Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Mephisto

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

I got my little red and white kitten in 1997, when he was just eight weeks old. He was a tiny furball, purred like a powerful engine and loved to snuggle. He slept on my neck when he was tiny, eventually moving on to my belly when he got too big for that. He’d always come into my room at night, hopping onto my bed, settling down on top of the covers, purring and soothing me to sleep. He loved to play and chase all manner of creatures outside in the woods surrounding my father’s house or the garden and occasionally brought in a little ‘treat’ for me from his trips. We went on walks through our village together, with him only straying away from me to sniff at a fence here and there before he’d come back to walk with me some more. In our house, he’d always be in the room I was in, apparently enjoying my company. If I was busy studying or typing away at my computer when he wanted to snuggle, he’d solve the problem by simply sitting on my books or computer keyboard until I stroked his head.

It’s strange how attached you can get to a cat. For some reason, I always thought Mephisto would at some point peacefully pass away at home. He deserved this kind of ending to his life. I cannot fathom how someone can run over an animal and then leave him for dead. I miss him terribly.

Sick. Again.

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Well, we’ve had a good run. What was it, ten days of relative health? The Munchkin still stands no chance against Kita germs and apparently, neither do I. Last night I was summoned to the bedroom by our Bean in 15 minute intervals, until I finally gave up and went to bed around midnight – studying, shopping lists and cleaning left undone. About one hour later, my Munchkin was asleep, snuggled into me. She did not have a fever at the time, but her cough was bothering her something fierce. When I asked her what she wanted to do as she woke up the following morning, she declared she wanted to have muesli and then go to Kita. I obliged, safe in the knowledge I’d only be a two minute walk away from her, should she feel poorly. I needn’t have worried, though, as apparently she was her usual happy self at Kita and had a great time.

When I picked my Bean up, she felt a bit hot to the touch. Ever since we got home, she’s had a fever over 39.3 degrees Celsius or 102.74 Fahrenheit and we spent the afternoon essentially lying on the couch, with her on my belly, alternating between sleeping and reading, letting the fever run its natural course through our bodies. The fever was starting to bother her towards the end of the day, so I gave her some Nurofen and I am still hoping she will be able to sleep soon. I’ll take her to the doctor’s in the morning regardless, as the coughing seems to stress her little body greatly and I am worried about her very laboured breathing. I have been spending my evening alternating between bedroom and living room again, never quite getting around to anything more than staring at my computer screen in an unfocused manner until I am called upon once more.

Everything has ground to a halt. The studying, the cleaning, everything. This morning was spent rushing around between doctor’s offices and pharmacies, getting prescriptions, referrals and the like and then some hasty washing and folding of laundry before I went to pick up my littlest.

I feel very uncomfortable. I need to study, I need to do our weekly shopping, I have another thousand things to take care of. The Lad can’t be of any help, even if he wanted to, as he leaves the house before eight in the morning and mostly returns home at about nine in the evening. My Bean will stay home with me tomorrow and is in no condition to be dragged through stores or to be left to her own devices while I clean. I feel quite alone, actually.

This happens occasionally. I’ll feel really sorry for myself and once again long for my mother and my fraternal grandmother, both of whom no longer live. My only relatives in Berlin, my sister and my aunt, are both so busy, we might as well live in different countries, considering how much we see or hear from each other. I call that the Berlin syndrome – people here seem to be separated from each other not so much by geography than more…life itself, I suppose.

I miss my Gran. I miss having someone to sit and have a cup of tea with, someone to stroke my hair and just be with me. Someone who’s genuinely concerned about my welfare and takes as much interest in my family and my little girl as I do. My heart still bleeds when I think of my Bean growing up without a Gran or in any way that counts, without an Aunt or a Grandad.

If I happen to speak to my 90 year old neighbor while I find myself in one of those moods and she asks me, for what feels like the hundreth time, whether we have family around in Berlin, she’ll look at me and say ‘Ah, but that’s the way of things nowadays, isn’t it’. Indeed.

In other, equally happy and completely anxiety-free news, I have sent another email to my professor yesterday. My next step will be to call him, which he does not particularly approve of. Joy of joys!

Patience, or the lack thereof

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

My studying seems to be going relatively well. Emotionally speaking I am all over the place, unfortunately. I am insanely worried about my professor not responding to me, but at the same time don’t really know when it would be appropriate to send another email or make a phone call.

Also, I have sort of set myself up for failure with the topic I chose for my first exam: Socialisation Processes in Families. Generalized, much? It seems impossible to cram everything I need to know into a few short weeks of study time. Again, this is where I am unhappy with how university studies are organized in Germany – or used to be organized, rather. Things have  presumably changed by now, since the new Bachelor and Masters programs have been introduced in a mad scramble to keep up with international standards.

