Italian Tots and Handkerchiefs

Posted on May 23, 2011

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Dear Tanning Lines,

Today I got my first tan outside in a bathing suit! Not that I was near any source of water except my bottled water but I took a beach towel out on the balcony and lounged in the only place that was sunny. My towel literally fit perfect where the sun was shining. Everywhere else was shade on the terrace but I took advantage of almost two hours of sun and read while alternating between being on my back then changing over to my belly. During my “sun bath” T came home and scared the living Hell out of me since I wasn’t expecting anyone. I thought that she would think I was kind of nuts laying outside but she paid no attention, said hi and ate her lunch in her room. I actually don’t think she came out until it was time to pick up the boys from school.

We met her mom in the car and watched the thunder clouds roll in faster each minute that we got closer to the school. I kind of began to LOVE the rain here in Rome. I think it is a nice break from the heat and hope that it continues through the summer! Soon as we parked and T and I got out to get the kids tiny spit from heaven fell on us and we rushed inside. Once we got Matteo she took the umbrella from me and told me to take him to the car and wait. There was another “festa” going on outside and a large class was gathered with all their friends and family. Each child was given a red, green or white balloon (go figure) and all at once they let their balloons go towards the thundering clouds. Lightening struck and the loud crack followed making the kids scream and run wild. By the time that Matteo and I got to the car it was pouring rain. The only problem about rain in the summer is that it is still really HOT! I helped Matteo out of his thin jacket and I could see the sweat beginning to form all along his hair-line turning his light brown hair daerk. H complained he was hot and ordered nana to roll the windows down in the rain. I, for once, was not hot at all. I was enjoying this sudden rainfall and was relaxing in the backseat helping Matteo drink his peach juice box while he bitched to nana. I gave him a 2-pack of some cookies and nana asked for one and he denied her and told her that she couldn’t have the other pack since it was for his brother. Bossy this one! He soon had chocolate hands and face and I searched the red “snack sack” for napkins. Nothing. I spotted some in the front seat and asked nana to hand them to me. “Fazzoletti!” She tells me! “Ripetere! Fazzo-let-ti!!! I repeat what she says and smile when I fumble. Matteo laughs and we say it over and over together until I say it perfect. I love that nana seems to be the only one that pushes me to speak more Italian. I am glad that I double-checked the meaning of this new word because it isn’t napkin or tissue it actually means handkerchief! Napkin is tovagliolo and tissue is tessuti. I think I will stick to what nana tells me and ask her for all my justifications in the language! Nana knows best and nana knows all.

After Tommaso and T found us Matteo was now in the front seat and it was raining and thundering worse. T and Tommaso piled into the backseat with us and immediately Tommaso told her that he was hungry! “Ho fame!” he kept repeating until she handed him the chocolate covered cookies that Matteo denied nana moments before. Before he had the second cookie shoved in his loud mouth he told her that he was still hungry! She offered him the juice and a banana but it made him pout and I thought he was truly going to turn on the water works over an afterschool snack. He convinced nana to stop at a bread place so that I could take him inside to buy something more to eat. Nana gave me all her change in her car which added up to 2,90. Together we ran inside without an umbrella and he ordered three mini pizzettes and something like an oversized “tater tot!” But obviously 1,000 times better! This kid truly loves the “suppli” which is like a fried rice ball packed with cheese and golden delish but he settled on this “Croquette di patate” and asked her to heat it up for her. Our grand total was 2,80! I am telling you nana just knows everything. She asked if there was change from the money and I told her the total and that there was none. I gave the 10 cent coin to Tommaso and I think he tried to “tip” the lady behind the counter! This kid is so funny sometimes.

Matteo and I were dropped off at the house since Tommaso had a dentist appointment. It was just Matteo and me for a few hours. After he asked me to close the door so he could go “number 2” I left him in peace. I cut up a banana and strawberries to mix in with his banana yogurt and followed him all over the kitchen, living room and dining room while he spun his “Bey Blade” and spoon fed him. I felt like a lousy reporter trying to get a statement. I would talk then bring the spoon to his mouth like a microphone. He didn’t care about his snack he was concerned about his toy.  He let me take a shot at it a few times and would mimic me and say, “It is still going!” in excitement as the metal disc would spin round and round on the marble floor. I asked if he wanted to watch cartoons or play and he told me that he wanted to watch Narnia. They have watched this movie at least 5 times since last week but I have not watched it all the way through. I fed him his last bite after I told him that if he didn’t finish then there was going to be NO Narnia. He opened his mouth accepting my statement and rolled his eyes at me. He understood what I stated perfectly. I was sort of excited to watch this action film and decided to make a small bowl of popcorn to enjoy the show with my little buddy. Making popcorn takes no time at all and before the credits were rolling I was seated next to him with a small yellow bowl between us. He was excited but told me that sometimes if he eats too much popcorn he gets sick and throws up! Oops! I told him to take it easy and not to eat a lot then. He took one popped kernel at a time while I chowed handfuls. I love popcorn! If I had to pick one food item (that is salty) it would be popcorn. No questions. He asked me if I like popcorn and I told him that I LOVE it and he laughed and made fun of me drawling out the “love” as if it had 17 “o’s” in it! Narnia was a great movie and I got really into it! At one point I was literally on the edge of the couch, wide-eyes glued to the screen and talking to the screen. It was almost over by the time that T and Tommaso returned. Tommaso joined us for the end of the film, giving away the ending to me! I didn’t really care since I was just happy to actually understand what he was telling me and then confirm it once the film really did end. Every time that this movie ends the boys go into full on battle mode and stab each other with their swords until one starts crying, usually Matteo. After Tommaso stabbed his brother it was over. T took the swords away. Again. Until next time. Or Narnia 2…

Nana was back by the time dinner was served. Both of the boys didn’t want to eat it insisting that it was “schifo!” (disgusting!) but after about 45 minutes nana fed each child one after the other and made them finish their plate. Tommaso wouldn’t come out of his room and I tried to talk him into sitting at the table even if he didn’t want to eat. When he came out he stumbled around near the table and avoided us when we tried to coax him over. He played the piano, threw a ball, broke a toy and kicked the carpet but would not sit down with us. After Matteo finished being force-fed it was Tommaso’s turn. He sat in the same chair that Matteo did and nana did the same thing with him. He laughed when she asked him if it was “schifo” and he knew it wasn’t! It was really good. A mix of fagioli e orzo. Beans and barley. Sometimes the food tastes much better than it looks. That is the bottom line and if nana is there? They are eating it all and she is not leaving until her job is done! I sure enjoy this nana each day when I get to see her. She brought over her little poodle and he makes me happy because he is always so excited to see us! He can’t hear a damn thing but he sure is an adorable addition to the fam; even if he still smells when he just had a bath!

Nancie

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Posted in: When in Rome