Leah had a very spitty-uppy day, bad even for her (and everybody who knows her will wince and say, how could it be worse?). Let's say, it was so bad that both she and I needed baths. Jacob didn't really need one but he watched Leah in her bucket -- which she is still dubious about, and in which she looks like one of those fat happy Buddhas, all squishy folds and chins -- and he wanted to take a bath as well. Funny aside: he's got some of his English and German words mixed up but will not accept corrections. So a bath for him is "going to the bathroom". I'm sure we'll have funny stories about that one some day.
Anyway, he wanted a bath. In the bucket. With the baby.
Since I had taken Leah away, Baby Paul had to stand in. Both seemed to have fun...
I'm totally in love with nice bedding for babies. However, I'm not in love with the prices. Even very simple covers cost a lot of money, unless you resort to IKEA - which have exactly one design that I like. Which I own. And since I do love me some Pottery Barn baby bedding but am not willing to shell out $700 or something like that, I decided to make my own.
Granted, they are not quite PB style. But nonetheless, I'm pleased with the results. I'm not a proficient sewer and I came up with the design myself, so besides saving money, there's the "look what I made" factor.
Next step: Bumpers. Because Leah started rolling around in her bed something fierce and gets her hands and feet caught in the bars.
Yesterday, the (older) boys asked me when we'd leave Germany, finally, and move someplace else. And I didn't know what to say.
Alas, the times are grim. Don't get me wrong, we still have a very comfortable and cushy life. We still have money in the bank (and in some funds, albeit I don't want to look at those Merrill Lynch statements anymore) and we can still heat the house. Put food on the table. Throw a nice birthday party for Alan. Those things, you know.
But. We had anticipated to stay in Germany for up to six months. We're getting close to a year now. We had never really believed to stay for so long and somehow, when you expect to pack up and leave again, you settle in differently. Half-heartedly. So, for instance, I never bothered to wrangle the school over Alan's education. I thought to myself, we're gone anyway in a few months, so never mind. We can tough it out.
But. Doug's company just filed for Chapter 11. Not that they had any work for him in the last year or so. But we were "on call" which allowed Doug to do short-term work for other companies while still keeping his benefits, especially the health insurance. Now we are looking at being "let go". As far as we know, Chapter 11 prohibits BearingPoint to bid on any new USAID contracts which means they have no immediate use for Doug, which means we are only a financial burden. If you're in trouble and can't pay your bills, you get rid of all financial burdens. I understand that, it doesn't mean I have to like it. So we are waiting for a notice any day now and then we have six months to figure out something with the health insurance. (I'm not going into the delicacies surrounding COBRA. Not today.)
Doug still gets a decent amount of short term work. There are even some bids that other companies want to put him on. Some are nice, others would require a seperation (unaccompanied post). He's very good at what he does, so he is sought after. But there just isn't all that much work out there at the moment. We're hoping for the Obama effect but so far, we haven't seen it.
There are some plans to relocate to the US - both possible jobs there are vague, though, and are keeping us on tenterhooks. It very much looks like we're going to be here for a while, and while it is sweet and wonderful that our friends and neighbors really like this idea, we're less happy about it. (This goes especially for the schooling issue.)
The big question is, how do you explain that to your kids? I think they need to understand that there is an economic crisis, that we are still doing very well, but that this is a time where we might be even more up in the air than usual. On the other hand, I want to surround them with security and safety.
I should try to find a job here. Just in case.
(Did I mention we're sort of in the back corner of Germany where there are no jobs around? Maybe I should write that great German-American novel. Hm.)
David: "Mommy, what does 'intangible' mean?" Claudia explains at length. Finally: "So, you understand? Ideas, for instance, are intangible. Or air." Alan touches Jacob and says, "And Jacob is tangible, see, I can touch him!" Jacob, exasperated: "I'm not tangible! I'm Jacob!"
1. Get your children hooked on a US TV series that is either currently unavailable in your country of residence or way, way behind US showing schedules.
2. When your children are having difficult times and there is a lot of acting up, and you are not able to deal with this simply by putting your foot down and drinking lots of red wine (like, because you're flying solo), bribe them:
3. Download one episode of the TV series in question to your iTunes and let them watch. They will beg for more.
4. Point out there's been a lot of acting up and establish the rules: No acting up, no whining, no tantrums - and you'll get a brand-new episode at the end of the day. It helps if you have a reputation for following through on your threatened consequences.
