My good friend Nota Bene asks in an email how the Littleboys are settling into their new environment - and I realise, I haven't really said much about them in the blog since our arrival here.
It's partly because it's difficult to pinpoint what impact the move has really had on them, although there is no doubt that it must have been unsettling. At first, I think they thought we were just on holiday, doing the sorts of things we do on holiday; staying with other people, going to beaches and swimming pools, nights in hotels. Perhaps their parents seemed a little stressed and preoccupied (the result of trying to co-ordinate a new life here with the remaining admin of our London house, via email), but they didn't seem to notice. In fact, they seemed completely overexcited, refusing to go to bed before about 10pm (the legacy of which still lingers now) and behaving pretty appallingly at any given opportunity.
Then we moved into our new house. A month later, Littleboy 1 still refers to 'our new house' and 'our new garden', and, when out, constantly asks whether we are coming back here, so I think he must need some reassurance that we are not moving again. Littleboy 2, meanwhile, has been heard to ask 'we going back to our room now?', meaning, I think, hotel room. And we do get the occasional question about London, and wistful mention of their nursery.
However, there is plenty for them to like about their new environment - whereas at home our regular morning outing might have been to Clapham Common or Dulwich Park with their scooters, here a morning's jaunt is usually the town beach or swimming pool. In fact most of their activities seem to involve water; any hot afternoon sees a trip to the playground around the corner, which has excellent, although shockingly un-eco friendly, water-fountains built specifically for kids to splash in (there are even buckets which fill and tip over their heads - great fun for them, not so good if you happen to be standing nearby, not in a swimsuit...). Going out for an early evening meal with Mummy and Daddy is also new for them - it seems far more common here to take kids to eat out in the evening, so we are taking advantage of this and sampling some of the local pizza parlours.
America has added a few new words to their vocabulary. "Schoolbus!" yells Littleboy 2 in delight every time a big yellow bus passes us on the street, which, during term time, was every two minutes. Littleboy 1 was very excited to hear that he, too, will be travelling on the schoolbus in a year's time. (American schoolbuses are fabulous. The design is a classic, and makes me think of Peanuts. And they are so ultra-important here that, if you overtake a stopped one in your driving test, you fail). Littleboy 1, meanwhile has discovered waves and surf, ice in drinks (a great ruse for diluting juice, I find) and hot dogs, his new favourite food.
My Little Britons have also caused quite a stir in our locale, riding their micro-scooters around the town. Micro-scooters seem to have made it to Brooklyn, but not to Long Island, so they are quite a novelty here. They attract many stares and comments - mostly of the 'Ooh, aren't they just the cutest thing?' variety, although some people have looked pretty horrified at the sight of two toddlers on wheels going full pelt down Main Street.
Since coming here, I have also been asked about five times a day whether they are twins. This is most odd, as not once was I asked this question in the UK. They are actually 19 months apart, and while both blond, one is clearly bigger than the other and they don't look particularly alike. Perhaps it's the fact that they are very much a 'double act', doing everything together - I'm sure they have grown a lot closer since the move, as they have been thrown together so much. Still, I get the impression that Littleboy 1 in particular is desperate for friends. Although we have been on a couple of 'playdates', so far, he doesn't have anyone he can call a friend. When the other night we met some neighbours who, usefully, also have a four -year-old boy, he practically threw himself on the child and demanded to play with him straight away.
To this end, and so that I can make some attempt to pretend to have a career, I have registered them both for a pre-Kindergarten, four mornings a week starting in September. When we looked around, they ran straight in and began enthusiastically joining in with the class as if they'd been there for years, so I knew it was the right move.
So it's two months of summer with me, before they get their first real taste of American children (and no doubt will begin to adopt the accent too). And, although they drive me to distraction sometimes, I'm enjoying their company - after all, I have yet to make any real friends yet here either. After all, there are worse ways to spend the summer than paddling in the sea, building sandcastles and eating ice cream by the duckpond, which is what my life pretty well consists of these days. Still, later on today we are off to a playdate with lots of other 'moms', so maybe we'll all make some friends....