Hurry up, slow down! 

Tomorrow my son will turn one! This means that he has been a part of my life for almost 365 days. This amazing little boy who lights up a room with his smile, who loves music, is very ticklish, has a very relaxed personality and who loves water as much as his big sister. Every day I get to know him a little better. Every day he reveales more of himself. I love seeing him grow and I can’t wait till he masters whatever it is he decides to learn next. My bet is on walking, although saying Daddy shouldn’t take too long either. 

Some days I feel torn between wanting him to hurry up and grow and wanting him to slow down and stay a baby forever. The newborn days seem long gone. Those amazing early skin to skin sessions where it was just him and me and it felt like nothing else mattered. Rubbing my nose on the top of his silky smooth head in the middle of the night. Watching him sleep like only newborns can, so at peace, so totally content. 

Other days when parenting and life get in the way of things, I want him to hurry up. No more waking in the night for a feed. Being able to tell me what he wants. No needing to bring nappies and prams and goodness knows what else. So many things that are still to come. Some good, some perhaps not so, but all part of his development. 

I feel lucky to be allowed to observe his wonderful process that is growing up. I feel lucky to have both my children in my life, that I get to be the Mother of these two. They fill my heart with joy, with love and with happiness. 

So tomorrow I will live in the moment. I won’t hanker for the past, nor look to the future. 

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Bulkhead

I really did feel sorry for the poor guy sitting next to us my our last flight. He looked so pleased when he sat down in his seat. He must have thought that he had a great seat with a bit of extra leg room. I suppose he did have the extra leg room. What I am sure he didn’t count on was that he would be sitting next to a Mum with a toddler and a baby… It started well with only a small delay so I thought it would be a good idea to quickly breastfeed the little pirate. Soon after I finished feeding,the little mermaid threw up. I managed to catch most of it in one of those little bags and I felt quite proud and in control. Look at me, flying alone with my two children. My smugness however was soon to be squashed. I kept the little pirate in the baby carrier during take off and halfway through he vomited.not just a little bit of spit up, but the whole entire feed.  As I didn’t see this coming (he is not a pukey baby!) and as he was facing outward it went mostly over the baby carrier and my trousers.  So before the seat belt sign had even been turned off both my children had been sick. I was stuck in my chair with vomit on my shoes until a very kind stewardess came to my rescue and cleaned me up a bit. The seat belt sign was still on and as I was also still waiting for the bassinet to put the little pirate in I wasn’t able to do much. The smell of vomit hung in the air and I could see the guy next me slight recoiling. I apologised profusely, but let’s just say that this flight was probably all the birth control this guy would need for a while. If before this flight he’d been thinking about the pitter, patter of tiny feet in the future,  he was now faced with the reality of parenthood and  I could see him swearing to himself that he would never ever have such disgusting tiny humans of his own. Thankfully the children slept for most of flight. The little mermaid woke up a few times to throw up some more and the little pirate repeated his performance during landing, however this time I was ready and caught it in one of the many little bags I used on the flight. Suffice to say I was very happy to get back down on the ground!

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The magical healing powers of a Cinderella plaster. 

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Nothing to make you feel fully integrated as an expat as going to an ER in your new home country. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The nurses who did the triage worked very hard to get through patients as quickly as possible and the nurse who cleaned the little mermaid’s toe and helped the Doctor was great too. As this is Dubai and a private health care system she was seem by an Orthopedic surgeon which seemed a little overbearing as she doesn’t have a fracture, however it was nice to be reassured that her toe will heal. 

The little mermaid has a really big ouchie on her foot. She managed to get her little toe caught in a bicycle chain. This resulted in a trip to the emergency room. My little girl was so brave and thankfully I had a full pack of Princess plasters in my handbag. Did you know that both Ariel and Cinderella have much greater healing powers then even the strongest painkiller?  Just one of those pink beauties made all her tears dry up. Why is it that the placebo effect is so strong in small children? You bump your head and a magic kiss from Mum makes it all better. Your life is over, but wait here is blueberry to fix it all again. I know these magic fixes will stop working as she gets older, but for now I’ll take them  and as it’s going to take a few weeks for her toe to heal I’ve stocked up on some more pink princess plasters. 
  

My Loves

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I never finished my last blog post. I started it just and then had to leave for my appointment with the gynecologist. 10 minutes after arriving I was booked in for an induction as few days later.

On Sunday 30th August our beautiful little boy Lucas Theodore was born. He is currently napping next to me and as his sister is asleep upstairs so I actually have a few minutes to get back into blogging.

