We flew alone all the way around the world. And we were fine.

So, we’ve officially been in the US for a week. We’re settled, we’ve unpacked our suitcases. We’ve visited Target and eaten more tacos than you can shake a stick at. 

 

With a week behind us, I’m sure you’re dying to hear the gory and sordid details of my heroic trip across the world with two children in my sole and solitary care, right? Every tantrum, every diaper blowout, every eye-stinging hour of exhaustion.

 

Well, actually the trip was fine. Totally fine. No big deal (okay, sort of a big deal, but still completely okay.)

 

Stella and Hugo and I flew together with Mr. Chef to Singapore the day before our big flight. We were looking at a 6 hour layover in Changi, a prospect that filled me with all sorts of nope. So we decided to go a day ahead and make a little mini pre-vacation vacation out of it. 

 

We enjoyed an extraordinarily over-priced but nonetheless delicious dinner (Singapore, why do you eat all my dollars??) I had a sleep-in in a gigantic hotel bed (my last for months!) and we went down to Gardens by The Bay for some pre-flight splash pad fun.  

 

Mr. Chef headed back to the airport to catch his flight home, and the three of us gulped some big gulps omg are we gonna be okay alone? 

 

I was mildly terrified at the prospect of flying alone with two kids. I wondered how I’d stay awake and functioning for 36+ hours. How I’d handle Hugo’s morning all over everything diaper bomb. How I’d manage Stella’s need for constant motion, unending pretend play, and never never never sleeping.

 

It turns out we were totally fine. More than fine. Just great.

 

Both of our long flights (12 hours and 8 hours) more or less corresponded with our body clock night time which meant the kids slept. The long layover in Frankfurt airport meant that we could stretch our legs, play a bit, and eat a pizza. 

 

It turns out that you actually CAN carry a diaper bag, a backpack, pull a carry on suitcase, and your child’s carry on suitcase, while wearing a baby and pushing a four year old in a stroller. It’s a little hot and sweaty, but totally doable. 

 

Also, babies who actually sleep also sleep on the airplane which is a major win in my books.  

 

And, lo, with the passage of time kids grow up and become more capable of sitting in a seat for an extended period of time. A four-year-old traveling companion is so much more relaxed than a three-year-old, which again is infinitely easier than traveling together with a two year old.

 

And so, as is almost always the case, a lot of worry for naught. We were totally okay. And everything worked out. (Expect for day two jet lag which was a total and utter shit show, the likes of which I never want to relive. Ever. More on that later. Maybe?) 

Annnnnd, We're OFF!

 

We're embarking on our grand summer adventure first thing this morning. We've been looking forward to this trip for months (slash, I'm also terrified because jet lag and solo parenting and did I mention six countries, three continents, and so many airports?)

Anyway, I really want to be a good blogger and document this trip for my own memory keeping purposes, buuuut, generally I'm terrible at keeping up with the internet while I'm away from home. I will likely, however, do a slightly better job at Instagramming (okay, bragstagramming) my adventures in trying not to lose my mind on negative 18 hours sleep in airport number four, while carrying twice my weight in children and luggage. So you can find me there @expatriababy if you're into that sort of thing.  

Next stop, SINGAPORE! (Wish us luck.)

 

The Pre-Trip Jitters

 

Summer is here. School is out. And, in expat circles, it’s that season again. Time to make the yearly pilgrimage home. It’s that trip to reconnect with family and friends, visit beloved childhood landscapes, eat all those familiar delicacies unavailable in your home across the ocean, and give our children a taste of what life in their passport country is all about.

We’re about to depart on our own Odysseus journey. But this is no mere jaunt across the Pacific. No, we’ll be gone on a two-month, three-continent, six-country adventure. And, PS, I’ll be doing the majority of this trip as a solo traveling parent.

 

To say that I’m thrilled and excited and totally thankful is somewhat of an understatement. But to say that I’m also not crapping my pasts would be a total and utter boldface lie. 

 

I’m not particularly worried about the flights. This is not our first time at the long-haul trans-continental rodeo. I know flights are generally long, boring, uncomfortable, and sleepless. But there are good parts. But they end.  

 

I am worried about jet lag, but I’m not ready to talk about that because holy crapballs, I just can’t even think about the weight of two jet lagged children at three am when all I want to do is zzzzzz. 

 

I’m going to focus my anxieties on the logistics and the practicalities. Like, exactly how many shirts are enough shirts? I want to avoid having to stretch that baby-barf covered, ice-cream-smeared, snot-stained tee just ooooooone more day until we reach laundry facilities while not bringing everything everything everything because I’m a little worried about how I’m going to manoeuvre everything everything everything through an airport along with two exhausted but nonetheless adorable ratbags.

