Thursday, 31 January 2013

It's The Toys I Feel Bad For

How heartwarming was Toy Story 3, I ask you?

No seriously, I'm really asking. I've never finished watching it. I always get to the part where the grumpy old teddy bear gets in the way of the toys making their great escape, then I lose interest. Do they make it home? Does Andy get to be a college boy who has his toy collection on display? All the girls must be flocking to his dorm room 'to study'.

But one thing I took away from the bits and pieces I've seen of TS3 is what cruel and unusual punishment it is for a toy to be at the hands of the...less gentle. Also, what cruel and unusual punishment it is for a toy to be at the hands of the...reflux challenged.

Exhibit (A):

 
photo (9)
This is Lavender.
She was a gift from Santa.
Bless her, she's still smiling.
 
 
photo (10)
This is Hedgey.
He's part of the dynamic duo known as Foxy & Hedgey.
They are finger puppet rattles. 
But also, most recently and a decidedly less glamorous part of the job:
they get chewed on.
A lot.
 
Toys man. When you go to bed tonight just think about your favourite toys and what a tough job they had.
 
You know what else is a tough job?
 
Housework.
 
magnets-domestically-disabled
You know it!
 
So that mom and tot group I've been going to is awesome; I've had some great conversations with some nice ladies, but holy hell: children are effing loud. Also, they're petri-dishes of infection.
 
LB and I are both under the weather.
 
I was telling one mom yesterday that I can't keep on top of the housework. She suggested I just put the baby in a sling and do my housework that way. Um, alright...if the objective was I actually wanted to get some housework done.
 
I hate it.
 
I am counting down the days until my disposable income is such where I never have to decide between new clothes or a housekeeper. I CAN HAVE BOTH. Until that day, I will always choose new clothes and just turn a blind eye to my crummy floors--until they start blinking back, then I'll do something about them.
 
Until then, this is how I spend my time instead of vacuuming: 
 
 
IMG_1549
Dancing with my sweet baby to Florence & the Machine.
In our p.j.s.
At noon.
 
Also, here's some more pictures of LB just because she's cute and kissable and photographical (yes words I make up are still words) and huggable and snugglable and cuteable and everything else in the world times a million.
 
 
photo (7)
So serious...(ly SWEET)
photo (8)
She knows it, too.
Just ignore my creepy eye photobombing an otherwise perfect picture.
 
The only other thing I can think of that happened this past week is...um, nothing. I CAN'T THINK OF ANYTHING. So I'll share something I'm thinking of making for dinner tomorrow night. Super Bowl Sunday is this...Sunday, but while I don't care for American football (I LOVE soccer...specifically certain goalkeepers who play for Real Madrid), I'm a huge fan of the idea of all the snacks that people chow down on while they watch the game. Spicy snacks, to be specific. So tomorrow night, for Pizza Friday (it's a thing in our house), I'm making buffalo chicken pizza. I've never made it before, and my hypothetical is to make a blue cheese sauce as the base, add some pizza cheese and spicy chicken, bake it all off, then top it with fresh shredded iceberg lettuce and tomatoes.
 
Sounds good, right?
 
I KNOW.
 
I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Friday Things

Do you guys know Jones Soda? They make a lot of really tasty flavours of soda pop, and the labels are all different: people submit photographs, and if chosen their picture ends up on a label. I bring this up because my sister submitted a photograph of sweet Cosmo to be considered for a label, and the picture she submitted was voted a staff pick!

Last night it made it into the voting round, and I don't know how many votes it needs to win, but I'd appreciate it if you guys could please vote. It would be so cool to have my little Cosmo the (evil looking) Christmas Elf on a label.

Click here for the link.

And since we're talking about Cosmo, how about I give you an update on how our two kit-cats are doing since LB has been home for...five months.

As expected, they didn't care a crap about her when we brought her home from the hospital. When we walked in the door our first moments home and put her car seat on the ground, both cats rushed over to investigate. They cautiously sniffed her little foot, looked at Dan and me as if to say, "What's this?" and then she kicked her foot and they both ran away and never looked in her direction for another five months.

