Friday, February 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes

1. These kids are killing me. Killing me, I tell you. I am literally considering enrolling Joey in a half-day, thrice weekly preschool program - okay, fine, daycare - to the monthly tune of roughly what tuition cost per month my freshman year of college. But, but, he'll learn Italian! And they have a gymnastics class on Mondays! And visiting hamsters! (Compelling, persuasive, and sad, all bundled into one, am I right?)

2. They don't sleep. Or rather, Joey sleeps, but not if John Paul is in the room. In fact, when I want to severely threaten him at nap/bedtimes, I drop my voice an octave lower and warn him "Joey, JP is going to sleep in your room if you don't lie down now."

"No Mommy, no JP, no no NO! JP go away, no JP please Mommy please!!"

Et cetera et cetera, in an increasingly frantic tone and with his hands clapped over his ears, until I back slowly out of the room brandishing Mr. Piercing Decibels Only Dogs Should Be Able to Hit.

Works every time.

3. Speaking of bleeding ear drums, while recovering from their respective ear infections, both boys managed to scrape together a cough/cold combo, no doubt 1 part torce cuolla and 1 part traipsing around St. Peter's mugging for photographers and staring forlornly up at the windows of the Papal apartment. What can I say? We're still in shock, and wandering around and creepily eavesdropping on other English-speaking pilgrims has been our favorite pastime this week.
Fr. Lombardi, spokesman for the papal household, addressing the Vatican newscorp, stolen from husband.
4. Which brings me to Valentine's day, which was something to behold in a city which takes its flowers verrrrry seriously. A florist stand or shop on every block, and then maybe one more in between, I tell you. Florists are the new Starbucks, McDonald's, and medical MJ shop all rolled into one. (Which may have something to do with Romans being about 40% slimmer than the average American.) Anyway, I scored these bad boys and a very interesting literal interpretation of the term 'hamburger' (think on that for a while) at our local Irish pub, which may not sound romantic to you, but then, you aren't a frat boy hiding in the body of a 30 year-old woman, are you?

Big baby, my love, (slightly) smaller baby, and a human-sized bouquet
5. Can we revisit number 2? JP literally sleeps 9 hours in a 24 hour cycle. I'll let you speculate how many of those are at night, but it isn't nearly enough, considering the meat on his almost 19 lb frame. He isn't quite 10 months old, and he has the sleeping patterns of a colicky 10 week old. Which he was, at one point, so, in sum, f word. Thank you for your time. Any suggestions are welcome, though we've tried everything at least once, and are currently rocking a really healthy combination of CIO/co-sleeping/baby-wearing/threatening abandonment/daily happy hour. Can't imagine why he isn't better adjusted...
"I'll sleep when you're dead."
6. This week's 'When in Rome' highlights included Carnivale (mardi gras) fireworks in Piazzo del Popolo (awesome), Ash Wednesday Mass outside of St. Peter's, for 20 minutes, in front of a jumbo-tron screen, after being glared out of Santa Ana, a charming little church inside the Vatican walls that isn't overly keen on small humans, and watching the first tide of pilgrims, Vaticanista, and spring tourists roll through the city. Overnight, the Vatican area has gone from tepid foot traffic to surging crowds across the square at all hours of the day. Also noteworthy: the dozens and dozens of white-lit media tents springing up all along Via Della Concilliazione and on rooftops of apartment buildings with a line of sight to the Basilica. White smoke is coming...
Sister date at the Spanish steps. I tried to get her to smooch me, but she declined.

7. Please pray we make some friends. Gosh, how hard up does that make me sound? Terribly, I'm sure. But we have a great friend in Dave's co-worker and his wife, a lovely couple with baby #2 on the way and a Nebraska heritage, to boot. But besides them...friend desert. And all the wine and pastries in the world can't replace something like that. Trust me, I've been attempting it.

Now off to Jen with you.


  1. seriously. how cool is it that God brought your family to Rome before a Conclave? So. cool.


    But I hope you don't get mad at me if it doesn't work. I have 5 good sleepers, thanks be to God!

  3. HI Jenny, I'm a first time commenter/relatively new reader. I think I linked to you via Jen or Shenazing awards? Don't recall. At any rate, my DH is nearly done with his PhD in Greek/Latin and we're warming up a lukewarm contact with a Latinist within the Vatican; so we may be in your boat/possible neighbors in the future! would love to connect at least a little, for e-friendship pen pals if you'd like! I would PM you but the email link forces me to download Outlook, which I don't want. Sorry for uber-personal note out there. Please drop me a line and we can continue this conversation (hopefully!) (but I'd appreciate it if we can remove my email address once you have it! Again, no pressure... just an olive branch of friendship.) Happy Friday! Mary

  4. I'm praying that y'all make some friends. Being in the no-friend-zone was the back breaker of my about-to-be-finished expat experience. It is sososososo hard. So prayers for you!

