We had a foggy day, rather than the indian summer that all the media had promised for the whole week. Even so, a perfectly lovely day for a photowalk with the new baby carrier in the fresh and not too cold air. Exactly the kind of thing I would go to great lengths to avoid as a child, but now I'm the one forcing the young fellow into warm, constraining overalls and bringing him out come rain or shine. The irony.
Phew! Oscar's christening went well, although I had to draw on all of my (limited) housewifely skills to make it fly. I was not to worried until a few days before the event, although spent a considerable amount trying to figure out where to host the dinner. As there would be 19 people, 9 of which were Irish, I felt like I should do something a bit Norwegian -which isn't the easiest to find in the Grønland part of Oslo, which is the most multicultural part of the city by far. Any kind of ethnic cuisine bar Norway's own it's a great place for. But I had managed to find a place that served game meat and cloudberries, and that was willing to let me bring in my own cake just this once.
Then, of course, a couple of days before the party, I suddenly had a change of heart and found myself desperatly wanting to have everyone over to our house (aka the dump). It seemed the only decent way to go to have a cake feast in our very own livingroom. Anything less, I felt, would make me a lazy mother with less than a minimum of commitment to my child's happiness (because yes, of course he is going to remember his christening party in a few years time, and of course it will matter to him that the cakes looked great and no one choked on a dustbunny).
So over the course of a few days I found myself:
All in all, quite the learning experience and very exciting. At the church, they had a nice lady who hinted when and where we were to stand, walk, sit and so on, and who brought us everything we left behind in the rush, so we weren't able to make too bad a mess of the proceedings there either.
It's almost a pity to learn all about having a baby christened (and arranging the christening party) just for the one baby. I feel like I should offer to have someone else's baby christened as well, just to use my newly aquired skillset. But I guess it doesn't work like that. Shame.
So if you have yet to do a christening party and have one in the future, here's what I learned:
Walking, walking, walking. Walking the streets of Oslo in winter is beautiful, as long as you don't focus overly much on the fact that it is also rather cold, very slippery and at times near impossible to navigate with a pram. The uneven lumpy snow surface on the sidewalks helps the baby sleep well in the daytime, meanwhile his zombiesque mother is able to steal some minutes to herself in coffeeshops, reading half a page of a book or (more likely) staring vacantly into space while thinking about sleep. And whenever the weather is nice, the Nikon gets to come.
To make things more interesting (always a goal), I've recently aquired an iPhone App that tracks my walks and the duration thereof, and which also draws a map route of where I've been. A route which, of course, I feel it is imperative that I show and narrate to my better half who is quite good at hiding the fact that this show and tell is really the highlight of his day, and that he has been waiting for hours to come back from his job among grown up people who can communicate by means other than crying or giggling to hear exactly where I hit a rough patch of unplowed snow or where I saw a semi-amusing piece of grafitti, or where Oscar had a snack. Technology is certainly my friend.
My default reaction, when faced with any challenge, is to read up on the topic. Always has been, regardless of the topic. Alas, when the challenge is making a baby sleep, the books are little help. It's not that they don't mention it, but at the end of the day all of them really seem to be stating the obvious: that it's not easy to make another person sleep when you want them to, and that what works for one baby might not work for the next one. Thanks for that!
Our lad is a lovely sleeper, once he drifts off properly (midnightish) he's usually no trouble as long as he's fed on demand through the night. Which I find perfectly reasonable, I never can sleep when I'm hungry either. It's just that we'd love for him to drift off at some point earlier than midnightish, so that we can have a little bit of time to ourselves to do grown-up stuff (like play games on our smartphones or have a bath or a sandwhich, that kind of thing). Besides, the last few hours he's up he can sometimes be a bit of a nuisance, probably because he's cranky and overly tired. Not quality time for anyone.
To deal with the unwelcome evening awakeness (which according to my father is a genetic thing the poor little fellow has inherited from yours truly - a comment which always for some reason is followed by a poorly disguised triumphant "serves you right" - sounding giggle) we have developed the very clever tactic of becoming really superstitious. Whenever bedtime doesn't go according to plan (which is pretty much daily, but with different degrees of severity) we try to think what we did that day and never do that again. So far we know the following isn't conductive to an early night:
So basically: everything. In the end it's becoming a bit like wearing a special Cesc Fabregas T-shirt or watching the match from a particular pub to make sure Arsenal wins at soccer. Not that anyone does that. Just an example, obviously.
And then we find a trick that works wonders, and are over the moon. Except the next day it doesn't work any more. Gee, we can't get anything past that baby. Very brainy kid. "A-ha!," he seems to be thinking, "last night I fell asleep in this Mei-Tai and woke up alone in the next room. There's a mistake I won't be making again!"
But we have one trick that has worked for three days running now - touch wood- ; this lovely little iPhone app called White Noise. Best 11 kroner spent ever, the little fellow is sleeping right now to the sound of waves crashing in the next room. How long it takes before he figures it out is anyone's guess of course. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the relative quiet and half an hour to write this. Bliss.
I'm anything but a great cook, but (unsurprisingly to anyone who's seen me in real life) I am quite fond of food. All kinds of food, and especially strange-sounding, strange-looking or very sweet and unhealthy food. And sometimes I have to make it, as well. For these reasons it suddenly (in the middle of the night, I might add, probably triggered by the baby not crying) came to me that I needed to start a foodblog. So I did, it can be found here and is written in Norwegian, but as we all know, ask and Google translate shall answer, so there.
