Say it like you mean it

Picture this….

My little boy, not quite two years old, last night pointed his finger at me, stomped his miniature foot to the ground, scrunched up his face and said “NO!” in his best possible Mommy impersonation.

Talk about looking in a mirror.

He wasn’t even fighting against anything at the moment – I wasn’t trying to dress or undress him or change his diaper or give him a bath or wash his face or do any of the other 1,000 things that would usually elicit such a response. We were just in the bedroom laying out his pajamas for bedtime and his pulls this little act out of nowhere.

I couldn’t help myself, I just burst out laughing. My child has become a parrot, mirroring back to me unfiltered snippets of everything he sees and hears throughout the day. He walks up to our dog and says, “Cara, OUT!” for no reason at all, thereby banishing her from wherever she was relaxing. He must have picked that up from us, right? Our poor old dog spends her days wandering from room to room according to her young prince’s pleasure.

He sits at the table and simultaneously asks, “Juice? Cheese? Banana? Cookie?” I’m almost certain he doesn’t know what he’s requesting, but he’ll continue attempting different combinations of those four words until he gets something on his plate that suits his mood. The other day, I gave him spaghetti and meatballs in response to his request for cookies and he smiled triumphantly up at me, as if he knew all along that he’d eventually get his own way.

I fear such successful Mommy-trickery is doomed to be short-lived.

Most surprisingly, he says “Adios!” to our Spanish helper as we leave the house in the morning, and yet he somehow understands to say “Ha det!” in farewell to his Norwegian Pappa and daycare teachers. It’s remarkable that he can somehow differentiate the use of two – even three – languages within his tiny toddler brain. How does that work? Can I go back in time please and learn a new language with such apparent ease? Pretty please?

It’s such a fun age, but also quickly puts your life into sharp perspective. Why does he learn to say “no” more quickly than “I love you“? Of course I understand the reason why, but I suppose in an ideal world it would be the opposite way around. We all want to believe that we nurture and inspire our little ones all the time, not that we hold them back at every turn.

The silver lining among these thoughts is the other new trick he’s picked up lately…. mimicking kissing like Mommy and Pappa. In this case, he’s plants a 100% joy-filled, open-mouthed, sloppy, toothy and wonderful kiss on my lips when I pick him from his nursery in the afternoons.

Now that’s the kind of mirror I like to see.

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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery….

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Cutting of the hair

I’ve been known to travel a good, long distance for a haircut. Especially with curly hair, I consider it a worthwhile investment in my own personal happiness to get a class-act cut. Every time I travel to the US, I scope out salon reviews in advance to locate curly-friendly stylists within driving distance of my destination. Last year, over the Christmas holidays, I drove 1.5 hours outside of Orlando to just such a salon. My father was horrified. And I still threaten Pappa P that I’m going to make a special return trip to our wedding site in Amalfi, Italy just to get my hair cut again by the fabulous-o Andrea.

Totally worth it, in my opinion.

Naturally, I’m now subjecting my son to the same level of insanity. I am fiercely protective of my son’s storybook curly locks. My friends, husband and family tease me about it relentlessly. But I don’t care. How can I not be careful when this is what’s at stake:

So not just any hair salon will do for my little one, no sir!

With Pappa out of town, I packed the two of us into the car today and drove 60 kilometers away to this shopping centre in Las Palmas. Now, I realize all you slightly-more-sane people out there think that’s a long way to drive for a kid’s haircut. And you’re probably right. But I’d been searching all over for one of those fun-themed kids’ salons, and I finally struck gold:

Cars and trucks and toys and songs and films…. oh my!

With so many distractions, my typically-restless little boy was completely struck dumb. He sat quietly in his green army truck “salon chair” for the entire ten minutes of the haircut. This is approximately 7 minutes longer than he’s ever sat anywhere since he started walking five months ago.

The result….?

Curly locks still in full force = a happy mommy and a content little boy!

(And let’s be real here folks – the haircut is really all about mommy’s pleasure and actually has very little, if anything, to do with the kid….If you haven’t learned that by now, you’ve been missing out.)

Fashion trend alert!

Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys & Girls….

This fall’s hottest fashion must-have is a pair of brown suede shoes! Here to model the latest styles straight off the Parisian toddler runways is our very own P&P star…

(UPDATE MARCH, 2014: Photos have been removed due to privacy concerns)

Modeling agencies may kindly contact P&P staff directly for any future employment inquiries. Good behavior and actual smiles at the camera cannot be guaranteed at any time.

