Saturday, October 16, 2010

To my dearest little bro

I mean, I knew for the last 7 months or so it was coming but when I got the call at 5:30 this morning, it really hit me.

My little brother is a Daddy to a little girl.

And I'm just so emotional about it all, in the proudest big sister way possible.

Because I remember what it felt like when I became a Mom.

And because I have that photo of us, you: 3, me: 6 or 7, snuggling in a bed against a backdrop of floral wallpaper on Logan Street.

And because I know you. And it makes me laugh. I chuckle to think that my anal retentive, color-coordinated sock drawer, organized-to-a-fault, sleep-coveting baby brother is going to have his world turned upside down.

That this new world will be filled with power washing the poop of cloth diapers. Losing sleep even when his days-old daughter is fast asleep, just checking to make sure that she is, in fact, breathing. Stumbling outside at 4am to take his two terribly confused dogs for a pee. Doing Balki's dance for joy after she finally falls asleep after countless trips around the living room in the stroller. Falling in love with his wife all over again as she nurses the precious life you created together. Baby-proofing the baby-proofing. Hovering like a lunatic when anyone dares to pick her up. Policing the phone lines so as not to disturb his best girls while they're resting (and cursing whoever it is who dares to call).

And that's just the beginning.

And I have some advice for you dear brother of mine. Take noone's advice. Do what YOU feel is best. You will pour over "the books", you will drive yourself mad trying to weigh conflicting advice from well-meaning grandparents/siblings/friends on everything from how often to breastfeed, when/if to start sleep training, the colour of her poo, how to dress her for X weather, etc.

But in the end, you will do what's right for your daughter and your family. Every time. And I know this because I've been there and I know this because I know you.

And I love you. And I'm just so proud of both of you. And I can't wait to meet my niece and cuddle her and make silly faces at her and buy an overabundance of pink, frilly things and be her ONLY and most favouritest Auntie Jenny.

And that's just the beginning.

I love you already baby doll Audrey xo

Friday, October 15, 2010

My baby brother is a Daddy...

And it's a GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh how excited am I to run out and buy pink, frilly, bow-laden dresses and skirts and hats and...PINK!

8lbs 14 oz and delivered completely naturally on October 14th 7:48pm in Terrace, BC. No drugs. Quite the contrast to MY birthing experience. You name the drug, it was in my system and then? c-section. But it's the end result that matters. can't say that I'm not super impressed and proud of my sis-in-law and her coach though.

WE HAVE NO NAME YET! This is driving all of us bonkers. Will it be a classic name, a crunchy name, a nouveau name, a stupid name? ha! Time will tell. Hurry up clock.

The bottom line is this: I have a niece. She will be beautiful. I will love her to pieces and my baby brother is now a Daddy and I am so proud of him and his wife. They will make THE best parents. And now to wait an agonizing 10 months to meet her. Thank God for Skype. 

Welcome to the world Baby Girl and to a family who loves you. All my love, Auntie Jenn xo

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gonna be an Aunty!

My brother and his wife are on their way into the hospital to welcome their 1st born. I am already an Aunty to my husband's sister's daughter but this is a bit different. My baby brother is having a baby. Well, his wife is but you get it. How excited am I? And we don't know the sex OR the name choices yet...triple the excitement. Praying for them and a safe delivery and a healthy baby. Love, Aunty Jenn

Monday, October 11, 2010

Little Man Mondays

In case you haven't noticed, I've scrapped Weigh-In Wednesdays. #1: Because I've sorta reached my goal, hovering between 69ish and 70ish with weekly exercise and #2: Because I'm tired of focusing so much on my pant size. But that said, I may resurrect it one day ;-).

So to replace it, I'm launching Little Man Mondays! Just a way for me to more actively journal my four year-old's growth, my parenting, etc so I can look back in years to come. Wish I woulda thought about this sooner but since I'm not-so-good at the keeping his Baby Book up-to-date, this will be my little place.

He wanted to go to the library this weekend, so off we trotted to Literary Land, where the basement is reserved as a NO QUIET zone complete with toys, costumes, book reading nooks, tears, breastfeeding, snot, screaming and well, you get the picture.

Some little boys are into cars. Others into dolls. Mine LOVES animals. The front of the librarian's desk is actually a whole bunch of drawers. The minute we arrive, he's yanking them open to discover where the plastic animals (of which he has zillions at home already) are hiding. It always turns into a lesson of sharing as he hoardes them and polices their use when unfortunate toddlers come bounding around in hopes of snagging one or two.

 "Mommy, what do anteaters do?" I can't count the number of Google searches I've done trying to figure out what X animal eats, where it lives and sometimes, what it looks like. We left armed with enough animal ammunition for a couple of weeks.