As ‘Magisterstudent’ (that’s me), you were essentially thrown headfirst into academia after High School, with not the slightest inkling as to how things work, what you need or what you should be doing. I have always said that it’s good to be challenged to figure things out on your own, find your way and learn to rely on yourself, but man! A little help to untie the knots in my brain, the occasional advice or nudge in the right direction would certainly have helped me out over the years. Especially now, after my ‘Elternzeit’ (parental leave) I am so detached from uni, I do not have much confidence in myself  as far as the completion of my Masters degree goes.

Another big thing for me is the phase our Munchkin is going through at the moment. I am out of ideas, I just do not know how to make this better for us. While our days together usually set out lovely, the struggle starts when I pick our Bean up at Kita. She sees me and does not want to leave Kita – she used to immediately come to me for a hug and a kiss when I came to pick her up. I want that back, damn it. I always leave her enough time to finish whatever she is doing before I tell her that we need to get ready to go home. Still, she refuses to put on her coat and shoes and runs away from me when I come near her. More often than not, I end up forcibly dressing her, with the Munchkin kicking and screaming bloody murder.

After leaving Kita, I usually like to spend some time outside with the Bean before we go home, but nowadays sometimes have to cut this short, as she just seems to have days where she chooses not to listen to me. Her running around, completely unfazed by general traffic, is something I just can’t tolerate, living as we do, in the big city of Berlin.

When we do end up going home early, the Munchkin very often refuses to walk up the one flight of stairs to our apartment – something she loved to do a few months ago. If I do not pick her up and carry her upstairs, she proceeds to throw herself on the floor, screaming yet again. After a while, I calmly tell her that I will be waiting for her upstairs and she’ll eventually come after me, still screaming, of course.

The wailing and rolling around on the floor continue as we finally reach the apartment and I ask her to – oh, the horror! – take her coat and shoes off. At this point I already brace myself for the enraged screaming that will commence when I insist on her leaving her house shoes on, as we have a very cold, very hard tile floor in this here apartment.

When dinner time rolls around, I ask the Munchkin to clear up her toys before we eat and she just elects not to. She’ll sit and look at me and just not react when I tell her to please clean up – again, this is something she used to love to do a little while ago. When I eventually raise my voice in frustration, more crying ensues and at some point a ‘Mommy do it’ is uttered in a wavering voice. No, it’s not that she wants to do it with me – which I would be fine with – but rather she wants to go and do something else while I clear up her toys and books. This is something I assume I wouldn’t be too bothered about if her toys were scattered in her own room, but it’s our living space we’re talking about here. The Munchkin does not yet have a room to call her own, so every single toy she has resides in our living room.

The atmosphere created through the constant fighting leaves me quite exhausted and weary and I am assuming the Munchkin feels much the same. I am just SO incredibly sad about all this. I desperately want to find a way to deal with her behavior, but I am not sure how. I HATE that I have to get really loud with her so often before she does anything I ask of her. I am sure there is a way to handle this appropriately, I just can’t seem to find it.

What do I do when things get too much for me on occasion? I stay with my Munchkin, but settle down on the couch with a book and read until the storm passes. She is always close to me and knows she can come and snuggle or talk to me when she so chooses, but I essentially extract myself from the situation when I feel I can’t take it any more. Luckily, at one point or another my baby always does come to me, hugging me close.

Strangely enough, these problems don’t make me want a second child less, they just make me long for a better understanding of my firstborn. I am missing something, I just don’t yet know what exactly. I fervently wish I’d figure this out sooner rather than later.

Checking in

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

A dark and rainy day is coming to an end. The Lad is giving our little girl a bath and soon she’ll be headed for bed. We’ve largely stayed inside today, played with Lego and ate homemade apple cake.

While I am trying to get organized, I find my thoughts constantly returning to Audrey and Delilah and very much hope that both will continue to get better. It must be agonizing for Audrey and Chris not to be able to be with their littlest whenever they want and need to be.

Surprisingly to me, I actually did follow through with my plan to get an exam appointment set up. I have been waiting for a response from my Professor for about five days now. Yes, I am getting a little bit antsy because I am not hearing back from him, but I most certainly will not attempt to push him on this, as I have been out of touch with him for quite a while – I should have sat this exam months ago. I do need his signature to get things moving properly at the examinations office, though, so until he replies, I’ll just have to continue to study and hope things will go smoothly. I am quite positive that my allotted study period of four weeks will not be enough to get adequately prepared for this exam, especially seeing as I only have between three and four hours per day to study in peace. I suppose I should get used to studying at night again, too. Nowadays I usually just collapse in a heap after the Bean is in bed and the place has been cleared a bit. Must push myself harder.

