June 14. Joseph is stopped just before getting the Jack Daniels BBQ sauce bottle to his lips.

15. Joseph calls any bug he sees a bumble bee (bambabee)

16. We’re at the yearly lab BBQ, and Joseph eats peanuts and chips as though we didn’t feed him anything.  He can’t see into the plate, but he knows the blind reach will get him something…

Vacation in the US

July 8. Joseph asks me at bedtime to count to 200.  (He still often wants some amount of counting as his bedtime ‘story’.)

Vivienne rolls both ways purposefully and easily.

9. Joseph says the alphabet from memory without visual aids.

10. Joseph counts backwards from 11 without any aids.

18. Joseph tries a day in big boy underwear (he’s been in disposable diapers for half a year because of the pesky fungus and dry leg problem, but that is now gone!) and he only has three misses – the rest went in some sort of receptacle.

21. Bappe was working in the garden and asked me to hand something to him over the balcony.  Joseph takes the opportunity to be on the balcony, where he is at home, only this time Bappe is bored waiting for Mama to bring him what he needs so he slips his gloved fingers in the space between the floor and the solid wall of the balcony.  Joseph flips out and clings to Mama who has just returned to give Bappe his stuff.  Mama can’t tell where Joseph ends and Mama begins because Joseph is clinging on so tightly.  Note to Bappe: Joseph is still a little young for loving scary surprises.

23. Joseph sings Grandma’s ‘we love you’ song.  Using crayon on paper he write and narrates his writing ‘one, circle, circle’ then exclaims over his finished work ‘one hundred !’ It was a very beautiful 100.

25. Bappe was helping Joseph put away his States puzzle.  Joseph was frustrated that Wyoming wasn’t fitting so Bappe said „Wyoming isch uffem Chopf,“ which means Wyoming is on its head (turned upside down).  Joseph obediently places Wyoming on top of his own head.

26. Vivienne does a one hand forward proto-creep.

28. Joseph emcees the Bible reading (he knows the drill !)

31. Vivienne gets her first tooth ! Bottom right.  She also pulls up onto the couch and the bed.

Aug. 4th Vivienne starts creeping at Uncle Jul’s because she doesn’t like the carpet.  She gets better every day, but still likes to belly crawl when wants to be somewhere fast.  She loves pulling herself up on everything, but is a little smarter about how to fall than Joseph was, according to memory.  She’s grown up so fast!

9. Joseph asks me to write numbers on the chalkboard.  When he asks for 112 I write a two and ask him to finish it.  He does so correctly.

Posted by harp on Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Edit
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Apologies for the long silence.  GTD keeps me from getting too overwhelmed when the routine is interrupted, but it still takes some time to get back to feeling like I can use the precious double-nap time for blogging.  Thanks for the prods from people who let me know they enjoy reading what I have to write.

This will still be a bit of a whirlwind.  June 16th to July 7th we were away in the states.  I tried to prepare Joseph for the trip by telling him that soon we will take a bus, then a train, then a plane, then a car and go see Grandma and Dad-o.  He went right for the door without so much as putting his socks on.  From that time until when we left he often repeated “take a bus, take a train, take a plane, see Grandma Dad-o.”  It turns out that helped a lot to encourage him while we were traveling.  It was quite a feet with two kids and no stroller or car on this end of things.  We hauled our luggage and baby and made our not-quite-2-yr-old walk to the bus stop, then changed to the train and had another unexpected train change due to work on the lines, then there was quite a bit of airport to walk through as well.  I was really proud of how well the kids did through it all, especially on the return trip being exhausted and suffering from jet lag.  Jet lag is a parent’s nightmare.  I’m still not sure we’re back to normal, but the first week back was torture with taking hours and hours to try to get the kids to sleep but not really getting to sleep in.  Family travel is a whole different ball game, and I’m not sure when we’ll have the strength to try such a long trip again, but I know none of my family wants to hear that . . .

But fortunately, jet lag is not nearly so bad going toward the US, so we enjoyed our nearly three weeks there to the fullest.  We flew into Boston where Grandma and Dad-o picked us up and drove us to Old Saybrook.  We got to go to Grace church, where our blessing of the marriage service was, I used a birthday gift to get a hot stone massage, we visited Stephan’s cousin S. and her daughter Q. in Rhode Island and enjoyed the park and a restaurant together.  June 23-24 was the Big Family Weekend at the Maggie P. where the weather mostly cooperated and we all had fun in the sun, sand and water.  Of course it was too short a time with most people, but the Maggie P. is a small place for so many.  The Daleys were there for the week after the big weekend and Joseph just adored his cousins and loved every minute of play.  It wasn’t all easy for him, but he didn’t show any discomfort, I could just tell he wasn’t himself.  He likes to take quiet moments to sit and read and he likes to eat at a table with a plate and fork.  He didn’t eat much most of the time and I thought maybe he didn’t like American food, but one time is was relatively quiet and he actually got a spot at the table and he happily ate everything that came his way, carefully and slowly with fork in hand.  We discovered it’s one thing to interrupt your habits for other people and it’s another to let your kids loose everything they’re used to.  I have a hard time putting into words how much fun we had and yet how disorienting it was to be so thrown out of whack.  I don’t expect people to understand that I experienced culture shock, but I did, and it’s nice to be back home again.  I’ve lived outside the US for six years and believe it or not, a lot has changed there and in me over that time!  But that’s not so important or interesting – I’ll get back to recording the fun!

