Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mom on the verge of a nervous breakdown - Mamma sull'orlo di una crisi di nervi

There are days when things just don't go your way. I have just had one of these days. The day started with William waking up early in the morning, when all I was longing for was thirty, maybe twenty, ten... even five  more minutes of sleep would have been so damned good. "I am still dreaming, let me sleep please!", I implored. But Tronk was there,  running around the house in his PJs, asking for me and for all the things that come to his widely-awake head in the morning:

"Pullat? (that's how he calls the "pullup diapers") "No, Tronk, you are not ready for those!"  and I am not willing to follow you to monitor how wet is your bottom! Aha! There are no diapers here. We have to go to the basement to pick some. "Here! You'll have your pullat!"

" "Mi dispiace, non c'e'"
(Orange juice? Sorry, there isn't any)

"Latte? Latte?" "Ok, eccolo".
(Milk? Milk? Ok, here it is)

"Biscottino?" "Eccolo. Uno solo."
 (A small cookie? Ok, here it is, but only one.)

"Cartone Pimpa?" "No, e' troppo presto."
(Can I watch a Pimpa cartoon? No, it's too early)

"Dov'e' macchina viola?" "E che ne so io???"
(Where is my purple car? How would I know???)

Stop! I suddenly realized that I needed the strongest dosage of caffeine that my manual espresso machine could possibly deliver. So I had one and I decided I would get the next one at the local coffee shop later in the day.

Then I was hit by one of those flattering and inquisitive emails that needs a carefully crafted reply. I started typing few letters in reply. Tick, tack, tack, tick, tick.  "Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaammmma! Ahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" Tronk got hurt. His little hand was hanging on one side as if he was no longer able to feel it. Fortunately, the little actor was ok.

Me: "Vuoi andare al potty adesso?" (Do you want to go to the potty now?) Forget about the potty, there is poop here all over the floor. Who is having to clean the floor?

Some of the subsequent thoughts haunting me:
11:00 am. Hopefully, he will sleep.
11:30 am. I'll give him some yogurt. Maybe, that will make him sleep.
12:00 pm.  Forget it, he won't sleep. "Cartone Pimpa?" "Eccolo!." (Can I watch a Pimpa cartoon? Here, watch it!) Now, hopefully, I'll have my shower.
13:00 pm. What? My jewelry box, empty? Tronk? Where did you put my jewelry??? Where?

"Va via Mamma!" (Go away Mom!)
I was almost sure my day would end in tears. The chicken I cooked for him was not up to his standard and he would rather throw it on his nice sweater or on the floor than to try to make a genuine effort to eat it. At some point, he said "Vai vai! Vai in cucina mamma!" (Go! Go! Go to the kitchen mom!) It was becoming clear that our day would continue fighting: food, toys (he wanted to use my permanent markers to color the couch), he wanted to fight about everything.

For some unknown reason, perhaps the fact that you cannot argue against a two year old, I was able to keep it together. I was hoping that the storytime, my favorite moment of the day with Tronk, would have soon put an end to our fights and to our anger and that we would soon be able to make peace. I was imagining that after reading the first book together, we could then magically laugh, forget all the unpleasant things that we did to each other on that day and hug. That's all I was longing for to get over such a daunting day. But I had the sense of foreboding that  no peace would come between us on that day. So I asked John to come to sit next to us during storytime. In order to avoid having to change the book three or four times, I picked a new book, the one that had just arrived from Italy. The new book was keeping Tronk's eyes glued to the pages. Great choice!, I thought. After all, how could he not enjoy a story about a binky, his number one favorite toy? This is how Tronk's face changed throughout the story.

First page. Ecstatic smile
Second page. Still smiling
Fourth page. Worried
Oh shit, this book is about giving away the binky
Fifth page. Very worried
Hopefully, he will not take it badly
Last page - The girl decides to let the binky, attached to a balloon, fly away. He burst into tears. "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Il ciuccio e' andato via!" (Noooooooo! The binky is gone!) 

"She is grown up now! She no longer needs a binky!", I said to Tronk with a positive tone of voice.
 "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Nooooooooooooooo! Nooooooooooooooo!" he uttered in complete despair.

"There is no way Tronk and I will make peace now. I have fcked everything up ", I said  to John, who was still trying to pay attention to the book I had just finished reading.

