Tuesday, March 13, 2007

We Are Here!

It is currently around midnight here in Milan and Parker has not completely decided what sleep schedule he is on so although my wife and I have accumulated a couple hours of sleep since Monday morning the three of us are up, writing the blog, cleaning the apartment and playing with our toys.

With everything that has happened the past 36 hours I am sure that there is going to be quite a bit to write in this article. I am hoping to get through it all, but to be honest, it depends on how happy Parker is.

When we woke up on Monday morning we were very happy to see that the monkey not only made the front page of the Toronto Star but his smiling face blessed everyone who picked up a copy of the Metro on their way to work or school. To be honest, when my mother and I got to the hospital on Monday so that Parker could have his injection, it was from one of his nurses that I found out that Parker had made the cover of the Metro.

Once we did complete Parker's injection and pick up enough viles of ADAGEN for four weeks in Milan before the ADAGEN injections are supposed to be discontinued and his conditioning begins we left for home so that we could meet up with mom who was finishing up at home before we left for the Airport at three o'clock.

Nonno and Nonna along with Uncle Mikey accompanied the three of us and our copious amounts of luggage to the terminal 2 at Pearson where we met up with two very nice people from Air Canada.

I must say that the service we got from Air Canada was absolutely incredible. They helped us through baggage check, and security so that we could minimize Parker's contact with people. We did eventually head to the Maple Leaf Lounge (Business/Executive Lounge) where we waited for them to come back and get us when it was time to begin boarding.

We were the first to board so that we could get everything put away and buckle Parker into his car seat on the plane. We sat in bulkhead so that we did not have anyone sitting in front of us, and Parker got his own window seat.

The flight attendants for Air Canada were all very knowledgeable of Parker and accommodated us in every way possible.

Parker's first flight was not too bad. Parker was quite the happy little boy for the majority of the flight, laughing and watching the different people on the plane. There was an eleven month old little girl sitting with hew family a few seats over from Parker and he enjoyed interacting with her. Of course, she did not understand that Parker was not able to play with her so I am sure that she was a little confused when we would not let Parker take her bunny when she tried handing it to him.

Eventually, Parker did fall asleep but woke when the little girl began crying. Of course, this made Parker sad since he was quite tired I am sure. After we consoled him for another hour or so, Parker did return to sleep for another hour until the lights in the cabin came on, this again made Parker sad. As a result, we held the little monkey for the duration of the flight.

When we did arrive in Frankfurt, there were two more representatives from Air Canada that helped us get through security and boarding quick quickly. Once we finally arrived at the Executive Lounge for Luftansa, we had about 20 minutes to change Parker, go to the washroom and grab a drink before they returned to take us to gate so that we could begin boarding. To board the plane, the three of us had to get on a bus that would take us to where the plane was on the runway. It was a little crazy since we are not used to bringing Parker on a packed bus with us but we did it.

When we arrived at the plane, we were the last to board and within minutes of boarding we were in the air on our way to Milan. Now, Parker fell asleep on the bus and remained that way until we arrived in Milan. To be honest, the Airport in Milan was quite different. There was no real Customs that we had to walk through. Once we pulled our bags off the baggage belt a dog came over and sniffed our bags, but other than that we were free to leave. Through this, Parker remained asleep in his stroller. There was a representative from the hotel waiting for us to help us with our bags and take us to our residence once we left the airport. Parker did wake for a few minutes while we placed him in his car seat in the van but fell back asleep once we began driving.

When we did arrive at the residence we were pleasantly surprised with our room. It is a one bedroom with a kitchen but it is more spacious than we were anticipating. Now, it will take some adjusting to, but I know that we will make out just fine. In the our bedroom, there is a playpen in which Parker is able to sleep. Looking back, we wish we had packed ours as this one is not in the greatest of shape, but it will do its job.

By this time, Parker had had quite a bit more sleep than his mommy and daddy. I was absolutely comatosed. Mommy seemed to be running on adrenaline. Parker occupied himself in his playpen by bouncing around and playing with his blanky while we tried to unpack as quickly as possible.

Eventually, we decided to give Parker a bath and although he did not have his bath toys to play with he did just fine. Me, on the other hand was absolutely useless. It was so tired that I need Tracy to help me put on his sleeper after she had already cleaned him and put cream on his body.

After that, I went downstairs to the bar (espresso) to see if I could get some milk for Parker. Now, my Italian is currently atrocious and no one at the bar really spoke English. So, when I first asked for some milk for my baby I got a glass of milk. My second attempt at getting a large bottle of cold milk, go me a large bottle of steamed milk that the woman at the espresso machine took some time to make for me. By my third attempt, a woman behind me said in Italian that I wanted a new bottle of cold mild. Of course, they laughed when they realised how simple my request was and how badly I had requested it. Regardless, 1.50 euros later I had a litre of cold whole milk for Parker.

While Parker drank his bottle, I had a shower that made me feel much more refreshed. After I finished mine, my wife had one while Parker watched Backyardigans on my notebook. Once we finished getting cleaned up, we put Parker back into his stroller and went for a walk to the supermarket. I have to say the Milan is absolutely beautiful. It was 19 degrees Celsius here today so it was the perfect weather to go for a stroll. The landscaping is wonderful here with the trees and walkways.

