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Day Two.  It began much like yesterday… slept in a bit (7:30 am today), had to wake the girls up (8:00 am).  Chantal and I even got to have a shower – separately, but a shower all the same.  Things were off to an even better start than yesterday, actually.  We all went downstairs and I made the girls porridge while Chantal made Seren’s lunch (and her own).  Usually, Seren and Olwyn are so hungry in the morning that we subdue their aggression with a little kiddie pot each of rice crispies, which they happily nibble on until the porridge has reached suitable consistency.  Occasionally I make a mess of the porridge and no one eats it, which makes me angry.  I’m not sure if I get angry because they don’t eat the food that I lovingly prepared for them, or if it’s because I feel like an idiot for turning my back on the stove for just long enough to turn the porridge into a substance resembling mortar or grout.  I suspect it’s a bit of both.  However, this morning’s porridge was michelin-star worthy, topped with a healthy dollop of honey and a few shakes of cinnamon.  Then Seren got a hold of the cinnamon and nearly emptied it – half in her bowl and the other half all over the table!  She’s a crackerjack!

The Multi-Purpose Camping Mat - Hours of Joy!

Chantal has to leave the house a few minutes before us.  Otherwise, if she walks down the road with us, Seren and Olwyn break down like they’re never going to see her again, when she actually does part ways with us.  I entertained the girls this morning on our trek to the playgroup, by running with them in the buggy, swerving back and forth, executing near-misses with sign posts like I was Michael Schumacher (F1 driver, for those who don’t know).  One of Seren’s ‘new things’ is to say “Go fast Daddy!”, whenever I push at normal walking speed.  She must have noticed the spare tires appearing around my mid section over the winter.  Other than that, the morning routine was just that.

Back at home with my little Snowflake (Olwyn), we were both excited to continue where we left off yesterday with our dance training.  If anybody out there knows Tricky and his album ‘Maxinquaye’, don’t bother trying to dance to it with a 19 month old.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great album… one of my all-time favourites actually, but not really conducive to the joyful frolicking of a toddler.  So, I put in Sam Roberts’ album ‘Chemical City’ and straight away Olwyn was fancy free and foot loose!  After a bit of rug-cutting, Olwyn happily went for a nap.

Today’s weather was your average, stereotypical Irish day… four seasons per hour, every hour.  On our way home from picking up Seren, the wind picked up and within seconds it was lashing.  Only moments earlier, it was relatively balmy and summery.  Now it was like winter!  Cold, gale-force winds and pouring rain.  So, with the girls in the double buggy, I legged it home as fast as I could.  Unfortunately, it all happened so fast that I was unable to get the rain cover over them before it really got going.  Oh well, we were all wet and it was kind of fun!

We had sausages, eggs and toast for lunch and it always amazes me how a child’s tastes can change so effortlessly, and absolutely (more on that later).  Olwyn has now eaten eggs twice in the last week, after not going near them for the past year.  They ate all of their lunch, which pleases me no end, and so I gave them a treat of rice pudding.

Yummy Rice Pudding!

I had to go somewhere this afternoon to deal with some administrative issue and so, after lunch and some playtime, I packed up the girls and we went for a 45 minute walk to Dun Laoghaire.  On our way home, not long after we left the building, it started to pour down again.  So, I had a wet, 40 minute walk ahead of me.  It eventually stopped… when we were two minutes from our front door!  So, as the girls ceased transpiring and were at a high level of relative humidity inside the buggy-tunnel, I let them out to breathe and walk the rest of the way.  I thought it was the responsible thing to do.  Plus, they got to crawl all over the giant sculpture near our house of a mother and baby.

Mother and Baby (and children) Sculpture

We made it home and the girls were dry.  I, on the other hand, was not!  But there’s something liberating about walking in the rain.  I used to love it when I was a kid too.  We played more, read more books and Seren was a great help, putting Olwyn down for her afternoon nap.

 We Skyped with Seren and Olwyn’s grandma and grandpa before dinner and had a great chat.  At one stage, Olwyn walked over to me and just says, “Daddy, naked!  Daddy, naked!”  I know what you’re thinking and it’s true.  I had forgotten to put dry clothes on after taking off my wet ones, but my parents didn’t seem to mind.  At least they didn’t say anything during our video call.  “You’d like to get naked Olwyn?”  I asked.  “Nyep daddy… nyep peeeeeuhhhhzzze”  So Olwyn got her wish.  If only we all were so uninhibited and free.  Well actually, it’s probably better that we’re not.  Eventually, Olwyn had an ‘accident’ on the floor, right beside the potty and she got very upset.  So upset in fact, that when she took a moment to look up at me, she darted towards her daddy, only to slip and fall to her butt and elbows!  She was so cute when she was crying, confused and bewildered.  All she wanted was to be told that it was going to be okay, that I wasn’t mad at her, to be given a few warm cuddles and to wipe the piss off of her dripping limbs!
So, we took this event as a sign to end our Skype call and for me to get dinner on.  Fish, peas and rice were on the menu and I must say, it was scrumptious!  The girls were going a little squirrely with the hunger though and so, to get them under control (and out of my way – to be honest) I gave them a kiwi to share and put some Charlie and Lola videos from the internet, on the computer.

Zombie Creation

Before what I’m about to tell you had happened, I was going to write in this post, that I don’t know who I should thank.  Should I thank the creators of Charlie and Lola for making a sweet, funny, educational, animated programme, in short, ten minute bursts?  Or should I thank the creator of the internet, for providing a portable, accessible, medium, which contains all the world’s entertainment?  Or both?!!  This however, is where the day went completely pear-shaped.  Seren, who has eaten and loved fish for three years now, took one bite then ran to spit it out in the bin.  I was not pleased.  She refused to eat any fish and barely ate any peas or rice.  I’m telling you, this was good eatin’!  So earlier, I had Olwyn eating eggs and now Seren refusing to eat fish… I felt like I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone!  Olwyn ate her own and Seren’s fish, shovelling it in with both hands!  At this point, Seren turned into the spawn of Satan and literally was screaming “NO!” and “GO AWAY!” and “I WON’T TALK TO YOU!” and other things like that.  She was whipping toys around the living room and even took her water bottle and sprayed all over the floor and one of the chairs!  She’s lucky she didn’t get my CD’s!!

You Better Not Get My CD's!

I’ve never witnessed this behaviour quite so intense from her before and was rather hurt, shocked,

What The F&%k?!!

confused, frustrated,

Why Me? Why Now?

etc.  I tried to calm her, talk to her, reason with her and kept asking her to talk to me, use her words and explain what the heck was going on!  I even tried punishment,

You're Cruisin' For A Bruisin'!

at which I was screamed and laughed at!  I don’t want to belabour the issue, but I think I dealt with it the best I could.  I had serious doubts afterwards, of my ability to mind my two girls full-time, but deep down I know I can.  I made sure to have a couple of quick chats (wish I could say beers), not lectures, with her before bed, reminding her that I love her and that we’ll work on things together.  It was pretty emotional and very tiring!  I know I’ve got two great girls, but they certainly aren’t perfect… and neither am I.  I wouldn’t want to pretend it was any other way.  I guess you can plan ’til your heart’s content, but you’ll never manufacture the perfect day.

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