Return the baby UV protection clothes we borrowed for Adrian. Return books to the library. Go to pharmacy to buy toothbrush for Adrian. Eat lunch at a restaurant. Try to buy a replacement for a glass we broke. Go to the supermarket.

Take Ingrid to the loo 3 times within 30 minutes, after all the water she drank at lunch, because the food was so salty.

The first spring flowers have shot up through the dead grass and old leaves in our garden.

Adrian unhappy and crying a lot. I spent much of the afternoon carrying him around, and ploughing through my backlog of minor newspapers (local papers, Vi i villa, Eesti päevaleht etc). He is sleeping badly again and woke, I think, about once an hour during the night. Already he’s woken three times since he went to bed tonight, about 3 hours ago.

In the afternoon I looked for information about wardrobes, the kind that can be built into a wall. Sliding doors seem to be all the rage but we actually want the old-fashioned sort. The “bodies” will likely come from IKEA but it turns out you can buy doors that fit IKEA wardrobes from other, independent manufacturers.

Unravelling the mess that is our home. The living room and kitchen have been mostly restored to normal order; the fridge has been restocked.

Much of the snow appears to have melted while we were away, and there are snowdrops and eranthis flowering in the neighbours’ yards. Still the temperature today was near the freezing point.

The mess in the hallway: for real, not staged

We’re back. In fact we got back yesterday shortly before midnight, but I was too tired to do any blogging.

I haven’t been able to post anything during the vacation because the hotel had – shockingly – no Wifi available in the rooms. I will be posting some already-written posts in the next few days, as soon as I clean them up. Keep an eye out for backdated posts just below this one.

Just before leaving we emptied the living room and the kitchen of all loose items so the builders could move out all the furniture and then go to work on the wiring in those rooms, and also put drywall in place on the walls and ceilings. Then unexpectedly on Wednesday the new windows for those rooms arrived, so we agreed that they’d install those as well. Might as well get it done while the rooms are empty. This of course made the work take longer, and even though they had worked late on Thursday, they were nowhere near done, and had to continue work there today.

So today the house was almost uninhabitable. The only almost-usable rooms were the bathrooms and the two upstairs bedrooms. Even those were very cramped due to the extra stuff we’d had to put there temporarily while emptying the bottom floor. We had a picnic breakfast on the floor of Ingrid’s bedroom, since that’s where we found the largest free floor area: just large enough for Ingrid and me to both sit (Adrian was on Ingrid’s bed), with a tray perched on an archive box acting as a table between us. Cereal, milk and juice was the only thing I could access, so breakfast for me consisted of dry cereal.

My plan was to spend much of the day outside, but when the freezing winds were complemented by snowfall in the middle of the day, I gave up, and asked friend/neighbour P to shelter me and Adrian for a few hours. We took a walk together in the afternoon, I picked up Ingrid slightly too late from preschool, and by the time we got home the builders were almost done cleaning up after themselves. Now we just need to move everything back, and vacuum up the gypsum dust that’s gotten between and under everything. No shortage of work for the weekend.

The living room this afternoon

Gran Canaria was not the vacation I’d choose for myself, but the best we could do right now. It was nice to have sun and warmth, to do no cleaning or cooking.

I’m happy with our choice of both vacation destination and hotel. Maspalomas this time of the year was quiet and low-key, and convenient in many ways. The hotel, Tabaiba Princess, left nothing to be desired, and turned out to match our needs well. We weren’t the only family with kids (quite): I’d say the guests were 80% retired couples, 10% families with young children, and the rest was a mixed crowd. Not a single teenager in sight.

Having my mum with us made all the difference. Now the adults outnumbered the kids, which meant that each of us got some calm moments. And I could let Ingrid sleep in my mum’s room rather than ours, which led to much better sleep for me.

Ingrid also enjoyed the trip. As soon as we started talking about going home, she asked if we could go back to “Gran Kanaari” another time. I said yes of course, even though we will probably find something similar but new for next year.

Ingrid has been complaining so much and so loudly about having to walk, especially the last day or two, that we changed our plans for today. No visit to the beach, no Palmitos Park, we’ll just hang at the hotel again. Eric took a walk with Adrian to see the dunes, though.

Another dinner at the Restaurant Rustico: grilled bacalao. I’m a bit sad that I never got to try their desserts – just like the past two dinners, we’ve taken turns walking around with Adrian, and I’ve hurried back to the hotel to put him to bed as soon as I’ve finished the main course. Even so he’s been crying because it’s past bedtime, and at night he wants to sleep lying in a bed, in the dark, not in the sling.

