Thursday, September 15, 2011

Catching up -as school finally begins!

Well I last left you with my good faith in routine and discipline of the children….. I would love to report glowingly that my children have listen, responded and carried forward as well behaved little creatures…..But, as it happens this parenting business is impossibly difficult. I completely underestimated how challenging these first two months would be, on holidays/no school, with the kids 24/7….. Ouch!!!! It has hurt, overwhelmingly at times! The added pressure of starting a new school, new rules, new culture, new language….it’s BIG!!! But thank God, school has finally commenced, for Gabby and Spencer at least. They started this week at an Italian public school just around the corner from home.  So very different from their school at home, but it’s early days and from the children’s reports they had fun and they were happy to just be in class.
Gabby was a little nervous, complaining of pains in her tummy, which she put down to not knowing the language. Spencie was confident and asked if he could join a pretty little girl colouring in, gave her a cute little smile and said “See ya later Mum!!” Malachy was happy to have his mum to himself for a morning. But from next week he will start Steiner school kindy – interesting and I think it will be just his thing…..they visit the beach every Wednesday and when winter arrives they visit the woods every Wednesday !!!

No major travels to mention, I decided to stay close to home, to get my head around school (nothing is clear – everything is ambiguous – very unsettling),  extracurricular activities, meeting new social networks etc… We have met a very nice multilingual play group that meets twice a week and they have even held an outing at an adventure park (which the children attended with a baby sitter while I had a school meetingL).  These social networks are proving vital as a newly found “detached from workplace” employee.
We have managed a few day trips here and there:
A pretty little beach side village slighty north of the Cinque Terre town Monterosso. This was a great destination as we parked so close to the beach I felt like I was in Australia J But all the bonus’ of a Mediterranean beach! I have to say, I am loving the pebble beach – such clear water!! We arrived  at about  6pm…. home by about 11pm! But the evenings in summer as just so perfect and it makes staying at the beach simply irresistible…..
We have had a steady stream of visitors, which puts us in tour guide position every time – so well infact the kids know the plan down pat! Two tower, bike ride round the walls, concert at san Giovanni in the evening, pizza at Mara Meo (who do a good GF pizza).
I am sure our repertoire will expand, eventually….now I have the hope of some freedom with school I may even get to see some kid un-friendly sights!! Yessss!!!

Once again we have been very warmly welcomed by (as the children have termed “our Italian family”) famiglia Tani.  If you don’t remember from my earlier post in the countryside near Sienna, we spent the day with close family friends of my friends Giulia and Andrea.  We had a great time with them and they kindly invited us to spend the day in Firenze with them, seeing a few sights with them (4 adults and 7 kids).  It was just over 1 hour in the train, which the children were so excited about. And we were welcomed on platform 5 Firenze but the entire family J .  It was so pleasant to be led through this ancient city with locals… not having to look at a map or what was worthy of seeing. I was so happy to be led around, and with such a big helpful family, whom the children are well acquainted with now…. I barely touched a child all day….One exception being when Gabby stood just a tad too close to a stationary horse, taking a well earned break from pulling a carriage load of tourists around and having a bite to eat – when the horse obliviously took a step and shifted his weight onto Gabby’s foot!!! Eventually the owner was able to lift the horses leg and Gabby was set free…Not with out a few dramatic tears and….. as it goes in Italy …. We attracted half the population of Firenze to our side – begging for us to call an ambulance – but after convincing them her foot was indeed not amputated but merely bruised they receded….mildly defeated but felt more confident that we were at least left with an icepack.
Our journey continued and I was pleased that I had chosen to take the pram for the day (which is a rarity for us these days). We managed to visit a number of significant churches during the day, which was made so much easier with the aide of the Tani family. Such amplitudes and abundance of beauty, depth, history, significance and culture is such an indulgent way to spend the day, and I was lucky enough to be guided through it all with such kindness and care. There are some things that money simply cannot buy!
We also managed quite a long visit to the Firenze children’s library, prior to entering we feasted on some freshly purchased formaggi e prosciutto on focaccia – mmmm!!!! The kids had a ball and the parents managed a well earned cafĂ© and rest!
Eventually we returned back to Nonno e Nonna Tani’s apartment for dinner where, once again, we were entertained and gastronomically delighted.  I have recipe’s this time and will try one tomorrow night!!! Gabby said “mum best entire dinner I have ever had” and I tend to agree! One of the touching things for me in regards to the meal was that everything was entirely gluten free.  So considerate and perhaps Gabby enjoyed it even more because she was able to share the entire meal with everyone.  I think sharing food can be such an intimately emotional experience but probably 99% of the time we are unconscious of  the importance or the treasure of its existence in our lives.  It  was a truly memorable experience once again. It is so touching when new friends come into your lives and truly touch your heart! 
 moments of brotherly love...
 Matteo - captain of the pram for the day :-)
 Spencer going from shoulder to shouler
 moments before the horse v's foot incident...
 Spencer enjoying the meaning of his favourite outfit :-)
 The entire family (bar nonni)
 a fun way to get around for the boys !
 Spencer climbing all over the sculpture outside Palazzo Pitti
 The best family shot we could do... not a bad view though!
 This is exactly why I was grateful for the pram!!!
......You couldn't ask for a nicer picture!