Let me tell you something: if you want to receive a bevy of concerned inquiries from faraway friends, prompt your nearby friends to confess their own mothering low points AND give your mother a guilt and worry-induced nosebleed, nothing does the trick quite like a lengthy, hysterical, wine-fueled whine-post.
Anyways, things are considerably brighter than they were when I felt the need to bare my soul to everyone I know. We’ve had an excessive amount of socializing, but the good kind of excessive. During the week, my gym wife and I have been taking turns feeding our kids fish sticks together while we drink wine and gossip about people at the gym that we don’t know but for whom we’ve constructed elaborate back stories. Our expat friends have been on a party tear, with bowling nights and pub crawls and St. Patty’s Day parties, culminating in an outdoor picnic dinner that felt like an ad for parenting: beautiful children, gorgeous weather, glowing pregnant women, dads playing soccer. I’m sure that if the cameras had followed everyone all the way through our respective bedtime routines things would have unraveled pretty quickly, but for one bright, shining moment it was Camelot.
We also joined the zoo, and went to the safari-esque branch an hour away with a fabulous family. We only had one injury (Poppy) but none of the roaming wild deer peed on us out of their butts (which apparently happens with alarming regularity) so it was a win.
Then this week we had not one, not two, but three lovely couple dates, one with a friend from Princeton and her husband, one with Shane’s co-worker and her husband at quite possibly the coolest restaurant in London at the moment, and one with one of my best friends from law school that reminded me how incredibly wonderful it is to have an old friend when one has been friend-dating for months. We also had a lengthy family brunch with a family that has a kid in each of our kids’ classes, which makes ignoring children while they play so much easier, and have had Shane’s old friend James staying with us, who always brings a lot of lovely energy to the flat. On top of ALL of that, I also hung a painting on the wall. I know, right?
Of course there are still the usual parenting challenges. Yesterday when I was making muffins with William for the brunch, I had to field each of the following questions within a 15 minute period:
“Mommy, what is courage?”
[I give a long explanation that makes a little sense but maybe not]
“Mommy, I think it’s like telling someone you like them. That is hard. All my friends do that but I don’t think I can do it yet.”
[My heart melts into the muffin batter]
“All the boys in my class want to marry each of the girls.” [lists a few of the pairings] “And I’m pretty sure [Boy] wants to marry [Girl] because they both have dark skin.”
[My heart leaps out of the muffin batter. I attempt to explain that skin color shouldn’t determine who you marry, and that, incidentally, neither should sex, but also somehow end up talking a bit about the slave trade? I don’t know, shit got dicey.]
“OK. But we should still be careful of brown people. Because remember that time you told me that brown people take babies?”
[WTF. Seriously W.T.F?!?!?!?]
Apparently, I told him once that I was going sell him + Poppy to the gypsies (moms, feel free to use that parenting gem whenever you want, free of charge). To explain what gypsies were and why they would buy him, I read him a bit from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame picture book, which depicts gypsies in a rather unfavorable light.
Thankfully, I was able to clear up that little misperception and William is no longer afraid of gypsies or brown people. As a side note, it turns out that gypsy references in America are kitschy, historical references. But in Europe, where the history and plight of Romas are constantly plastered all over the news in the context of EU migration rules? Not so much. Kind of like how Captain Hook pirates are funny, but Captain Phillips ones are not. The more you know!