about a dream: January 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's hard to be my daughter

Today Maggie gave me this:
What is it?

It's step by step instructions for making her a snack. The steps are numbered 1 - 4 (from right to left. Ha! Shows what she knows!), and detail how I should go about making macaroni.

Step 1 shows the macaroni on a plate.

Step 2 did show me that I should microwave the macaroni, but then Nina pointed out that macaroni is supposed to be boiled, not microwaved on the plate, so she scribbled that out and pictured the macaroni on the stove top underneath.

Step 3 shows the macaroni, cooked, on the table in the kitchen.

Step 4 shows Maggie seated at the table, salting the macaroni to taste.

She really does think I'm painfully stupid. You know, I didn't start dismissing all adults out of hand as painfully stupid until I was at least 8 or 9. I have no idea what this kid is going to be like when she's a teenager.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

We're all a little sick...

Well not all, just me and Nina. So that's why no blogging lately, I've been pooped at night and going to bed early-ish.

But it's nothing serious, just some sniffles and a scratchy throat. It might be the same thing Maggie had last weekend. Or was that the weekend before? Confusion. Confusion is another symptom.

So we've just been lazing around the house for the past three days. On Friday we did family movie night and last night was family game night. Lots of Uno. Today we're getting some takeout for lunch with Anne and Fritz and then we'll watch you tube videos. Yup, it's a lazy weekend alright.

Here's Nina's favorite video: an end of the world scenario. Spoiler alert: it involves the dinosaurs!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I'm going to have to teach the girls the term "domestic engineer"

Tonight in the kitchen, while I was cooking dinner, Maggie and I were talking about something, I don't remember what, and I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up.

And she looked up at me with a big smile, and said in her (honestly) sweetest voice,

"I want to be nothing, just like you."

Ouch! Good thing she's so darn funny!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Well THAT was a dismal failure...

Usually, I pick Maggie up from school on my way to picking Nina up from school. But today, I felt like I was fighting a little cold off, and asked Nick to do the pick-up. Maggie has never been open to the idea that Papa could pick her up (excuse me, he's Niki these days). But, I figured she wouldn't say no, right?


He called me from the preschool (I was already asleep, of course) and asked if I could come get her. He had the car, too, so I had to walk. So I did, I got to the school within 10 minutes, and Maggie's teacher was trying to calm her down with a book. Poor little Maggie took quite a while to calm down. I was thinking on the way over to the school that they're going to think Nick is abusive or something with the way she flipped out, but fortunately, they know Maggie well enough to know that this is a common reaction when things don't go her way. So, at least there's that.

Nina of course doesn't care who picks her up, so that part went fine. So much for me getting a rest though!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


It was chillier today than yesterday, so we decided some indoor fun was in order. A trip to the Haus des Meeres: the aquarium!

We were there 5 years ago with Nina, when I was pregnant with Maggie. My how quickly 5 years pass! Here we were then:

And here they are now (with the same jellyfish!):

Here's another one of Nina from that trip:

And, another one from today. The three of us girls with a Japanese Spider Crab, and Nina looking bored, but similar to the way she looked when she was two:

They also had a lot of snakes and bugs at the aquarium. Maggie does NOT like bugs, so we skipped past those. She only barely tolerated the spider crabs. We also had to leave the bird house because there was a bat, which Nina wasn't a fan of either. That's my girls! Seriously, who needs to look at a bunch of bugs, bats, and snakes? I have enough nightmares thank you very much.

We did like the cute little monkeys in the monkey room. One was looking right at us, scratching his little monkey man parts, looking at us some more, scratching some more, and generally being disgusting. Here he is:
Then he peed right there on the rail and we made a run for it. Male primates are all the same.

Before we left for the aquarium, we'd checked the schedule online and saw that the piranha and shark feedings were at 3 o'clock. So on the way to the aquarium, in the subway, Maggie asked me, "are piranhas white?" But, to me it sounded like she said "ah puh wan is wite." We were walking past the escalators at this point, and we were taking the down ones, which were to the left, but on our right were the up ones. So I said, "The up ones are on the right? Yeah but we're going down."

And she was like, "NO! Ah! puh-wan! is WITE!" Remember that "r" and "w" still both sound like W. So I again tried the escalator thing, and was like "The up ones are right? We're going down! To the left!"

You can imagine the next few exchanges. I thought maybe she was saying "Up there is white." Like, talking about something on the ceiling? I had no idea. She was so angry she started yelling at me. Who's on first?

Finally I asked her to repeat herself one more time to me and Nina (because Nina is the only person in this family mentally equipped to handle the most difficult things), and I again heard, "AHHH PUH-WAN is WITE."

And Nina looked at me and said, "Are piranhas white?"

And I was like, Oh. Of course. Usually I remember to try substituting Rs for the W sounds in words I don't understand, but there was no way I was going to guess that she was asking a question about piranhas. Also for the record, I haven't spelled piranha right once, what did people do before spellcheck??

Well, in case you're wondering now, the piranhas were NOT white. They were a greenish brown with flecks of gold. Maggie and I watched them devour a fish at feeding time, and Nick and Nina watched the sharks.

