Tag Archives: Travel

Summertime Funtime!!!

Kerry
Stunning Kerry, Ireland.

Kindergarten ended and we didn’t have a chance to be bored as two days later, I took the kids back to the motherland for a month. I rented a car and we went all over the country (at least the lower half). It was an experience that I am so so so happy they had. It was such a cultural difference from their norm. They got to meet so much family and made new friends. They survived roaming multi-hour car rides without the DVD player or iPad in sight. They watched out the window for different flowers, far reaching mountains, wild sheep, cows, and horses scattered all over the land.  We climbed to the top of (little) mountains – OK, mere hikes, but to a four-year-old, it was a mountain. We hopped over streams. We stared at beautiful landscapes. flower crownWe ran barefoot over the softest, greenest grass ever. They played hide & seek in forests. We made daisy & dandelion chains that then turned into flower crowns. Things that I remember doing as a child that neither of mine have ever experienced before. It made me very grateful that I could bring them there, open up their world to such new joys. Before one trip to Kerry, I stopped at the local shop, picked up a loaf of bread, some sliced ham, water, cheese, and a few snacks. Hours later, when hungry, we just pulled up a boreen, climbed some rocks, and had a picnic in the Irish countryside wilderness.

IrelandIt dawned on me several times that little things I take for granted that they would know about are completely foreign to them. My 6-year-old former mental patient (she’s been upgraded from paroled mental patient) was rendered speechless on our drive to Dublin when she spotted something on the road, attached to the back of a car, with a horse’s ass visible from the back. It was then I had to explain what a horse box was and how horses are moved long distances. I could practically see her brain whirring.  I brought them to Mitchelstown caves where her brain again exploded because she was walking underground and looking at the shapes made by thousands of years of nature. It was the same cave tour I took when I was a young child on a field trip from school.  She learned new phrases. The look on her face was priceless when a cousin asked her if she was telling “porkie pies.”

blarney castleWe hit more tourist spots, such as Blarney Castle where she climbed all the way to the top only to be denied the opportunity to kiss the stone because I wasn’t with her (her older cousin was) and they needed parental consent at the top!! We took a boat to Garnish Island in Kerry and watched baby seals resting on the rocks. We caught up with family and were so busy having fun that we didn’t even get to do a Pajama Day (which they really, really needed) until week 3. We spent a weekend in Dublin where we explored Dublin zoo (it’s awesome, btw). At a dear friend’s house, my girl was introduced to a Jack Russell terrier puppy and thus began the love affair with terriers.

I hope to be able to take them on this trip every year. I want consistency in cultural exposure. It wasn’t until three days before leaving that we didn’t have anything to do. Nothing planned. I had wracked up 2,000km on the road over the month and we were all exhausted. It was right about this time that my four-year-old mental patient turned into the exorcist. I think it was a combination of tiredness and my grave mistake of telling him we were leaving Ireland in a few days. Such a horror was he that I’m surprised my Dad even slowed the car down when he was dropping us at the airport to leave.

KatieWe made the long trek back across the Atlantic and I marvelled at the exorcist’s tiny little voice asking me if we were in space yet. Upon discussion with my husband about the little dog she met, we decided that we would casually look for a terrier dog, but I had strict directives on what was and was not acceptable. It needed to be a rescue dog. I didn’t want a puppy. It needed to be house trained. Last year, we had to say goodbye to our little chihuahua of 10 years, Alfie, and my daughter has been talking about a replacement ever since. Our other dog, Trillian, is in heart failure and it’s amazing she’s lasted this long. She’s on three different medications to keep her going but even so, I don’t think the time will be much longer to when we’ll have to say another goodbye.

Less than 24hr hours after landing back in the United States, I see a listing for a little terrier/chihuahua mix. Because she’s a rescue, time is of the essence and we ended up bringing Katie home less than 48 hours after we had returned. It turns out that the house training we were assured of isn’t as solid as we had hoped, but she’s a super loving dog, very patient and loves cuddling. My daughter finally gets a dog to snuggle with her in bed. I have to confess, I love the little thing already.

So six weeks into summer, I’ve only now had the time to sit down and say hello to you! Next week, I take my 6-year-old on our annual “girls with girls” weekend, where it’s just the two of us and the boys stay home. School starts in 5 weeks (eeekkk!!!) and the exorcist will begin preschool. For three hours every day, I’ll be on my own in the house. This. Is. Huge!!!! I’m delving into a new career adventure which I’ll talk about another time so I’m excited to get some alone time to work uninterrupted on it. Fingers crossed.

Hope you are having a good summer.  <3

 

Over-parenting: Part 1.

MargheritaI was fortunate enough to be offered the trip of a lifetime by my wonderful brother and his husband for a 10-day break in South Africa to celebrate my birthday. This trip was just for me and the boys. No hubby or kids in sight. I had a very hard time being excited about the trip because I was so stressed out – I was leaving the day after Christmas so there was the Christmas mayhem to get through, would the kids be OK when I was gone? Would I pay dearly for my absence by my three-year-old mental patient once I got back? I told my hubby to drop me at departures drive-thru. I wasn’t going to go through any elongated good-byes. I cried. I looked at my children longingly. Smothered their faces with kisses. Kissed & hugged my hubby goodbye and watched them drive off. I swallowed the torrent of tears that threatened to flow. I checked in, breezed through security still wondering about my babies. Got to my gate with loads of time to spare and spotted a bar. I sat my arse down, ordered an insanely overpriced Margherita and suddenly, the world lifted off my shoulders. I forgot about the children. I forgot about my husband. I realized that for the first time in fourteen years, I didn’t have anyone else to think about or considerate but me. No children. No husband. Just ME! Suddenly, no one was there demanding my attention every 2 minutes. No one needed to hang off me. No one needed anything. It made me quite giddy.

LondonMy journey gave me a full day in London where I did the red bus tour and met up with some fabulous friends for a late lunch. I was noticing the freedom of movement. How easy it was to walk from A to B, how much less stressful it was to battle the crowds. By late afternoon, I made my way to Heathrow airport for the 12 hour flight to Cape Town, South Africa. I still fully wasn’t grasping what lay ahead of me though. I’d had a great day in London. Now onto another new place.

plane tripI talked with the marine biologist next to me about his kids and my kids, and how he wasn’t going to see them for a month. But I knew my time was limited and I felt a little twinge while talking about my children, wondering how they were doing. Daddy was taking care of them so I knew they would be just fine. And then I arrived. After almost two days of traveling, I arrived to a place that took my breath away. When I met my brother, the true excitement of what lay ahead hit me. Children? What children? Who has children?

What followed that week led to very interesting discussions and realizations about how I parent. What I do instinctively as a parent, and how parenting is viewed very, very differently elsewhere than in the United States. What I learned, frankly, is that it’s amazing any of us mothers in the US come out of it alive. More to come. . .