Pandemic Life

I have to admit that with this covid bugger lurking around, life is everything else but exciting. I’m dreading the virus not so much for its potential harm (not that I consider myself exempted in any way), but for what isolation would mean for my mental health first and my wallet second. This being said, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel and I’ve already started to look at different summer destinations, which is more exciting than anything else that’s happened in the past two years. Except for Madeleine, of course. πŸ™‚

Speaking of whom, she’s turning into such a darling! She’s started dancing and playing on her own and she’s bossing us around like a true dictator! πŸ˜‰ Haha! Also, she’s showing more and more affection, this morning for instance we had a group hug- me, her favourite bear and her and since her father was in the bathroom, she wanted his picture to join! Go figure!

Otherwise I’ve been practicing driving more and more often, had friends over for lunch and even went to the theater one evening. Not bad, for a pandemic life. Haha! What can you boast about? πŸ˜‰

I have a massage waiting for me soon and then I’ll refresh my knowledge on driving rules, before driving for a couple of hours with the instructor. After that, I’m making some carbonara and reading Lucia Berlin’s short stories, after putting Madeleine to bed.

xxx, Alina

Distortions of yours truly

A friend of mine read yesterday’s entry and said I should drink more sherry- ahaha! And after rereading it, although I can still stand for everything I wrote, I realized it was a bit me me me- ahaha. And the ones of you who know me well, you know that I might come across as a bit self-centered- again haha. As a friend of mine put it, it’s the anxiety. I sure hope so. ‘Cause God knows it’s not a trait I particularly favor, but I can’t seem to do much about it. For now.

There is a Norwegian saying I like very much- everybody stands closest to themselves. And although it’s not meant in a positive way, I kind of agree. Translated into my writing, you write about the things you know of and about your own feelings. Although I am now a mother and I have another person through whom I can see the world. And I do. Don’t think that I don’t. Although I complain about motherhood incessantly, I am there for her every minute of the day. I do whatever is expected of me and ten times more. It’s just that somehow I end up giving all I’ve got and that’s when I need to write about the dissolution of me.
I’m sitting by the fireplace, in front of my favorite mirror, a blanket on my legs, all that’s missing from this winter tableau is a cat purring on my lap. And I have to admit it, it’s when I catch my breath that I feel overwhelmed by happiness. That I feel fulfilled. But that doesn’t mean I’m not in seventh heaven when my daughter calls for me from the living-room, when I’m busy busy making coffee in the kitchen, mommy’s here, I answer softly while hurrying back to the couch. She’ll take my face into her tiny hands and utter Mamma with such candor, that I swear I’ve never felt love this pure.
It’s just that the days are long and filled with much of the same and there’s so little time for me in all this. I was actually thinking the other day, for the first time in ages all I want from the new year is my f* driver’s license and some me time. Time to have a bath, time to do my nails, time to get bored. What happened to that bit? And be honest, don’t you miss it, too?

Time to go. I need to vacuum some more, wash some clothes by hand (the wool program just gets our clothes filthy instead of clean), bake some rolls and take a nap. We’re going to the doctor’s to examine the blemishes on her chin and then coming home to tomato soup.

PS. F bought a sled and I invited some friends for lunch and sledging on Sunday in order to make sure that I’ll survive the coming 3 days off. What are you up to? Maybe I’ll get some inspiration..

xxx, Alina

Thank God the Holidays Are Over!

Never in my entire life have I felt Christmas was this long, lonely and boring as this year. My God! It was never-ending! If you have difficulties relating and you’ve just come from your umpteenth family reunion with yet another indigestion, know that we haven’t. It had a lot to do with the fact that it covid is still lurking around (not that I care, but others do), that we don’t drive, that most of my friends go back to wherever they come for the holidays and that we have a toddler on top of that. So when I say the days were never-ending, I really mean it. For 5 days in a row we woke up and watched cartoons, ate American pancakes, played, went outside so Madeleine would sleep or play some more and came inside to continue playing. Of course, there was some napping and some eating involved, but playing pretty much sums it all up. With the exception of 24th, when we met F’s family for dinner and exchanged gifts, there was nothing to do and no one to do it with.