 

And how, exactly, do I pack for three different climates? Especially since a certain baby I know owns nothing warm and the polar vortex is descending on the great lakes region, and hi, that’s where I’m headed.

 

And what will I need in the overnight bag / carry-on bag? What if my milk peaces out mid-flight (I’ve been having supply issues after food poisoning round deux)? And why do bottles take up so much room? Do you have to sterilise bottles when your baby is five months old? How do you transport formula?

 

I’m finding myself up at night fretting about such critical issues as, “Um, how do I carry one baby, a diaper bag, a backpack, the carry-on suitcase containing all the diapers, and my child’s carry-on (of which she will no doubt tire of pulling) my camera, my computer, annnnnnd a stroller through Frankfurt airport when it's like, five AM body clock time? By my self? Anyone?

 

So, obviously I’m channeling all of my anxiety and nervous energy into online shopping. Because buying ALL THE THINGS will obviously solve my packing problems, right? RIGHT? (Don’t argue with me.)

 

PS, if you have any great tips about packing and traveling with bottles and what is critical inside the airplane and what can go in the hold, I’d love to hear them.

 

Shaking Hands in Indonesia {Friday Faves}

Sometimes, on occasions delightful and uncommon, I sneak away for a few hours and sit in a cafe with my book or my computer. 

Regardless of whether I’m producing words or consuming them, I spend a lot of time looking up, stealing glimpses of life going on around me. I watching people working, catching up, chatting, meditating with a coffee, and discussing million dollar business on a Tuesday morning. I love watching the comings and goings of the advantaged of this vast and diverse city.

One of my favourite things to observe is the way people in Java greet each other. Two people meet, they catch eyes, smile softly, and offer each other a hand to shake. Each then touches his right hand to his chest, welcoming the other’s greeting into his heart.

This greeting, it’s like an acknowledge of the unmistakable beauty in each of us, and it makes my heart swell each time I witness it. It's one of many beautiful gestures of kindness I've witnessed since moving here.

 

So, now tell me something you love about where you live.

Ten on Ten

I'm becoming more and more wedded to the idea of memory keeping. As Stella grows further away from babyhood it becomes increasingly apparent that those moments which felt so vital and central to my being, those "I'll remember this forever and for always" times that seemed as though seared into my brain, fade with time until I can hardly remember how old she was when she started laughing or how we passed the long afternoons together when she was not yet sitting, and still a little colicky.  

I love the idea of a Ten on Ten, a little visual peak into our day. I love the idea of looking back on these pictures four years from now and remembering the rhythm of our days, what it felt like to spend my time with these two little people on a June day when Stella was newly four years old and Hugo was just four months old. 

Inspired by Ronnie, her love of memory keeping, and and this great project, I'd like to put these pictures together in a book, with stories of our days and months, what our seasons looked like, and how it felt to live here, a young family together in Indonesia. 

And, um, apropos of nothing, I'm realizing how difficult it is, really, to take pictures of an infant when he's either in my arms, or tucked into his crib, and we alreay have a million sleeping Hugo pictures, so, sorry Second Child Syndrom? 


::One:: Brushing teeth, with a late start this the morning. And actually, it was about nine o'clock before I remebered that was ten on ten day.

::Two:: I'm undergoing a major closet re-org. Out with most, in with freshly dry-cleaned duds.

::Three:: A trip to the grocery store where Stella likes to "measure" the fruit "by my own". So, OKAY!

::Four:: I've started mandatory after lunch story time as a time to relax together and ensure we get our reading time in each day. So far it's going well. 

::Five:: An unexpected rain storm put the kibosh on our plans for a pool afternoon.

::Six:: Instead we played in the corridoor with the neighbour boy.

::Seven:: And then the sun came out after all. For a brief moment. It was thunder major time right after this.

::Eight:: Oh hi, Hugo. Sorry you have no photos.

::Nine:: Dinner in the day's last light.

::Ten:: With both kids asleep, it's time for me to eat dinner, do a little computer stuff. 

::BONUS!:: And head to bed too. GOODNIGHT! 

Happy Tenth!

Linking up here

Four.

My best girl turned four. FOUR! I'll just join in the chorus of every other Mamalady blogger who ever put words to screen and say I can't believe she's four. Wasn't she born yesterday? Where does time go, etc etc.

