Ex Pat Mamma

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

perhaps NASA can learn something

temperature is down; vomiting is up. Vomiting of which a 15 stone beer guzzler could be proud. Where does it come from? Where does he store it before it all launches out like a Columbia shuttle launch?
Boy is not well and still banned from communal gatherings. Mamma and papá try to juggle everything and generally fall short. Clothes, sleeping bags, sheets are in an endless cycle of laundry. Arnobio is holding up pretty good - no stains, despite suspicious odour, so we'll hold out with him till the weekend.

I last breast fed over a year ago. And yet... especially when he is sick, a little milk still escapes. The female body remains a mystery, not least to females. It is part of our mystique. Or something.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

fever, vomiting, misery. and attitude

er pupo is sick again. Last week he was bright as a button. That's a very shiny jeans-type button, not the dark plastic ones you get on men's shirts. He was ready for the MMR. Owing to his highly inconsiderate allergy to eggs, the whole thing was quite the circus and mother and toddler went up to hospital to have the jag administered under the supervision of paeds and nurses and auxiliaries and vets (might have made the last part up) and then we stayed for 2 hours to be "monitored" in case of some adverse reaction. There was a reaction, but only to the massive room full of toys in which er pupo was to wait. There was even a child-size formula one car that he got to play in (batteries thankfully removed). I was knackered within an hour. Er pupo had a brilliant time.

So home we go, happy and healthy is he. Till Monday, I am in my office, enjoying my morning ritual of waiting 15 minutes for my antique PC to start up (GOD, I miss my mac and she is still busted, but don't start me on that), when dagmamma calls to tell me to come right away, he has a fever of 38.5 and his eyes are rolling. Last night, it was over 39 and he woke hourly looking for something to drink.

I put it down to the MMR. A delayed reaction. The trusty internet confirmed my suspicions. The doctor this afternoon did not, and called it "an ear infection" and gave him antibiotics. Thankfully, he isn't in pain (at least, not in his ears), but I have a sneaking suspicion that doctors in Iceland use "ear infection" the way in the UK they use "virus." It's a catch-all when they don't know what is wrong or what to do, but in this pharmaceuticalised land, parents get the reassurance of walking away with a prescription. In er pupo's case, it seems to be working very quickly and tonight his temperature was a reassuring 37.6 and that without paracetamol.

The boy is well enough, it would seem, to express his preferences. And the boy has taste. I put him in his cheap and fluffly soft slippery shoes from China. He seems happy enough. For about 5 seconds. Then he spots his fancy Italian expensive sandals and cries out for them. I hand them over, he rips of the soft shoes and throws them down, and proceeds to attempt to beclad himself in the sandals. Fair enough, I love a good pair of shoes myself and I can't fault his taste.

He managed a good play session this evening, involving climbing into the shower and getting stuck whilst I was indisposed (oh, use your imagination!) and whining because I wouldn't push him on his little car. (Hey, my arm is still sore here!)

I'll be home tomorrow morning, then in to teach some more; hubby will take over and hopefully, if his temperature continues to fall, we can fire him back to daycare on Thursday. It's not that I don't like looking after my son, it's just that, well... I kinda like my time in the office too!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

tick, tock, tick, tock

So this year, I shall be thirty. As shall a number of my dearest friends. And you know what? I couldn't give a damn. Having a baby ages one way more than any numbers. I've felt thirty+ for a good year and a half, and, if truth be told, my lifestyle has been more "thirties" than "flirties" since I moved to Iceland and got a grown up job, the result of which was that every time I found myself in the pub (which was rare, as I needed to see my bank manager in advance every time), I also found a bunch of students who all wanted to discuss work. And, well, singing I will survive on top of a table is not something you want them to remember at 8am on Monday morning. Not that I would ever do that. Anymore. DVDs and cake, quite enough excitement for me these days.

How come birthdays and Christmas (for me, fused together but the unfortunate timing of my parents' debauchery) seem to occur every couple of months?

I watched a documentary on Take That the other day. (I can feel your virtual envy cascading over the web as you read of my exciting life) One of them was quoted as saying he saw the writing on the wall when the flat chested 13 yearolds had turned into big bosomed 18 yearolds. Hell, we've all got kids now! Even half of them! Hubby says Robbie is the new Cliff Richard.

