Alas, as is my typical style, below is an entry I started two weeks ago, only to get back to finishing it today. Time is a vortex. Read on if you so desire…
Five and a half weeks ago I wrote an entry for my blog while bobbing along in a metallic air capsule that was destined for Calgary. Now, I find myself in the same seat, heading back to Milan with much more luggage than I arrived with. If only losing pregnancy weight flew as fast as time when you’re on holidays, I would be much happier and sporting tighter jeans sooner than my track-record. I guess all that means is we had a great visit to the Great White North, and aside from the fact that I missed Dave after his early return to Italy, this is indeed true. Canada was fun.
If I had to choose, the highlight of the trip would be hearing the kids’ giggles and screams induced by spending time with family and hearing the bare-footed thundering of their feet as they ran around my parents’, Dave’s parents’, and my sister’s houses, (clearly, we were slightly nomadic). The shittiest part of the trip would be the night before we left where I packed up all our stuff which had seriously expanded from when we first arrived because I filtered through all the images in my head of all the people I saw and spent time with on this visit. My emotional gooey centre forced me to shed a few tears indeed as I packed and hence it was not the most fun I have ever had. This is standard for me-I usually get weepy a day or two before the airport, but once I pass through security at the airport, I’m all fine and ready to fly. And if I had to pick the worst/most stressful part of the trip, I would nominate an afternoon in Canmore where my Little Miss Stubborn got bit by a dog. The Worst Mommy Award goes to me.
I trust dogs too much and on this particular afternoon where we spent time with family in the mountain town, we perused the displays of an outdoor art market when I stumbled upon a sweet dog, lounging in the shade with her owner. After I got the blessing from the owner to pet her, I crouched down and she enjoyed my attention. The Albino Hulk came to me to see the dog too, and Little Miss Stubborn joined as well, however she positioned herself across from us, on the other side and in front of the pup. At that moment it was almost like I received a memo in my head that I should really move her away because the dog might feel smothered, but before I could do anything, the dog barked, rose up, and nipped at Little Miss Stubborn’s forehead. It all happened in mere seconds.
Clutching her head and releasing a piercing cry, Little Miss Stubborn fell backwards on the grass. I cannot explain to you what that felt like. Seconds later, I was trying to console her as she clutched her forehead and I saw blood seeping under her tiny hands. A banner of ‘Shit! Shit! Shit!’ flashed through my mind as I obviously needed to see what damage was done to her head, but I was too petrified to move her little fingers away. Before I ran to the local pharmacy, I took a business card from the owner so that I could get vaccination records of his dog to make sure the pup was vaccinated against rabies.
Minutes later and leaving everyone else behind, my dad and I cleaned her head up with the proper supplies and through her sniffles and sobs, Little Miss Stubborn asked ‘Mommy, why didn’t you protect me from the doggy?’. Funny how that little sentence of nine words could send my emotions off on a down-ward spiral of anxiety and indescribable guilt. After she settled down and was all cleaned up, I could analyze what had happened and in the end, we were lucky. One tooth punctured her forehead but it was a shallow wound, and another tooth from the dog made a significant depression on her forehead, but luckily didn’t cut it. After emailing with the dog’s cooperative owner, I was relieved to see the dog had been updated for all her shots and vaccines, so that was reassuring. Later that night as I bathed Little Miss Stubborn, she reminded me of the days’ events by telling me in a sad tone ‘You really put me in danger today, mommy’. Another pang of intensely horrible guilty feelings followed seconds later with the sour realization that it is I who is supposed to be giving the guilt-trips to my children, and not the other way around. I tucked her into bed and counted my blessings. I’ve had a few moments of panic and guilt with the kids over the years, from Little Miss Stubborn falling down the stairs, getting her fingers badly pinched by a heavy metallic door, tripping twice head-first within minutes onto concrete, the Albino Hulk dipping his fingers into burning cannelloni and getting second degree burns, stabbing his head on my bedside table last year which required 25 stitches, and now this dog incident. Baby showers and pregnancy dresses don’t prepare you for the stressful moments and whenever something happens, my mind automatically drafts up new rules to live by. Some examples: chew your food 37 times before you swallow. Walk down the stairs to the beat of Moonlight Sonata (or any other slow piece of music will do). Eat only one jelly bean at a time. When running through the house, keep a distance of 1.75 meters between you and any piece of furniture (in our small flat, that makes it hard to run. Victory!). Don’t run anywhere and never run backwards. Blindfolds are forbidden. And lastly, playing ‘Go Fish!’ is easily way cooler than playing ‘Tag!’. Slightly crazy I am, but my ludicrous ‘and irrational rules’ sure beat seeing your kid getting stitched up on a medical table in an emergency room or wracking your head with worry about what to expect when you remove your kids’ hands covering a dog-induced wound. These rules are obviously not enforced, but on certain days I really wish they could be.
Anyways, fast-forward two weeks after our return and we are settled in. The night of our arrival I unpacked all our suitcases and put them away-I got hit with a nesting instinct not from pregnancy, but just from motivation of some kind. (Aneta, did you just punch the air from sheer proudness of me for that?!). Jet lag was defeated faster this time around and so now we are ready for fall in Milan. We hosted my friend and his son for a few days after our return (perhaps why I was nesting as I needed to get the house in order) and now another friend arrives in less than two weeks to sight-see Milan. The city has been again in a sun-induced coma as temperatures have been getting higher than the kids smoking pot in the back parking lot of my old high school. I am reminded yet again that I am not a sun seeker whatsoever and I prefer to avoid it. I am a polar bear. Or maybe a vampire. To cool down, we’ve been taking the kids to our local pool where it is apparent we are not sun worshipers. Italians on the other hand, love the sun. It does not matter what size you are, speedos and bikini’s are ‘in’ like austerity measures are ‘in’ across Europe this summer. Some are in the pool but many lie on the sides of the man-made concrete lagoon and absorb more color onto their already very tanned flesh. Then we enter, the four mascots of the tundra. Add to the effect that Dave also wears a long-sleeve white UV protective swim shirt because he loathes lathering on sun screen, and we really look like we broke free from Siberia and are confused with what to do with this ‘sun’ thing. And speaking of ludicrous rules, the pool staff forbids people to wear sunglasses in the pool, so we were singled out by a whistle to remove our shades after we got in. This technical whistle from the life guard was not necessary to bring extra attention to us. Oh, and in every pool in Milan everyone has to wear swim caps. I cannot describe to you how anti-beautiful we look in our ghostly skin with squinting eyes and crumpled foreheads, wearing swim caps.
Milan is destined to be a little hotter for a while longer, but the city is slothfully awakening from it’s August-holiday nap. I do love this part of the year-Milan is refreshed and has a reset button for September. For most of the month the city is noticeably much emptier, the air is magically cleaner (hence the title of this entry from Badly Drawn Boy), and the havoc that is normally found with vehicles on Milan’s streets is negligent. Like a stain in a Tide commercial, all the cars shockingly disappear. Certain shops go under renovations and right now there are a few of my usual hangouts that I am keen to see what they look like after they’re renovated and reopened. Until then, we will continue to eat copious amounts of ice cream and wear our swim caps, but now we avoid any and all dogs.