Tuesday, 30 April 2013

All You Need Is Love

I have been operating under the impression that I'm a bit 'no worries, be happy' about this whole raising a person, dealy-o. If polled, I would have confidently replied: 'Yep, I'm pretty easy going when it comes to my baby girl.' Except yesterday, Interent, as I was drifting off to sleep I realised with a jolt that I am actually...not that laid back when it comes to LB.

GASP.

You see, in the past two weeks or so I have sent my good friend three separate emails that can be boiled down to: I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING OR WHAT'S GOING ON.

I think it's safe to say I was fairly easy-breezy when LB was just a little immobile LB who slept all the time, ate, then slept some more, then occasionally woke-up to gently play with her rattles, or just wanted to be tightly cuddled wherein she would stare-up at me and coo the softest most adorable coo.

Oh those days, I was definitely easy-breezy back then.

You know, four months ago...

Anyhow, this past month there have been some wicked awesome changes with our baby girl. She is rolling all over the place (she rolls over to the cats' water bowl and delights in playing in it! Cool! Except for actually cleaning up the mess), she likes to play peek-a-boo, she's a good eater, she strews her little toys all over our living room carpet, she has two teeth, and she's really...um, vocal. Yes...vocal.

These changes happened fast, and I'm left all, "Huh...what...but you were just here?...And now you're...over...there?"

So anyhow, I'm feeling a little "What the...firetruck?" 

(Potty mouth! Working on the potty mouth!)

And this has resulted in me sending Dear Jana (p.s. Jana, you should start an advice column in the local paper) three emails in two weeks, because WHAT? WHAT'S HAPPENING?

The first email was about LB's large voice. I'd been at Starbucks with a new friend, and LB was happily, so happily, screaming away. My new friend couldn't believe how loud LB was, but not in a negative way. Just in a, 'Wow, that's quite a set of pipes on her.'

Then LB and I were out for lunch with another friend and her baby, and every time LB would scream this deeply upset my friend's baby and it would cry. LB would watch the baby cry, quite fascinated, and when it would stop she'd scream again. The other baby would cry again. She'd watch, then as soon it stopped she screamed again. This went on for about fifteen minutes. Sort of funny...except if you consider my LB realised she could make another baby cry.

Anyhow, this got me over thinking (key here is over thinking) and wondering, 'Am I supposed to be doing something about this? Asking her to please be quiet? Why is she screaming? AM I DOING SOMETHING WRONG?'

So I emailed my friend who reassured me this is pretty normal, LB's discovering her voice, it's a toy, and most reassuring of all: all my friend's kids went through this, too.

The next "What the firetruck?" email was about LB's diet. I'm just left so confused because even though I don't know a lot about kids I was pretty aware that there's things they aren't supposed to eat until 'x' age. However, our paediatrician only gave me a few (as in, three) major things to avoid until she's a year...and that's it. I distinctly recall the list used to be longer! And it was! But now they've changed it! What's going on? Why have they changed the rules that I didn't really understand to begin with? I'M CONFUSED.

Result? Email.

And finally, the last email to round out this trio of, "Caitie doesn't know what she's doing or how to play it cool," came as result of me letting my exhausted defences down. I'd been wondering all day if 'x' change in LB was because of one thing, and then in a moment of weakness I found myself logging onto that crack practitioner Dr. Google (I KNOW BETTER, I REALLY DO) and utterly scaring the crap out of myself because the results were a heck of a lot scarier than what I originally was thinking the reason could be.

So, email number three was fired off with a reassuring reply to ping in my inbox shortly thereafter. Phew. Thank goodness for friends. The last thing I wanted to do was call the REAL doctor's office this morning and have the nurse stamp, "MOTHER IS INSANE AND CLUELESS" into LB's chart.

