Friday, 28 September 2012


Today I was only capable of doing two things, and one of those was not write the original blog post I had intended. But I couldn't leave you hanging after promising to blog! So here's a little story to take you into the weekend.

Today I truly became a mom. Forget the whole birth and breast feeding dealio, this is what has cemented my status as mom: today, while on a walk, I picked a spider out of my baby's stroller...with my bare hands! For real! I didn't even think twice!

It's getting real, guys.

It's getting real.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

It's Fall!

First of all THANK-YOU lovely people who commented on my 'Got Milk' post. It is nice to have support when you have no clue what you're doing. I was really, really annoyed that even though my baby girl is only drinking breast milk, I was getting scrunched-nose comments that she was drinking it from a bottle. So thank-you for the support.

I'm learning that in this great big world parenting is one giant ball of different philosophies, and my philosophy (thus far) is if my baby is happy, gaining weight, alert, and sleeping well, I'm doing something right so I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing even if it doesn't jive with other people's philosophies.

And how.

In other news, I have more to talk about but I can only do two things in a day and one of those things is always 'look after baby'. This means my days break down to: grocery shop and look after baby; clean house and look after baby; go to Bern and look after baby; coffee with friends and look after baby; work and look after baby; blog and look after baby; pick nose and look after baby.

Still paying attention?

So even though I'm only capable of two things in one day, I am slightly pushing my limits here because today I will have done three! things! And if you count this trivial entry, that's four! things! And what I'm doing right now is making cinnamon-pumpkin pull apart bread. Oh yes, this is happening.

So while I wait for my yeast to proof, I thought I'd throw up a few pictures that I took this morning as I took our baby girl on a walk through farm country.

But first:
I love walks!
My stroller is the best!
Okay, the scenes from our walk:
So dramatic!
A Bernese Mountain Dog lives at the end of this road.
It's never followed me once :-(
Damn these obedient Swiss dogs. If it follows me home, I get to keep it.
Um, yeah. That's it. Two pictures. Did I get your hopes up for more?
Sorry about that, but remember: two things a day.
I have one more post to put up before Friday is over and out, so stay tuned! Though, don't get your hopes up. I'm not throwing a party, or a giveaway, or even talking about something that interesting. STAY EXCITED.
But for now my pumpkin bread calls to me.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Got Milk?

My brethren
Guys, now I totally get how cows feel: being milked is rough.
LB's first day home.
We went for a walk around our hood and I thought this was hilarious.
(P.S. She was only six days old here, and now that little outfit doesn't fit her anymore.)
So I am going to make what is likely an inflammatory statement: I don't love breastfeeding. No I don't. And some people might read that statement and are going to jump to the next 'logical' conclusion:
You don't love your baby or want what's best for her! Shame on you!
For those people I present this photo:
What was that?
Clearly if you think that way you have an incurable case of The Crazies and I implore you to jump off a cliff and save humanity from your nonsense. For anyone else who doesn't jump to those conclusions, let's have a grown-up discussion.

First of all, no one told me that it's possible to wake up one morning and have one side be visibly larger than the other! WTF, man? WTF!

Secondly, no one told me how invasive having a kid is. Your body all of a sudden becomes public property for all medical professionals to poke and prod, and I'm getting sick of it. The midwife is trying to assist me with breastfeeding and this always means that as LB eats the midwife is massaging and squeezing my boob. This happened everyday in the hospital as the nurses tried to encourage milk production and good grief but I just want to be left alone!

Dan's grandmother even squeezed my boobs!

She did.

She was a midwife for forty plus years so in addition to being very in love with her first great-grandbaby she is also very interested in how I'm doing, which included squeezing my chest to feel for milk. Seriously. I was so shocked I didn't know what to do, and I've been on my guard ever since. But fair warning to anyone else who tries to do this to me: I will cut off your hands. For serious.

Stay the eff away from me.

Thirdly, I live in fear of my baby waking up hungry when I'm in Bern and I won't be able to feed her. I am not comfortable at the moment with feeding her in public because I can barely feed her at home without the aid of a million pillows, water, and some trashy t.v. I will not be attempting public feeding while I'm out shopping anytime soon, which means my excursions into town are timed down to the second.

Baby just ate! Must run to bus! Must not get sidetracked by cute sweater in window! Must stay the course of my mission! Holy shit! Time getting away from me! Have exactly thirty-five minutes to make it home before all hell breaks loose! AHHHH.

This is why I'm totally in love with the milking machine I have on rent from the hospital. I'm going to send it a box of chocolates on Valentine's Day, that's how much I love it.

