summer of love. posted at 9:29 AM
The girls are back from vacation, which means I'm back to nannying full-time, until the end of the summer. We spent this past week making loads of water balloons. After some English exercises, we would all happily file into the kitchen for what became our water balloon-making ritual.
The ritual goes like this: The sisters, 5 and 6, pull chairs up next to the sink, and sit with large ceramic bowls in their laps waiting for the assembly line of balloons to start. I start stretching the balloons over the end of the faucet and we discuss the size of each balloon. I ask, "Do you want a Daddy, a Mommy, a brother...?"
"A baby," Marina requests.
"Okay, a baby."
I fill up the water balloon and am about to tie it off when she pips up... "Take out water, take out a little water."
I spray out some water and make to tie it. "Like this?"
While they peek their little heads over, I pour out more water making the balloon smaller and smaller until Marina yells, "Like this!, Like this!" Then Daniela inspects the balloon, carefully considering, "Okay, yes, yes, like this." (They got along so wonderfully this week, I was so happy. They were sharing everything. It is so sweet, they are so lucky to have each other, and it makes life better for all of us).
It's Daniela's turn to make a request, "Now a Daddy."
"Okay now a Daddy. What color?"
"No green!," her sister counters.
"Okay, first an orange, then a green..."
After I tie off every balloon, our system is the same. I hand Daniela the balloon first. She hands it off to her sister annoucing, "Here is the balloon. Do you need a plate?"
"No plate." Marina professionally replies.
"Okay, no plate."
Four balloons later Marina's bowls will be full and she will accept the plate offer. In this way we slowly cover the corner of the kitchen with plates and bowls holding a rainbow of water balloons. They both sit with their feet swinging in the chairs, their legs too short to reach the ground. We keep making balloons until just looking at them is way too tempting and we have to get down to the swimming pool straight away.
After we are all bikini clad and smelling of sun-screen, the girls, in a very organized manner, transfer the balloons from their mother's matching dish sets into plastic bags. Together we shuffle the balloons, huge blow-up raft, goggles, towels, sunscreen, and water bottles into the elevator (which is a down-right hilarious five minutes). Then we go down five flights to the swimming pool!!!
The neighborhood kids are always happy to see us coming down with all of those water balloons. Both the girls make a circle around the pool and formally greet their short peers.
I remember the first day, Marina gave a yellow brother-size balloon to 2-year old Dani as a present before the games with the older kids began. (She's always giving presents. She also offered a balloon to the realtor selling the apartment next door. The realtor politely declined, despite Marina's repeated reassurances that it was really no problem).
We line the plastic bags up at the edge of the deep-end. "Okay, Lindsay, now we do like this (they make a throwing motion)." "Throw," I say.
"Throw," they repeat anxiously as they are trying to quickly adjust their goggles. They don't want to get a late start, and all the older boys are now paddling towards them for the water-balloon game.
"Yes!" (The other kids look around at each other, some of them understand English, but not all of them)
I tell Marina her goggles are on upside down but she can't be bothered to change them. "Throw them in!" she yells, "Lindsay!" Just looking at her cute little face bobbing up and down in the water with those upside down goggles makes me giggle. I start chucking in the balloons and the kids scatter to collect them. They grab the ballons by their tied ends and lob them around in their hands under water while gasping for air, (trying to swim with full hands is very difficult). The game is, they bring all the balloons back to the edge of the pool - then we throw them in and do it again! After a few rounds I want to play too. You don't have to be a kid to find the underwater view magical. With goggles on (even upside down) - against the backdrop of the blue tiled pool you can see 20 or more balloons floating around you, and more balloon bombs plunging beneath the surface as the kids throw them in from above. Marina, Daniela and I wave to each other underneath the crystal clear water. Balloons float around us - blue, green, yellow, purple, pink, white, daddies, mommies and babies. We notice the other kids are collecting all of the balloons - and we kick into action to grab as many balloons as we can. (I had to write this one down, I wanted to remember our summer in Barcelona, swimming in the cool pool collecting water balloons).
at the official website.
MACBA @ night. posted at 7:51 AM