Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To Do List

My mother is coming to visit us tomorrow.

She is the perfect guest.
I don't need to clean up the apartment before she arrives, because she likes to do that (yes, really!).
She is more than happy to spend time with Fräulein, so that I get things done.
She is full of energy, so she gets many unfinished things done while she is visiting us.
And beside fixing and cleaning our apartment and playing with Fräulein, she does not need any special activities arranged.

For a while now, I have been writing down the things to do while she is here. Things that I need help with, things that are nice to do with her and things that I need a babysitter for.
  • Go shopping with her. 
  • Go shopping alone ( = without Fräulein).
  • Have dinner with Herr Welle. Yes, just the two of us!
  • Have an appointment with hairdresser.
  • Have a German lesson.
  • Throw away a plant that does not have any leaves left (well, she can do that).
  • Have our windows cleaned (by her).
  • Arrange the bathroom cabinets.
  • See a doctor to have some moles removed (Fräulein already took one off, but I would rather see a specialist...).
  • Clean the coffee maker and the water boiler (I don't know why I need my mum for this, but somehow I get many things done while she is here, maybe the energy is transmitted to me, too). 
  • Have a cup of coffee outside (yes, it really is that warm here!).
  • Eat lunch outside (yes, it really is THAT warm here!).
I guess that is enough for four days...

(I hope she doesn't check my blog before she leaves Finland...)

Last year my mother was spending her birthday here in Wiesbaden,
so I took a photo of her under the Fossil sign...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Having a Baby In Germany: the Hospital Part

Now, don't get all excited - I'm not saying that we are having another baby! But I have been writing about all baby related things I have come across here in Germany, like the paper work required and how the healthcare of a newborn is arranged. So the two things missing are the pregnancy and the hospital parts.

We moved to Germany about a month before Fräulein was born, so I don't really have much experience about being pregnant in Germany. But she was born here, so I can tell you about choosing the hospital and what is to be expected there. I know that more and more women are giving birth at their own homes or these 'birth homes', which are not medical facilities. But when I was pregnant with Fräulein, I only considered different hospitals, so this post is really only about that choice.

Like all doctor's offices, also the hospitals are private here. In Finland, you must have your baby in the hospital, which happens to be 'your' hospital, based on the city you live in. But here in Germany, you are able to choose the hospital. Because of this, there is a bit of competition between the hospitals, as they want as many customers as possible. And I guess that is partly the cause why especially the smaller hospitals seem to be very cozy and friendly. That is something I'm not sure I could say about Finnish hospitals...

The hospitals have introduction events (Info-Abend) for future parents, usually 1-4 times per month. There you have a short lecture about the hospital and their services and afterwards you can have a look at the delivery rooms and the maternity ward. I think this is great, because then you can meet the staff and really feel the atmosphere of the hospital. Although some of the lectures might be a bit too praising...

When you have chosen your hospital, you should contact them to arrange a meeting, in which their collect your personal data and information about your pregnancy. Hospitals usually recommend to have this meeting about 8-6 before your due date.  You can also go to most of the hospitals without this pre-meeting, but when you have done this beforehand, you don't need to worry about the paper work when you are going to the hospital to have your baby.

When we moved to Wiesbaden, we were a bit in a hurry in choosing the hospital. There are three hospitals with maternity wards in Wiesbaden. One of the hospitals, HSK, is a big one and they also have a ward for sick children. The other two are smaller and cozier, but if there is something wrong with the baby, she/he will be moved to HSK for treatment.

We went to see all of the three hospitals. It was clear for me that, as there wasn't anything exceptional in my pregnancy, I would choose one of the smaller hospitals. A friend of mine had had her baby in Paulinen Klinik and had liked it a lot. So, I called them to make an appointment. Already on the phone I got a bit funny feeling, as the nurse did not speak any English and giggled a lot. I was able to make an appointment, but at the meeting the nurse, who was taking my notes (not the same one as on the phone), giggled in trying to find the right words. So much so that she had to leave the room at one point.

This experience made me think that I wouldn't like the nurses behaving like that while I was in labor. There is nothing wrong in trying to find the right words or being in a good mood, but I really didn't like to face that giggling in the delivery room!

There are a lot of Americans here in Wiesbaden, because the U.S. Army is based here. I thought that maybe these American families would prefer the other smaller hospital, catholic St. Josefs-Hospital. And I was proven right. I was able to make an appointment on a short notice and in the waiting room I talked with an American mother, who had given birth a couple of hours earlier (she was already leaving the hospital!). The nurse I talked with spoke perfect English and they even had many documents translated in English. So, my decision was made: Fräulein was to be born here!

And so she did. I won't go into details of her birth here, but I must say that I was very happy with St. Josephs Hospital. Everyone was nice and professional. On the maternity ward they even arranged so that we were taken care of by the nurse who was the most experienced in speaking English.

Three-days-old Fräulein in her hospital bed.

