Sunday, November 22, 2015


I asked Zoe to look in the fridge to find out what we were going to have for dinner. She pulled out some (cooked yesterday) rice and salmon as well as some soy sauce. She then pulled over a chair so she could reach the stove. "Mom, you have to turn it on, but I'll make the rice" she said. I complied. "So I'm the boss cook and you are my assistant", she continued and asked me where the cook book was. I pointed over at the other counter and she brought it over, opened it up at a random page and started reading. "First you put the rice in, then water and then it has to cook for 6 minutes", she said, as she meticulously pointed her finger underneath the letters. Nevermind the fact that she can't read anything but her name yet. "I have an idea Mom, let's be American cooks!" she said and switched seamlessly to English (so far everything had been in Danish). I followed her lead and while stirring the rice and cutting out salmon she started talking with the most amazing Southern, American accent. I had no idea she even knew a Southern accent. Her default accent in English is an adorable Scottish/Irish*/British/Danish accent and since I rarely hear her speak English, I don't really notice it unless someone points it out. All I know is that she is completely fluent and mainly mix English words into her Danish, not so much vice versa. But she had it all down with the American drooling "Ain't that a shame" when she spilled soy sauce and "We don't need no butter", when I took it out to look for something else. I resisted the temptation to go find my phone and record it because it would take the presence out of it all. In the end we set the table with an extra chair for her doll ("the restaurant guest") and she spent most our meal telling me how we would soon have to go out and tell everybody who had lined up in front of the door, all the way down the hall and all the way down the stairs, that we didn't have more food and that they had to come back to the restaurant another day. But she really didn't want to disappoint them all. Still in her perfect Southern accent.

*Her best friend in her daycare in Stockholm was an Irish girl, but she went back to Ireland after the summer

Friday, November 13, 2015

Hard work

After two weeks picking up Zoe from school at 2:40pm every day I finally gave in yesterday and sent her to the after school (which I have to pay for). She was not happy and cried in the morning even though her new best friend Lisa was going as well. I assured her it would be fun and she had sneaked her doll into her backpack in case they allowed toys in the after school. I got three hours more for work, which enabled me to actually write the whole study plan in my funding proposal but which also made feel guilty for most of the afternoon. When I picked up Zoe my guilt was reaffirmed: Already at 5:30 (I came slightly early), 15 min before they were to be picked up, the kids were lined up by the wall at the gym, backpacks and jackets on, instructed to sit still and wait. My heart broke a little bit as I walked in and saw Zoe just sitting there with her head in her hands, waiting for me. She immediately ran in to my arms, we hugged and she told me that it hadn't been so bad, but that she was not allowed toys and they weren't allowed to play freely. Instead they had played games and ate goldfish crackers. I could tell she was exhausted and I let her watch television while I cooked dinner.

I'm the luckiest mom in the world and I am not complaining, but this is hard. I love every minute of my life with Zoe here, and I wouldn't want anything different when we are both here, but it is still tough. It's hard to manage to do all my work in 5 and a half hours while she is in school plus the 3 hours I might be able to squeeze in at night. In fact the night hours are the toughest ones because I'm dead tired myself but still have to try to write something coherent. I have managed the small things by having groceries delivered, getting Munchery one evening and generally trying to say no to things at work. And we are doing very well, Zoe and I, reading a new book every night, packing lunch for her together in the morning and generally having fun. We have not had a single tiff or serious argument yet (although I yelled a tiny bit at her today because she got scared of a dog and almost walking into the street). She does a lot by herself in the morning like putting on her clothes and brushing her hair while I'm doing something else, and she asks for and decides on activities (tomorrow we are going to family yoga for example). She makes everything very easy for me, because she is so sweet and fun to be with, yet, this is hard. But then again, it is nothing compared to being away from her, that is the hardest of it all.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Skating magic in New York

Worn out after an hour's skating
Monday afternoon, the happiest mom and daughter walked home through the West Village's small streets where trees have mangled the pavement and where the narrow houses' front stair cases seem to invite for a rest. Zoe proclaimed excitedly "Mommy, today I didn't just get two new friends, I got three new friends!". It had been her first day of kindergarten and everything had been going well. She was welcomed and quickly became popular. Two days later, as I dropped her off in the morning, a girl ran over to Zoe, looking at her with admiring eyes and grabbed her hand. Her mom, introduced herself: "Kathy talks about Zoe all the time", she said and I knew we have a good situation going. Zoe was the new cool kid.

After Zoe begging me for days, today we went ice skating. It turns out that it is not necessary to pay 70+$ for access and rental at the Rockefeller center, instead you pay 30$ for two pair of skates at the free rink at Bryant Park. And you go on a weekday afternoon when it is drizzling so the rink is not crowded. The best thing was that they had little 'helper penguins' that Zoe could hold on to while skating, which made her much more confident and just when we were about to leave, she said "let me try without the penguin" (she has only been on ice skates exactly twice before). She went off and was able to skate on her own. I was in awe. She was excited and proud. I promised her to buy a pair of used skates so we can come back at least once per week before Christmas.

Flybaby is here and it is magic.