Getting older is easy. Easier than dying, anyway. Raising kids, now that's what creates the wrinkles.

Back to normal plus 10%

He is healthy. DEFINITELY healthy. Too healthy. It's like he has bonus energy and feels the need to run around trashing the house and being generally mental all day. But, heheh! For 8 hours a day, that isn't MY house.
He's also eating constantly and keeps waking up at night and crying because he is hungry. You'd think he hadn't eaten for a week. Oh, yeah, well, yeah. I guess.

Just in time to poison him again with a trip to the hospital on Thursday for his MMR. Normally this would be done at the surgery, but er pupo is allergic to egg, so they need to do it at the hospital "just in case." Just in case of WHAT? Well, if only I knew. Then again, perhaps it's better I don't know... MMR is cultured in an egg (or something) so goodness knows what will happen when they inject it into him.

Meanwhile, my laptop is BUSTED big time. 9 months old apple. Everyone said: "oh, get an apple, they're the best, bla bla, noone ever regrets getting an apple." Not till NOW! Thankfully, US warranty will pay up as she needs a new motherboard. How is that even possible on a 9 month old machine?! Hard drive is allegedly safe. We'll see... the work stuff is all backed up, but what about the important things like all my photos of er pupo? And my slightly embarassing downloads from itunes? (No, of course I didn't burn them onto cds, because I assumed my ninemonth old mac was made of tougher stuff.) Did I mention she was only 9 months old?! Poor baby has been sent to Reykjavik for said new motherboard and will be returned in due course. I have to pay for some "admin" expenses (hah! Sending an email to America and waiting for them to send the cheque) but at least I don't have to pay for a whole new laptop.

Friday, January 19, 2007


if, touch wood, er pupo's toilet habits continue to improve, I can come back to work on Monday and give my arm a rest! Meanwhile, it's the office for me this weekend (please note, it is Friday 7pm, I am here and unlikely to be going home anytime soon. Though, as you can see, not exactly "working" as such..., well, everybody needs a little break between R v R and Donogue)

must be getting better then...

yesterday evening he sparked back to life and played and laughed and laughed and played. Then collapsed exhausted and went to bed. This morning, he woke up and chirped away to himself in his cot until I crawled out of bed to see to him. (Readers, I had been up a number of times during the night providing milk, so crawling was the most that could be expected.) He was in a very good mood and asked for his milk, behaved for his nappy change (clean, hurrah! despite night milk) and then had some caramel yoghurt for breakfast. Lots! It does, admittedly taste of candy. Whilst pottering about in and out of the bathroom, he suddently disappeared. A few seconds later, I saw a shadow inside the shower box. I opened the doors to find a very big grin on a very little face. Er pupo can now officially shower alone. Or so he thinks. With his shoes on. But hey, he can climb in over a step as high as his groin and slide the doors completely shut (especially when mamma is at the other side, trying to repeatedly open them. which isn't so easy from the outside). I tried not to pay too much attention and definitely not to tell him off, for that is a sure fire way to guarantee he will be in there at every opportunity. He hasn't quite sussed out the faucet, but unfortunately it is well within toddler reach and the water can come out at 70 degrees. If you've got a ball, I'll find a chain.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


er pupo will NOT go to daycare. Not a well boy :( The only thing he ate all day was tomato soup, which came speedily out again in both directions. One armed mamma spent the day desperately trying to get water and milk into him, change nappies and clothes (and change those clothes again. and again), clean up skitters and spew and generaly provide comfort (cuddling, oh cuddling, and you must stand by the stereo. I said STAND, not sit, you lazy old mamma) to His Royal Whinginess. Hubby of course was "too busy" and came home at 3, too late to go to the doctor, but just in time to send one armed mother out to get the groceries. And then act all resentful about the fact he had to do the washing up and put his own washing away. All done, of course, as slowly as possible so that he could look very busy and laboured, whilst actually doing as little as possible, and I battled with entertaining sick pupo, washing some very unpleasant bedclothes and muslins, and changing er pupo's sheets.

I suspect my arm won't be getting better anytime soon. More complaining from me to follow...