And when the cafΓ©s did open on the 27th, Madeleine got a fever spell and we had to stay inside. We played with the train set- I was envisioning Madeleine playing by herself, but instead she would demand “shitte, shitte”, meaning sit down, sit down, played with the bears, played with lego and played with her newly inherited kitchen from her sweet cousin Nora. Yesterday I had a couple of hours of driving and I was so happy to be getting out of the cosy prison, I could have jumped for joy.

This being said, I’ve always had trouble dealing with the holidays. Back when I was a kid it was because there was too much eating and too little freedom to do whatever one felt like doing, now because it’s too much family (when we’re not dealing with a pandemic) and the people you’d rather spend the holidays with are away. And I generally find myself sulking for the shops and the coffee shops to be open, not that I necessarily would go shopping, but I guess I just like to know everything is in place, the way it always is.

Today is kindergarten day and I’m trying to make good use of this “free time” by vacuuming, washing some clothes, baking bread and meeting a friend for coffee. Outside there’s lots of snow and I should really take up skiing, had I just known where to start. πŸ˜‰

xxx, Alina

Christmas 2021

Hi you all! Long time, no see. I won’t make any excuses about the time, there’s never enough time, but when there is, I seem to be letting it slip from my hands by doing nothing much. November has been cold and I’ve been sitting by the fire, pretty much like my cats used to do. πŸ™‚ I guess it’s not really a waste of time, as long as it’s a sort of therapy- your body and mind tell you that you need to rest and you’d better listen. Especially since I’m still waking up at 5 am and the days are a mist of a never-ending todo-list. Too bad this inactivity usually spills over into my admin work, so that I’m way behind with my VAT again. But that’s a different story.

How have you been? I miss you commenting my entries, but hey, as long as I’m hardly ever in here anymore, I can’t expect you to be. πŸ˜‰ We’ve been decorating a little, it looks really Christmassy and cosy here. And Madeleine and I made gingerbread twice, with the kind of dough you buy in the stores, since I can’t seem to find the inspiration for any real baking these days. She really enjoyed it, both eating the dough (and the cakes) and fooling around shaping it. πŸ˜‰ I won’t even mention the mess…

Work is slow, but I don’t mind it that much, as long as I know I have a couple of cases coming up in January. I’m finding it harder and harder to put up with the way interpreters get treated, but I won’t even go there, I feel like a broken record as it is. I should probably do something entirely different, but until the day I figure out what that might be, I’m taking my Bachelor in interpreting, to be on the safe side. Just handed in my exam, I wrote all kinds of personal bullshit and I’m not expecting to pass, but at least I gave it a go.

Otherwise I’m really close to taking my driving test (and hopefully my driver’s license), I’m already planning to lease a car in February or March. Cross your fingers! I can’t bear another day without a car! I know it’s not politically correct to even think that, but the city is not made for getting around by bus with a toddler in pram and between walking Sam, her getting her nap and the short winter days- it gets dark at 3:30!!- we seldom get to do anything else than buy cocoa at the coffeeshop 5 minutes by bus from our home.

Christmas is around the corner and I’m looking forward to a break from it all. We bought very little presents and just gave each other a vintage lounge chair, the type you sit in by the fireplace. For Madeleine I ordered a toy train set, a book (mostly because I’m bored reading the old ones) and a set of jumper and beanie in a traditional Norwegian knitting model. I used to hate them before, maybe because I also had one when I was little and it itched like hell, but now I find them really cute (and warm). πŸ˜‰ What are you getting your loved ones for Christmas?

Hope to be back with a recipe soon!

xxx, Alina

Homemade Chocolate the Romanian Way

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe with you for at least 3 or 4 years, ever since I found it on taste bazaar’s blog and tried my hand at it for the first time. It reminded me so much of my childhood that it almost brought tears to my eyes. Not that my mom or grandmas ever made it at home, but from time to time, I’d be so lucky as to get this treat when visiting family friends. It only takes me 15 minutes to make and serves a desert for a whole week. NB- highly addictive. πŸ˜‰

Ingredients

100 g butter

100 ml water

150 g sugar

350 g milk powder

40 g cocoa

a tea spoon of vanilla extract

almonds/walnuts/raisins (I prefer one of the first two)

Bring the water, sugar and butter to the boil. After 5-7 minutes, add the vanilla extract and let the liquid cool down.

