Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Mating Rituals at the Local Watering Hole

I spent my afternoon down at the local watering hole, which is also known as the badi or outdoor pool. I leisurely breast-stroked my way up and down the lap lanes then retired to my lounge chair that I had ideally situated half in the sun and half in the shade, slathered myself in SPF Skin-Cancer-Can -Eff-Off, grabbed my water and my book and enjoyed a gorgeous afternoon.

As I was reading a gaggle of girls laid their towels out beside me and giggled away as they whispered highschool secrets to one another and sunned their bikini-clad adolescent figures. Of course where bikini-clad girls gather, scrawny highschool boys will follow.

Just down-wind the boys set up their towels, and one lad named Massimo assumed the leadership role that carries the official title of "Get Girls To Notice Us." Oh Massimo, you were trying too hard: they noticed you as soon as you and your pack of devilsh friends started tackling each other as you laid your towels out. The fact the young ladies--all stretched out on their stomachs with their towels in a circle--huddled their heads together squeal-laughed was the only clue you needed.

I watched all this in fond amusement.

Until the food fight.

It seems that the new way to attract a mate at the watering hole is to throw your snacks at them. Massimo started the mating dance by flinging his gummibears into the circle of girls, and his friends followed suit: all of them throwing some sort of gummi snack at these girls. The girls giggled of course (who doesn't want to be pelted with food in the name of teenie love?), then opened their bags of snacks and fired back at the boys.

Did these kids buy this food themselves, I ask you? Did they?! Perfectly good pool snacks being flung back and forth: it was like watching monkeys fling their feces at each other except this was worse because those were some delicious snacks going to waste!

I was especially saddened to see the can of Pringles get sacrificed to this ritual.

The girls put their heads together and came up with a plan: slowly all of them grabbed their plastic water bottles, stood up, then charged the boys at full speed while dumping their water all over the boys and then shrieking with laughter as they got chased. As if they didn't know they'd get chased. It was the entire point.

Massimo soon tackled his girl.

She shrieked and her friends rescued her. He awkwardly tried to be chivalrous by yanking a gummibear out of her hair, then both sexes retreated to their towels to stare at each other but never actually have a conversation.

I stared down at my belly where Little Baby was kicking away and laughed to think that one day LB will also be one of these strange species at the watering hole. Then I stared at my mournfully boring bag of dried apricots and wondered if I could convince one of the teens that apricots make a far better pelting tool of choice, and I'd trade them for a can of Pringles.

Because LB one day when you're at the local watering hole and you look into your bag of snacks to figure out what you can fling at your teenie crush, just remember your mother will be extremely disappointed in you if you waste the Pringles.

Extremely disappointed.

Monday, 25 June 2012

This Post Contains Pictures!

So there are a few restrictions that get placed on your lifestyle when you start growing a baby. For example, I was extremely disappointed to learn that pregnant women are not allowed to eat shark. Man! That totally sucks! Now what am I supposed to snack on while Dan and I watch movies? I loved gnawing on a good shark fin while watching Love Actually.

But seriously, what I miss most about not being pregnant (apart from wine, champagne, salami, and obviously shark fins), is the Alpine hiking. I didn't realize how much Dan and I hiked until this hiking season opened up and I have had to face the fact that I do not have the cardio endurance to be up traversing those trails; normally, we probably averaged a good hike every other weekend but this year it is exhausting for me to even climb stairs--probably because I haven't been eating shark fins, which give you zoomy energy and you can't stop moving, or else--so we've been chill and have instead been using our weekends to get ready for Little Baby.

However, last month on our long-weekend Monday I needed to go into the mountains. It was a craving as desperate as chocolate. What we ended up doing was taking a mountain train up to Rigi and riding that train all the way to the very top of the mountain, then following the flat trails around the mountain until we reached the second mountain train that takes you down the mountain to the lake of Lucerne. Normally what most people do when they hike Rigi is take the mountain train to a mid-point station and hike up and onwards from there, but if you take the train all the way up you are basically left with glorified walking trails to traverse, which is just my style at the moment.







