Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Good Child and Birth Order

Sometimes I wonder what kind of a child Benjamin would be if he were an only child... instead of stuck in the middle. He thrives on attention, but doesn't quite know what to do to get it. Of course, he is most often sandwiched between Annika, who is so verbal and charming, and Christopher who is still so cuddly-cute, that it his hard for Benjamin to stand out.

In May, Benjamin got to travel with us BY HIMSELF to Texas for a week, in part to give him some special attention, and in part to ease the babysitting load back at home. He was still a bit difficult, as four-year-old boys are apt to be on long international flights... but what a difference! He pulled his own bag, sat calmly on the three flights, and didn't complain once when our third and final leg of the trip was canceled due to weather and mechanical problems at 11pm, which was really 7am his time, after being on the go for nearly 24 hours. When we were being issued our hotel accomodations and vouchers, the comments swirled around - "He's so cute!", "What a good boy!", "What a little trooper!", "What a great little traveller you have!" - all the comments that are usually directed at his siblings.

When we were at the hotel, it was so easy! He has always been a good sleeper, and he went to bed every night without complaint.

His view of the experience? Difficult to tell. I think he liked the one-on-one time, and enjoyed the extra attention. However, he missed the other kids, and found it a bit boring to be with the adults all the time.

As parents, we really enjoyed the opportunity to be one-on-one, and will have to try to create more opportunities as the children get older.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Don't leave home without them!

The children are getting older, and we thought we would be able to leave them more often... but we were wrong! The statistical data sample of 3 for 3 suggests that we are still attached to our children on a daily basis!

1) Marrakech - well, so it wasn't really the kids this time, but our first weekend away from them was almost brought to an abrupt end by a failed heater, in Sweden, in mid-January. Annika has her first sick day in 6 months for a cough and cold.

2) Texas/France in March - this time, David's French trip was cut short by a babysitter who fell down the stairs and sprained her ankle. We also suspect that our three proved to be more of a handfull than fun... Annika also has her second sick day this school year for a suspicious rash.

3) Texas - David was on the ground for a mere 28 hours in Lubbock before turning around. Every parent's worst nightmare - the babysitter called that Christopher had been admitted to the hospital for observation and put on an IV. Though we suspected his condition would soon improve, we couldn't leave the babysitter - no matter how outstanding she was - with a hospitalized child.

I guess the kids will be coming with us in the future!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Away from the kids

I haven't been away from the children very much. Last year, after 6 years of motherhood, I think I had spent fewer than 8 nights away from the children, total. Now they are a little older, so it should be easier, in theory. Of course, D's travel schedule and the kids' activitiy level make it difficult to find a way for me to get away.

I just spent six nights away for the Baby och Barn mässa in Göteborg, and it was good, but hard. I called once when C had just been reprimanded for something, one of the times where he didn't just laugh and run away, but when he took it (too) seriously. "Ma-(sob)-Ma" he kept saying on the phone. When he calmed down, he managed "Mama come? Mama come night? Mama home?" - enough to take away that sense of freedom I felt and replace it with a few twinges of guilt.

Of course the mässa... that was another matter. As I loaded up a whole moving van of toys, display shelves, tables, bicycles, floor mats, tools, etc., I kept shaking my head in amazement. The last time I moved house without a moving service, somewhere between business school and London, I swore it would be the last time, and it was... until now. Why I felt compelled to move - effectively twice - within six days - is beyond me. And then drive across Sweden? Insane is more like it. A little physical labor is always refreshing, since I spend far too much time at the internet, but I have never been so tired!