Because really, nothing I could write in the space of a blog post could ever really encapsulate what this girl means to me. My whole world changed when I became her mum. She's my all and my everything, my heart beating outside my chest, my lovely lady with auburn curls and the deepest brown eyes. 

The other night while I was tending to some important Ice Cream Making Business (!!!) Hugo slipped out of his bouncy chair (perhaps because I hadn't done up the seatbelt, because of haste and the above mentioned ice cream business? But this is the high judgey court of the Internet, so I'll never tell.) Anyway, Stella noticed him slipping, ran straight to his side, and caught his head before it hit the marble floor. And that's just the kid of kid she is: observant, watchful, careful, loving, and always always ready to help her little brother. She's an amazing kid, this one. And I get to be her mum.

 

 

Newborn baby Stella in the NICU in Japan // Stella celebrates her first birthday by shoving cake into her face, which is really only reasonable // Stella celebrates her second birthday at Ohori park in Fukuoka, Japan // Stella's third birthday in a swanky hotel in Singapore // Stella's fourth birthday at our kitchen table, where she announced that the cake I had made was "not very yummy, it's crunchy and yucky." But then she ate it anyway, so. 

Everything and Nothing


I used to steal moments of time, curled up in bed with my laptop while Stella was at school. I used to find pockets of time tucked away between the children’s bedtime and mine. I used to come to my computer in the quiet of the evening or the softness of the late morning, and write. 

 

Now these moments are spent doing everything and nothing. I’m tickling toes, wiping tears, and changing diapers. I’m cleaning out the pantry, in an endless campaign to keep the weevils at bay. I’m running to this embassy or that office, filling out paperwork, determining the correct person to whom I must make the right payment. There’s school drop-off, playgroup, groceries, and in between “Hi we’re here to fix that drain, mend that shelf, and pest control is here too, and oh, you had plans? Well we’re here and we must do it now now now!”

 

And now I’m shouting at my kid, now cuddling on the bed, now praying that nap time will run five more minutes, so I can just finish this one last thing. Then I’m spinning in the kitchen wondering exactly what I’ll make for dinner, and yes, sweetheart, I’ll play ‘estaurant-‘estaurant with you in just a sec, I just need to put these dishes away, and cook the veggies, oh wait, and change that diaper, and answer this text, and just sec just sec just sec, until bedtime. 

 

There are days that are placid, and I uncover a hidden handful of minutes, but then I’m in the living room holding on to the baby with my every and my all, for fear that letting go of him will let everything around me tumble to pieces.

 

I haven’t been finding those moments to write, or put away the laundry, or finally dig my desk out from the piles of paper that gather there before the light has gone too grey, and dinner is on our faces, and bedtime lurks just around the corner.  

 

I want to find my way back here, and tend to these words on my screen, these pictures in my archives. I want to carve out a few moments of ‘estaurant-‘estaurant (yes, I’ll have a cup of tea and an imaginary nasi goreng,). I want to return to giving high fives to my internet friends. I want to practice my craft, and write down my days, and remember what life was like the Spring after Hugo was born, when the light cast golden stains on our walls each day at 4:38 pm and when life was so full of everything and nothing, and amidst the chaos, I’m standing in the living room holding the baby as the day’s last sun spills into our tiny home.

 

May Day. Labour Day.

 

We celebrated May Day yesterday with plans to host six adults and seven small children in our 90 square meter apartment. 

 

Hugo gently fussed through the pre-dawn hours, and I woke to discover an inadequate diaper and soiled sheets. The traffic circle in front of our building was blocked with thousands and thousands of demonstrators, bullhorns and base blaring. The road leading to our place was choked with busses carrying protestors, bringing traffic to a standstill for kilometres and kilometres.

 

In my kitchen, the tart shell shrank. I burned the veggies. I didn’t have enough eggs, or coffee cups, or chairs at our table. 

 

The skies, which had been clear, began to cloud over and threaten rain. I thought to myself, the signs don’t look good. This might just turn into a disaster. 

 

But it didn’t. We ate. We drank. (BREAKFAST WINE!! PS, It’s a thing!) We laughed and lounged. We cooed over babies and told stories of living. The kids played, and swam, and made messes, ate, and played some more. They found the iPad and shared it around. There was not one squabble amongst the seven of them. 

 

Somehow the day came together, lazy and long, and perfectly lovely. I had cooked for a crew. I tidied the house. I organised a gathering, and accomplished it all with a little baby on my hip. 

 

The first of May marks Labour Day. And Hugo’s three month birthday. I think it was fitting. A small celebration to close the door on the “fourth trimester,” the labour of the newborn days is behind us, and we welcome a new phase. Life with two kids. A new normal. Getting out and living again.

