Two wrong lunches don’t make a Right…

Posted on February 22, 2011

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Dear Failed Lunch Date,

Closed! The restaurant was closed! I had a feeling that I should have checked the hours but I failed so therefore we had pasta for lunch. Texa and our new friend Mika were on a mission to find a REAL mexican food place called La Cucaracha! We did find it but it was not open and the street took almost 60 minutes to find. I am good at reading maps but Texa insisted that she knew this area better. Lets just say that after we settled on yet another Italian place I jammed home and made it in less than a half an hour! I was in a super rush since Matteo was at home still fighting his earache and Nana came just to feed him lunch then had to be somewhere. I could NOT be late for this woman. We barely understand one another but I understood exactly what time I needed to return so that she would not be late to wherever she said she had to be. Before I left the house I was helping clean the kitchen so that she could prepare some pastina with broth for the boy. She put the strainer in the sink and forgets to put a bowl or pot underneath and accidentally dumped ALL the broth down the drain! She yells and shouts from the kitchen so Matteo and I run in to see whats happened. “Ewww! Puzza!” Matteo says as he nears the sink and checks it out. “Stinky!” We laugh but I am glad that I get to leave for lunch and not have to think up a new meal for the kid. I am so excited for the mexican food fiesta I cannot stop thinking about nachos. These food dreams were ripped apart when we arrived and the metal doors were pulled closed! Chiuso! (closed)I learned that La Cucaracha is only open for dinner…which means I must wait until the weekend since I don’t really get “freedom” during dinner hours during the week. Sometimes I do ask to go out but I feel like I barely “work” so it’s not appropriate to ask for even more free time. Stupid cockroach.

I woke up around 8:30 since I knew that I was about to have Matteo to myself once T went to work. Soon as I open my door he is there, wide awake, and smiling. “Giocare con me??” He asks while temporarily blocking my door. (Play with me??) “Certo!” (certainly!) “presto…” (soon) I tell him as I slide by to let myself in the bathroom. I have not even put on my contacts, taken a pee or made my bed yet…today was sure to be a long one. When I come out the bathroom he is leaning on the wall across the hall. Waiting for me. I tell him that I want to eat first, make my bed and then we will play. In both English and Italian so he understands. “Capito? You must wait va bene?” “Aspetta?..wait..ok” He confirms as he plops himself down in the center of my bedroom floor. Mama mia. I tell him to “wait” outside my room while I make my bed and change my clothes. I finally make it into the kitchen after splashing my face with cold water. I NEED to wake up! Un Caffe per favore. I put on some coffee and take out a yogurt and a banana. I sit at the small table in the kitchen and wait for my caffe. Matteo comes to sit next to me and stare at me before I even could grab a spoon for my yogurt. He asks me, “Dopo la colazione… giocare con me?” (after breakfast…) “Si, si. Dopo. Posso Mangiare??” (Can I eat?!) He watches me eat and asks after each thing I put in my mouth if after I am done with it is it time? Oh MIO DIO. My caffe is finally ready and he stares me down and gets antsy kicking my chair and fails to hold still for the life of him. I offer him so fruit. No thank you. Some cake? No. I eat faster than I like to but it’s not that comfortable to have anyone watch you eat with this crazy look in their eye. I finish and he looks at me like I just revealed a present I have been hiding behind my back. I wish that I still go excited about Legos the way this kid does. We build a fancy “big house” and then destroy it like we are King Kong. We then take out some modeling clay and while I build animals he takes the plastic knife and severs their heads and legs one at a time. Torturing and killing off each one with an evil grin and Dr. Evil laugh. Whenever I make something he usually just wants to destroy it. “Distruggere!” He will shout before throwing, scribbling, or decapitating my creations. Boys. This is only a “boy thing.” If this is the game I always try to divert his attention onto something else. Something less violent perhaps. I go and get his toy animals for him to play with. I do some laundry while he lines up his animals along the coffee table. It has only been 1 hour since I was greeted at my door. Long morning indeed. I make some fresh apple-sauce with the handy plastic “grater” type tool with some apples, lemon a little touch of cinnamon and sugar. He likes it! Even got the approval with the finger in cheek screw! Bravisimo Lexie! It is only 11am now…

 I put on Dora while I finish hanging to laundry out to dry. He watches maybe two episodes then is bored and wants me to make something so that he can tear it down. We go to his room and take out a can of action figures to throw around and have a “battaglia” (battle). I think that I am always the “loser” in these wars because I am always the one that picks up the bloody “battlefield!” Nana shows around noon and I am getting ready and putting my unwashed (I think I washed it on Saturday..no joke) hair into a tight pony-tail and pinned it with my old feather extensions. I tied them in a knot and its a good addition when I am trying to distract eyes away from a mess of hair. It worked! I got a compliment soon a I met my girls for our non-mexican food lunch. When your mind is set on nachos and beans even the best fresh, home-made ricotta and spinach ravioli are only mediocre. For 8,50 euro at that! I could have had a stiff drink for the price of 8 raviolis for lunch. Not that I ever drink at lunch (wine sometimes, but that DOESN’T count..I am in Rome for God’s sake..its natural to have wine with lunch) I would not go home to breath liquor on these kids! I am more responsible than that and these kids are important to me. Especially since I have to protect them from kidnappers,  their own dirty hands, cold feet, food that is too hot and bad dreams. Priority children. Heavy drinks weekends. I sure talk about liquor more than I drink it. I just don’t drink much here at all. I think it is just in my mind that I would normally want to “drink” after some things I go through but now I think I traded alcohol for cigarettes. I will smoke if I get overwhelmed sometimes. But for the most part I aim to “work-out” when I am stressed to get positive endorphins flowing instead of anxiety and adrenaline. I will only have two drinks tops when I go out. Maybe since they are expensive and I cannot afford to be “hung-over” money-wise and mind-wise. I could not imagine this job if I was hungover. Hell no.

Once Nana returns with Tommaso the real battle begins. They boys constantly are cheap shotting each other when they THINK I cannot see them. I see almost all their little combats and I never miss the small kicks, punches, pinches, full on fists to the head and dramatic pushes they exchange whenever they are within 2 feet of one another. They cannot share one thing and Tommaso usually “takes” from his little brother just to get a little whine out of him then throws whatever it is back at him or over his head. I get it. I a younger sibling too. This is all normal behavior of siblings. Especially brothers. Especially since they are only 2 years apart. Especially because they are sick of being sick. And especially since they are “tired” (stanco)…too tired to help me “pick up” their mess and battles of the toys. Usually, some how they are too tired to help clean up the first mess but they contain enough energy to create a larger new mess with something else. They will throw themselves on the couch and say, “Sono stanco…troppo stanco!” (I am tired..too tired) then as I finally give in and pick up the mess solo they muster up enough energy to start fighting eachother or race one another to a new destination in the house to destroy. Sometimes I lay down the law and turn off the TV (if that is what is their distraction from helping me) and tell them they cannot watch it until one or both helps me first! It is all in one or two-word shouts but it usually works. “Vio! Vio! Primo Aiuto. Dopo TV o NO TV…ORA!!” (You. and You. First help! After TV…OR NO TV!!! NOW!!) Some days I feel it is easier to address them than others. I know that both are not feeling that well still so I just turned on the TV and told them thanks for nothing…under my breath..”grazie per niente…”

Oh Nancie…Take it easy!

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Posted in: When in Rome