The kids seem to have picked up some germs with their embassy visit earlier this week (germs? in a place crawling with little kids needing passports and visas? no way), so we’ve been dealing with whiny, stuffy kids the last couple of days. Ahh, international germs. Why do we take the kids out of the house again?
Because we want them to see their grandparents. Which they will! Sydney’s parents will be coming for a visit in just over two weeks, and we’re excited to see them. We’re planning on making a Penner family trip to the Continent during their stay, so it’s going to be a bit of a whirlwind visit, but we hope that we’ll also be able to have lots of down time in which to watch the grandparent/grandchild dynamic. Currently Nathaniel is as flirty as can be, so we are cautiously hopeful that he will improve on his sister’s first introduction to Grandma Penner, in which Katherine clung to her mother and cried every time her grandmother held her. Nathaniel, this is your place to shine.
I also just bought tickets for a visit to Iowa at the end of August. The Birdsong grandparents have offered babysitting time in exchange for a visit, so with their help I’m hoping to prepare for my dissertation defense at the end of September, attend the defense, and also introduce my son to his mother’s home territory. Sydney will, with any luck, enjoy some real work time on his own in Oxford, though I warned him not to get too used to life without kids, since that will make for a rude awakening upon our return! He, in return, is hoping that I’ll be too busy with kids, work, and the Birdsong clan to notice his absence. We’ll see.
An added note: Now that I have locked myself into a transatlantic flight with two small children I see that Malaysia Airlines has banned children under the age of two in first-class section. This news item has brought another wave of complaints about kids on planes to the fore. As Sydney can attest, such things put me in a foul frame of mind. My favorite comment: “Why don’t the kids just stay with their grandparents if their parents have to travel?” As anyone who has ever chatted up a child-bearing flyer can attest, the majority of the time the kids travel they’re on the way to see the grandparents. Come on, people!