 

It was a good day, the best kind. 

Keeping The Peace in the Far East

 

Today we had a little girl over to play. As she was leaving, we suggested that she might like to give Hugo a kiss good bye. Stella, meanwhile, objected. Quite vociferously. “NO HE’S MUY BRUDDER!!” And brothers are not for sharing, and certainly not for kissing by other small children. 

(Okay. So. Dead. Because, ADORABLE.)

And mostly this is how their relationship goes, Stella and Hugo. He is captivated by everything and anything she does because she’s a big kid and he so desperately wants to be a big kid. Plus she’s the sweetest, and quite honestly, I’m captivated too. She loves her brudder, and is quite sure that he is HER baby, and “Mama, wet me howld him, wet me touch him, wet me kiss him, why he sweeping? AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH, *screams* oh, wook! He’s awake! Goodie. Wet me hold him, okay? OKAY?”

So, most of the time things are peachy, if slightly over touchy and under nap-y, in our sibling relationship. 

But, curve ball: Hugo has just learnt how to use his hands. (Believe me, my salad bowl never saw it coming.)

So now, instead of one-sided wrestle-snuggle-fests, Hugo is an active participant, throwing out the odd scratchy hand, or grabbing a little side of face, or a handful of hair.  

And Stella gets UPSET, dismayed that her beloved brother would actually scratch her face or pull her hair, or otherwise inflict bodily harm. She doesn’t get that these are not calculated acts of violence, but rather nearly random movements by a person barely in control of his body. 

So, to keep peace in the far East, I always make a thing of telling Hugo to be gentle, or give him a light scolding for hurting his sister, or ask that he apologise. But other than that, I’m quite clearly out of my depth here.

 

How do I protect my girl’s feelings while getting her to simmer down just a bit about the whole HE PULWED MUY HAIR! stuff, because geeze, he's just a baby!

 

Suggestions? Please?

(Also, please note, these pictures are not staged. I just simply can not keep this child away from her brother, period then end. And okay, one more thing, I kind of love that.) 

 

What's Your Mum Talent?

We went to playgroup at my friend's house this week, Stella, Hugo and I. When we arrived, the children scattered, while the mums sat around the dining room table, admiring the Easter cookies decorated in muted shades and trimmed with the most delicate icing. The room was dressed in its Easter finest; seasonal pillows, an Easter tree; a bowl of hand painted eggs. It was lovely, a cultural beacon offering up remembrances of springs long ago when snow melted, crocuses pushed through the dirt, and families came round. 

I thought, then, of my own house: no freshly baked cookies; seasonal ornaments still packed away in the storage room upstairs; no pastel springtime craft; no bonnets, no baskets, no cotton ball bunnies.

In my imagination, however, I had crafted and baked and educated my children about the cultural and religious significance of the holiday. In my imagination there were hot cross buns, hand dyed eggs, and Easter dresses. 

But in reality, it’s Good Friday, and I have done exactly none of the above. Instead of searching Pinterest for preschooler craft ideas, I’ve been passing my days at once incredibly busy, and unbelievably idle, running around Jakarta and lazing on the beanbag chair with my three-year-old.

And this year, for once, I’m glad of that. 

It’s not my lot in life to be a maker of cotton ball crafts, a baker of seasonal treats, or a festooner of mantels. Nor am I the kind of mum who always has a change of clothes, a pack of wet wipes, and a well-balanced snack at the ready. Instead, you’ll find old receipts and loose change from three countries ago rattling around the bottom of my diaper bag (whether or not I actually have a diaper in there is questionable). I won’t be on time for playgroup, I have no idea when my daughter’s school breaks for Easter Holiday, and don’t ask me which vaccines she’s had, because damned if I know. I’m not crafty, bakerly, or particularly organised. That’s just not where my skills, interests or, frankly, talents lie. 

Instead, I hop on a train in a developing country, dragging along my pre-schooler and my one-month-old baby. I traverse unworkable sidewalks with a kid under each arm. I hail taxis, take public busses, and occasionally, hop on the back of a three-wheeled tuk-tuk. I travel down the coast of China with only my one-year-old as company. I fly across the oceans alone with my girl more times than I can count on two hands. I’ve backpacked with my two-year-old, missed a train and instead caught a bus of questionable road worthiness on the side of the road in the back of beyond Central Java, with minimal fret or upset. I’m a mum who’s not afraid to open the front door and get right out into our wild and wonderful world, with my kids along for the ride. 