Unfortunately, the girls were both sneezing a lot today, and Maggie had a little temperature when we got home. Ok at the aquarium too, but I didn't notice it until we were there. Oops. Bad mom. Generally, if Maggie's at 99.5, Nina will be at 103.5, so I'm guessing they'll both end up home tomorrow. Hopefully they'll be better though. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

When do we call the child psychologist?

I'm not even sure which one of them was behind this. I think it was a joint effort.

Well, I'm sure Hohak and Barbie deserved their punishment.

In other news, we tried to go sledding today, but since there aren't any great hills neaby, we ended up mostly just pulling the girls on the sled. Which was fun, so, success!

Today was among the colder days in Baden, the high was about 30. I'm loving the mild winters they have here!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Finally we got some snow!! It blew around some, but I'd say we got a good 14 inches--excuse me, 35 cm. Nice and fluffy. No so good for snowballs and snowmen, though we did manage to make a little guy, but great for general horsing around.

Nina's class ice skating trip was cancelled and will take place some time next week, so no worries about her going tomorrow after swimming. I couldn't imagine that the Austrians, with their deathly fear of drafts, would possibly allow for the children to go ice skating with wet hair. ("Es zieht!" they say, which means "A draft! We're all gonna die!")

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

She lost the tooth!

It fell out first thing this morning. What a relief!

Also, check out the adorable little snack Nina made for herself after school the other day:

Maggie made one too:

And, now that I've downloaded the photos from Nina's camera, here's one of the girls with their long, painted fingernails (and the baby-toothed smile that's now just a memory. Nostalgia!)

I don't even know what to title this one...

Nick just found something on the floor and said, "Is this a worm?"
Maggie scoffed and said, "No, worms are slimy. That's dried out."
Nick said, "Well, I thought it was a dead, dried out worm."
To which Maggie responded (with no small measure of disgust at having to explain such an obvious concept to her father), "If you want to know if it's a worm, just put it in your mouth and see if it tastes like a worm."

Then she gave it a taste and declared, "No, not a worm!"
(While Nina yelled, "No Maggie! You could choke on it!!")

There's so much wrong with this exchange that I don't even know where to start... So I put it up here on the blog.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Loose tooth watch!

Just a quick post to note that that top tooth is just about ready to fall out! Poor little Nina finds this so distressing. Today while she was eating some muesli it got totally turned around in her mouth, so the back is now facing front, but didn't fall out. Amazing. How is that even possible? I hope it doesn't fall out in her sleep because that would really freak her out, but at least the drama would be over.

I'm sure tomorrow we'll have a picture of her new gap! Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Rock climbing!

Today we took the girls to an indoor rock climbing place. Wow, there is nothing on this Earth that is more perfect for Nina than that place.
Nick's friend Philip works there (that's Stefan's younger brother), and he let us in for free, talk about the icing on the cake!

It's not very big--there are just three rooms, but one is really tall and is for climbing with a harness, so we didn't do that. We stuck to the two rooms with a max height of about 10 feet, covered with those fake rock wall hand holds that these kinds of places have, and with a foot and a half thick mat covering the floor.

Nina was a little monkey. She did a fantastic job. Even Maggie did a great job! Nick climbed too, but I was afraid of re-injuring my shoulder, so I sat this one out.
When the girls weren't climbing, they were jumping on the mats, racing back and forth, and generally having a blast. What a perfect way to spend a cold Sunday!

I forgot the camera but Philip took some pictures for us. If I get them, I'll put them up. Otherwise I'll make sure the bring it the next time we go. Or else Maggie might be very angry!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On patience

Sometimes even I, oh wondrous, loving, dedicated mother that I am, start to lose patience with my little clan. It happens. I'll say something like, "Margarete, I'm at the end of my rope!" and then I'll follow that with some outlandish threat that we both know I'll never in a million years follow through with. (One standby is the threat to send her to Antarctica to live with a new penguin family. I don't really remember how this one started, but it's become a standby. Maggie's therapist will be hearing all about it one day I'm sure).

Well, I collect myself afterwards, and one day, not too long ago, I said something kind and loving (or at least, not annoyed) to one of the kids after an episode of impatience. And whichever dear, sweet little child it was looked up at me and said,

"Oh, did you get another rope?"
And I said, "Huh?"
And she said, "You were at the end of your rope. Did you get another one?"

Ha! I guess I did!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

6 months!

I just realized today that we passed the 6 month mark two days ago! What a milestone!

The girls went back to school yesterday and both had a great time. No tears from either, and Nick reports that when he picked Nina up, she was chatting happily in German with her friends. I'm so proud of her!

Unfortunately, she didn't feel well this morning. I pushed her out the door anyway, but Nick said she started crying on her way into the school saying her throat hurt, so he gave up and took her home. They always send her home if she says she's sick, and they would have marched her right back out anyway. She spent the rest of the morning in bed and I gave her some tylenol and now she's fine. I should have given her tylenol first thing in the morning, but I didn't believe her about the sore throat.

