Are we “normal” yet?

The bigger I get, the less normal anything feels. But at least I can say that we’re settling in and finding our groove. I can drive now, babyNyLon is only crying for a short time at daycare, and I’ll even get to go see the hospital for our second babyNyLon’s arrival this week! Better yet, they’ve scheduled me for an ultrasound since I don’t have records for that (just a few print-outs) so we’ll get to see him at t-minus 6 wks.

The house is still a ways away from what we’d like it to look like by Christmas. But a few things have been accomplished, including getting a dresser for babyNyLon so that she doesn’t live out of her Trunki, and transitioning her from a crib to a big-girl bed! It’s bittersweet, but mostly sweet. She doesn’t seem to realise yet that she can get in and out by herself, so when she wants to get up she still calls for us. (Phew.) We still hope to paint her room and a few others, but the house will not be any different for the new baby with holes in the walls and old scratched paint. It would just mean that it probably won’t be done for another 6 months. And you get used to things that aren’t working at 100% as long as they’re doing the job, which they are so far.

ImageBig girl bed being made up for the first time. (And apparently I have the arms of a 70-year-old man!) 

My work is moving along, but very slowly. I’ve had a bunch of emails and a long phone call with my NYC supervisor now and I’ve got a commitment from him to work on it with me solidly. I think the work I’ve done since the move is largely to be redone, but at least I’ve gotten into it. I was wondering if we would need me to take a trip over and I think we’ve concluded now that I don’t have to. That’s a relief, because I can hardly sit in one place for 30 minutes due to my growing tummy right now and it would’ve been a rough trip for an intense few days of work.

But the biggest weight-off so far is one that we didn’t even accomplish ourselves. We now have confirmation that babyNyLon’s Nana and Papa will be here to help at Christmas time (sound the Hallelujah chorus)! All being well, our little bundle of joy will arrive slightly early-to-on-time, and babyNyLon will hang out with N&P playing and basking in Christmas joy while I’m in first terrible pain, followed by exhausted bliss.

Now I’d better put on the kettle, the Christmas radio, and get to that work I was mentioning; there is some sort of deadline looming…

Pics after the ultrasound, I hope!

Translation NyLon style

We’re going to skip right over the last month or two and the trans-Atlantic move for the moment to present something lighter; babyNyLon’s recent gems

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Conversations.

- During the recent move/travel I called her a zombie. She said “I’m not a zombie!” defensively. To my memory I’ve never mentioned zombies before so I jokingly said “How do you know? Have you ever seen one?!” She said “Yes.” “Really?! Where?” I foolishly asked. And without a hint of a joke she replied “Mommy and Daddy.” Touché.

- While daddyNyLon was getting dressed for work he reached for his socks in the pile of clean laundry (’cause we’re living one step up from the suitcase now). He got a charcoal pair with coloured dots on them. “Daddy, those are your socks?!” “Yes, they’re my socks.” he replied. With a confused tilt of the head she replied “No, those are LADY socks!” Hahahahahaha. That particular pair will always be known as “LadySocks” from now on.

Misnomers.

car boot/trunk = trunki
New to babyNyLon’s world is having a house and a car. But she got her suitcase some time ago. Since we’ve been traveling with lots of suitcases we started to refer to hers by its brand name, her “Trunki”. So of course when we got used to the car and talked about putting things in the back, she asked what the space is called. We said the trunk (obv I answered that one) and I suspect she didn’t know that word so now she calls it the trunki.

all hoods = hoodie
Simple really. To us when we say “hoodie” we mean the sweater with a hood. But she doesn’t see why it should be so limiting so asks if she can put her hoodie up or down, etc. These first two make it sound like she likes cutesy words but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case…

remote control = commotion
No idea about this one. But I love it. It has been around for a long time now. And even when I reply talking about the “remote”, she always calls it the “commotion”.

Language barrier.

The daycare are obviously up with English baby/grown-up talk but babyNyLon is not. Some things really confuse her and others just make her look at them strangely. Some that she totally ignores since they make no sense to her:
- wee wee (when asking if she needs to go)
- buggy (stroller)
- nappy (diaper)
- wellies (rain boots)
- bin (for garbage)
- jumper (for sweater)
- pants (for underwear)

However, she has been there a couple of weeks. Which apparently is long enough to pick up a few things. She’s been heard repeating the following local pleasantries:

“Lovely!”

“Ooh, that’s gorgeous!”

and in her best Essex accent (a la J. Oliver) “Thanks, darlin’!”

