I have a plan…

I’ve decided to use my son as fish bait to find new friends. This might not get me the Mommy of the Year award, but I’d be willing to bet actual money on my success.

I’ve never been a modest person in general, and certainly not about my son. He’s been grabbing attention ever since I popped him out, and he’s only improved with age (this is, of course, a totally unbiased mother’s opinion).

But I really never anticipated the overwhelming reaction Per Christian has received in Gran Canaria. Strangers stop to coo over him at every turn, and I’m not even exaggerating. Yesterday our waitress at lunch stole him out of my lap and walked him around the entire restaurant. (This is not a complaint. Per and I sipped wine in peace for at least three blissful minutes…) This morning, I literally had a woman chase me down the street to stop and give him a little spanish beso. She started telling me what sounded like a very interesting and lively story, but I didn’t hear the words “cortado” or “cerveza” in there anywhere, so I got a bit lost in translation.

And don’t get the mistaken impression that it’s only the women, either. The men are just as eager to stop us on the street and sing praises to this miniature meatloaf. But they don’t usually get rewarded with his cheeky little smile – even at such a young age, Per Christian is a committed ladies man.

So my brilliant new plan is to beef up the Spanish lessons, strap Per Christian into his Baby Bjorn and hit the streets. I’ll just walk around until someone stops to admire him, then I’ll amuse them with my witty language skills and lure them into my friendship web. Bam! Amigos galore!

Feel free to forward my Mommy of the Year nominations to your nearest social services office.

In other news, crawling is, like, so last week, y’all….

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

While the cat’s away

Per is out of town.

Mommy is home alone, drinking a local Rioja and typing.

A potentially lethal combination.

This is my most recent life in the paradise isle of Gran Canaria – put the Golden Child to bed at 18.00 and face the night alone. You’re in paradise, but you’re still a Single Parent for the evening. So you can’t actually go out anywhere. All you can do is open up the wine, heat up the frozen Ristorante pizza and entertain yourself.

Oh – and a bit later, after I’ve procured myself a fabulous little red wine buzz, I’m going to make this fabulous little minty peas recipe for Per Christian…. Seriously, this child doesn’t even know how blessed he is.

If this all sounds a bit pathetic and boring, then you don’t have a baby and you’re just plain wrong.

I just finished reading Thor Heyerdahl’s In the Footsteps of Adam. If you don’t know about good ol’ Thor, imagine a 20th-century reincarnated Viking, sailing on a wooden raft for 101 days from Peru to Polynesia. A modern-day Science Fair experiment to prove that his theory of migration was right and others were wrong. It’s all depicted in his book and also in the Kon-Tiki museum in Oslo (which is one of only three museums I visited in the entire two years I lived there, all of which were under the duress of visiting friends & relatives).

(As a cultural disclaimer, I did actually go to the National Gallery the first week we moved to Oslo, so I’m not a total schmuck. I’m just a bad tourist, preferring coffee shops and boutiques to museums and walking tours.)

So in his book, Mr. Heyerdahl writes about his many adventures over the years and totally boring life experiences like comparing the quality of local goat’s milk with Fidel Castro in Cuba. Amid all of that, there’s a great quote that I highlighted and dog-eared, specifically because it applied to my life at the moment:

“Those who have found paradise have found it within themselves. Everything I had seen and read had taught me that paradise and hell do not have separate locations on this planet. They are always in the same place, and one cannot simply avoid one by moving away. The two turn up like inseparable companions, no matter how far you have traveled.”

Being an Oxford-MBA graduate and semi-skilled mother has been a bit of a rough blend these past seven months. Now we’ve moved to Gran Canaria for Per’s work, and everyone expects it to be paradise for the entire family. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter where the map places you at one particular moment in time. A new move and new town don’t change the fact that I’m still floundering, still unsure, and still semi-skilled.

And yet, in the midst of that floundering, there are some small snatches of Thor’s paradise in my daily life. I feel them intensely; I breathe them in and hope they are imprinted upon my brain for when I lose my short-term memory in 30 years and only have these moments to remember.

My son is struggling so intensely to get up on his feet, and I’m so moved by his independent effort that I simultaneously cheer him on and shed a tear.

He is unbearably cranky by the time his bath and bottle are finished every day, but then he nestles his head into my shoulder for just that second, and it’s glorious.

He’s been waking at 6am recently for whatever unknown reason, but my grumpiness fades into the background when I go into his room and he literally bounces in his bed from excitement at seeing mommy in the morning.

These are my mini-snatches of paradise each day, and I treasure them. The rest of the time, I’m just a semi-skilled mommy and Single Parent trying to do her best.

So yes, I’m drinking red wine and making minty peas for my sleeping baby upstairs.

It’s my own modern-day version of paradise on Gran Canaria.

Thanks Thor.

Taking stock

There’s something about the process of moving that makes me a bit reflective – it’s excitement with a side order of nostalgia. We always put together inventory lists for the movers, and that forces you to take stock of what you have and what you’ve gathered/accumulated/produced since the last move. Our upcoming move to Gran Canaria is no different.

I’ve been moving every 2-3 years ever since my first journey to Russia back in 1999. If I had actually kept all those inventory lists over the years, they would probably look something like this:

We have yet to finalize our inventory list this time around, but here’s what I’ve put together so far:

What do you think – am I missing anything?