Thursday, January 30, 2014

Feelings and faces

Maja left a comment about my speaking Icelandic with Henry, which I should totally do, and it turns out I had Feelings about it, so I wrote a really long comment, but maybe I could put it here instead?

I definitely should give Henry a chance to practise his Icelandic at home. It would help him, plus I'd have more of an idea of where his language skills are at. I'm a bit self conscious about my Icelandic, it's definitely not perfect, and I definitely have to think more as I'm speaking. And don't even get me started about writing.

Anyway, when the midwife was over last time, she went on for a while about how important it was that Henry learn Icelandic, and said that I should be practising more with him. Then the other day I spoke to one of Henry's leikskoli teachers about his two and a half year old checkup, and she told me off a bit for not speaking Icelandic at home (spoiler: she wasn't really telling me off, but I was feeling a bit oversensitive from hormones and lack of sleep, so I probably definitely cried a little bit in the car on the way home).
So that made me realise that although I know I should help Henry to learn Icelandic, I feel weirdly defensive when people tell me that *. Like, I want to argue with them and convince them that I shouldn't have to, when in fact I intellectually agree that I should.

* Not you, Maja! I feel like you are probably one of the people who best understands the situation, because you're also in it - juggling nationalities for the win!

I think maybe it was because they were comparing our situation to other kids - there's one girl in Henry's class whose parents are a German mum and Icelandic dad, and she speaks fluent Icelandic plus a bit of German (I think). Obviously that guy is happy to speak Icelandic to his kid, because it's his mother tongue. Icelandic isn't my first language, and when Henry was little I prioritised being able to express myself wholly and naturally over teaching him Icelandic. I think I resent the implication that it's more important for him to 'fit in' with the Icelandic kids than to bond with me.

And there's a weird Icelandic nationalism that grosses me out a bit, too. Yes, some amount of pride is good, but I feel like it sometimes gets a little too close to racism here, like Icelanders are better just because they're Icelanders. Ew. No.

And I also hate the implication that I just didn't think about it, that I'm speaking English solely because it's easier (although why would that be such a bad thing?)
I did think about it, and consciously chose to speak English at home for a bunch of reasons. I'd hate it if his teachers think it just didn't occur to me that he'll have to learn Icelandic at some point. 

Anyway, I'm glad I noticed my weird defensiveness, because there's really no harm in us practising a bit of Icelandic some of the time, and I think Henry enjoys it. Also because it's good for me to notice when I'm feeling a bit icky, and to figure out why exactly that is. I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but I sometimes get this anxious gut feeling, and my best method for dealing with it thus far is figuring out where it came from. And 90% of the time, it's something so little and stupid and un-worry-worthy, so it's actually pretty easy to reason the anxious feeling away. Whereas if I don't trace where it's coming from, I tend to just go around feeling vaguely worried for days. 


Whew! That got long! Here's some photos!

Felix and Ross

Slightly blurry, but such a good face!

Henry's still pretty anti-photo, but I asked him to make a dragon face, so he was into it.

Sleepy smile! I'm pretty sure it's just gas.

Ah, those photos were a refreshing change from the rant. So everything else is basically awesome. This week is Ross' last week of paternity leave for the moment, so that's a bit of a bummer. Next week I'll have to figure out how to take Henry to school with Felix in the car, but I'm sure it'll be manageable. I have been meaning to do a practice run all week, while Ross is still here to help, but even though Felix usually wakes up around seven-ish and I know I should get up, the temptation to stay in bed is waaay too hard to resist. May as well sleep in while I can...

Felix is still super rad, he's started sleep for a four to five hour stretch from around 1am, so I'm catching up on sleep a little bit. Mum comes round pretty much every day to help with bathtime and burping, and to lavish extra attention on Henry. His sleep has been a bit erratic lately, he's been waking up a lot more and wants Ross to stay in his room. I figure he's just adjusting to the baby, and he was sick last weekend, plus he may be getting some more teeth? Just a little bit of everything, but I think it'll pass with time. Anyway, apart from that he's great, still really loving and adorable with Felix and everyone. 