It was a totally rejuvenating day, and here's my poll: assuming Little Baby comes early/right on time (September 10th due date) is a baby that's only three weeks old too little to go on Alpine adventures? Because it would be awesome to take LB into the mountains before the trails close up for the season.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Week 28

Well it's getting to be that time of the year again when I wonder what Switzerland has against air conditioning. Seriously, I need to know. Bern is so freaking humid that being in these buildings that are not cooled down is excruciatingly uncomfortable. I was in the Loeb on Saturday and it was so hot in that store I had to leave because I was seriously going to be sick and/or pass out.

The humidity around here is definitely not something I'm used to. I spent my entire childhood and early adolescence living in northern British Columbia, where the definition of summer was: "Oh look, the ice is off the lake. Time to go swimming." 

(Slight exaggeration.)

Then I moved to Kamloops--a desert--where the dry heat is uncomfortable, until you sit your ass down in an air conditioned building and suck back a Booster Juice (Oh Booster Juice! Booster Juice! How I miss thee!). Then I moved here where for the first time in my life I experienced humidity (which is gross and sweaty and my hands feel weird all summer long) but there's no reprieve in that I can't escape into an air conditioned environment. It's madness! MADNESS.


Earlier this week I was at the doctor's getting some sort of shot that is going to keep my body from developing antibodies against future pregnancies. Does anyone else remember learning about this in biology? Oddly, I totally remembered it when my doctor started explaining why she had to give me this injection. The gist of it is I have an Rh negative blood type, but 85% of the population have an Rh positive blood-type. If Little Baby is an Rh positive blood type (which is quite likely, especially if Dan is) then my body will start producing antibodies against Little Baby's blood, and this leads to big problems should we want more children: my body will think future fetuses are bad for it and will attack the fetus and this causes miscarriages. So, I get this shot now and I get another one after giving birth and then everything is hunky-dory for the future.

That is your biology lesson for the day.

So I'm sitting in the chair waiting for the injection, and the nurse is trying to find one of my veins to take blood from. She looks really disconcerted, like maybe not being able to locate my vein is her fault. I reassure her that no one can ever find my veins, it's always a huge problem, and then I point her to the area on my right arm that seems to be the only good place to get blood from.

She looks slightly relieved that this failing to locate a vessel isn't her fault.

"It is always so difficult?"

"Oh yes, back in Canada I had one nurse snap at me and tell me not to bother coming in to get my blood drawn again until I drank lots and lots of water because she was sick of dealing with my puny little veins."

[Swiss nurse smiled, but clearly didn't understand most of what I'd said.]

"It is hard when you have such delicate veins."

Internet, I have no idea why but I really liked my veins being described as 'delicate'. For a minute I felt so Victorian: "Oh do be gentle with her, her veins are delicate."

"She's prone to exhaustion because her veins are delicate."

"The poor dear has delicate veins, she mustn't be out in the sun."

I think the reason I quite liked the word 'delicate' is because at the moment I absolutely DO NOT feel delicate. No way, no how.

Nothing fragile about me.

It was also a particularly ironic word choice because at that moment I was a sweaty ball of gross as the office was unbelievably stuffy and humid (no A/C!), I was perspiring as only the non-Victorian know how to do, and the huge elastic band on my maternity skirt--that wraps up and over my stomach--was saturated in sweat.


But I'm a lady with delicate veins.

Eh, I'll take it.


In terms of how I'm feeling this week it can be summed up in one word: hungry.

I wake up with same gnawing hunger that I used to wake-up with way back in months two and three. Those were the months that caused Dan to speculate that if I was really hungry and a bear tried to eat my food, I could probably kill it with my bare hands. I don't think he was wrong. Now I seem to be experiencing the same thing again.

Now comes the obligatory disclaimer for the people who don't have common sense: Obviously I eat enough food; I'm not starving my body or eating less than I'm supposed to.

So my question is, is this a thing? Getting really hungry again in the last trimester? Because that's right peeps: I am rolling into third trimester territory. Time is going fast, but it will soon slow down at the end of this month when you will find me--for July and August--kicking back and sipping homemade iced tea while cooling my delicate veins in the chill waters of our local outdoor pool.

I can hardly wait! 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Week 27

First of all, I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who leaves me sweet, helpful, comments. I've been majorly bad at responding to comments lately, but I do read them and I really appreciate the kind words.