(Note to concerned grandparents everywhere… we do usually dress our child. But we bought him a new pair of fall shoes and he is 100% head-over-heels bonkers about them. Anytime we open the closet doors, he emits a high-pitched screeching noise while pointing to his new shoes. Even in the midst of getting dressed in the morning…. what’s a mother to do to keep the peace but let her son walk around in his diaper and new shoes?)

Really.

A taste of Tenerife

This past weekend, the Svendsens left town. Just like that – no huff, no puff. We just quietly and simply ske-dattled our way off the island. Pappa Svendsen had a rare and luxurious three-day weekend available, so we booked a hotel, loaded the car and hopped the ferry to Tenerife.

We were not disappointed. I’m not sure if it was just the change of scenery or the much-needed time away as a family, but we loved this place. We stayed away from the southern beach resort area (that scene is too close to home), and stayed instead at the lovely Hotel Botanico in northern Puerto de la Cruz.

My first impression was, “Wow! Green! Greengreengreen!” After months on our own dry, parched island, the presence of green grass and green trees and green gardens was a sight for sore eyes. As soon as we drove off the ferry, the highway took us up above the cloud line and along the coast towards Puerto de la Cruz. When we arrived at the hotel, Per Christian was let loose to explore the suite while we sipped our Cava on the terrace with this view:

I know I’m like a broken record here, but…. “Hurrah for green!”

We had no plans other than to just relax and spend time together – Per Christian, on the other hand, had all kinds of plans of his own. And they all included ditching Mommy & Pappa at every possible moment and exploring every nook and cranny within reach. If there was any baby pooch still left on my body, it’s definitely disappeared since Per Christian discovered his walking legs. No longer is he content to sit on the floor and play or sit at the table and eat – heeeeeellll no! Now it’s all walking, all the time.

Finally, though, we did manage to get our hands on the little bugger and keep him close:

Traveling with a small baby has taught us (at least) one very important life lesson – never underestimate the power of a baby monitor! This little apparatus and it’s companion iPhone application allowed us to enjoy a long leisurely lunch by the pool while PC napped in the room, plus we managed a full three-course meal at the hotel restaurant in the evening. We did get a babysitter on Saturday night so we could actually leave the hotel and have a date night in town, but for any other time, we can’t recommend enough the value of a good baby monitor.

Before heading back to Canaria, we had to check out the famous Mount Teide, the largest mountain in Spain at 3718m. These photos don’t do it a bit of justice, but they’re the best I could manage from the car window. Heaven forbid we actually stop the car and disrupt somebody’s nap (and our quiet time)!

All in all, I highly recommend including Tenerife in anyone’s plans for the Canary Islands. We only had three days and didn’t want to stress out with too many activities, but I’m sure we could have easily spent a week there and found plenty to do. As long as there’s a good deal of walking space available for our little guy, then everyone’s happy!

Just like Pappa

I seem to remember something from high school psychology class about an Oedipus complex among young boys – how they’re subconsciously in love with their mothers and therefore jealous and vengeful towards their fathers.

My son, apparently, has skipped that lesson. I wrote here about how Per Christian loves his morning bathroom time with Pappa. More recently, he’s started waving bye-bye and giving kisses to Pappa as he leaves the house every morning (kisses are apparently exclusively reserved for Pappa – Mommy gets no such lovin’).

And now, here’s the latest Pappa-pantomine to come into our little one’s head…..

Even more impressive is how Per Christian’s already following Pappa’s lead about where to put the underwear when he’s finished with it…

(NOTE – my husband does actually place his underwear in the laundry basket on a daily basis. But someone’s mischievous little hands have recently started pulling clothes OUT of the basket and spreading them around the house for Mommy to pick up again. Is the father or son to blame here….? You be the judge.)

Viva Espana!

Unless you live under or rock (or in the United States), you’re probably aware that Spain just won the 2012 European Championships in football last night. At any other time, this would have been a really exciting time to be living in Spain. We would have danced in the streets and blown our horns and made mayhem until 5am like the rest of our neighbors.

However, with a little one asleep upstairs and still too young to absorb such things, we instead opened the doors wide, cheered on the passers-by and took in all the celebrations from afar.

Casa Svendsen was infused with football mania all weekend long, including little Per Christian chasing his mini football around with his wobbly walking legs, and also his Uncle PFA doning an Italy supporter shirt just to arouse a bit of heckling at the local pub.

Per Christian practicing his ball skills:

He shoots…. he scores….. GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!

We did pay tribute to the sport earlier in the day at the Maspalomas park, a blessed bit of green paradise on our dry, volcanic island.

Such skill! Such focused determination….

