Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Australia Eight: checking in

It’s time to check the Grump-O-Meter.

Our last trip to Australia rated high on the G.O.M., between financial worries and general stress. This time, while I'll admit to some financial concern (all of those spiffed up places here on Phillip Island are much more expensive than the makeshift joys of my childhood), I had preemptively removed Super Mama some time ago, and banished her for the duration of the trip. Super Mama does not bring QG, she can levitate all four carry ons (food, diapers, medical and entertainment bags) while delighting two small children during long layovers. She can go without sleep for hours during amazingly long flights and in the wee a.m.s when small jetlagged people want to play. And she smiles the whole time, bless her. I leave all of that for her to manage – I have QG as backup, instead.

So, with QG behind me, I can shrug off the endless cooking (Super Mama also doesn’t have sausages and rice twice a week), the housework, the grandmaternal caregivers who understand nothing (NOTHING) about food allergies and who leave crumbs, milky coffee and sesame seeds everywhere (insert shriek here), and wave pumpkin seeds (of all things!) over my food (OVER MY FOOD) when I’m cooking it. Or, let’s kick this down a notch and consider my silly insistence on mishloach manot (we’re here, and it’s such an opportunity…to fiddle with something extra on a Friday). Yep, the million of mosquito bites are fine, the Eldest’s small wrist bleed was laughable. I can deal with it all, oddly enough.

I can deal with the planning, the getting out the door late every day, the endless packing and repacking of clothes, snacks and diaper bags and the thirtieth reiteration of Muuu-um, I’m hungry in a single day. I can deal with small, Man-less children who miss their father amazingly. Although I admit to not quite being able to manage the Toddles’ current habit of running away from me, as fast as his little legs can carry him.

Last night, he nearly made it into traffic. Scared to the point of incoherence (translation: shitless), I applied a furious maternal hand to his bum. To, let me clarify, a soggily diapered bum. The Toddles noted my fury and barely noted the hand, while I started self-flagellating on the spot. Bad, bad mama for bopping the kid’s tush. Immediate expulsion from the attachment parenting club for you. Nope, can’t deal with that. Especially when he tries an encore and nearly tosses himself off a boardwalk and onto a Nobbie. Nope. But I have the Ergo carrier, and an elegant wrap-shawl thing that I found at the Nobbie-shop, of all places, and the Toddles and I are getting reaquainted with babywearing. So maybe we can deal with this, too.

I am, however, just hanging in there where the dust mites are concerned. With skin testing on the 2nd of April, the boys had to stop taking Zyrtec on the 18th of March. From that point on, sleep began to fade as the Toddles’ nightly congestion resumed, and the Eldest started waking up to scratch again. I’d hear him scratching, his skin so eczema-ed that it sounded like he was scraping rough paper. Scraaaape. Scraaaape. Scraaaape scraaaape scraaape. He'd sit up and arrange himself for best scraping potential. Go to sleep, said the mama. Whaa? said the Eldest, not fully awake. Aargh, suggested the mama. And so it would go. Just got to make it for three more days, when we return to a beautifully noncarpeted house, now featuring brand new wooden floors in the boys’ bedroom, not to mention other grandparentally funded antidustmitings (or is it anti-dustmite smitings?). Huzzah!

And honey, if you read this, good luck with the child lock for the windows. I’m sure the giant Babies R Us out on Rt 16 has one, and the boys are excited to have extra playing space in their room. Me, I’m just excited to see you at the airport. And don’t forget the food…the tired travelers will probably want some fresh fruit! Oh, and hugs. Lots and lots of oh but I missed you so hugs.

Because we really did miss you, love. Oh, but we missed you.

Note to the Reader: haven't forgotten why we came. I'm just refusing to think about it. My grandmother is a touchstone to my extended family, whose connection to me is so strong that for years I wandered around the US, uncertain if I actually belonged there. She represents that bond, and I simply cannot imagine a life without her.

And, being an ocean away is unlikely to discourage my denial. I haven't fully accepted my grandfather's death - and we named the Toddles for him - and I'm still uncertain about my uncle's death. Although that one's taking a beating, as I've got his old cell phone for use on this trip, and there's some text messages to him, wishing him a speedy recovery. And oh, but that hurts.

We are home. Dang, but it's cold! I looked at my previous post and I'm laughing. High summer? Heh. It'll be a long, long wait here in New England for that salad. Still, I've come home with an armful of gluten-free recipes (Australia beats the pants off the US for gluten-free living), and have already set up a week's menu full of new ideas.


joy said...

welcome home, safe and as sound as possible.

dykewife said...

as your grandmother is a touchstone to you, you shall be for your children and their children. it is the way of things.

i'm glad you're home and safe and dust mite limited. i'm sure the boys will start sleeping better, and probably be in somewhat better moods for it all.

we solved the issue of boy running away from us as fast as his legs could carry him but stuffing him in a stroller. not that he could run, really. but his butt wiggled really fast :D

KosherAcademic said...

Welcome home! We also kept JR in the stroller WAY longer than he should've been in order to control that running-out-into-the-street-or-other-dangerous-place problem. Or the tantrums and refusing to walk. Both are VERY problematic...