It's uplifting when someone pays you a compliment because you know they don't have to. It's especially uplifting when you feel like you are a gigantic dinosaur of pregnancy, and people still say you like nice. I do try, most days, to make an effort with my appearance because there's a lot that feels outside of my control right now but I can make sure I slash on some lipstick and brush my (ratty, hobo, dirt-bag) hair for that little extra somethin', somethin'.

I look tired, because I am.

This week my body definitely feels 'pregnant'. For awhile now I have been grunting and groaning everytime I try and lift my caboose off the couch, but until this week that's really been the only real physical discomfort I've experienced.  But as of this week my hips and lower back hurt. I've already been waking up a lot during the night because rolling over is now a three part process, but it's now a three part process that is physically uncomfortable, and when I wake up in the morning my hips are so sore.

I have been doing pre-natal yoga religiously since finding out I'm pregnant, as well as a pre-natal workout DVD, so whatever is going on with me is just a result of everything stretching out to make room for Little Baby and not because I am some sloth whose body is seizing from lack of motion.

I am also really, really tired.

So one of the things that seems to be different about pregnancy in Switzerland vs. Canada is that here, midwives are just part of the process. I have my regular doctor and within her practice is a midwife who I also see. My experience so far is that the midwife feels like she's there to support me, and the doctor is there to support the baby. When I do deliver, midwives are the delivery staff at the hospital and will be the ones present for the birth, with the doctor checking in (unless there's complications). After I go home from the hospital, the midwives will continue to visit me for a selected period to make sure I'm doing okay.

In Canada, the only thing that registered on my peripheral is that midwives are seen as an 'alternative' solution for your birth experience and you go to a midwife centre to deliver; they are not in the hospital. Maybe I'm wrong about this for, as I say, I didn't give a crap about anything pregnancy related back home since I was obviously not pregnant. But you hear bits and bites, and that's what I pieced together.

Anyhow, I really like this dual support of doctor and midwife and I like talking to my midwife. One of the things she said to me last week though, surprised me as a North American.

She wanted a break-down of my day-to-day, and after I gave it to her she stared at me blankly for a few seconds and then briskly told me it was time I started slowing down. I didn't really know how to handle that. Back home the message is that women are not supposed to let 'child-bearing' keep them from doing anything for fear of gender inferiority.

Yes we birth the babies, AND WE CAN DO EVERYTHING ELSE, TOO.

I remember a woman who returned to work after her baby was three months old because it was implied by the partners that any more time off wouldn't be acceptable. Was she forced to? No. Did she want children? Obviously. Did she also want a successful career in an area she was passionate about? Yes. Was she a walking zombie of hormones and sleep deprivation? Yes. We don't have to choose but there's a clock ticking all the time: You should be here. No here. No here. No here. Never let people know you're overwhelmed because you're supposed to be able to do it all.

But physically, is it possible?

I do not have as much energy as I normally do, nor do I think I am biologically capable of having as much energy as when I'm not pregnant. My body is growing a human being and I need to respect that, but the concept of slowing down--taking time--seems to me, the North American, like waving some ridiculous flag of defeat. Who told me that flag existed, anyhow?

Why are women expected to be able to carry on with their day-to-day with the same amount of gusto as when they aren't pregnant? Why do we feel pressure to take on everything, all at once, immediately after the baby is born?

I do not have anwers to these questions. They've just been something I've been thinking about since that midwife appointment.


In other disjointed pregnancy news, I finally had an honest-to-goodness pregnancy craving. Up until Wednesday the only thing I craved was fruit, and as far as I can tell that craving wasn't going to win me any comradery badges in any pregnant-women clubs I was looking to join.

I eat an insane amount of fruit.

Let's face it, if someone just confesses to you that the only thing they ever want to eat is an A&W Teen Burger with a rootbeer milkshake, the last thing they want to hear is some righteous asshole saying, "I only want fruit."  They are looking for a partner-in-crime; someone who doesn't judge them for wanting some greasy take-out even though they're growing a baby.

(I remember watching an interview with Jennifer Aniston, and a group of women were confessing to their favourite guilty pleasure indulgences; when it was Jenn A.'s turn her answer--for her GUILTIEST indulgence--was 'taco chips and salsa'. Boo.)

Sadly though, I had not had any cravings...UNTIL WEDNESDAY.

