Want You Some More?

What a fantastic weekend! Despite the almost-unbearable chill in Vienna, we had a great time exploring and seeing some sights in this beautiful city. In addition, the Kings of Leon concert was out-of-bounds awesome. I promise to tell you all about when I’m feeling a little better. I’ve got a bit of a tummy bug that the Mom enjoyed last week. Honestly, I believe this family is slowing trying to kill me with all these little sicknesses. Either that or they’re building up my immunity to be so strong as to be able to take on 1,000 robots in immune-system-to-immune-system combat.

For now I want to share a funny moment from this morning. After putting together breakfast for everyone and cleaning it up I knew I needed to come back upstairs to lay down a for bit. Luckily the grandma is here so I can do this and the kids will be supervised. I came down to make a cup of tea a couple hours later. I sat on the sofa with Little Bean while I waited for the tea to cool. She asked me if I was hungry and if she could feed me. Giving in to her squeaky voice and unfailing charm, I said yes.

She sat on my lap with a bowl and a spoon and proceeded to shove “food” in my mouth. As she happily filled my belly with her imaginary food, she laughed and giggled, exclaiming that the meat she was giving me, “is so alicious!” I always ask her if he food is delicious when we we’re eating, and this is her two-year-old take on the word. She then scrapes the remaining food off the plate and yells, “last bite!” as she pops it in my mouth. Little Bean hops up and asks, “Want you some more food, Bistina?” Of course, my little friend. How could I deny her?

After four more plates of food, she determined it was time for me to sleep. She pushed me down on the sofa and covered me with nooshies and toys for a good night’s rest. “Gut nacht,” she said as she patted my arm, rubbed my back and ran away screaming that I was schlaffen on the sofa. I love her. So much. I am going to miss her terribly when I leave. I asked her last week when just the two of us were eating breakfast, right after she smashed our heads together and threw her arms around my shoulders, if she wanted to come back to America with me. She laughed and said no. Naturally, I’m a little upset she doesn’t want to become my adopted daughter but I can somewhat understand her reluctance to leave behind her family. But, she still has two weeks to change her mind…


So Much to Share!

This past weekend I ventured to the southern part of Switzerland to visit Zermatt and the much-famed Matterhorn. It was, no exaggeration, the most awesome (in the true sense of the word, inspiring awe) sight I have ever seen. Truly amazing. I will tell you all about more when I get some pictures from my partner in crime who came with me. He takes impeccable photos and I want to be able to post them here. OK, maybe just one little taste…

Ahh, Magnificence.

In the meantime, there are so many things I want to share with you. There’s really no cohesiveness to the bunch, so I figure I will just list them out. Make of it what you will.

  • Stumbled across a blog this morning while reading yet another blog. Dear Ex Girlfriend is dedicated to cathartics. Th author can write either incriminating and damning or apologetic and pining notes to girls from his past. I thought it was such a funny concept and after reading the two that are posted, the man proves to be a wee bit heartbroken, yet comical and lighthearted. A perfect middle-of-the-day, take-your-mind-off-of-things read.
  • Honestly, I should be hired to do publicity and marketing for Stuff White People Like. I feel like I am sharing samples from it all the time. This morning’s agenda is a perfect example of a tiny piece of my life. If I didn’t know it before I am convinced now, I work for White People.

    When Hilary Clinton said it takes a village to raise a child, she wasn’t kidding. She was talking about white children and she didn’t mean that it takes a full society to properly raise a child. She was actually talking about a small village in the Philippines* that produces the finest nannies in the world.

    Obviously, the presence of a nanny allows a white parent to return to work. But white people will still hire nannies even if one parent stays home.** This then enables the parent to focus on art, writing, or their consulting business. It also helps them avoid dealing with any gross things produced by the child, such as diaper messes or the aftermath of macaroni art.

    If you want to make a white person feel bad, just tell them that your mother was a nanny to a white family and that you are glad that at least one of you could have a happy childhood and a mom with a career.