And poor me, my neck/right shoulder hurts! It started with my neck on Sunday morning, and now the pain's moving down my shoulder, arm, and even my back near the shoulder blade. It's not too serious, tylenol or aleve have been enough to keep it under control, but if I don't take something regularly it really hurts. I'm not even sure what happened, there was no injury, but maybe it's just a stress/overuse thing. Maybe I pinched something hiking up to the ruins on Saturday... who knows. My personal trainer warned me that this was going to happen if I didn't keep up my weight lifting routine, and wouldn't you know. I'll definitely get back to that as soon as we're back in Maine.

Oh well though, it's an excuse to rest and send Nick to the grocery store today. Pulling that grocery cart home will certainly make it worse.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Nina's letter to Uncle Erik

dear unk-

when I come to plum Island, I am going to bring my barbies
can you find a safe spot for my barbies so Chester does not
destroy them? I would like to stay a week? I need a break from Maggie.
She drives me crazy.
She says nyah nyah nyah.
Sometimes when I don't want to make my toys say what she wants them to say
she freaks out.
Sometimes she calls me evil.
One time she ruined a game of UNO.
She ignores me when it's important and says "ignoring you."
She sometimes wakes me up. When I counted back from 100 and am at 1 she wakes me up.
She sometimes copies me and does not stop.
Sometimes she mocks me. (Saying what the other person says in a nasty voice.)
One time she made me spill my cereal by snatching away something which was already
on the ground and I was eating cereal. And she grabbed it from me and made my other
hand spill my cereal.
And that's it.
And I need a break from her.

Your desperate niece,

plus she puts her naked butt right in my face and says "look at my poopy butt."--but that is kind of funny.
First she sometimes says hurtful stuff like "I don't like your present you got me because the lego girls necklace is not coming off."

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Today we drove about to Dürnstein, a tiny little town in the Wachau region, with our visitor Marina. It was just beautiful!

The Wachau region has been on our hit list for a while. They've found evidence of human settlements dating back 32,000 years, so it's been a popular tourist spot for quite some time. Ha ha!

Our first order of business was some lunch at a little tavern. Delicious. The girls even had a glass of sparkling elderberry flower juice to drink. You certainly can't get that in Maine!

Once we had fortified ourselves, we began the hike up to the Dürnstein castle ruins. As usual, there were like 400 steps to climb, and I had to carry Maggie at least part of the time. Actually she did a really good job and did 90% of it on her own. Nina ran up and back without trouble, of course.
No one knows when the castle was built, but the earliest mention of it comes from 1192, when the famous Richard the Lionhearted was imprisoned there. He'd apparently offended Duke Leopold V while they were fighting together in the Crusades, and they decided to just lock him up there. I'm not sure how long he was there, or where he was actually held, but maybe it was here:
Look how sad we are to be imprisoned.

According to Wikipedia, the castle was destroyed in 1645 by the Swedes. Intersting! I didn't realize the Swedes had ever gotten this far south. Europe's history is utterly ridiculous. I love how they try to paint Americans like the war-hungry crazies, when they can't go 100 years without turning on each other and killing as many people as they can. Insane. They're all insane.

Anyway, we hiked around the ruins for a while, and Nina found even more rocks to climb because she wasn't tired out enough by the hike up
The castle looks out over the Danube River, which interestingly was flooded. It's only the beginning of January, so I'd imagine this is unusual. But it's been in the 40s for the last few days, and we've had a little rain. I'd imagine that this is what it usually looks like in March. They must have some kind of flood channels they divert extra water through, because there are no levies along the river and it was only 5 feet from flooding the road and town. Or not, I just googled it and it says the Danube River doesn't flood often, but when it does, things just get wet. They really should do something about that.
Danube River, from the Dürnstein castle ruins

We rounded the visit out with some shopping at the two little stores that were actually open (it was as boarded up as Boothbay in the winter), and I got a cute hat for just 4.90 (Euros).

It was a big day, and now I'm too pooped to write any more. I do have to put one more picture on here for Erik, though:
It's a photo of the menu from the place where we ate lunch. The bottom item on the list above where it says "süsses" (sweets) is "Bratenfettbrot" which translates to "sausagefatbread" (what does German have against spaces in words??). Which sounds shockingly like "grease bread," don't you think? I didn't order it though, because apparently they don't know that grease bread should always be served with cheese. Ha!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!!

Nina is obsessed with playing Uno, so our New Year's Eve and New Year's Day were basically one wild Uno party. I also got some seltzer and made the girls lots of bubbly juice to drink from champagne glasses, so it was good times all around.

We needed more players, though, so some of the toys ended up joining us for a few games. Guess who I lost to yesterday night?

It's demoralizing when I can't even beat a stuffed banana.

Our family games are a riot. Maggie doesn't lose well, let's just start with that. And she can't sit next to Nick, because if he plays a "tee-hee" card (skip, plus two, or reverse), she'll freak out and smash up the game. Same goes if she puts down a wild card and someone changes the color too quickly. We don't coddle her, though, she has to get used to the rules of the game and not getting her way, so that makes for an interesting time. However, she plays well more often than not, so it's usually a success. She just says, "Oh ginzos!" when she has to draw cards, and happily continues.

That's what I said when I lost to Carlos Banana. "Oh ginzos!!"