Sunday, October 21, 2012

guf, and other things about today and the night before

oh last night.

you get a healthy boy and you think, tonight will be the night we all get some much-needed sleep.  and maybe you do for a couple hours.  and so that's something to be grateful for.  but then your newly healthy guy is awake.  stuffy nosed.  can't sleep.  eventually you find yourself out in the living room, lights on, watching him play with toys, and it's not quite 5 a.m., but you don't know what else to do.  you've given up resisting wakefulness and somehow imagine that if you embrace it, he will resist it.  and it sort of works.  he's willing to reconsider the bed and the blankets and the darkness after five minutes of toys.  you begin to imagine the almost unimaginable scenario, that everyone will sleep in until 8:30.  because if there's anyway to guarantee it, it must be by playing with toys before five.  but he doesn't ever fully make up for those pre-dawn hours by sleeping deeply in those early morning hours.  instead he is up again at seven.  this time with his dad.  at eight o'clock you swap.  by 8:30, you're all up.  eating pancakes... a plus.  unknowingly about to embrace one of denmark's finer fall days.

our goal today was to find william a halloween costume and some pumpkins for carving.  and to return  to the library the danish kids' video that never worked because it was scratched up too badly.  and maybe go to the bakery, though the rationale behind that one has now escaped me.  

william wanted to ride his bike, and though the journey was longer than a trip to the library and back, and despite last week's fall, we put up no real resistance.

"it's going to be a long trip.  what should our plan be if you say you can't keep going?" i ask him.

"that 'you can keep going.'," he said.

and he did 'keep going' the entire trip.  which is what i thought.

we went to the library first and dropped off the video, where the librarian seemed completely at peace with the idea of putting a non-working dvd back into circulation.

next, down to the pedestrian street to the farmer's market.

we get brussels sprouts and three pumpkins.  william is having a friend over tomorrow.  the same friend he played with earlier in the week.  maybe he's never carved pumpkins before, we speculate.  halloween has only caught on in denmark within the last ten years, and the level of participation seems to vary.  there is no baseline indicating that every household in denmark carves pumpkins.  william picks out the two biggest pumpkins he can find and we get a small one for his friend to carve and take home.

then we walk over to a children's thrift store, off the pedestrian street, in hopes of finding a halloween costume for william.  they have some.  for the reasons above, i am sort of amazed that they do.  william has his pick between spiderman, batman, and a ninja.  he chooses the ninja and i am happy enough that he does not choose to advertise a commercial character.  i am also feeling a little bit like the least crafty mom ever.  until he saw the ninja costume, he'd wanted to be a ghost, which, seems like, basically cutting a couple of eye holes out of sheet and throwing it over his head.  going to the thrift store yesterday, was, in part, to find just such a sheet, but i didn't find one, and instead got on the idea of 'thrift store to find a costume'  and not to find a sheet, and well, now he's a store-made ninja (with a store-made battle ax).  it doesn't help that my own full-time working mother sewed most of our halloween costumes, so that the build-up to halloween was that much bigger, as we watched her sit at the sewing machine after dinner, or on the weekends, reinventing a pair of my step-father's pants, for example, so i could be a 'nerdy boy' in the third grade, or a witch in first, a clown in second, a girl going to the sock-hop in fifth, geez, the list just goes on.  and now me.  a mom.  on october 20th.  hopeless with a sewing machine (and without one, regardless).

but enough lamenting.  i will learn to use a sewing machine one day.  i can make halloween costumes for my grandchildren.

we head to a park.  a huge park right in the middle of roskilde, that somehow we have never stopped at before. and it is beautiful and you can see that it is fall here and you are not too cold to enjoy it, because today, somehow, it is almost warm enough that you don't need a jacket.  i tell greg i am glad to know there are at least a few fall days in denmark like this (yesterday was also one of them).

sort of like summer... it will be warm...  it will be sunny...  you just have to be patient and get through those rainy days.

past the domkirke...

and trees in their various colors...

down a tree-lined path...

to the park...

and i see these two women walking arm in arm.  presumably mother and daughter.  i watch as they take identical steps, up the entire hill.  stopping at various times, but never once, not even slightly, out of lockstep with one another.  

greg has had the foresight to pack lunch things for this journey, and so we eat under a tree; the only damper on the lunch bit occurring when a bird flies over and, well, poops, onto my hand, onto the handle of the knife i am using to make sandwiches, and yes, into the jar of peanut butter.  oh ve.  that's danish for oh woe.  okay, so let's skip the lunch part.

except for this...

and this...

the guys throw rice cakes to the ducks, and sticks and leaves into the stream leading to the duck pond.

they do this for a long time.