Lately I've noticed little man is "playing in Swedish". And to my surprise, when I joined in the other day, he didn't stop abruptly and scold me for speaking in his language. So we played along, me the Swedish camel, him the Swedish crocodile. He's the best teacher really. But that's really where it ends. And that's fine by me.

His English skills however, compared to native English speakers his age, are behind and understandably so. He has difficulty expressing himself fully in English and translating from his school environment to his home environment. When I ask him about his day, he finds it hard to respond. The words are all there but they're in Swedish. Though we had a little breakthrough the other day. As we were driving home, he said in a low voice, filled with pride, in Swenglish, "I bakad bröd today." Translation: I baked bread today. I think he was proud of both what he had done and that he was able to tell me. I was so excited for him on both counts.

They have a program in Sweden called "Home Speak" where he can meet once/week with other English-speaking children for a few hours of English play. I will be signing him up so am hoping this will help him.

I signed him up for a "sports academy" here in Uppsala. It sounded perfect: a club that introduces young children to a variety of sporting activities that meets once/week for an hour. He doesn't like it. Maybe it's because I signed him up for Mondays. After a relaxing weekend, Monday is the first day back to a full day at school and he's likely pretty tired to be rushed through supper and out the door for 6pm. Maybe it's because the kids spend more time standing around than actually doing anything. Maybe it's because the class is too big with only two "leaders". Maybe it's because the leaders spend most of their time shushing the kids. Maybe he's too young. It seems like  waste of 798 SEK but I will drag him there again tonight and if he wants to leave, I'll take him home without a fuss.

Well off to pick up the little man soon and tell him we're headed to sports class tonight. Poor kid :-(.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Public Service Announcement: NEVER GIVE THE FINGER!

Driving home from a lovely Fall afternoon feeding the ducks and hitting the library with the little man. Someone cut me off so I was forced to go up a street reserved for buses and taxis only. What i was doing was illegal. A man driving a white truck/van coming in the opposite direction started to gesture wildly at me, shaking his finger and likely screaming through is windshield.

In the interest of descriptive purposes, the man was of Arab decent. His little boy was sitting in the seat next to him. I thought: You fker. And I gave him the finger, made my left turn and proceeded to drive. Glancing back in my rearview mirror I noticed the man pull a fast U-turn and come speeding up behind me, inches from rear-ending me. Uh-Oh. He was right on my tail. He then proceeded to pull another illegal maneover, passed me and stopped his truck dead in my tracks. Now I had moved from irritation to fear. I went up over the sidewalk and into a parking lot. He hopped out of his truck and proceeded to come barrelling towards me on foot. I put the window down a crack just enough to yell out, "If you don't stop following me, I will call the police." I noticed him taking down my license plate and running back to his car.

I proceeded to drive and sure enough, he was on my tail again. Following closely and menacingly. No matter where I turned, he was right there waiting/daring me to stop. I was close to our friends' very big house wherein her very big and intimidating husband resides. As I pulled into the driveway and my pursuer pulled next to the curb, I called and told her to send her husband out immediately as I was being harassed. As he came out, I briefly explained what had happened and ran in with my son.

When he came back inside, he told me the man was upset because I gave him the finger in front of his child and had made a traffic violation. My friend said he told the man that didn't make it ok to harrass me.
So I guess it was ok for said man to scream like a raving lunatic at my mistake and then proceed to make countless traffic violations of his own and chase me down like a mad man in front of his son.

I am still shaking, wondering what a man who had just made numerous traffic violations himself, needs with my license plate. I can't imagine he would be calling the cops as he would get in just as much trouble. In my fear-striken and panicked state, I did not get his license plate number. I regret this.

One could assume that this man, after being disrespected by a woman, wanted to teach his son a lesson. Or perhaps he was having a really bad day and I was the icing on the cake.

I know one thing for sure, I will never again in my life give the finger to a stranger, no matter how justified I feel in doing so. You never know what kind of crazy people are capable of. And now, for a short while at least, I will leave in fear.

I'll be home for Christmas?

Not sure sure about that. I checked the flight prices...almost $3000 for us to fly from Sweden to Toronto and I have serious doubts the prices are going down...if anything they'll go up. Considering I paid about half that amount this time last year to book our flights. And in further comparison, I spent less than this amount for all of us to fly to Montenegro AND pay for an apartment for 3 weeks.

We were really hoping to make it home for the holidays but this seems out of our reach right now. When we originally moved overseas, we were guaranteed 2 trips home/year...paid. But since we moved to Sweden, we've had to finance these trips ourselves. Besides selling a vital organ, I really don't  know how we're going to swing it.

And it's a depressing reality. We're missing our families dearly and the thought of spending the holidays, here, alone, well....Yes, we have each other and we should be grateful for that. And we are. Especially this being Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.

On that note, Thank you. Thank you God for our continued good health, a roof over our heads, and all the usual. And thank you for showing me this weekend just how much we truly love our families and how much of a sacrifice we continue to make.