Back in Germany!

After a wonderful time in the U.S., we are back home. It feels good, though I really enjoyed our time together as a family.

We were in Atlanta for two weeks and then we had the opportunity to travel a bit. We spend one week in Savannah, one week in Folly Beach (only 15 minutes from Charleston) and a couple of days in Myrtle Beach before visiting friends in Columbia, SC. It was such a blessed time and I am very grateful for it. I will post some photos as soon as I have found the right cable to transfer them from the camera.

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Made it!

We made it to Atlanta!

Travel wasn’t too bad. A friend of ours volunteered to drive us to the airport early Saturday morning. The flight from Munich to Frankfort was completely uneventful. Little C. slept through her first flight ever just fine.

We had enough time to change terminals in Frankfort and even had some breakfast in the Lufthansa lounge. When we boarded the next plane, C. started to become a bit tired and cranky. Initially, we didn’t have a bassinet for her. Sitting on my lap she couldn’t relax enough to fall asleep.

Surprisingly, however, the purser greeted us personally (wow – do they learn the names of their passengers by heart?!). She offered to make us change places with the two guys in the front row of the compartment. That was awesome! We got a baby bassinet and C. immediately fell asleep in it. She slept for an hour!

Then it was our job to entertain her for the next couple of hours. Not too easy! My husband and I took turns. Admittedly, I never had so much exercise on a flight ever before – walking little C. up and down the aisles, meeting other restless parents with little ones, changing diapers, getting hot water, heating baby food, singing silly songs and so on. During the 10-hours-flight, little C. maybe slept in the bassinet for two hours altogether. But we could also use it to have her sit in it and play with some toys which was really funny to watch.

When we arrived in Atlanta at 4.15 p.m. local time (which is 10.15 p.m. German time), we quickly got our luggage. We took a bus shuttle to one of the domestic terminals and from there the Atlanta public transport (called MARTA) to Buckhead which is located north of midtown Atlanta. I have no idea how long it took us to figure out which transport to use, where to go and which tickets to buy. It felt long though and exhausting. Maybe, because my husband and I were both a bit stressed and tired by that time. We worried about little C. because she seemed to be tired out and her front fontanel was quite sunken in (a sign for insufficient intake of fluids). We had a bit of a hassle with our luggage, too. (No surprise because we had to handle two big suitcases, one small suitcase, little C.’s car seat, two backpacks, the buggy and little C. herself in the ergo carrier).  The climate (hot and humid) didn’t really go well with our autumnal travel attire either.

Fortunately, the hotel had offered to pick us up at the MARTA station in Buckhead. We arrived at the hotel at 6.30 p.m. local time which is well after midnight German time. Without any further delay, we put little C. and ourselves to bed. What a relief!

The night was short and we were the first at breakfast! Then we took it easy and just walked to a nearby Target to get some groceries (in particular baby food). It was lovely to feel the sunshine on the skin!

In the afternoon, my husband’s course met for the first time. I unpacked the suitcases, organized our room and tried to entertain little C. without her getting into everything. Yes, she is starting to crawl! To be honest, I have mixed feelings about that. The carpet in our hotel room isn’t the cleanest…

On Monday I checked out the area by foot (we don’t have a car for the next two weeks). I still have to find out, whether there are any parks or playgrounds in walkable distance. Maybe I will be able to use MARTA to get around as well. However, first, we (and little C. in particular) need to overcome our jet lag. For that reason, I try to go outside with her as much as I can. Poor husband, who has to sit in a windowless classroom all day long!

Well, I just looked out of the window… it suddenly rains heavily… maybe I need to get rid of my concerns and let little C. attack the dirty carpet. Can’t see another way to keep her happy.

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Travel preparations

This week was a busy week for our family:

1. My husband’s birthday was on Monday.

2. Tuesday we had our anniversary.

3. We travel to the U.S. tomorrow.

The trip was only scheduled very recently, i.e. two weeks ago. Fortunately we got a quite decent flight (though without baby seat; don’t know how this will work out). To be honest, I am bit nervous about the journey. We will fly from Munich to Frankfort (only a 40 min flight) and from there to Atlanta (ca. 10 hours). And of course, there is the to and fro from home to the airport, between terminals and from the airport to our accommodation.