I've started to think that every mum has a set of skills and talents that that shape her children’s childhoods. Some mums create magical holidays; some are expert memory keepers; some make artful pictures of their children; some create birthday treasures out of thin air; some are unbelievable crafters; some make beautifully healthful family meals; some create engaging educational activities. And me? My mum talent getting out there, traveling, seeing, and doing together with my kids.

So this Easter, we don’t have decorated eggs or actually any easter eggs to speak of now that I think of it. But I’m not going to feel fault for that. I am not going to wish pastel garlands or spring wreaths. Instead, I’ll organise a haphazard easter egg hunt (random Indonesian candies instead of eggs, okay!)  and hold close those memories of taking Hugo on his first train jouney at eight weeks old. And that’s just the way it is, and, actually, the way I like it. 

 

Now how ‘bout you? What’s your mum talent? And how are you embracing it?

A master stroke of parenting genius. Or Something.

So, this morning. This morning I fed one kid. Bathed one kid. Got the little kid dressed. Made breakfast. Fed myself and the other kid. Showered. Got myself dressed (makeup!!!!) Put the little kid down for a nap. Made the mis en place for dinner. Got the big kid dressed, hair done, teeth brushed, medicine taken. Packed snacks and school bags. Cut up some fruit for later. Picked up some toys, and wiped down some surfaces. Nursed the baby, then off in a taxi by 8:30 for school drop off. 

 

No tears were shed (well, a few baby tears, because come on, let’s be real here), no threats uttered, no shouty mummy moments endured. We got out the door and got to school on time like we’ve been doing this our whole lives. 

 

And I mean, it’s not a big deal, right? It’s just a mother caring for her children, meeting their daily needs with a reasonable degree of calm. Millions of mothers do this day in and day out. Feed the kids, get them dressed, and off to school.

 

But for me it feels like a master stroke of parenting genius.

 

Last time around I had such a hard time coping with the daily demands of a colicky, sleepless newborn, while transitioning into my new role as an at home mother in a new country in a new language. I never felt in control of our days. I really worried about doing it all again, but this time with a high-need big kid in the mix. 

 

But here I am, handling mornings, or taking both kids to lunch in a restaurant, or walking through the mall carrying one kid in the sling, and one on my hip and feeling like, yes. I am doing this. I’m competent and confident in basic childcare. My children are happy, And I’m happy. And I’m doing this. And it’s totally major.

 

(Please note, while we can successfully get through the morning or eat lunch in a restaurant, this is not a bragpost. My beds are always unmade, I haven’t vacuumed in donkey’s years, my email inbox is about to explode, there are toys everywhere, and I have yet to leave the house with an adequately stocked diaper bag. So.?) 

Wisdom re. The Wisdoms

I had two of my wisdom teeth out last week. And can I just tell you it was exactly as terrible as I thought it would be. I actually said to myself during the procedure, “I’d rather be in piton induced labour right now!” And considering exactly how fresh those memories are, I think we can all conclude one thing: OMG OUCH EVER AGAIN. 

 

Anyway, this whole ordeal left me with a few new nuggets of wisdom, which I will impart here. You are welcome:

 

If you are going to have two of your teeth yanked out of your head and you also happen to have two very small children at home, make sure that your mother is visiting because you will not believe the shortness of your temper when you’re on day three of an all liquid diet and the kids just won’t stop touching you, and the baby bashes you in the face  for the fourteenth time due to his wobbly neck. You’ll really need a nap. Grandmothers can facilitate that. 

 

It is best advised to not go to a gallery opening the night following wisdom teeth extraction. You will be terrible at small talk (ps tales of wisdom teeth extraction do not make for effervescent anecdotes), your face will be gigantic, and you’ll feel compelled to explain to EVERYONE about your wisdom teeth just so they don’t think you’re naturally fat faced and lopsided.

 

The one up side of oral surgery is that you can drink milkshakes three times a day with impunity. FAnd when you order a smoothie for breakfast only to discover that it’s actually a vanilla milkshake with strawberries thrown in, just dump in a whole lot of chia seeds and call it a health food. 

 

Do not get your wisdom teeth out when you are breast-feeding. You will want the good drugs. Tylenol just does not cut it. 

 

Despite the fact that the dentist and dental assistant converse in a language you don’t speak, you’ll be able to tell that things are going South when the assistant exclaims, “unintelligible unintelligible OH MY GOD!!! unintelligible” and then the dentist follows a short time later with, “ITS A MONSTER!!!” (I am not even joking. This happened. And then I had to have a bone graft. And the dentist said, “Next time you’d better be unconscious.” And I cried actual tears because see above re. tylenol. 