I'm so thankful for Dear Jana, to have a veteran friend (well, her kids are still little but they're older than my LB) who giggles with fondness over this clueless species of parent known as the 'first time mom' before setting me on my feet again so that I can toddle off into the next new and unknown territory. One day I hope to be able to be this reassuring person for another mom, because the support that women can lend to each other is really invaluable.

It takes a village, Internet, and the most important thing to remember is all you really do need is love (and a good internet connection, to fire off the emails).

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Potty Training

Oh yes, Internet, our eight month old is so advanced that we've already begun potty training!

Not.

No, no, what I mean is I need to start potty training...my language. I can, and often do, curse the air blue when something has upset me, hurt me (like, you know, SLICING OPEN YOUR THUMB), or just plain confused me.

I've heard many, many times that swearing is the unintelligent way to express yourself and this is a perfectly valid argument. My counterpoint being that when you open your mailbox and find you've been summoned for jury duty, are you really going to pause and say, in your most erudite voice, "Oh bother. Those muttonheaded, copulating, cretins down at the courthouse want me to give up a week of my pre-booked summer holidays! Well they can go make love to themselves! I'm deeply aggrieved by this and feeling a lot of hostility!"

Um, chances are you aren't going to say that.

And who can blame you?

Only assholes talk like that.

OOPs.

Did it again.

So yeah, I'm trying to train the ol' potty mouth right now and to be honest, Internet, it's not going well. And while I don't smoke, I think stopping swearing might be a little similar to quitting smoking (minus the whole nicotine addiction). In speaking with a colleague about stopping smoking, she noted it's not the addiction that's the most difficult to overcome but rather it's the habit: when a cigarette is just part of the ritual. That's what I'm realising is hardest to overcome about swearing: I curse in situations out of habit, and nothing else.

But as I previously mentioned, there's a little slice of sweet potato pie with whipping cream on top who's listening to everything I say, and it would really be nice if LB's first word was, "Mama," instead of, "What the f-ck?!"

So Internet, anyone have any experiences with potty training your language?

How long until you were fully trained?

Did you still have accidents at night?

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Thumbs Up!

So this happened when I was chopping onions for dinner.

Neat!

If you need me I'll be lying on the couch for the rest of the night with my arm in the air.

#hurtslikeamofo

Monday, 22 April 2013

Heading to the North Country

During our time in Canada, we split our time between Vancouver, Kamloops, and 100 Mile House. "100 Mile House?" you ask in confusion, "Is that a real place?" Yes, it is, and you can't be blamed for asking; the passport agent in Zurich asked my sister the same thing last October when he looked at her passport and noted that's where she was born.

100 Mile House is where Dan's mom and her husband live, and it's the town where Dan's family moved to when they immigrated to Canada. I too lived there when I was a kid, and as a result I've always had a nostalgic fondness for the place. It's not a huge city by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it's a nice town full of friendly people, has a bookstore (what more do you need?), and it's nestled in some truly gorgeous country.

We got married in 100 Mile House, so when we were visiting we decided to take LB to the heritage site where we exchanged vows. It was a storm cloud of a day, which is perfect for taking dramatic pictures. I didn't bring my proper camera with me on this trip (no room in my carry-on! Babies require a lot of stuff!) but I did get some pretty awesome pictures on my phone, ifIdosaysomyself.

See!

 
100 Mile House
View off the deck at the in-law's place.
 
Untitled
Another shot, without the tree or storm clouds.
 
100 Mile House
Area where we were married.
This road runs behind the site, and if you follow it it takes you around the lake.
And this barn?
I wanted to have our wedding reception here. A barn dance! How fun
would that have been?!

Logistically it didn't work out as I wanted our guests to have a good time and not worry about driving back to the resort where we were staying.
 
100 Mile House
Another shot of the barn.
 
100 Mile House
The chapel where we were married.
Back view.
 
(Note, our actual wedding day was A LOT sunnier than this. I got a sunburn.)
 
100 Mile House
The old heritage house.
 
100 Mile House
Just a cool old cabin at the end of the road.
 
See what I mean, Internet? Isn't it pretty?

