Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dear Santa...I can explain!

Only a few more days and we are off for our Christmas holidays! We are going to Italy, spend Christmas with my family and then we are all going skiing. I. Can't. Wait.

Oliver was back to full form and we brought him back to the crèche on monday. He had to settle back in, I suppose in an almost one year old, a full week out of the day care is a big part of his life! But he was fine, really. We found out on monday that they were organising a Christmas party for the children on thursday. One thing was Oliver had to wear a red outfit. Of course we had none in the house. On wedensday I miraculously found two Christmassy long sleeved vests. One white with red profiles and the other one the other way around. I also found in a bag given to us from a colleague a pair of red trousers and we were in business. Here a few shots of the party!

The babies from two rooms were together

This is Cian, Oliver's best friend (they are only 2 days apart) and partner in crime!

I thought the writing on the vest was so so cute!

All in all we had a great time. 

In work we are in the mist of exams, panicking students, corrections etc. But as of three minutes ago I have finished all my correcting. Whohoo for me! Mike on the other hand...knee deep in correcting. Ah well.. 
I also had my group Christmas lunch which went well. Despite me not being in work full time for almost 8 months we had a lot to celebrate research-wise and so we did. To many more productive years.

How are getting on with Christmas presents? Somehow I'm doing remarkably well. Mike is sorted out and so are his nephews whom we'll see tomorrow. I know what I'm getting for my sister and parents too. The only one I don't know what to get is Oliver!! One part of me says "Jeez is not even one and has all he needs" but the other part says "What mother am I not getting him anything for Christmas? And don't forget it's his birthday in two weeks!". Suggestions?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It was no chickenpox

We had some week. Remember I said Oliver was sent home from the crèche as they suspected he had chickepox? Well, I wasn't so sure it was as the little spots were very few and only on his legs (just a couple on is arms) and didn't really develop and weren't itchy either. But Oliver was miserable. By the time I came home from the trip to Spain he was waking up every couple of hours and crying in his sleep. On sunday he had spiked a fever which came down with ibuprofen but then on monday he had stopped eating and drinking. The spots had already crusted over by then and I was really worried he was dehydrated. We called our doctor and went in right away. He still had a temperature  when we got there and she was concerned about his cough as his chest didn't sound right. She looked at the spots, eliminated chickenpox almost immediately, but the combination of these spots, plus the fever and now lack of appetite and cough was a first class ticked to the pead A&E. Off we went we our precious cargo to the hospital. He looked so so small in the normal size bed and was really tired so the paed had no problem in checking him out.

She confirmed the chest sounded a bit crackly and sent us for X-ray. Thankfully the chest x-ray was not particularly concerning and she was happy to send us home with oral antibiotic. While there we were able to feed him a bottle and some pureed veg, and liked the antibiotic.

On tuesday he seemed a bit better, but still very tired and eating and drinking a little more (remember that this child is voracious when he's well, so it's a huge difference!). Night-time was still a struggle and Mike and I had agreed some sort of shifts depending on who was staying at home in the morning and who was going to work. Then yesterday morning I really didn't think he had improved much, plus the antibiotic are upsetting his tummy so the fear of dehydration had not really gone away. I called the doctor and he said it was probably that he had to replenish his fluids, to try and push them on him and he should get better quickly. Certainly the fever was gone and the appetite was slowly coming back. Yesterday afternoon he slept 3 hours very peacefully (not waking up crying or coughing) and last night he slept 14 hours! This morning he was back to be a happy curious little boy and he's in much better form. I still think he's not peeing much but at least he's not vomiting anymore (the cough would get him to bring up anything he had just eaten or drunk), so I'm hopeful he's on the road to recovery!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Barcelona pickpoketing business and The kindness of strangers

Since my last post a lot has happened.

