Two important events happened on Tuesday.
1- We were playing in the park when 12:30pm struck and Ale turned to me and said “Hotdog mama”. I looked down at him in amazement. He was asking for food. He never asks for food. He has no interest in food 99% of the time. Then he said that he wanted to eat a hotdog with his friend that he had been playing with, Maria. Well ok! My baby is a real New Yorker. Eating hot dogs in the park is classic. I ran to the hotdog stand, prayed that the seller had washed his hands sometime that morning and ordered two plain hot dogs. I returned to Ale and Maria and was met with squeals of joy. Nothing beats eating a hotdog on a park bench on a nice sunny day. They wolfed down their hotdogs in a New York minute.
2- After nap time we headed over to our pediatrician’s office for Ale’s 2.5 year old checkup. My husband and I were anxious to get him weighed and measured. We were convinced that Ale had not grown enough since he does not eat enough. We check in and wait in the waiting area. There Ale busied himself with the toy cars. He even made me some chicken that he baked with a firetruck in the wooden oven. Ale was having fun. Then the medical assistant called out, “Ale”. He froze, looked at me and started to scream. “Mama I scared!” he said and clung to my leg. We arrive to the exam room. Sniff, sniff….. Oh, boy. Ale pooped. Fantastic. I then took him to the bathroom that is the size of a matchbox where he continued to scream while I struggled to changed him. Back in the exam room Ale continued to scream bloody murder. Enticing him with a lolly pop we got him to stand still for half a second to take his height and weight. He continued to scream as the doctor asked me milestone questions. She tried to get him to say something. I wanted to gush about all the amazing things that Ale says and does. Things that are for sure way beyond his years. But no, nothing. Just screams. As the doctor told me that she was happy
with his growth- he gained more weight than ever and he continues to be a tall lean toddler, he continued to scream. Thank goodness there were no vaccines due this visit! At the end of the visit I told Ale that were were now going to the park. He finally stopped screaming, looked at the sweet, and thankfully, patient doctor and said “Yea! Park! Bye! Bye!”. Oh my little toddler.
In the afternoon after being cooped up in the apartment all day it was time to venture out. It was too cold and icy for the park so what is the next best thing? A trip to the hardware store! The hardware store is just three blocks away so I decided to turn it to an adventure and ditch the stroller.
We suited up in our winter finery and out we went. With a toddler with little legs the three blocks suddenly appeared a mile. There was so much to stop to look at and examine. Up in the sky flew helicopters and birds. A truck zoomed up the street. Numerous gray blocks of city ice to pick up and to crush with booted feet. Dog poop to avoid. People in a hurry to pass by us. Then finally in the hardware store shiny things to pull down from shelves and isles cramped with interesting tools. Thank goodness the owner knows us and high fives Ale when we go in or else he may have been less forgiving about a small rack of key chains that was pulled off the wall.
Once we paid for our things back on to the street we went. Ale wanted to turn left to go home “This way home!” and was frustrated that it was to the right. He then looked up and saw the familiar corner of our block and walked along with me again. He was fantastic about crossing the street. Every city mom’s fear is that their child will just run into the traffic. With my gloved hand with his little hand in a mitten we carefully crossed the streets. By the time we returned to our building the little man probably did feel that we walked a mile. He was ready to be carried.
Our adventure to the hardware store was fun. I think we both had a sense of freedom without the stroller. I loved the feeling of walking down the street with my little boy. Oh! The places that we will go! Next thing I know he will be leading me to and from.
Let it snow! Let it snow! We have been getting hit hard by the snow here in New York and all along the east coast. I generally enjoy more the warmer months but now that we have Ale the winter has become fun again. I love experiencing all of the joy and excitement that the snow brings with him . Since it’s been cold (right now it’s 19*F !) and it’s remains cold the snow’s enchantment stays longer before it melts into brown muck. Everywhere you look its a winter wonderland.
