Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wringing in the New Year

When it comes to holiday greetings, most people say, “Better late than never,” even when that holiday greeting arrives in March. So I suppose, at the end of January it’s not too late to give one’s blog the above title. Plus, today is my birthday. I’m 39. Glad to be here. I have to write something!

This is a story of Mom (me) on a Voyage…

Feeling both nostalgic and adventurous, my husband and I decided to fly from Moscow to Berlin this New Year’s for a week, with our two children, of course. We borrowed a Berlin guidebook, arranged to stay with friends who graciously offered their apartment in their absence, and began dreaming up a list of “must-see” sights. Note the word, dreaming, here.

We had friends on tight deadlines to meet, so we saw them first on Days 1 and 2 and forwent famous sights and certain hip parts of town prone to premature fireworks, which would scare or hurt the babies’ eardrums. Day 3 was New Year’s Eve. My evening’s little black dress was actually a little black long-sleeved shirt, which ultimately was vomited on by our 15-month-old. She proceeded to vomit that evening, much to our chagrin, while visiting other friends, until it was baby bedtime and we went back to our friends’ apartment for the remainder of the evening. And the year. Things took another turn for the worse when the baby began having diarrhea and our friends’ washing machine would only fill with water, but wouldn’t “agitate” (as I subsequently learned the term back in Moscow) or spin.

So there we were, my husband and I, after the kids were tucked away in beds and travel cribs, on the 20th New Year’s after the coming down of the Berlin Wall, wringing out sopping wet, vomitty and poopy clothes. The dryer was one of those European ones that, if you let it, will churn your clothes for 12 hours and possibly shrink them to the size of your child’s teddy bear. So, after squeezing as much water out of the clothes as we could, we opted to string the clothes around the apartment, mostly on the radiators, which were cranked thanks to the low temperatures and snowstorms that happened to be blanketing Berlin that week, matching its temperatures with those of Moscow.

On New Year’s Day we decided we needed to take the baby to the doctor, but no German Pediatrician in his right Weihnachtsmind would be working on New Year’s Day. To make a long story less long, the rest of our trip included a visit to the ER, denting our gracious friends’ Mercedes, more vomit and diarrhea, no famous sights, and coming home in Moscow to a broken washing machine.

Happy New Year, and Mom Voyage!

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