But even if they weren't interested in her, they sensed a change in our environment and it was hardest on Cosmo because he was used to cuddling up with me every night for nine years, and when LB was going through a very rough time with acid reflux we moved her crib into our room and next to my side of the bed so I could keep an eye on her while she upchucked in the night. That meant wee Cosmo wasn't allowed to sleep in our room because we didn't want to risk him jumping into the crib while were all asleep.

He was majorly affronted by this and ignored me for awhile.

But he's back to bedtime snuggles again, and I'm glad because it really bothered me that I had to stop doing this for awhile. Those night snuggles are his favourite part of the day.

Poppy seems to be ticking along, business as usual: don't get too close to me; I'll come to you when I need affection. Same ol', same ol'.

However, in the last couple of weeks LB has really taken notice of the cats AND SHE LOVES THEM. Poppy is her favourite, and whenever she sees her a huge gummy grin splits her face. She likes Cosmo too, but his colours aren't as dynamic and I suspect this is why she doesn't grin as broadly when she sees Cosmo. However, she loves Cosmo too because he lets her touch him! Hooray for soft animals! Poppy can telepathically pick up the fact that I'm carrying LB over to pet her, and she takes off like, "Hell no. Get that baby away from me." This, by the way, delights LB.

But a few weeks ago, Cosmo was sitting on the table and I was holding LB who was staring intently at him. I was giving his chin a tickle and he was purring and butting his head into my hand. LB got super-duper excited (arms flapping excited) and before I knew it she had reached out and grabbed his entire ear in her pudgy fingers. And then wrenched on it as she tried to bring his ear to her mouth. I quickly pried open her fingers and expected Cosmo to freak out, but he did nothing. He just stared at me with a pleading look in his green eyes that begged, "Please keep petting me."

So we did.

I don't know if it's ridiculous or not, but I've been trying to teach LB 'gentle' already. Everyday we spend some time stroking Cosmo's soft fur, and with each stroke I whisper 'gentle' in her ear.

Two nights ago we were on the couch and I was giving her her bedtime bottle when Cosi came up and lightly rubbed his face against her hand and shoulder. Her face nearly burst in excitement as her hand pawed the air frantically to reach him, and my heart nearly burst from love.

This morning she was just rolling over from her back to her tummy like, 'Yo, this is what I do now,' and Cosmo came up and sniffed her face, did a long slow blink, then sauntered to his water bowl.

I think that blink and sniff were to say, "You're here forever now, aren't you? That's okay. I've got my bedtimes snuggles back. Keep rolling little sister, I like you."

Monday, 21 January 2013

Vents Let Out Steam!

Last week kicked my ass so hard.  It felt like someone hitched me up to the back of a wagon and dragged me through mud--with my mouth open. It wasn't any one thing, but rather just a whole bunch of stuff that stacked on top of each other.

(1) An LB who is in a phase where she refuses to not be attached to my person. And oh man, she will let you know when she isn't happy about being on her own. I'm half thrilled that she's exerting this personality and 100% tired. Oh, that math doesn't add up. WHATEVER. I know it's only a phase (I don't expect her to be fifteen years old and having to stuff her in a Baby Bjorn to carry her to the mall) so I'm not about to over-think 'should I pick up my baby who doesn't want to be on her own? What if she starts to think she can have her way whenever she wants? What if she never learns to be on her own? What if this is the gateway to her stealing my purse as a teen, then asking to be put in the Baby Bjorn so I can take her to the mall where she'll spend all the stolen money?' (If you can't tell, I really like reading the mom message boards. People can panic about anything.) She's five months old. She wants to be held. I'll hold her. Okay, no problem. Except, problem: it's exhausting, yo. It takes me twice as long to get anything done.

(Sidenote: guess who's been rolling over?! Like it ain't no thang! Yes, I finally learned how to roll over! Hooray for me! Okay, it's actually LB. I cheer her on like she was an Olympian crossing the finish line in first place. God it must feel awesome to be a baby. THEY'RE CHEERING ME ON. FOR ROLLING OVER. LIFE IS AWESOME. Now pick me up.)

(2) Putting LB to bed, then turning on my computer to work. You have no idea how good it feels to still be able to work. I don't know why, but I need this. But man, it's super tiring some weeks to look after the baby all day, and then work after she's gone to bed. First world problem. #won'tcomplainaboutthisagain.