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Back to the Future

So here's the thing about little babies: they don't understand flying back to the future. They did okay flying back in time (Zurich-Vancouver = going back in time) but shot putting them nine hours into the future...yeah.

It was a nightmare.

While we were back home, I had a lot of help. Loads. Everyone wanted to hold LB and I was all, "SURE."  Even people who didn't ask to hold her, I was all, "Want to hold her? Sure you do. Here you go. Come on, unfold your arms. Take the baby." Babies get heavier as they get older, Internet. My arms are tired.

But have you ever asked a friend or family member to hold their baby and could tell the person was visibly reluctant to hand over their spawn (older babies I mean, I never asked to hold a newborn because they freaked me out)? This has happened to me a handful of times through the years, I didn't really get it, but now that I have an eight month old LB of my own (eight months today!) I really don't get it. They are asking to relieve you of your 9 kilo kid. SAY YES. I mean, what do these parents think will happen? That the person is going to get a hold of the baby and then toss it through the air like a frisbee, gleefully waiting to see if Fido will jump up to catch the baby in his mouth? Or purposefully drop the baby, to see if it will bounce?

I was thrilled that so many people wanted to hold our LB, and it was good for LB; just so she knows, "Hey, it's cool. People are awesome, don't be scared of them. Mama's still right here, ready to catch you if they decide to see if you are bouncy."

So it was all hands on deck when we were in Canada, and it was freaking awesome. Now we're back to the future. Just Dan and me. Nine hours into the future to be exact, and little babies were waking up at 3 a.m. and were all, "Yowza, it's playtime Mama! LET'S ROCK." Then you gently tried to explain, "Hey little love of mine, it's three in the morning I think we should keep sleeping."

Then the baby blew a raspberry (for real, this is happening now) to let you know, "Woman, I'm jet lagged AND cutting a tooth. I think I'll stay awake now and just to let you know I'm not falling for the ol' "toys in the crib, amuse myself routine", you have to get up with me. Like, now. Right now. Then again at 6. Thanks. RAZZZBERRY."

Trust me, I wouldn't mind having a few more hands on deck right now.

Don't believe me? Look at this.

Vacation, loads of help, Caitie:

Untitled
 
Vs.
 
Back to the future, no help, Caitie:
 
Untitled
 
My hair looked like this for three days and I will not apologise for the application of a filter to this image: a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
 
I think we're over the worst of it now. Want to know how I know?
 
I brushed my hair today.
 
For real.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

They Are My People

When we landed in Vancouver, our good friends met us at the airport to take us to their place where we were staying for the next few days.  As we didn't yet have a carseat for LB, we had to travel a very short distance via Skytrain and a bus to get to their condo.

I was wearing LB in the ergo carrier (Babies! The latest fashion craze! While sporting your baby just remember the golden rule: the more organic looking you are the more in style you'll be!) and when we got on the bus there were no available seats so we were standing. As Alexi and I were gossipping away, a man stood up from his seat and approached me. Then he did something insane. Something you only hear about in urban legends. He...offered me his seat.

I actually was at a loss for words I was so surprised and confused by the gesture.

"Ah...oh....um...really?...THANK-YOU."

I have only ever been offered a seat once while here in Switzerland, and that was obviously when I was pregnant. I can assure you, Internet, that there was a lot more than one time when I was heavily pregnant that I climbed on the bus, found no seats available, and then had to stand for the duration of the bus ride while the seated passengers around me tried to avoid eye-contact so they could avoid feeling the resulting shame of knowing they were sitting down while I was standing.

Once a teen even aggressively pushed their way in front of me in order to get the last available seat.

I was seven months pregnant.

So...yeah. Passenger courtesy doesn't happen too often around here.