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Like anyone who is about to become a Mum for the second time I was worried. How was it going to be possible to love this new baby as much as I love my little mermaid. Surely there wouldn’t be enough space in my heart? Thankfully there most certainly is! With the extra love also comes the guilt. How can I take care of both of them? Give them attention when they both need it and basically split myself in two? In combination with all my hormones those first few weeks were quite tough. One of the things that really helped me though was when a friend pointed out that I have actually given my children a great gift, the gift a sibling. Someone who will always be in their life, and more importantly I have give them the perfect person to complain about me to!

Suitcases galore.

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There is lot to found on the internet about travelling light. Anyone who is an expat and especially those of us that have children will know that travelling light is distant memory. We recently arrived back to Dubai as a family for three with 135kg of luggage. My parents have now started taking us to the airport in two cars. Once we’ve arrived we need assistance from a porter as there is now way that Mr Mermaid can fit four suitcases and a prampack on one trolley while I wrestle with the handluggage and the Little Mermaid in her pram.

Some of you are probably asking how do you manage to take so much stuff without paying extra. The answer to that is to fly with Dubai’s biggest airline. They have a 30kg per person luggage allowence and that goes up to 42kg if you are silver. Next to that you need to travel with a toddler. As she had her own seat she had her own allowence of 30kg plus you are allowed to take a prampack as well. Technically this should contain a pram, or a car seat but they don’t really check. Ours was filled with a Tripp Trapp highchair, an extra base for the car seat, a kidsit which is a buggy board with a little seat on it and tons and tons of dirty laundry. The other four suitcases contained clothes both for the Little Mermaid and for her little brother who’s on the way, toys, Dutch things such as cheese, souvenirs, lots of children’s books and goodness knows what else.

Then there was also a fair amount of handluggage. I never seem to get it right when flying with the Little Mermaid but would rather overpack then underpack. A Cares harness, Nappies, snacks, toys, clean clothes, dummies, ipad, headphones and water are all essential. Ever the optimist I always bring a book too. Goodness knows why I haven’t been able to read on the plane in years. If I am lucky I get to watch one movie and see the end of it. For me a pram is also essentiel. We have a YOYO ZEN and it one of those super compact prams. It’s so small that once folded up and put in a bag it is allowed in the overhead locker. I know that you are usually allowed to bring your pram to the plane and then they put it down in the hold, but once you arrive you won’t see it till you get to the baggage hall. Emirates provides prams in their terminal which is fantastic, but I have never seen them anywhere else. So once I get off the plane all I need to do is fold open the pram. wrestle the toddler in and I’m off!

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Expanding!

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Expanding!

I am ashamed to admit that this is my first post of the new year and it’s already March! Now in my defense I have spent much of the past few months developing my own personal relationship with the toilet bowl… I am pregnant with a new little Merperson and that first trimester really is quite tough. I’m not complaining as it is also such a fragile period and so many things can go wrong so I try to take the puking and tiredness in my stride. Now that I’m in the second trimester I can see light at the end of the tunnel and although the nausea and vomiting have not stopped, they at least now take place mostly in the morning. Not quite sure why they still insist on calling it morning sickness as for the first weeks it was more like all day sickness!

Mr Mermaid and I are very excited and we’re looking forward to meeting this amazing new addition to our family after the summer excellent planning or our side; . The little mermaid doesn’t understand much about what is going on yet. But keeps pointing at my tummy boobs and saying baby. She also displayed some excellent big sister qualities recently with friend’s babies. She is an expert at feeding although is rather tempted to take a couple of biter herself too. She was also very concerned when our friend’s newborn started crying and immediately came to grab my hand demanding that I fix it.

Like most Mums having a second baby I worry about if I’m going to be able to love this second one as much as I love the first one. I worry about if I will be able to give both of my babies the attention and dedication they both deserve… Thankfully I have some more experienced friend’s who have already made the transition from one to two and they have put my mind at ease. I am just going to have to trust them!

Once again I am experiencing  how important it is to have good friends during a pregnancy, especially when you are far away from family. I am so glad to have all these people surrounding me. Your offers of help, your listening ear, your advice, the books you lend me, the things you recommend to me.  I am very grateful for all of it, but mostly I am grateful to be able to share my joy over this tiny new being with you!

The Schizophrenic Christmas Shopper

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Christmas is almost here and and it is during these last few days before the main event that I find myself going through a myriad of emotions while walking through any of the one million supermarkets that I will need to visit to make sure I have everything.

On the one hand I worry about do we have enough; how many roast potatoes will we need, how many sprouts, how much meat. One the other hand I start to feel resentful about needing all this stuff. Do we really need to buy this much food?