(3) My effing jeans that I bought after LB was born that were 'only supposed to fit for a little while', but are still fitting pretty damn great. Yes, okay, whatever, give myself a break. She's only five months. Nine months on, nine months off.  Yadda, yadda, yadda. I want to buy a smaller pair of jeans. End of story.

(4) What's that you say? Just exercise a lot and eat healthily? Oh, why didn't I think of that? What a dum-dum I am. Except the GD arthritis is still not under control. This means I can't do anything beyond a walk without being completely crippled the next day and the day after that. Some days I can't even go for a walk because my stupid knees are so full of fluid. Cardio is not in my life right now and I so want it to be. I am ready to, well, not run. I hate running. But I'm ready to walk up the Gurten at a damn fast pace, thankyouverymuch.

(5) The new treatment I started. It's supposed to be magical. I expected it to work after the first injection. It didn't. Maybe after the second one...

(6) One of my very, very, very, very, very, very, very favourite friends moved to Oxford a few weeks ago. I missed her last week. Andie: feel free to ditch England and come back. Who needs to be living in a town that's like Harry Potter, surrounded by loads of English speakers, with access to deliciously priced food? Come on back to Bern! The people are only sort of friendly, no one can understand their crazy ridiculous dialect, and the food is really pricey! Come on back! I'll meet you at the Beck! We'll spend 4 bucks on tap water! It'll be awesome!

(7) Government paperwork. I am in the process of applying for LB's Canadian citizenship, her passport, renewing my passport, and Dan's. You don't even want to know the flaming hoops that must be jumped through. In contrast, we need to get her Swiss passport. "Oh, come down to our office and bring her birth certificate and your family book. We'll take her picture then you'll get the passport in ten days."  For serious. Switzerland may have bureaucracy, but at least it's GD efficient and sensible. TAKE NOTE, REST OF THE WORLD.

(8) All the hair I'm losing. This is a thing, apparently. Your hair falls out four months after you give birth. It's no joke. I have a receding hairline. I Skyped with my sister last night, told her about the receding hair line, and she was all, "I bet you don....oh."  I showed her. The wonders of technology. Hair, stop falling out. You're plugging the drains.

(9) I'm dropping in on a mom's group this Wednesday. I'm looking forward to it, but at the same time the thought makes me weary. I hope, hope, hope, to meet one (just one) like-minded individual. I know it's ridiculous to be weary over something that hasn't even happened yet, but when you live as an expat and are hoping to make friends, your pool of native speakers is small. Then you have to find someone in that pool with whom you mesh: just because you both speak the same language, doesn't mean you understand each other. Now couple this with having a kid: people are serious about parenting. It's like some people are out for a PH.D in parenting. As observed on the message boards, they over think everything. It gives me a headache for them. But it could be I'm the one who's naive, who doesn't get it, who people will find odd. I don't read baby books, I don't subscribe to a doctrine of parenting: co-sleeping, attachment, free-range...wtf? So yeah, I'm hoping to find someone who just goes with the flow and hasn't made being a parent their philosophical career; which, I should state the obvious, is totally cool, but that's not  my personality so I fear I will look at them like, "Seriously?' and they will look at me like, "You're an idiot." Fingers crossed for me, please.

(10) I'm tired of grocery shopping. Yes, it deserves its own bullet point.

How about you guys? What's been loading you down, lately. Please vent. It's totally therapeutic.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Are You Crafty?!

The next time someone asks me if I'm crafty I'm going to proudly answer 'Yep!', while I point at LB.

I made her! Out of yarn and buttons!

What a doll.


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Rough

This is what getting your ass kicked by a five month old looks like.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

So, I'm At The Grocery Store...

As all great stories begin:

So, I'm at the grocery store today and I couldn't get down one aisle with my shopping cart because the Coop staff were stacking shelves. I park my cart, go searching for what I need down one aisle, then the next, and absentmindedly toss the can of beans in my cart while I exam the cookies and decide if I want them. No. Be strong. Walk away. Better yet, sprint. SPRINT AWAY FROM THE COOKIES. I hurry away from the cookies, then I continue on my way meandering through the store at a leisurely pace since I am sans baby.