Kid Life 365 {Week Five}

 

Thirty-four: Hugo day two. Is there anything better than watching your partner hold your baby? I think no. 

Thirty Five: Actually, okay, maybe watching your child hold your baby. We came home from the hospital after spending two nights there, and while getting out of the hospital was about as challenging as crossing the Sahara (more on that later, hopefully) it was so good to be home.

Thirty-six: Making time for big-kid cuddles. 

Thirty-seven: I basically can't take a picture of Stella without Hugo in the frame. Wherever he is, so is she. To say that she is thrilled with her new baby is a gross understatement. 

Thirty-eight: Sleep smiles. One of the many things I had forgotten about the newborn stage. And, PS, they are every bit as delightful the second time around.

Thirty-nine: Hugo's coard stump healed. We celebrated by offering him his first bath at home. It was a resounding success. We've got another water baby on our hands!

Fourty: Well, little Hugo Bear, you sure do look adorable when you're sucking your thumb. 

+++

I'm slowly getting around to editing, processing, and filing my photographs from the first few weeks of Hugo's life. I've decided to take on two 365 projects; one for Stella and one for Hugo. I'll post a collection of each of them here, a highlight roll, so to speak. I intend to use my DSLR camera exclusively of this project, but let's be real, the first few weeks of newbornhood, when you're drifting in a hormonal haze of exhaustion, and your says are filled with poop, and spit-up, tears and mastitis, a certain degree of grace in the form of iPhone photos can be extended, right?

Also, I'm wondering if I might post pictures one-by-one rather than in a collection? Because then I might blog more than once a week, and might write thoughtful accompanying text? But I've already started it this wan and um, important decisions are haaaaard!! 

 

 

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Kid Life 365 {Week Four}

Twenty // Listening to the baby; "he says dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum."

Twenty-one // Quiet time, becuase Mama needed it.

Twenty-two // Sleeping over in my bedroom because of a nasty cough that just won't quit. 

Twenty-three // Getting a physio treatment for that unending cough.

Twenty-four // An afternoon playdate with her "best fwiend."

Twenty-five // Saturday afternoon at the pool. This kid just WON'T allow for her face to get wet, so creative methods of encouraging pool jumping need to be found.

Twenty-six // Baby love, and now with hindsight, an excellent foreshadowing of how she'll love on her brother.

 

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Pregnancy Update: Week 40 {Done. So Very Very Done.}

I’ve been having false labour for almost three weeks now. Sometimes it’s just run of the mill Braxton Hicks contraptions. But sometimes, and especially in the past week, it’s call the doula, pack your hospital bags, stock up on gatorade, clutch your abdomen in pain type of contractions that happen every eight minutes and last for 16 hours. Only to fizzle out and leave you tired and sore in a pool of disappointment and frustration.  

 

 

Needless to say, I’m so over this.

 

It’s one thing to be uncomfortable, crampy, and contractiony when I’m on my own. But it’s a whole other circle of mum-guilt hell when there’s another kid involved. Basically all I want to do is lie in bed, eat cookies and drink ice cold water from a mason jar while watching episode after episode of The Good Wife.  But I have a child to feed, entertain, and enrich, and sadly she’s just not interested in hanging out with the electronic babysitter all day long. She wants to play pretend. Every day. Always.

 

And yesterday it kind of all came to a head.

 

It was our Monday Lady Date Day, so I took Stella out for fancy cake. But I was short on patience, and the most I could muster was a half-hearted game of restaurant-restaurant while we ate our cake.

 

We got stuck in stop-and-stop Jakarta traffic on the way home, and I capped off little outing by snapping at my poor girl, who was intent on playing midwife-midwife in the back of a taxi “OMG I JUST CAN’T RIGHT NOW PLEASE JUST DON’T TOUCH ME MUMMY CAN NOT OKAY JUST STOP!!!” And that may or may not have happened more than once. Because. Aggggghhhh!!!!

 

Back at home I thought I could make up for my cranky mummy mood by agreeing to feed Stella pancakes and maple syrup for lunch, and sure why not? I’ll let you be independent and pour your own syrup…oh shit, so, there goes half the bottle of imported spendy like gold syrup all over your plate, oh well, there’s no saving it now, I guess I’ll just let you eat your syrup with a little pancake on the side. I mean, oatmeal kamut pancakes, that's like a balanced meal, and, really, what’s the worst that could happen?

 

And that is how you end up, 39w6d pregnant, besieged by false labour, and the sole adult responsible for a pre-schooler literally bouncing off the walls, beds, floors, all flat surfaces, in fact, on the sugar high of her life. 

