Lark / Motherhood / Personal

Happy Birthday, Lark!

February 16, 2018

Dear Lark,

As of 8:56am this morning (Amsterdam time) you are officially a one year old.The morning you were born was so… uncomplicated. Labor was short (5 hours from first contraction to delivery) and three pushes later you came into the world and curled up on my chest and fell asleep.

I can’t believe it has been a whole year since that amazing day. An entire year of snuggles and trips and milk parties. 365 days of babywearing and first words and first foods. 52 weeks of kissing your cheeks and squeezing your chubby thighs. 12 months of nursing you all over Europe (including, most recently, inside both the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica during our trip to Rome).  Your first year hasn’t been the most traditional, for sure. You took your first bike ride at 5 weeks and your first international flight at 3 months. You’ve been on 18 flights and traveled to cities in 9 different countries already, and you’ll have another 10 flights and 5 countries to add to that list well before you’re one and a half.The things that you love you reeeaaally LOVE. Luckily Mama and Daddy are definitely two of your top favorites, but I think Prim might be at the very tippy-top of your list. You two have been the sweetest little BFFs since day one.        You love to snuggle and wouldn’t dream of sleeping without your special lamby (which you sleep with your face right on top of more often than not).I can’t imagine our family without you, and this past year has been the very best because you were a part of it. I love you so much, Larky-Lou. Happy birthday, baby girl. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for year two.

Love, Mama

Baby / Lark / Motherhood

Motherhood Update: Lark at 12 months

February 15, 2018

Posting this a day early since there is another post planned for tomorrow — the day Larky turns ONE!

Saying: Lark says Mama, Dada, all done, and “tweet tweet” now. She is clearly trying to communicate with gusto and spends much of the day shrieking at me (clearly annoyed that I don’t understand and cater to her every want and whim).

Eating: Lark is just coming off of the stomach bug that took down the whole house last week (apparently it’s normal for babies to have symptoms up to two weeks! Ugh.) so there’s been lots of bland white carbs happening lately. Taking that BRAT diet to a whole new level over here.

Sleeping: I recently transitioned Lark to one nap, which has been such a nice change. I have to admit that I hate the two nap schedule (it’s so hard to leave the house!) so as soon as it seemed like she was starting to transition, I took that and ran with it. It was definitely a bit of a struggle the first couple of weeks, but both girls are going down at the same time for one nap now and on the days it doesn’t fall apart it feels like winning the lottery.

Doing: Lark is chattering away right now and is clearly frustrated that she can’t communicate verbally yet. I remember this phase being particularly difficult with Prim as well (the 12-15 month span, in particular) because they can understand so much but communicate so little. I am trying to remember that this too shall pass (this is definitely one of the hardest ages for me, parenting-wise) and enjoy the sweet parts of this age, but some days are tougher than others.

Latest milestone: Lark is starting to choose books to read at bedtime and can recognize and make sounds for the the bird and fish in the Brown Bear book. It’s so fascinating to see how much they start to pick up as they near toddler-hood!

Favorite toys: Lark likes to take small blocks and stick them through whatever small hole is nearby. I find legos and wooden blocks stuffed into the baby carriage and the wooden refrigerator (which has a small hole in the back) every day, which makes the evening toy clean-up even more interesting.

Sweetest things: Lark is kind of attached to me at the hip these days. Prim went through this phase around 12 months as well — separation anxiety, stranger danger, and mama-attachment seems to all come together into a very clingy few months around age one, which while challenging, isn’t without it’s upside. I’m certainly getting lots of sweet Larky snuggles these days.

Favorite thing about this age: While Lark’s attempted communication with me seems to be largely based around insistent shrieking, seeing her trying to communicate with Prim through various sounds and gestures is so adorable. I love the relationship these girls have with each other and can only hope that they are always this close.

Motherhood / Primrose / Toddler

Motherhood Update: Prim at 2.75 years

February 13, 2018

Saying: Prim’s chatters all. day. long. She is constantly asking questions and shouting out commands (we’re feeling very three these days). She is fascinated by counting and colors, and has recently discovered that asking “why” can lead to an endless conversation (funnnn). She is picking up more and more Dutch words from her weekly dance class, which is taught entirely in Dutch. (Her first Dutch word was “née,” which means “no.” So… not surprising.) It has been funny to hear what she has picked up there, as we have now reached the stage where she is learning Dutch words I don’t know and will regularly ask me, “You know how to do the [Dutch dance word]?” and then will whip out some new dance move.