Sure I'll stop and spend five minutes looking at the selection in the seafood display; I can do this today, I'm baby free! You know, I've never really studied the bread section in detail. I'll do that today. Etc, etc, times ten minutes. MaybeIshouldgetoutmore.

Then I get to the beauty department and pick up a tube of toothpaste, go to toss it in my cart, and...WTF? This isn't my shopping cart!

SHIT.

I have just spent ten minutes pushing around someone's cart!

So as all responsible citizens do, I plucked out my can of beans and just backed away from the cart while trying to look inconspicuous while suspiciously looking all around me and whistling a little tune. Do, do, do, wasn't me. I didn't steal this cart. Do, do, do.

I found my cart exactly where I left it, threw my beans and toothpaste in, then whipped down the soda aisle where a very annoyed man was angrily muttering in German, "WHERE IS IT," as he stormed around.

Do, do, do, wasn't me, do, do, do.

But Internet, I'm not a total ass: I did return to the scene of the crime later to make sure he found it.

Jeez.

Friday, 11 January 2013

You Know What's Really Good?

Running a spoon under hot water then dipping it into a jar of Nutella and curling up a spoonful of that delightful chocolate-hazelnut spread, then licking it off the spoon like a lollipop.

I assume...

I mean, I totally didn't do this four times yesterday. Especially considering I vowed off sugar three weeks ago, and only cheated once last Saturday. So I really haven't cracked at all. Nope.

You should try it.

Let me know if it's good, because, uh, I have no clue....

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

This Will Be Sappy

This post is going to make me sound sappy, but it is what it is.

Today LB and I joined Dan on a business meeting he had with one of his very elderly clients (97!) who lives at an assisted living facility. It is not normal to ever go with Dan to meet clients, but this lady is a bit special: in addition to being of notable age, she has no family and is a bit lonely. She was excited when Dan told her we were having a baby, and today Dan asked her if she wanted to meet LB.

When we arrived at her apartment she met us outside her door and gave me a very warm welcome in English.  This lady lived in England EIGHTY YEARS AGO, where she attended two years of schooling, and she still speaks English despite not having spoken it for eighty years. Really amazing.

What really made me feel sappy though was her delight in LB. And not just because LB is LB (which, come on, she's awesome) it's just the fact that our LB is a baby and there's something about babies that brings pure joy to people. Whenever we're in town and I'm giving LB her bottle, I eventually start to feel like I'm in the middle of a circle of onlookers: people approach and tell her she's a 'little bean' or a 'sweet little mouse', they try to make her smile (and they succeed 90% of the time), they like to touch her pudgy hand (then tell me she's too warm...), but mostly they just like to stare at her. It's really amazing how much joy your baby can bring to other people, and I never ever realized this before having LB.

To a baby, the world is pure magic: that light switches on and off? Wow! This ceiling has tiny holes decorated all through it? Amazing! That cat runs away when I jab my spitty hand in its face? Again! Babies delight in everything, and by default, everyone who shows interest in them. Their smiles are contagious and today I really felt like LB made this woman's day just because she smiled at her; just because she giggled at her; just because she was across the table from her. And it wasn't just this woman, but others in the restaurant too (when we went for lunch) all watched and smiled at LB.

I guess what I finally understood today is that babies are personified sunshine and they bring light to so many people--not just their parents--and today, most importantly, to the people who need that brighteness the most.

Friday, 4 January 2013

The Plight of the Childish

Once upon a time, many years ago (also known as 2011), I wrote a post about being a night owl living in a country of freakish early birds. I am too lazy to find and link to that post, so you are going to have to trust me that it exists (though I think it might be January or February).

Since that blog post, you will be pleased (or not. Maybe you don't care. If that's the case, stop reading right..NOW) to know I have not changed my ways. I still remain a night owl; however, being responsible for a teeny tiny baby who wakes up at 6 o'clock every morning means one would think I should have changed my ways by now. I'm a zombie every morning.

Every. Morning.

Our LB is a good, good baby and she's a champion sleeper which means when I complain about sleep deprivation no one is going to feel any sympathy for me because I am the reason I am sleep deprived. You see, the biggest challenge I have found about being a parent is that I must now be on a schedule.

Even typing the word s-c-h-e-d-u-l-e causes me to shudder.