I was crushed. Tronk? He couldn't have cared less. While I was soaking, he had jumped off the bed and he was happily pushing his shopping cart around the house as if nothing had happened. He had already moved on.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pumpkins and Witches for Halloween - Zucche e Streghe per Halloween

Halloween + Italian children + friends + a sweet pumpkin + magic = let's party!

Who said pumpkins have to be scary?

Daddy tried to scare me with this
What is mom doing?

White pages magically turning into colored drawings
No time to look scary, I have to do my job here!
I am the assistant of the magician

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grown-Up Statements And Non-sense - Dichiarazioni Adulte e Frasi Senza Senso

"Prepara pappa mamma?" (Are you not supposed to prepare lunch now?)
In the last two months or so Tronk has taken his language skills to a higher level. He can now ask for things in a meaningful way with a few pronunciation mistakes.

Here are my favorite ones:

La Pizia (instead of la polizia, meaning: the police car)
Pantontole (instead of pantofole, meaning: slippers) 

I also heard him sing three songs, surprisingly almost complete: Fra Martino (Italian version of Frère Jacques), the jingle of the cartoon La Pimpa and recently also the Italian version of the ABC song. In the latter, he ends the song like this: din don bam! din don bam! Too cute to deserve a correction.

What I wanted to say though is that he has also started to produce a few grown-up statements, which often consist of snappy comments.

Here are my favourite ones:

Tronk:  "C'e' uomo taglia erba!" (Here is the man mowing the lawn!)
Mamma: "Dov'e'?" (Where is he?)
Tronk:  "E' andato via!" (He is gone!)

Tronk: "C'e' furgoncino rotto. Ho dato pezzo a daddy! Non aggiusta?" (The little truck is broken. I have given the pieces to daddy. He hasn't fixed it yet?)

Tronk:  "Anche occhiali bimbo daddy?" (Can daddy get  my sunglasses and bring them to me in the street?) [after I got husband to come out of the house and bring me the sunglasses I forgot in the house]

Tronk: "Ho trovato Anna!" (I have found Anna!)  [Anna is a fairly overweight little girl Tronk often meets at the playground]
"Questa e' Anna! E' Anna questa!" (This is Anny! It is Anna!) [with a glorious smile he shows me one of the three little pigs]

At naptime:
Tronk: "Deve fare la nanna William Kruse!" (Willliam Kruse has to nap!)

At the libary:
Tronk: "Tu libro! Bimbo libro! Va bene?" (Mom, you read that book! I read this other one. Let's make this clear)

Dad: "Perche' non mangi quando sei da solo?" (Why don't you eat when you are alone?)
Tronk: "Sono un santo!" (I am a saint!)

During storytime:
A little worm was alone and sad. See how alone and sad he is? Then he found a big apple and decided to live in there. Then came a female worm to knock on his door. She went to live with him.

Tronk: "The worm is not sad! He is not sad!"

Tronk: "Bavo Mina Kruse!" (Well done William Kruse!) [after he accomplishes something]

Zia Pina: "Cosa canta mamma?" (What does mom sing to you?)
Tronk: "Mamma canta Ninna Nanna! Io cresciuto!" (Mamma sings lullabyes! I am grown up!)

Tronk: "Dov'e' ambulanza?" (Where is the ambulance car?)
After few seconds:
Tronk: "L'ha presa mamma!" (Aha, Mom took it!)

Mamma found one of William's favorite cars under the couch. It was covered in dust.
Tronk: "Sporca macchina! Non mettere macchina qui mamma. Pulisci macchina?" (That car is dirty! Do not put that car here mom. Can you please clean the car?)

Zia Pina ate a candy and made it look as if she was eating one of Tronk's colored letters of the alphabet
Tronk: "Non mangia le lettere zia Pina!" (The letters of the alphabet should not be eaten, zia Pina!)

Mamma: "Mi dai un bacino?" (Can you give me a kiss?)
Tronk: "No. Devo lavorare!" (No. I have to work!) [He was building a tower with his lego blocks. Five minutes later, he came to give me a kiss]

He makes comments like these with such a serious expression, we call him "ometto" (little man) constantly and we cannot help laughing (and worrying at the same time). I mean, what is Tronk gonna say next? "Mamma, your period is due tomorrow"? Help!

