Dexter has a watercolor set which he loves, and his smock is one of Matt’s old t-shirts. Yesterday Dex insisted on continuing to wear it as fun times moved outside, and as he waved the bubble wand around, “YOU’RE A WIZARD, DEXTER,” in Hagrid’s voice, kept running through my head.
We had a pretty darn British Easter. Egg hunt in a park that was kind of grey and drizzly, and then Easter morning, no baskets — not really a thing here — but the Easter Bunny brought a toy and directive to search for eggs in the back garden after dinner, so that is what we did.
Too small, but we forgot about the bunny hat last year and darn it, I had to squeeze his little skull into it once.
It was too cold and damp for Theo to run around the garden but it sure didn’t stop Dexter from finding chocolate, which is his favorite.
Obligatory loot inventory:
The toy the Easter Bunny brought was a kinetic sand kit which we bought another kid for a birthday present, and Dexter begged to open it so many times, I knew it would be a hit. He actually played with it for like, an hour straight, two mornings in a row which is remarkable focus for this kid.
And Theo munching on a hot cross bun, as is traditional:
Oh, and we didn’t take Dex to meet the Easter Bunny (come to think of it, that might also not be a thing here?) but he made an appearance at playgroup the week previous:
“Why aren’t there any photos of Theo and the Easter Bunny?”
“Because THEO CRIED.”
I put together a little video of the Easter morning hunt:
First up, Matt’s company party, Night of the Living Devs — get it? Like game developers? No? That’s okay, I appreciated the punning, as I always do.
We had a costume idea, and then Matt came home and was like, “No, the theme is pirates and zombies,” and I was like, “I’m tapped out, we’re wearing our Pittsburgh Pirate baseball hats (see? I can pun, too) and calling it a day.” I expected for it either to be lost on the group of primarily non-Americans or to receive many groans at the bad puns/cop-out costumes but I was wrong on both counts. More people than we expected got it, and most thought it was clever. Guess the UK hasn’t had its fill of ironic, punny costumes, yet. Good thing we’re here to saturate the market!
The party was at the Tropicana, an island-themed club with a dropped swimming-pool-like structure for a dance floor.
My last day at Watermark was July 6, 2016. My first day at my new job will be July 3, 2017.
This means two things.
1. I will have taken almost a year’s sabbatical from my career and
2. I have one last week left as a full time mom.
When I had Dexter, I spent three months at home, and then for two more months I switched between working from home with Dexter, taking Dex into the office and leaving the baby at home with a nanny while I went into the office. At five months, we put him into daycare full-time.
Like most parents, I was incredibly nervous about putting him in daycare. I thoughtfully packed his bag with gear Dexter would need and items that would remind him of home, and carefully composed the essay they asked me to write so they could get to know Dex’s personality and his daily routine. And the big morning, as we were leaving, Matt accidentally tipped the bag, dumping its contents. We tossed it all back in and ran out the door.
It wasn’t until we were getting ready to say good-bye Dexter at the daycare, as I was fighting back tears, that I realized that my meticulously-crafted essay didn’t make it back into the bag.
Dexter, Theo and I had kind of a wacky morning on Friday. On a normal day, we’re eating lunch around 11:30 and Dex is down for nap by 12:30, or else we are in the danger zone for tantrums.
Friday, we were running errands but kept hitting setbacks, so we were late late late. We stopped by Matt’s office for a visit and then we grabbed lunch out, the first time I’ve braved a restaurant with just me + two kids, and we weren’t eating until after 1, so we were deep in the high-risk zone.
In the U.S., when you have an American baby, all the necessary paperwork is generally filled out before leaving the hospital, and then a passport is a separate process, usually done later, since most new babies don’t have immediate international travel needs.
For an American baby born on the U.K., it’s different.
When I was becoming very very pregnant with Theo, Matt and I realized we had an issue: We didn’t yet know anyone well enough to call them and ask them to watch Dexter when I went into labor. Especially if I went into labor in the middle of the night.
Matt’s mom is wonderful and caring and so was rightfully very concerned about this conundrum. She ended up booking their first visit to us in London strategically, to try to solve the problem: two-week visit, one week before and one week after my due date, hedging bets to try to be here for the birth.
Theo was born the day before they arrived. And of course, I went into labor at 1 a.m. Fortunately, by then we’d made a friend who said we could call, and I sure hope she meant it, because that’s what we did.
I let Dexter out of my sight exactly twice. First time, I ducked into the kitchen to make some toast, and when I reentered the living room I found he’d broken our ottoman. Second time, I was prepping dinner and Dex was eating lunch and I thought we were safe, with him locked in his high chair, but no.
The UK observes Mother’s Day on a different day than the US, so this is my second this year. UK Mother’s Day fell on Matt’s birthday, so this is the real one (USA! USA! USA!). The weather is beautiful, sunny and breezy. We’ve opened the windows. I’m on my third mimosa.
We had planned brunch, but rather than spending the $, I decided I’d just eat brunch food all day, instead. I’ve had avocado toast and eggs and smoked salmon. Strawberry waffles are in the works.
Matt is on top of making everything special. Dexter colored the living hell out of a card for me. We have been to the park and both kids are napping.
Mother’s Day used to be about grieving, for me. That crappy feeling that only those who have lost their moms can understand, where I’m so, so happy for people celebrating the love of their mothers, but every photo and tribute feels like a punch to the gut because my mom is gone.
And then I became a mom, and the meaning of the day shifted, but my path to being a mom was not what you would call smooth, so that hangs out in the corners of my psyche, as well, because the story of my family is bound to the story of my children and how and why they exist.