I woke up this morning with thoughts of Venice in the back of my mind. I felt compelled to look back at my camera roll and guess what? One year ago to this very day, John and I were hurtling over the lagoon in a water taxi, destination ‘The Hotel Danieli’ in Venice. The above Canaletto image sits on the wall in our living room. Well, at least a Fake, hand painted copy of the old master does. This image of the Doges Palace and St Marks Square, as seen from the lagoon, actually pre dates the building of the Danieli! The world famous hotel was built on the far right hand side, in the space occupied by the three smaller buildings, flanked by the two slightly larger warehouses. Today the two larger buildings are also part of the hotel. We were lucky enough to have a lagoon facing room in the larger building on the right (first floor). Yes, I can actually see the double windows where we enjoyed such an amazing view. Whenever I see our copy of this famous painting, I always remember our visit, immortalised in oil paint. You kind of feel personally connected with it. Anyhow, one year ago to the day, that is where we were. The 5* restaurant is located on the roof of the other larger building on the left of the hotel. There is an amazing outside terrace, though on our visit it was wet and cold I remember. We dined there one night – bloody hell it was expensive for what you got, over €300. But that is Venice, the food was good, not great and the prices were brinking on extortion. We did read a review that mentioned that you should not look at the prices. Just eat and enjoy, just pay the bill and not to worry until you got home about how over priced even the most basic restaurant food was. Breakfast was also served in the restaurant. I nicked a really cool ashtray from the terrace on our final morning, just after breakfast. It was freezing and on the cusp of snowing (I believe there were several inches of the white stuff back at home). The ashtray is used outside on our terrace now and that also connects me to that scene in the Canaletto painting. Yes, one year ago today…
The girls and I started the conversation about their surrogate a few weeks ago when we unveiled their baby pictures that were entombed within the old hard drive from my dead Sony Vaio laptop. It wasn’t until today at the dinner table that Rehanna was mentioned again. We promised ourselves that when the children were old enough to ask questions, we would be as honest as possible. Tonight we continued the conversation about babies and the tummies that they grow within. Yes, the girls are aware that it is only women that have the ability to grow babies in their tummies and that their two dads are most certainly not women. The conversation was light and enough was included to make no secret of the special way that the girls came to us. Rehanna was our surrogate in India and is certainly part of our story. The clinic who created our embryos using our ‘Dna’ and the anonymous egg donation, paid the surrogate about 35% of the overall fees, a significant and life changing amount, equivalent to several years wages in India. Today the girls got very inquisitive about their origins and brought up the name Rehanna. I was open and used the word ‘Surrogate’ to describe her participation. The girls are very aware that Daddy and Dadda planned to have children and that babies grow inside a woman’s tummy. It takes three elements to make a baby! Even if you are a regular couple, an egg, some fertiliser and a tummy. In the case of a boy girl couple, clearly the girl adds twice, but in our case, a third party initiated the element of the tummy. To be honest, I didn’t imaging having ‘The Conversation’ quite yet, but questions need answers and today we answered just a couple of those questions. I certainly don’t want any animosity or feelings that we had held back the truth to our children in later life. Thor and the younger twins surrogates were also mentioned by name, Ausa and Susheila. I thank all three of them from the bottom of my heart. I would also like to add that all three women already had children of their own. Our full uncensored story, ‘Eighteen Moons’ is available through Amazon Kindle.
P.s. I have mentioned that I will share the story of how we came to be through this diary. So, if you did not want to purchase the book in its entirety, I will be publishing a single chapter at andiwebb.net each month on the day of the full moon here in the U.K.
