(provocative little thing. Nothing like her mommy.)
The surest way to get “time out” is to stand on a chair in the middle of the kitchen. “Arleigh! Danger! Ama’s trying to cook dinner!” Unfortunately there is an attractive quality to time outs because Arleigh loves to count to 10. So, sitting on the bed while Ama yells “1! 2! 3!…” is a lark. If I drag it out, hoping to get one more pepper prepped, I’ll hear: “FOUR! Ama say FOUR!” And so on. This is a lot like riding a bike. It all comes flooding back.
This week has been a painful sort of time out from what we expected. Daddy is in Russia and we think of him all the time. Arleigh was sweet on FaceTime with him and her gentle grandmother last evening. Abby sends photos every day. Tomorrow, late in the day, Daddy will be back to Rome Home and we will continue on until I leave for Home Home later next week.(Areligh modeling her hat and mittens with her “smile!” face in a photo for Daddy.)
The buses here in Rome take frequent “time outs.” If you are recent to bus life in Rome you might think that no one really buys or uses a ticket and it’s secretly free for the residents. Everyone gets on, gets off, no one goes near the ticket validating machine. So you start to feel foolish about scrounging around the neighborhood for a tabacci shop to buy tickets. I mean, why should I pay? (Of course, they don’t sell them on the bus. And the bus driver is completely encased in a dark phone booth type thing and totally inaccessible.) And then you find out that every once in a while the bus makes an unexpected stop and the bus police come aboard and fine people, including nuns, 50 euros if they don’t have a time-stamped ticket.
I am totally deranged when it comes to the bus schedules and my daily routines depend on them. The Montessori themed daycare would like me to collect Arleigh at precisely 330 but not 334 or 314. I am constantly using the Moovit app to calculate arrivals and subsequent departures and how long it will take to put on boots and coat and get a brief rundown of the day and load her into the stroller with all 5 points buckled because, god forbid, she should lurch out of it…and then, as I huff to the stop with heart pumping and Arleigh shrieking with delight, “Go fast!” the bus sails on by. We’ve missed it by 15 seconds and stand in the chill wind for another twenty-four minutes. Or, it just doesn’t come at all. Probably diverted by the bus police.
Today when I picked up Arleigh, I snatched her away from her teacher with a clearly odiferous diaper because I didn’t want to be delayed by a change and we rode home with cleared seats all around us, no problem. Arleigh munched her raisins, calling out “Colosseum! Guys on church! (the statues atop St. John Lateran) Raven!” She can only see things that are up high from her low seat in the stroller but Ama is already teaching her her bird IDs. I studiously avoided the critical eyes of all the Ama- aged ladies on the bus.
But before I picked her up, I took a little Ama time out and headed off to a small artist boutique in the old quarter of town where the owner is a felt maker. This involved a lot of additional bus schedule planning last night and also, when my phone navigation app says, “go NE for 30 meters and then turn W at Via Della Penitenza”- really? I mean, really? Still, it was a spectacularly beautiful day, the sky was the bluest blue, the sight-seeing was grand and the shop was quite nice. Not great, and I left feeling better about my own work as a felt maker, with my fingers itching for wool. Soon. First, I have to figure out how I can possibly say “Time’s Up” to this lovely child and her parents.