Before Fräulein was born, I had some questions about the German system. There were also things I didn't even come to think of. I'll list some of them here, in case someone else in wondering the same things. And yes, some of these things might sound completely normal for some of you, but I'm from Finland and used to the ways things are handled there.

  • There are anesthetics available for you while in labor, if you choose to have some. At the pre-meeting I was given a document about all the possible drugs so that I could read it in advance and just sign the consent when needed. Everything went so quickly that I didn't have time to get any drugs, but I wondered afterwards, why they didn't offer me any laughing gas, which is quite popular in Finland. 
  • In Germany, you usually stay in the hospital for three nights, because then your baby can have her U2 check done at the hospital. You can leave the hospital as soon as a couple of hours after birth, if you feel like it, but then the hospital wants to make sure that you have booked the U2 check with the baby's doctor before you leave.
  • Many hospitals have family rooms, but you cannot book one in advance. In our case, there was only one other mother with her baby in the ward when we arrived, so Herr Welle was able to stay with us in the room which was normally equipped for two mothers.

The view from our 'family room'

  • In Germany, the hospital doesn't provide the towels or the clothes for you to wear while you stay there, so you must pack those in your hospital back. They do provide clothing for the baby.

For some reason, all the baby clothes at the hospital
were very big for a newborn (56 or 62cm)

  • If you are not German, you should take your own birth-certificate to the hospital with you. And if you are married, take also your marriage-certificate and the husband's birth-certificate. I can say from experience that it makes things a whole lot easier...
  • In Germany, you must give a name to your baby soon after the birth (in Finland you have two months to do this). They asked for the name as soon as Fräulein was born. We only had one name decided at that point. The two other names we filled in the form, in which all birth details were documented. This had to be filled before we left the hospital.
  • They do not teach how to wash the baby's bottom under running water. I have been told that, in Finland, you cannot leave the hospital before you know how to do that safely. But here you just wipe the bottom with baby-wipes or wet towels.
  • Many German hospitals have a certificate called 'Baby-Friendly Hospital'. The main points of the certificate are that the breastfeeding is encouraged in every way possible and the hospital practices rooming in, so that the baby shares the room with the mother. I would have taken these things as granted, but apparently they are relatively new practices.
  • And something I did wonder a lot, although it now sounds a bit silly: You can go to a catholic hospital even if you are not catholic yourself. The nurses were not dressed as nuns, actually the only 'catholic' thing there were the crucifixes above the doors.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When It Is Suddenly Very Quiet...

78 baby-wipes all over the floor
(no, I didn't count them)

Monday, February 20, 2012

So Süß!

We have had our first visitors of the year! Herr Welle's brother and Fräulein's cousin visited us over the weekend. The main activities for them were the ice-hockey and the football matches they went to see. We also ate sushi at Okinii.

Fräulein really enjoyed the company of her 11-year-old cousin. She also got a lovely gift from the guests.

There were three small 'muffins' and a plate. The top parts of the muffins are attached with a sticker, so that they can be taken of and put back together.

The toy set is by Imagetoys. The Danish really know how to make nice things. So süß!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Something Small For Mum


It has been five years since the last time I bought new eyeglasses. But now I have got myself a new pair!

Maybe I should have blurred the picture to hide the crow's-feet...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Really? Really?

I just cannot believe it.

There is not a single comment to my question!

Have my readers been offended, because it was only for all mothers? Maybe I should rephrase the title of the post: Question for all parents out there: Bed or pacifier?

Anyway, you can find the question *here*. And I appreciate, if you have time to leave a comment!

I have been thinking about this pacifier thing. To be able to get rid of those, there should be something else that would comfort Fräulein.

I have tried to introduce all kinds of soft toys to her, but she just doesn't want any teddybears or hippos in her bed. She always throws those away.

But this week she has found something that she likes to hold in her fist when she is going to sleep: a Duplo girl!

No, that would not be my first choice for a toy to sleep with. But it clearly calms her down in the evening!

Maybe this is something we could use as replacement for the pacifier?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

What do you get when you combine Germany with romance?

salami with heart

Monday, February 13, 2012

Outlet Shopping, Part 2 - Zweibrücken

This seems to have become common Saturday activity for us: outlet shopping!

A couple of weeks ago we visited Wertheim Village. Last Saturday we headed to Zweibrücken, which is located close to French border. This time we planned our visit a bit better and were able to drive there while Fräulein took her nap. This way we had almost five hours to shop!

And yes, we did find something. They had the final winter sales on, so the discounts (on top of the outlet prices) were great. Here is what we found:

Petit Bateau
One shirt, one undershirt and two skirts for Fräulein, total 22€

Tommy Hilfiger
Cardigan for me, 29.99€

T-shirt for Herr Welle

Daniel Hechter
Business suit for Herr Welle, 150€

Two shirts and one pair of trousers for Fräulein, one sweat shirt for Fräulein's cousin, total 34€.

Villeroy & Boch
6 snifters and 6 whiskey glasses, 7€/pc
(I didn't really like the design, but as I don't drink cognac or whisky, I let Herr Welle to choose the glasses)

I guess this is enough shopping for a while...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Question For All Mothers Out There: Bed Or Pacifier?