June 26th we took advantage of nice weather to take the birthday buddy outing on the Essex Steam Train.  Joseph and Noah turned two and six, respectively on the 28th, so the gang of us to the train and visited Gillette’s Castle.  Joseph slept some of the train ride – he is used to trains after all, but he enjoyed a good part of it, too.  There was a storm the night before so the train had to stop for a downed tree.  Extra excitement!

On the actual birthday we had pizza, bay punch and ice cream cake.  Joseph isn’t an ice cream fan, but I’m sure he’ll acquire the taste some day.  I think the best part of the day for Joseph was being invited by Noah to a tea party at the frog table/umbrella set that Aunt Ellie got for the Daley girls.  He loved every chance he could get to be included in activities with his cousins.

I’m not sure how planned it was, but Joseph had only one day to be sad about the cousins being gone before we drove up to Maine to visited the island Aunt S.’s family has.  That was luxury for me as everyone there was adult or old enough to look after himself, so all the normal chores that go along with life (cooking, cleaning, etc.) were taken care of and enough people were interested in playing with Joseph and Vivienne that I actually had quite a bit of time to just relax and enjoy myself – something that mothers don’t often get to do on vacation I’m discovering (the older and wiser mothers are laughing – I can hear it).  I enjoyed a swim, which had warmer water than at the Maggie P. as it was river water and not as close to the ocean, I played games and even read some (I stole Stephan’s birthday present book . . .).  Billy took us out in the boat to the rock where the seals like to sun bathe. That was cool in person!  The kids did great in the boat with their new life jackets from Aunt P.  Really, everything went quite smoothly this vacation – I really shouldn’t complain, but that transition from single person to mother was/is a rough one for me.  It just changes EVERYTHING!  We had great family bonding time, though, and Stephan was an equal partner in kid care, which was a huge help as well.  Mom worked her butt off for us, too.  I feel a bit guilty, but thanks, Mom!  I wish I could report that we had a big bash for her 60th which occurred while we were there, but she did get to have all her grandkids together on the day, even if it was just at a pizza place.  I guess mothers are always under-recognized.

On the way back from Maine we got to see the Daley’s new home in New Hampshire.  It will be nice to have a visual for when the stories start pouring out on their blog (hint, hint). ;)

Joseph spent a lot of time in the sand with Daddy.  He did some swimming, including under water, but preferred the sand.  Vivienne did a good job swimming, too, but I only had the energy to take her once.  She had just started moving around before we left for the trip and while we were there he pushed up on all fours (July 3rd).

Thanks to everyone who made is a special vacation!  We made it back in the right number of pieces and our garden had grown quite a bit and not just with weeds!   My sugar snap peas aren’t as good as Uncle J.’s, but I’m proud of them nonetheless.  We’ve eaten a number of zucchini already and the squash and pumpkin are looking good.  Tomatoes are questionable and corn is slow, but we’ll see.


Joseph has been saying everyone’s names and tells me he wants to go back because he says “Take the bus, take the train, take the plane, see Grandma Dad-o.”

We love and miss you all!


Posted by harp on Friday, July 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Edit
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I often complain how hard motherhood is as much as I love it and as rewarding as it is.  I feel obligated to disclose when it’s not that hard.  I’ve been quite a spoiled mother recently.  Vivienne doesn’t take too much coaxing to go to bed (and if I get impatient I just wrap her on my back and she’s asleep within 5 minutes at which point I can roll her off easily); Joseph can be put to bed and he’ll stay there until he reads himself to sleep; the kids play well together, or at least enjoy each other enough to buy me a little time; Joseph still entertains himself very well and doesn’t get into crazy creative trouble; Vivienne is fairly consistent in her sleep needs and still doesn’t love the stroller, but is often happy enough in it; and the biggest break of all: more often than not in the past few weeks the kids take an afternoon nap at the same time.  I know, spoiled rotten I am.  And I haven’t even mentioned that more often than not Stephan takes care of Joseph during meals, washes the dinner dishes and gets Joseph ready for bed.  (Ha, as I write this Vivienne is up despite the fact that both of them went to sleep 15 minutes ago . . . so it’s not always that easy!)


So, on to the bullet update:


June 9th: Joseph knows many of the US States by shape and location.  Grossmutti and Grossfater gave him a States book for Christmas where the states are drawn in cartoon form both in a map and by themselves.  He can point to the right ones when I ask and he can identify and say many of them, too.  He knows too many for me to tick them off here.  I know he’s seen all the State shapes in bit form and that Grandma sang the States song to him a lot, and for that matter I’ve been singing it a lot because he begs for it, but I didn’t think he was actually learning anything!  I know, silly me.