As for everything else, I am trying to prioritize. I’ve been promising two new sets of doll sheets to the Munchkin’s Kita for a while and now that I have my new sewing machine, I need to get started, as my next project is right around the corner: The Lad’s new advent calendar. I made one for him in the first year we were together, but still lived in two different countries. The calendar has been through a lot – moved house several times, traveled from Germany to Scotland and back again – and just doesn’t look so fresh any more. Also, I clearly did not think the project through, as it’s made in the most inconvenient way – there’s just never a place to hang the damn thing!

So this year I want to make an advent calendar for the Lad that we’ll be able to hang on a wall. I’ve already got all the ideas, now I just need to figure out the size and getting the fabric I want to use ordered from the US. I made the Munchkin’s calendar last year – using our family Tartan, no less -, but I need to figure something out with the numbers. I did not feel up to handstitching them at the time and now I’m regretting it. The clips with the numbers on them aren’t the easiest thing to handle for a toddler, unfortunately. I am not quite sure how to fix that. The fabric paint hasn’t really worked out so well on the Lad’s calendar, but I am wondering if I could stamp numbers on in a different, nice looking font somehow. Please note the painting sitting in the middle of the top shelf – my dear Aunt made it for me, but I am afraid it’s not quite my cup of tea.  I can’t bear putting it away after she went to extraordinary lengths to make it and get the painting framed, so it’s still sitting on this shelf today.

Step by step, though. Or stitch by stich, as it were. Throughout the Munchkin’s Kita time I shall be focusing on my studies and either in the late evenings or on the weekends I will tackle my sewing projects. First the sheets, then the Lad’s advent calendar, then the numbers on the Munchkin’s calendar. After that, I’ll need to see which of my 7659 sewing projects should come next.

With that I am off to sneak in a few pages of my current novel before my Munchkin needs me to help her settle down for sleep.

Sickness, decisions and the usual chaos

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

The Lad, the Munchkin and I are just emerging from an all-encompassing bout of illness. All three of us were quite sick – we even had to administer an antibiotic to our Munchkin for the first time, as her little body didn’t seem to deal well with the onslaught of all the germs and bacteria floating around at Kita. First she was diagnosed with acute spasmodic laryngitis (again) and then a heavy bacterial infection layered itself on top of that. She ran a temperature of 39.5 degrees Celsius or 103.1 degrees Fahrenheit for more than three days and had a higher than usual temperature for over one week, which apparently isn’t exactly desirable and requires something stronger than tender love and care to be doled out to the patient. The beginning of the colder season seems to have hit our friends and family quite hard this year, as virtually everyone we know is ill in one way or another right now.

My grand plans to get myself somewhat more organized in general have again been put on the back burner and I don’t even have enough energy left to care just now. I had originally planned to get back on track with everything this weekend, thinking the acute phase of our sickness had passed, but then the Lad’s health took a turn for the worse and he’s basically been knocked out for most part of the last three days. This in turn of course left my plans, organization and studying in the dust. I wasn’t really feeling too great myself yet when the Lad had to declare defeat and retreated to the couch, so this weekend’s backing and forthing has left me a tad exhausted.

I do finally realize that there will always be something getting in the way of my studying – I just can’t do this like I used to, when I was single and in charge of noone but myself. Whenever I needed to study for exams back then, I shut myself into my tiny apartment, spread my books and notes out all around the place and did not resurface until I was ready to take my exam. Cleaning, cooking, resting were reserved for the time after my exams. I didn’t care about my lack of sleep, my dishevelled appearance or my slightly neglected apartment. Of course, I can’t live like that anymore. The three of us want to feel comfortable in our surroundings, we all feel better when we’re eating wholesome, freshly prepared meals and our daughter deserves to be taken care of properly and not live in a complete hovel because her mother can’t get her act together. I will admit, it’s hard for me and I know I am failing on various levels right now. I am trying my best, though and somehow, I need to move forward.

In this spirit, I have decided to face the glaringly obvious fact that I need to and have to be done with uni sooner rather than later. Tomorrow, I will contact our examinations office and ask them to set a date for my first exam in Educational Science. Ready or not, I will do this. Either I finish my degree soon, or I go crazy. There’s absolutely no alternative.

And with this I am off to try and get some rest before my self-imposed study lockdown tomorrow.