And if you live in Switzerland, are reading this and thinking "I give up my seat all the time" or "people always give up their seats on MY bus" then I want to live on your bus route, because hardly anyone does on mine. After everyone has strategically tried to position themselves to be first on the bus (side note: people were lining-up for the bus in Vancouver. I was really confused!), then comically shoved themselves through the bus doors, it's a mad scramble to get a seat and even the elderly are often left to fend for themselves if they aren't fast enough.

So as you can see, it was a great shock to me that this man offered me his seat. I wasn't even pregnant. Just had the baby on my person. But once I got over my shock I felt all warm and fuzzy inside: These are my people! They really are so nice! I love you all!

And in case you're wondering: Duh, of course I offer up my seat on the bus.

I'm Canadian.

 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Flying In Planes With Babies

Airplane travel with an infant.

#amiright?!

Am I right about what? And why have I started using hashtags? I'm in the early throes of jet-lag, so I'll use that as the excuse as to why I'm not making any sense.  I've got to milk that excuse as long as possible....

Anyhow, flying in planes with babies.

It's not the easiest thing I've ever done, which makes me sound like a twit who can't even open a jar of tomato sauce. I mean, what's so hard about sitting in a plane? With a baby? It's not like I had to, say, fly the plane. Or dish out the moderately hot meals. Or converse with the lady in seat 35B who didn't want to put her seatbelt on. I didn't have to do any of those things. I just had to sit in my seat with my seven month old.

 
Untitled
Look at that face!
How challenging could she be?
 
I'm not going to be sharing anything ground breaking in the world of airplane travel and babies, just the same ol' story that everyone has probably been through.
 
So, when we got to the Zurich airport on the 21st our sweet LB had her first "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?" breakdown as we tried to check-in.
 
Stress? Check.
 
As she was crying and I was scoping out the area for a place to feed her, the check-in agent offered us 600 Euros to fly the next day. I'm sure it had nothing to do with LB's crying...right? Anyhow, Dan and I looked at each other then turned around and refused the offer.  I KNOW. Who turns down 600 Euros? People who just want to get the flight over with already, that's who!
 
(Also, Dan had a lunch meeting the next day he didn't want to miss, and I was looking forward to being on Canadian soil. I had big plans that when we got to Vancouver I'd lie down next to the baggage carousel and roll around because Canadian soil, whee! That was a Thursday plan, not a Friday plan! Keep your money Air Canada, and put it towards free snacks on domestic flights.)
 
So we boarded our Zurich-Toronto flight. The best thing about the boarding process was that our LB was our ticket to getting on the plane FIRST. The only people ahead of us were those smug bastards in executive class who already had their champagne fluted so that they could arch their eyebrows and sneer 'neener-neener-neener' when the rest of the cattle filed past them.
 
Clearly I'm not bitter that I didn't get a pod all to myself.
 
Clearly.
 
As we sat in our less-than executive seating and waited for everyone else to board, Dan and I scrolled through the movies and excitedly picked out what we wanted to watch for the day. It's an eight and a half hour flight to Toronto peeps, so that's at least three movies with two hours reserved for napping. Plus the four and a half hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver is one more movie, with the rest of the time spent slumped in your seat and drooling all over yourself as you fall into a deep slumber for no other reason then you've been awake for awhile at that point.
 
Except, wow.  Did you know that over the course of twelve plus hours of flying it's only possible to watch one movie between two people? And that movie was...I'm blushing...the last in the Twilight saga.  The horror! We only managed one movie, shared headphones between us, and that's what we watched!
 
Flying in planes with babies is super hard and causes you to make bad choices!
 
First, you have to keep them from screaming. Then you have to keep them from crying. Then you have to change their diapers in tiny little toilet cubicles where if you bend too far backwards you bang your elbow on the mirror. Then you have to mask your look of horror when the flight attendant confirms, "We don't have your order for a baby food meal. I hope to god you brought something."
 
Then you have to fake smile and say, "Oh yes, definitely."  Because what sort of parent would you be if you confirmed that you were counting on Air Canada to feed your baby solids? What sort of parent relies on Air Canada?
 
