Archive for March, 2012

Tough questions

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

So, in trying to explain to Benjamin about St. Patrick’s Day, I may have accidentally traumatized and/or warped him permanently.  It went like this:

B:  What is St. Patrick’s Day?

me:  Well, it’s a day where we celebrate everything Irish, which means everything from Ireland, which is a country, like Austria.  Your great-grandmother was from Ireland.

B:  Silly Mommy!  I don’t have a great-grandmother!

me:  (Hmm.)  Well, no, that’s true, you don’t now, but she was my grandma and she was your grandma’s mom.

B:  Where is she?

me:  (Oops)  Well, honey, she died a few years ago.

B:  What’s “died”?


First day of spring

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Wait, how did that happen?  While we were all sleeping last night, it turned into spring.  It actually snuck up on me and completely surprised me — I had it in the back of my head that spring would be starting sometime this week (I had the vague notion that by the time my sister arrived here on Sunday it would be here) but I didn’t realize that today was the day until it had already happened.  It’s wonderful and welcome news, and it means we survived our first Austrian winter without too much trouble.


Pumping on the swing

Monday, March 19th, 2012

I don’t know if we’ll get to keep it, but for the time being at least, it feels like Spring has arrived in Vienna.  The days are getting longer, and since last Thursday, the temperatures have been warm and it’s been sunny most of the time.  It’s wonderful, and I’ve been making a point of getting the boys outside to play after a long winter of lots of indoor playtime.


Parent/teacher meeting

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

There is something unavoidably grown up about attending a parent/teacher meeting for your child.  Benjamin has had a hard time adjusting to kindergarten — he’s gone through phases where he doesn’t want to go, cries when it’s time to get dressed in the morning and only talks about his day when we drag it out of him (although that last part is pretty common, as I understand it).  I’m not there with him.  I don’t know if it’s hard because he’s not used to going to school, he’s only now really making friends and he doesn’t speak the same language as 90% of the school — those are all reason enough — or is it more fundamental?  Is he too little, not mature enough, too sensitive?  Are the teachers looking out for him, are they too hard on him, are the kids nice to him — or is it just the wrong school?


An Irish day in Vienna

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day makes me think of my family — especially my grandmother (who was born and grew up in Belfast).  The rest of my family’s heritage is less clear (especially on my dad’s side) — we have some English, some German, some more Irish and a whole bunch of ???, so, as a family, we’ve always considered ourselves more Irish than anything.


Nostalgia, familiarity and homesickness

Friday, March 16th, 2012

It happens to me every year, so it must be something about Spring.  As soon as the weather starts to get warm, the days start to get longer and the flowers start to poke up from the ground, I start to get nostalgic.  It’s for all kinds of things — memories from my childhood, experiences from college, past and unrequited loves (yes, I had a life before I met Dan).  I get all wistful and desirous of revisiting places from my past, reminiscing with old friends and reliving warm days spent in the sun.  (I blame the weather.)


Getting lost on the way to school

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Every time I start to feel like I’m getting good at this whole “living in Vienna” thing, I get a reminder at how out of my element I really am.

I had an appointment this morning to meet with Benjamin’s teachers at school, and we were running late.  I’ve been wanting to sit down and talk to them about how he’s doing — some days he seems to really enjoy school, some days not so much, and since I’m not there when he’s there, I have no idea how well or poorly his days actually go.  I started asking them to set up this appointment back in January, but since we were collectively sick most of February, it kept getting put off.  One of B’s main teachers goes on maternity leave at the end of the month, though, so I’ve been anxious to get the chance to sit down and talk to them soon.


A hug, a kiss and a gentle squeeze

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

When Benjamin was very little, he was a terrible sleeper.  He would almost never take a nap unless we were holding him.  He didn’t sleep in the car or in the stroller.  And at night, he’d only sleep if you walked with him . . . constantly.  Dan & I walked miles and hours around our apartment in the middle of the night.  If we tried to sit down, he’d typically wake up and cry.  Most nights, we’d walk with him for a few hours and then finally be able to ease him into his crib, only to be up again with him an hour or so later.  We used to take turns, and we’d cap each “shift” at 3 hours — beyond that, we’d go and wake the other one up — earlier if we were starting to get frazzled (which was easy to do).  Getting him down at bedtime was the worst.


Mina is coming!

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

In less than two weeks, my sister will be here to visit.  I’m so excited, I can hardly stand it.  I haven’t seen her (or any of my sbilings, or my dad, or my stepmother) since we left for Austria last April (and I haven’t seen my mom since August) — it will have been nearly a year by the time she arrives.  I miss her terribly.


Chalk on the terrace

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Over the winter, we’ve done a lot of indoor art projects.  There were a few that included fun and messy things like glitter and glue, but mostly we stick to (relatively) clean and orderly art in the winter when we’re stuck indoors — things like dry erase markers, stickers and coloring books.  (I’m working on being less worried about messes in favor of fun, but I’m making slow progress.)  I was more relaxed about this at home, where the house was ours, and I’m more concerned about it here, with parquet floors that we’re only renting.  So, our messiest art projects (like painting on the easel) principally happen outdoors, which means they have to wait for the warmer weather.