June 10th: Joseph says “dubee woo” (rhymes with loo) for “W.”  Too cute.

Joseph counts to 30+ in front of two teenage church boys (I assume in Swiss German as Bappe was pushing him on the swing.)


June 13th: THE BIG NEWS!!!!  Vivienne is moving, and not just backwards.  She likes to do push-ups, which moves her backwards, but she discovered last night that her legs can move her forward and today that her arms can pull her forward.  It’s still slow, but deliberate.  She knows she can get somewhere if she keeps trying!  This so exciting, even though I know it will make life more challenging.  No more leaving her on the floor while I go do laundry.  She’ll be into everything soon!  She’s only about three weeks later than her brother in this discovery, but I think she’s had less opportunity in the right environment.  Her brother had PEKiP and warm weather.  She’s had more diaper free time, but it’s been cold most of her life!  It still is cold, darn it!  The weather here has been terrible.  Rainy, grey, stormy, rainy, drizzly.  We grab the sunny moments outside whenever we can get them!

Posted by harp on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Edit
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We now have a calendar posted in the kitchen for writing down cute things.  Thanks for the idea, Sarah!  The only problem is, I can’t decipher Stephan’s notes, but here are mine.


April 14th Joseph does a summersault on the couch by himself.  He can’t do it on a harder surface yet.  I think the give helps him get over the top, but he’s getting there!


April 18th Joseph is really starting to be able to spin things on his own, and he loves it!  He wants to be just like his daddy, who is always spinning things for him.


April 19th Joseph can pull his pants down himself, even over his little bottom.


April 20th Joseph counts with me to 30 as we put away blocks.  We take turns putting a block away and saying the count.  He says something like four-tee, dice-tee (14, 15) and in the twenties he says tee-one tee-two etc.


April 23rd Joseph asks me for his alphabet stamps that he got for Easter from his godmother.  He says “ah-bah da” (alphabet stamps), I look at him and before I can respond he says “ci-ci ba ‘way” (city blocks away).  I tell him he is right, he needs to put his city blocks away first and then he can have his alphabet stamps.  I think to myself “This kid knows the drill” and then I look behind the couch and he as already put his city blocks away!  He got his alphabet stamps on the double and with a good heaping of praise.


April 24th Joseph holds up his X stamp and says “x xenosaur” because that’s what’s in the sign language book.


April 25th Joseph counts to 20 all by himself while putting away blocks.  That means he did it without visual cues and didn’t skip or repeat any numbers.  Later I took a video and he got mixed up a bit, but perfection takes practice!


April 27th Vivienne rolls over from back to tummy (over right arm, without diaper).  Also on this day both kids go to sleep around 10:30 and it’s 12:10 and I’ve gotten a nap, some chocolate and written a blog post.  Miracle!  It was good timing, Joseph has been getting up before 6 recently, and we’re all a bit tired.  With sleep, chocolate and sunshine, life’s looking rosy!

Posted by harp on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Edit
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I have a hard time knowing what’s important to record and what’s not.  I find myself impressed Joseph’s accomplishments and I need a place to share EC success, so it seems those topics dominate the blog, but I have too much going on to really think about what I want to be getting down.  For now, something is better than nothing.  If you have ideas of things you were glad you recorded, or wish you had, and in what format, or if there are things you’d like to know about what we’re up to, please comment with your suggestions!


March 18th: Vivienne was sleeping diaperless on my chest while I was watching cleaning videos (Aunt S’s fault).  I was impressed with us both that even though I was distracted by the videos, I noticed when Vivienne woke up to pee, and after she went in an appropriate place she went back to sleep peacefully.  I know, I know, more EC blather . . .


March 20th: Vivienne rolled from back to tummy on our couch that has a slight incline.  She got over completely, even freeing her pinned arm.  Go Vivienne!  The next day she rolled over on a flat surface, but never managed to free her arm.


March 24th: Joseph put his right shoe on correctly without any help.  Now he has new shoes that are even easier to put on.


March 25th: Total EC success!  Move on to March 26th if you don’t want to hear it . . .

