This is the worst time of year for a mother at the French school. They seem to go holiday crazy. I have only just recovered from a 2 week break; remember our jaunt to Viñales? And then I had to take the boys out of school when it actually was Easter so we could go to a wedding in Guatemala, and then I get back for another 2 weeks holiday.
All these holidays without Papa. But the man has a big job to do I know, and I have a lot of help available to me but the bottom line is there are only 2 parents and parenting can only be done by the parents. Sometimes too many helpers can cloud the already tricky area of getting the discipline and love balance right. There are some aspects of being a Mum or a parent that are the same no matter where you are in the world, or how rich or poor you are.
Right now I have two boys who no matter what I ask them their response is …Who cares? or just plain brazen NO. I am feeling worn down, useless, ineffective, negotiation skills failing ridiculously.
On top of all that I am always under pressure to think about where I am going to get my next packet of nappies. Saskia is beginning to show signs of wanting to use her potty but still you just can’t rush these milestones, rites of passage, whatever you want to call them! I believe in celebrating every little achievement and at the moment when she ‘achieves’ anything in the potty, the whole family jumps around as though she has just scored a goal against Germany in the world cup. However I am not looking forward to the sleepless nights of sheet and pyjama changing and the inevitable accidents when you find yourself scraping poo off the most unimaginable places. Maybe our recently acquired puppy will be helping out with a bit of poo cleaning??!
Yes, it is day 2 of the holiday and we have inadvertently acquired a puppy. A very small one, called Lila. We headed up to Habana Vieja yesterday for some adventures, just me and the boys. Saskia is still in her nursery and has her sleep after she gets home so we headed off late morning leaving Saskia in good hands. We had lunch in Plaza Vieja, 2 very good hamburgers for the boys and half a pint of lager, brewed on the premises for me. I also had the mother’s pleasure of eating up their left over salad and bread. I enjoyed chatting with some British tourists whilst the boys chased the pigeons around the square. Then we pottered around looking at art, going to the mini model Habana Vieja museum, the Natural History Museum where we played drafts in the children’s room. At some stage in the afternoon Paulo came to give me a hug and tell me that he and Nico had decided that they were going to be really good during these holidays. Really I said, nervously waiting for the punchline or negotiation that never came.
The boys bought funny postcards, some Cuban chocolates and spent a few minutes looking at the rather over priced collection of tie pins in Plaza de las Armas. As I was dragging them tired through the streets back to the car, I stopped for some flowers as I saw some beautiful lilies. Arms full of flowers and bags of popcorn I noticed that there was a photography exhibition in the gardens of San Francisco church. Just one last adventure I thought. Next thing I knew we were in possession of a ridiculously small and cute little puppy, named Lila after the flowers Mummy was carrying. It seems people come and leave their unwanted animals in this church and this one had been living in the churchyard for 2 weeks. Apparently after two weeks they are booted back onto the streets again. I am not sure how true this all was, but it did not make much difference, there was no refusing the boys pleading faces. Arms full of flowers and exhausted they had an easy target and it didn’t take much before we were driving down the malecon with a new puppy. Anyway, nothing wrong with a bit of serendipity when it comes to acquiring children and pets! Now just got to get rid of all the other unwelcome guests that have come along with street puppy ……. flees, parasites and worms ……. and Saskia just wants to kiss her all the time. hmmm hmm.
Today a neighbour came to give the boys some extra Maths classes and then they escaped to my nannies house to ride their bikes in the park and go to the Aquarium whilst I hang out with Saskia and try to write during her siesta ……….. I will try to escape with the boys for another adventure outside Havana next week. Have managed to line up some extra French classes too so things are panning out!