söndag 31 juli 2011

Two of a kind

We have a formula for kids, they are all variations on the same theme. Cara and Viktor have similar eyes, mouth, noses but although the parts are similar they are set slightly different in their faces. Viktor is starting to look like Martin after years of being a spitting image of my Dad and Cara and I so alike we could be cloned. And then sometimes Martin will shine though Cara and Viktor will look like Dad again - all a big soup of genetic recombination. Sigge is a Martin look-alike with Cara's temper - at least we think so - unfortunately no-one seems to remember what Martin looked like and we have no pictures to compare him too. In personalities they differ more and when Viktor always was a very easy and happy baby, Cara and Sigge are more temperamental. Viktor picked up some challenging liveliness when he started to walk so we are possibly looking at a combination of a temperamental baby and a lively toddler in Sigge. Will be interesting to follow the sibling interactions over the years, at the moment Cara treats Sigge like a human doll, cuddles him, change his clothes, picks him up and keeps him in bed, stroking him like a puppy when she is reading.

lördag 30 juli 2011

Last day on my own with the kids

lunching in a little cave - Cara made bulgursalad, we bought some bread, cheese and salami from the local delicatessen, water and fruit makes an easy picnic.
Cara and Viktor went looking for leeches
sigge talks to a leave...
....the leaves never answer...
...nevertheless leaves make wonderful baby-sitters as sigge can talk to them for hours.

The last three weeks with Martin working and me at home with all the kids have been busy but good. We have done a lot and very little and the days seldom turned out as we planned them but were more often than not enjoyed by all. Yesterday we went to a botanical garden close to us, tried a back-road and got caught in a wood - I had the pram and Viktor's bike and Cara swore all the way through twigs and stones. Amazing grasp of questionable parts of the English language. We got there in the end and sat down for a picnic in my favorite cave, close to fern heaven. And then we watched the crops and had some cake and met up with Martin, bought lavender for the balcony (our pansies finally died) and went for an evening dip in Brunnsviken. And now we look forward to a week together to hand Sigge over to Martin's tender care.

torsdag 28 juli 2011

Lazy days,

My life is focused on giving this little man the best possibilities to do his own thing - development just happens if the babies are in the right environment and I don't want to stress him out - thus we aim for lazy days. Cara would love to be left to read and play computer games through her 10-12 weeks of summer holidays (we dare not count) but instead we do a little every day and it works out really nice.

Viktor finds playgrounds everywhere and it seems I have managed to build little town-kids.
He loves this space under Grand Hotel - found it in the spring under purple pensies
and returned in the summer to show Cara on the way from the Museum of Modern Art - a perfect day out for us all, and it is funny how the main attraction often turns out to be something else that what we came for - there is a little sculpture park with some Picasso at the local MOMA and it was a good place for some sword-fighting but nothing beats this part of Grand Hotel.and then something happened and the game was off and we quickly moved away to new adventures.
Cara found a mirror and danced a little waiting for us to cross the streets.

There is a lot to say for having a holiday at home with a little baby, Cornwall was wonderful but had been a nightmare on my own. I have always loved Stockholm in July, another continent, very quiet, all the busy stylish stressed people are gone and replaced by tourists. Never done it with kids though - turns out that is even better. My first week of feeling bad for depriving the children the classic Swedish summer quickly disappeared and now we just enjoy this rare time together.

Birthday Boy!

Happy as happy can be with the a new Star Wars game, new Star Wars bag, new Star Wars Lego. I am so over the successful Star Wars campaign (Viktor loves it but sometimes I wonder if on Star wars T shirt wouldn't be more special, materialism never got to me I guess) and look forward to starting Mum's Birthday present - a butterfly farm where we can follow metamorphism from eggs to butterflies.
We went to Mum's, made a cake (even the sponge and custard)

Mum and Cara are always in deep conversation
It was a good day, pancake breakfast followed by lunch and cake at Mum's followed by Viktor's favorite dumplings just down the road. In Viktor's world Mormor knows all about everything in the world. Mum loves that, chuckles that finally someone has discovered her true worth.

tisdag 26 juli 2011

Viktor turns six

isn't it amazing? And he is turning into such a sweet little boy.