Post ‘projectile vomiting’ on Sunday, the week began with calm before a realisation. Thor’s being sick was not just down to his extreme gorging, rather a stomach bug that had been introduced into the delicate eco system that is our family home. Monday passed by with no symptoms, however Tuesday morning was quite a different affair indeed! Thor woke me at 5am saying that his bed was wet. I checked and all seemed fine. But I turned to see the entrance to the girls room and noticed Tara debunked to the floor. Thor returned to his slumber and I headed in to see what was concerning Tara. ‘Kit Koala is wet’ she informed me and then she ushered my hand to feel the bedsheet. It was slightly damp, so I offed the sheet in an instant to reveal a myriad of books and nicknacks beneath her duvet. The duvet was dry as was her pillow. I set her up a bed on the fluffy carpet and inquired as to her stash of bed clutter. She had nothing to say in her defence. A few mutterings but basically all were comfortable, though I didn’t check Caleb as all was silent in the semi darkness of the boys room.
Sindy arrived in at 7am and ascended the stairs. Twenty five minutes later she returned to the kitchen clutching Tara’s bedsheet plus all of Caleb’s bedding. ‘You should have seen it’ she remarked, ‘like third world war’ she added, ‘His bed was completely pebble dashed’ she concluded.
Day one of lockdown had begun…
At the breakfast table everyone enjoyed their cornflakes though Tara and Caleb were slower eaters than normal. It was first Tara to look to the floor and empty her stomach. In very quick succession Caleb followed suit. Both Sindy and I jumped to action and calmed the two before cleaning up and disinfecting the said areas. The others looked on in astonishment. That’s a day home from school I told them ‘me too, me too Dadda’ Thor piped up! ‘I don’t think so’ I added. The healthy three all went off to school with Sindy and we at home settled in with Netflix. Within half an hour Caleb had vomited on himself twice and the large cushion they sit on besides the television, thrice. Happy Days.
Day Two. So far today, all is well with the two in quarantine, signifying a return to school tomorrow. I am at present sat on a train on my way up to London to see a dental specialist regarding my tooth ache. I am showing no signs of the contagion. All will be back to normal tomorrow I am sure. Oh I almost forgot to add that Sindy had them all declutter their beds yesterday afternoon, so all is well on that front too. Happy Days indeed.
Sooner or later there had to be an entry with the word vomit in the title. And on this occasion, I refer to Thor. At the party yesterday, he ate and ate and ate. He came home and devoured his sweeties from his party bag and then he devoured a cheese and ham roll. There were chocolate cupcakes, but as they were all full (especially Thor), they all had a taster bite of one cupcake divided into five. Post bath time, Thor, sat on the chaise and looked blankly into space, his tooth brush was in has mouth, motionless. Within the blink of an eye, it had fallen to the floor and gush after gush of sick, oozed onto the dark oak flooring , splattering as it did so…
A mammoth washing day today what with the soiled towels and masses of children’s clothing. All put out to dry now and I am sat down at the kitchen table, awaiting their homecoming from their preschool trip.
Another breakage this morning. Caleb killed the Robot, Johns vacuume cleaning birthday present. He came in from the living room, clenching the robo vacuum cleaner tightly and then he decided to throw it onto the kitchen floor. Pieces of it scattered and he just looked at me with an almighty grin on his face. ‘Why did you do that’ I inquired, ‘Sorry’ was his shamefaced reply. His two favourite words are ‘Sorry’ and ‘Okay’. Thankful the robot was pieced back together, but believe me when I say, everything gets broken, sooner or later and with the not so famous five, sooner would be a more probable outcome.
What with the three little ones at a birthday party earlier, the girls and I made chocolate cupcakes this afternoon. It has been a tentative day in the wake of yesterday’s troubles. I think we’ve moved on, though Aaliyah on the other hand, has been a bit of a madam. I think the girls realise just how much they upset me yesterday. Amritsar has been the model citizen. Now back to chocolate cake. The girls did all the mixing and in payment enjoyed all of the ‘Stick Licks’. Bowl and spoons were fully pre washed before the dish washer did it’s magic. Amritsar, Aaliyah and Caleb have just followed me upstairs and the girls are now playing ‘Let’s get Caleb’ under the duvet in our bedroom. I might have to make today’s entry a little short as the shouting is getting rather loud. They have just left, the bed is a mess, but I managed to wrestle the Bubble liquid (party bag) from Caleb’s tiny hand just before he has an accident. Phew!