    *or maybe the United States

    **unfortunately, true

  • Little Bean is slowly learning to potty-train (see above quotation). A pink, plastic, mini-potty has been sitting in the downstairs bathroom since my arrival. Perhaps just looking at it will inspire LB to whip off her diaper and give it a go. The grandma was encouraging her to give it a “go” (so to speak) this morning. LB removed everything from the waist down and first walked around the first floor, enjoying her new-found freedom. She then made her way on the teeny toilet and began to contemplate. Sensing something wasn’t right, she jumped up and ran out to the cabinet to find the keystone to the WC situation. She ran back into the bathroom and resumed her seat; sitting on her lap was a picture book. She crossed her legs and began flipping pages in her little book. I couldn’t help but explode with laughter at the sight. Apparently she’s inferred a thing or two based on the stacks of magazines left in there by the parents…
  • I went running on the treadmill this afternoon and this song came on my ipod. I had just created a new playlist for working out, aka mutating into a sweat monster. “Fader” came on and I was surprised to find how perfect it is for running and throwing around weights. There’s not much to say, other than I think it’s super upbeat and worth listening to while jogging, walking down the street, or doing as I later did: playing it through your speakers and dancing around your room like the dance machine you are born to be…with the curtains open.

Is There an Echo (Echo)?

Best Friends!

Little Bean is at the crucial and influential stage when she is repeating almost every. single. thing. she hears. She is a sponge, absorbing practices and customs of those around her. Many mornings Taz will yell from his room, “KrisTIna! Are you coming?” alerting me that it’s time to get up and get his breakfast going. LB has taken to yelling this as well. Taz will then announce his descent from the second floor down to the kitchen. “KrisTIna!! I’m COMING!” Prepare yourselves! Mr. Showbiz will then float down the stairs a la Miss America, 1,000 watt smile on his face. An obvious morning person.

Little Bean follows closely behind him, announcing, “Dina! I comingggg!” She then goes on to repeat just about everything anyone says. It doesn’t really matter what’s being said, she just wants to feel the words roll around in her mouth. Since we spend a great deal of time together she has started picking up my colloquialisms and phrases. This is especially true during diaper-changing time. When she has a messy diaper (the messier of the two) she announces a “cacki macht.”We traipse upstairs to tackle the problem. I will say, “Pee-ouu! Stinky!” and she promptly repeats. Upon discovering what treasures she has left I often declare, “Whoa, this is serious cacki macht!” And she says, “Serious cacki macht.” The other day was especially unfortunate and I mumbled, “Good Lord, Little Bean, this is explosive.” To which she soberly replied, “Ja, exposive.” The parrot-effect extends to the clean up job. I pick up the soiled diaper and say, “Come on little one, let’s throw it away.” Little Bean chimes in, “Throw it way!!”

Honestly, there is little she doesn’t repeat. If I accidently catch her finger in a zipper, bonk her head, or induce some other malady I always supply, “Sorry, little one.” Now, whenever she hurts herself she says, “Sorry,” as if she is somehow responsible for all her pain. Or, when I give her something like a snack, a bottle, a toy she yearns for, she says, “Merci*, Dina.” I reply with a polite, “Bitte schön.” Combine the two and when I give her breakfast in the morning or a coveted nookie her standard response is, “Merci! Bitte schön!

Nothing is exempt; she repeats everything. This has encouraged me to clean up my act a little and tone down the truck-driver language I’m accustomed to. Ha, just kidding. I would never tone down this mouth!

*Although Merci is French, the Swiss German speakers still insist on using it. In fact a standard sign-off or farewell often sounds like: “Ja. Ja. Genau. OK. Danke! Merci! Danke! Ciao! Ja. Ciao!!”

Unrelated: For one day I would like to speak in Auto-Tune. I am listening to the latest Usher (read: Errrsher) song right now and am revived at the thought of A-T– I thought this trend ended like 8 months ago. Somehow I think, “Brush your teeth and put your pajamas on!” would come across waaay cooler. No doubt the kids would respond better. And most likely break out into an involuntary, compulsory dance party.

Schlaff Gut!