The day almost couldn’t have gone better, so make note that not every day with EC is this easy.  That’s why I want to report it!  Vivienne woke up not too long before we had to go to church (the time change helped that).  I put her on the couch while I got other things ready in hopes of catching some morning pees before I imprisoned her in a disposable diaper and cute clothes (thanks, Heather! She’s in the 6-month outfit already!).  Sure enough, I got two pees easily and then I packed her up and put her on my back so we could walk to church as a family.  Joseph likes to hold our hands as we walk and then do the counting himself for when we lift him in the air to give him a boost with his walking.  It’s so cute, but he still forgets eight a lot!  (We starting making him count higher and higher in order to get a lift.  What’s life without a challenge?)  Anyway, Vivienne slept most of the service, then woke up, had a nurse (she’s pretty fast now) and then I thought I’d try to catch her after-nap pee.  She want as soon as I got her on the toilet!  She was then happy and awake after church so everyone could admire her beautiful smiles.  I sensed she needed to go again and waited until I could excuse myself from conversation and get to the bathroom.  We were detained by a bathroom conversation during which I undressed her but didn’t feel comfortable taking her into the stall while the lady I was talking with was still watching.  Still, with all the waiting, she held it until we were on the toilet and then went right away.  Maybe this is what people mean when they say EC is easier when you’re out and about.  We got home from church and I’d caught every pee since her morning awakening!  We didn’t stay home long before we took off walking to the home of church folks who live in the area.  Again, Vivienne was bundled on my back and just as we arrived she started fussing.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get her to the toilet in time, but I did catch a later pee.  While we were having dessert and Stephan was holder Vivienne he sensed she need to poo, but I wasn’t sure of the urgency so I tried nursing her first.  I sensed he was right, so took her to the toilet and she did her business where business ought to be done.  Our hosts were none the wiser as each time it looked like I was changing her diaper in the bathroom, though they might have thought I changed it too often.  So, all day we used three disposable diapers.  I think plenty of people do that without EC, so we have a way to go yet when thinking about the environment, but if this continues, using cloth when we’re out and about won’t be so much of a problem.  Plus, two of those diapers were worn a while and only had one pee, and the rest went to the sewer and not the landfill (or the burning site, which is what I think happens to our trash).  So, I have renewed excitement for EC.  Some days it just works so easily without even trying.


March 26th: Vivienne smiles and coos and is just such a delight.  What great big smiles, but I can’t catch them on camera just yet.  Joseph can screw together his Haba toys with a little effort.


I finished our US taxes.  I’ll spare you various complaints, but I’ll report a problem Stephan’s brother ran into.  If your child is not a US citizen (or resident or a few other technical things) then you cannot claim him as a deduction on your US tax return.  Do you realize how many US citizens living abroad have children who do not hold citizenship?  Lots!  The US is quite helpful, they simply sate “generally if you are a US citizen your children are, too.”  Great, and if not?  Well, tough luck!  The US is really rather crazy.  I won’t even mention how the exchange rate gave us a tremendous raise this year . . . Oh, one more thing, I can’t resist.  According to the definitions, our move to Emmen wasn’t a justifiable move because Stephan’s commute would not have increased more than 50 miles if we’d kept our old place.  That number might work in the US, but in Switzerland, it would be crazy to commute that far!  Okay, people do it, but they have cars and burn lots of CO2.  We use public transport and Stephan bikes to work.  For that, we get penalized because we can’t justify our move as due to a job change.  Gotta love it.  But we’re STILL looking forward to our visit to the US this summer!

Oh, and Joseph calls me “Mommy” now!  I’m thrilled!

Posted by harp on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Edit
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March 8th: Joseph counts from zero to 12 in Swiss German while pointing to the numbers of his number puzzle.  (Up until now it’s mostly been English for me.)


14th: Joseph counts from zero to ten in Swiss German for memory (no visual aids) without skipping eight, as is often his habit.


15th: Joseph says “Mama say cheese” (how he says cheese is hard to write) then I’m pretty sure the next part was “Joseph say kääs.”  It was clearly cheese in Swiss German, but the “Joseph says” was unclear.  He has since experimented with this.  It is the phrasing I use when he asks me to identify things in different languages.  I say “Mommy and Grandma say X, die Deutschen sagen Y, und Bappe sagt Z.”


He took my keys, managed to get them in the door (quite a stretch!) and turned them a bit.


Vivienne has the greatest smile and silent laugh.  She is so precious.  She often goes down for morning naps peacefully on her own – I appreciate having that much more time since I don’t have to carry/nurse her to sleep every time like I did with Joseph.  She hold her feet up high when on her back.  I’m convinced the diaper free time has a lot to do with her ability since no bulk is in her way.  She’s discovered her right fist – I caught her staring at it.


Last night (16th) Stephan was holding Vivienne and he let out some loud gas.  Stephan thought it was the real deal but I encouraged him to take her to the toilet.  A few minutes later he came back saying that’s SO much easier than changing a diaper!  He caught it all, too, she didn’t have more later as is often the case.  I’m thrilled my husband is on the diaper-free bandwagon as well!  For a number of days now she’s been diaper free all day except for our walk.  I haven’t figured out away-from home EC yet, though she has pooed on foreign toilets while we were at someone else’s place for a visit.  In those cases I don’t plan to EC, but when she makes it clear, I can’t just sit and watch her go in her diaper, so I take her to the bathroom and people are none the wiser.  Unless of course I can’t keep it a secret and announce to everyone what she did when we come back . . . I hate wearing my every thought on my sleeve.  Sometimes being in a foreign country is a good thing for learning to hold the tongue.  It takes more energy to formulate the thought in German and it’s often the time I need to realize that it might be so important for people to know about my daughter’s poo.  Blog readers, on the other hand, aren’t so lucky . . .


I’ve found a ditty to sum up the “how are you doing” question.  “When life is good it’s very, very good, and when it’s bad it’s horrid.”  (Click on the link and you’ll see that it has an author and that I quite it wrong!)  Horrid is too strong, but when being a mother overwhelms me, I’m in a bad state, so it feels pretty horrid, but most of the time life is very, very good (or very good indeed, as the original goes), so I feel it sums things up rather well.