We thought we’d take a quiet day after yesterday’s activities, so we mainly stayed at the hotel. Adrian and I took a long nap; in the afternoon Eric and I took a walk (leaving Ingrid and my mum at the hotel pool) and had ice cream.

We had a really nice dinner at Restaurant Rustico, the first meal here that I really enjoyed. This was clearly a restaurant aimed at people who want to enjoy fine dining: they had no children’s menu, nor highchairs. We didn’t let that hinder us, because the place looked so nice and the menu options sounded delicious. They were as delicious as they sounded. (John Dory baked in a sheet of parchment, with fennel, orange peel, and herbs – juicy, flavourful, beautifully presented.) The atmosphere was quiet and the service attentive and personal. I wish we had tried this place earlier.

Adrian learned to roll over from his back to his front and can reproduce this trick at will. He has also started pushing strongly enough with his arms to move backward. I guess we can no longer just leave him on a bed unguarded. He also managed to back himself into a corner where he got stuck and very upset.

Cool dude… except for the breadcrumbs on his face

For today Eric had wished for a visit to Aqualand for his birthday. This morning it was windy and there was a haze of cloud, so we hesitated for a while. But we know that Ingrid won’t be cold almost regardless of the weather, and neither will Eric, and the rest of us can just wrap up in fleece jumpers and stay out of the water, so we went after all.

On the plus side: off season and a coolish day, meant no crowds. There were no queues and no shortage of sunbeds. On the minus side: it was a bit chilly when a cloud passed in front of the sun, and the water wasn’t very warm either.

Ingrid stayed in the children’s area all day. Running up the stairs and down the slides she had no time to feel cold; me and my mum standing in the pool spotting Ingrid were shivering at times. Ingrid was cautious and didn’t want to go on any slides at all at first. Then she tried one and found it OK. Then she tried another one that she loved and stayed there for a long time. Finally in the afternoon she tried a third one that was even better. She kept going down the slides until closing time, pausing only for lunch and toilet breaks.

I got three rides, and Eric also got a handful. The swimming pool we usually visit at home has some slides as well, but nothing this large, and they have none with floaters. Slides with floaters are a bit odd: there is water in the slides to make the floaters slide, and a bit of splashing when you land, but really you don’t come into contact with much water at all. So they’re more like a special kind of amusement park rides. Fun, though.

Adrian was unhappy most of the time, like much of the time here. We’ve tried sling and pushchair, lying down and sitting up, less clothes, more clothes, other clothes, cooler days and warmer days, quiet places and places with people to look at – and none of it has made any real difference. Today my mum suggested that we try Ingrid’s sunglasses on him – perhaps the bright light was bothering him. And indeed he seemed much happier afterwards. It may have been a coincidence but maybe not.

Today we all managed to eat dinner together, almost – we sat outside, and as soon as we’d ordered I went for a walk with Adrian. I came back in when the food arrived, gave him a few pieces of bread to munch on, and managed to eat most of my food before he tired. I went back to the hotel to put him to bed while the others continued.

Adrian’s second tooth appeared. Already he has figured out what to do with them and is using them to gnaw on breadsticks; when he lets go of one you can clearly see which side has been down towards the teeth.

Seen outside a restaurant in Maspalomas

For the non-Estonian-speakers among you, “lihavarras” means “meat skewer” in Estonian, and Estonian is just about the last (European) language I would expect to meet in Gran Canaria.

The lighthouse

We headed to the Maspalomas beach again this morning: yesterday’s visit was pretty brief, and I myself never got to even go in the water. While Ingrid and Reet were playing in the sand, splashing and what not, I tried the waves and the sea.

The waves were surprisingly strong, enough to push me over in just knee-deep water. The loose stones on the bottom didn’t make it any easier. I kept losing my footing and once took a real tumble: I went head over heels under water, rolled with the wave, with stones bruising not just my feet by also my shoulder and arm. Later, throughout the afternoon I kept finding sand in my ears and in my hair – I’d scratch my scalp and find sand behind my ears.

But once past the surf, when I could just float, the waves were very pleasant. It was nice to float in salt water – I normally don’t float very well.

For lunch, pizza without cheese. Sigh.

In the afternoon we stayed in the hotel pools again, and then had dinner at the Italian place (Il Canale Grande) again, while Eric stayed at the hotel with Adrian. Better service today; average food.

Ingrid wrote postcards for her friends: “I got to ride on a camel, I will be back soon”.