Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Moments - Posted or No


2 September, 2014
Some days a little person wakes you up from your (short) nap and then insists on finishing his while collapsed on your shoulder like a potato. At these times it's important to remember that the only person who cares if your house is clean is you. Certainly not the potato, and probably not guests, as long as they get to hold the potato.

12 September
Urban babies take the metro. ‪#‎urbanbabies‬ ‪#‎babywearing‬

12 September
Baby asleep on shoulder, warm lamplight, tea, pajamas, and new book with a Ludovico Einaudi soundtrack. Hard to top this for a Friday night....


16 September
New hobby: leaving video messages on skype for family and friends when the little wiggly guy is feeling talkative.


20 September
Expensive cars and blingy clothes are so last year. Want attention? Walk around town with an adorable baby in a carrier. Not enough admiring comments? Bring along a friend with her own adorable baby in a carrier.


21 September
Watching the latest Transformers movie. Which brings up the issue of when dating is allowed. After seeing all the cute girl babies at church this morning, D and I may need to have a talk with our little guy....


23 September
Sometimes when I listen to classical music it gives me the pleasant delusion that my life is a haven of serenity. Today, Grieg and Bach are visiting.


26 September
Just to check - is it only appropriate for a mum to lock herself in the bathroom and eat chocolate when she's crying? Or can she do this randomly on a good day too?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Harbour Hospital

I'm charmed by this hospital. Since being pregnant and having Pippin, I've been to four hospitals in the area. A few months ago Faramir and I joked that before long we'll have visited every single one, and we're making good progress on that. So far, the Havenziekenhuis is one of my favourites. For one thing, it's relatively small, which seemed to translate to less patients and staff, and less rush overall.

Despite being under construction- or perhaps because of it - the atmosphere was cheerful. The men putting bookshelves together chatted with passing medical staff ("It's certainly not Ikea furniture!"). The receptionists exclaimed over Pippin's photo ID, and then even more when I pulled back his buggy shade so they could get a better look at the real deal. "Ah, so cute! And he was born the day after my grandson!"

The doctor I had the appointment with was professional and friendly, and was willing to dialogue over possible issues and solutions instead of just issuing a professional opinion. He even called in a colleague for a second opinion so we had more information to work with. The receptionists were efficient in registering Pippin and making a follow-up appointment.

As far as downsides of the hospital, one was that some halls and w.c.'s were closed. Navigating the first floor with a baby buggy wasn't as easy as I would have liked. The other was that the entire KNO ('Keel, Neus, Oor'; throat, nose, ear) area was shut while the staff was on lunch break. I was quite early for our apartment anyway, but it would have been nice to be able to sit in the KNO waiting room instead of down the hall.

All in all, a positive hospital experience; I'd give the Havenziekenhuis 4.5 stars.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

5 Minute Walk

This morning I had found an advertisement for some bottles and pacifiers from a seller on Marktplaats, a popular buying/selling website. Over the months I've found several similar ads, from "We bought too many size 1 diapers" to "My baby has grown out of these clothes." Sometimes I can go pick up the items for cheap, sometimes for no charge. When they're free, I like to take a box of chocolates as a little 'thank you' gift. Only, I've recently run out of my gift stash and needed to get some more tonight, as well as groceries. I tucked Pippin into his baby carrier, dropped a kiss on Faramir's cheek, and headed out the door. We passed a boy sitting on his doorstep by the mailboxes, next to a pile of letters, with a woman behind him as he talked to her in Italian. Translating? "If everything is not paid..."

It's about five minutes walk to the grocery store through my multicultural neighborhood. Three if traffic is light - no cars pausing on the side while conversation is made with friends on the sidewalk, no pack of teenagers casually biking along and ignoring the cars. Sometimes I pause to chat with 'The Purple Neighbor Lady" who is nearly always dressed in her favourite colour, leaning out her window or sitting on a bench and keeping an eye on the whole neighborhood. Sometimes I pause while dog walkers in front of me pause at the whim of their bulldog or chihuahua. But it's normally about five minutes to the store.

Today it took longer than that. Halfway there, I rounded a corner and almost bumped into a group of kids - a few preteens showing off their bikes tricks or cute jeans, and a few smaller kids running in circles or playing tag. One little girl with big eyes and dark glossy hair, likely from a Moroccan or Turkish family, stopped and stared at Pippin's protruding arms and legs. I smiled at her and bent down a bit so she could see that it was a baby in the pack on my front. "Oooooh!" she exclaimed and patted his head, before running back into the middle of the group and screaming someone's name. I waited. In a minute she ran back, half dragging another girl of about 7 years. "Look at the baby!" Still bent down, I watched as they both exclaimed and did some more patting. Pippin opened his sleepy eyes in confusion, which only added to their excitement. After a minute I stood back up, smiled goodbye, and headed on to the grocery store.