All these kids

At some point I will write a little more - for now I am busy cooking, cleaning, washing, reading stories, taking kids swimming, planning, kissing, arguing, it is all very wonderful. And breast-feeding a good three hours a day or so, the boy enjoys his food and that is hard to combine with anything but reading -- my book or reading to Viktor. My few quiet moments in a day I put on the computer and try to get back into work or take the bike out and try to get back into my body. Both with excellent carrots - back to work in a week and at last it feels like I have something going in the lab after a long time of building a platform. As for the body Martin and I are going to a wedding filled with beautiful young people in September and I want to look smashing and stay out all night drinking champagne with my husband.

For now I just want to enjoy every little moment. Sigge is grabbing, laughing, squealing, growing. And starting to eat a little porridge at 11 am - need to wean him softly as I will not be around in two weeks time. Starting work is always painful but if I want equality there are costs and most of them paid by setting maternal instincts aside. But he is fine with martin too and I firmly believe in our way of doing so. And life is a little painful I guess.

måndag 18 juli 2011

Work and kids - the first of many posts to come...

Stockholm is a beautiful place in the summer, a day spent on a little island opposite Old Town
Sigge was happy
and I had some peace to think at a cafe.
The day after I had a long skype session and Sigge played happily and fell asleep in the kitchen. This is how I imagined parental leave and it works with 1-2 but not with 3 kids at home.

Parental leave in Sweden is truly fantastic - 13 months with 80% of the income to be shared between the parents and another half a year at a minimal income. There is no reason to rush back to work. Back at work each child under 12 entitles 120 days a year off for care during short term sickness - if the kid is off more than a week a doctors certificate is needed. So 2 - 3 kids pretty much allows parents to be off full time.

Day-care is cheap and cheerful and often great places for the kids to learn and play. Unfortunately they are pretty useless for the few of us that enjoy work and wants to combine work and kids. Nannies are not an option at my level of income. Au pairs often leads to more grief than help and child-cares run wild at the moment, closing at 4 pm more often than not, the govermental promise of a 6.30-18.30 policy is never in place. The number of planning days, educational days, excursions and parties in the middle of the day is increasing exponentially - and no-one wants to be the parent missing out on the kids proudly presenting the last project. If I could have it my way I would pay dearly for a service where someone could come to our home the few days when a child is sick and I have to work. Or Sigge is too small for day-care and I have to work. Or I simply have to finish something and need a little space to think. I still consider myself extremely lucky to live in this society where women can work and reproduce but it is a little frustrating at times. At the moment I work 4 hrs a week of which 2 from home and 2 from work. Some days it works but with cara and viktor home on school holidays (until the end of August) I don't find time for all the work that scientists do outside office-hours - reading, planning, writing, preparing lectures. I decided to take time off until I go back to work in August and just enjoy the summer and the kiddies for now.

lördag 16 juli 2011

Sleeping arrangements

I love to watch Sigge sleep and would love to share the mystery world he enters. What would a baby dream of? They have such vivid facial expressions and sounds in their sleep and I know nothing of what goes on in his brain. The first month we slept close together, often with Sigge on my chest. The second month I decided close is wonderful but not forever and Sigge moved into his own bed next to mine. The third month Sigge moved into the green room and surprised us with starting to sleep through the night.

We have heard about babies "finding their own sleep-routine" but to be honest I never ever believed in it. We kind of follow Gina Ford food and sleep routine, put our babies to bed at 7-8 pm, feed them at 10pm and hope for the best. Cara never slept more than 2 hours at a time for the first 18 months. Viktor was fine but needed to be convinced to cut out the 3-4 am feed. Sigge just sleeps - for now. And it is wonderful to get up at 7 am and find him gurgling at his paper flowers.

måndag 11 juli 2011

Life is a much better place when one can laugh at all the silliness

Grrhogrrhogrrhohaha. Some silly singing made Sigge's day and started off his laughter, at first a little hesitant and scared of the strange sounds coming out of his mouth, slowly more confident and eventually chuckling like an old lady. Loveliest thing in life! Cara and Viktor were spellbound and few things are as contagious as a baby's laughter.

