Mommy sove

Per Christian has developed a new game lately, one that I’m doing my best to encourage.

It happens when we’re snuggled together in bed or on the sofa — it’s our so-called “cozy time” that lasts all of 2.4 seconds before he’s off and running again.

But sometimes, when the stars are aligned and the gods are in my favor, he’ll turn to me and say, “Shhhh…Mommy sove…” (aka – “mommy’s sleeping,” in English). He’ll close my eyelids with his fingertips, curl up next to me and lay there for at least 10 seconds (I’ve counted). He’ll peek up at me to make sure I’m not cheating and that my eyelids are still closed (which they always are because, duh).

I do an excellent rendition of a sleeping Mommy, all in a selfless pursuit of encouraging my son’s developing imagination and fostering his long-term creativity. Sometimes he even moves away and plays quietly on his own because, “Shhhh! Mommy sove…

Mommy’s favorite game.

Weekend at Bernie’s

I’d had some experience now taking care of Per Christian alone while Pappa P is traveling. And, like I mentioned here and here, it hasn’t always gone smoothly.

However, this most recent weekend was a glorious exception. Pappa was away on business and then a self-invented “while-I’m-in-Europe-I-might-as-well-see-some-football” kind of trip, so I’ve been on my own with our little two-year-old for the last five days. And – miracles upon miracles! – during that entire time, nobody was ill, nothing stopped working, nothing burned down and no body parts were lost.

Miracles, indeed.

I bought myself one bottle of white wine on Wednesday and am only now having my last glass. One bottle for five nights of drinking alone – that’s about normal, right? I don’t even know anymore.

I think this was arguably my first single-parent weekend that went off without a hitch. Enjoyable, even. Per Christian is at such a great exploration age, he loves his cars and trucks and trains and books (as long as they’re about cars and trucks and trains), and I’ve found no better entertainment for my son than a body of water and a big pile of rocks.

It’s parenting in high-gear, folks, and I’m finally catching on.

They’re forecasting a spot of rain for Canaria tomorrow, which I’ll welcome with open arms. Just as long as Pappa’s plane doesn’t get delayed – miracles can only last so long and I’m not taking any chances.

Our new foster dog Kira loves little blond Norwegian boys

Our new foster dog Kira apparently has a thing for  Norwegian boys. Don’t we all?

Saturday morning pj's

Saturday morning pj’s

Destined to be a runner!

Destined to be a runner!

Water. Rocks. Dog. Several minutes in a row of quiet amusement.

Water. Rocks. Dog. Several actual minutes in a row of quiet amusement.

Sunday morning pj's

Sunday morning pj’s

"Helping" mommy with the dishes

“Helping” mommy with the dishes

I don't know why our son looks like a girl here - maybe time for another hair cut?

I don’t know why our son looks like a girl here – maybe time for another hair cut?

New dog, same dog-walking technique...

New dog, but same dog-walking technique…

No day is complete without mommy being suckered into ice cream

No day is complete without mommy being suckered into dishing out some ice cream…

What now…?

This was Per Christian one year ago:


And this was yesterday:


One year ago, my son could hardly stand on his own two feet. Now, he’s literally running circles around me, dressing himself in the morning and eating his own breakfast. All the cliches you hear about time flying by are actually true – these miniature humans do not, in fact, stay miniature forever.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to spend as much time with him as I have these past two years. I’ve had a full year of maternity leave and now a full year’s leave of absence from my career in Norway. I’ve been able to jog him to barnehagen twice a week and pick him up every afternoon. I’ve introduced him to the beach and the pool and been able to witness first-hand all of his first-time discoveries. I know he loves spaghetti and oatmeal with raisins and bread with brown cheese, and I know he hates papayas and is skeptical of melon.

He is not always pleasant and I’m not always patient and we don’t always agree, but in 20-20 hindsight, I can appreciate the gift I’ve had these past two years.

But now the jig is up – there are no more benefits, no more salary checks and no more “oh-I’m-just-taking-a-leave-of-absence” line of excuses. My son is a walking, talking, functioning human being now. I’m fairly certain he’s happier playing with his gal pals at barnehagen than he is at home with me. The inevitable has happened where he doesn’t need me all-day, every-day anymore.

Plenty of people would “hint” that now is the perfect time for #2, but that’s not in our field of interest these days. Or even in the ballpark. We are opting for sleep-filled nights and white wine in the afternoon over Baby 2.0 right now. Sorry, dear grandparents, but you raised selfish children and now you must love us for it.

What I really, really want to do is to get back to work. But I don’t have my corporate job in Norway to fall back on anymore and similar opportunities here in Gran Canaria are limited. So right now, for probably the first time in my life, the sky really is the limit. The only thing stopping me is lack of imagination or willpower or balls.

So… what now?

The uncelebrated milestone

I’ve been a Cold-Hearted Mommy at times.