Add the milk powder and the cocoa in a bowl, then add it to the liquid. Finally add the almonds/walnuts/raisins. Pour everything on a parchment paper an make a “sausage” out of it. Let it cool down in the fridge for 4-5 hours.

Tell me what you think!

xxx, Alina

First Day of Fall

I’ve been meaning to write for ages, but there’s never any time. I started on this entry last week, after I passed the theory exam for the driving license, but I only got to write the two first paragraphs. I was feeling deliriously happy, yet very very tired, and so I opted for a nap instead. That pretty much sums up my life lately- if you got 30 minutes, take a nap. Haha.

Earlier this summer, I wanted to write about our holiday in Romania, about meeting my family after 1,5 year, about the freedom of having a babysitter all of a sudden, about how incredibly hot it was in Bucharest and how all I wanted to was to hide from the sun, about how amazing it was for Madeleine to have her parents by her side 24/7 and how she would hold both our hands while walking, but then the holiday started to feel like long time ago and by the time I found a break, the memories had already faded.

And so I’ll be writing about everyday life instead. About short days and macaroni with butter, about fried rice and tiny feet running around the living room until they’re too tired to carry the small body they belong to. πŸ™‚

Lately she’s been waking up around 6 (for months and months it was 5-5:30 and that half an hour- an hour makes all the difference!) and I turn on the TV on cartoons and fetch her milk bottle while I brew myself some coffee. When it’s really early, we watch a cute Swedish series called SjΓΈlykkan while we cuddle, most days though it’s “children’s TV” while I read the news on my phone, we still get to cuddle. πŸ™‚ After breakfast – if I’m lucky she eats the first thing I make, if not I have to make up to 3 dishes hoping one of them will be the winner- she starts running around with her bears, talking to Sam or playing with her strollers. Around 8:20 we leave for kindergarten where she’s happily playing (and sleeping) until I pick her up at 3:15-3:30.

Meanwhile I work, if there’s any work, I try to tidy up a bit (the kitchen looks like swept by a hurricane every single day), walk Sam if he’s with us, take a nap if I woke up before 6, buy some groceries and Sim Salabim it’s pick up time from day care. Most days are very uneventful, sometimes I find the time to lunch with friends or take a massage, in between translating messages, court hearings and preparing for the translation exam I have coming up in October. Other days, I feel like I’m an underpaid stay home mum. πŸ˜‰ The afternoons are a swirl of macaroni, cartoons, ice cream, reading and falling asleep together with me and her bears. On a good evening, she hardly wakes up and we get to eat our dinner and watch some series, otherwise I’m in and out of her bedroom putting her back to sleep each time she wakes up (for various reasons). At 9:30 I’m dead and buried and go right to sleep.

How about you? How are you doing?

xxx, Alina

Days of Our Lives

Good morning! Actually, it’s noon and I’ve been up since 6 am and would die for a nap, but Madeleine is in kindergarten and this week she hasn’t been sick, so there’s no time to waste on catching up on sleep- haha.

I’ve been a busy bee all week and today I thought I’d continue in the same spirit and get lots of stuff done, but when I came back from walking Sam after dropping Madeleine off at kindergarten, I felt so happy to be home alone on a sunny day I decided it can all wait till Monday. πŸ˜‰

So I’m writing an entry on the beloved child and how I thought there was something wrong with me for the better part of her first year and sometimes I still do. πŸ˜‰

Being under medication for depression (turns out it was anxiety, but it’s the same pill), I was terrified of getting a nasty post partum depression. I was also afraid she might die in her sleep (sudden infant death syndrome), ’cause you read about that, too. What I was totally unprepared for was however everything else- the extent of exhaustion I would feel, how I mourned the life we had before and the resentment towards others who seemed to deal with a newborn so much better than me and still wish for a second child.

I’m on the clock, so I’ll make it short and sweet. I kind of instinctively knew I woudn’t enjoy breastfeeding, I’ve never even liked to see others do it and always figured I’d use a shawl myself, but when she wouldn’t nurse at all and if she tried it felt like a snake biting my boob, I knew it was not for me. However, society has lots of opinions about breastfeeding and it was difficult to find help to stop, the doctor wouldn’t even prescribe me medication, I had to tie my breasts with a scarf and sleep like that for 10 days or so. It was such a nightmare, I’m still traumatized.