At present lots of shouting and screaming with John and the children in the living room. He always seems to psych them all up around this time! And time after time he doesn’t learn that this formula does not tire them out, it merely notches them up a gear. I am hiding in the kitchen as the games next door commence. I can hear him now saying that ‘We are not going to get boisterous, just before bed’, but they are and completely ignoring him at this point.
Amritsar has just started screaming the house down regarding a broken bracelet. A very loud return to the awful behaviour of earlier today!
Some of today’s naughtiness can only be described as completely ‘loco’ (Spanish for crazy). It is now time to dress for bed so I will come back to this shortly…
The main commotion of earlier began in the garden. Daddy got them all in shoes – I think every single pair in the shoe cupboard was strewn throughout the ground floor and then some more. Look, it’s not like I’m complaining about picking up! It’s part of the job. I do it constantly and seldom complain. But I do tire of the sheer volume that seems to be normal at the weekends. Anyhow the garden got grizzly. John left them to their own devices and surprise surprise, the water they were collecting from the downstairs W.C. Was for mud pies. Not any old mud pies, rather bubble mud pies. John remarked that they said that I had said that it was all right to use the soap dispenser. And he believed them!
Tesco home deliveries arrived with a rather large order. Sixty 200g chocolate bars arrived in preparation to be rebranded for the girls birthday in a couple of weeks! More on that at a later date. Plus a shed load of other stuff, including £10 worth of ingredients for the adult catering at the party. ‘Indian Veg Cuisine’ is the theme for the grownups nosh and I am planning to cater for 40 adults for just a tenner.
By the time I had put the last thing away, I looked up and saw Tara and Thor running around half naked, covered in water and mud and soap. Amritsar had a bucket of water and was about to pour it over Tara’s head… they were corralled and went upstairs to shower. At this point, Sindy our nanny rang the doorbell. She had very kindly sewn on ‘Chicky’s’ hat (Caleb’s soft toy) and was delivering him back to us. She entered and looked on, aghast at the extent of the turmoil. She went upstairs and gave John a hand for the next fifteen minutes. At this time Remus began projectile vomiting his dinner around the living room floor. My head just sank into my lap!
I did notice a rather large apple stem in amongst the kibble and crunched up apple when I cleaned it all up, so I know the cause of the problem at least. Less can be said for the other mess. Roll on tomorrow, hopefully less ‘Loco Commotion’.
There are some good lessons to learn making paper chains! It was a promising start to the day. The girls learnt to cut with scissors in a straight line by lining up the first cut with the left side of the scissor blade and taking careful snips. They learnt that a method of ‘mass production’ made their work more bountiful and patterns are better than the random cutting of strips. By this I mean that we glued one side of a rectangle of paper so all of the strips were pre glued and we did all of the cutting before we assembled the chains rather than one strip at a time. We used two separate sizes so that the chains were small, big, small, big and so on.
Now moving on. Tara’s chain was slightly bigger than Amritsar’s and this did not bode well. Amritsar’s strop would not be quashed until Tara had her chain shortened. They then went to their bedroom to stick the chains on their beds. Five minutes later and Amritsar could be heard cursing as she descended the stairs. When she gets a strop and thankfully that is not too often, she really works herself into a frenzy. It starts with the clenching of her hands and progresses on to the stamping of her feet, then finally the screaming interspersed with her demands and or complaints. Today’s episode was her worst ever yet. I even called Mrs Snodgrass (our fictional head mistress at Naughty School). She finally piped down and came to her senses. Amritsar that is, not Mrs Snodgrass.
Some more about the day in a short while as the children’s dinner needs to be put together. Sausage, bacon, hash brown, scrambled egg, beans and toast. Yummy!