A novice, that's who!
 
Because Internet, I was totally counting on them to get it right. Totally.
 
So then you have to mix up bottle after bottle of milk to keep her full, and you find yourself, in a moment of desperation, putting her teething biscuits in a Styrofoam cup and adding hot water to make this horrid concoction of mushy teething biscuits that you will then feed to the baby with a tiny spoon used to stir coffee.
 
Low point.
 
But possibly the lowest point was when we got to Toronto we had to get to our gate for our Vancouver flight, and found ourselves clearing security again wherein the baby threw-up all over me. Like...everywhere.
 
At moments like these you will remember the conversation you had with your husband the night before when he asked, "Should we bring a change of clothes for ourselves?"
 
And you replied, "I'm confident we won't need anything."
 
Because the one thing I learnt about that Switzerland-Canada flying day is I had no realistic clue about flying in planes with babies. I clearly remember a Vancouver-Toronto flight I took a few years ago where a lady and her husband were flying with their five month old. You could see everyone was apprehensive about a baby being in their vicinity, but I'll be damned if that kid didn't utter a peep the whole time we were in the air.  As we were deboarding, the flight attendants approached the couple and just gushed over how lovely and quiet their little guy was.
 
I watched the exchange and thought, "Whatever, that'll totally be me one day." I mean, the ego of me! What sort of childless person thinks, "I will know everything there is to know about babies and planes. It can't be that hard."
 
The sort of person who ordered a baby puree meal when they booked their flight and just assumed Air Canada would get that right. No back-up plan needed.
 
The sort of person who didn't think their baby would cry on the plane.
 
The sort of person who didn't think their baby would freak the eff out while we sat on the Toronto tarmac for forty minutes while they de-iced the plane.
 
The sort of person who assumed their baby wouldn't have jet-lag in Vancouver because I never have jet-lag flying in that direction.
 
In short, a very naive person.
 
By the time we hit Vancouver I was so exhausted I didn't have the energy to roll around on the ground by the baggage carousel.  Plus our friends were already there to pick us up, so I didn't want to embarrass them.
 
The moral of this story, Internet friends, is that flying in planes with babies can be hard but if you learn from your mistakes the flight back will be a breeze.
 
You will even be able to watch THREE movies.
 
(None of which are about teen vampires, so your dignity will be in tact, too.)

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Beaver Tails, Maple Syrup, How's It Goin' Eh?

In case you're wondering, our eating tour of Canada is going wonderfully.  So great, in fact, that I am officially sick of eating. Some other alright stuff has happened, too. You know, like being within driving distance of your most cherished favourite people. If, like, you're, like, into that and whatever. Like, yeah. Whatevs. No biggie.

(BIGGIE. It totally rocks!)

But otherwise, we're having a wonderful time and my only terrible news to report is this: I thought I knew my husband inside and out, but apparently I don't.

Point 1:

I was convinced that he was going to have culture shock coming back, because I have.

Nope. Not at all. He's as cool as a GD cucumber that's been hanging out in the fridge all week. The one and only thing that surprised him was the size of restaurant portions. THAT'S IT. Mega bummer.

Point 2:

We're walking through Superstore this afternoon, stocking up on jam-jams for our LB, when my dear husband passes the magazine rack and says, "Maxim magazine. I used to read that all the time. I remember when I used to be practically waiting by the mailbox for my new issue."

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

I repeat:

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

News to me.

We fly back to Switzerland on Thursday and once back I'll have a few details for you, including the part where we were totally the people on the plane that everyone wished would get sucked out of a window, because of our crying baby. Yep, that happened.

We hope it was a one time isolated occurrence (spread out over the course of eighteen hours) and won't happen on the way home.

I mean, my baby is the sweetest most precious little sugar cube in the box.

Of course it won't happen again.

I'm in denial it even happened in the first place.