Another thing I didn’t know before having her was that I would spend so much time worrying. These days it’s getting increasingly better, but for a year now, everything has been a potential “weapon of mass destruction”. If you forget a pen on the table, she’ll grab it and put it in her mouth, if she gets the chance, she’s going to climb down from the couch head first, she’s tasting her bath water whenever you turn your head for a split second and finding dust bunnies to swallow in every corner. πŸ˜‰

Boy, am I happy she started kindergarten and I’m back to joggling work, our dog Sam and everything else in between! I even joke about being the typical Eastern European Jack of all trades, I have no idea how you ladies who work full time do it, because between dentist’s and chiropractor’s appointments, Madeleine being sent home with fever yet again and squeezing in a bit of work here and there, there’s literally no time left for anything. And if things get better after a while in terms of communication and understanding each other, the difficulty now is to make her eat enough or diversely enough. Plus we had some weeks after she started kindergarten when she literally wouldn’t sleep unless I climbed in bed with her, on account of separation anxiety. And when I tried to leave she woke up crying again. And although you love your child more than anything, you’re tired and you’ve been eyeballing that beer since 15 o’clock and all you want is a hot shower and an hour to yourself.

So it’s been rough. So rough I had to remind myself how happy I am she’s here. How lucky we are to have had her at all. How precious she is, how she makes us laugh all day long. And that she’ll grow up and continue to fill our home with joy. And worries. haha!

So I’m leaving you here and getting ready for a lovely weekend with pancakes and cosy dinosaur screams from 6:30 in the morning. πŸ˜‰ And if you don’t love every minute of it, it’s ok. πŸ˜‰

xxx, Alina

Funny How Things Turn out in Life

I’m sorry for my long absence, these days I call it a good one if I get to shower, there’s Madeleine and then there’s everything else. So four months have passed since I last wrote a couple of words and believe me, it’s a wonder I’m writing this entry now. πŸ˜‰ (If it isn’t dinner, it’s walking Sam, or she wakes up on account of separation anxiety or I’m simply dead and waiting to be buried ;-))

You see, having yearned for a child for all my life, when it finally happened, I should have been in 7th heaven, but the truth is corona monopolized our lives and on top of that I had no idea raising a child would be this hard. Some days I feel I’m just starting to keep afloat, most days I don’t.

But the happiness is real. You do get to wake up to (and in our case with) a funny little creature so happy it’s out of line when the clock shows only 5:30, then you start singing and clapping your hands the minute you’ve put on your socks and from there it can only get better. She gets her milk and I brew my coffee while checking the infection rate in Oslo- haha.

As I was telling you everything is about Madeleine these days. Although she started kindergarten on the 1st of March, it feels like for the better part of the time she’s either been sick or her group/the kindergarten have been closed. So I work if I get the chance and I’m happy if I get to meet up in person, because seeing people is what keeps me sane.

We’ve been cheering for spring for a month now and now she’s there and then she isn’t. How about where you live? Do you get to at least be outside, with all these restrictions? We have, even when it’s been too cold to enjoy it, we’ve bought a coffee and pushed the stroller and tried to keep our chin up.

The vaccination is slow or maybe I’m just too impatient and so we don’t dare to make any plans, either, not even for a weekend a couple of hours away where there’s more life than here. Up until now it was sort of a conscious decision not to go anywhere, but now I feel I’d give my right arm to get a taste of normality just for a day or so.

Otherwise, we’re good. There’s almost nothing left of my life before children and I miss it terribly, but there’s no time to mourn and her being so sweet definitely helps.

I wish you a happy spring, wherever you are!

xxx, Alina

Christmas as 4

This year we’re celebrating Christmas the 4 of us: me and F, Madde and Sam. ❀ I’m trying to find the Christmas tree foot stored somewhere in the attic, ’cause, guess what: We’re getting a tree! I’m so excited I could jump for joy, had I not been so sleep deprived that.. But that’s another story.