Prim’s Favorite Things: We have Spotify Premium (because we listen to music all day everyday over here) and I recently discovered that there are a number of kid’s audio books available on the service. We listen to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh numerous times a day, followed by Stories for Children read by Danny Kaye (something from my childhood!)

Reading: Frog and Toad and Room on the Broom.

Latest trick: Prim picks up songs so quickly now. I recently started singing “Do-Re-Mi” to her (because she has this shirt) and I swear she had the whole thing down after I had only sung it to her a couple times. She is also coming home with new dance moves every week, courtesy of her Dutch dance class, and it’s so sweet to see her wiggling and shimmying around, doing “pirouettes” and “hoofd, shouders, knie en teen.” (Prim has been attending this dance class since right after she turned two, and it was the biggest mystery to us for the longest time because parents don’t watch the classes here. All the 2 – 4 year olds go into the room and they shut the door until the end of class — it’s so Dutch! Every week we would ask Prim what she learned in class, but she’s only started telling us and showing us specific moves in the last couple of months.)

Favorite toys: Prim is still obsessed with cooking in her kitchen, and will regularly sidle up to us and ask, “What should I make for ya?” (Despite our requests, the menu at Cafe Prim seems to be limited to coffee, pancakes, and salmon with lentils.)

Sweetest things: Prim is still the sweetest big sister. She works to include Lark in almost everything she does and has started reassuring her when she gets upset. Lark is going through the separation anxiety phase and will regularly lose it if I so much as leave the room. This is not my favorite phase by far, but it’s very sweet to hear Prim telling her “It’s ok sweetheart! Mama be right back, it’s just me down here.” (PS: I don’t call anyone sweetheart, so I actually don’t know where she picked this up. So funny and sweet.)

Favorite thing about this age: Between cutting 4 new teeth and suffering from the stomach flu, Lark has been struggling at night lately and waking up in the early morning. Prim wakes up when Lark is upset and will hop out of bed to turn on their nightlight, then sit in bed and “read Lark a story” to help calm her down (we keep books next to Prim’s bed so she can read if she wakes up or has trouble winding down). I often come into their room to nurse Lark after one of these episodes and Prim will tell me, “Larky’s upset. I talk to her and read her a story.” which is my cue to text KC all the heartbreak and pregnancy emojis.

Motherhood / Personal

When it Rains…

February 12, 2018

I had every intention of getting back to posting on the blog regularly. I have multiple half-written posts just sitting in my draft folder at this very moment — posts that I started and never finished because children woke up from a nap, needed a snack, or I simply ran out of steam.

And then last week happened.

Last week was my hardest week of parenting, to date. KC has been traveling to Dublin every week since mid-January, and last week he was gone from Sunday night until late-Friday, meaning I was really on my own allllll week. On Monday schlepped the kids to the doctor to try and get a last-minute flu shot before our trip back to the states next week. I was informed we couldn’t get them (welcome to the Netherlands!); unlike in the states, the flu shot is not widely given here, and you pretty much always have to have some special circumstance in order to get it (either based on where you work or a special health condition). I don’t work in a hospital and am not immuno-compromised, so the girls and I were shooed away, unvaccinated. This was a mild annoyance, but Monday night is really when things got interesting (and by interesting I mean stressful and super frustrating).

I noticed at 10:30pm that our heat had gone out. This had happened three times before in the two weeks prior — the first two times KC or I were able to get it restarted; the third time it went out, it also happened at night (of course) while KC was in Dublin (of course), but by the time the tech showed up at mid-day the next day, it was back on. So in very Dutch fashion, the guy said, “Well, it’s working now,” and left with hardly a second glance at the system. Our heat continued to work for the next week, until it decided it had had enough at 10:30pm on yet another night when KC was out of town. I tried everything to get the system back on for an hour and a half, including pulling the faceplate off of our water heater, to no avail. I finally admitted defeat and woke the girls up to put them in more layers because the overnight low was 27 degrees Fahrenheit and our house is nothing if not exceedingly drafty. The next morning we awoke to the house being a balmy 51 degrees inside, which it remained at until the tech showed up at noon that afternoon — 14 hours after the heat had ceased working. This time the system had not mysteriously kicked back on, and he determined that there was a problem with the wiring connecting the downstairs thermostat to the upstairs water heater. Luckily the complicated-sounding problem had a simple solution, and the heat was back up and running within minutes of a wireless thermostat being installed.