Posted by harp on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Edit
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I’ve been bad about computer time and have even failed to take notes for a bullet update.  The only thing I have is from January 19th.  Joseph does the gestures we use during our afternoon devotional time.  He calls Grandma “mama” so I have become “me” to distinguish.  I have a feeling I’ve written this before.


Things are going really quite smoothly here.  Joseph had been sleeping better, but the past two nights he’s woken up on his own screaming, and unfortunately, both times it’s been in the middle of a four-hour sleep stretch for Vivienne – the only one’s she’s had so far!  I get a big grumpy sometimes, but mostly I’m able to keep a good attitude for my family and not feel so terribly exhausted like I was with Joseph.


Joseph is growing by leaps and bounds and is as charming as ever.  He beams at strangers when we’re out and about and he very often points to his nose and says his name “ji-si.”  He will sometimes pick up a toy set (like his crayons or a puzzle) cheerfully and right away if asked to.  He will sometimes pitch a huge fit that ends in a long battle of wills.  It is wonderful to is, it is a challenge to deal with.  Having Vivienne means he is forced to do a lot more on his own and I am forced to teach him or at least to have the patience to wait for him to try to do things on his own.  That is also exciting to see.  He’s adding more and more words to his vocabulary in both Swiss German and English.  He likes to show off a new skill right when we’re trying to discipline him.  He doesn’t skimp on the cute face while saying it either . . .


At such a fun age, it’s hard not to let Joseph steal the show, but his sister is a charmer as well.  Vivienne is so beautiful and cute and cuddly and I feel so close and connected to her especially as we experiment with EC together.  I am amazed at the number of times I’m holding her while doing something else and not paying much attention to her at all but I still know quite easily when she has to relieve herself.  It’s so obvious that it pulls my attention away from whatever I was doing.  Of course, not every time she eliminates is it that obvious.  I’m grateful for that or the nights would be terrible!  I try to give her diaper-free time each morning after she wakes, but then she’s in diapers most of the day, but I still try for catches whenever it works out.  That means most of her poos go in the toilet, sink or bowl, and a surprising number of pees, too.  She still seems rather uncomfortable peeing in any position, but we’re figuring it out.


But Vivienne is much more than her elimination, sorry for dwelling on that.  Still, it is such an important part of the work she does as an infant.  She eats, she sleeps and she, well, poos and pees.  Being aware of her elimination needs I’ve been able to notice that once she’s peed it all out after nursing she goes to sleep easily.  If she’s still got pee in there she’ll fuss and squirm and won’t settle down with all the bouncing and patting and pacing in the world.  Knowing that means I can be patient and keep peeing her or changing her wet diaper until she’s ready to sleep and it often meals she sleeps dry for a good while.  I’m hoping to avoid the diaper rash that poor Joseph is sill struggling with (it’s been months now!).


But like I said, Vivenne is much more than the sum of her pees.  He is a happy baby most of the time (that is, if I keep her clean and dry and take her to the potty when she wants it) and I enjoy caring for her.  This morning she was fully clothed for church when she rolled over tummy to back.  This afternoon she was diaperless on a couch with a slight incline.  She rolled over tummy to back uphill!!!  She can hold her head up and push up with her arms for a good minute before getting tired.  She isn’t happy for too long on her tummy, but does a goes job with it.  She sleeps best on her tummy, but is often on her side since I nurse lying down at night.  During naps she is often on her back.  Somehow I fell better with her able to sleep in many positions.


She looks super cute in her girl outfits, and once again I was slow to switch over to the next size clothes because the newborn phase is so short she hardly wore everything once!


Stephan and I have had a few tight moments working through the kinks until we find a good flow for being a family of four, but things have been going really quite smoothly.  Joseph is missing his Grandma but he’s doing really well with all the changes.  We got a fancy in-line stroller (that means two kids but not side-by-side) as a gift so now I can put them both in the stroller and do some shopping or take a walk, which is lovely.  Vivienne still prefers the wrap, but it wonderful to be able to change things up.


Both kids are sill sleeping, it’s a miracle . . .

Posted by harp on Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Edit
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I’m writing this while one hand is holding my 3-week-old Vivienne.  She’s nursing and she’s wearing a long sleeved shirt and wrapped in a blanket.  She has no diaper and no pants. [Interruption – continued three hours later]  Why did I think I’d be able to write a whole post one-handed without getting interrupted?  Anyway, the point is I’ve been attempting to do more EC with Vivienne than I did with Joseph earlier on.  I place a cloth under her bum and wrap a blanket around her to keep her warm in this chilly winter weather. [Interruption – continued three days later]  I shouldn’t bother to be prolific.  My kids don’t let me take the time.  The point of starting this post was to say that Vivienne pooed right away on the toilet for me.  Since I started this post she has done it numerous times and I am amazed how I can tell she needs to go even if Stephan and I are in intense discussion, and that I can carry her naked-bottomed from one room to the bathroom and she’ll wait to go until I have her in position and then go right away.  It’s not always that easy, but it’s so much easier than I ever imagined it could be.  I don’t often change a dirty diaper and when I do I am so thankful that most of her poos go in the toilet or the plastic bowl at the side of our bed.  The best is discovering she likes the toilet position.  She is even mostly happy peeing there (she hates peeing whether it’s in her diaper or in any other position).  No wiping, no changing table fights, just *flush* and it’s gone!  Poos are starting to get more infrequent at night, so some nights she hardly pees in her diapers at all but saves it for when I put her on the pot.  Time to move on, this post must be done.