Time goes by

Friday, September 17th, 2010

In a few days, I will turn 30. For some reason, I am thoroughly unenthusiastic about the whole affair. My father is coming to visit for my birthday, which means I can’t just spend a relaxed day with the Lad and the Munchkin, but rather have to entertain, cook and bake. While I am happy to see my Dad, I am decidedly unwilling to do all that is expected of me this year. I have no idea where this general blah attitude is coming from, but it’s there. Other than having cake, tea and later a meal with my family, there will be no celebration of this day.

One thing to be excited about, however, will be the new sewing machine that I will buy myself for my birthday. A while back, the Lad accidentally dropped my Brother machine, which left it rather damaged, so it has to go (hence my lack of sewing recently). I do not have a big budget for this at all, but I do hope that the new machine will be fine regardless. There are so many things I want to sew! My first project will have to be doll bedding for the Munchkin’s former Kita class, though, but after that I can get on with my stuff.

My studies are still creeping along very, very slowly. I am not much closer to my first written exam than I was a couple of weeks ago. I am doing what I can and find myself trying to just take it day by day, cause I just can’t stand to look at the big picture right now.

The Lad has just informed me that today will be another long day in the office for him and he’ll bring home some more work that he needs to take care of over the weekend. Oh joy of joys! The Bean and I hardly get to see him anymore, even when he’s home, he’s often not really here. I am having such a hard time accepting this situation – I am constantly reminding myself that this job is good for him and for us and that things will get better eventually. Speaking of things, I have to be off to take care of some stuff that was supposed to be done over the weekend. My father will arrive in Berlin on Sunday, so a lot of things have to be taken care of before then. No use sitting around waiting for help.

Reorganizing

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

I am starting to regain my sanity in small increments. Following a very emotional outburst, the Lad took pity on me and helped me organize the total mess that is my brain. I seem to work better with clear lists, routines and structured tasks, so we’re currently attempting to organize things in a way that will help me not to feel smothered by uni, household, mothering and all the other things that are being tossed my way.

Things are difficult for me right now, as I am essentially a single parent throughout the week and I have uni to deal with in addition to all the rest. I am determined to press on, however, and get this uni gig over and done with as soon as I can.

Meanwhile, we need to start sorting out other things that are important to us, so we’ve agreed on a ‘plan’, if you will. The Lad has just gotten his brand new and shiny unlimited contract, which certainly helps with this process. I need to find a job that is somehow compatible with uni and Kita times. Once I have a job, we want to look at finding a new apartment. Also, much more importantly, I have started taking folic acid again and we’ve been off junk food for a few days. Three guesses why I am taking supplements at this point *winkwink*

Cooler Times and a Picture

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Fall seems to have arrived. I’ve seen ripe elder on our walk today, the air felt cool and misty and fallen leaves were crunching underfoot. I love this season very much – I am looking forward to hot tea and hot chocolate, books and cuddling up with a nice movie every once in a while. Somehow, Berlin seems less harsh to me in this particular season.

We met ‘Oma’ D today for our walk. She’s actually my aunt, but sort of feels like a grandmother to our Munchkin. Unfortunately we do not see her a lot at all, as she’s generally very busy. Here’s a picture for you, snapped on a playground when we were out together. Being with Oma D and seeing all the families taking walks together today, I felt a familiar sadness at the fact that our little girl (and any other potential children of ours) will be growing up without any real family around her besides her parents. I wish so very much that it were different.

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I have a long, long list of things that need to get done, so I will sit down just now, work on a little art project for the Munchkin (she needs a new ‘Familienhaus’ at Kita) and get myself organized a bit.

A whole lot of nothing

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

There’s much going on here at the moment, yet nothing really seems to be moving. I am working through my books at snail’s pace. I am not sure how to speed up this process, so I just do what I can. My written exam in Educational Science should have taken place long ago, but I just can’t see it happening any time soon.

I am pitying myself tremendously, because I am, effectively, a single parent throughout the week and sometimes even on the weekends. The Lad works a lot. More than a lot. Our Munchkin hardly gets to see him. He leaves before she wakes up and comes home after she’s in bed. He brings home work often. I am trying very much to make myself just accept these circumstances, but it’s hard.

As soon as the Munchkin is at Kita, I should be studying. I should stop doing that only when I need to pick her up again. Everything else should be taken care of after my study time every day. Which leaves me facing a load of unfinished tasks. If I were to manage household chores (tiny apartment. No dishwasher, no dryer), cooking, shopping, paperwork (there’s been an awful lot of that recently) and whatever else needs done in any sort of adequate fashion, I would need to do a lot of it during my time with the Munchkin – after Kita. The problem is, I just don’t feel that’s fair on her. She lets me know very clearly that she would like to be and play with me, not beside me. I want to read and paint with her, go for walks or play in the park. So other things do not get done. Whenever I attempt to work through my list, I end up going to bed at one in the morning, which leaves me way too tired for my studying. Right now, I am at my most unreliable in very many different ways and it shames me.