Last weekend for we went to Massachusetts for a short escape from the city. It was just lovely. We went for long walks in the woods and Ale was able to build a snowman with Papa’s help.
So, yes- let it snow, let it snow! Let the fun and the magical beauty of winter continue.
The siesta time is taken very seriously at my mother-in-law’s home in Sevilla. In the morning you get all that you have to done. By 2:30pm you must be at home. This is when lunch is ready and on the table. Lunch is usually a delicious feast- gazpacho, lomo, jamón Serrano, salad, boquerones en vinagre, meatballs, shrimp, cheese, bread, wine, beer and water. For dessert there is fruit and some times ice cream for special occasions. After we are sufficiently stuffed my mother-in-law ushers us out of the dining room and tells us to “echar una siesta” – take a nap. She takes hers in an easy chair in the living room where she will dose off for about thirty minutes. For the rest of us we go to our bedrooms and we can happily sleep for up to almost two hours.
Ale, my husband and I are on vacation so this is a great welcome. Our first day here the three of us climbed into bed and passed out for an hour and a half. We all slept deeply for that time. We were exhausted. Exhausted from the trip to Spain from New York, but also exhausted from our lives in New York. We don’t stop. We just keep going, and going. Even Ale who naps all the time sleeps better here. He is not picking up the stress of our daily routines.
When the siesta is over it’s like a new day begins. We might have a cup of coffee and a piece of pound cake to get us going again. Then we are off to the park, or strolling around the city. We finish off the night with conversation and a dinner that was meant to be light. My mother-in-law wants to make sure we are all well fed and jolly. Then it’s bedtime again around midnight. Ale goes to bed around 10pm instead of his usual 8pm. He wants to join in the fun as well and play with his cousins and laugh at his uncle’s jokes, (Mama, he’s funny!).
It’s impossible to replicate the Spanish way of life in bustling New York but I can learn from this. We need to just stop, rest and take time for ourselves to recharge our batteries. To take a moment or two to just stop moving, running, planning, thinking, or whatever. Just stop and breathe and have a siesta moment. It’s ok. The planet will keep spinning. I have to record my mother-in -law her to remind myself- “Venga! Hala! Iros a dormir!” (Go, go on! Go to sleep!).
Photo from Hotels Monte
Having a child has changed my outlook on life on many levels. It has heightened my awareness and has made me even more sensitive and vulnerable to things that happen around me. I am no longer viewing life through a singular lens. Each action that I do and even the actions of others I view them through how I would imagine my son’s reaction. My little boy is still a baby and is not able to express himself or is even able to process and understand many things, but his innocence is so vast and deep that it pains me so to see and hear of others that have done wrong. I look into his eyes and I think, how can there be evil in this world with this sweet boy on the planet.
The bombings this week in Boston during the marathon has affected my husband and I on many levels. We live in New York and the NY Marathon passes through our neighborhood. Just a few days after Ale was born, my first outing was to see the NY Marathon. I held Ale close in my Ergo and watched and cheered the runners as they went by. This is something that we plan on doing each year as a family. To hear of the attack on the Boston Marathon and the fact that an eight year old boy was killed was just so shocking. We thought- this could be us.
As of right now, there are no suspects that have been arrested. This fact is also very frightening. It would almost be comforting to know that X group or person was responsible. In the back of our minds we are thinking will there be another plot, will the responsible ever be arrested, will NY be next?
And what will Ale think? I’m so happy that he is not aware yet of the news and can not ask me questions. I am already trying to formulate answers but the act is just so senseless. Something tells me that when he can talk he will comfort me in his answers . For now, I just turn the channel or put on Bob The Builder when the images come to the screen. I don’t even for a moment want him to glance at the screen. I want to protect his innocence for as long as I can.
Acts like this have some good- they remind us of our loved ones, make us want to hold them close and kiss them a little longer than usual.
Boston, my family is thinking of you and our hearts go out to you.