Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Well, I've signed up for National Blog Posting Month. Things that could seriously derail my attempt to post every day in November?
  • Giving birth (increasingly likely as the month progresses)
  • Total exhaustion because for ten days of November - weeks 36 and 37 of the pregnancy, no less - R will be away from home (fairly likely)

  • Hospital-based bed rest (very very unlikely; I have no reason on earth to assume this would happen)

  • Total lameness on my part (this is the wild card)

So. There we have it. Let the posting begin!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You knew it had to happen sooner or later

I've got a really good deal with the in-laws. Not only do they take Small Boy one day a week, but they seem to go out of their way to make it convenient for me. My mother-in-law takes the train into the city in the morning and Small Boy and I meet her on the platform where I hand over the boy, give him hugs and kisses, and wave bye-bye as they get on the train and go back out to The Farm. In the evening, my father-in-law drives Small Boy back home. I couldn't ask for an easier situation.

Today Small Boy and I were quite rushed for the drop-off at the train station. We usually walk to the station at a Small Boy pace and he can generally stop now and then to look at something exciting, shuffle through some leaves, and pick up sticks. Today it was all go! go! go! we're going to be late! So we were both a bit frazzeled when we arrived at the platform. I helped load him onto the train, gave him a hug and a kiss, and then went back onto the platform to wave good-bye. Through the window I could see his little face slowly crumpling, a little tear starting, and I could tell he was saying "A hug and a kiss! A hug and a kiss!" The goodbye had been rushed, and though I'd given him a hug and a kiss on the train, he wanted another. I popped back onto the train for another quick hug and kiss and....the train pulled out of the station.


Fortunatley I have a local public transport pass that meant as long as I got off the train at one of the next two stops my fare was covered. I sat with Small Boy in my lap and gave him hugs and kisses and explained I'd be getting off the train at the Z. stop. With plenty of advance warning he seemed okay with that, though of course he tried to talk me into going all the way to The Farm with him. But he seemed okay when I got off the train at Z. Then I had to wait for a train back into the city, which fortunately was only a ten minute wait because of course today was the one day in a hundred I left the house without a book in my purse.


But the next train came, I climbed on, and a few minutes later I was back in the city after a short detour. Not a big deal. It had to happen sooner or later and honestly, I'm surprised it took this long.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

34 Weeks

At 34 weeks, I'm huge. I believe the proper medical term is "ginormous." Small Boy can't sit on my lap (what lap?) for bed-time stories anymore; we lay on the rug together. Clothes that got me to the end of the Small Boy pregnancy have long ago been consigned to the back of the closet, I can only wear slip-on clogs (because I can't bend to tie laces), and I had to buy a new winter maternity jacket over the weekend because it's cold here and unzipped just wasn't cutting it anymore. I'm profoundly annoyed at spending real money on a down maternity jacket in the final month of the pregnancy, but I figure after the baby is born I can wear the baby and zip the jacket so I can stretch some extra use out of it. Then I just have to hope that at some point in the future a friend is heavily pregnant in the winter so I can loan out the coat to her and get the satisfaction of seeing somebody use it.

At 34 weeks I'm also now allowed to give birth in my hospital of choice, which is a low-key birthing hospital (though they are equiped to perform C-sections) lacking a NICU or an intensive care station for adults. Therefore, as a precaution, Dr. Fantabulous won't let his patients deliver there before 34 weeks. After 34 weeks it becomes a possibility, though of course it would depend on the particular circumstances of any given pregnancy/labor. If it's "just" early without any indications of trauma or distress or danger to me or the baby, Dr. Fantabulous will let me deliver there; a friend of mine delivered there at 35 weeks and she and her son went home after 4 days. This is a big relief to me for two reasons: 1) I really like the hospital and had a very good experience there with Small Boy and 2) if I delivered at the university hospital with the NICU, Dr. Fantabulous probably would not be the one to attend the birth, and I'm rather attached to Dr. Fantabulous.