    And if you figure out the baby sleeping issue, please let me know. Because we are doing the exact same thing and I think we're all about to die miserable sleep deprived deaths.

  5. I just love reading these posts about life in Rome!

    And my son was the worst sleeper EVER. E-V-E-R. I still have mild PTSD from his babyhood, and he's eight now. What finally worked for us was the advice in Kim West's book Good Night, Sleep Tight.

    Have a great weekend!

  6. Maybe you guys could visit Christendom's campus over there? I think one of Lizzie's neighbor's from the compound is currently over there. And prayers that the sleep situation improves! I am a complete monster with sleep deprivation, so I feel for anyone dealing w/ it!

  7. I think it's so amazing that you're there at this time in history. Wow. I stayed up night after night during JPII's last days until the white smoke, and I'll do the same thing again...AND I'M NOT EVEN CATHOLIC. I can't wait to read more from you.

    So, sleeping? I used the Baby Wise method with child number 2 (child number 1 slept through at 5 weeks - false advertising for future sibling) and have had blissful, blissful sleep since roughly week 12. Some people hate it - I can't figure out why - but I swear by it. It saved my life, seriously. I was losing my mind, literally, and this LITERALLY saved me. And probably a lot of other people around me because I was CRAZY.

    You could also try this: Put baby in a far-away room. Listen to monitor. Turn it off for 30 seconds or so while baby cries, then back on again. Do this five or six times. Then fall asleep on top of turned-off monitor and wake up six hours later in full panic that baby has exploded.

    I like to be helpful.

  8. It sounds like we should just throw our kids in a room together and night and let them scream it out together. I can't even talk more about it or I will puke from anger about sleep issues. Guh.

    And, I think it is so cool that you get to be in Rome during such an historical time in the Church. Way cool.

    Finally, many prayers for you to find friends. I think we've all been there at one point or another. We have moved around quite a bit as a family, so making friends has never been easy. I can only imagine it is harder when you can't speak the same language.

  9. Oh, Jenny, I feel your pain. Nearly every night, between the hours of 11 and 5, Michael still (at 15 months) wakes up screaming as if someone is injuring him beyond recognition. One of us walks in and then it's mr. giggles.

    In my expert "I have two babies, half of which sleep somewhat reliably" opinion, I think whichever method or routine you and Dave decide on, it has to be consistent until they are consistent. I've heard a million methods, all of which seem like they should work, but in my experience, they need a solid two weeks of vigilant routine-keeping. Same exact thing every day. Most babies thrive on routine, they just need a little convincing, Or so I'm told. I really like the "Sleep Easy" book, mixed in with some CIO for those awesome toddler meltdown nights.

    As for friends, I will certainly pray. Something that helped me connect in Thornton was opening our home up for a weekly playgroup. For over a year now, I've had 5 or 6 other moms with little ones in tow pile into our house to engage our children in a positive, constructive playdate. Psh. Honestly, it was just a good excuse to drink coffee while simultaneously sharing our birthing/breastfeeding/sleeping/raising children stories and not being the only person around who could speak a three syllable word for two hours a week. It has really been a blessing to me. I will pray for some good Catholic mamas to come your way!

    In the event that idea doesn't materialize, I will sacrifice myself and fly to Rome, and come be your friend in person while you wait for more friends to come. Or, I imagine a certain Cardinal Ratzinger may find himself with a little extra time on his hands in these coming months...maybe he could use a weekly coffee date! :)

    Love from CO!

  10. Jenny!! Amber (yes your old Steuby roomie) and I are sitting here reading your blog and cracking up! We just love and miss you so much!!! We are praying for you (and your sleep...)

    Kaaaaren and Aaaamber (imagine British accents here...) ;)

  11. Jenny:
    I just stumbled upon your blog, and love it already. You might hate this, but I am so jealous of you being in Rome! And at this important time in the Catholic Church - wow! I know how hard it is to move, but the friends will come. Love that you have a cute couple, with Nebraska heritage, to hang with. That is where I am from! Hang in there! Some of my babies didn't sleep either - one not until about age 1 1/2! Don't worry - it was a medical issue that went undiagnosed until crazy mommy insisted to the specialist that something was wrong. Sometimes us Moms know best!!!! Keep the faith!


Is your email linked to your comment? I'd love to respond to you directly, but I can't if it's not!