Currently we are spending time with our Daughter, Son-in-law and Grandchildren out in Cyprus. There are four children in total three girls ages 12, 20 months, 3 months, and one boy of 6, a very bouncy 2 year old springer spaniel completes this exhausting line up!
Our days start with 19 month old toddler arriving in our bed any time from 5am onwards, our daughter – having first fed and settled baby – disappears (in secret) downstairs for a ‘workout’to something called insanity, surely at this ungodly hour insane it is! Our son-in-law will – if he is lucky while we are here – be in bed on baby watch duty until the day job calls. The eldest, 12 going on teen is normally still asleep or reading (the latter her favourite pastime) whilst 6 can be found building Lego, playing with action figures or zapping anything that moves or otherwise with his light sabre.
Between seven and eight on a non school day it is breakfast time. Unfortunately to reach the relative warmth of the dining room – if someone has switched the gas heaters on – we all have to brave arctic conditions immediately we step outside our bedrooms. Wearing excess layers to keep out the cold I now resemble a ‘bag lady’ in my mismatched layers.
Temperatures in Cyprus at this time of year can be minus overnight. In the day, the sun when it manages to break through the cloud feels warm, however most days after our arrival rain has lashed down creating rushing rivers in the deep gullies that line the roads.
Inside the icebox house of two halves – it was once two, three bedroom semis – cooling fans now sit silent on extra high ceilings, making the too few heaters work that much harder to heat the extra space in the rooms. The sun when it does put in an appearance seems not to penetrate through the windows and walls at all. We draw straws to decide whose turn to make hot drinks/meals in the icy room that is the kitchen. Call of nature runs are held off as long as possible, whilst Ice cold tiles underfoot – thank god we packed slippers – render naked toes immobile.
After breakfast, more layers go on for walking the mad springer spaniel. We depart the house a motley crew on our various modes of transport – pram or hands free sling for baby, trike with added adult control for toddler, push-bike for 6 and scooter for 12. The four walking adults are split between being pulled along by dog, pushing the pram/trike, racing a bike or scooter, intermittent snails pace walking due to toddler exiting trike along with carrying, picking up when fallen, providing shoulder rides and pooh picking. Eventually once the slow stop start has tried all our patience we try to persuade the toddler she has tired legs, this rarely ends with a happy outcome, only a rigid, screaming uncomplying body as we try to manoeuvre her back into her trike. This excursion gets repeated late afternoon too, remember this is the fit outdoorsy family!
We all love Christmas time with the exception of husband/dad/grandad (VM) even though he is in the house of children and all things Christmassy he continues his relentless, mostly tongue in cheek Bah Humbug routine. Frowning, mumbling throughout the day whenever things go off plan as often they do! So far he has cut his lip on a bacon buttie, making more fuss than the youngest child – the pouting went on for the whole day! The toddler while having a tantrum at ungodly hour knocked tea all over his slippers causing another day of moaning about cold feet as said slippers slowly dried out elsewhere. Water knocked over by the man himself narrowly missed his myriad of tech gadgets laying on the floor below. On the rare occasion he does nappy duty the floor resembles a battlefield and we have to send out for more supplies of baby wipes. Keeping up with the fit family he has found himself a running partner and although secretly enjoying being pushed physically to greater distances, we are all on his return suffering the consequences ‘I need to rest, my calves/quads are aching’.
I have decided my wrist will not be resting any time soon in Cyprus. How can I not pick up and cuddle our beautiful new baby Grandaughter who amongst all the hullabaloo that continually goes on around her is calm, serene and generally so good natured as to sometimes be forgotten. Our animated, funny toddler loves to be picked up to sit on my lap and listen to her many storybooks or being bounced frantically up and down on my lap singing ‘half a pound of tuppenny rice’ and then disappearing between my knees as we ‘Pop goes the Weasel’ evoking chuckles galore.
With 12 and 6 there has been in the making a gingerbread house, seventy-two mince pies – including twenty-four special gluten-free for our daughter – and an elaborate lattice mince pie to use up the leftovers. All the rubbing in, kneading, rolling and squeezing of thick icing through icing bags has, even with the excellent help taken its toll on my poor wrist.
The good news is although my wrist/hand is not improving my new hip parts are working particularly well with still not a clunk, click in sight! Lots of walking with mad dog and without, along promenades by the sea. Swimming in the local pool – a necessity just for the warm comfort of the changing rooms – floor workouts playing with the toddler and baby – toddler is well trained in providing a comfy cushion for ‘Nannas’ accident battered knees and hip against the cold hard floors. Climbing up and on or below and under a cabin bed to read 6 his bedtime story is a particular highlight, giving me hope that eventually mountains will be within my grasp.
To be able to do all these things and more fills me with so much joy. I may never be able to run alongside holding hands or roly-poly with abandon down grassy slopes and hills, nevertheless the many things I can still do, thanks to technical advances and a skilful surgeon I will be forever grateful for.