5. You have very well behaved kids, plus twenty minutes to yourself and your red wine at the end of each day, all for the price of $1.99 per episode. That's good enough to handle a little parental guilt.
(Please don't point out to me that it would be cheaper to buy a season's pass. I know that. But the little buggers know how to manipulate iTunes and if the episodes are already on the computer, ways would be found,. Then I'd have to punish them, and I don't want that. You know, don't tempt, then you don't have to deal, kind of thing.)
My dear husband is on a mission to secure some funds to keep the wolves off our doorstep. Read, he's off for short-term work in the Philippines. I'm a single mother for three weeks. Pshaw, I said to him, easy peasy, lemon squeezy. I can do this both hands down.
He was gone for all of three hours, and I got the kids down to bed in a reasonable time frame. By 8:30 pm, they were all in their beds, soundly asleep.
At 12:01, Leah cried. I plugged her (aka insert the pacifier), waited two minutes, she continued to fuss, so I made up the bottle which I cleverly had prepared in advance. I fed her, she fell asleep in my arms, I breathed some baby smell and cuddled with her for some minutes, then put her down and watched her as she settled nicely in her crib. As I check on Jacob, who has been having a bad cough, I find he has vomited in his sleep. So, lift little boy, cover soiled bed with towel, rub his face clean, put him down in his bed again.
At 12:20, she cried again. Wash, rinse, reapeat. Only this time, she didn't seem happy. I switched on the mobile over her bed and left.
At 12:25, as I was reading a bit to fall back asleep, I heard little feet. I looked to the door, nobody came. Little feet to the bathroom, little feet back to the bedroom. OK.
At 12: 27, little feet to the bathroom again. Considerably more time passes. Hm.
At 12:30, little feet come to my bedroom. David stands there and he looks like a murder victim: face covered in blood, dripping off his chin. Hands bloody, hair bloody, shirt bloody. "Mommy, I got a nosebleed and I tried to stop it but it won't stop! I'm afraid I dripped some on the floor."
12:31, CSI Fladungen arrives, taking blood spatter photos of the hall, the bathroom, the boy's room, David's bed. "Someone's bled profusely, Ma'am, do you know anything about that?"
I clean David up, put him back to bed, seem to hazily recall that once one put the kids on their backs, heads tilted back, and plug their noses with tissue. I also seem to recall that this was not the method du jour anymore. I do it anyway and trot downstairs to check on my friend, the Interwebs.
12:35, I run back upstairs to remove the stupid darn tissue before it... oh, well. 30 cm of bloody slime come out with it, and of course, another spurt of nosebleed. I made David sit up and pinch his nose, and we wait. Five minutes later, it's all over.
12:40, the baby shrieks at the top of her lungs.
12:45 to 1:30. Shrieking, leg kicking, refusing to nurse, administering of gas medicine, administering of pain medicine sometime later. Finally, she settles back to sleep.
1:30 to 2 am. I'm on my knees in the hallway, scrubbing away at the evidence. Dang, this is a lot of blood. Lots of it.
It can only get better, no?
Now I'm off to change bloody sheets, vomity sheets, and well. Hope for improvement.
See, David had four croup attacks last night between the hours of 1 am and 5 am. I'm just the teeniest tiniest bit sleep-deprived. Which makes for a really stupid head, which makes for lousy posts. Also, the baby is cranky of sorts (she's a very easy baby but one does have the right to be fussy, no?). And I'm watching Alan with his new medication, a sustained-release form of Ritalin in a higher dosage than before.
So, a quick post to see whether anybody is actually still checking this corpse of a blog:
If you haven' already, go out and buy "Sector 7" by David Wiesner. I saw it mentioned in the NYT and ordered it off Amazon.de. Then I "read" it (it has no words) and immediately put it on my personal list of the 10 best kids' books. And if you've ever been to my house, you know that we have loads of kids' books, so I know a thing or two about them. The presence of kids in your household, however, is not necessary to fall in love with this book.
(And after you've bought and read it, come back and tell me what the Dispatch Station reminds you of. Right? That's a lovely tribute if I've ever seen one. Doug said, of course! It couldn't be otherwise.)