I'm not aiming for the advanced stuff here, as the title (translating as more or less edible) or first post (on the proper way to mix orange juice and coca cola) might indicate, but I do have some nice tricks that will make the world a better place. Like how to nuke popcorn correctly or how to make a mean toasted cheese sandwhich. Feel free to check in!
Big event, this nordic skiing world cup in Oslo. I guess. There was one in Trondheim in the nineties, which I didn't miss. I remember standing out in the deep snow with a flag and a classmate watching the men's relay event. Waiting, waiting, waiting, then waving the flag for about 1,8 seconds as a skier passed so quickly we could barely make out if they were on the Norwegian team or not. Freezing, waiting some more.
This time, I steered well and truly clear of the whole thing, up to and including staying out of the city centre for the duration. Wheeling around a buggy with a small (well, young) baby in it among crowds of tourists with big rucksacks with flags poking out - poised to take out an eye or two at any given moment - on the tube: Not My Thing. Not unlike skiing itself: also Not My Thing.
I caught some of it on TV though. Not on purpose mind you, but I was flipping through channels and laughing out loud at a picture looking something like this:
and commenting what great television this was, when the picture turned into something like this:
and some ten seconds later, Marit Bjørgen crossed the finish line and took yet another gold medal for Norway (or Trøndelag, if you will). Excellent timing, in less than half a minute I took in all that I would have been interested in seeing had I made a conscious effort to see something. My heart goes out to to those who tried to watch the whole thing.
Now it's over, and people like me are allowed back into the city centre. I plan to celebrate by taking baby Oscar to the cinema. And perhaps sampling the goods from the Ben and Jerry's that opened just in time for the championship.
Yup. Still got it: that compulsion to keep buying books even though the to-be-read-shelves are not being emptied at anywhere near to the pace with which they are being filled up. At a glance, I would say that I have about 2,5 meters of to-be-read shelf waiting for me to finish it.
It has always been my policy that no matter how limited my budget, my book-budget should be unlimited as far as at all practicable, but after moving house in November I started to entertain a nagging suspicion that maybe, just maybe, there can be too much of even such a fantastic thing as books. However, in my collection is the complete series of Kinsella's Shopoholic books - very educational- and I know that justifying overbuying is mostly a matter of coming up with good reasons why you need stuff. Which should never be a problem.
So todays purchases were completely necessary, for the following reasons:
Barske Ramperim by Gustav Lorentzen: Baby Oscar doesn't have a lot of books yet, and Gustav Lorentzen was one of the great heroes of my childhood. Badass poetry seems to me a much better way to increase the little fellow's cultural capital than the Mozart setting on the babygym (which is in the process of driving me insane, little by little).
Asylsøker: Documentary photography about asylum seekers. Can't have too much documentary or too much photography, and the subject matter is very politically correct to boot.
Måtehold i grådighetens tid (Temperance in the Age of Greed): well, based on all of the above information this should be food for thought and very appropriate for yours truly...
if I can only find the time for reading it.
I am now a professional photographer! I actually sold a picture! After coming across it on flicr, Susan O'Hanlon fine stationery contacted me to ask if they could use my picture "that pink feeling" for a greeting card.
And check this out:
Cards have actually been printed, and hopefully will be on sale in stores in Britain soon! I'm expecting a life in luxury living off the royalties from now on. Ok, maybe not. But who knows, maybe in a year's time there will be enough for a coffee or something similar (actually I got an advance that will amount to quite a lot of cups of coffee. Maybe ten or twenty. So no complaints there!). Doesn't matter, the important thing is now I'm a professional photographer. Check! Next goal: become a published author. Preferably without having to self-publish, but if needs must...
Yes indeed. After pregnancy comes motherhood (God willing). This shouldn't come as a surprise to any of you, let alone me, and yet I found myself completely and utterly unprepared for the whole motherhood thing. In the last stages of pregnancy I spent quite a lot of time thinking about the upcoming labour- as one does- and not a lot thinking about what comes after. Some clever person in a maternity class said that labour is like a high mountain standing between the pregnant woman and life after birth, and I have to agree.
So labour. It was tough, but not tougher than expected. I didn't expect a walk in the park. Baby Oscar turned up a fortnight after his due date (on january 5th to be precise) after labour being induced (pretty much as anticipated) and was a very sturdy baby (pretty much as anticipated since the midwife had to plot the growth of the belly outside the graph paper in the last checkup) at 4,5 kg. Lovely, beautiful and nice smelling (pretty much as anticipated).
But the whole motherhood thing: I want to say that no one told me it would be this tough, but I would be lying. Everyone told me, they all tell you, don't they, it's just that you aren't able to understand it. Oscar's seven weeks soon, and things are becoming less tough, but wowie! what a lot we've had to learn in the last two months and wowie kazowie! what a lot we're still not even close to mastering.
At least now I know how to change a nappy (not that hard actually), how to deal with mastitis (wear all the wool you can get your hands on to prevent it, massage your boobs a lot if you get it and if all else fails get antibiotics after the first day), how to tie a carrying shawl (I'd have to show you), the rules for storing breast milk in the fridge and/or freezer, how to dress and undress the baby and how to make my way around with a buggy. Still to learn: how to get him to settle down and have a good nights sleep without too much bribery and trickery. And about one million other things.