I think I had probably just hit the "publish" button when I got a call from the crèche as they suspected Oliver had chicken pox! So off I went and surely he had a few spots on his legs (usually it starts on the trunk but I've read it can be anywhere really) and feet. He was quite in bad form and a off his food (very very unusual). Anyway, as sorry as I felt I still had to pack to go to this meeting in Barcelona on friday. Left very very early and arrived around 10am in Barcelona. Between the train station at the terminal and the central station my wallet disappeared. WTF?? And I've travelled a good bit, I am very aware of my belongings and yet...I don't even know when it exactly happened. Thinking about it, it was probably on the train (which was packed) and a couple asked me some questions as we were about to get off the train. Apparently it's a classic scam.
Thankfully I had my passport and other much more valuable items separate (iphone, ipad, mp3) so I was pissed of course but it could have been worse. But it wasn't easy to get help. Now remember, I was on my own, not a cent in my pocket and not speaking the language (granted italian and spanish are similar but not enough to help you when in distress). I told a security guard at the station what happened (in english), he shook his head and said "police". Right. I know what "police" means, I don't know where "police" is. There was a police car outside the station, after a while I finally spotted the policemen talking to some people. I explained in english what happened and they said "police station". Are you kidding me? I'm a foreigner, with a suitcase, where the fuck is your police station? Point me in the right direction given that I have no money, cannot take a taxi or a bus or the subway! He pointed down a road, and said "15 minutes". Thanks. I found the police station and the experience there was surreal. It was like a window in hall of an anonymous building. Behind the window there was a policeman at a computer. After about 5 minutes of me standing there he lifted his head and said something which prompted me to start explaining what happened. He stopped me immediately and called a girl who was sitting at a desk inside this office reading a book. She was the interpreter. We were speaking english, she gave me the number to block my cards and those people on the phone (in Ireland) were like angels. Really sympathetic, explained I could in fact get emergency money through Western Union, they would arrange that for me as thankfully I had my passport, I could access the money within the hour and of course they also immediately reissued credit and debit cards. I filed a report on the theft. Note that all this took probably just about two hours as in between the phone call, getting the forms and returning the forms I had to wait for this girl who as soon as she gave me the number or form returned immediately to her book and never lifted her head. Every time she had to be called by the policeman (who was dealing with other people). Anyway, at this point I had the info to collect the money and done what I had to do from the police point of view (with the strong feeling that my report went straight to the trash can as there was no interest in really investigating it). I had no idea where a Western Union agency was. This girl wrote two addresses on a piece of paper and handed them to me. As if now I had a better idea. I asked her where these two addresses were and she reluctantly started saying they were very far... right. How the hell do I get there? She started saying I should get a taxi or the subway. Ok. Once again, I have no way of taking any transport, would there be any chance of a unit going out to that general direction and could give me a lift? She said no. Ok. I asked would she have any suggestion of how a foreigner in this situation could find a way to get to this place? She must have took offence as she said "I gave you the forms and address, that's it" and left. Honestly she fecked off. To her book. The policeman 20cm away never once looked up at me. I was shocked. I was left with no way to communicate in the very place that is supposed to help someone who has just been robbed! Shocking. I tried to get the attention of the policeman, who just said in Spanish "I don't understand you". Great. Another policeman came to the window and asked with a bit of english what was the problem. I explained about the interpreter and how furious I was at her behaviour. Apparently your one said I had offended her and she refused to talked to me. I thought "this must be a joke". But sadly it wasn't. In the end, I filed a complaint report against the interpreter (which must have joined the first one on the theft, in the trash can) and miraculously two italians were at the same police station reporting something of their own. I was so desperate at that point I asked them if they could help me communicate with the police (they were both living in Barcelona and fluent in spanish). They were so nice, and must have known the system a bit as they convinced me to just let it go that they would help me. They called me a taxi and gave me money to pay it. I was in tears I was so grateful. They happened to be from Naples and had a pizzeria not too far from the police station. I went there for dinner and returned the money. Pizza was fantastic too.
Needless to say, my 30 hours in Barcelona for the work meeting ended up quite a mess (was obviously late to the meeting etc) but my heart melted at the kindness of these two strangers.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


My baby is eleven month old today! Still no teeth! He is now pulling himself to standing on anything that seems stable enough, crawling better on all four and almost no commando style. He has a friend in the crèche from whom he's picking up a lot of funny expressions! He has a very cute way of wrinkling his nose now when he's very happy about something and making a peculiar breathing sound. He started clucking a couple of days ago, still loves the bath and he's sleeping very well through the night (though he's started complaining when put down to bed). No words yet as such, but making lots of cute sounds and exploring new syllables. He's also very affectionate, laughs a lot (specially if tickled!) and when at home Carlito is his best friend. Below three of my favourite pics!