I'm not so carefree that I'm one of those people who you roll your eyes at because they can't commit to any appointment because, "Life happens man, let's just see if I'm free at 2 o'clock. If I am, I'll be there. Peace." But do I like making plans months in advance? No. It makes me feel itchy and trapped by that date. (Oh, hey, side note: Swiss people require months of advanced notice for socialising. I have felt very itchy for the past few years, is what I'm saying.)

Likewise, having a day that is structured in three hour blocks of time goes against my very nature. What is this organised and consistent day? Why must I stick to it so stringently? What do you mean the baby will freak out on the train if she hasn't napped properly? Oh, that's why it's so important. Okay, I guess I'll be the adult in this relationship...

But if you think about it, being a person who likes and chooses to stay up past midnight when they know their baby will wake up at 6 o'clock on the dot just goes to show they really aren't a 'schedule' person. In fact, let's call it what it is: this behaviour borders on childish because I'm actually rebelling against the schedule. I am! I'm staying awake because I can, so pffttt. Screw you schedule. You don't own me between 7:30 p.m. until whenever I go to bed.

That's right!

Last night everyone in our house, cats included, were sound asleep at 10:30. I was in the bathroom sitting on the edge of my tub browsing the internet on my phone, reading some German comic books, trimming my nails, and spending far too much time staring at my reflection in the mirror wondering why the hell my skin looks like sandpaper.  And all this time I just kept thinking, "I should go to bed. Why am I still up? LB will wake up far too soon. I need to go to bed. Okay, I will after I decipher this comic frame. Now this one. Now this one. My nails look bad, I'll trim them. How do my pores look? LIKE POTHOLES. This is alarming. I should go to bed and get some beauty sleep. No, I'll stare at them some more. Okay, now I'll go to bed. No I won't."

I didn't fall asleep until around 1ish.

Dan--a reformed night owl--was up at 6 to go for a run, and LB was happy in her crib letting me know, "Hey mom! I'm awake! Come and get me! Hooray, a new day! I'm flashing you a beautiful smile that you know will melt your heart into a puddle of goo when you see it! Smiley Face! Let's not forget I'm discovering my voice! LET ME GREET THIS DAY WITH A HAPPY, HAPPY SHRIEK."

I stared up at my ceiling and thought, "F-ck. I really need to go to bed earlier."

I think this every morning.

Every. Morning.

I'm tired.

Feel free to not feel sorry for me right about...NOW.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Still Water

Midnight strikes, the champagne cork pops, and the clear night sky starts filling with starbursts of red, green, gold, and purple. The new year is just a baby so we stand on our deck, the cold cement freezing our toes, and we shout happily to let it know it is welcome, with our neighbours chiming in before another fuse is lit, before another loud bang drowns out our voices.

***

We sneak into her room to give her New Year good luck kisses on the cheeks. She sleeps soundly through the noise rockets and fireworks, but her mother's tipsy footsteps waken her. Her pudgy fingers find the streamers wrapped around my neck like a scarf, and she grabs onto them tightly.

I laugh because, of course. Only I can be louder than fireworks and noise rockets.

I gently pry her fingers loose, making sure no paper remains locked in her grasp.

She sleeps again.

A good baby.

***

The morning is rough.

Six o'clock comes early.

***

A pyjama day.

All day.

A family nap together in bed, cats included.

Apple and bacon grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.

***

Today, two Bernese Mountain Dog sightings. Happiness. A beautiful, beautiful dog.

A dark-cloud of a man stands on the bus, rooted to his space-taking spot. He throws angry words over his shoulder when the dog turns its head and its nose grazes his gloved hand. "What a grouchy old prick," I think. The young woman and her boyfriend exchange eye-rolls as she tries to find space to gently move her dog away from the belligerent man who won't move for anyone else.

***

At the Bahnhoff, another Bernese. His owner looking like they have hiked, or plan to hike.

"Oh look!" I point excitedly.

Dan looks. He knows.

One day.

Not today.

***

LB's blue eyes stare upwards at the grey sky.

She has learned how to shriek. Happy shrieks. Followed by delighted coos. Loud shrieks. Followed by louder shrieks.

I laugh every time.

***

2013: a new voice.