Uncle PFA gave his big brother a run for his money on the pitch:

Go Team Svendsen!

Hope everyone had a great weekend — Viva Espana!

The sound of silence

We’ve had guests at Casa Svendsen for the past three weeks, and it’s been maaaah-velous! It’s always a pleasure to have friends and family around in Gran Canaria, and this past visit was no exception. Good times, good weather, good food and (too much…) good wine. Now our guests have sadly departed, and the house is eerily quiet again before the next entourage arrives in July.

I’m too exhausted and lazy to actually post anything of substance today, most likely the result of the torturous “Calima” heat wave we’re trying to survive this week. Besides that,  I’m busy dis-organizing all the things we properly organized and placed away over the past week. The house looked great with everything properly in its own place, but I can’t find a damn thing anywhere. So I’m going back to our happy little land of haphazard organization and will just hope for the best.

In lieu of actual substance, here are a few photos of Per Christian and his recent landmark days of excitement:

Hope everyone is staying cool and dry during these hot summer months!

I’m not sure how this happened…

The Svendsen family has three people in it – two adults and one 14-month old child.

And yet, somehow, this is what our toothbrush container looks like in the bathroom:

And no, we don’t have any visitors at the moment.

It all started innocently enough. I read somewhere that you should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they pop through. So, being an inexperienced mother that blindly follows any and all parenting advice, I went out and bought some brightly-colored mini brushes for my son’s mini teeth.

He hates them. He took one look at them, pushed them violently away from his face, and that was that.

However, as I reported here, Per Christian loves hangin’ in the bathroom with us in the mornings. And he loves Pappa’s adult-sized blue toothbrush. Not Mommy’s pink one, and not the cute mini green ones I bought especially for him. Nope, just Pappa’s plain old blue one. He literally screams and cries out for it anytime he’s even close to our bathroom.

So, being an inexperienced mother that loves a bit of quiet during her bathroom time, I’ve started letting him crawl all over the house with Pappa’s blue toothbrush. Maybe he’s teething and like the texture of that brush, maybe he’s already developed a God complex about his father and wants whatever he has. Maybe he’s just 14 months old and a mystery.

Whatever.

He’s happy, Mommy can pee in peace and now Pappa needs a new toothbrush.

All of which leads me to another CFM moment at Carrefour yesterday, standing in the aisle with hundreds of toothbrushes, trying to buy a new toothbrush for Pappa.

Hmmm… if Per Christian sees Pappa with a new toothbrush, he’ll want that one instead of the blue one. So the new one should look similar to the blue one. But not too similar, because Pappa is color blind and needs something he can tell apart from the blue one being dragged around the house.

And here’s another little mini one with different colors on it – maybe Per Christian will go for that one rather than the green ones I got him earlier. If I just find him the right color or shape or size, he’ll love his own toothbrush and all my feelings of maternal insecurity will be washed away and I will be a Truly Successful Mother…

Seriously folks, I’m soooooo thrilled I got my MBA in order to figure out these life challenges.

The end of the story is that we all have new toothbrushes, but Per Christian still only has eyes for Pappa’s old blue toothbrush. So that stays around for now and our toothbrush container looks like we’re a happy family of seven (although all with perfectly-manicured dentures).

Oh, and that new, brightly-colored mini brush I bought him?

Fogetaboutit, yo….

I fear this means that in 30 years some woman will scream at my son for wearing t-shirts with holes in them and refusing to throw them away, and his response will be that they’re “broken in” and comfortable.

Style by PC

For all us boy mommies out there, you know we have limited clothing options for our miniature men. Baby stores are filled with dresses of all shapes and sizes for the little ladies, but there are usually slim pickin’s for the fellas in our lives.

But I don’t really mind. Because me, I love me some baby boy overalls. Per Christian may haunt me later in life for forcing such style choices upon him, but that’s for future consideration. For right now, it’s hot, hot HOT in Gran Canaria, and my son is riding out our heat wave in the little boy style I love best:

 

*** NOTE : My son has a mysterious shoe fetish. As in… he is obsessed with pulling all the shoes off the shoe rack. All the time, every morning, without fail. Shoes belong on the floor, Mommy, not on the shoe rack. Duh….

Cheerios

I recently recommended Cheerios to a Norwegian friend for her six-month old baby boy, but she didn’t seem to know what they were.

So here’s an explanation for European mommies everywhere who might not be aware of this essential American baby food. Cheerios are popular across the U.S. for keeping children quietly occupied in the car, doctor’s offices and church services:

Happy baby, happy mommy!

That is all.