Apparently though all that is not enough to deal with, because I keep longing for another baby. We’re emotionally ready for it, but that’s about it. Everything else is just wrong right now. It would be exceptionally stupid to consider this in any serious fashion, but this wish is growing stronger every day. Every time I see or hear a tiny newborn, I get this powerful need that I am unable to control. I do my best to push these thoughts far away from me right now, but it hurts. Very much. Every day.

I am working on being less negative, appreciating what I’ve got and making the most of my days with my family, with mixed results. A work in progress, like so many things in my life right now.

Bits and Pieces

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

A rather sunny Saturday in Berlin is coming to an end. In the evenings, one gets the very distinct feeling that fall is approaching. The air smells different, temperatures drop much more quickly than even a few weeks ago. I’m not sad about that, mind you. The summer weather this year has just been crazy. 38 degrees Celsius and above is just way too much for me. An average of about 25 to 27 degrees would constitute my ideal summer climate, please and thank you.

***

The Lad, the Munchkin and I went to feed ducks today. Our littlest just loves doing that, eagerly distributing stale bread and squealing with delight when ducks flock around her, waiting for the next bite. It’s a lovely thing to do with her, but I just hate the setting in which this activity takes place. It’s a small pond, really, surrounded by a few trees, a little walkway around it. A few benches have been put up around this area and they are always, always occupied with drunks, plastic bags full of cheap booze sitting beside them. There’s a lot of trash lying around in front of the benches, in the grass, even in the water. I am surprised that the little birds and ducks even still linger there. This place honestly encompasses what in my opinion is wrong with this city – for a family, that is. Somehow it seemed easier to just ignore all the dirt, noise and rudeness when I lived here just by myself.

***

We’ll make use of the anticipated nice weather tomorrow and finally venture to the Zoo. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for the Munchkin’s birthday but couldn’t, because we were all very sick at that time. I very much hope we’ll manage to go this time around. For some reason, something or other always got in the way of that on past weekends.

***

The Lad had a company BBQ to go to yesterday, so I had an evening to myself. I decided to watch ‘Remember Me’ and was just blown away by it. This movie resonates with me on so many levels, it’s hard to explain. It’s SO intense. I’m still very much thinking about it today and will probably watch it again with the Lad tonight, should he get home from yet another BBQ ‘early’ (it’s 10 pm already). Technically, we were all invited to this birthday party tonight. I just still don’t really feel like I want to expose my daughter to a lot of loud music or very drunk and smoking people, so we ended up staying home.

***

The Munchkin will be back at Kita on Monday. It’s a new start for us in several ways. For one, there will be no more K for our littlest. Our favorite teacher will be in a different class from now on, so our bean will have to do without her.

Seemingly K missed our little girl during the holidays and wanted to spend some time with her outside of Kita, so she actually called to ask about babysitting her one day. K picked her up on Wednesday this week and spend the entire day with her – she called in between, asking me if my baby could stay with her a bit longer into the evening, which I found just sweet. They had just a great time together. Dropping the Munchkin off, K said to me that she’d love to do that more often, so I’m pretty confident our baby will get to see her during the year that they’ll spend apart at Kita.

I’m still a bit wary of the new teacher coming into the Munchkin’s class for K, but keep telling myself I’m staying open-minded. This teacher just doesn’t seem very warm or enthusiastic about her work. I am very much trying not to let my little girl feel any of this weirdness.

Also, should she take to it, the Munchkin can start weekly music and sports classes at Kita now, since she’s finally old enough. I am excited to see what our littlest will make of that.

***

Our bean sang for me two days ago for the first time!! The Itsy Bitsy Spider, no less:

‘itty bitty…cimb…water…down’

I love how she now repeats things we read or sing to her. I just have to watch what I say a little bit more closely. On occasion, when something falls down and I look, erm, displeased, she looks up at me and asks ‘Mommy cap?’. Ten points to whoever can guess what she means by that.

***

So, with Kita starting on Monday, I have to get back to my books, too. I HAVE to be done with most of the stuff in a few months. I am afraid I won’t make it, but will push myself hard now. I feel sick thinking of all the stuff that we can’t get started with or that aren’t working out because of my continued inability to finish my studies.

Ah, the Lad just called – he’ll be home in a few. Snuggle time!