At 34 weeks I'm also almost ready to not ask Dr. Fantabulous to tell me the baby's sex. Every appointment is an exercise in self-control; we've managed not to ask so far and at this point I figure we've made it 34 weeks without asking, we can make it the final six (though I have to confess I'm hoping this baby, like Small Boy, comes a bit early; not scary early, just a little early). I might just be able to let it go now.

At 34 weeks I'm ready to say hello to the baby, and a little sad to say goodbye to this special time alone with Small Boy. I'm confident that we're ready, and scared for things to change. I'm so done being pregnant, and just now realizing that I'll never be pregnant again. It changes from day to day, like this season; sometimes pure autumn, sometimes I can taste winter on the air. On the cusp. But moving inexorably forward.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hey, we have a chest of drawers after all

R found them in our back-up grocery store, of all places. Carrefour, for those of you who know Switzerland. Seriously. Carrefour. Go figure.


Friday, October 26, 2007

The Swiss do love their bureaucracy

In addition to finally trying to get the baby's room together - and one reason why I haven't felt a great sense of urgency about this is because we already know the baby will be sleeping with us for the first several months, we already have a changing table, a bouncy chair, a Stubenwagon (that's not ours, it's just an example of what a Stubenwagon is), and there are clothes in the house - I've also pulled together all the documents I'll need to bring to the hospital and put them in a bright yellow folder labeled "Dox to bring to Spital" (I guess Small Boy is not the only one who mixes languages) placed prominently on my desk.

Interested in what documentation you need to provide when you give birth in Switzerland? Read on! (I wrote about many of these documents in this post.)

All patients must bring:
  • your blood group card (you get this from your OB after your first pre-natal appointment)

  • completed naming card for the child (we've got a girl's name picked out but boys' names are killing us. We used the best two names on Small Boy!)

In addition to the above, married patients must provide:

  • your Familienbüchlein - this literally translates as "little family book" and the less literal translation would be the family record book. It serves as your identification when you interact with all sorts of civil authorities and must be kept updated.*
  • the Niederlassungsbewilligung for both partners - I still don't have a proper translation for this. It confirms that you live where you say you live and must be kept updated. (When we moved next door, R needed to get a new Niederlassungsbewilligung - as an Ausländerin I don't have one of these, I have an Ausländerausweis [visa] instead).

Single patients, on the other had, must provide:

  • the Niederlassungsbewilligung of the mother

  • recognition of the father, when known (I believe this is in compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)

Foreign patients (that's me!) must bring (in addition to the blood group and naming cards):

  • Ausländerausweis (i.e. your visa/permission to reside in Switzerland)

  • both passports (I think they assume all foreigners are married to other foreigners, because I'm pretty sure they weren't interested in R's passport when Small Boy was born)

  • a copy of your marriage certificate (again, I think they're assuming I'm married to another foreigner because the Familienbüchlein should cover this)**
I'm working on the cover all your bases system and bringing everything we have that's on that list - meaning the Familienbüchlein and R's Niederlassungbewilligung and his passport and our marriage certificate (we were married in the US) and my passport and my Ausländerausweis. That really should cover it.

On the other hand, if anything happens to that folder R and I will, in the eyes of the state, have ceased to exist. Small Boy's passports, US social security card, Consular Report of Birth, and Swiss national ID card are someplace else, so I guess he would continue to exist. On the other hand, he's attached to R's Niederlassungbewilligung, so maybe he wouldn't. Or maybe in the US but not in Switzerland?

* For example, births must be registered with the appropriate civil authorities within three days (the hospital does this, which is why they need all this information) and deaths within two days.

** This list of documents required to give birth in a Swiss hospital is one of the reasons I always thought "Natascha's" mother was undocumented. Let me rephrase that - I'm sure if you showed up with no papers the hospital would still treat you and care for the newborn but I suspect they would be obligated to report the patients' undocumented status. But I'm not sure about that. Something to research in all of my free time.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nesting. Or panicking.