Sweet daddyNyLon

ImageThe last week- …last two weeks…make that the last long time – have been really stressful. I like to think that I’m good at dealing with stress. If not good, then at least seasoned. Unfortunately this time around I haven’t been dealing with it very well. In fact, I knew that I wasn’t dealing with it well but didn’t know what to do about it. The overwhelming (but not exclusive) problem is that I can’t make everyone happy (ok, logical) but when I am faced with that reality I descend into hyper-stress (not logical or helpful). Anyway it all culminated with a brief admission to the hospital at the end of last week and a scolding by the doctor and daddyNyLon. He had a trip over for the weekend, and thank goodness because I’m sure going alone would’ve amplified the stress. Then he sweetly sent me these beautiful flowers to help me feel better and remind me how much he loves me. Thanks, hubby! I’m feeling better already.

Window seat

20130809-103704.jpg What a difference a year makes

After thinking about how fast 10 years have flown by and how little I’ve accomplished in that time (!) I thought it’d be nice to have a measure of a year. These two are actually taken less than a year apart; I estimate the earlier pic was last Sept-Oct. The extra height doesn’t deter her from the window sill at all. Still one of her favourite places, even though I don’t let her up there so much anymore. She always want to see the “sirens” coming to “help people”.

10 years already?!

ImageThat’s right. If you were at our wedding you can pinch yourself because it really, really was ten whole years ago. We considered having a second honeymoon or something to celebrate and decided that we’d much rather have a second reception, especially after several years of limited opportunities to see people, so almost a year ago we started planning a party at Belfast Castle. And if you are reading this blog then you are almost certainly invited to attend. Not sure why you haven’t received your invitation? Well, given our turmoil over the last year the planning was a lot more advanced way back then than it is now, a mere month before the event. But at least a tiny bit of that was intentional as we don’t expect people to travel from far and wide just for an anniversary so didn’t want to send out wedding-style invites. However if you’re looking for a reason to be in a chilly Belfast we would LOVE to have you there and will feed you, force you to look at old photos, and maybe give you a reason to dance 2003-style.

So as I was looking back through our wedding photos to find a pic for this post, I almost was glad that we never got our act together to put our formal album into place. Yes, ten years later our photos are still in the faded brown envelopes that we got them in, sitting somewhere near the beautiful silk-covered (empty) album. At the time we had a hard time selecting which 30/94 images should be left out since the album isn’t large enough for all of them. I think every single year we talked about sitting down to put it together. But we didn’t, and now I think some of the pics have a different feel to them than they did originally. I guess maybe it’s partly because I was young and self-centered but you know how you’re so concerned at the time about how you looked or how crooked your head was in that pic, etc. and then later you don’t even notice.  It really is beautiful to look back at the two of us so young and naive and think about what we had ahead of us. And to look at the photos – especially the group ones – and think of how each of the people have supported us. We’ve been really blessed…but let me save some of the soppy stuff for the party. After all, the wedding was the only time I can remember blubbering in public (and it totally took me by surprise!) so maybe I should make it once a decade. Of course there may be a word or two about babyNyLon in the course of the event, which could easily bring me to tears; happy, sad, or hysterically laughing.

ImageOne of the pics that I found surprisingly emotional was this one of my darling baby-faced hubby, myself, and my in-laws. It’s photos like this where the ten years really sinks in. When we got married we were young and had only one year of courtship (which of course felt like an eternity at the time!) and I didn’t know his family very well. And perhaps you can tell that they were all very young too! When I look at the photo, besides seeing how much they’ve changed (or not) I think about how our relationships have grown and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I think about how different the official family picture will be in September; by October we will all be married so there will be the four spouses, two little girls and…

Image…a big pregnant lady in place of the bride! Yep, there you go. I’m due December 25th hence the cryptic tweet; we’ll have a pair of NyLons at Christmas time!

Our current babyNyLon will need a new moniker so that her little sibling can use hers. Suggestions?

The NyLon move: Phase I

Image“Tidy”

Last week was the first phase of our never-ending/is-it-ever-going-to-happen move from NYC back to our house in the UK. It’s extremely bittersweet, and perhaps we’ll all have to change our monikers when we are technically no longer NyLons.  Of course we don’t really want to leave New York behind us, but that isn’t really why the move has been dragging on forever and a day.

Anyway, last week we had the movers come and take our things from our NYC apartment, leaving only the bare-bones Ikea furniture plus babyNyLon’s crib and one or two other things that won’t be coming with us. We’ve been living with a lot of clutter since, well, since we got here having moved from a 3/4-bedroom house to a 604 sq ft apartment. Then we added baby things when babyNyLon came along. So she has only ever known a very full house with a lot of things everywhere. We were worried that she’d be upset when she came home to find all of our things gone so we tried to prepare her. We told her that we’re sending our things to London, where Daddy lives because we’re all going to live together there and so we asked her to pick a couple of toys and books to stay behind. We left her crib in the same position so that she wouldn’t wake up scared and told her in advance that our bed would be gone so the room would just be hers and that we’d stay in the living room. When it came to picking her up from the daycare and walking back towards our apartment we asked her if she’s ready to see her new room and tried to act excited about it. We opened the door to the apartment and she walked in to the barren living room and said “Oh! You guys tidied up!” She’s hilarious, and clearly more resilient than we give her credit for. She really likes her “new room” and only got a bit upset on the second night when she wanted to sleep with us in the living room and would’ve settled for Daddy’s suggestion that we all sleep in the crib together which sadly couldn’t happen either. But overall she handled it amazingly well and I think it may even be good preparation for her having her own room for real in the UK.