Wednesday I went to the city office to fetch little C.’s passport. Her “old” children’s passport (only two months old ) had to be invalidated because we travel to the U.S. and she needs an “adult” passport with biometric data. A children’s passport can be updated (the picture, the height etc.). An adult’s passport can’t. A children’s passport costs 13 EUR. An adult’s passport costs 37 EUR (plus express fee of 32 EUR). We got pictures taken twice. Just ridiculous…

And then I pulled together a packing list and started packing. Wow, that is different with a baby! I am still not sure whether I can bring baby food into the U.S. or not. As I couldn’t find out, I pack some baby food for the first couple of days. If the U.S. don’t allow for it to be imported, I trash it. Hopefully this won’t be necessary though.

Please pray that we have an uneventful, good flight and a good acclimatization.

Have you got any last-minute tips for traveling by plane with a baby? Or which U.S. brands of baby food to choose? And of course I would be very grateful to learn how to best help the baby with the time zone changes! Thank you so much for your comments!

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Learning the word “no”

I think that we have reached a stage in which little C. needs and wants to learn the word “no”. She is nearing eight months now, moving around more, grabbing everything, and putting it in her mouth.

I think that it is important that she is able to experience her environment, get to know things by touching, smelling, and putting them in her mouth. However, I think that it is equally important for her to learn that she is not allowed to touch some particular items (e.g. the toilet brush, adult books, or the phone) .

Why do I think that she needs and even wants to learn the word “no”?

During the last couple of days I have noticed the following situation: She crawls towards a particular item – such as the toilet brush (while we are in the bathroom to empty the washer). She then stops and looks back at me to see how I react.

I quietly say “no” to her and move her into a different direction. She seems quite content with my reaction and happily starts to take an interest in a different item, e.g. one of the toys or household items that I consider safe for her.

She more and more starts to look for my reactions. It gives her security that I either encourage her to check out an item further or say no and guide her to something that is okay for her to play with.

I recently ordered a book by Claudia and Eberhard Mühlan which explains that the following three parenting strategies are useful and legitimate for the crawling stage:

1. Accompany the baby with comments (commenting the baby’s actions in a loving way i.e. encouraging or forbidding as described above)

2. Patience and consistency (repeat the same procedure patiently and consistently teach the baby that an item is off-limits )

3. Distraction (offering the baby an alternative, e.g. a toy, to avoid unnecessary confrontation)

The authors, however, encourage that parents shouldn’t avoid any confrontation. In particular, if the baby provokes a power struggle, parents should follow through and teach the baby that it has to obey mommy and daddy. I am not yet sure how to recognize a power struggle in this age. But perhaps one recognizes it as soon as it happens?!

(Source: Mühlan, Das große Familienhandbuch, p. 222 -223; also available in English under the title “The Wellfamily Handbook”)

Experienced mommies, do these strategies for babies the crawling age work? How does a power struggle look like in this stage? Any further tips for first-time moms crawling babies?

Verlinkt bei Mein erfolgreiches, kleines Familienunternehmen.
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Into trouble for the first time

Today little C. got into trouble for the first time.

Yesterday while cleaning I did accidentally put her playpen next to our Ficus. This morning I put C. into the playpen because I wanted to take a shower.

First I heard her usual babbling. Then it got quiet. Without thinking I just intuitively went and looked what she was up to.

I found her very occupied! She had somehow crawled to the furthermost corner of the playpen and reached trough the bars plucking the leaves of the Ficus.

Note to self: Make sure that Ficus and other plants are always out of reach.

Any tips on childproofing an appartement plants-wise? Or do you teach your children not to touch any plants? How do you make sure they understand and obey?

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Eating on her own

This is how C. looks like when trying to eat on her own. It is a new skill!

And with this step in developement, she finds it pretty uncool do be fed. Therefore any attempts have the following outcome:

C. laughs, Mommy laughs too. And cleans. But I love it!!! Not the cleaning though, but us laughing!

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Why I love hand-me-downs

I love hand-me-downs. Not only for my little one. For myself as well.

