The days have been sifting past so fast. In only two weeks we leave for Australia. A week and a half ago my brother and his girlfriend came to visit for the weekend and it was lovely but I didn’t get a single photo. (I took one of Jon, Antonia and I on the last day but didn’t realise there was no memory card in the camera.) Then last weekend we flew to Berlin. Michael’s Mum came up to spend a couple of days with us and meet Antonia. We didn’t venture far from the grungy paradise of Prenzlaueberg – groovy cafes, delicious cakes and imaginative playgrounds populated by quirkily dressed youngsters, half of whom seemed to be called Felix. It was so lovely seeing Monica meet Antonia. She kept saying what a peaceful, happy child she is, and it is true. It nearly broke my heart when she cried saying goodbye, and Antonia kept shooting her gentle, knowing, pleased little smiles back at her.
Felix had a ball as well. ‘Why is it dark?’ he said one evening. ‘Well,’ I said, quoting The Tiger Who Came to Tea, ‘We’re going to go out in the dark, and all the streetlights will be lit, and all the cars will have their lights on, and we’ll go down the road to a cafe.’ He was quite delighted with this state of affairs, especially as it involved pizza with ham. The restaurant didn’t serve ice cream (essential after pizza for a Felix) so we picked one up from a supermarket on the way back and ate it as we strolled the streets.
Felix was most taken with a bicycle riding past with blinking lights. He discussed it for a long time with Michael, so on the way home Michael bought him two bike lights. When we got back to Norway he played with them patiently all afternoon as he waited for it to get dark, before insisting that Michael retrieve his bike from the basement and get it ready. After dinner I went out with him in the freezing night, Antonia bundled up in her pram, Felix most insistent on acting out his dream of riding his bike in the dark. When we made it to the footpath on the main road he declared, ‘lets go to a cafe!’ ‘We can’t’, I said, ‘there are no cafe’s up here, it’s too far.’ ‘I can cycle long’, he said. We rode back home and made chocolate pudding instead.
To be completely honest the little guy has been a bit of a challenge lately, rather too quick to demand, and screech, and ignore. Some of our attempts for force compliance have failed miserably. My old trick of counting to five, giving him a chance to avoid some threat, has all but stopped working. He was home with us today though and it went a bit better – I tried harder to emphasise the positives, and say ‘of course you’re going to get out of the car now cos I can’t wait to tell Father Christmas how well you’ve listened to me today’. And I even managed to intervene a little in his terrible tendency to whine and to ask the same question over and over again, loudly…
Antonia is a dear little thing and is currently suffering her worst ever cold. This morning she caught Michael’s eye and told him very seriously all about it, before smiling cheerfuly and drifting off to sleep.