Posted by harp on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Edit
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It’s hard to compare Vivienne with Joseph as a newborn.  I’m used to not having a life already, so that makes it all seem so much easier.  Of course Vivienne sleeps much more in the day than Joseph does, so that seems easy as well.  I am able to nurse her without pain, so not only is feeding her easy, it also means I can calm her at the breast if need be so we don’t have the long crying bouts we had with Joseph.  The nights are not easy as Joseph is still no used to her cries and wakes up upset and refuses to sleep and when he finally does Vivienne is up again, but that is getting slowly better, so hopefully this phase will end before we reach our limits.  Amazingly, they sometimes nap at the same time in the afternoon and we can catch up on a few winks, which helps.  Though that is the case mostly because Vivienne sleeps longer stretches during the day than at night, she’s still young.  We will very much miss Grandma, who is willing to get up with Joseph at 6am and let us sleep with the baby a bit longer.


Vivienne’s birth splotchiness is gone and she is so beautiful!  I’m enjoying this time with her and the family very much.  She passed her birth weight on day 6!


I was all excited to start this baby with EC (Elimination Communication) early on and create an intimate bond between me and my baby that included output as well as input and I was thrilled that from the first two days Vivienne made it quite clear when she had to poo in the night so I’ve been consistently catching all her night-time poos (usually three) in a bowl, which I empty in the morning and I just throw on a new diaper right from bed because there’s very little mess.  This was thrilling until the number of consecutive nights of only getting sleep chunks of less than two hours started catching up to me.  I’ve starting trying to ignore her cues (fussiness and grunting) at night in hopes that I won’t have to sit up in bed and take care of her, but she will have none of it.  She knows how nice it is to be rid of her excrement rather than sit in it and will wait until I finally decide to put her on the pot to go.  It’s happened too many times that I’ve waited and then she’s gone right away on the pot for it to be coincidence.  I’m hopping that she’ll soon not poo so often so I won’t end up cursing the day I learned about EC.  Interestingly, I’m not as good about catching her day-time poos.  It is also fun to see how much Stephan has grown as a father.  He takes care of Vivienne like a pro and is more relaxed about it.  He’s even happy pottying her and has already caught a few day poos.


So as babies go Vivienne is an easy baby.  We couldn’t have hoped for things to go better than they have.  We are profoundly thankful, though of course still tired as birth and infant care is never easy!

Posted by harp on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Edit
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The rest of the story, for those who like the details . . .


Posted by harp on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Edit
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On January 21st, 2012 we welcomed a precious little girl into our family.  Vivienne Linda Stücklin was born at home at 12:26pm.  She weighed 3840g and was 53cm.  We are a healthy and happy family and are so very thankful for all of God’s blessings and provisions.  Pictures coming soon in the usual place.  Birth story to come.

Posted by harp on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Edit
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Tomorrow my mother arrives.  When she leaves we will be a family of four (God willing and the creek don’t rise).  Life will never be the same again.  That’s a bit scary, but we’re going to have a fabulous time!!


Dec. 24-26: In my 7 Thanks I said as much as that we had a wonderful time around Christmas with family but got sick took most of the week to recover, but recover we did, thankfully.


Dec. 30: I must acknowledge that official “sit-down” homeschooling has begun with Joseph.  He loves his alphabet puzzle so much and he loves the alphabet so much that he will often get out his colored pencils and a piece of paper and beg me to write the (upper case) alphabet for him to identify.  He likes it when I write the letters in a random order and let him identify them one at a time.  In other words, he likes being quizzed at 1 ½!


Jan. 1: Gotte D. came for lunch and we all enjoyed it immensely.  I had false labor at the start of her visit, but fortunately that was as exciting as it got.


Jan. 2: Stephan and I cashed in on a voucher from his folks to watch Joseph while we celebrated three years of marriage a night early.  We went into Lucerne and enjoyed a dinner out.  We got dressed up with heels and tie.  I figured it would be the last time in a while.  What a three years it’s been!  It feels like a lifetime and we had fun trying to recall pre-dating and dating life.  Even marriage without kids seems like a distant memory.  One thing can be said for sure about how long we’ve been married: not long enough!


Jan. 4: Today I sat reading on the couch while Joseph played with Legos.  Next then I knew he’d put every Lego away in the box, put the lid on and put the box back in the shelf where it belongs and then casually turned to something else.  I do a lot of picking up with him, and he sees me pick up after myself right away (usually), but somehow it still amazes me when he initiates it himself!

