Saturday, 3 October 2009
First of firsts
So maybe I should be sleeping right now and getting some almost hard earned rest - our son and his body decided that 3.30am was actually 8.30am. Our efforts to maintain a calm nightly atmosphere demolished by the sprightly tone of our three year old, "Don't whisper Daddy, NOBODY's asleep!". How right he was. After silent negotiation - I used my usual technique of managing to fall efortlessly back to sleep so as to let wonderful dad take over - and having had a small carry on case load of books read to him I finally surfaced at 6ish and mumbled a few good mornings to my husband as we shuffled past one another changing shifts. He probably needs the rest more than me, lets face it he's the one at this very moment entertaining 3,000 or so Rhode islanders whilst I wax lyrical in my slouchy clothes typing my blog. A number of firsts then today. Namely a new city. Sammy and I ushered in the dawn on the ground floor award winning Starbucks. How easily one succumbs in the shadow of sleep deprivation. More worrying perhaps is that I actually found their coffee rather palatable. Whilst Sammy alternately labelled (loudly) each passing vehicle and nibbled on the softer ends of a toasted bagel with cream cheese I watched the incessant rain drenching the hunched locals scurrying across the road for their life saving cuppa' java. It was like the familiar dark autumnal mornings from home. They don't call this part of town New England for nothing. After Cory finally surfaced and Sam had firmly ensconced himself in his shadow I left them to baseball coaching (his father has every intention of doing his best at helping Sammy become a well rounded sportsman and partaker of the arts - no pressure of course, what with his namesake being one of the most talented performers the world has known - Sammy Davis Jnr for those who are not as obsessed as us and who, shockingly may not have seen the link immediately!) whilst I took a jog around the area and sniff out our new home. We are staying in an area called Westminster and the feeling around the streets this morning was not unlike its British counterpart. Think city of London on a sunday afternoon, that slightly ghostly deserted street feeling with the accompanying gourmet coffee shops and banks. Add to this a few dotted retro clothing stores (it is a university town) the faded glamnour of a town at its dizzy height in the early 20s and you start to build some sort of picture. There was an unexpected romance to my little tour. Me legginged, hooded up, rain splattering my calves and face, the steady drum of my (wet) trainered feet framed by the photogenic red brick facades of Providence's Middle Street. After my foray I returned (damp) to our hotel, the Biltmore, stunningly restored to its 1922 glamour with an achingly ornate corniced ceiling on its second floor, and, my personal fabourite, brass rimmed and plaqued glass US Mail chutes that I imagine run the height of the building and would have (maybe tomorrow I'll see if they are still in use) sent guest's mail swiriling down to the intricate brass mail box by the foyer's lifts. After cleaning oursleves up a bit and a bit more baseball coaching (I told you he's serious) we head down for a seafood lunch. We discovered that our slightly fussy eater actually seems to love all things shell-y so I took great pleasure in watching him share my mussels (white water apparently and locally sourced) and scoff generous helpings of his dad's chowder or is that chowdah? The pronounciation I mean, well its a New England thing. I found this out last night when the valet very kindly helped me with not only my bags but also with my sleeping son whom I did not have the heart to wake up (he was such good company on the long flight he desperately needed his sleep though I know we paid for it this morning!) and his eagerly awaited reunion with his father was somewhat of an anticlimax as he was wheeled into the room, out to the world still tightly strapped into his car seat, surrounded by baggaege on the valet's trolley. Still made his dad's night. When the young chap commented on our son's hat (Yankees of course, its a family thing) we braced ourselves for the usual banter that goes on between Boston Red Sox fans and yankee lot (they are both as a rule fiercely loyal and an age old rivalry dies hard) he actually surprised us by saying he only helped me because we were claerly a New York Yankees family. I didn't really listen to the rest of the conversation between and my husband so perplexed was I by his Rhode Island twang. To my, slightly trained ears, it is like a cross between east end and west country with a bad actors' attempt at an american accent thrown in. They start talking in this part of the world and you never know where the inflections will go next. I absolutely love it but need more than a weekend to master it past the usual suspescts, "cahhhhhh" for car and "wadaahhh" for water and the plethora of others found plastered on gawdy tourist shirts littering coastal towns just a little north of here. Beyond my geo-anthropological (try saying that after a couple) discoveries I would like to share two more. 1. The iphone (another first this morning, it will be accompanying me on my travels and making me feel just that one step closer to being James BOnd - how does it KNOW how to do all those craaaaazy things?!) is sturdier than you might expect,I stepped on it not half an hour ago trying to wrangle sleeping son (the mussels it turned out sent him over the edge) handbag, historical weighted door and card-key and let go of said bag trod on it, and phone, and to my delight the sitting victim came away without a scratch. Smells a bit fishy though. That will teach me for eating mussels in one hand and catching up with my cousin in Sheffield with the other. Cross-contamination was inevitable. And finally 2. you can never have enough hanging space to dry clothes and towels on, most bathrooms are seriously lacking in this area and hotels are no different, especially when in the second week of no-nappies for growing boy. After tripping onto the phone I lay him on the bad. He squirmed in a fit like manner and I panicked silently, he whispered that pee and pooh were coming, I whisked us off but not before I suddenly felt a wet warmth soak my shirt. He cried. I cooed. We changed. He slept. What a come down for him after the triumph at the restaurant - he seems to alert us in ample time - and he and I hugged in delight at what he calls his "family of sausages" floating in the water. Neither of us have lost the thrill of it. Yet. I do wonder though, if mothers secretly still feel this long after their sons are several decades past potty training. I think I can imagine myself in a quiet glow of pride as Sam excuses himself from the table to relieve himself. "I helped him do that'" I'll think to myself. Is that a little creepy? If it is don't pass it on. I'll now shuffle over to an inviting sofa, admire the autumnal bouquet Cory put on the windowsill for me and perhaps even treat myself to another coffee. Two in one day? Just another first on my first day. My first second.