I’ve seen other mommies tearfully watch their child’s first steps, nostalgic smiles lining their faces and wondering how time passed so quickly.

I, on the other hand, cheered that I no longer had to drag that damn stroller up those damn steps.

I’ve seen other mommies tearfully leaving their little ones at daycare, stifling their mixed feelings of guilt and relief.

I, on the other hand, cheered that I could finally watch Downton Abbey in peace.

I don’t have a baby scrapbook and I don’t have miniature hospital clothes tucked away in a memory chest somewhere. I don’t have adorned photos for each month of his first year, and I don’t remember the precise when, where, or what about his first word.

I’ve approached many of my child’s milestones in typical middle-child “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” fashion, not because I didn’t care, but really just because I didn’t know any better.

But the milestone that really brings tears to my eyes, the one that has me cursing the need of my son to continue to grow – and the one that nobody warned me about! – is the milestone that really, truly and finally has changed my life…

Two-years old = the end of free airplane travel.

So very, very sad, this passing of the free-travel age.

Maybe your little one reached this mark before the airline-mandated age of two, probably when you realized they were too big to sit on your lap without obnoxiously kicking the seat in front of you. Maybe you, like ourselves, stretched the limit as far as possible, employing all possible techniques of seat thievery – we’ve done the aisle-window shuffle plenty of times, hoping that nobody wanted our middle seat and we’d score a spot for free.

But no matter what, when your child turns two, your travel plans get 33% more expensive. All of a sudden, flight tickets for a weekend away are more expensive than the entire house we booked for our summer holidays.

We were never shy about traveling with an infant, as I wrote about here and here and here. We went wherever we wanted and just dragged our baby along. But now, with a full-fare travel companion to pay for, I’m going through a serious case of sticker shock. We’re now grudgingly adjusting our travel plans to be more… ahem… realistic.

And I know it doesn’t just stop here. I know this is just the tip of the iceberg, that there are all kinds of upcoming expenses threatening our Prosecco fund. This is when I realize the universe is still laughing at me. You can take my breasts and my flat stomach and my daily showers and my quiet morning time. You can expose me to a screaming, irrational toddler and smelly diaper changes and mind-numbing hours of Elmo.

But now you’ve taking my airplane tickets. Now I’m pissed.

Fare thee well, weekends in Copenhagen! I’ll miss you, quick little hops to London! I hope we’ll meet again, cozy trips to Oslo for no reason at all! You’ve kept me happy and adventurous for many years, I hope we’ll be reacquainted before too long. Just as soon as we pay off karate classes and music lessons and football tickets and college degrees and weddings and ….. and….. and…

To the new (illegal) owner of my iPhone

Shame on you.

I don’t know who you are or what you look like, but I know you’ve tried making four calls to Romania since you pilfered my phone yesterday.

But you do know who I am, and you know what I looked like when you stole my phone. You know I was bending over my little boy, trying to comfort him. You know I was a worried mother, caring for her son, and that I put my phone down to give him my full attention. You know I wasn’t thinking about you or about my phone but only about my child for that one moment. You know I was vulnerable and you took advantage.

Shame on you.

I don’t expect you to care about me, really, but I do wonder how you will brag to your friends about your Big Score. Will you tell them you took it from a mother who used that phone to communicate with her husband, with her family and with her friends? Will you tell them you stole a little boy’s favorite toy, and all the photos and videos captured by our family life? Will you tell them that you took it out of a mother’s diaper bag when she was distracted by her child?

Seriously? How low can you possibly be to steal from a mother’s diaper bag?

I don’t know you, but I bet your mother knows what you look like. And I bet she would be ashamed if she knew who you really are.

Trust me, I’m a mother. And this I know.

Leaving town

Here is a standard sequence of events in the Svendsen household lately:

  1. Per Christian goes to barnehagen.
  2. Per Christian plays and cuddles with lots of germ-y babies.
  3. Per Christian brings germs home to Mommy & Pappa.
  4. Per Christian gets sick.
  5. Mommy gets sick.
  6. Pappa gets sick.

So, yep, fun times.

Prosecco & Pampers has been a bit more quiet than usual while this cycle plays itself out. Luckily for us, by the time we reach number six, it’s a new week and Per Christian goes back to barnehagen, thereby beginning the cycle at number one all over again.

It seems like as good a time as any to get out of Dodge, so I’m splitting town this weekend for an all-girls Mommy-palooza gathering in Amsterdam. Just four old married ladies, sans hubbies and sans babies, spending a few precious days to ourselves away from home. It’ll be my first weekend away since Per Christian was born 13 months ago, so I’m thinking it’s long overdue.

I’ve got friends waiting and a sexy new dress packed in my luggage – and the fridge is stocked with beer and frozen pizza for Pappa.

Amsterdam, here I come!