My mother recently gave me a lot of t-shirts and a couple of skirts. A friend offered me a couple of lovely blouses – she only asked for a more or less symbolic price because I insisted to pay. And several other friends gave me kids cloths. Some as a gift, some against payment.

Why do I love hand-me-downs and consider them a blessing?

1. Someone else does the shopping!

Usually I am not in a shopping mood. To be honest, sometimes I have fun to shop. But most of the time I don’t. I am just not a shopping kind of girl – never was. Therefore I am glad that I do not need to do the clothes hunt.

2. You get a present and a surprise!

Hand-me-downs are presents. Who doesn’t like to receive presents? Even if they come unwrapped and simply stuffed in a plastic bag! I am always exited to see what is in that bag! I love to sort through the things and to find nice combinations with clothes I already have.

3. Hand-me-downs keep me connected with the person who offered them!

Whenever I put on something handed down by someone, I think lovingly of the person that gave it to me. And I love that!

4. Most things were already loved and have a history!

That is not only true for clothes, but also for toys. Most of the toys we have for C. are from friends’ or neighbours’ kids. One mother for example gave me some lovely, but battered children’s books. She told me how her children loved these books. I can already see that C. is going to love them too!

The same is true for a toy that I would never have bought for C. I would never have imagined that it is little C.’s favorite toy.

Do you feel blessed by hand-me-downs?

This post is linked at “Mein erfolgreiches, kleines Familienunternehmen…“.

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Exhausted from eating

Sometimes C. falls asleep while being spoon fed. So cute!

And such a luxury!

How many kids are starving physically, emotionally or spiritually? How many kids don’t have a loving mother watching over their sleep after being fed because they are orphaned. It breaks my heart!

Do you sometimes think of all the deprived kids when you look at your little one?

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550-Pound WWII Bomb detonated in my Hometown

On Monday a 550-pound WWII bomb was found just 2 km (1.2 miles) from our home Munich. Authorities evacuated thousands from the densely populated area where the bomb was found. Others (in a wider protective circuit around the site where the bomb was found) had to stay in their homes or offices. My husband was caught in his office as well and couldn’t come home.

Due to a dangerous chemical delayed-action detonator the bomb couldn’t be defused but had to be brought to explosion. The explosion took place yesterday night. It was a loud bang and quite scary. You can see pictures here (link to the online edition of the local newspaper).

My grandfather often told a story from WWII: He helped to evacuate a hospital in Krakow. Carrying down the last patient into the basement the hospital got hit by a bomb. Both, he and the patient, were thrown down the stairs. The house collapsed and everyone was buried in the basement. My grandfather often told us about the sounds of the approaching airplanes, the dropping bombs and the explosions.

I was reminded of that yesterday evening. It must have been awfully scary for the civil population with hundreds of thousands of bombs dropping down in those bomb nights.

Only one patient died in that hospital that day. All other patients and helpers were digged out a couple of hours later. My grandfather often said that he felt like having received another life.

Yesterday’s explosion caused material damage due to the blast (e.g. broken windows) and burning debris. Praise the Lord that nobody was injured and that most residents could return to their appartements.

According to newspaper reports, tens of thousands of unexploded bombs are believed still to be lying in the ground in Germany. Several of them have chemical fuses that will go off one day.

Do you have similar threads in the area where you live?

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After the Birth

Reading the birth story, the birth of little C. sounds like a breeze. It wasn’t of course. However, it was blessed and I am glad and thankful that the hospital made an all natural birth possible. There was no medication, no CTG, no pressure timewise, no rushing and running in and out of the delivery room.

The baby was put onto my chest immediately after it was born for bonding reasons. My husband cut the cord. We stayed together in the delivery room for nearly two hours. Then, the midwife realized that I kept loosing more blood than usual. To be honest, there was a huge amount of blood everywhere. I was rushed into the surgery, while little C. was cleaned and dressed and put into my husband’s arms.

Recovery went well (though another surgery was necessary a couple of weeks later due to the so-called placenta accreta).

I came home with C. on the 18th January. It was a beautiful, sunny and very cold day. We walked home from the hospital.

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