Monday, January 15, 2007

There's always a bright side

1) It's not broken, just torn ligaments all over the shop.
2) I didn't lose all my teeth. This should not be underestimated. Given that despite both hands being thrust out in front of me I still ended up with a mouthfull of snow, and peeling it off my goggles, I imagine were it not for the said torn ligaments, I would be looking like an extra from Fight Club and facing bankruptcy. Dentistry is completely private here (including for kids!) and completely cartel-ified. I'll settle for 50 quid and a couple of hours hanging about A&E for exrays.

And when I wrote "river"? You know I mean "burn." About 30cm at it's deepest point. Which of course was the point at which I went in, and the point at which the ski remained. One metre later it was about 5cm deep and lots of pretty stones. You should have heard that bubbling burn. Pretty, pretty sounds.

But I'm looking on the bright side! It wasn't a tidal navigable river.

Back to sofa, hubby has been ordered to bring home the goods (i.e. choccie). Er pupo will have to go to daycare tomorrow, cold and fever notwithstanding as I cannot impose on my buddies to do boy-lifting again. And he'll have to go extra early, because hubby will have to take him before his class starts at 8am.

Maybe it's the drugs. But it's starting to be a little funny.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The word "knob" was invented to describe me.

So I envisage myself as this superchic skibunny type (at some time in the future!) but in the meanwhie, need to actually learn to ski. I went up today and it was icy and visibility was rubbish, so despite skiing actually ok, I went off the path, because I couldn't SEE the path I thought I was on a path, but it turned out to be a ditch. With a river in it. Being a ditch, there is no room to turn, or sway side to side (no idea what it's called) so one picks up a fair speed. The snow collapsed under my weight, one ski went IN the river and I went face first into a bleeding ditch. I put my arms out in front instinctively (or I'd probably have no teeth!) but in so doing, I have totally busted my right arm. I then had to fish the damn ski out of the river, which meant wading IN the river. Of course, this was all in a ditch, so there was nobody around to see or help me (which may, in retrospect be a blessing, since I'll bet my supertrendy students were up there). I'm waiting on a buddy to run me up to the hospital to get some meds as I can't drive and I can't lift er pupo, and he has a cold and a temperature, so can't go to daycare and tomorrow hubby teaches from 8 till 2.15 so I've no idea how I will get him out the cot :( I mean, if there is a river to be skied into, you can bet your butt that I'll be the one that skis into it. At least er pupo wasn't with me for this little foray into slapstick. Slapstick of a particularly unfunny kind. Unless you are one mean SOB.

Yeah, go on, have a good snigger, Ms Acorn Diaries.

Friday, January 12, 2007

He really is...

that naughty.

Oh dear. And I thought he just gave the attitude to his mamma. Hubby gave him a row last night for something or other, and the response was a big laugh. Dagmamma told me this morning that sometimes he pushes the other kids. (The shame, the shame of it.) I told her she should give him a row (in case she didn't feel that she was allowed to or something) and she said she did... and you know what? He laughs. Laughs right at her. Then goes back to whatever he isn't meant to do with a big cheesy grin and giggling.

He's too little for "time out" on the basis that I cannot leave him alone for more than a millisecond or he'll either destroy himself or, more likely, whatever is in the room.

He's too little to blackmail, on the basis that he doesn't actually have any vocabulary.

He gets the very ocassional smack on the hand, but there is no point overdoing that, or it will become irrelevant. And sometimes I hold his wrist and give him a firm: "Do I have to give you a smack?" And you know what? He laughs.

Damn him! He's tougher than James bleeding Bond. "I will tell you nothing. Nothing. We will destroy your evil enterprise. You will not succeed. Britain shall prevail." (I originally wrote that with "the Taleban" in place of "James bleeding Bond" and continued in that vein. But then I decided it was racist and objectionable so rewrote it. It's not nearly so funny now, but hey, at least I won't invite a fatwa.)