lördag 9 juli 2011

all this development

Such fun! grabbing - holding - pulling into the mouth - tasting, chewing with toothless gums.

only a week old - the boy has a temper- here we are still extremely symbiotic and skin-to-skin.
today-same T shirt but Sigge is on the other side.
we used to wrap him when he was very angry - it worked well and we guessed the world was just too big a place for him to take in.
last week he was all for exploring the world - here a room full of balloons. Makes it easier to move around but I miss the first magical weeks.

Sigge is doing all the little things he should do - development just happens - amazes me every time. And this time I relax, there is no existential dilemma understanding who I am now that I am a mother, there is no thesis to be written, the job will be the same when I come back, and I work a little to keep things afloat but for now I just try to be with sigge as much as possible. I marvel at Sigge grabbing hold of things and putting them in his mouth, I marvel at the initial GUIII that is being followed by GRR and NEI and lots of different sounds, communication works and he is so interested in conversations. I marvel less but can tell from his way of screaming whether he is pissed off, hungry or tired. The combination of the three makes him hysterical and I know how to avoid it. Me and my little baby in our symbiosis.

fredag 8 juli 2011

a little tribe.

Paddington - three kids, three huge bags, lots of small bags. We decided to avoid the tube but train and taxis worked well - much prefer trains to planes with kids and our logistics are pretty good - we have a drill and a role for all and the kids likes to take part.

Holidays with three kids in the time of night time feeds sounded like a nightmare to me. A cold and damp cottage in Cornwall, no internet, no mobile phone network, no television, computer games, game boy, wii. "Just the five of us and lots to explore" Martin exclaimed all excited. "Just another nose to dry snot of and more cooking and damp clothes trying to get rid of milky puke and poo" I replied with a pretty challenging camping holiday in France in mind - Viktor was only little and carsick and it was a mess.

Well, Martin proved me wrong and there was excellent washing and drying facilities on the farm we stayed at. We are back after two exciting weeks filled with different variations of rain, from drizzling to "lashing it down" and at the end a fair bit of sunshine. Martin posted a bit on Flickr, I will post a few piccies here too. My highlight was Tate St Ives - and the clotted cream. Thought double cream was heavenly - clotted cream even more so - and the local ice-cream was excellent too, preferably with clotted cream on top. Guess who is breast-feeding....

English beaches are beautiful and with enough clothes the wet and the cold can be forgotten. Cara is a little seal and swims when the rest of us are fully dressed. The last picture could have been me some 27 years ago - good to know a new generation is in action when it comes to crazy swimming in 13-16 degrees. Might come back to the last picture - a beautiful natural pool at one of the coolest beaches I have seen.

torsdag 7 juli 2011

Last week

Almost three months later Sigge likes things that moves slowly in the wind.

Sigges world

Names are tricky for us, think it is a language issue. I like old Norweigan names and Martin doesn't. This time we had compromised on Sigrid Frances Mary - to be nick-named Sigge. For a boy we couldn't agree. Same as with Viktor who got his name after a cool immunologist that assessed my immunology knowledge - I was very very pregnant and really enjoyed that exam and his take on immunology as a subject. So when Viktor was almost born in our bedroom (Martin took forever to get Cara to my sister's) I hissed - if this baby is a boy he is a Viktor - and Martin wasn't going to argue with that. Not then and there, not later. I always felt a little bad for the lack of consensus when choosing his name - but the 3 weeks spent agreeing on Cara was just daft. Anyhow, there we were, all happy about Sigrid Frances and out comes a beautiful and extremely angry little boy who was anything but a little Sigrid. Definitely not a sigvard, sigfrid or sigidsmund. Martin looked at Sigge and suggested Marcus. It is a fine name. He does look like a Marcus. I always liked the name. But to me he is and remains Sigge - and this blog is about our first year together. I will put up pictures and try to capture little snippets of our life. Comments are always welcome and the idea is to try to overcome geographical distance to people important to us.