It suddenly dawned on me that I'm almost 34 weeks pregnant and the baby's room is still essentially being used as a storage closet. Keeping the door closed has proven to be a remarkably effective avoidance strategy, but I'll be 34 weeks on Monday and let's not forget that my goal was to have everything in order before R heads off for his two-week course in Zurich. That starts two weeks from Monday, people, and right now the baby's room is holding R's military equipment, my loom, a broken chair, several ceiling lights that we have not yet mounted (we're slow on the lighting, remember?), three bags of books I plan on donating to...somebody, the ironing board, some pictures we haven't hung, a lot of my pre-pregnacy clothes, and some other random stuff.

Lots of stuff. None of it is actually baby-related, of course, but there's lots of stuff in there.

So today I devoted the better part of the afternoon to organizing the easy stuff (as in no heavy lifting), including washing Small Boy's old size 50's and 56's (of course, I don't have a chest of drawers to put the clothes in, but at least the baby has some clean stuff in the house). This meant going through the box labelled "[Small Boy] - old." I found the little mittens knitted by R's grandmother, the outfit Small Boy wore home from the hospital, the emergency onesies R bought when I called his cell in a panic to report that Small Boy had just peed all over his last clean outfit (it turns out infant boys pee all over themselves, and you, and the floor and the wall and ceiling if you're not careful). His little red suit where the shirt and the pants are from slightly different dye lots. Little socks, such little socks (or as Small Boy calls them "liiiiniii socks"*) that I can't believe his feet were ever that small, that he was ever such a wee little bundle.

Small Boy will be three in January. How did that happen? How did he go from the boy who wore those tiny socks, those little knitted booties, to this boy who can pull on his rubber boots all by himself - and even get them on the right feet? Who shuffles through the dry leaves and collects acorns? Who can steer an electric bumper-car all by himself? Who loves all things Feuerwehr (fire department)? Who eats steak, for goodness sake. Steak! Just yesterday he had no teeth and I met all his needs and now he eats steak and the whole world is barely big enough for him.

Little socks, little booties all left so far behind.


PJs then and now.

* Another half Swiss-half English utterance - "little" in Swiss would be chli or chlini; Small Boy drops the initial ch and just says li or lini.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Marchbefehl rescinded

Perhaps somebody in the Swiss Army reads my blog? R just got word that his December military service has been cancelled.

That's one fewer thing to worry about.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Great, I'm raising a literalist 3

Small Boy: "Wasser!"

Me: "How do you say that nicely?"

Small Boy: "Wasser nicely!"

(Can you tell we're working on "May I?" and "Please"?

Interestingly enough, he can ask spontaneously in Swiss "Darf i das ha?" [May I have that?] or "Darf i das mache?" [May I do that?])

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Shop 'til you drop

Small Boy. Saturday. IKEA.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Do I even want to calculate his BMI?

I've finally figured out why Small Boy strikes me as so darn skinny in spite of his regularly falling just shy of the 50th percentile in weight for his age group: he's off the chart - as in beyond the 100th percentile - for height. (Seems in the weight department I actually look at the charts whereas for height I tend to go "huh, he's pretty tall isn't he?")

Anybody know the German word for "bean-pole?"


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Great, I'm raising a literalist 2

Small Boy, calling from the next room: "Potato chips!"

Me: "Potato chip what?"

Small Boy: "Potato chips!"

Me: "Potato chips what?"

Small Boy: "Potato chips zum esse!" (Potato chips to eat)

Me: "The word I was looking for was please."

Small Boy: "Potato chips zum esse please."


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Let there be darkness

After two years of improvising, or just plain doing without, R and I ordered curtains custom-made for our bedroom in the new apartment. They fit the windows perfectly and are made from a "Verdunklungsmaterial" - extra heavy material designed to block the sun.

The verdict?

We are blinking idiots for not having done this sooner.