Paul spent the past
hundred years two weeks in Rio for the big Rio +20 The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Instead of me spending two weeks at home with the tots, we decided to join him. Initially we thought we'd go for the whole time, crash in his hotel room and play at the beach all day. After a little thought and a last minute news that he'd be moved from his hotel room to corporate condo filled with a bunch of other family-less diplomats, I had him change our tickets and reduce our stay to just one week. Thankfully, friends of ours that had just moved to Rio from Brasilia happened to be out of town for the time we'd be in town and offered us their insanely well located and fabulous apartment for our stay.
Sam has wanted to go to Rio since he was born, or at least you would have thought so by his level of excitement. Really he wanted to go having seen the movie Rio, our previous photos and having heard promises of trains and blue macaws named, well, Blue. Peter wanted to go because he wanted to see a big airplane and because he thought that might get him the opportunity to use my Ipad. Turns out he was disappointed upon leaving the ground that he couldn't see anymore airplanes and even more disappointed when he realized that on the short flight not only I said he couldn't use the ipad on take-off and landing, but that the captain also agreed. This is not easy news to take when you are two. His disappointment only grew when we landed and left the airport altogether for seven days. This could have, but probably wasn't the cause of his general "twoness" on our trip.
Sam on the other hand, was overjoyed. After all, how many people dream of visiting Rio de Janeiro on a fabulous all expense paid (by your dad) beach vacation for their whole lives and get to visit there when they are four? Lifestyles of the rich and not-so famous.
Clementine slept for the entire one and a half hour flight and would like to thank the people at TAM for providing her with her very pleasant and very first flight. You know she has a choice when she flies...Right? She chose TAM.
We took the largest cab we could score at the airport and headed to my friend's home, which (she had not lied) had the worlds most amazing view of the Corcavado. We explored the neighborhood, shopped for groceries and sent Paul off to the first of his many meetings and obligations the week would hold. Sam and I, put Petey and Clemmie to bed and snuggled up on the couch overlooking Christ the Redeemer, while he overlooked us and talked about how (and why) they lit him up bright green at night.
The next morning, Wednesday, June 13th, my birthday, Paul set off to work at sunrise and we began to plan our day. How could a day spent with my three children, in Rio, at the beach, not be amazing? Wait for it...
So I packed up the tots, snacks, swimsuits, diapers, drinks, a whole freaking Phil and Teds caravan of baby accouterment for a successful birthday morning at the beach. Stopped to purchase baby powder (which dries the skin and releases all the sand from hands feet, right along side toddler and mother skin-on-sand-on-flip-flop-irritablity) and sand toys and arrived at the beach at exactly 8:30....or what felt like 4pm after all my preparations.
We had exactly five minutes of fun at the beach, most of which we spent: trying to figure out how to push a stroller 200 ft in the sand, unloading it, setting up the fun and taking this picture:
Then two years old happened:
and we went home. Two years old continued to happen for the rest of the day and by the time Paul got home I was ready to walk to the airport with my stroller and head home. Luckily I had the promise of my knight in shining motherhood/best friend and her family to join the insanity the next day and I stayed. You see visions of vacation with kids, are like mirages. You see it! "Oh! It is so fabulous," "It will be so fun," and then you arrive and poof! It's gone.
Until it comes back....for a minute and then leaves again. And so this is how my debut, single parenting vacation with two toddlers and a newborn went. A tiny roller coaster of highs and lows brought to you by the life of a mother-of-three, wife of a hard-working diplomat, daydreamer of perfection, photographer of it all.
And they're up!
and they're down.
In some of our higher highs: "Miss Mogan" arrived with Sam and Pete's best friends, Phin and Simon and we all returned happily to the beach. Clementine's first ever visit to the beach, at just three months old, was not just to ANY beach, it was to one of the nicest beaches in the world, in one of the coolest cities in the world. Where do you go from there Clem? "I don't care, I just want to eat and poop and hang at the beach in Rio like Gisele."
And she did:
and he did (minus the pooping at the beach)
and they did (also without the pooping).
but in true Hanna, post nap-style, without pants.
Miss Rio de Janeiro 2012 had the best seat in the house for sunset watching:
Friday, with backup, we were ready for adventure, and adventure we did. We boarded two taxi's (because with FIVE children in tow, you need two taxi's. FYI) and we headed for the base of the Corcovado. Where we purchased our train tickets to the top, an event (clearly) Sam and Peter had been looking forward to for months.
Clem was a little indifferent to the whole train situation.
You'd think he could have just wrapped those arms around me and covered up my fat knees, but some prayers go unanswered.
We sipped orange juice and ate crackers then reboarded the train and another cab before we tumbled into mid-morning toddler disaster...and instead right into Starbucks.
Other highlights included the track at the athletic store that we had to walk through to get there. That was likely never intended to see the use that it did that week. Thankfully, as we've mentioned many times before, the Brazilians love kids and therefore our tiny racers were cheered on as they raced throughout the store dodging shoppers. Build and track and they will run.
The boys crashed in sleeping bags on the floor for the first time in their lives, which made me think of the times that my brother's and I had campouts in the living room as kids. I don't know how we ever got to do it a second time (MOM!) because it took nearly an hour each night to get them to stop kicking each other in the heads and wrestling to go to sleep. When they finally did, though I was eager to welcome Paul home and sit back with a glass of wine and cry (kidding...but seriously).
Once we really got into the groove of things, the beach actually became quite(ish) fun we rented chairs for R$3 and umbrellas for R$4 and had our own personal beach boys to carry our strollers to and from the boardwalk and serve us agua de coco and Globo. Thanks our friends the boys were able to enjoy the waves and the beach while we alternated sitting with and feeding the babies in the shade.
We breakfasted at what has become one of my favorite spots in Rio, where we'd grab pao de queijo and acai as we walked to the beach.
On Father's day Paul worked ALL DAY LONG. One of my goals, besides to not let the children eat me alive, was to hit up the Ipanema Hippie Fair again, to make our family's "big" Brazilian art purchase, which I did and am excited to share shortly. The kids played at the park and we finished off the night, fittingly, at the restaurant named "Gringos" where we ate sliders, pancakes, BLT's and chicken wings for dinner. Sometimes the adventurer in all of us just wants a taste of home.
On our final morning we made one last trek to the beach, one which I almost opted out of given the insanity of it all, but was glad I didn't. When I arrived with the babies post morning naps, Sam came running up to me to tell me that there was a penguin on the beach. For real. A penguin. This lady stood guard while another beach vendor located who we hoped would be a vet or animal rescue of sorts. Instead, an hour later, a "lifeguard" approached with a broken styrofoam cooler and leisurely sauntered the little exhausted penguin down the beach. We later found out that it is not uncommon for tired and confused penguins to wash up on the shores of Ipanema beach. Still for me (as I'm sure the penguin would agree) it was unreal....confusing, exhausting and warmly refreshing....the whole trip and we made it, damn it, we made it all the way to the beach in Rio. Explore on explorers.