Validation – thank you Nonna

I begin to think that I may be an American afterall. [translation = able to use and understand the psychobabble language without effort] It came to me earlier today.

At the moment we are lucky to have Nonna, the children's Italian grandmother staying with us for a few weeks. One of the advantages of having another adult at home all day, every day, is that teeny tiny things are confirmed, such as my own sanity.

For instance, I have been known to complain that they boys are my shadows. If I leave the room, or am otherwise out of visual contact, a hue and cry ensues. I appreciate, that when I explain this, that most people, not unreasonably, believe that I am exaggerating.

A simple task such as taking the recycling from the kitchen to the outside bin, a distance of some 25 paces, involves careful planning. Over the years, I have tried any number of different approaches to this tiny task. I can run outside and back again, having deposited the recycling in the bin of course, in approximately 44 seconds. Yes, I have timed it, and that's my all time record to date. However, this option has a number of disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that when I return, breathless with empty bin in hand, there are two small boys flapping around on the floor like landed salmon. [translation = but much louder] Apart from the distress and trauma caused to my boys' by my fleeting absence, in addition, I will then spend upwards of 30 minutes trying to calm them down again. [translation = thus reducing my efficiency quotient for the day]

Now, I know what you're thinking! 'My, my Madeline, you are missing the perfect opportunity to therapize those little chaps!' As always dear pal, you are completely correct. Sometimes, we do take the therapy option, afterall, any chance to lure them outside would always get my vote. [translation = both are 'allergic' to outside] There again, if someone hates to go outside, it might be better to make the 'outside' experience, a little more positive and enjoyable, and sadly, recycling doesn't fall into that category, outside or otherwise.

Sometimes when I'm feeling brave, we will attempt this feat; negotiation of the step, carry 'horrible' thing in your hand at the same time, [translation = tactile defensiveness at the very least] pass through the door jam without making contact,[translation = motor planning] or at least avoiding painful contact, [translation = insufficient sensory input for one, as well as the challenge to depth perception ] step into the sunshine, where are the sunglasses[!], walk the seven steps to the big bin, avoid looking at the plants and or bees, wait, [always a tricky one] whilst the bin lid is opened for you, attempt to hurl horrible thing in your hand into the open bin, cover your ears to protect you from the noise of the horrible thing falling into the bin, then sequence your way back into the house to wash your hands. [translation = times two] And of course those are only the edited highlights.

Personally, I cheat and go for the easy option, due to my cowardly nature. [translation = do everything at night whilst they are asleep]

So now, with Nonna here, I believe that I might just have a chance of nipping out to dump the recycling, whilst the children are present and awake, without the usual fall out.

I make my 50 yard dash, with bin, U-turn and return in 33 seconds flat, [translation = a new world record!] to the kitchen, where Nonna stands on the middle of the floorboards with two small boys flailing at her feet. Her hands flap at me to help make herself understood over the din, “but you were only gone for a moment! It's like dey think you are dead or something!” Her eyes widen in disbelief as the word 'dead' penetrates her grandson's ears. [translation = increase in volume of at least twenty decibels] Nonna's hands fly to her head to rip out the hearing aides, whilst I grovel on the ground with my grief stricken guys.

And that my good pal, is the story of how I lost my efficiency but regained my sanity. [translation = a sprinter not a marathon runner]


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Another fruitless conversation?

[from a few weeks back]

I decide that although senior son has no temperature, [translation = has recovered] he would benefit from a little recouperation time. [translation = recharge the batteries to full capacity rather than sending him back to school with low energy reserves]

I notice that he seems to take [un]natural delight in taunting his siblings, “I am ill, [translation = sick] I stay home, you go school. Bye!” he says with glee.

{sub translation = sick equals vomit, so Americans go around telling everyone 'I am vomit today.' If only they knew!}] His siblings depart disgruntled, no doubt concocting plans to contract some contagious disease rather than learn anything whilst at school.

He is definitely better, not energetic, but vertical. I try to think how we can use our day, so that whilst it remains 'enjoyable' it doesn't end up causing me pain. [translation = he has so much fun at home that he then refuses to return to school] I consider reading to him. It’s a compulsory menu item anyway, but maybe I could increase the frequency?

The cats gambol around the newly erected Holiday tree. [translation = in the house for almost a week now and only decorated with lights] A light bulb moment!

“I know! How about we start decorating the tree?”
“You are talking to me?” Good referencing even though we are alone. Everyone else is at school or at work.
“Yes, I'm talking to you dear.”
“Oh. What you say again?” Perfect! If in doubt ask for help. [translation = reiteration or translation ]
“How about we start decorating the tree?” [Translation = don't change the original question as it causes unnecessary confusion] Pause. Wait. Count to fifteen with 'ands,' as this is an averagely good day with little interference. [translation = sibling demands]
“Tree? What tree?” I refuse to sigh, I keep my face neutral.
“This tree dear.” I stand aside to reveal the 12 foot tree, three inches behind me, bedecked in multi-coloured lights that are blazing.
“Oh! That tree!” What other tree could he possibly have been thinking of? [translation = such negative considerations are not helpful]
“Shall we start putting decorations on it?”
“Why?” Oh dear, here we go. [translation = become tied up in semantics. {sub translation = tree remains naked}]
“Because it will be fun.”
“Fun for who?” A pertinent question as always.
“For both of us. We can do it together, just you and me.”
“Together?”
“Yes.”
“You and me?”
“Yes.”
“Fun?”
“Yes.”
“You are sure it is fun?”
“I am.” He pauses to digest this information. Patience, patience, it's coming, it's coming, keep counting. [translation = don't forget the 'ands' as he's processing multiple factors] His hands slowly move to his hips, he adopts a jaunty stance, flips back a hank of hair with a jut of his chin to advise me, “Well….I can see that maybe it is fun for you…….but not for me……but I will hep you anyways.”
I resist the urge to squeeze him tight for his magnanimity. Although, no doubt, he would enjoy the proprioceptive input, on the whole, positive praise and reinforcement has unfortunate consequences. That’s my fix for the day!


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Shell game

I reconsider my ban on straws. [translation = drinking straws] They are no longer permitted to drink every drink [translation = beverage] with a straw regardless of temperature or content. No longer will I need to explain that although they are drinking hot chocolate that a straw is compulsory, not bizarre. Enough of this lip closure hogwash. [translation = jaw muscle strengthening technique] I am single handedly responsible for three life times worth of disposable plastic straws. Admittedly as yet, they are short life spans, but threatening to be terminated prematurely. I need gain control of this environmental crime.

But in punishment for such an arbitrary rule change on my part, I now have to endure the sight of them missing their mouths on regular occasions. Additionally, the increase in laundry is another punishment to the rule changer.

I mean! How can you miss your mouth? It's not as if it relocates itself somewhere else about your person without warning? It's a permanent fixture. If it were there this morning, it is likely to still be there later in the same day. Possibly, if you're very lucky, it will still be there the next day, and every other one thereafter.

Toddlers and others with 'Learner' plates, are permitted to have a few accidents, but those of us advanced beyond the age of five, should accept that this is a given.

I blame speech therapy myself, all this multitasking isn't good for children such as mine. They can talk, they can drink, but not both at the same time; it's too distracting, too confusing. It they continue to try to talk and drink at the same time surely they'll all drown? There again, if they keep missing their mouths and filling their laps instead, perhaps I am worrying unduly.

There is no hidden agenda, your cake hole [translation = mouth] is in the middle of your face. There is no conspiracy theory here. What is the problem? Why are you making such difficulties for yourselves?

I am exasperated to the point of wrath, driven to an early grave: “here lieth a woman buried beneath a multitude of failed campaigns, and far to many plastic straws that are non biodegradable.'

I stomp away from the table to make a quick cup of coffee to restore my sanity. The coffee gurgles. My body moves on automatic pilot, a smooth, efficient flow of movement. I grab the carton from the fridge, line up the cup, but my brain fails to register as I miss and pour the milk into the sink.

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