Parker finally did go to sleep around 12:45 on Tuesday so I took advantage and went to bed then to. For that reason, everything I write now was written at 9am, Milan time.

At the supermarket, I was astonished at all of the wonderful things there were to buy. I love food. Absolutely love it. So, when I saw all the different things that I am not used to seeing I was so excited. It was a small supermarket, much like the one I worked at when I was in high school. But it had cheaply priced wines, excellent olive oils, balsamic vinegars, a wonderful cheese counter, meat that I would normally have to go to the St. Lawrence market (in Toronto) for, and 14 different kinds of honey. A little more than the usually small or large jar of Billy Bee.

We ended up picking purchasing some Gnocci for tomorrow, but decided to have a real Italian dinner tonight so we bought some nice goats milk cheese, salami, mustard (not Frenches), two baguettes and some red wine. Not to get a head of myself, but dinner was absolutely wonderful. While we were still at the supermarket, my wife met a woman who was very helpful. She pretty much walked around with her asking her questions that she was more than happy to answer. She even gave her a phone number that she can be reached at if we had any questions while we were here. I must say that the people here are very friendly.

When we got home from the market is when things started to get a little more overwhelming. Remember, we have not really eaten or slept in a while. By the time we got home, Parker had awoken from his sleep (lucky guy) and began crying. We think he must have been hungry because we had not really given him anything to eat except milk. We do not have a highchair or booster seat in our apartment so it makes feeding a little more difficult. Although he did have some apples and cereal (junior baby food) since it was easy when we arrived earlier, we figured he must be hungry. We tried feeding him but for the most part he kept swatting the food away from us and crying off and on. By this time, my wife is starting to get quite edgy as she gets anxious when things are not neat (the apartment) and Parker does not eat.

It did not take long to give up with the eating idea before we thought of just giving him a bottle and putting him to bed. We did that around 6pm (all times will be Milan times - 1pm Toronto time) and for three hours he did sleep. During that time we ate and quickly went to bed to be woken at 9:30p when Parker began to cry.

One of the difficulties we are having is that Parker is sleeping in the same room as us. I know that many people do that but we have always had Parker in his own room whenever he was at home. Ever since he was born he slept in the room next to us. However, the layout of the residence does not lend itself to that. So, when he wakes up in the night and begins to cry it is difficult because he can see us in the bed. Regardless, we did get him to sleep a few hours later at midnight and he slept eight hours to this morning. I am hoping that he only needs a single day to get adjusted to the time change.

I am going to go and make the little monkey some cream of wheat. We brought some from home and we have some raspberry jam we bought from the market yesterday. We have to give him Septra this morning as we did not give him any yesterday. He normally gets his Septra on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but decided to push it one day so that he starts it on Wednesday instead.

Today, we will meet Dr. Aiuti and find out more about when the testing will begin. Hopefully we can go purchase a booster seat today too.


Auntie Christini said...

Dear Parky,
WOW! So many things have happened in the past day! We're so thankful you made it there ok and will hopefully adjust quickly to the time change. We miss you so much already!
The article in the Toronto Star was awesome. I've had all my friends call me and tell me how adorable you are.

The next few days will be quite the adjustment, but if anyone can do it, it is you and your mommy and daddy. Your strength is truly admirable.

We can't wait to hear more about your journey in Milan. I'm sure you will all be fluent in Italian when you return! We will be thinking about you daily.

Love you HEAPS!
Auntie Christini, Uncle Mikey and Cousin Jacob xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Nana said...

Hello our Angel:

What an experience you are all having. You will be back into a regular routine in a couple of days and you will eat, play and sleep as before. All will be good.

We miss you all terribly but we are so happy for this opportunity to make you whole and know when this is all said and done you will return to us in perfect health.

We love you loads and loads.

Nana and Gaga (those other people)

Stacia said...

Tracy & Kevin - WOW what an amazing journey you are having already!!! I'm sure as the days go by, things will very quickly become more familiar!!! Parker I'm sure will adapt very quickly to his new surroundings as well!!!
Thinking of you all EVERY DAY!!!
BIG HUGS Parker!!!
Love Stacy xoxoxoxo

Elizabeth said...

Yay! I am so glad you are all there, safe and sound and finally able to start this next leg of your journey. I can't wait to be kept up to date on the goings-on of Parker in Milan - and of course, it goes without saying, I look forward to your return.

Love Elizabeth, Gary and Calder

Kari said...

Congratulations on your safe arrival in Italy Trace, Kevin & Parker!!!!

Although everything seems overwhelming right now, the three of you will no doubt settle into a routine soon.

Parker - be sure to eat lots of the yummy food that Daddy makes for you - it sounds like he definitely has a culinary calling!!

We can't wait to hear more about the start of this adventure! (Suddenly I had images of Curious George in a stroller out on the streets of Milan, Parker!!!)

Lots of love from Auntie Kari, Uncle Ryan, Sarah & Mackenzie