 

And so I called my husband home from work to look after our frenetic sugar addled child, fed her room service for dinner (again!) and then cried so hard at my failings as a parent and my asshole uterus that I literally made myself vom. Oh pregnancy. You're really a peach, aren't you. 

 

And now, for what had better be my last pregnancy update.

 

How Far Along:

40 Weeks. Today. OMG. DONE.

 

How Big is Baby:

Baby Boy is measuring about 3.3 KG. Which, if you ask me, is big enough. SO, YOU CAN COME OUT NOW.

 

Movement:

Things are getting pretty cramped in there, but not too restricted to throw some nice pokey knees and elbows at my right ribcage!

 

Total Weight Gain:

I don’t even care any more. A lot. Probably close to 25 kg. In the past couple of weeks I’ve just been like, okay! finish line in sight! I’ll eat all the things, and also my feelings. Which taste like an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies! And you know what? I haven’t gained any weight since about 37 weeks. Contrast that with my first two trimesters wherein I ate nothing and basically gained a third of my bodyweight. Eff you, pregnancy, you make no sense.

 

Sleep:

Well, I know many of your pregs really don’t sleep at all in the final weeks, and also I know full well the all night human milk buffet shift that is waiting for me on the other side of this, so I really shouldn’t complain. {but it's what I doooooooooo}I will say, though, I’m developing a superhuman ability to sleep through contractions, and if things continue like this I’ll probably be able to be unconscious during transition. So. 

 

Maternity Clothing:

Ahhhhahahahahaha! Isn’t that cute? You think I actually put clothing on my body at this stage? Nope. It’s all leggings and sweatpants, all the time. And I feel like I should feel bad about that since I live in a super fancy hotel, and there are appearances to keep up and stuff. But nope. I don't. 

 

Cravings:

Not being pregnant. Ice cold water. Chocolate chip cookies. Bed. DVDs. Zero responsibility. Not having to play midwife-midwife. Silence. Hibernation. 

Linking up with Erica and Toi. Better late than never, right?

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Feathering

I'd like to think of myself as a doer. I want my lists long and my days full. I want out in the thick of it, messy traffic and all, seeing, doing, tasting, hearing, fingers in everything, outside, alive.

And I'd like to think of myself carrying on like this, despite a swollen belly or new babe in arms. I'd like to think of myself that way, especially, in opposition to local traditions that keep women (feeble they are!) confined for their pregnancies and cloistered during the first postpartum weeks. I'd like to think of myself as separate and apart from that. Stronger. More vibrant. 

Except, I'm not. 

These days I have little desire to open the front door. My territory doesn't extend much beyond my bedroom. Days and days of rain keep me at home. False labour has slowed my pace. Little projects, even computer-based ones don't much interest me. 

These days a pot of soup on the stove feels like a coup. A few answered emails are a triumph.

I'd rather be feathering my nest. I'd rather stay in bed wehre I whisper secrets with my girl, and play "sleeping party" under the blankets. A cup of tea on the bedside table, messy sheets, and a dvd playing on my laptop is about all I want.

And I'm trying to be okay with that. 

Finding Maternity Clothes in Jakarta {Pregnant in Indonesia}

So, you know when you’re in the final weeks of pregnancy, and you’re outrageously enormous, nothing fits and that one, last maternity top that you’d been relying on since forever has basically just quit because, nope, can’t handle it? And you feel like a real asshole because you spent weeks 16 through 32 thinking you were rridiculously gigantic, but actually you were comparatively tiny, and why didn’t you just appreciate that time because here you are, for the eleventh straight day in leggings and a tee-shirt with 2 inches of underbelly peeking out?

 

Yeah. Hi. I’m having a fashion crisis.

 

I was aiming to get through pregnancy more comfortable and inspired. I told myself that this pregnancy I’d do a better job of, like, styling the bump <— (excuse me while I barf a bit, I hate that phrase.)  I was thinking something like this:

 

 

Help! I have a bump crisis.

 

PREORDER ARROWS HEATHER
1.445.455 IDR - blockshoptextiles.com

 

 

 

Earrings
anotherfeather.bigcartel.com

 

 

 

 

But alas, my miserly ways, and the dearth of nice maternity wear in Indonesia have conspired to make me a yoga pants preg. Again.

 

Indonesia is a great place in which to be a preg for many reasons (hello, cheap and wonderful prenatal massages!) Sadly, though, these perks do not extend to the maternity wardrobe. Most maternity fashion tends tent-like with bonkers crazy prints, which isn’t really what I’m going for when I’m already ginormous. 