-Today he also did the whole alphabet puzzle by himself (with me watching and cheering him on).  The alphabet puzzles is always the first toy he goes for in the morning and after naps.  He takes that out and then asks for the number puzzle he got for Christmas saying “hum.” 


Jan. 5: Today Joseph pointed to the 9 in his number puzzle and said “nüün” to Stephan and then turned to me and said “nine.”  He repeated this, obviously very proud of himself.

-I let (!) Joseph play with a tack and paper that’s on my desk.  He successfully pushed the tack through the whole that was already in the paper.

- He’s started to let me know he needs to go potty by walking to the bathroom, grabbing a book and sitting on the pot with his clothes on.  We’ve started working on getting his pants off himself, but there’s a ways to go yet.  So far he’s waited to go until I’ve helped him get his clothes off.  EC has been very on/off and hit/miss.  I’m relaxed about it at this point and just potty him when I can and leave him in diapers or training pants otherwise.

Posted by harp on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Edit
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There’s only so much computer time, much less blog time and it looks like 7-thanks have taken over bullet updates.  I’ll try to catch up a bite at a time.  Here are notes on Joseph over the past month or so.

Nov. 11th: We had our first frost! (Okay, that’s not about Joseph, but I wrote it on his sheet so in it goes.)

20th: Joseph says “mama” when he the Grandma bit.

25th: Joseph knows upper case “I, S, W, M, O” and can place many letters in his wooden alphabet puzzle that Tante Anita gave him.  He signs ‘G’.

Dec. 4th: Joseph no longer calls both of us “mama” but can say and sign “Bappe” and “Mama” correctly.  He takes great pleasure in this and sometimes says and signs them over and over in succession.  He does the same with “yes” and “no” (though he doesn’t sign them) and it’s terribly cute because “no” is a sweet word.  It’s “nein” that really means “no” to him.

12th: Looking at some mammal bits I had spread on the floor to keep him busy, Joseph said “Caracal” (sounds like Karkal), “horse” (hs), “otter,” and more.  This were retired bits, though not long retired.

21st: Joseph had croup again in the night, but this time I knew about the cold air trick and I stayed calm so Joseph recovered well and though he needed extra care in the night he would return to sleep after some rocking.  We’re all sick, but not as sick as we could be.  Here’s hoping we’re well by Christmas!

23rd: Joseph helped me make dream cookies, taking the formed dough balls I gave him, dipping them in sugar and handing them back to me.  He did a very good job obeying and at the end he got to eat one.  Oops, he’s up from his nap now, but I should add that he’s very good with the upper case alphabet.  He can do most of his puzzle and knows most of the letters.  Even if I write them out on a piece of paper he can identify more than half (though he says oddities like “ba” for “Z” because Z is for zebra).

Posted by harp on Friday, December 23, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Edit
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Oct. 27th: Joseph says “ice” for “lights.”  He says “spices” and I can’t transcribe it, as with most of his words.  He gave me a kiss unasked for for the first time.  He found Daddy’s stash of paper for recycling (piled under his desk) and he put it in the recycle spot one piece at a time without any prompting!  We’d been giving him paper to put away for a while now, but this was the first time he did it on his own.  He can put books back in their shelves.

29th: I spent a lovely day in Holderbank where we have missionary friends.  Stephan looked after Joseph, was it was lovely to just relax, enjoy good company and good food.  What a luxury!

31st: We live in a Catholic canton so Stephan got the day off and we were able to visit the Swiss grandparents.  Stephan and I got to spend some romantic time at the Basel Herbstmesse (oldest, biggest, longest, etc. etc. fair in Europe or something like that) while Joseph enjoyed visiting the zoo for the first time!  Again, talk about pampering . . .

Nov. 3rd: I’ve been experimenting with making our own peanut butter since it is rather pricy here.  From a bag of peanuts in the shell I made a batch for half the price the store sells at and we all liked it.  If only I could find unsalted shelled peanuts it would save a lot of the work.

4th: Joseph signs “play piano.”  His signs are getting quite accurate.  It’s fun to watch!  More words: mouse, fish, squawk, and tea.  The last two are from a British book from V that is one of his favorites.  In the end they have a scrumptious tea and Joseph always supplies the last word.  (Now he has many such words he supplies in various books, I doubt I’ll write them all down.)  This morning he woke me up by giving me a kiss and then giving my belly a kiss!  How can you be upset at that?

7th: Joseph officially doesn’t crawl anymore.  Of course he can, but walking is his preferred mode of transportation.  That means he’s slower at stairs, but is much more like a little boy than a baby.  Where did the time go?  It’s the shortest years and the longest days . . .

He signs “bread” and “banana.”  Swimming time is going very well.  I’ve been saying “one, two, three, jump” and letting him jump from the side of the pool into my arms.  Today he supplied his own “one, two, three” (with only the three sounding anything like the number) because he couldn’t wait for me to count to jump in.  I’m still working on teaching him that he shouldn’t get in the water without me there.  Pool time takes a lot of vigilance!  He can also consistently swim when I launch him from my arms to the stairs and pull himself out.  He is good at catching himself when he falls so he doesn’t hurt himself – even if it is slippery inclined tile.  This session he accidentally fell head-under twice and came up without a cough for any sign of surprise.

