#MicroblogMondays: G is for glasses

10 days ago, SB got glasses. This wasn’t a complete surprise – she was referred to an ophthalmologist at one year old, because we (parents, pediatrician and well-meaning relatives) suspected she might be squinting. The expert actually disagreed, but in a vision test her eyes came back at +3 and -3. She said to come back in a few months, and if the gap persisted, we’d need to do something. In the spring, her eyes measured +3 and +4*,  so both farsighted. We got another “wait and see” appointment for September, but recently, her caregivers told me that they think she has some trouble seeing at near distances, and that she falls more than usual.

It’s something I find so hard to judge – most of the time I only see this one strawberry. Yes, she tumbles sometimes. More than others? I can’t tell. She can pick out details in books, but I’ve since read that children can compensate for farsightedness, making the problem harder to spot. But, between the observations of loving caregivers who see many toddlers and the ophthalmologist’s assessment, I called the doctor’s office again. They said that there isn’t much one can do with small kids but try.

So we took our prescription to the city’s child optometrist – where SB tried to put on a few frames and quickly decided this game wasn’t as much fun as it first seemed. I already got discouraged, but then she went back to the first frames she had tried – and kept them on. So we had our choice. Pink. Not the color or style her parents would have picked (“Don’t you want to try these Captain-America-colored-ones?”**) but as she’s the one who has to wear them…

Timing was rather bad when we picked them up – she was tired and wanted milk, plus it was pouring rain. She screamed through most of the few minutes of fitting, done by the  kindest and most patient optometrist I’ve ever seen. Once we left the store, she quickly pushed them off and wasn’t having any of it.

It didn’t help that H isn’t particularly supportive of the glasses. He’s been wearing glasses himself since  his teens – turns out he hates them. (I’m suspecting he may have been teased as a teenager, but didn’t press the issue.) He says he doesn’t find SB as cute with glasses on, which breaks my heart for both of them.

On Monday I dropped her off at daycare and put the glasses on her – and I’m told they stayed on for most of the day. For most of the week. Amazing. At some point after pick-up she still pushes them off and then doesn’t want me to put them on again. Overall, I’m glad she gets several hours with glasses at daycare, and I hope that with time she realizes they help her see better / more effortlessly. She’s a rather stubborn kid, and I don’t want to get into a situation where she pushes them off at daycare, too. On the weekend she kept pushing them off again, until sometime yesterday, when they stayed on for an hour or so.

Any experiences with toddlers in glasses? Please share :)


* I still find the change surprising, but I’m not an expert in how accurate these measurements are. The first was without atropine (pupil-widening) drops, the second with. Her glasses prescription is slightly lower than those measurements.
** She recently got a blue star-spangled onesie with red trimmings from grandma, and I call her Captain America when she wears it.

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#MicroblogMondays: and now for something completely different

Emerging from the black hole that is called “house hunting” – not successful yet, but we are narrowing down the choices. I didn’t realize this endeavor would be as all-encompassing as infertility treatments… We’ve had too many Sundays now filled with open houses, which are not too interesting for a toddler (although more often than not there are someone else’s toys in the house, and she loves to explore them).

Completely unrelated: some of my colleagues are running a relay in September, and I’m considering to join. It’s 5k for each team member. I’m not a runner, but SB loves it when I have to run for the train, so I figured I could train with her in the stroller… Any advice on where to start, what to do, what to avoid? I’ll tag Jane, Non Sequitur Chica and Theresa, as I know they are runners, but please all chime in. Our stroller is from Baby Jogger, but not an actual jogger (the City Mini GT). I’m hoping we’ll be fine with just fixing the front wheel, as I’m not planning to buy a jogging stroller (yet ;) I’m also not really in “couch” state as I bike to work and back every day, about 7.5 miles. Still, that doesn’t mean I’m in shape for running (running for the train has me walk rather quickly…)

Bonus unrelated picture:


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#MicroblogMondays: M is for Mother’s Day

This year’s was the first Mother’s Day in a long time where my reaction to the prospect wasn’t “ouch”, but rather “oh – we could go for lunch”.

I’ve been trying to articulate this in a facebook-suitable way, but not succeeded. It sounds like I have forgotten my mom and A&C. Most of you here will know that this is is not the case at all. But it does show how much things have changed. H and I were recently talking about how losing the twins seems so far away now. I think moving cities (and countries and continents) has something to do with it – there are very few direct reminders of them in our lives now. From small things like no embryo pictures on the fridge, because it’s not magnetic, to not passing the hospital or running into people we knew while I was pregnant with them – because that’s all an ocean away. But of course that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten – there’s just fewer triggers.

The actual day wasn’t all that great – we’re slowly starting a house hunting process (you really can’t call it hunting at that speed…), and open houses tend to be on Sundays. The first place would have been perfect if we had three little ones running around. But for our current family it was simply too big, and I’m extremely reluctant to buy something in hopes of adding several more kids to the family. It’d be so depressing to have those empty rooms. (Also, it was rather expensive.) Still, the weather was wonderful and the trip there and back wasn’t bad.

And then we decided to go and see another house, on the top of H’s list, but rather far from the city, which is why I wasn’t so keen on it. Neither of us realized quit how far out it was though. After spending more than an hour on trains and buses, we got to the village. And walked and walked, first through streets with houses, then fields. And eventually became suspicious because the dot Google was leading us to was in the middle of nowhere. Another map app helped us find out where the house should be, but it was too late to make it for the open house. Plus, I don’t think even the most amazing building would have convinced me to move out there, especially as it wasn’t cheaper as the big place we had seen in the morning.

And then we still had to get back home… So it wasn’t a great day. But, along the lines of Jane, every day I get to spend with SB is a good day.

