Christmas is gone….

 

It was Christmas day (finally!!). It was my little one’s second Christmas, but I feel it was the first one.

Why?

Because this Christmas he was more “aware” of what was going on. I don’t think he can fully understand what was going on, particularly me going mental from one corner of the kitchen to the other and moving him away from the oven every time I wanted to check on the turkey.

We started the day “as usual as possible” giving him his usual breakfast. And then, the opening of the presents left under the tree. That was a marvel on its own for him I think. I could see on his face the wonder of ripping paper off to discover a wood train or a puzzle (it was a very conscious decision not to buy thousands of presents, just be ruthless with ourselves and go for a few things we knew he would like).

I think the present’s session did exhaust him, because after that he went straight for a nap, a long nap of an hour and a half. Enough time for me to tidy up the front room, set up the table and start cooking. Ah, and get changed into something more civilised and suitable for the occasion. I have to confess, this last thing – getting changed – was a whole challenge for me. Normally used to go around in casual clothes to go to work, then with my uniform at work and then when I get home get changed again into tracksuits and t-shirts, you know when you just get so used to do something and be a certain way, sometimes you forget and continue on the same routine despite the date and the occasion. But somehow I thought to do the effort, as my mother would say “for the picture”.

My little one woke up from his nap – just in time for the cooking – timing – frenzy kick off – and somehow everything went so smooth I can hardly believe. As I was cooking/peeling/chopping he brought some toys and played happily; no need to mention I ended up with all of his toys in the kitchen in less than an hour. But that is a blessing in disguise considering he did not try to help me to cook on this particular occasion.

We had lunch all together and the brussels sprouts where a hit for him. He loved them, and the carrots and the parsnips. No turkey for him – he gave it a miss – but the rest was a whole feast in itself, and that is not mentioning his devotion to Yorkshire puddings. As we ended completely stuffed, he was ready to carry on playing and running around the flat.

Time for the Queen’s speech! And that was the only time I turned the TV on. He was absolutely besotted for 2 minutes. Then he started to try to turn it off, either by using his fake remote control (yes, an old remote control saved countless discussions!) or the on/off button. I have to say I found it hilarious to say the least!! The Queen’s speech gone, TV off, so we carry on playing for the rest of the afternoon.

The day ended as it normally ends, with his dinner, some quiet play, bath and bed. He was – I want to think – a happy boy for the day.

As for me, I am happy, contented. If I look back a year ago, I remember myself being lost, confused, trying to get into terms of this thing of being a mum, trying to understand my son, who at the time was so small and fragile. I can see now that my son was not the only one who was fragile; I can see now I was fragile as well, trying to stand up – or at least trying to hold my head up whilst holding the most precious gift life could ever give me.

It is fair to say that as my little one grows in strength I do so as well. I think we are both growing and learning from each other, following the natural flow of life, I think trying to understand less and starting to enjoy each moment more.

And that can only be a good thing.

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And the smell…oh, the smell…

Fresh Bread

I baked bread.

  It was therapeutic.

It felt good.

Fulfilling.

It was grey , and I had one of those urges to bake bread.

I have to say, my urge  did wait patiently for us to run out of bread, so I can  sort of justify the baking.

The pleasure of taking it from the oven, fresh, hot and with that scent that    reminded me of home.

Once the bread cooled down, I gave it to my little one to hold it and feel its  weight.

It was simply amazing how he grabbed the loaf and , to my surprise, smelled it  instead of try to eat it. That came later.

I took the loaf and cut a slice.

I don’t know what sort of magic the noise of the blade cutting the bread crust has, but he was completely mesmerised.

I gave him the slice, and with his little hands took it as if it was something fragile. And, he surprised me again, he smelled it, look at the slice, and then, he cut the slice in half, and he started to eat it.

He did like it. No breadcrumbs were left….

And….It has been such a long time….

It has been such a long time after the last post.

I just cannot believe how much time has passed, and the most incredible thing is, I don’t feel that much time has gone like water under a bridge.

My little one is now 10 months old, he is crawling and trying to walk in his own very peculiar way; he babbles like there’s no tomorrow from 06:30 in the morning until 20:00 when he goes to sleep.

I laugh when I read my last post, regarding all the hurdles I had to jump in order to get into the airport in Buenos Aires, and that feels like a very distant memory. BTW, you really want to know what happened when we got to passport control and customs?

Well, long story short, we passed passport control pretty straight forward – controls in Argentinian Airports are nothing like the checks in England, trust me on that one – but the inconvenience started when we had to go through bags control and the infamous x ray machine.

I say infamous because the police officers made it like that. I give you the picture: I was leaving my mother behind, with my little one half asleep, juggling hand bag, bag, pram, passports, flight tickets after a quite agitated beginning of the day only to end up in a queue after being told by a lovely girl at the BA desk I was going to go straight through the fast track queue. YEAH RIGHT.

I followed the signs towards the “fast track” only to find out it was a “closed lane”. I even – naively – went to ask if such a queue existed, only to find out that yes, it *did* exist, but oh, not today. They did not have enough passengers with a need for it, and oh, there’s only 2 (yes, two) x ray machines working.

Well, at least I had everything sorted in a way; going through the x ray machine was going to be like a walk in the park.

That is, if I was in another airport.

After waiting for 30 minutes in the queue, finally my turn to go through the x ray machine came. I started to prepare my little one to get out of the pram, put the bags on the tray, removed the milk and food from the backpack neatly separated in transparent bags, and a full explanation in my mind for when the police officer ask about the formula milk in cartons.

But guess what? I did not have to give any explanations. Instead, I had to pass the pram through the x ray machine. To my amazement, I was asked to fold the pram and put it on the x ray machine. Let’s recap here; I was alone, with my 7 months old and two bags. A man – shall I say gentleman? – offered to help me, but guess what? The police said no. I asked the police officer how did he expect me to fold the pram, what should I do, put the bags through the x ray machine, then the baby, then the pram? It felt like the tale of what would you cross first, the chicken the eggs or the fox.

His answer, “It is not my business”. Yep. That was his answer.

So, I left my little one seated on the floor, folded the pram. At this point, my bags, with the passport, the money, flight tickets, computer, phone, camera was on the other side of the x ray machine. And to add insult to injury, the police officer decided to move the queue a bit, letting other passengers go through. Cheers for that.

Pram went through the x ray machine. On the other side of the x ray machine, finally someone – I believe it was a supervisor – came to find out what was going on. She asked if I needed some help, I answered yes, but I was not quite sure if the police officers would allow her to help me. To which she answered that obviously some people there did not know what it was like to be travelling alone with a baby. Before I left the x ray machine I did take my sweet time to check that nothing was missing. Of course, needless to say, under the evil looks of the police officers.

At that point, my little one was starting to get hungry, and I desperately needed a coffee. So we went for a quick look around the free shop whilst looking for a place to sit down and fulfil our needs. And choose between two coffee shops, one more expensive than the other, with a very limited range.

The time to jump on the plane came, the flight was marvellous, the crew ever so caring! I think it was just the right TLC we needed after the ordeal.

Conclusion:

– Argentinian customs are not mother-and-child-travelling-alone friendly when it’s very early in the morning during weekends.
– The coffee shops are outrageously expensive and the choices are limited, again, very early in the morning during weekends.
– There are some charitable souls out there, even when it’s the weekend, and very early in the morning.