Pumping milk and giving her a bottle is, for me, preferable. It allows Dan to feed her too, she sleeps longer, feedings take fifteen minutes instead of forty, and I can go to Bern quite easily and if she gets hungry I can whip out a bottle without fearing that I won't get home in time. But here's the kicker: every time you turn an ear to baby-related talk you hear loads of people going on and on and on about giving your kid breast milk. And I'm doing that; that's all she's eating, and that's all she will eat for the next year. But slowly, so slowly, as my midwife gently throws a comment here and there I am learning that nope: breast milk isn't enough.

Great, she's drinking your milk...but it's from a bottle.

(Please note: LB happily eats from breast or bottle, so the nipple confusion argument doesn't fly in our house. She's not confused. She knows when there is food to be had.)

Maybe when you're at home, she should only drink from the breast.

Just natural.


Please don't use that word. Who created the universal definition of the word 'natural' when it comes to kid stuff? No one. No one has, everyone just uses their own definition of that word so please don't quote it to me. Also don't give me the following argument:

"It encourages bonding."

Would you say that to a mother who didn't birth her own baby? You would not. Would you tell a father he can't bond with his baby because it doesn't nurse from him? You would not. So don't pull that shit with me.

Do not.

I am finding it a huge adjustment to have the cutest most kissable baby in all the land be so reliant on me for her every need, and so why do people have a problem with me choosing a method of feeding her that not only gives her that liquid nutritional gold, but also meets my needs?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

It's Been One Month!

She's one month old today!

August 18th.

One month ago today I was still running on adrenaline and hadn't slept in over 24 hours. LB had been sleeping on my chest since I was wheeled into my room at about 6 a.m., and I was in total bliss that our girl was healthy and my sciatic pain was gone.

Seriously, it disappeared as soon as she was born.

In the one month that Dan and I have been parents LB has vomited on Dan's face, I have learnt to never not have a diaper under baby's toosh while changing her, and we have learnt that the second you think, "Ah, now I'm going to relax on the couch," the baby will telepathically pick up your thoughts and decide, "Hell no you're not," and demand attention for the next forty-five minutes. Afterwards you will think, "Forget it, I'm going to bed."

It has been a great month, and I can't believe how much has happened. She went from being a tiny little newborn who was so wee that the act of suckling tired her out almost immediately, to being a still-wee baby who has the strength to suckle but still refuses to eat at a quick pace.

Our LB likes to dine.

This is especially inconvenient during those quiet midnight hours when you're so tired it takes all your strength not to face plant onto the floor, and you just want the baby to finish eating so you can go back to bed.

Here's our month in pictures:

Hours old, baby girl.
We knew from the very beginning she was a happy girl.
But the 48hrs she spent under the jaundice lights did not make her mother happy.
Not one bit.
I think I might have cried more than she did.
I was embarrassing her in front of the nurses.
So it's a good thing when we got to go home.
(so small!)
Once home it was time to test out our baby gear...
on the cats.
We had to make sure we wouldn't drop her.
And FYI, Cosi LOVES the Ergo carrier.
Totally digs being packed around.
Those early days were filled with a rigorous pumping-bottle feeding schedule to get her weight up.
It was tiring, as you can see.
To amuse myself, I play with her hair.
She looks like a little gnome in this shot.
So sweet I got a cavity.
She just gives me a raised eyebrow.
Be cool, mom! Be cool!
Makes me smile.
Which I like to think makes her smile, too.
(P.S. I totally got a 'real' smile today. Awesome.)
She's starting to be okay with tummy time, but generally she hates it.
It's much more interesting to look up.
But tiring, too.
Our girl, rocking her snow leopard dress.
But being so cute is tiring.
Our one month old baby girl, resting after a hard day of resting.
Excuse me now, I'm off to figure out how to slow time.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Little Baby's Schlafzimmer

It was really important to me that Dan and I make a nice space for our baby, even though I got some opinionated comments from the CH crowd that basically can be boiled down to: "Why bother? It's a baby." Dan also heard from friends over here that the baby shouldn't be in its own room right away, and rather should be in our room and hence no need to immediately carve out her own space.

I guess, based on all the opinions that circulated, decorating a room for baby is a North American thing? Whatever. We were making a room for our Little Baby, and to hell with the cultural differences of opinion!

As you may recall, we started planning LB's room before we knew that she would be a she. I just couldn't wait! I have a credit card that was growing dusty from lack of use, and I needed to put that magic card to use by starting to get ready for our baby. And as we were out and about one spring day, we went into a baby store and found a little green baby blanket that had a plush fox head with a red and white polka-dot patch owl sewed onto the blanket.

Inspiration! This blanket perfectly solidified a theme I'd been toying with.