The only thing I wanted on Wednesday evening was a big vanilla birthday cake with white frosting, all to myself. Oh how I wanted to hop in my car and drive to a grocery store to buy said birthday cake from the bakery section, but alas this is Switzerland and everyone had closed up shop by 6.


Plus they don't even have those delicious birthday cakes here.

Double lame.

So yesterday afternoon I listened to the midwife, took the afternoon off, and then I partially fulfilled this craving by baking chocolate cupcakes and frosting them with purple icing.


Nothing, I repeat nothing, has ever tasted so good.

Little Baby liked them too because there was a lot of kicking happening yesterday. I believe I just introduced my unborn child to its first ever sugar rush.


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

I Don't Like Scary Movies

According to the rocking and rolling in my belly, the growing belly, and all of those ultrasound pictures hanging on the fridge, all signs indicate that Dan and I are having a baby in about, oh, three months. However, there's a part of me that feels like Joey from Blossom whenever I contemplate this mind-blowing idea.


Totally WHOA!


Basically, I often question if I'm mature enough to be having a baby. I suspect I'm not, but isn't there some great adage about growing up with your children? Or maybe it's watching them grow old? Yeah, based on all the Teen Mom I've been watching (for research! Just for research! What not to do, and all that...) I don't think you are supposed to 'grow-up' with your kids.

But in a lot of ways, I feel like I am going to be a major kid again when Little Baby hits the scene: Dan and I can hit the playgrounds without looking like a couple of creeps; we'll have a yard one day and get to build an awesome treehouse; when LB is old enough to help in the kitchen I will have a genuine excuse for the mess: "It's [LB's] fault."; we get to go to toy stores and buy rad stuff!

Those are all ways I'm looking forward to regressing back into childhood.

However, in some ways I am presently still a child with an overactive imagination, and it makes me nervous that soon I will be responsible for caring for one. The best example I can offer is where scary movies are concerned.

I cannot handle them.

Can. Not. Deal.


Our Saturday night was going swimmingly: I was having my usual long soak in the tub, Dan was surprised by a chat with his best bud, and we were anticipating a night cozied up on the couch watching a movie. However, a minor wrench was thrown into our plans when the Saturday night movie turned out to be one about an exorcism.

"Do you want to watch it?" Dan asked, knowingly.

"Umm....well.....I....guess....umm....sure," I answered, with a great deal of assured conviction. I am, after all, a grown-up! We can handle these things!


Couldn't handle it.

We were about an hour into the movie, and I'd spent most of that hour with my face covered asking, "Is that part over?! IS IT OVER?" 

It just kept getting worse and worse and more and more freaky, so I finally cried-out in distress, "I can't watch this anymore! I have to go to bed!"

"Okay," Dan said as he gave me a kiss, "Have a good sleep."

"You must be out of your mind if you think I'm going to bed alone after watching that. You're coming too."

"Wha..." He trailed off, but he couldn't fight it. My inability to deal with scary movies is not news around here. So he recorded the rest and off we went to bed.


Dan has this annoying ability to fall asleep within 2.3 seconds of his head hitting the pillow, and in no time he was snoring away in dream land. I however was huddled up against him, tugging on his arm and pulling it over my shoulders like a security blanket, scared out of my mind about that ridiculous movie.

The hours ticked by, and eventually I had to go to the bathroom. At the exact moment I decided to go to the bathroom Cosmo, who always sleeps next to me, started to dream and his little legs started 'dream running' as his tail twitched madly.

I was convinced he was possessed.

Then I looked at the clock and saw it was 2:53 a.m. and according to this movie, 3 a.m. is the witching hour.


So I behaved like a grown-up and woke Dan up, "I have to go to the bathroom! Wake-up! Wake-up!"

Cosmo was still dream running beside me, Dan was grunting and groaning in confusion and I...COULD HEAR SOMEONE WALKING UP THE STAIRWAY OF OUR BUILDING.

AT 3 A.M.

It was all too much!

Too much!

If I wasn't such a grown-up, I probably would have wet the bed in terror.


How am I supposed to be the adult who comforts LB from a bad dream when I clearly cannot comfort myself? I'm going to be all, "Oh kid, you don't even know! Have I ever told you about this one night after I watched a movie on exorcism and then woke your dad up and made him wait for me while I got up to go to the bathroom?"

