Wednesday, February 27, 2008

the nappy law

Every time I change Emma into a clean and fresh nappy, she poops.
Preferably while sitting on my knee.

Every morning, after naps and nappy changes I open the window to air out Emma's room. Wouldn't you know it?
Invariably, within 10 minutes of me closing the window she'll need changing again.

The morning moves on and soon we are all dressed and ready to face the Wiener Winter;
Emma has her purple jacket and pink hat on, I've pulled on my boots and coat and I'm about to slide her into her pram before she gets too hot and fussy (although I'm already melting in my gear). And then?
You've guessed it; as I lift her into the air I get a whiff of her bum and it's the nappy law all over again.

Back to her now sweet smelling aired out bedroom to the changing station...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Here we go again, AGAIN!

It's February 26th... We've been back since the 10th and although the workmen have kept out of the flat there has been ongoing work in and around the building resulting in sawing, drilling, dust and mud invading whatever peace and quiet is left by a teething babe in the daylight hours and most definitely making sure that the peace and quiet required for the said babe to nap is the rarest commodity.

Have a listen. I taped the below this morning from Emma's bedroom and from our front door on the top floor of the building while the workmen were on the ground floor

I have said, at least a zillion times now, that should things not be resolved in this flat we are moving out. Each time more desperately than the previous, yet hoping against all hope that things would be all fixed and that nothing else would leak or fail, that we would not have to move AGAIN. At least not until we know Vienna better. Not until we have a chance to get our lives organized with a nanny, a cleaning lady, and managed to get out and meet a few people. Not until spring; the moving season when other expats will have be moving to their next destination freeing up family flats in family areas near schools, kindergardens, parks and shops.
This time, coming back here after our break in France, we agreed that there would be no more lenience and that should there be a "next time" it would be the last.

Comforted by this, I was ready to move ahead and give Vienna a fair chance. So last week, I really tried to get my act together and make things better for us here. The sun inspired me so Emma and I checked out a different "highstreet" every other day in between errands, feeds and naps. A visit to a newly opened neighborhood gym club and finding Emma a great sitter, gave me something to look forward to and a sense of achievement however modest my accomplishments were objectively. Finally, a short family visit (in-laws) spread positive vibes in our flat; a pleasant change from the hoards of workmen who were the only other company we had had over.

Despite struggling out of bed this morning at 7am after a short night (Emma's teething kept me on my toes all of yesterday and by the time we got her to stop crying at 4am I was totally exhausted) my outlook was relatively positive; I was expecting the nanny/sitter K. and looked forward to getting out in the sunshine and mild spring-like temperatures, thinking finally we were getting somewhere.

Then it all went south.
I might have jinxed it all in my last post.

In a nutshell:

-out goes the nanny
it turns out her uni schedule for the upcoming term will not allow day-time work for more than an hour in a row, so there goes Emma's new lovely nanny. (She seemed nearly as sad as me and said that although she loves taking care of kids and Emma was sweet, it's important for the parents to be nice and that we really are.)

-the leaking, problematic, ill constructed "luxuswohnung" building strikes again
at exactly Emma's morning nap time, the hammers started up and I frantically ran out into the staircase with my hair wild and any hope of a morning nap of my own evaporating before me, only to find workmen knocking down part of a wall in the flat below us... Wouldn't you know it, a leak. And the culprit is our en-suite bathroom it seems. Workmen due at our place tomorrow AM. Lo-ve-ly.

I don't know what it is about this place but no matter the efforts we make, things just keep going pear shaped.

I think this pretty much sums it up:

Mur·phy's Law (mûr'fēz) Pronunciation Key
n. Any of certain humorous axioms stating that anything that can possibly go wrong, will go wrong.

Any ideas? a great nanny or maybe a nice flat to rent?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Teething Emma

Emma is still teething like mad -we seem to be in the midst of a three day peak- which means she is moody, grouchy, whiny and not sleeping nor eating in her usual fashion. The pain means she will try to bite and chew anything from the table part of her high-chair to my shoulder or nipple. Poor Mom Emma.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Things are looking up.
Yesterday after having decided that I needed to focus all my efforts in saving myself from new expat misery, I drafted a list of things I wanted to get done during the day.

My list:
drop Steph's trousers off at the dry cleaner's
buy a 2008 calendar
find a place that offers Body Balance or alternatively Pilates classes
call a baby sitter or two to arrange for interviews
get some fresh air and release some endorphin by going for a walk

Hardly ambitious when compared to what I would have done in an hour of my past life as a working girl, but today is now and even so I didn't think I would tick off half of it yesterday.

