Thursday, March 28, 2013

Electronic Meltdown

This post has been updated: see postscript.

Despite my sensible decision a year or two ago to stop buying electronics "back home" -- the money saved was not worth the hassle of getting things repaired or replaced under warranty from here in Turkey -- I admit I've bought a couple of items in Canada since then, and have regretted it each time. 

Today my latest mistake arrived.  In what I can only explain as a sleep-deprived under-unusual-stress-induced impatient decision, I bought it online and found a way to get it here mid-year.  I'm embarrassed to say (but will do so in a minute anyway) how many people were roped into my obsessive plan and ended up contributing to this scheme in some way.

And then what did I do?  I plugged it and its 110V insides into my 220V sockets with a plug adapter forgetting that I also should have used a voltage adapter!!!  

What makes this really sting, though, is that the appliance was the "Tot Clock" I'd been looking forward to for months and that I'd gotten my 3-year-old all excited about.  I'd ordered it on Amazon because only they would take a non-American credit card, and therefore paid way too much for it, had it sent to a friend's house in Ohio, who had her husband bring it back to Istanbul, who in turn  had his assistant drop it off this afternoon.  I'd spent way too much time and energy on this silly thing, but so convinced was I that this would be the perfect solution for my son's too-early wake-up time, that I was blinded.    

There we were this evening -- my kids and I are on the floor, opening the box.  Everyone's grabbing at it, pushing the buttons, dropping it ... It's madness, and I'm acting just as crazy as the kids are.  B's grabbing the manual out of my hand and insisting on "reading" it, because that's just the 20-month-old phase he's in; K's pushing all the coloured buttons, trying to change the colour of the clock face, since he's colour-obsessed (always has been); and I'm trying to set the damn clocks while reading the instructions in the manual that keeps being moved, page-turned, flipped upside down.

And then the clock face goes dark and the digital clock on the back goes blank and it's game over.  I thought I'd smelled something funny a minute ago ... Turns out it was the insides frying.

And so once again, tomorrow morning at about 5:45, I'll be woken to the sweet lilting voice of my 3-year-old, calling from his bedroom across the hall: "Mommy?  Is it wake up time?"

"No, not yet," I'll softly call back.  But it'll be too late.  The baby will be standing at the crib railings and the dog will be stirring in her crate, and I'll have about two minutes until they start to noisily insist on being set free to start the day.

12 hours later: my older son did indeed wake up at 5:30am, and in his whole-house search for the clock, woke us all up.  But on the bright side, with the extra hour this morning, I decided to give the clock another try.  I dug up a screwdriver and popped four AA batteries into the battery compartment and ... it worked!  So as long as I keep those batteries charged, I should be able to forget this ugly incident ever happened.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Life Lessons (A Review)

This post has been updated.

Sometimes I can be a slow learner; I would have hoped that one aha! moment were enough, but today I clearly needed reminding that I can't control everything and everyone around me.

In my mind, it was the perfect plan: I would walk the dog for half an hour, and then take a shower.  If my husband could just get the kids dressed at some point during that hour, we'd all be ready to leave for the Şişli organic farmer's market at 9:30.  We'd all eaten breakfast and I'd even laid out the kids' clothes (--though, mind you, not for the sake of fashion, but rather because it was darn cold today and I wanted to make sure they were dressed warmly enough).

Traffic in Şişli can be a nightmare, and if one doesn't leave the market by noon, one will spend twice as long in traffic as one otherwise would.  Another incentive to leave the house early, get there, do our shopping, and head home is that it would decrease the likelihood of the kids falling asleep in the car on the way back, thereby increasing the likelihood that they'd have good long naps in their own beds.  (And perhaps I would too!)

Do I sound controlling yet?

As I should have/could have/probably subconsciously did predict, when I got home from my walk my husband and two kids were all in the exact same place I'd left them.  When I got out of the shower, they were still "playing."

But how can I possibly insist on schedules when it would mean putting an end to the beautiful moments of "flow" my three men seem to be very good at creating for themselves?  I reluctantly shape airplanes and butterflies out of play dough because the dirty dishes and the unrefrigerated leftovers and the laundry nag at me.  But today my husband took parenting to new heights, painstakingly making a two-dimensional tree and a rabbit for our son, and showing him (and me!) a whole new world of play dough possibilities.  No toddler art class could have done that!

Not an hour after posting this, I read a New York Times "Motherlode" review of a book on minimalist parenting, whose (male) author felt the book described his parenting style exactly!