Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The "terrific" in terrific twos

So while we are still in the midst of the terrific twos and Emma does still spaz out (stomp feet, growl, lose her temper, pout and run away) some truly wonderful things are happening too.

Emma is a huge chatterbox! Talking is incessant at dinner, in the car, at breakfast, while playing - Emma is telling us about something or more likely how to do it or not. In fact on top of being a pipelette she is a bit of a dictator too; she often tells me to stop singing "arrête maman!" so she can listen to the music, tells me to finish my meal or asks us if we want more "encore salade Papà?". During the day, she'll command "c'est Papà/Maman qui fait" depending on who she wants bathing her, dressing her, etc.

On the upside of this, she is quite happy to chatter away in bed to her doll and animals if she awakes before we get her up and frequently does a solo repeat of our goodnight song should she not fall asleep right away. She gets very creative with this and once she has run out of names she wishes all sorts of things goodnight. Quite funny and freakin' fantastic as far as I'm concerned!

Another relatively new trait - or maybe it is appearing more clearly now - is that Emma is incredibly possessive; "meine Mummy!" "meine Papa" and "meine caca" are favorites. And, yes, "caca" is "poo" in our house.
She actually gets into verbal fights with "colleagues" from kindergarden where each one shouts out "meine Mummy" or "meine caca" (both have happened but with different friends) and it was incredibly intense. The mummy part was easier - both children's Mummies were present and so we could explain that each one had "meine mummy" but the caca? Why
on earth?
On the same subject, although Emma is still utterly disinterested in using the potty or loo, she now asks to see her "caca" in her nappy. Mmm. I wonder.

And what about the baby? Well, she understands that there is a baby lurking somewhere and most of the time she understands (or at least indicates) that it is in a belly. Only, she points to hers... So now, when we say goodnight to every family member at bedtime, she also says goodnight to Mummy's baby and to Emma's baby. Oh, and she also attributes one to her good friend Isabella on certain days, a sure indication of true love.

Yesterday was Tata yéyé's birthday and although we had quite successfully practiced singing "happy birthday to you" during the afternoon, when the time of the evening phone call came - no cigar. Below the filmed version over dinnertime just before Daddy got home.
Tata yéyé, I hope you will not be offended by the association with the "tomate" (tomato) and "assiette" (plate). As I mentioned above, Emma uses all sorts of vocabulary in her creative singing.

Enjoy the movie!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Morning sickness relief recipes

In order to celebrate us moving into the second trimester of pregnancy - supposedly the best of the three - and without wanting to jinx the hardly missed departure of morning sickness - I thought I'd share some of the tips others shared with me and that seemed to help.

Here's what I found helpful:

  • a non-menthol toothpaste (children's Elmex worked for me) if you're finding it hard to brush your teeth without gagging every other second
  • apples, apples, apples! (I kept at least one in my handbag at all times) they help relieve the acidity that makes you nauseous
  • ginger (in whatever form you find palatable)
  • grilled almonds and cashew nuts (a good snack to combat hunger which increases nausea and in my case the salt and proteins helped with the low blood pressure)
  • some kind of salty crackers or tortilla chips (I had soletti a lot) a friend kept some next to her bed and nibbled on some before getting up
  • peanut butter on toast
  • salty noodle or chicken soup - very soothing!
  • chamomile tea with a dry biscuit just before bed-time stopped hunger pangs from waking me up
  • small meals or snacks frequently to keep hunger at bay

Avoid whenever possible:
  • feeling hungry (makes nausea worse)
  • cooking (or being in the kitchen when someone else is cooking or making coffee)
  • the smell of coffee, fried food, meat and fish, mushrooms... and basically anything with a strong smell (changing nappies was torture - surprisingly pee filled ones were worse for me)

Second trimester here we come! Yay!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

12 week ultrasound and combined test

This week is an important one for us. We've just ticked off the 12th week of pregnancy (yay! yay! yay!) which marks the end of the proverbial three months or first trimester during which the risks of, well, issues are the highest. Also, hopefully, the end of "morning" sickness (yay! yay! YAY!!!!).

It is also in between week 11 and 14 that you can do the so-called "combined test" (a blood test and a very complete ultrasound which enables us to thoroughly check the baby for risks of chromosomal abnormalities without being invasive).

And so we did.

As I write, we know that our baby has a nasal bone (70% of Down Syndrome babies don't) as well as 10 fingers and toes, a bladder and liver, a stomach and a brain and spine that look just as they should. His (or her) heart beat was 167 per minute (fast is normal) and the arteries and blood flow were all fine. The little one measures 7cm and jumped for us which made me laugh and recall that Emma had done that too.