I'm feeling pretty good, still very much enjoying not being pregnant - the mobililty! The comfort! The unpasteurised cheese! I'm sure with a lot of distance, one day I'll reminisce about how nice it was being pregnant, but now is not that time. Oh, that reminds me, there's this post on Cup of Jo that rings pretty true for me at the moment. She's also had her second (and probably last) baby, and she writes about how she's kind of missing the tiny baby days, even while she's experiencing them. If you're into that kind of thing, read it, she says it better than I can.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

For science!

Today I got a random letter from, asking if I wanted to provide a DNA sample for their genetics research. You do it all yourself: fill in the disclaimer forms, take a little saliva swab and post it all back to them. And then you get a free t-shirt! The paranoid, 'reads-too-much-sci-fi' part of my brain thinks it's the first step to evil government cloning program, but on the other hand, FREE T SHIRT. Also helping with cancer research and stuff. Yay science? What say you, knowledgeable internet friends? Should I do it or not?

Poor Felix has a bit of a gassy tummy at the moment, so he's been making some grumpy noises now and again.  He's pretty chilled out the rest of the time though, so I feel like we're still winning. Amma came around to see him yesterday, and informed me that every time she's seen him, he's been asleep. He was, of course, asleep when she came around, and didn't even wake up when she shook the bassinet. She did the exact same thing with Henry, although this time she did stop short of actually poking the baby. Nice work, baby, good sleeping.

What else? Henry is supposed to have his two and a half year old developmental checkup (see also: Henry's 10 month old checkup) this week, but I'm not sure if it's going ahead or not. Apparently it's the midwife who does this one, and since she has been coming over to check on Felix, she brought up concerns about how Henry will do on the test. He's not really speaking Icelandic yet, especially not at home. I have a feeling he's using it more at school, because he seems to recognise situations where Icelandic is more appropriate (code-switching, yeah!), but that means that we don't really see firsthand how much he understands...

I'm not at all worried about the developmental stuff - he's supposed to stack some blocks, use past tense and plurals, and walk heel-to-toe, which are all things that I'm pretty confident he can do. It's just the language part of it, as he's supposed to follow instructions given to him in Icelandic, but surely that shouldn't be the focus of the test? I offered to translate, but she still seemed a bit hesitant about the whole thing...

I asked the midwife what happens if he flat-out fails, and she said 'absolutely nothing'. Given that she's seen him playing here at home, she saw that he's doing pretty well in terms of speech and imagination and coordination, so it doesn't look like there are any problems with how he's growing, it's just this Icelandic business. So we'll see, I don't really see the harm in him going and taking the test just to see how it goes. As long as there's no pressure, it might even be fun!

Okay, I need to go and eat something and maybe do some shopping before I go pick up Henry. I really need some meal inspiration, if anyone has any fabulous ideas to share?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Photo dump!

'Cause gee whiz, it's been a while, hasn't it?

Smiley Henry with helicopter

Christmas tree!

Christmas Ross!

Christmas Henry and Vicki!

And then I've finally got some pictures of Felix, too:     

I was going to caption all the above photos, but they would all have been variations of the word 'squishy'. Ross and I had a conversation the other night that went approximately like this:
Me: Wow, he's just such a great little squishy dude, isn't he?
Ross: Yeah.
Me: I can't believe how... little he is, you know?
Ross: Mmm-hmm.
Me: So... squishy...
Ross: *laughs at me and my foggy brain*

Henry is amazingly adorable with Felix, he just wants to touch him and hold his hand and kiss him all the time. It is the most cute thing I've ever seen, ever. He's adjusting really well, the only downside is that Felix has been waking up for a feed around five-ish, and Henry hears the noise and decides it's time to get up, too. Lucky for us we're both on holiday, but we may have to try to do something about it before Ross goes back to work.