 

So, imagine my delight when I discovered Maternity Exchange, a Singapore-based online shop (they have a brick and mortar store in Singapore) that specialises in maternity and nursing clothes, as well as some pretty essential baby items. They ship to Indonesia. And elsewhere within Asia, too! They also carry many foreign brands that I previously thought were just totally out of my geographical reach. 

 

(Aside: One strange by-product of being a pregnant expat is the insatiable yearning for all sorts of material goods that just happen to be unavailable in the country in which you live. This leads to lots of self-harmy online obsessive window shopping, passive aggressive heavy sighs as your husband walks into the room while you’re stalking yet another baby swaddling device, and the occasional crisis wherein you buy some extravagant something *totally necessary absolutely required for the baby* and then pay about triple the cost of said *can’t live without* item in shipping and customs fees. Yes?)

 

I ordered this little number, which has served me for all sorts of occasions big and small, and I’m thinking will just carry me right through the sartorially disastrous postpartum months, too. 

  

barefoot and pregnant. in jakarta. keeping it classy.

I ordered this dress off the Maternity Exchange website, and the process was seamless. (And I'm somewhat of an expert when it comes to internet shopping. Ask my husband.) Shipping was fast and efficient, (though the dress did get held up at customs, which can occasionally happen in Indonesia because gah! Pos Indonesia, come on you guys! Maternity Exchanged provided me with a tracking number which allowed me to trace the package easily. My experience is that a customs delay is more the exception rather than the norm. )

 

The dress was in my hands in no time though, ready to solve many a fashion crisis. (For example, what to wear for Christmas lunch? This dress. What to wear for New Year's Eve Dance Party with a three-year-old? This dress. What to wear to playgroup when nothing else fits? This dress.)

  

And now, basically, if I’m not wearing leggings and an ill-fitting t-shirt, I’m wearing this.

 

So, if you'll excuse me, I’m off to do some more “pretend shopping.” Today’s mission is to quell my colic anxiety by stalking swaddling devices. Pretty sure I might *accidentally* order a Woombie. Or a million.

 

Shop at www.maternityexchange.sg and enjoy free shipping to Indonesia with orders S$300 and above!

 

(Disclosure: Maternity Exchange sent me a dress free of charge. All opinions are my own.)


I think i've forgotten how to blog.

 

I used to come here and write my words down on the screen. But now, if it’s not pictures, and it’s not pregnancy, I just don’t know how to write it. Six months ago it was nauseous exhaustion. 

Now, thoughts are too hurried. Fingers can’t type out stories, they can only google “pre-pre-pre-labour signs” and “second pregnancy shorter?” and “how to tell if labour is near.” I can concentrate only on tabbing through endless images of totally essential minimalist Scandinavian baby accoutrements: leggings with the perfect understated modern esthetic; plush toys of the softest, quirkiest alpaca, and whimsically tasteful objects d'art. The simple monochrome brings order.  

 

And now, tonight, with my husband in Singapore and my girl fast asleep, I have the time to linger here, but all I want to do is go cocoon myself in the white sheets next to my sleeping big girl and prepare for the varied and sundry ways in which our life will be turned, ever so gloriously, upside down. 

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New Year's Eve in Jakarta

 

New Years Eve! What a wild time we had (if your definition of wild equals being unconscious by 10 PM, than wild it was. But these are preg lady rules, so.)

 

Stella and I decided to make a night out. We roasted a chicken and had a candle-lit dinner, fancy napkins and all. Then, we headed down to the hotel lobby to “See da people singing at da big party.” 

 

 

I wasn’t sure how Miss. Stella would react to “da big party” as she’s not usually one for noise, and boy was there a lot of noise that night. But, this kid was in her element. There was even (an excruciatingly long) moment where she rushed the stage, and got up right in front of the performers and started singing along with the band. I mean, you guys, she was doing do-wop arm movements. And dances. And singing along to songs she didn’t know into a pretend microphone.

 

I was doing my very best to give her stern and disapproving looks, and insisting that she GETDOWNFROMTHERERIGHTNOW but I failed utterly, because I was too busy trying not to pee in my pants from laughter. And I mean, come on. The whole thing was just utterly delightful. 

 

Mr. Chef was working on New Year’s Eve, such is the curse of the hospitality world. And my goodness, what a long night it was for him, and then he was back at it first thing in the morning before Stella and I had gotten out of bed. But, I guess it was a good thing he was in his whites for the night as I did need to send a mayday text his way to help me wrangle a certain someone off stage.

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