Saturday, February 26, 2011

Swedish Tooth Fairy

Lucas' tooth was so loose. Drove me nuts, I wouldn't be able to handle a floppy tooth in my mouth; but he let it get looser, and looser. It was the bottom right one, his second loose tooth.

He lost his first about a month before we moved here. It "just popped out" one day at school. He literally lost it for a few minutes, and then one of his friends found it on the floor under his desk. His teacher, used to her pupils' teeth falling out, had a cute little tooth-shaped necklace thing to hold the tooth.

When he woke up the next morning, there was a dollar bill under his pillow from the tooth fairy. Seemed to be the going rate. But she'd left his tooth, and this confused Lucas since she's taken his friends' teeth when they lost them. He looked at me and said, "Did the tooth fairy really come, or did you just put this under my pillow?" I asked him what he thought, and something on the TV distracted him, and that was the end of that conversation.

Two weeks ago he finally lost his second tooth. He had been crying earlier that day because every time he bit down, it hurt. With my urging, he tried to pull it out, and a few minutes later, he ran to tell me he'd lost his second tooth.

"Lucas, you're going to get a dollar!" Henrik said, evident that he wished his teeth were falling out.

"No, Henrik, we're in Sweden now, so it will be in crowns," Lucas replied. "Maybe I'll get 500 crowns! That's the biggest bill!" Then he started dancing and singing, "Money, Money, Money, must be funny, in a rich man's world!" (ABBA)

I laughed. "Lucas, 500 crowns is like $75, I don't think the tooth fairy gives that much."

"We'll see!" he said, still optimistic.

The tooth fairy came, and this time took his tooth. Lucas got a gold-colored coin - ten crowns. Seems to be the going rate. She wrote a little note in Swedish that said, "Welcome to Sweden Lucas!" (She used the plural vs. the singular form of "welcome" but that's OK, her job is collecting teeth, not writing after all.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Da Stuff Arrives

Our stuff has arrived.

It felt like Christmas, but with two tall German Santas, maybe in their 40's, who came to the door 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled time to deliver the packages. One blond, the other dark, both wearing bright yellow reflective vests. I checked off the list of boxes as they came through the door, per their request. "26!" they'd say, and I'd check it off. "37!" and so forth.

After 68, or was it 70 boxes - there were more than I originally remembered - all were accounted for, and it had only taken 30 minutes. I asked them to open the wardrobe boxes, as I had to empty them before they left.

"I need to check if this is my husband's, or my clothes," I said, as the blond guy opened the top of one of the boxes. Out of the top of the box jumped a bright pink boa, a souvenir from my sister's bachelorette party. "I think this is mine," I laughed, "unless it's my husband's..." The guy laughed, and said with his German accent, "I hope not!"

I offered them coffee, but they had to go - they were next driving to Oslo, Norway.

The boys jumped up and down as we unpacked more, and more toys. I wondered what I'd been thinking, bringing that much stuff, but oh well.

Henrik got his Hobie and Shadow. Lucas got his LEGOs. I got my printer, label maker, Kitchen Aid, Trader Joe's crackers, and lots of other things. Mats got his big screen TV. I heard Lucas upstairs discovering his stuffed animal penguins, "Mrs. Schulz! Big Scratcher!" he yelled, as he greeted his old friends. (Mrs. Schulz is a penguin named after his kindergarten teacher.)

But, like Christmas, there is a come-down. We now need to unpack all these boxes and find places for everything. Henrik is looking for his small Curious George stuffed animal, which I have no idea if we packed. I try not to feel bad for him, he has a bed full of stuffed animals. With each box he asks me with sad eyes, "Did you find Curious George?"

With the unpacking of things from our previous home come memories of our friends and family who are still there. And I realize that they didn't come along with the physical things wrapped in brown paper.

But now I must go. Time to look for Curious George.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Waiting for Da Stuff

Before we left for Sweden, we had a bunch of decisions to make, and all seemed to have their pros and cons. The biggest decision, to move to Sweden, had finally been made, after only two or three years of vacillating. Granted, we counted ourselves lucky to have these options, but that didn't make the process any easier.

Should we:

Rent or sell our house in Ca?
Sell or ship our cars to Sweden?
Ship our furniture (most of it IKEA), or just our personal belongings?
Sell our remaining furniture and stuff, or get a storage unit?

We did sell our house, though we loved it, because we didn't want the transcontinental responsibility of an older home. We shipped one car, sold the other. We craigslisted most of our furniture and packed our remaining favorites in a small storage unit. And finally, we shipped our STUFF. 61 boxes in total, 21 of which were books and magazines.

We shipped it all about a month before leaving, and now, 2 months and 2 days post-arrival, our boxes are going to be delivered tomorrow, a Valentine's gift.

(Our car arrived 2 weeks ago, and the few boxes we were allowed to put in it were a welcome care package, including the mix for gluten-free cornbread we made the first night to celebrate.) Though I'm still puzzled why we shipped a random box of unsorted desk junk.

We've had endless conversations about our stuff. I've since forgotten everything we packed, or didn't pack, so when my kids ask, "Did you ship the talking globe?" my answer is, "I don't know, we'll see when the shipment arrives." (Although I'm pretty sure the globe is in storage. We'll have to pick it up this summer.)

I remember reading Waiting for Godot in high school, and thought this wasn't that much different. Except I think Godot never arrived. We did wonder if our stuff ever would arrive, as the date kept being pushed out. Henrik said, "I think our shipment is stuck in another world." I think he meant another country, as he'd heard us saying it had been in Germany clearing customs since before New Year's.

Lucas can't wait for his box of LEGOs and stuffed animals, Henrik can't wait to see Hobie and Shadow, his golden and black stuffed animal Labradors that were named after my mom's dogs of the same breed and colors. I'm 99% sure those are in there. I'm looking forward to getting our paintings, holiday decorations, our favorite food coloring-free candies, and whatever else it is I packed. Mats is waiting for his tennis shoes and most of his clothes, as we hadn't fully realized how long it would take.

I'm not sure where it's all going to fit in our townhouse without a garage, but we'll figure it out. Lucas says tomorrow we'll have a house made out of toys. He may be right.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dark Days, Too

And then there was dark. And rain. And ice.

I thought it fitting to write about the dark since my last post was about light. It is dark here, especially when it's cloudy. And it's still mostly dark when I bring Lucas to school in the morning. Earlier this week we were on our way to school, and the wind was blowing. Henrik's bike slipped on the ice, and down he went, crying because the handlebar hit his side.

A Swedish woman walking by stopped to help, and by random coincidence, she'd been born in California. This didn't help Henrik, though, who refused to bike the remaining way to Lucas' school. Lucas couldn't go ahead because of the construction on Henrik's preschool. (They are building his preschool, right behind Lucas' school, and it should be ready in March. Not that I'm counting down, or anything.)

It reminded me of Alexander's No Good, Very Bad Day, a book I loved to listen to my mom read when I was young. In it, the little boy is having one of those days, and he keeps saying he wants to move to Australia. And his mom says, "They have bad days, even in Australia."

The day redeemed itself, though. On the way home, Henrik and I got to witness up-close the crane putting the last piece of the preschool pre-fab building together. That afternoon Henrik and I had a Mommy Preschool field trip downtown to buy some office supplies (my reward) and to visit the hot dog stand (Henrik's reward.)

And then the sun came out.