It hasn't been the best possible start for the year. First Fräulein had an eye infection and I got fever. Last week all three of us caught a stomach bug. And yesterday Fräulein had fever and a running nose.

Yesterday Fräulein was glued to my lap.
She doesn't usually use pacifier when she is awake, but being ill is an exception.

As Fräulein is not totally well yet, this is not a matter of today, but something that I have been thinking for a while. I gave you earlier a peek into our bedroom, so you know that Fräulein is currently sleeping in the same room as Herr Welle and me. As she is quite light sleeper, her sleep seems to be disturbed when we go to bed a couple of hours after her and again when Herr Welle leaves to work in the morning.

This is why we have thought that we could change our guest room into nursery. I believe that all three of us would sleep better, if Fräulein had a room of her own.

The problem is her pacifier. She still uses one while sleeping and the most common reason for her to wake up during the night and start crying, is that she has lost her pacifier. Now that she is sleeping very close to us, it is easy for me to reach for the pacifier and place it back into her mouth - this happens about once or twice every night. But it would be very disturbing for my sleep, if I had to get up and walk into another room to do this. Not to mention, that - as it would take more time - Fräulein would probably get more upset and more awake, and it would require more than the pacifier to calm her down again.

So, I have been thinking that maybe we should get her to abandon the pacifier before making the changes in the sleeping arrangements. I have heard that many children have started to sleep all through the night after they have stopped using a pacifier.

On the other hand, it is so easy to calm her and get her to fall asleep with the pacifier that I would like to keep this option for a while.

So, my question is:
What do you think we should do first: move Fräulein's bed or get rid of the pacifiers?

I would really appreciate, if you could share your recommendations about how to go forward!
And please tell me any tips you might have for how to get a child to fall asleep without a pacifier, when she has used one all her life.
Or do you have any experiences about moving child to sleep in his/her own room?

Kerrothan kokemuksesi vaikka suomeksi! Ich freue auch Antworten auf Deutsch! Jag förstår också svenska!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Blue Hour

We finally have snow here in Wiesbaden! This is the first time since the Tuesday before Christmas (the day when we were going to fly to Finland). I was later told, that the snow melted the same day.

It began to snow in the afternoon and by the evening we actually had some snow on the ground, too. Thus, we we able to experience true Blue Hour, when the scattering light of the setting sun turned everything blue. The effect is so much better, when there is snow on the ground reflecting the blue light!
(If only the sky had been clear, it would have been even better. But let's just enjoy the snow!)

Now we can only hope that it stays white for a bit longer this time!

Before sunset.
'Where's the snow?' you might ask. The rooftops are usually dark...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Back in the Blogosphere

Hi there, remember me? Frau Welle. The writer of this blog.

It has been quiet here for a while. Well, actually only for a few days, but it feels much more. First Fräulein fell ill. Thursday evening I got the same stomach bug, and Friday morning Herr Welle got sick. It really makes your own illness feel ten times worse, when there is a little girl, gaining back her energy, wanting you to play with her...

But we are all well now. So I won't have any excuse not to visit the German playgroup this afternoon...

Yesterday, after spending a couple of days inside, we decided to go to Kurpark to enjoy the brisk Sunday weather. It has been quite cold here, around -10°C. I know it is nothing compared to the temperature for example in southern Finland (about -25°C...), but it does feel cold!

We do not have any snow here, but the ponds of the park are now frozen

Oh yeah, maybe I should mention that the second round of the Finnish presidential election was held yesterday. Here is our new president:

The 12th president of Finland: Sauli Niinistö
(photo via Wikipedia)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Poor Baby

I should have known.

When one starts in three new playgroups within a week, this was about to happen.

Fräulein has fallen ill.

I want to be honest with you. Fräulein is not always the easiest little girl to take care of. As newborn, she had colic. She is a very light sleeper (I have always thought that children sleep so deeply that you can carry a sleeping child from car to her bed without waking her...). And her appetite, especially for 'real' food, is not the best.

But we have been very lucky, because she has been so healthy.

Her first year went by with only few days with running nose and whining. When she turned 1 year old, she had three flu in a row. They weren't too bad. On day time, she was like her normal self, only the nights were a bit difficult.

But now, for the first time, she is really ill. Ill in a way that has changed her behavior.

Watching BabyTV

There were two things yesterday, that made me suspect that something was wrong, even though she didn't seem to be sick per se.

First, she didn't eat anything. It is not a surprise that she didn't eat her potatoes, but she didn't even want any cookies!

Second, she usually hurries to the hall when Herr Welle comes home, but yesterday she just sat on my lap smiling at him.

Last night she got fever. Today she has been resting, cuddling and watching BabyTV. Anyone who has met her would say that it is totally out of character for her to sit still for 15 minutes!

Hopefully, she will be dancing again soon.

At least Fräulein has managed to eat something today

Get well soon poor Fräulein!