Wednesday, August 29, 2007


It occurred to me today that there's kind of no such thing as a "vacation" when you're 13 months old. (and really no such thing as a vacation when you're a parent- alas.) For Clio, so much in the world is so new that most of the markers of "vacation" are probably no more thrilling than any new experiences she has here. In a way, I think a trip to Europe (or any other overseas travel) is especially lost on a kid like Clio; you know you're in Italy through the language, or the food, but Clio is used to experiencing more than one language (in fact, with the similarities between Spanish and Italian, she probably understood more than we did!) and let's face it, cheese (or "chee") is universal.

So Clio's vacation was really about the little things in the environments she encountered that were new on a very local level:

The excellent gravel dirt path at the Villa (and eating the sticks and stones),

The massive clawfoot tubs big enough to bathe 3 cousins

cousin time in general

experiencing boats, above deck and down below

and discovering new spaces, like the wardrobe in the Hotel Cassanova.

I think that, if I could think of vacation this way, I would rethink the idea that you can't have one if you have kids- there might be an important lesson here!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Being Held

When I picked Clio up from day care today, Miriam and Alex were stony faced. I expected them to be so happy to have Clio back with them; this was something of a surprise. It turned out she hadn't slept all day, got very jealous when Miriam held Oscar in particular, but anyone in general, and kept holding up her arms to be picked up. Clio is not usually like this.

It occurred to me that, on a vacation which both required the Mommy and the Daddy to contain her often (through airports, on boats, trains, in museums, for meals, etc.), and which involved so very many family members, it was inevitable that Clio was held, and held, and held, to the point of spoiling.

Look how happy:

Sadly, this can't continue. But doesn't it look like fun while it lasted?

Villa Pass a la'aqua, or the Village Passalaqua, or Castle-aqua

I'm not kidding when I say the place we stayed in Italy was like a castle, or a small village. Check out the scale- can you find me and Clio in the bottom corner? Yeah.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

the longest day, or, flying international

The good news is, we're home, safe and sound, and everyone is getting right back on schedule. The bad news is, Saturday was perhaps the longest day of Clio's life; it was certainly the most waking hours she has ever had in a day.

We'll get to the fabulous Italian Villa and Clio's great vacation later, but for now I'm still feeling weary from the trip home.
For starters, we had an hour drive to the airport in a van with the Messina's, likely future in-laws to my cousin Patrick, and his girlfriend Lauren. All of 10 minutes in, Clio got a little carsick. Okay, a lot car sick (she had a very big breakfast!) Dave got her cleaned up, and we breathed through our mouths for the next half hour... until she did it again. This time the Messina's noticed (it's amazing they were oblivious to the smell previously). We got to the airport and brought the whole stinking car seat inside, where I got Clio out of her (disgusting) clothes and found a bathroom to rinse her down, rinse out the clothes, and get her into a clean diaper. (we made a total mess, and the long line of women coming into the room were NOT happy, but pretending not to care that we were so disruptive was good practice for the plane.)

I'll skip the whole mess with Clio's missing infant ticket, but after shuttling between Delta and Alitalia for a good half hour and shelling out too much money for a ticket we already paid for (and discovering in the process that we were not, in fact, reserved in the bulkhead as promised), we eventually made it to the plane.

And the journey had only just begun.
On the way TO Italy, we WERE in the bulkhead, where there is room for a baby to sit on the floor, and where they can install a baby bassinet.
Now, Clio did not think this was a very good place for sleeping, but she DID think it was a very good place for playing, and as if it was a jungle gym, she climbed in and out, in and out, for a very long time. Luckily, there were a few seats open and our third-seat companion was able to relocate. Eventually we had the brilliant idea of strapping her in to the middle seat and ignoring her until she went to sleep, which, eventually, did work.
Fast forward a week and a half to a far less successful return flight. Keep in mind that during our time in Italy, Clio practiced (and perfected) her new toddler tantrum behavior (or "tanties" as our friends Emily and Ben call them). Here we are in Venice- It goes something like this.


Throw yourself backwards

And twist out of parental arms.

Now imagine this behavior in the middle seat of the very last row of a Delta airlines jet. For 5 hours. Yup, that's right, she cried for FIVE HOURS on and off. At one point the stewardesses forced me to come back into their prep area to distract Clio and walk her around. When I got up, I beheld the sight that every parent awaits in dread: half the plane looking back over their shoulders, sizing me up with either pity or anger, or, best of all, both.

The stewardesses were amazing, and helped us try EVERYTHING, including setting us up in the special, super-secret stewardess break seats, where they drew the curtains and everything.
Eventually, 5 hours in, having been awake for 12 hours, Clio crashed while strapped to Dave's lap. When the stewardesses went by, one by one, with the snack carts, and noticed the silence, they cheered silently, raised the roof, and made the sign of the cross, respectively.

It takes a village.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I have a few minutes on a computer while I wait to be sure Clio is down for the night and head up to the castle, as Lucia calls it, for dinner. Despite unending sheets of rain, Clio is having a fabulous time here in Lake Como, mostly with her cousins Finn and Lucia and second cousin Mira, as well as the whole extended family. Mostly, we are having what amounts to a really long weekend in a really fancy place.