“Hot pot” and “pepper” sound similar, and both sound like “Bappe” (Daddy in Swiss German) but he still says “Mama” for Stephan and me.  “All gone” sounds like “kaka” which is also his word for “cracker.”

9th: Joseph says trash (“ksh”) while holding a plastic bottle.  He wants to throw it away but I point him to the recycling.  Since then he grabs trash whenever possible (and mostly he’s right!) and throws it away in the kitchen trash, opening and closing the door appropriately.  What a help!

10th: Joseph says “poo” when he needs to go #2.  That’s a great help, as he can usually wait until we can get him to the potty before he soils his diaper/underwear/whatever he’s standing over.  Said “bath” (ba).  He got out the AquaDoodle and then came to me saying he word for house/mouse/mouth (“auf”).  He was clearly asking me for something.  I then guessed he was saying “mouth” and by that he meant he wanted the AquaDoodle pen which we don’t let him put in his mouth.  I was right.  What a smart dood!

He can blow into a tissue.  (Yes, we’ve been sick.)

12th: We visited D+A S.  It was a great pleasure, but oh, how a new place is so tempting for a toddler to explore!

13th: Joseph walked down three steps without holding on to anything.

14th: Joseph is now a help with laundry, and not just in spirit.  He can empty and load things according to instructions.  He doesn’t always follow, but he does enough to be counted a help since I can hang up laundry while he fills the washer with the next load.  What fun!

At dinner he asked for some cheese (signing) then he held his piece of cheese out to me and said “chs” (cheese) and then turned to Stephan and said “ka” (for Käs – cheese in Swiss German if I knew how to spell it).  He’s used German and English words before, but this was the first time he showed us that English is Mommy’s language and German is Daddy’s.  Raising a bilingual baby is amazing!  He understands as much of what Stephan tells him as he does of what I tell him – even rather complicated sentences.  I don’t know why it amazes me.

He knows his body parts in German and when we read the book that talks about them he points to each part, including his bottom.  So cute!

15th: Tante A gave us some money to spend at the fair on Joseph.  We bought a wooden Alphabet puzzle.  Joseph loves it.  He knows a number of letters from his signing book, but needs prompting from us to say the letter before he can say it.  However, the other day he picked out the “I” and said “eye” and he’s done it a number of times since.

He says “muesli.”

He says “ppph” and does a very good “potty” sign if he notices he’s peeing.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t use the sign much when he needs to go.  I have to read other clues (taking off the diaper, hopping off my lap, suddenly getting still, grunting).


Notes from Stephan:

Says “ma” while holding a fist to his mouth for “mommy milk.”  Says “please” (psh).  Climbs up on chairs and then tables and beyond . . .

When it’s time for the Bible readings and prayer he becomes very excited, holds his hands in the air and says “maaaay!!!!” for “Praise the Lord.”

He blows kisses.

He loves to pick up the pot after going and walk it to the bathroom himself.  This is a dangerous affair, but he often makes it there without spilling and then dumps it in the toilet as well.  

Posted by harp on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Edit
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My notes aren’t so well organized and I missed several events in the past month or so, guests over, family outings, and other good times.  We are so thankful for the close friends and family we have here and for their love and support.

22nd: Joseph says “ma” along with his perfect sign for “more.”  Cracker is “kaka”

25th: We went to the library and the toy library today.  Joseph loved both.  We came home with a Fisher Price workbench for 2-Fr for a 4-week loan.  I think toy libraries are a great idea.  Do we have them in the states?  Or are people too afraid of germs?

26th: Joseph says pear, plum, wolf, and can name all the farm animals/pictures on his memory cloth cards (rooster, hen, house, tractor, pig, sheep, cow, dog, cat, goose, etc.).  I can tell which memory card he is holding based on what he says, but it took some time.  I doubt anyone else (besides Stephan) could get more than a few.  He signs and says bread, but it can also mean peanut butter.  He signs help, play, potty (but he doesn’t use it enough!), and banana, to name a few – it’s getting hard to keep up!

-Mom sent me the bear that she gave me when I went off to college.  She re-loaded it with hugs and Joseph knows it.  Now when he wants a little Mommy time he brings the bear to me and we sit down and take turns hugging the bear and having a group hug.  He also comes to me for kisses if he’s fallen and hurt himself.  I know have the magic kiss!  (And so does Stephan.)  We only got the bear yesterday, but already today when Joseph was particularly upset about a bump and taking longer to calm down I asked if he wanted to go get his teddy and have some hugs.  He stopped crying, went to the other room (sniffling) and brought the bear back for hugs.  I asked him once and in a very normal tone of voice and speed.  It is amazing what he understands.  It’s time to stop thinking we can talk about all kinds of things in front of him and assume he doesn’t understand!

Posted by harp on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Edit
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