And late at night I looked out the window and could see the C constellation, and a little bit of A.

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#MicroblogMondays: G is for global

I tried to pedal extra hard but didn’t make it before the light turned red. Somewhat annoyed I turned my head towards the window of the bookstore at the corner. They had a new series in the window, kids books about a monkey called “Peter Pedal”. It looked cute and intrigued me, especially as SB loves books – and we call her little monkey. On the way back I stopped there, and found out that Peter Pedal is none other than Curious George. (Who is not well-known in Germany, so I didn’t recognize the pictures – but at least the name sounds familiar to me now.)
The stories still seemed to be above my language level, so I picked a “word book” for SB. Upon browsing it again at home, I found the page about professions – segregated into traditional gender roles (perhaps not surprising, given that the books have been around for a while), but at least this will be the first of SB’s books in which not everyone is white. Okay, maybe not strictly speaking – she has a book about airports and planes in which there are two non-white passengers. Isn’t that sad? Many of these books were written far more recently than Curious George, and yet they show the “typical” family of mom, dad and 2-3 kids, all white. None of this matches statistics. SB’s daycare group is certainly much more diverse. I’d love for her books to just casually incorporate more diversity, too – with a black female astronaut and a two-daddy family. Does anyone have advice for how to find such books? I’m [currently] not looking for the explicit it’s-okay-to-be-different ones, but rather those where diversity is normal. I’ll ask a bookstore assistant next time I’m in Germany, maybe they have recommendations, but if you have any tips please share!
Of course it’s not just books, it’s often the same with toys. But there is progress – SB recently got a new pack of duplo lego with a lion and a giraffe – and a dark-skinned woman. (No idea what her “job description” is – fortunately kids toys for this age are rather fuzzy about that!) We named her Janine, after my Rwandan friend (who currently happens to be, after a long and difficult journey, expecting a baby via surrogacy).
And lastly, it’s not all about what the toy makers and storytellers want to show. One of the few TV series we were allowed to watch as kids featured a little viking, offspring of the village chief and often abroad the ship with his father and crew. And until adulthood I was convinced that it was a girl. Clearly nobody convinced me hard enough that vikings are boys ;)

#MicroblogMondays: L is for language

SB has clearly gotten to the stage where she understands so much more than what she can say.

Exhibit A:
Thursday morning. She wants to nurse/snuggle* and not let me go. I gently tell her that mommy needs to get up, and that she can either come to the kitchen with me and have breakfast and play with her toys, or stay in bed for a little longer. SB seems to consider the options briefly, lays back down and closes her eyes.
This was a first, and I wondered whether it was just a coincidence. Friday she chose to get up with me, but again without any complaints.

Exhibit B:
SB eats a snack, requests more, but then proceeds to smear her food across the table. I tell her that she’s a little pig. She promptly starts “grunting” (she can’t really, but it’s the sound she makes instead – every time we see a picture of a pig somewhere). This was the first time she made this sound without seeing a picture of a pig, so she clearly understands the word!

Some of the words (or “words”) SB uses are German, some others are Nordic. So far there’s only a handful that we can actually understand – most communication is handled through pointing and shaking her head and saying no to all the wrong items her parents pick up. But recently SB has made a lot of progress and I feel like she’s on the verge of having a much larger vocabulary. MIL keeps trying to speak Nordic language (which she doesn’t know at all, and which has a really difficult pronunciation) to SB. We have repeatedly mentioned that it’s German she needs more exposure to, not Nordic – she gets that in kindergarten 5 days a week. In a way, this behavior illustrates why I often struggle with MIL: she has good intentions, but her actions aren’t particularly thought through.

* she nurses all night long (or at least sometimes I feel that way), so I’m pretty confident she isn’t hungry for milk

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#MicroblogMondays: neighborhood walks

A new bakery opened up recently not too far from here, and conveniently just two blocks south of Frowny Girl’s place. Their pastries are incredible, as if straight out of France. Sometimes on the weekends SB and I get up early and take a nice long walk, picking up croissants and enjoying the quiet early morning scenery while H gets to sleep in.

Without SB I doubt I would actually get out of bed this early, even though once outside I really enjoy it. And one might even claim the extra steps (plus carrying her in the wrap) could help me lose the last few kilos of this pregnancy, and then those of the twin pregnancy – if it wasn’t for the pastries…


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#MicroblogMondays: rearranging

We had this awesome plan of hacking a Swedish crib into a co-sleeper and placing it next to my side of the bed – but it wasn’t until we had assembled said crib and taken measurements that we realized the room is literally 2cm too narrow for our plans. Briefly thought about switching our and Strawberry’s room, but that would have been a lot more work than what I feel up to… and fortunately by rotating the beds we have just about enough space. It sure feels like Strawberry Baby is rearranging her quarters, too.

A crib makes the anticipation of bringing home a baby soon even more real than the car seat or stroller. It’s also scary – the fear of the unimaginable pain of coming home to an empty crib is hard to ban completely. At some point, A&C’s blanket and hats were in the crib, underlining just how tiny our beloved twins had been.


Bonus picture: The crib mattress cover has stars! Which weren’t in the online description, but are always welcome.

Part of Mel’s MicroblogMonday movement.

#MicroblogMondays: stacks

Unfortunately the German books haven’t been translated, I think. Also note that “stillen” means breastfeeding and has nothing to do with stillbirth.

I wanted these because stars, you know. And because everyone raves about them. H was deeply sceptic about the need for burp cloths at all (he doesn’t have much experience with babies apart from holding one occasionally) but finally decided that Product RED is a good thing. So were both happy.

Part of Mel’s MicroblogMonday movement.