Today I have started to realize that it might not just be a language thing (see video below).

Zia Pina bought him some cream for his rash on the chin. Today, he managed to grab the tube of cream, unscrew the cap and was applying the cream to his chin. He is a two year old for God's sake! I would expect him to at least put the cream on his favorite stuffed animal but no. He reminded me that he should not put Bambi on his chin after he put cream on it. "Non metti Bambi su mento con crema!" (You should not put Bambi on my chin after I put cream on it!) Frightening.

It then happens that we are sitting in the car and Tronk makes a speech, with his usual serious straight face.
Here is a small chunck of the ten minutes speech in the video below:
"Gioca bimbo paletta sabbia Porta la pappa Fa la cacca pa-stel-la la luna!...  tante macchine!" (Child plays scoop sand Brings food Poops Crayona the moon!... so many cars!) A complete non-sense ending in "so many cars".

At that point, I relax and stop worrying about the future.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Espresso for my two year old, thanks - Caffe' per il mio bimbo, grazie

I had just managed to get out of the house and to survive a crowded bus ride, when I finally saw Starbucks a few yards away. I could already imagine how nice the coffee tasted there and the lifting of my soul after my first sip. Right in that moment, I heard William scream, "Bambi! Bambi! Bambi!"

I need a fix! Give me Bambi!
"I said No!", I replied trying to keep a firm but not angry tone.

There is no way I would walk all the way home (or wait for another crowded bus) to go to pick up Bambi! Bambi is a little fawn stuffed animal Tronk has fallen in love with. He sleeps with it, eats with it, puts it in his toy shopping cart and carries everywhere in the house. The dirty bugger has swept our floor, cleaned our glass windows, mixed with the residues of our coffee after falling in the sink, was dropped by mistake in the toilet, has visited every corner of our house, rubbed his nose first against ragu' and broccoli then against Tronk's face. If I wasn't standing at the door with a firm "No!", I am sure Tronk would take the damned thing outside the house and who knows where else he would throw it.  Though I tried to wash it twice, I am sure it carries layers of dirt and deadly bacteria. We suspect his irritated red chin might have resulted from the constant rubbing of Bambi on his face.

Before leaving the house, I offered him a Ferrari and a Lamborghini car. No, he had to have Bambi!

Me: "Mi dispiace, non ho Bambi. Bambi e' a casa!" (Sorry, I don't have Bambi. Bambi is at home!)
Tronk: "Nooooo! Bambi! Bambi! Bambi!"
Me: "Mi dispiace ,Bambi e' a casa!"  (Sorry, Bambi is at home!), I repeated
Tronk: "Ciuccio! Ciuccio! Ciuccio!" (as soon as he heard that Bambi was not available he started asking for the binky)
Me: "Non ho un ciuccio, mi dispiace William" (I don't have a binky, sorry William) 
Tronk: "No, ciuccio! No Ciuccio! Noooooo! Bambi! Bambi!" [desperate tone] (as soon as he heard I didn't have a binky he switched back to asking for Bambi)

"Basta! You need a coffee! I am going to get you one!" I joked out of frustration while I was trying to tell the barista at Starbucks what type of coffee I wanted. I looked at my change. The amount was less than I expected. "I must have given them a five!" I was then hit by total surprise when my order arrived: instead of one cappuccino there were two cappuccinos with my name on it! "Excuse me, there must be a mistake", I  said puzzled.

Apparently, the barista thought I ordered a second cappuccino for Tronk! I just could not imagine that the joke of a stressed mother could be taken so seriously. It turned out that it wasn't the first time that a mom had ordered a coffee for a toddler. The barista admitted with a slightly embarrassed look on his face that another mom (a coffee addict like me) has recently turned her two year old into one of Starbucks's most faithful customers!

At the end, I had to drink two coffees while Tronk was only allowed to take a sniff.
The barley drink with coffee flavor given to children in Italy
What a shame Starbucks does not sell Orzo Bimbo, the healthy barley drink with coffee flavor I was drinking as a child. If they did, I am 99% sure an entire army of Massachusetts moms would order it. Mothers and toddlers would get their fix together and there would be peace for all.