Fridays have always been a good day, and starting this new school year they just got better! Taz is now in kindergarten and he has one of the most erratic schedules. I’ll spare you the details, but Tuesday is now the only morning I have with him. Time with only Little Bean is so easy. She is really good at playing by herself and most of the time just wants me to sit and watch her do her thang. She brings me treats and concoctions she’s fixed up in her kitchen. I mime eating these delicacies and then she’s off to the lab to do more work. She also likes to sit and “read,” which involves her rolling her tongue around in her mouth and making the odd sound.

Today we played a game she often requests: Schlaff. Schlaffen means to sleep in Deutsch. She says to me, “Dina. Schlaff!!” Little Bean proceeds to push me down to the floor on top of the giant yoga mat in the living room. She then begins to cover me with objects she believes I need for slumber. First comes the Barbie Prince, obviously I wouldn’t want to be lonely. Then she brings me two nooshies, small comfort blankets that look like cheesecloth.On top of my side she continues to pile: a folded up blanket, five Euros in coins, two walkie-talkies, a Polly Pocket mirror and comb, a scarf, and a book about Christmas. She waves her hand and wishes me Gut Nacht. As she’s toddling away she suddenly remembers something she’s forgotten. “Oh nay!” she exclaims and throws her hands over her mouth. She runs to the play room and grabs the keystone to my nap. “A gookie!!” This is actually a nookie, which is a pacifier. She brings me two and won’t rest until I put one in my mouth. This is in no way going to happen (if you’ve seen these floors you would know why) and I pretend to put it in my mouth as I turn my head. I then spend the next twenty minutes laying on the ground, “napping.” I would have gotten up sooner but every time I made to move she started screaming and throwing my head back down. I happened to be wearing my nice, i.e., expensive glasses and really didn’t want them warped.

Taz, Rapunzel, Rapunzel’s playdate friend, and the Mom walk in to find me prone on the floor. The Mom is used to this game so for her it was no big deal. Rapunzel’s friend, however, gave me this look that said, “Who is this fool lying on the ground, covered in junk? She’s expected to take care of you children?” Believe it or not, sister, I get paid to do this.

Stumbled across this blog today. I wouldn’t consider myself an active member of the Grammar Police, but I admit I can be a bit of a stickler on some things. The Oatmeal has some great posts about how to use important things like apostrophes, “i.e.,” and “e.g.” as well as funny stories and comics. It’s along the same lines as Hyperbole and a Half. If you’re sitting around, twiddling your thumbs and looking for something to do, send yourself to the site. Certainly worth a gander.


Sharing chapstick is probably how I ended up sick

WANTED: One little girl, trolling around the house, most often found riffling through personal items, such as, but not limited to: purses, rucksacks, pockets, drawers, etc. She has curly, wild-baby hair, ice blue eyes, and answers to the moniker “Little Bean.” Will frequently be yelling for someone named, “Dia.”

Taz has been with his grandparents in Italy for the past week and doesn’t come home until Wednesday. This means that Little Bean and I have had a lot of bonding time. It also means that I have had the easiest week of all time. She sleeps until 9 or 9:30 and after that we sit around the house and play and go for walks. The other morning I brought her up to my room so I could switch out my glasses for contacts and I left her in my room while I went into my bathroom. When I came back the picture above is what I saw. She has a tendency to go through my things when left unattended. Like any little girl she loves playing with “big girl” things, which include my purses and shoes. There have been numerous occasions when I’ve found her running around downstairs in my shoes, carrying whatever bag I have left by the door. As of yet, she hasn’t taken anything out and permanently displaced it, so I feel fortunate.

On this particular day though she was so funny. She pulled out all the items of my bag and lined them up on the floor. She then proceeded to “use” each item; smearing my Burt’s Bees all over her face, opening my wallet, holding the cell phone up to her face, flipping through my German books, and wiping her nose with Kleenexes.