Her vocab continues to grow, now including Chee for cheese and beep beep for the horn on the bus, as well as animal sounds from roar to meow to ruff ruff ruff. Also wawa for the waterfall we pass on the path up to the Big house, and the fountains out front up there...

Monday, August 13, 2007

"Calm and Quiet"

I'm supposed to be packing for our trip to Italy; while getting organized I just came across an envelope with a poem on the back. My Dad wrote it for Clio, and I hope he won't mind me sharing it here:

Quiet Calm
Hardly a cry
almost walking
nearly talking
arm extended
to what intended
What catches Clio's eye
The whole world
not too big
for such a small fry

Now let's hope we get some of that "quiet, calm" on tomorrow's flight!


The other day, Clio and I were walking to Kitchen Bar to pick up our weekly veggies from our CSA. I went a block too far before turning up the avenue, brining me accidentally to the playground. I figured, Clio tends to tire of the swings after just a few minutes, so why not stop in while we're here? We did just that, and Clio did indeed tire of the swings. But not of the playground. She wanted to walk around on the black rubber mats under the play equipment- and I realized I hadn't brought her shoes along. She also got a little stinky, and I realized I had no diapers. (It was a quick outing- she wasn't supposed to leave the stroller!) Luckily, we ran into some folks we know- Kevin, the music teacher, and Logan and Cassius from the class, with their moms; and Lisa, who I met on the bus when her daughter Margot and Clio were both about 2 months old. I was kind of self-conscious about my ragamuffin baby (and casual parenting) and kept explaining myself. (I don't think anyone actually cared, but hey.) The next day, Dave and Clio went back to the playground. Having learned the lesson, Dave... brought no shoes, and neglected to even put pants on the kid! But look, our ragamuffin baby is happy as can be.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


I got an email from my brother saying "Lucia wants credit for her outfit."
Apparently, I have misidentified the Outfit of the Week as a hand-me-down from Morgan and Greta when it is, emphatically, one of Lucia's. I stand corrected!

Lucia would also like credit for girls wearing sports jerseys, tutus under skirts for just the right fullness, and going naked. As soon as Brian passes photos along, we'll give credit where it's due. (And hey, if you guys have a picture of Lucia wearing Clio's Outfit of The Week, send that along, too!)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Outfit of the Week

I thought I'd borrow a feature from Amelia's blog, the Outfit of the Week. An excellent premise- totally straightforward, and a great way to sneak in some extra pictures, especially if they are gratuitously cute and/or funny. I love this outfit because it's quite girly, and because we've now been told that Clio looks great in red. This is also one of my favorite hand me down outfits- I probably wouldn't have picked it out (although, what's not attractive about white velveteen pants for a toddler?) but I absolutely love it. A shout out to Carrie and her daughters Morgan and Greta for their outstanding taste. Also, how great is this old school wooden toy? (Thanks Ann and Roger!)

I think one of the most attractive features of Outfit of the Week is that it's kind of a one-liner; the picture says it all. So I'll shut up now, and I'll try not to editorialize too much if this becomes a regular feature. I promise.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

13 Months/ 33 Years

Today is a double birthday: since The Daddy is counting in years, but Clio is currently counting in months, today is probably the only day we will consider celebrating them together. Clio stepped out in style in honor of the big day.

The Daddy and I actually went out into the world on our own last night; by the time we got to the movie theater, our chosen film was sold out and we ended up in the Simpsons movie (surprisingly good); I didn't care, I just wanted to be in a movie theater, any movie theater! Afterwards, we even went out and had a drink (same drill: I just wanted to be in a bar, any bar!). Today was more of a family affair, and we spent some time at the park. A rare glimpse of the Daddy, caught on camera (that's him on the left. Peter is on the right (with Eva), and apparently they're getting into the habit of wearing basically the same shirt whenever they see each other.)

It was hot (though not as bad as last week's heat wave), and Clio cooled off in Eva's bucket. Again, Dave on film!

Any other special plans were essentially thwarted by a weird nap schedule, but all told we had a pretty nice, pretty full weekend. And Dave cooked us a very nice dinner for his birthday. Aren't I a lucky girl?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Lost in Translation

You know how some baby words are decipherable only to those in the know? Well, apparently my own child is building quite the vocabulary, only Dave and I are among the masses who don't understand what she's saying. At day care yesterday, they ran through the list. In addition to the words we know- banana, baby, ball, and book, it turns out she is also saying block and pampers in English and nene, no quiero, and da me (Boy, I don't want that, and give me) in Spanish. I was a little nonplussed to learn that others can speak her secret language better than I; but then we spent the morning making animal noises together (meow, roar, and moo) and I felt a little better. Mostly she repeats after me- we meow at a foam block shaped like a cat and roar at the lion from her noah's arc set, but she also flipped to the cow page in Are You My Mother, pointed, and said moo. Smarty pants.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Beside the Point

Did I mention that Clio's really into pointing? Yeah? Well, she still is. Really, really into it. Here are just a few examples captured on camera.