Here's the pictures of it. Remember?

Foxes seemed like a great theme to me, as I don't associate them with being crafty or sneaky; I just think they're beautiful animals. And the colour scheme of red and green seemed awesome.

As the room progressed my thematic idea of sprinkling foxy touches here and there sort of fell by the wayside, and instead the room became its own being. It just decided it didn't want me driving with a map, and it was time to go off the road: to let things fall together organically without forcing a fox here and there. As I stepped back, what I realized was emerging was actually just a general colour scheme of green with red and white polka dots.

So I just went with that, which was really easy since all the stores this year embraced the Swiss dots with enthusiasm. They were everywhere! Dan had to push my pregnant belly out of stores on more than one occasion as I eyed outrageous goods.

"But Dan, IT MATCHES."

That was my only argument about why I wanted to buy a nightlight that was over a hundred francs and was in the shape of a red capped mushroom.  I suppose it's a good thing he comes with me from time to time...I guess...grumblegrumble.

I also wanted to put very personal touches into Little Baby's room, so I painted eight pictures for her and that was a lot of fun. I also wanted to paint a picture of Mary Poppins flying over the roof tops, but my energy sputtered and stalled near the end and that didn't happen. I think it will be a winter project. I might also do Mary's The Secret Garden, and of course Pippi Longstocking.

(In the evenings Dan and I have been reading a chapter of Pippi to our girl, and it's such a funny story; I can't believe I forgot how good it was.)

Anyhow, without further ado here's her room!
When you first walk into her room, this is the general view.
Baby crib!
Don't worry safety police, at this point the duvet is decorative only.
It's not in her crib when she sleeps.
The duvet in the crib is for one year olds and older. We didn't need to buy it at this point, but while at IKEA I found this polka-dot duvet cover for a twin bed and just had to get it for her room. What we did was cut down the twin cover to fit the baby duvet, and we used the pillow case to cover one of the throw cushions on the couch.
I am really proud of these paintings. I spent a lot of time figuring out what animals I'd paint, then more time figuring out what they'd look like. In the end I decided on a more cartoon approach, because my attempts to draw 'real' foxes and owls looked like crap. True story. I am really proud of these, and surprised myself by actually being able to get something out of my head and onto the canvas.
Her initials match the dresser, as you'll see below.
The couch corner
The couch isn't supposed to be in her room, and it will eventually be removed. For now it's okay, but this will eventually be her play corner with a child's table and all that fun stuff.
The ABC painting is one I also did, and one I'm also really proud of even though it doesn't technically match the room. Though I did not think of this design on my own; I found an embroidery pattern online, but I don't know how to embroider so I decided to paint the letters instead.
Comfy cushions!
I got the deer pillow off Etsy. Seriously people, you can find anything you need there.
We're using our old bookshelf for storage, and I was originally really against this because I just wanted it out of the room in favour of using another piece of furniture for storage. Dan fought to keep it in, and I admit it does work really well. Also, I have kept some of my children's books in the shelves to read to her. You can also spy painting number eight in there: it's an inverse of the deer cushion.
Sigg bottle: one of the "But Dan, IT MATCHES" arguments that I won.
Piggy banks for more books, very important.
Some of her first toys, and her first sippy cup.
The little wooden man and woman are the toppers from our wedding cake.
I painted those, too.
View from the couch.
Note the mirror...
I already owned this mirror, so I just sanded it down and painted it.  
The dresser in use as the change table, and one last shot of the room.
The dresser is working really well as a change table. I have her diapers in the drawer under the change pad, and the drawer on the left has miscellaneous things like her little socks, pacifiers, and thermometer.  The other drawers obviously have clothes, as well as winter gear. I also put up a little collage of colourful photos that I've taken, so she has something to stare at while we change her.
And finally, the best part of any baby room is the baby.
Here's our beautiful Little Baby.
DSC_0560DSC_0562 DSC_0564DSC_0566
It's a great space, and I'm glad we did it!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

We Aren't Sleeping Much

When you only sleep in three to four hour blocks of time, that can make you sort of sleepy. So sleepy that you get dressed for work, lace up your shoes, then go about your morning meeting with clients and staff. Then right before lunch you look down at your feet and notice something isn't right...

One brown shoe, one black shoe.
Oh Dan.
I can't even tell you how hard we laughed about this.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Disney Taught Me Something

When I was in the hospital I brushed my hair with a fork.

Yep, that happened.


The reason I did so was because I packed a really horrible brush that couldn't comb through the knots, and it never occurred to me to ask Dan to bring my good brush. So one morning as I was struggling to remove a rat's nest from my hastily washed mane, I looked over at my breakfast tray and spied the fork. Then I had a mental image of the Little Mermaid sitting at the dinner table with Prince Eric, happily combing her hair with her dinner fork.