Guess what? I actually
-found a calendar in a shop where the owner was indignant when I asked if she only had this one ("you should be happy I already have one left") but I ignored her and actually found a whole selection of '08 calendars on one of her shelves
-visited a place about five minutes drive from here that has Pilates, Aero-Balance (apparently similar to Body Balance) and various other aerobic classes. What's more I negotiated a corporate rate (30% less) and no enrollment fee
-called a baby-sitter and arranged for an interview as well as placed an ad for a part-time nanny, evening sitter and cleaning-lady on a very useful website for parents in Vienna

Today, the said sitter pitched up. Late after she got lost, but she called. While keeping in mind that she was going to be looking after my most precious Em, (so her having a brain is not optional as it was for the cleaning lady who lasted 3 weeks before we fired her) I was also trying to be reasonable positive (nanny needs brain but does not need to be genius, if she were I would probably have to fire her for incompetency - mine- after 3 weeks).

Reminding myself that I really need someone to buy me ME time. Time to get out on my own and discover this town. Time to get fit again, or at least fitter. Time to meet some people so that I don't have to call another country when I am in need of a decent conversation (excluding hubs, but honestly most evenings neither of us is in shape for any kind of correspondence). I can be a good Mom, remain moderately mentally sane.

Turns out, someone must have been looking out for me today. I really liked the part-time nanny.
And I met a neighbor (we're no longer the only nutters to have moved into this disaster area construction site building). She's English and her name is Janet.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Me? Not in the slightest.
I only nearly sprayed
Rescue Remedy on my foot this morning. Why wouldn't it need as much rescuing as the rest of me? Mind you, it could have been worse had I sprayed the athletes foot spray in my mouth... Yuck!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Never say never

Who would have thought that I'd be missing Izmir?
Certainly not me during (at least) our first six months there!!!

But it's true, I miss Izmir.
Maybe 'cause I never got to properly say good-bye (I mean, I was all wrapped up in going back to Geneva to have Emma, so you can't really blame me for not fully realizing I was going to be moving again, and to a place I had never been to be before - my first visit to Vienna as a toddler does not count!)

I miss the sun!!! the mild 14°C winters and the blue skies (today it snowed in Vienna!)
I miss the green beautiful garden all around our house and the incredible colours and light

I miss the fact that there were hardly ever any traffic jams - although the turks are crazy drivers!
I miss sitting on the terraces of nice cafés chatting or gossiping with friends
I miss being part of a group of women like the International Women of Izmir (IWAI)
I miss going to Bostanli market on Wednesdays with the ferry boat and all the yummy veggies and fruit, olives and nuts that I used to buy there!
I miss Kemeralti Bazaar were I could browse around and enjoy a "çai" or a coke in the shade

I miss the spacious huge house we lived in (although I don't miss the nutty cleaning lady Hamide)

I miss delicious Turkish breakfasts and weekends in Istanbul or Alaçati

I miss walking Balou
around the flower scented grounds
when all I needed to do was slip on a pair of sandals and a light sweater (that would be a dream now with Emma, instead of pulling on her hat and fitting her hands and arms into a warmer coat or sweater before zipping her into her fleece nest)

I know, I know, you're thinking: "the grass is always greener..." right? But actually, no matter how unhappy and lonely I was in the beginning in Izmir, I never got nostalgic about Geneva. I never had moments of imagining Geneva and Vandoeuvres and missing our life there. I can't say that now about Izmir...
I guess maybe I wasn't quite ready to leave. I think maybe I had just began to feel at home there and I imagine that it would have been nice to return there with baby Emma and introduce her to the friends that were there during my pregnancy.

Also, I have to admit that unfortunately a lot of the good things about Izmir were lost on us for a while there in the beginning. It took us a long time to shift mindsets and stop wanting things to be smooth in the way we wanted them to be.
It took us a long time to stop fighting the way things were, a long time to appreciate the smiles and the effort and care less if the actual service/end-result was not always top notch. This in turn meant that we could not enjoy Izmir for what it was, and truly enjoy its positive if sometimes quirky sides.
A lingering feeling of untied knots....

Anyway, back to now: it would be good to spend less time wanting something else than what Vienna has to offer and be able to enjoy it for what it is before another semester goes by... even if discovering the city is made more difficult with a babe and the winter climate.
And if ever we return to a developing country again,
especially one with 14° winters, I'll be happy with the septic tank after Vienna's waters and winters.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Breastfeeding a babe with a tooth can be dangerous!

Hopefully we'll be gradually cutting out breast feeds in favor of more solids. So far potatoes and zucchini are favorite veggie purees and pears are by far Emma's favorite fruit.