Another Day at the Coalface

24.01.2011 Another Day at the Coalface
Another day at the coalface, watching Alfie shriek his way through nursery. Actually that is not true, merely what I had been dreading yesterday at the thought of taking him to Rainbows again. Today he barely looked in my direction and played happily with much less shouting, even sitting through song time without me, which I would have loved to have seen! Tomorrow I think I may venture out for a coffee while he’s there and see how we go. I’d love for him to stay a bit longer too but after 2 hours he’s absolutely hanging tired, bless him. Still, he has snack time and songtime and plenty of playtime so I think it suits him. I get the impression the other children are a little bit older too, so we can always extend our time when he’s a bit older.
So perhaps we’ve turned a corner, though naturally I don’t want to speak too soon. But he seemed perceptively more confident my boy today, which I think must be due to just having spent a lovely family weekend together, doing very little except unpacking and hanging out with our compound homies. Of course Daddy is back from Bangkok and now I think of it that may have had a lot to do with the shrieking last week. He brought treasures with him too, Daddy; tinned chickpeas and tahini for mummy, a pair of Crocs for Alfie. Bran flakes, dried fruit, gin and a selection of extra large tops also for mummy; moz spray, sun lotion and a sun hat for Alfie. Plus half a pharmacy and some perfume. It was like Christmas with GI Joe!
Our shipping arrived last week too, almost 3 months to the day since we sent it off from London. It’s been lovely having familiar things around, though a lot of things have been packed back in boxes for later use; the kitchen here is barely a third the size of ours so several plates, pans and glassware have gone back into storage. To be put in the spare room with camping gear, diving equipment and golf clubs. Y’know, the essentials. The only things not unpacked now are the books, as we don’t have shelves yet, and our pictures which I am dying to get up on the walls. But concrete is tricky, you can’t just hammer in a tack or nail. Luckily Pete brought rawl plugs as well as a drill so we have the wherewithal if not the time.
In amongst the boxes left in this house (it was originally a guesthouse for Pete’s organisation) was one filled to the brim with my favourite reading material; Sunday Times Style, The Observer magazines and a pile of G2’s. Result! So now I get home from Rainbows, put my little man in his cot and make myself a coffee (both decaff ground coffee and the cafetiere now unpacked) and sit down ‘with the papers’. Lovely. Then I make phone calls and stare at my CV for a bit; attempting to track down a job with absolutely no clue where to start. I might write a blogpost or two and wonder when I will get to the internet next. It’s kind of spiral; the less I use the internet the less I can be bothered. Ditto telephones. Pete promises to buy me a sim card this week but I’m not that bothered. Apart from Rainbows needing to contact me once I actually make it out of the gates, there isn’t anyone I’m dying to be available for. Although it might help with the job hunting I suppose. And we have a landline but I am assured that it’s an average cost of £4 a minute for international calls so I don’t go anywhere near it unless I have to.
By the time little man is awake and lunched it can be past 2 o’clock and perfect for a swim. Still hot enough to want to cool down in the unheated pool, which by 2.30pm is in perfect dappled shade. We splash about a bit and mummy tries to do her 20 (very short) lengths while Alfie is more interested in helping the guys with watering and chicken tending and gate opening and such. We’ll probably see our neighbours and their nannies and hang out a bit, or mummy might take it into her head to go shopping or Do Something Cultural (like the National Museum, see separate entry) which we’ll do after 3.30pm when it cools down somewhat. By 4pm though, Alfie is usually ready for a snack and a bit of ‘quiet time’, especially after a swim and will happily play with his cars for a fair while. We do have quite a large, open-plan living/dining area so I have now designated one corner a play area with boxes of books and toys and a play mat and so on. Today we sorted a book box out for example (how many copies of The Selfish Crocodile does one need I wonder?) and he really does love his books, reading them alone as well as sitting comfortably in your lap and demanding you read with him.
Six o’clock is supper time and hopefully Daddy is home so we all sit down together. Then it’s ’muk’ (milk) either reading books on Mummy’s bed (he patters upstairs, book in hand and climbs on to the bed and gets absorbed all by himself, while Mummy is faffing around) or in front of a Night Garden DVD. He’s also obsessed with watching videos of himself and mormor, which I took in the last 2 months. He’ll drag pretty much anyone over to the laptop and implore them with an increasingly desperate ‘mohmoh’ which is heartbreaking and virtually impossible to say no to. But Mummy does and strictly rations TV watching to the end of the day. By 7.30pm he’s usually fast asleep and that’s the last we hear of him until about 6.50am, when he wakes up and chats to his teddies and dummies for a while, before demanding to be picked up and changed.
In the evenings I don’t bother with TV as it’s pretty diabolical. The only channel which seems to have sound AND English language is HBO, and even then the sound is out of sync. But Thursday nights there are double episodes of Boardwalk Empire so I hunker down for that. Our satellite is knackered and needs an engineer to come and fix it. We do get sports channels which Pete watches, obviously. But we can’t seem to get any news or children’s channels and we can see the movie ones but they either have no sound or are dubbed. There is one channel which weirdly can change from Thai into English but we can’t find out how to make it happen, it’s just random.
So that’s how life looks at the moment. But now that nanny negotiations have started, all that may be about to change…

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