Matei has spent two weeks gallivanting with my mum around Belgrade and providing us with regular updates of his progress, like so:
"Mummy, my swimming teacher told me I could dive without thinking. I told him he was wrong, because I can dive AND think."
Z and I moped for a day or so ("Were you and daddy sad when I left?" "Yes." "Did you cry?" "Yes." "With real tears?" "Yes." "I was sad too, and I cried for you at the airport but then I stopped on the plane.") and then became giddy with the possibilities of looking after only one child (She goes to sleep by herself! Without cryin! The free time, it practically creates itself!) and then we became actually giddy from paint and solvent fumes as we threw ourselves into a frenzy of gardening and housework.
Clean all the things!
Z bought me a steam cleaner* and I feel about it the way Rambo feels about his AK47 and it imbues me with levels of ease and satisfaction I have never hitherto associated with cleaning. Shower mold and grimy tile grout have been greeted with cries of "Take that Motherfuckers!" My floors are shiny, a duet of steaming and hoovering has turned the rug from light grey back to white and tiles no longer frighten me.
Learning things the hard way
On the other hand 20 month olds terrify me, especially ones whose soal goal in life is to CLIMB ALL THE THINGS and then flamenco dance on top of them to celebrate this achievement. It's a terror that comes fresh on the heels of Helena managing to fall down the stairs while reaching for the cat (cue tears and bloody snot and head lump the size of an egg and 5 hours of observation in A&E while our overtired and overexcited child ran riot and Z and I tried to distract her with inflated surgical gloves). After the initial half an hour of pain and fright she appeared to suffer no ill effects whatsoever, though it took Z and me significantly longer to get over the horror of having broken the baby.
And now everyone has a healthy respect for things withe edges.
*I asked for it and awaited its arrival with childish glee. I don't think the 17 year old Nina would recognise me.