screaming wildly, or any combination of those. I usually find myself counting down the minutes until he gets home, but this time he won't be back till Wednesday night - late Wednesday night.

I haven't yet mentioned the current thing that Hamish is doing which is dragging his bed out from the wall a tiny sliver and then jamming himself down the back. After a while of sleeping like this he wakes up, presumably because it's seriously uncomfortable. I went in one time he was having (or meant to be having) his nap and he was down the back of the bed with the leg of the bed at his neck practically crushing his throat. Another time, at night I went in and I couldn't see him as he had squeezed himself under the bed, following presumably the path taken by his pillow and covers. It's not easy to get under Hamish's bed; it's one of these cotbeds that are about 3 inches off the ground.

I wondered whether this might be something like trying to find a small, dark space to sleep in, like a little den. The ceilings here are outrageously high, though his room is not enormous. Anyway, today we had (yet) another trip to IKEA where I bought one of those green leaf things that you can put above the bed to make a little canopy. It's got to be screwed to the wall which is a bit of a pain, but I'll get on to it tomorrow. Oh, and I bought an igloo. It's a tent and I thought I could put it in his room and fill it with quilts and things and he could maybe even nap there if he hates his bed. Desperate times and all that.

Needless to say, he still wakes at around 10 or 11pm and wails to be allowed into 'mummy's bed'. I may be the one sleeping in the igloo by the end of this week. Tonight though, I thought with them both being tired, I'd get them into bed relatively early and have a nice evening on my own. I planned to maybe do some reading, then get the dishes done, then put the light shade up in the dining room, build some bookshelves, have a cup of tea, tidy up all the toys/crap sprayed around the living room, and maybe watch Julie & Julia which I have wanted to watch for a while and which I managed to buy quite cheap in one of the supermarkets here.

A fantasy perhaps to do all that, but what did I get done? None of the above. First there was Hamish who now uses whatever he can to climb up and open the door handle of his bedroom. And if I leave him with no little 'step stools' then he finds something like a fire engine to bang at the door until it is opened. Tonight there was just no keeping him in there, plus he has grown so I think he can reach the handle, and there was no Daddy to really frighten him into being good and just going to his own bed for 3 hours. So I let him up thinking maybe he could watch the film with me. Instead what happened was that after about 10 minutes Orla started wailing. I went to see to her and asked her if she needed the toilet. She nodded 'yes', I took her and then got her back into bed. 3 minutes later she'd screaming. I go through and she seems to be in the midst of one of those night terrors. Brilliant. Hamish didn't help by standing chanting 'Orla crying!'.

I decided to just give up and go to bed. Hamish came into bed with me and fell asleep straight away. Then Orla started crying again and I went through and lay down in the single bed and just kept saying 'It's ok, mummy's here' every time she started up, which made her quiet again. Then Hamish realised I wasn't in the bed with him and started crying, so I went through and made sure he was ok. I checked his nappy and realised that there was no way it would make it through the night it was so full. I managed to change that with him still sleeping, so that at least gave me a sense of having achieved something!

So since then I have lain in bed afraid to go to sleep because I know it'll probably be no more than minutes before I have to see to a child again. What better time to blog and moan about it. I blame myself of course for this mess and have utterly decided to get Hamish out of the bed when we come back from our holiday at the beginning of September. It's going to be one big, long day though through till Thursday...ugh.

Send your thoughts on the Hamish behind the bed problem and packets of Pro Plus to the usual address...

Friday, 6 August 2010

Only her hairdresser knows for sure.

From now on I will mostly be appearing at a funny angle with a mop and bucket over my left shoulder.

Because I'm worth it

So as you can see I got my hair done. I quite like it, but I am frustrated that I can't seem to get out of 'short-hair-hell'. I have very limited options with it this length, but then that's what happens when you go and do this.

Anyway, here's how it went. Did I tell you that there seem to be a fair number of British women here who seem fearful of going to German hairdressers? Well, so far I have met quite a few who go 'home' to get their hair done, and my last hairdresser in the UK told me that she had a client who came back to get hers done. It seems like a very expensive haircut if you have to include flights.

Now I know I mentioned the fact that haircuts are miles cheaper here than in the UK and that I would be taking full advantage of that while here... well it would appear that that is not the case, in my particular case. Somehow I manage to seek out the most expensive hairdresser in the area. I am not entirely sure how I manage this, but I am so experienced that I now manage to mask my horror at the tillpoint when they tell me the 3 figure sum.

YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY. But go on read it again and have another gasp. I think I managed to save about £10 on what I ha, ha, ha, pay in the UK (and I got a treatment into the bargain), but it turns out that my handy little hairdresser that looked quite nice from the outside is an ex- Vidal Sassoon stylist and Vogue photography shoot stylist.

So in case you were wondering why I am looking into the camera at a funny angle in the top photo well, that's because that apparently is my 'best side' and I should ALWAYS appear this way. I imagine that will cause a few difficulties in my day to day life as I try to position myself to be seen at my best advantage at Kaiser's meat counter and as I emerge from the toilets at the zoo to the waiting paparazzi.