Anyway, Baron von Squishypants seems like he might want a feed, so I'll head off. Will try to be more conscientious about photo taking and uploading

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hello 2014 - you are good!

Well well well, Felix is here!

I had a midwife's appointment on Friday the 3rd of January, and she said that she thought it was pretty unlikely that I'd have the baby anytime soon (my due date was today!)... Then Saturday morning, I started getting regular contractions, so we ended up heading to Akureyri around lunchtime - trying to take advantage of every single hour of daylight on offer.

The drive was pretty hairy, there was a blizzard at the highest point on the road, so for about 20 minutes we drove on a white road, surrounded by white fields and cliffs, the sky was completely whited out and we could see about two metres ahead of us. Ross drove pretty slowly and carefully for that stretch, and we made it through fine. I took a video, but you can picture it for yourself by looking at a blank sheet of paper.

Because we'd left so early, I was still in the pretty early stages when we arrived. They let us hang out in the lounge for a little while, then just checked us in - there was no way we were going to drive back over the mountain that night, and they had lots of space anyway.

Luckily, things kept progressing, so we watched some terrible TV and ate some dinner while we waited. And then there was the whole labour part of the evening - I had hoped that it would be easier the second time around, but I was trying not to get too set on the idea. And yay pessimism, because it turned out that Felix was in the same position as Henry was; I believe the technical term is 'skewiff'* So, many hours and ALL the drugs** later, Felix was born at 4.16am on Sunday morning, 54cm long and weighing 4.25 kg (over 9 pounds, and 17 marks in Icelandic baby measuring units***).

* That's not the technical term at all.
** And not just drugs! I also tried acupuncture - it felt super effective for exactly one contraction. On the plus side, that's one less contraction that I had to deal with... I also had laughing gas, which was pretty nice. And a bonus of the gas mask was that it made me less self conscious about swearing loudly, which can have pain relieving effects, yes? At the time, I hadn't really decided whether or not I was going to get an epidural, but I did, and it was heavenly. I figured this is probably going to be our last baby, so I decided to treat myself!
*** Why so many baby measuring units? Weird!

So yeah, I'm pretty pleased that that part of it is over. We stayed in the hospital until Monday lunchtime, again trying to take advantage of all the daylight. Luckily the weather was a lot better on the way home, so we had a relatively easy trip (says the lady who didn't have to drive, and also managed to catch up on most of the missed sleep from the weekend.) Henry had stayed at Vicki's Sunday night, so he came home after his nap to find Felix already home with us! He gave the funniest deep chuckley laugh, and told us that he was cute. It was the best.

This week has been lovely. Ross is off for a month, so we've just been hanging out at home and, dare I say it, relaxing? Henry was a pretty easy baby, so I figured we were due for a screamy one, but Felix has been a really chilled out dude so far. He sleeps so much! I had forgotten how much time newborns spend sleeping. I think it also makes it easier that we're not as worried about every little thing,
Everything just feels like it's going smoothly... Felix is feeding well, Henry's not too jealous, and I feel like my recovery time was a lot shorter this time around. POSSIBLE TMI: I think I lost quite a lot of blood when Henry was born, so I felt really tired and anaemic for a while after - you can actually see the grey tinge to my skin in a few of the photos. This time I feel mostly great - still a bit tired, but bearably so.

What else? Oh yeah, having said that everything is way easier this time, today was a bit tricky because Henry picked up the stomach bug that's been going around... Poor Ross got up with him at 3am. I felt somewhat guilty about that, but when it comes down to it, I am the source of food for Mr. Tiny, so it made more sense for me to look after him while Ross looked after Mr. Slightly Bigger But Still Quite Small. So far, the rest of us seem to have missed out on the bug (touch wood), so hopefully Ross can catch up on sleep tonight and we'll all be fine tomorrow!

I think that's all for now, I have many stories of cuteness and some photos to share, but I should also try to post this before Felix grows up much more. All is well here, hope you guys are having an equally awesome year so far!