Here are some of the pics from this morning's ultrasound:

don't these look like Christmas stockings?
head, arms and hands from above

feet, legs and head (or bum?)
frontal view of head (moving) arms and crossed legs

Well, it does make things more real. And in a way, easier.

I keep marveling at how I cannot remember being worried in the slightest while pregnant with Emma. Carefree and confident is probably how I felt most of the time, especially once I knew we had a good Obgyn in Izmir and in Geneva, and simply happy to be pregnant.

This time around (since week 6) I have found it much harder and felt like it's actually something that needs dealing with (as opposed to a time to be enjoyed).

It's been hard not to make idiotic and superstitious parallels; I was happily pregnant with Emma, eating heartily and feeling great (until the last trimester anyway) = Emma is a happy, healthy, beautiful girl with a healthy appetite for food and life. Is this little one going to be a skinny, pale picky eater with a sulky mood? Oh, noooooo!

Although, according to hubs, my moods are much more even and rational this time (indeed, no hysterical laughter or mystery tears so far means he's finding it easier this time around) my lack of interest in food due to morning sickness and low blood pressure have made me feel weak and tired and really quite awful some of the time. Not something you remember with a smile. But oh! how I wish I could remember this pregnancy as happily as I do the previous one!
The good news is, there are still 6 months ahead and so, who knows, I might end up loving this pregnancy too.

The blood test results (the other part of the combined test) are due in this afternoon and I'm also getting my TSH levels checked again before seeing our Obgyn on Thursday for the 12 week check.

Monday, October 05, 2009

False alarm and imperfect muffins

Today shortly after I dropped off Emma at kinder garden at 9h and pottered off home to recover from a week-end of toddler-induced activity, I received a call from kinder garden telling me Emma had thrown up and was probably ill.

Emma on her way to school this morning

I immediately went to pick her up and was pleasantly surprised when she greeted me with her usual loud "Meine Mummy! Meine Mummy!" (my Mummy) just in case someone else were to claim me.

Her teacher informed me that she did not have any fever and admitted she did not seem ill (not in the slightest) but since she had thrown up...
After a few questions I gathered Emma had in fact thrown up while running around on the roof after breakfast in her fleece jacket in the sun (she apparently paused in her running to do this). I figured she probably got hot and choked up but just to be sure she was not coming down with the "abdominal flu" already contaminating some of her fellow kinder garden-goers, I took her home.

After a light lunch of soup and yogurt and a nap (still no fever nor vomiting) I decided we would stay in and try and make some muffins (enough walking to and around and from the Imperial Zoo on Sunday).

Admittedly, I had one of those "quick mixes" in the cupboard but I figured as a first cooking-at-home-with-Mum-experience it would do.

Emma's Stargroup class now cooks on Thursdays but so far, Emma had not been interested in the slightest -surprise, surprise- unless she can eat the ingredients...

I got her tiny table and chairs set up in the kitchen (there is no table in our kitchen) so that she could actually participate properly, got out the mixer, figured out the instructions in German , measured out the milk and checked that we had eggs and instructed Emma to lay out the muffin paper cups... Then, I realized I did not have the required amount of sunflower oil (we use Olive most of the time). Preggie brain = a lot less organized!

Off we went to the shop
on foot.

... So about one hour later (once we had named the colors of all the cars on the street, done some standing somersaults, tested the temperature of the shop windows -she literally touches them to see if they are hot due to the sun and announces "c'est chaud Maman" or "non, ça va", walked down a zillion stairs, collected some more chestnuts, sung Incy Mincy (wincy?) Spider and Frères Jaques) we finally got home and back to the muffin mixture.

Here are the pics. The muffin making actually went ok.

  • did inevitably eat some of the mixture and especially the chocolate chips
  • managed to get some of the dough mix in the paper cups (although she kept losing patience when it took a while to blob off her spoon resorting to waving the spoon off in another direction predictably leaving traces of the dough mix across the table and floor)
  • alternated ordering me to stop ("arrête Maman!" when I tried to scoop more mix on to her spoon) and complimenting me ("Bravo Maman! c'est bien!" when I successfully blobbed some dough in the paper cup)
  • enjoyed helping with some of the cleaning up (handing me the spoons and wiping her table) and being picked up to watch the muffins rise

However, when we finished eating dinner tonight and it was finally time to taste them,
she took one bite and said "gâteaux pas bien" (i.e. cake not good - although the correct form in French would have been "bon" and not "bien") and asked for yogurt instead. (Note that this is the first time ever that Emma has turned down a cake, biscuit or muffin and although I'm sure she enjoyed dinner I somehow doubt it was all due to a full tummy.)

After having tried them myself, I have to say; Emma definitely knows a home made cake from a "quick mix".