Thursday, June 4, 2015

Belonging Blog Tour

“In dat!” My son is emphatic. 

We have stopped by the doctor’s surgery for his two-year-old checkup, but Gideon has made it clear he would rather go into the café next door. 

I promise him that we will visit the café after we see the doctor.  He trusts me and obediently submits. 

After the doctor visit, we return to the café.  The café is empty: it’s 5:00 p.m.  The Yoga mothers have all gone home for the day, and the dinner rush has yet to press in.

As they prepare tables, the staff call to Gideon by name, though I don’t know any of theirs—he’s spent more time with them than I.  Gideon brushes past them, clearly looking for something or someone else.  I nod to a familiar local celebrity who is deep in a business conversation at a dark table, and she smiles back.

“Iori, Iori!” he cries, surveying the café.  I sense the early onset of desperation. 

I then ask if M is in, Iori’s mother.  One of the staff knowingly goes downstairs to fetch her in the kitchen.  I instantly regret my decision, as I know she must be very busy preparing for dinner. 

After several awkward moments during which I am asked twice by staff if I’d like to sit down – no thank you, the six month old sleeping on my chest would certainly not like that – M appears for a brief tete-a-tete.

She greets Gideon with a hug, which he shrugs off and impetulantly insists, “Iori!”

I apologize for my toddler’s offense, to which M graciously responds by encouraging me to stop by their flat: Iori and the nanny are in.  She then offers me tea or coffee on the house before I go -  no, thank you, I need to hurry back for dinner and bedtime rush.

Gideon, now beside himself with anticipation, takes several minutes of coaxing to get into our family cargo bike.  The gentleman we had seen in the doctor’s office kindly helped distract Gideon from his quest long enough to get into the bike and his seatbelt. 

Grateful, we zipped around the corner and buzzed for Iori.  When the Italian nanny and Iori appear, Gideon is beaming and greets them both by saying, “Chow!”  The nanny is pleased, having prepped Gideon in this greeting on several previous meetings.

She then encourages us to come inside for a while.  I beg off, pleading errands and dinner to prepare (not telling her I haven’t been out of the house yet today and just need some fresh air).  She insists that at least Gideon stay to play while I run my errands.  I gratefully comply and wheel away on the urgent matter of getting the kitchen rug cleaned.

Fifteen minutes later, I return in the soft rain, my six month old now awake in the bike, with a lightness.  Although I have only been out of the house for less than an hour, my son and I have been touched by the humanity of our small London village half a dozen times already.  Despite being foreigners, we belong to this island within London – we to it, and it to us. 

This post is part of a blog tour.  To see previous posts on belonging, see Taya Okerlund, my dear friend (and law school roommate)'s thoughtful blog here

Taya grew up all over the United States, and studied and lived in East Asia, though her roots reach deep into the southern Utah desert where most of her family members still live. Her first novel, Hurricane Coltrane, was published this spring with WiDo Publishing.  After getting a law degree and working in the foreign service, Taya is currently living on the San Francisco Peninsula with her story-adoring husband and daughter who keep her busy and inspired.

Watch for a future "belonging" blog post here by fellow London mum Rachel Lambourne.  Rachel and I share a few things, including being married to numbers guys, being American women ex pats in London, collecting somewhat impractical degrees (she did Latin, Classical, and Art History at BYU and then just finished a Museum Studies masters at Harvard), sewing, thrifting, and exploring.  She has three adorable children, all very precocious.  The eldest is sought after by all the heart-throbbing little girls in our congregation.  Looking forward to seeing what she writes!

Small Wonders (sorry, let me indulge my family's requests for more pictures of our littles!)

* I finally got around to weighing both munchkins, and Esther falls behind Gideon just six pounds (2.5 kilos) at 20 lbs or 9.5 kilos.  My back has been thrown out this week, and I think I know the cause!
* Lance rescued an orphaned baby bird this week.  Gideon responded: "Hi, bird!" "I like bird," "I like tweet tweet!" (repeated perhaps half a dozen times)

Major headline of the week was Lance bringing home a orphaned baby bird, a long-tailed tit

* "Privacy! Privacy!" (Gideon demonstrating his comprehension of the concept by opening the door--victim of lock failure--and announcing it to an indisposed Lance.)
* Gideon is indiscriminate in sharing his affection.  We will often leave a shop, and Gideon will call out: "Bye-bye!  See ya! I yuv you! I yuv you too!" and wait for a response.  Perhaps I should not be so sheepish in whisking him away to safer emotional grounds.
* Gideon is our little fish.  He can now, with floaties, swim by himself.  After taking our au pair several weeks in a row, I am now confident handling both babies in the pool by myself.
*   Gideon managed to tear a hole in his sleep tent - both in the front door and back window.  At 4:00 a.m. yesterday morning, Gideon was uncharacteristically bawling. I opened his sleeping space (he sleeps in a very large walk-in closet) to find that he had someone wriggled his head into the hole in his sleep. "Stuck!" he cried.  Terrified, I helped him get free.  He then sweetly accepted the bottled with a "thank you," asked for a nose wipe, and went back to sleep.  I sewed the holes closed yesterday.
* We have roses growing over our front door (pictured above).  Lance will hold Gideon up to smell them, and he snorts into them instead.  Snorting the flowers is becoming ritualistic on our way out the door around here.
* Esther insists on "feeding" herself by holding the spoon, pouch, or bottle.  How did a daughter of mine become so opinionated so early? ;-)
* Esther has already figured out how to goad Gideon by stealing his food or reaching out to him whenever he is within striking distance.
* Esther and Gideon can now entertain each other for minutes on end.  Both can initiate communication, and can make the other devolve into fits of giggling. 

the far corner of Primrose Hill park, my favourite part

It's getting warm enough to finally eat outside.

A favorite pastime, chewing her toe
Swinging buddies

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