"is it because they're boys," greg asks, "that i completely understand their desire to get as dirty as possible... and you just don't have that same desire?" ...this after i grimace at henry digging his fingernails into the muddy, wet, gravel path, to throw tiny pebbles into the water.

later, we go to the harbor at the fjord for ice cream... the rationale (my rationale) being that it is still efterårsferie for a couple more days.  the harbor is packed with people.  we head to the ice cream stand where there is a long line.  we've never had ice cream at this particular stand, but seeing the line makes me think it must be worth waiting for.  we see william's friend, the play date friend, and his family, also waiting in line for ice cream.  his friend runs over and hugs him.  william is very excited to see a friend here, to the point where i have to suggest to him, "how about a little less crazy."

we get our ice cream-- two scoops of 'banana split' for william, a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of strawberry for me (because here, for some reason, you can mix and match your scoops... a foreign concept to me, but one i have wholeheartedly embraced).  (greg has opted out.  henry has fallen asleep.)  we also have them put guf on top.  because of this article my friend and (old) neighbor sent to me awhile back.  guf was the only thing i could remember from the article.  guf, like they say in the article, really is like a marshmallow fluff.  in this case, strawberry flavored, so that when william went up to his friend to tell him what flavors he got, he said, "jordbær, bananer, chokolade."  (strawberry, banana, chocolate.)  ah, to hear him say those three words to his friend.  i can't tell you how exciting it is to hear him begin to speak danish.  the other day when i picked him up from school and his teacher asked him a question in danish and he responded, "leverpostej" (ground pork liver and lard spread... very popular around these parts... but you know, peanut butter and jelly... not so popular) i was one proud mom.

note the guf.

getting plenty of smiles from strangers, this boy and his pumpkin...

william's friend's parents talked about the unusual weather.

"we cannot remember a day where it has been this nice in october."

"today is my birthday," the dad said, "last year it was absolutely freezing.  negative five. the year before that-- pouring down rain."

it will be warm... it will be sunny... you might just have to be patient... for years and years... 

we finish up our ice cream.  as william gets through his entire ice cream cone, guf and all, i can't help but telling him, "your grandpa (my dad) would be so proud of you."  he is, i think, the reason i get ice cream cones for my kids.

waiting... watching...

taking down the sails...

boats on the harbor...

we ride home.  up a big hill along the fjord.  i joke to william that it's not a big hill at all.  he laughs and doesn't believe me.  "why make big hills out of little hills?" i ask him.  he laughs again.

we get home and greg makes a chicken dinner with the last of our 'happy chicken', and the brussels sprouts from the farmers market.  we put henry up on the kitchen counter.  his favorite place to perch these days when we're making dinner.  i did it out of necessity during one of my single parent nights after remembering another friend and (old) neighbor telling me that's how her sister always cooks with her children, and i tell you, it works.  which is to say, he hasn't fallen or burned himself on the stove yet, and he is completely excited to be a part of things and make requests for cheese and crackers and water and nibble on the food that's being made.

later, we work to get him to bed.  switching off.  trying to figure out what it is that he needs.  it's a difficult process tonight, perhaps because he's over-tired from the previous night.  i eventually just stand in the middle of his room, holding him upright in the dark.  no singing. no swaying.  until he points to his crib.  he's ready.  he falls asleep quickly after that.  and william, working with whatever parent is not trying to get henry to bed, reconstructs the castle from the front of the castle blocks box.

and he later goes to bed too.  and greg, who was going to come out and hang out with me while i wrote this blog post, has also fallen asleep, presumably catching up on last night's (and the night before that, and the night before that's) sleep, leaving me, uninterrupted, to write a very long post, which you maybe read, or maybe skimmed over and said, 'oh that looks too long.'  and if you didn't read it, well, i hope you are catching up on your sleep instead, or making someone laugh, or eating ice cream, enjoying a spectacular fall day, perhaps walking arm in arm with a love, somewhere in the world.


nina said...

That is one beautiful post. Tears, smiles -- it has it all.

No, I did not skim!
Just wait, I'm going to read it again.

P.S. It's cool that kids eventually learn to sleep, and when they do, you're quite ready to fight the struggle of getting them up. Yay nature.

Judy said...

Thank you so much for the pictures from the park and the harbor. I check out this webcam often

greg|regan said...

thank you nina. i so appreciate your comments. and you're welcome judy! i will check out the webcam.

kat said...

i read it. and liked it too! glad the counter trick works for henry. we tried it with grace, in the bathroom to brush her teeth, but she thinks it's too hilarious to swing her feet into the sink, or open the medicine cabinet. such a darling picture of henry with pumpkin! and oh, did i sigh a big sigh of relief when ollie announced he wanted to be a ghost for halloween. i can manage to cut eyes into a sheet, thank you.

greg|regan said...

hi kat,

yes, henry loves the counter! he insists on it every night now. he is good around the stove (at least so far. fingers crossed). i'm glad you told me about it. i wonder how they both had the idea of a ghost. over here, it's not like ghosts come up very often in our house. at least not nearly as often as knights or luke skywalker or darth vader.