I really enjoyed myself though at the salon. I loved the fact that the trainee quickly assessed the fact that I couldn't really speak German and switched the big pile of German magazines in front of me for a big pile of English ones (I was sold from that point to be honest). I got lots of interesting hair care tips and a bundle of Sebastian samples to take home, and the hairdresser instead of talking rubbish about holidays and what I don't do for a living gave me her analysis of Naomi Campbell's appearance in court from her body language and a break down of how her outfit had been styled to match exactly the traits that she was trying to portray, to how well trained she had been in what she was saying. Of course my life is a news void, so I had very little to say on the matter except that perhaps Naomi Campbell appeared so poised in court because she has had so much practice.

On a side topic of hair, I am currently reading a book called 'What the dog saw' by Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm Gladwell is a writer for The New Yorker, and this book covers a variety of everday things and looks at them from a different angle. I'm finding it really interesting. He talks about how problems like homelessness might be easier to solve rather than manage and what goes on with the brain that gives us the difference between panicking and choking. My favourites so far have been 'Why there are dozens of varieties of mustard but only one of ketchup' and 'What hair dye can tell us about the 20th century'. It's all about how attitudes towards hair dying have altered over the course of the century and the two main players who made this a possibility. Anyway, if you come across it, have a look through it and you might just fancy it. (Also if you would like to pay the absolute maximum price you ever possibly could for it, send me an email I seem to have a knack for this kind of thing)

Thursday, 5 August 2010

You're going, whether you like it or not!

My Kita search is over. Isn't it lucky that I amn't an overly picky sort and have no idea whether there are anything even similar to OFSTED reports over here? I got a phone call from Claudia at the relocation company to say that she has searched high and low to find another nursery that could take Orla and Hamish and has only come up with one other one, a bilingual one, that's quite far away, and actually only has space for one of my children. I couldn't decide whether I should still go and see it. I am worried that I might love it, that's the trouble. Normally, there's nothing I like better than sitting, mulling over which of my children I love best, but in this instance I think I would prefer that they at least both went to the same place.

I have also received my Gutschein - the voucher that you need to take to your nursery of (no) choice. It is a lengthy document and I understood very little of it, but have found out that we have been awarded half days which means 4-5 hours Monday to Friday. I also managed to find a concise 29 page pdf on the Berlin city website. Turns out that this is the minimum that we could have expected. Now all I need to do is make sure that I could get to my language class and back within my alloted Kita hours. You can apply for extra time, but I would be happier if they weren't in Kita all day anyway. It would be nice though if there was a little bit of flexibility for say times when I have hospital appointments, but I am not sure that it is possible with this system.

And in other news, I am getting my highlights done this afternoon, and possibly I might have agreed to a cut. I don't really need a cut but I read something about this place that said that they assess all sorts of factors from your bone structure to your something else and decide what would suit you best. I am a great one for going to a hairdresser and saying "do whatever you like", so this is right up my street. And actually, the salon is right up my street so that settled my decision. I may be away from my blog for a few weeks after this, crying and hiding under a hat...

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Fun times at the Baltic Sea (Warning: It's a poo story)

We went to the Baltic coast yesterday. It's not a place that I would ever have thought of going; it doesn't conjure up great images in my mind. Given the name, I think it's going to be pretty cold, and possibly a bit grey and murky. But, having been, I can say it's lovely and almost worth the 4.5 hour drive it took to get there. It should have only taken 2 and a bit but the German's believe in doing proper roadworks. They don't just dig up a small section at a time and work on that, they take the whole road away and start again. I bet it takes less time that way, but it's not great if you're trying to travel.

Anyway, if you get the chance to visit it, it's really pretty. We went to Warnemunde (which should have an umlaut in it, but who knows where that kind of punctuation is on this keyboard). The sea was shallow and a reasonable 20 degrees, though Hamish continously yelled "I don't like this swimming pool!" but he did enjoy the sand which was a lovely light golden colour and only contained a spattering of cigarette butts which, (given our limited experience) seems quite unusual for Germany.

Hamish managed to make the day more interesting by doing a jobby (that'll be a 'poo' for English speakers) inside his all-in-one swim/sun protection suit. My brain wasn't working properly after my long drive, and I couldn't think how I should resolve the situation on the beach with 2 toddlers and an audience of thousands without leaving all our belongings unattended including my precious camera, so I called Stevie in out of the water where he was having a swim and let him resolve it with his, ...eh... hand. It was so utterly disgusting, my sides ached from laughing.

This demonstrates the difference between my beloved and me. I would have dragged Hamish up and down the beach hunting for a toilet, all the time worrying that it would be giving him a sore bum (and it seemed the closest toilets were in the town), or have tried to think of an ingenious solution whereby I would have wrapped my hands in wipes and (oh this isn't painting a good picture, is it? I hope you're not eating your dinner). Stevie's brain, on the other hand, thinks in simple terms - Retrieve, remove, what with? Ah, hand. there is no messing about in Stevie-land. Though my brain, even if it thought along similar lines to Stevie's would have taken it down the leg (the suit stopped at the knee and as Hamish doesn't have particularly long legs, it's not so much of a distance). But, to reach down the back of his NECK?????
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...