In short the answer is, No we don’t! The long answer however is that I am feeding 5 adults and a mermaid on Christmas day and 20 adults and three toddlers on boxing day. I could just make a big pot of chilli or lasagne and be done with it, but then it wouldn’t be Christmas, would it? So I’ll make a list as long as my arm checking it twice and make handy use of the fact that the supermarkets will be open on Christmas day.

I find that here in Dubai I really have to try and force myself to get into the Christmas spirit. When I look outside my brain shouts: Summer! And coming from the Nothern Hemisphere that does not include Christmas. So in order for me to get into the spirit I find myself playing Christmas songs, watching Christmas movies, drinking mulled wine from Christmas mugs and trying to put as much of Christmas into my days as I possibly can. It’s slowly working. I’m excited about the little mermaid opening her gifts, I’m looking forward to spending this special time of the year with some of the most special people in my life. I’ll miss my family, I’ll miss the cold and wet weather and I’ll miss the smell of fresh trees and holly. It’s good to remember what it’s really about though and that is, being with people that you love.

Merry Christmas to you all.

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Clean up in aisle three please!

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I’ve just come back from what should have been a simple quick dash to the local supermarket. Alas it turned out to be a rather stressful and almost disastrous outing. I can feel the sweat running down my back and need to take a shower the fact that it way probably 45C in the parking lot doesn’t help. My arms hurt and not from carrying shopping! No, the reason I am feeling rather harassed is my very cute, very curious, very social little mermaid. At just over 16 months she is no longer content to just sit in the seat of the trolley. No problem I thought, I’ll just pop you in the trolley itself and you can sit down. Bad idea, we nearly ended up with scrambled eggs. She opened a packet of steak and tried to lick it, she sat on the bread and attempted to throw the rest of the shopping out of the trolley. So I put her back into the seat and spent the rest of the shopping trip making wrestling her sit back down.

She is at that rather awkward phase where she doesn’t quite understand yet why she is not allowed to run through the supermarket by herself. She doesn’t understand that if she falls out of the trolley it will hurt and she certainly doesn’t understand what would happen to those poor eggs if she jumped up and down on them. Combine this lack of comprehension with a discovery of her own will and how to show her own displeasure by shrieking  and you have a recipe for disaster. I wonder how long this will last and when I will be able to give her little jobs to do for herself such a grab some milk and go and get these apples weighed. Until then I will keep repeating to myself; it’s’just a phase! or leave her home so I can get my shopping done in peace and can tut at the other parents with misbehaving toddlers. 

No doubt what any aisle would have looked like if  the little mermaid had been left to her own devises.

No doubt what any aisle would have looked like if the little mermaid had been left to her own devises.

A Summer of Firsts.

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The little mermaid and I spent three weeks at my parents in the Netherlands. Last year when we went home she was only a teeny tiny baby so I don’t think it made much of an impression on her. This year however was very different. There were all these thing she’d never done before. Ride on the front of a bicycle, visit a petting zoo, stamp in a puddle, be out in the rain and run into the cold North Sea.

 

My fearless little mermaid.

My fearless little mermaid.

Not sure who enjoyed it more, the little mermaid or us.

Not sure who enjoyed it more, the little mermaid or us.

Coming from Dubai this was the first proper puddle she ever encountered.

Coming from Dubai this was the first proper puddle she ever encountered.

Straight in, wellies flooded, soaking wet but still smiling.

Straight in, wellies flooded, soaking wet but still smiling.

Home Sweat Home

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Arriving back in Dubai after the lovely cool weather of Europe is always a bit of a shock to the system. Having the AC break down twice really made it unbearable. This happens at least once a year, usually it’s the filters that have become to clogged with dust and sand that they are no longer able to cool. So they cleaned the filters and hey presto the house was cool again for about 5 minutes. In the morning we came downstairs to a lovely temperature of 28C. The maintenance guys were called out again and I was stuck at home waiting for them for another whole day. This time they went up on the roof and replaced something called a capacitor. Thankfully our house is tranquil oasis once again.

Although tranquil may not the right phrase anymore. The little mermaid has found her voice over the summer and although it doesn’t make much sense she is very vocal about everything. Also at 15 months we’re slowly but surely moving into the Toddler Tantrum fase. For now they are minute and last about 30 seconds as she is still easily distracted. They make me smile  though as she will lay her head on the floor, stick her bum in de air and wail. The reason? This morning it was because she couldn’t get her wheely bug on the rug. Yesterday it was because the battery of my ipad was flat and she was adament that she wanted to watch Peppa Pig.

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I started to feel a little like this, but then inside!