I naively thought the worst of the week was over after this very cold annoyance, only to have Prim start puking just after nap time. She continued to throw up until bedtime, and I went to bed certain that I would be awakened by a midnight puke-in-bed situation. I was woken up at 2am by Lark, who had apparently caught whatever Prim had and vomited Exorcist-style in her crib. I was forced to strip off her sleep sack and pajamas, clean her off, and re-dress her in new pajamas and a sleep sack, then tackle stripping her crib sheet and mattress protector and rinse them in the tub before throwing them into the wash. Then it was only a matter of laying down a new mattress protector, a layer of towels (because hello, obviously) and a clean crib sheet — all of which was pain enough by itself at 2am, but Lark was so upset that she refused to let me put her down, so I was tackling all of this one-handed. And she was still throwing up intermittently, so I was looking for any sign that I needed to hustle her over to the bucket I had left beside Prim’s bed in a naive attempt at avoiding cleaning up puked-on sheets in the middle of the night.

I finally managed to get everything cleaned up and held Lark until she fell back asleep, but not two minutes after I had laid her back down and shut the door, she was throwing up again, which meant the whole process started over. By the time I was done, it was 4am and I was really not feeling well. I went back to bed and attempted to ignore the nausea (something I have a lot of practice in), but I felt so awful that I couldn’t fall asleep until 6am, and then was woken up by the girls at 7:30am (right on time!)

I ended up being sick all of Wednesday, and while you can throw a 2.5 year old in front of Tumble Leaf and Wall-E, an 11 month old does not have the same attention span or interest in animated movies, so I was still fully on mom-duty. Not to mention that because Lark wasn’t feeling well had been up puking half the night, she was terribly irritable and ready to lose it at any real or perceived injustice.

Our evening came to a close with broken glass upstairs (courtesy of Prim not listening to me when I asked her to “please stop playing with that”) and Lark having an epic screaming meltdown due to my not being able to hold her while I cleaned up said glass. Hoo… It was rough, guys.

And honestly, that’s the super-shortened version.

This week has thankfully been without puke and with heat, so that’s an improvement already. My parents are coming into town and Larky turns one on Friday (we’re having a party this weekend.) Lots going on in the Deatsch house! I’ll try to keep the blog updated with at least some of the goings-on, but right now, I’m off to bed.

*I should note that last week made our decision to move back to California feel very much like the right choice. Parenting little ones without a family support system nearby is really tough, and some weeks it feels downright impossible.

Primrose / Toddler

Conversations With a 2.5 Year Old

January 29, 2018

KC: “Prim, what do nutcrackers eat?”
Prim: “CHIPS!”
KC: “Not nuts?”
Prim: “No. Chips. Not nuts.”

Prim’s 3yo cousin (running across the room): “I’m a lion!”
Prim (starts running): “I’m a lion too!”
Cousin (stops running, stands face-to-face with Prim): “No, you’re a rabbit.”
Prim: “Oh. What’s a rabbit?”
Cousin: “Y’know… (long pause, thinking. mimes rabbit ears over Prim’s head) It’s white?”
Prim: “Oh yeah. DISGUSTING.”

Prim: “Oh no! There’s a dragon under the table!”
Me: “Oh no!”
Prim: “Have to get him out!”
Me: “We have to get him out? What are we going to do?”
Prim: “Have to put your hands on his buns and push. All of us!”

Prim: “This pasta is de-lekker*, Mama!”
Me: “Thanks P!”
Prim (finishes pasta, hands me her bowl): “More garlic.”
*lekker means tasty in Dutch

Prim: “What’s chocolate?”
Me: “I don’t know, what is it?”
Prim: “My favorite food.”