Our other boy issue is that, well, quite honestly, he smells. I think it is a gorgeous smell. But in our sanitised little World, I'm not so sure that others agree. He had baby eczema, so we only showered him twice a week, and are still somewhere around that level (maybe 3 times a week, if he has a particularly vicious poo). Of course his butt is thoroughly cleaned and perfumed and cleaned again. But no longer is he a lazy baby lying around all day and not getting dirty. Now he is official toddler, running around constantly, getting all sweaty, playing outside in the snow (albeit clad such as to make the Michelin man envious) and generally smearing food into his every crevice. Well, not EVERY crevice, he's not that rude yet. But anyway, his hair-fluff, neck, ears, etc. And his dear little fluffy head smells so lovely when you hold him. But perhaps only to his mamma. And his father, who I'm amazed can smell anything, since he only changes his own clothes once a month.*
*May be slight exaggeration.

And when we do bother to wash him (er pupo, not husband, who can jolly well wash his own self. I think), we don't use soap. (Shampoo remains irrelevant is The Baldy Viking has not yet the need.) Again, from the excema habit and also because, well, water seems to do the trick and give him such lovely soft skin. I suspect soap of causing dryness. In fact, now I think about it, I wonder if it is that new shower gel that is making my own eczema so horrible these days?

Now, taking these together, one MIGHT think: Aha! Punish the child by washing him more often! "If you try to bite me one more time, I will give you a shower! With SOAP!"
Those who might suspect such a thing know nothing.
1) I don't wash my son, because, well, frankly, I can't be bothered. Should I instigate the shower-punishment thing, I'd spend most of my day naked and shivering whilst trying to keep a wriggling toddler still while I a) wash him, b) dry him. During b) he'd be naughty again, so back to a) we would go.
2) My son loves the shower. Hardly a punishment.

So, ladies and gentlemen, if you have any wordly advice to offer with regard to problem I behaviour and punishment and II being smelly, except that I LOVE the smell, I trust you will not hesitate.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Why is it that...

when I give er pupo a row, he either ignores me, throws something (else) on the floor, laughs, or tries to bite me.
And when hubby gives him a row, he goes all quiet for a record 5 seconds, ponders it and remains well-behaved for at least half a minute?

Er pupo got a new toy last night because obviously three boxes of plastic, with the odd bit of wood thrown in for class, are not enough to entertain his 18 month old person. But this toy was an investment and should improve my Sunday morning sanity. Er pupo loves to copy his dad in the kitchen and "cook" with him. However, this usually involves pulling all the pots out of the cupboard, onto the tiles, and generally banging and scraping them around a bit. You see where the Sunday morning sanity comes in. Yesterday, I presented him with his very own toy cooker, with side panel sink and food prep area. He is delighted. So delighted that one of the first things he did was drag it from the living room to the kitchen (like, DUH, mum, it's a COOKER) and then blow kisses both to the cooker itself and to his mamma for having given it to him.

And I am delighted. Because it is a hell of a lot quieter than pots.

Jamie Oliverino, eat your heart out.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

18 months

and a few hours. Since our life was turned upside down by the arrival of er pupo.

We have returned to Iceland, following a week in Italy and a week (including Christmas in Scotland). I'd like to say it's good to be back, but... do miss the eager (and free) babysitters. We had a great trip and a lovely Christmas with my folks in Scotland. We saw loads of relatives and friends and in Scotland drank our annual quota of scotch. yum yum.

We flew back to Iceland on 31 December, and got stuck in Reykjavik for two nights as there were no flights north till the 2nd; meanwhile, hubby and I both got flu and er pupo and I fell down a flight of steps on New Year's Day. Miraculously, he is ok, though I am still quite shaken by the whole experience. Having escaped injury, er pupo decided to compensate by throwing himself into a supporting wall (it's hard to explain, but quite simply, it hurt a lot and he got a massive lump and bruise). God punished me by breaking my 9 month old apple ibook, which is now in the shop and because i got it in the US, the warranty isn't valid here, so i expect megabills.

All in all, not the most fantastic start to the year (though admittedly a fine end to 2006). I plan to start over on 14th Jan, which is orthodox New Year. I think I'll pass on getting er pupo circumcised for it though...

work beckons, lots as usual, but this year brings with it a sabbatical. woohoo! And in the summer, the ferry will run from Seyjisfjordur to Scrabster, so it is likely we will go over with that, stack the car high and come back with whole piles of my old books which are too expensive to ship.

The year SHALL get better. It can only... (well, I won't say that, because I said that just before my mac packed up)