Unfortunately (for me and daddyNyLon) she wasn’t quite as clear on what was going to happen when we went to the airport on Sunday. While she napped we got daddyNyLon packed up and then woke her at the last minute and got her to go potty before leaving. She walked out of the bathroom to see him with his suitcases and she said “Oh wait! I’ll get mine!”. It didn’t quite register to me what she was talking about and we let her trot off to her room and she came out with her little red suitcase, asking us to help her open it to put the reserved toys inside. It slowly dawned on me that she thought we were all leaving to live together right now and that we hadn’t done a good enough job preparing her for another goodbye. I told her gently that we were just going with Daddy to the airport like usual and that we’d be going with him next time. She had a heartbreaking look on her face that was a combination of sad, disappointed, and confused, eventually made worse by the fact that neither of us could hold back a tear at that point. It took a couple of tries through a soppy hug to explain that Daddy would be back in a few weeks to come get us. After explaining it she said “We go on the airplane tomorrow?”; she is getting a broad scope of time so I made a comparison to the “two weeks” we had to wait for our last visit (after we’d bought the ticket). She was probably ok with it all much faster than we were. After we waved goodbye at the airport and were leaving in an elevator she asked again “Daddy will come back and share the airplane with us in two weeks?!” I had to smile. She got it.

So what now? I’ll be working for another few weeks and then hopefully all of the experiments will be wrapped up and I can work on my paper from the UK. We still don’t have a final DATE, but are really working in weeks now instead of months and will keep you all posted as we figure it out…

Night terror.

ImageLooks innocent enough…

I truly hope that this is a very brief phase brought on by a few rough nights but over the last few weeks, babyNyLon has had both nightmares and, I think, a couple of night terrors. After a couple of incidents I looked up the difference/chances and it seems that the main factors are that nightmares are in the second half of the night and the child wakes, whereas a real night terror is in the first half of the night (mainly?) and the child is still fully asleep and very agitated, and only gets more agitated if you try to help. The later describes one of our experiences this past weekend, complete with screaming, stiffened muscles, and an inconsolable but apparently still-asleep baby girl. Of course I looked up some info after and found that it’s best if you don’t even touch them or speak because if you do they can think they’re being attacked. But that’s not what my uninformed mommy-brain told me to do so I nearly got beat-up by my sleeping beauty. Thankfully they child doesn’t usually remember a night terror, but the parents sure do and/or are reminded by the bruises if they approach!  Also according to my oh-so-detailed internet research, they can be more common if the child is overly tired (check) and a developmental spurt is pending (double-check). I’ve been very fortunate that babyNyLon is still a good napper and this Saturday was one of the very rare occasions that she didn’t stay asleep but got only 45min (instead of the usual ~3 hrs) due to my ambitious Costco-shopping schedule c/o the newly-restored running stroller. As for the development, she’s growing fast and has recently started to generally get a bit grumpy and gain a bit of weight so I think it might be her little body gearing up for another spurt. Seems like you can never rule that out anyway with the little ones. Whatever the cause I know that some people really struggle with these things and I just hope that it passes quickly.

The regular run-of-the-mill nightmares, on the other hand, I’m thinking might just be either a similar story with the growing or her interpretation of the extra stress in the household over the last month or so. I’m working as much as I can and we’re trying to get the move going in a few weeks’ time so I’m sure that she’s felt a little bit of playtime has been taken away while I work or try to accomplish stuff when she’s at home. I don’t know what she’ll do with herself when she finally does see more of me! But they are disrupting sleep for both of us and we’re both walking around a bit tired these days as a result of several wakings per night. Some from nightmares but admittedly also some because I never learn and she plays with the alarm clock, setting it for 4 am by mistake, at which time I’m too tired to reset it and we go through the same thing the next day! (I think I should just pull the plug on that one.)

Last but not least I wanted to wish daddyNyLon a Happy Father’s Day again – and all of the other daddies in our life. It wasn’t the best having to try to send genuine wishes via cyberspace but for now we again be grateful that we can at least connect that way. babyNyLon carefully constructed a ‘card’ for Dad and then when she got a drop of water on it she asked me to throw it in the trash so she could start again. She wanted to make sure that it was just right, and was very clear about when it was finished. It awaits you in NYC, Dad.  :)