These are tough times in the Dean-Schlieffen household. August is "Ferien Zeit" in Berlin which means that even the pre-schools are closed for three weeks to a month. A lot of people go on vacation when this happens, but we aren't going to California until mid-September which means I have both girls at home with me until the first. I swear, I don't know how other moms do it. For the past week I have ended practically every evening with my nerves shot, feeling like I've been beaten with sticks by a group of bandits. My usual life is simple: I take Mia to her pre-school by around ten, then come back home with Baby Li. She is a big toy baby, so usually she lets me write or do some crafting while she plays nearby on the floor. At three we pick up Mia together, do some shopping and cleaning if need be, then go out or spend more time at home. Simple yes, but I like my life. Lots of babies but also lots of time for throwing myself into projects; for creativity.
Not so these days. These days it seems my life is about keeping the hounds at bay. Mia needs action and so action I must give her. Since I can't usually spend more than twenty minutes at a playground without feeling like I'm going to rip out all of my hair, we have been doing a lot of outings. Mia loves taking the bus (the only transportation really possible in Berlin with a double baby carriage except, of course, a car which we don't have...), so much so that it makes a good bribe: "If you don't sit down/eat your bread/stop hitting your sister RIGHT NOW we won't take the bus later!!" We even added a new verse to the song The Wheels on the Bus: "The Mia on the bus goes "Bus, Hoorah!!!"
Today we took the M19 (a great bus line if you catch it at Mehringdamm...) to Zoologischer Garten. Anyone who reads this post and is not from Berlin, be warned: The area around the old train station Zoo is a disgusting, loud tourist trap and so not worth a visit. But the zoo itself is great. Except for an unfortunate twenty minute stint at the zoo playground ("I paid 12 bucks entry for this crap??" I kept telling myself in frustration....) we had a really great time. Mia was especially impressed by a monkey baby she saw; she kept talking about it for hours afterward. Me, I was impressed at how much the Zuschauer (observers) sometimes looked like monkey themselves: all gawking and strange posture.
In the end, after the fight to leave the playground, we spent a half an hour watching the seals. Seals are really such cheerful creatures, such natural Sagittarians, that none of us could really go away in a bad mood. And, of course, we took the bus home so Mia was happy. Bus, hoorah!