Friday, 8 June 2012

Week 26

This post needs to start off to that music from the Twilight Zone. I just don't know how one actually puts those notes into written form, because basically you just keep writing "do do DO DO do do DO DO", and that doesn't sound mysterious, it sounds like someone obsessed with...doo-doo.

But that music is very necessary because I don't even know who I am anymore!

Sure I still look like myself in the mirror (if not a slightly worried and blurry version of myself), but that proves nothing. Nothing! I say.

The reason I don't even know who I am anymore is for the following reasons:

(a) I purchased a piece of furniture with the intent to refurbish it. I repeat: I bought something that wasn't in great shape--on purpose--knowing full well it needs some tender lovin' care. Not only that...but I'm excited about this project. Who am I? I'm excited about a project that will be tedious, will require me to care about painting with the grain, and will take away precious evening hours that I normally devote to watching Teen Mom learning German.

I checked, and I don't have yellow fever.

But I can't rule anything else out.

Maybe I have malaria.

(b) I woke up one morning and thought (in caps lock): "TODAY WILL BE THE DAY I ORGANIZE THE KITCHEN."

But then...I did it.

Also, I scrubbed out the cupboard that holds the garbage bin. I gagged. Then felt very accomplished.

Little Baby, this out-of-character behaviour is totally because of you!

(c) Another morning I woke up and thought (not in caps lock, more with little frowny emoticons): "Today will be the day I deep-clean the bathroom." Sad face.

And then...I did it.

(d) Lately I have a desire to craft stuff. What sort of stuff? I don't know. ANYTHING. I want to make Little Baby something. Dan is much more artistic than I am because he's all about the detail. Normally I am not about detail. Detail bores me and exhausts me to tears. I totally need to be on Ritalin or something...or....hey, look: a bird...

But today? Today, Internet? It's a whole new me. A me who is thinking about going to a store and buying stuff to make LB a mobile. A me who is thinking about going to a store and buying a canvas so that I can paint LB something big and fun, and likely devoted to the ABC's.

I'm scared.

The possibility for poor execution is quite high, then Dan will have to step in and finish off the job. But then I'll hang over his shoulder and boss him around and he will go scary-quiet because he is too much of a gentleman to actually curse me out and tell me to finish what I start or let him do it his way.

But I won't be able to let him do it his way because there's one reassuring thing about this week that lets me know, "Yep, the Caitie I know is still in there."

(e) I want it done my way and my way only, and everyone else better toe the effing line.

Still me!

I am going to be such a great role model!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Tied Up

I have a confession to make...

I have a very impractical, often times expensive, accessory addiction. Specifically, I have an out-of-control collection of scarves.

Don't mind the ghetto's laundry day!

The above is only a very small sampling of the scarves I own; I have over thirty and on my "purge my life of junk" nesting spree from last week, I gave away five.


Seriously, I lay those five scarves on the bed and sort of had a "it's not you, it's me" conversation with them. I was breaking up with five of my scarves! But I didn't know if this was going to be the sort of break-up that was being made only because of pre-natal 'clean all the things' hormones, or if we were actually done and over and I'd just been holding on because these scarves were with me from the beginning.

And by 'beginning' I mean back when I had no taste and bought things that had glitter threads running throughout them.

Do I hang on just to remember that more innocent, tacky, version of myself?

I'm still not sure I made the right decision.

Le sigh.

The very first scarf I ever bought was a beautiful pink number that I picked up in Venice. When I got home I wore it everywhere and received a ton of compliments on it. Unfortunately, that scarf is really falling apart now but that is one I will never break up with.


I recently realized that this addiction is major out-of-hand because there is only one store that I presently like for scarves, but they cost about 70 to 100 big ones and I have no problem justifying the occasional purchase of one.

However, there are times when even I'm on the fence, maybe needing an extra little nudge, so I simply remember this video and think, "Yes, this will be a perfect scarf for a waterfall!" Or, "'I think this will be just right to make the X knot." Then I buy it and skip home and stash it with all the rest of them so a certain husband (who just doesn't get it) can't ask me, "Did you really need another one?"

Talk about being a buzz kill.

Also, I really like her grey and white scarf.