Since we moved into a new apartment in February, we’ve been negotiating a new style together- I have things to fill a whole house, but it’s stuff I bought on my own or in “my previous life”, so we’re trying to find something that both can live with. πŸ˜‰ Which is why we’re not gifting each other anything this Christmas, instead we’re getting this lovely lamp from &tradition. It’s called Copenhagen, one of my favorite cities. We wanted to make sure it would come on time for the holidays and because I dared to ask, we were able to buy the one on exhibited in the store with a big discount. Yay!

My George Nelson bubble lamp is not double insulated and so we have to find another pendant for our living room table. And who would have thought it would be such a hard task? I’d been looking at Louis Poulsens PH lamp, but it has the same shortcoming, so we’ll have to search some more. Do you have any advice?

I had to get a new Mac since my old one ended on the floor with a cup of coffee aboard and I need to buy an Apple Card for my memory card, or else I can’t seem to transfer pictures from my camera. And you know me, these things take a lifetime to get sorted, which is why I only have pictures from my mobile. But I’ll leave you a cute picture of my two babies who seem to make friends with each day that passes.

I hope you have a lovely holiday and drop me a line if you feel like it.

xxx, Alina

Parting with the Baby

Our little baby has grown up and what do you know, yesterday she turned 7 months. For each day that goes by, she’s cuter, funnier and more agile. She’s been crawling for a couple of weeks, feeble attempts here and there, but today was the day she chose to race towards my purse in no time. You should have seen her, so purposeful, so self-assured. This little missy has a mind of her own and I love that about her.

For many months now I couldn’t wait to go back to work. I found maternity leave rather boring, child rearing pretty exhausting, I struggled to find room for myself in this new role, I so wanted to be more than just a mom. Amidst this quest for validation, sleep deprived and on the verge of depression, I forgot I love this baby more than I love myself. And now that I’m starting work in less than a week, I’m kind of sad. Not that I suddenly started loving the endless weeks filled with coffee dates (if the weather allows it), trying to time everything so that she sleeps when she’s tired, walking the pram without entering any place so as not to wake her up, having her food ready the second she’s hungry, and so on. But I’ll miss her warm body onto mine on the couch, every time I pick her up from her bed after a nap, messy hair and flushed cheeks, her tiny hands looking for my moles to pick on. I’ll miss going to the coffee shop and seeing her stretch after my muffin, walking home and singing along with her, telling her daddy is on his way home while washing her cheeks after porridge. I sound like I’m leaving her for good- haha. You see, I had an epiphany yesterday- having turned 40 three weeks ago, I got a gift card for massage from a friend of mine and she offered to mind Madde for an hour, too. Easier said than done, you have to find a day that suits both of us, meet at a slightly precise time, feed the baby before and leave the baby with the friend. It’s strange that I have sometimes felt the urge to be on my own so bad I’ve gone to the toilet and locked the door (when daddy’s home to sit the baby), but when I had to part with her for an hour, I felt my heart cringe.

I enter the premises. No baby, no babbling, just silence. I take off my shoes and find a couch to sit on. Such bliss. Or is it? I wonder if the baby’s fine. The masseuse shows me in to a candle lit room, some background music on, she’s soft spoken when she tells me to remove everything except for my knickers. I’ve done this so many times, my muscular pain has forced me to take so many massage sessions it’s effaced all my natural prudishness. I climb on the heated bed and under a crisp sheet. I place my head on the pillow and try to decide if I should fall asleep or not. At this point there is no baby, just me. The masseuse is a professional, her touch is divine. I want to fall asleep, but the rubbing is so good I almost feel like crying. I’m also counting minutes. Do I still have 20 or 30 minutes? If I fall asleep right now, it would still count for something. Ten minutes before the session ends and I hear a baby crying. Is it Madde? My mother brain plays tricks on me.

I stretch my bones, I rub the oil into the skin, wash my hands and get a glass of water to drink. Then I go outside and look for the baby. Turns out she’d been crying a little, but now she’s asleep. We find a place and order some pasta and a beer to celebrate. Madde wakes up and the first thing she sees is me. I’m so happy to be reunited I feel like shedding a tear or two. She wants to eat my pasta, I give her small bites to try. This must be how it is for many of us, overwhelming, yet we couldn’t be without them. The tyrants. The babies. The love of our lives.

xxx, Alina