Sometimes I mind the delays in getting to the store. Today I didn't. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Neighbourhood Imps

I'm cooling down after a run, walking through my neighborhood with headphones in and tired muscles protesting. My attention is drawn by two policemen, in black sweaters and trousers, using a scanner to check license plates- an easy way to tell who has paid for parking. And who hasn't.

The beeping continues behind me as I reach the next corner and am accosted by five excited kids. I've seen them before during runs; a mix of black and white, girls and boys. I'd guess their ages to be between five and eight. It's not unusual to see kids of all ethnicities out playing on the sidewalks in our neighborhood. Having grown up myself with a big yard and the beach 20 minutes away, I wonder if they even know what they're missing, limited to concrete sidewalks and a few parks . And I wonder if their parents ever worry about them, in our area where there's a high housing turnover rate and it's not uncommon to smell weed.

"Mevrouw, mevrouw!" the kids say excitedly, clustering around me. I pull my earphones out. "Ms., do you want to feel fire?" I wouldn't be surprised if one (or more) has a lighter. Or matches. "Do you have fire, then?" I ask cautiously. Suddenly several of them hold out their arms, crossed. "Can we show you?!" they ask eagerly.

It seems harmless. I imitate their gesture and smile. Two of the little girls promptly hold my arm as I extend it; one of the boys crosses his and makes a quick rubbing motion across mine. I can feel a light friction as they look at me expectantly. "Did you feel it? Did you feel the fire?" "How clever of you all to make fire!" I compliment them, and they beam back at me proudly.

I start to walk away, still smiling, as they continue to their next prospect. "Meneer, meneer! Mister, mister!" I turn around- sure enough, they're approaching the policemen. "No, I'm working right now," says the one, not unkindly, and keeps scanning as he walks. The second one is more receptive; maybe he has kids of his own, or remembers his own days of roaming the streets with friends.

The last I see of the little band of kids, they're happily clustered around a patient urban policeman, showing him how they can make a fire on his arm.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Off to the Office

Today Pippin and I strolled our way down the road, under the bridge, up the hill, and around the corner to my old office. There he was.made a royal fuss over by my friends. Fortunately, it was a slow day at the nonprofit office, but I imagine a busy day wouldn't have mattered much to them anyway. The secretary, I., even answered the door for some clients while holding Pippin, and came back laughing that she had had to explain,"He's not mine! He's a colleague's!"

Since I've only come in on a project basis for the last year or two (and not even that for the last few months) there were a few new faces at the office. I shook hands with the one, as M. proudly explained, "She's been a volunteer here for a long time, but has been pretty occupied the last while...." "I can see why. Congratulations!" Another new face belonged to a male intern, and while he also shook hands politely, I felt sorry for him trying to do his work and use the filing cabinet while discussions about breastfeeding filled the air....

After an hour or so of catching up on news (and taking photos as Pippin was passed around) we exchanged cheek kisses and I headed out the door. Besides an adorable hedgehog outfit from my boss, Pippin and I brought another souvenir home. Three hours later, when D. walked in, Pippin still smelled of exotic perfume, despite the fact I'd changed his clothes and run a wet wipe over hos face and head (twice). But that's a small price to pay for all the smiles and cuddles he got and gave today.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Better in a Minute

I sleepily think about timing as I sleepily grope for a diaper. Our heavy curtains do their job well, blocking out the autumn city glow at 3am the way they blocked out the bright-til-11pm summer skies. I'm on the lookout for a small lamp or nightlight, but until then I turn my smartphone on and start changing Pippin by its light.

He wavers between anger and panic, convinced that every second of delay could be the end of the world. He's too young to understand that a 30 second soggy change now prevents a three minute blowout change later. It equally past his comprehension that washing my hands helps prevent hin getting sick, and that we pad from bedoom to living room so his papa can get some extra sleep and have more energy to play with Pippin tomorrow.

The most ironic moment of all comes when we finally settle on the couch, Pippin still upset. He resists as I try to replace his pacifier with a bottle. "Hey," I tell him softly, " the bottle is so much better." I know what I'm doing, even if he's freaking out a little. Finally he gives in and I smile sleepily, superiorly. He should just trust me.

And then I realise that he's not the only way who gets paranoid about timing. He's not the only one with vision limited to a few centimeters in front of him. He doesn't grasp that he is being taken care of, like always. He's not the only one who clings to what he has now, not caring if it jeopardises something better, later.

There's a lot to be learned at 3am, if you can stay awake long enough.