Little Bean itemizing the contents of my purse

Just last weekend I caught a pretty nasty cold. On Friday afternoon I was feeling more tired than usual and had that little scratch in the back of my throat that no amount of water can seem to erase. By Saturday morning it felt as though 45 little sledge hammers were working their way around the inside of my skull, paying special attention to my sinus region. Due to a steady pill-popping regimen I was able to get rid of the headache and accompanying fever, but the runny nose has persisted. I wonder when there will be a day when I don’t have to blow my nose. I will refrain from detailing you any more with the aspects of my illness, but I will say that kids are germ havens, so I’m not terribly surprised I got sick. If this is what LB is doing when I’m looking who knows what’s happening when I turn my back.

I mean, how can I even be mad at her?

Baby Party

I woke up this morning feeling a little fuzzy headed. Yesterday was the Swiss-Spain game and naturally I had to participate in the local scene. I went with Adam, Phil, Nick, and Angela to watch the game at the Landesmuseum. In the courtyard they set up a monster tent with TVs, bars, food stands, and the nicest Porta-Potty I have ever seen. It was great to watch with the Swiss and see them cut loose a bit. There was yelling and ruckus just like at sporting events at home, yet there was still the air of reservation. The only true moment of insanity came when the Swiss scored the only goal of the game. At the end of the game there was tremendous celebration and singing. We joined the masses in the streets and headed to Longstrasse to find sustenance. Along the way we threw high fives like they were going out of style and I pranced about wearing a Swiss flag like a cape, thanks to my new, similarly named friend Cristina. We made it to a kebab house and hunkered down there for the rest of the night to watch the South Africa game. I’m sure you can surmise that we needed something to wash down all that kebab glory, which is why I’m not feeling top notch this day…

Since I wasn’t feeling my usual 100% awesome this morning I decided Little Bean and I should take a field trip. I needed to pick up my gym bag that I put in a locker at the train station, and since I wanted to devote as much time as possible to laying around and napping this afternoon I thought it would be best to take care of this business while on the clock. I had a bag with me yesterday because I went into town in the morning and had plans to go to the au pair meeting, hit the gym and shower before meeting up for the game. All went according to plan until I finished my workout and shower and was rifling through my bag to find my clothes. As I pulled out all the contents of my bag I discovered I forgot one crucial part of my wardrobe–pants. Yes, that’s right, I didn’t bring pants to change into. I only had the fleece-lined workout pants I had worn all morning and proceeded to sweat in for the last hour. You see how this is a problem, yes? I made a quick detour to ZARA and picked up the missing piece of my outfit before heading to drop my stuff in a locker. In the fervor of the Big Victory (and the old Feldschlossen or two) I forgot to grab my bag, hence the field trip.

So the Little Bean and I made our way into town for some girl time. I wish you could have seen us trolling the streets. We looked awesome. Jill and her baby, I shall call her Tibs, were coming into town so we decided to have a Baby Party. Our little ones are only 10 months apart, which would obviously make them perfect friends. We all met at a Starbucks, where hopefully a lifelong friendship would blossom. Little Bean and I did a “monster walk” up to them (this is basically something I invented and you just walk in a crouching position with your hands in front of you like a T-Rex). As soon as we sat down, though, LB went shy on me and didn’t want to immediately love her new bestie. Why they didn’t want to immediately become friends is lost on me. At one point we even pushed them toward each other into a warm-ish embrace that led to Tibs attempting to steal LB’s jacket. I was practically rolling around on the dirty ground outside, I was laughing so hard. I’m not exactly sure why I thought it was so funny, but really it was. We only had limited time to socialize as we had a train to catch.

We bid farewell to our friends and made the S2 train home. Upon sitting down LB became engrossed with the woman sitting across from us who was eating crackers. I swear Lb drooled a little. She looked at me with pleading eyes and the woman must have seen. She gave LB a cracker and then looked at me as if I should be ashamed of myself for depriving her of food. Ya right! This girl eats anything that isn’t nailed down. As soon as she finished the first cracker she shouted, “Mehr! Mehr! Mehr!” The woman gave in (it’s hard to say no to her sweet face) and passed over two more crackers. With a mouth full of crackers LB looked across the aisle and saw a dog. She immediately started barking at it, which is our usual custom. Spittle and crumbs of cracker were flying everywhere. Thankfully our stop was next and we were able to leave the train with what little dignity we had left. Still, I was proud to tote her around.