It worked brilliantly.

I tell you this because I'm just in the middle of making dinner (salmon, leeks, wild rice, if you want to know) and as I grabbed the cutlery I thought, "Oh forks, you're so useful."

They really are. 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Hello, My Name Is...

Picking out a name for our baby girl was sort of tricky, but only because Dan insisted on having a say as well.

Talk about annoying.


(Sort of...)

When we first started thinking of names, we just picked ones we liked out of thin air without the aid of a name book or Internet name searches. And as with most things concerning Dan and I, the names we each presented the other were from vastly different ends of the name spectrum; in short, I liked awesome names and Dan liked 'Tanya'.

We were in trouble.

(Although, I know my husband well enough to know that he would like me to voice his defence on this matter: he was appalled by how many Irish names I liked because: "Caitie, YOU'RE NOT EVEN IRISH." Small detail.)

So I did some hunting around for a decent baby name book that wasn't going to give us every single name on the planet that starts with an 'A', and settled on the The Baby Name Wizard. It's not a huge collection of names, but there's a decent selection and they're arranged into naming styles.  I really liked the style of 'Guys and Dolls', which are short spunky names that make good nicknames and from there I'd try and find a longer name to match the nickname. Dan's style was more romantic with a twist of 'British monarchy' thrown in for good measure.

Despite our clearly preferred name styles, we quickly settled on a name and stuck with it for a really, really long time but it matched neither of our styles. We still like this name so I'm not going to reveal what it is, but as my pregnancy progressed the Little Baby inside of me did not feel like an 'X'. She was too gentle and quiet in there, and the name we'd chosen seemed really fiery to me.  Also, I started to have issues of not being able to think of the first name without also saying the middle name. At any rate, that name has been carefully packaged up and stored in a little box for a future baby girl who might join our family.

When I told Dan that this baby girl was just not an 'X' we went back to the short list of names we'd each drawn up, and we presented our number one favourite first and middle names to each other. This is where the second problem cropped up: the issue of her name being pronounceable in Switzerland.

One of the most annoying things that happened while picking our girl's name is every time I would give Dan a name, he would immediately pronounce it with a Swiss accent.  ARGH. It was so frustrating! However, I respect it because our children, whether born in Canada or a Swiss Canton, will always have Switzerland as a home country and German will be part of their life and their name needs to serve them in both countries. But that still doesn't change the fact that this really pissed me off because there are some great names out there and is it really my fault the alphabet isn't pronounced over here like it is in North America?!


Also, a friend and I were talking about children's names over here and we both agree they...aren't great. Ruth is still a name in circulation. For real. Also, there are a lot of boys with the name Leo, except you can hear mothers calling after their Leos by yelling, "LAY-O".  It's such a tragedy.

So anyhow, her first name had to be serviceable in German and English. From our top names that we provided to each other my name was not going to cut the mustard due to pronunciation, but we compromised. Dan had chosen Lillian has his top first name, and I had Blythe as my top middle name.  I liked Lillian but Dan was not crazy about Blythe because, "No one can say it over here."

On the issue of the middle name I was firm and didn't care about pronunciation, since middle names aren't even a big deal over here.

I'd found Blythe while hunting in the baby book, and it means joyous. To me it's a bit cumbersome as a first name, but I was smitten with it as a middle name. To clarify, I am not a person who needs to imbue meaning into a child's name: I think they are their own meaning; they will become their own definition. But something about Blythe grabbed onto me and wouldn't shake loose. To be blithe of spirit is to be merry and jubilant, and this Little Baby was/is our joyous celebration.

The world is already a more exciting place because she's in it.

So that is how our Little Baby became our Lillian Blythe.

In terms of nicknames, Dan calls her Lillie and Lemon (a name he called her while she was inside my belly, which turned out to be a rather ironic choice considering the jaundice).

I call her Lill, as well as Sparrow, little Mouse, Baby Doll, and sometimes Hobo due to the crusty milk that always seems to be on her face no matter how many times I wipe it off.

For the blog--when I do talk about her--I will keep referring to her as LB, though I'd like to clarify that if you should meet LB in person that is not a nickname we use. Please don't call her LB. The initials of 'LB' actually were an abbreviation for Little Baby, and when we went back to the drawing board after choosing to not go with our first name choice it was a mere coincidence that the name we chose could be shortened to 'LB'.

And...that's a wrap.

Or maybe I should say, "And...that's a swaddle."

Is it too early for baby related humour? Or is my baby related humour actually humorous? Only time will tell.