Most of the vacation so far has been about finding pools and swimming in them. This is not going to be a Sagrada Familia – fancy lunch – Picasso Museum visit to Barcelona. In fact, we’re lucky, so far, if we eat three meals that don’t involve Abe running away. But why should Spain change that?
We started our tour of swimming holes by going to a public converted moderniste water tower, which is now surrounded by five-year-old-size wading pools. It is in the middle of a city block and you’d hardly know it was there, but it has sandy beaches, trees for shade, and it costs 1 Euro per person. Awesome. After that we tried to get a quick lunch, but the kids were too far gone and Max wound up throwing a lot of straws around the place and had to be removed by force. He is generally refusing to eat everything except for jamon serrano and some pizza, perhaps in a rejection of the idea of being yanked from his homeland (no pun intended). We do play baseball everyday in the courtyard (see below) outside of the apartment, which helps a lot, but the other day we had this sad little exchange.
Max: I was excited to come to Barcelona, but I think that was a mistake.
Max: (sigh) Because I can’t use my language. No one understands my words and I can’t ask kids for my ball back if I miss it.
But then, today, when he wanted Leah to watch him jump into a (different) pool, he yelled, “Mama, mira!” So that was cool.
The next day was pool-less; I honestly have no recollection of what exactly we did for the activity part of the day, but I know Max and I watched Arthur (the cartoon, not the Dudley Moore movie) in Spanish and Max yelled out words he recognized while Leah went to the grocery store and Abe took a nap. On Friday we started the day with a haircut; well, I got a haircut and Max hung out and waited to be given some candy by the barber. I got an unexpected scalp massage which spiced up an otherwise dull haircut, and Max demanded only one pastry in exchange for the errand. Fair enough. He has become addicted to the ensaimada.Plain, or filled with custard, it’s not bad at all for someone who mostly gets Trader Joe’s cheerios for breakfast. Later we took a train to Sitges, a beach town where our friend Jose’ lives. He has a 5-year old, Colby, and he and Max played in the condo pool and palled around once the initial “what the hell language do we speak together” thing got sorted out and Max got a little less shy. Abe was not at all shy and leapt at things, including the pool, which he believes he can swim in unassisted, with the sunny confidence of a happy 2-year old. Abe is Abe. We ate dinner on the balcony, walked along the beach to get ice cream cones, slept 4 to a room, and got up to get back in the pool at 10:30 am.
Upon returning to Barcelona for dinner, Max decided he wanted to watch the Spain-Paraguay match instead of bedtime stories. I know that this is “Stuff White People Like” fodder, but it’s nice to have your kid want to watch sports with you, so it was an easy trade for me to make. He had approximately 17 questions for every 5 seconds of soccer, but as long as I answered each one quickly, he was happy. Finally, at 11, he and Abe were asleep. Seriously, what the hell?
Here are some pictures of the apartment:
And here is Abe eating raspberries last week: