First trip to the Zoo

We all remember our trips to the Zoo from when we were kids. Mine were usually on Sunday and they involved ice-cream. Nowadays I love the zoo as much as when I was a child and it give me great joy to be able to share the experience with Luca. He is now at the age when he starts to be interested in the animals, to know what sounds they make and to see him so caring and curious it makes my heart melt. We already went to the Basel Zoo and signed up for a 1 year subscription to the Zurich Zoo (I think the one in Zurich is better plus closer to our home). We only saw a part of it since it is quite big and with a toddler that has just started walking, it gets slow sometimes. But as I said we will become regulars. Check out some pics from our first visits to the Zoo with the little one.

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Motherhood talks- Luca at 15 months

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Luca is 15 months and life is beautiful with a toddler running around the house. He is so happy and full of life that even in the earliest hours of the mornings it is contagious. Here is a list of activities that he does at this age.

Favourite time: Bath time. In the middle of the day he would run to the bathtub and ask for us to run the water so that he can take a bath. He just loves water and when I mention it is bath time, he is all smiles.

Favorite food: almost everything he has had so far he has loved. I believe avocado is always a winner, sweet potato and grilled salmon.

Least favourite food: so far polenta and swiss cheese. I tried giving him gruyere, ementaler but he just looks at it and throughs it on the floor. Mozzarella on the other hand is a favourite.

What makes him smile: seeing kittens. we live in an area with lots of cats so when we go for a walk we see quite a few of them. Luca observes everything so every kitten he sees he will point to it and make a sound, something like ehhhhh. Our neighbours cat naps on our terrace and as soon as we pointed that to him, he will go to the window and check the cat out. I think we will have to get a cat ūüôā

What scares him: The kitchen aid. Yes, I am not kidding, as soon as he hears the noise from the kitchen aid he will start crying. It is the only appliance that has this effect on him.

What he started saying: He says quite a few words, but recently he started saying Mama when he is hungry and wants food. Let’s say I am feeding him and for a moment I get distracted, he will immediately start repeating mama mama mama mama and pointing at the food desperately :)))

Bedtime routine: these days he will ask for his bottle and hint that he is ready to sleep. While I change him and put his pyjamas he will call his Dad that is usually preparing his bottle. As soon as he sees the bottle he is all smiles.

Favourite toy: he likes his toys but he gets bored quite easily so he would play with each for a few minutes and then toss it apart. The only thing that keeps him occupied longer are books. He just loves to flip the pages and show me all the different pictures. He points at stuff in the pictures while speaking his own language.

Animal noises he masters: horse, turkey and owl. I know, quite the trio! Love that he is into animals and this past weekend he met his horse, that my Dad got for him (the horse is a she and her name is Brigitta and she is 6 months old). He was all smiles and it was hard to get him into the house and away from the animal. Of course my Dad was the proudest Grandpa.

First steps: Luca did his first steps on the 2nd of March. I was at home with him sitting on the floor. He got up keeping one hand on my shoulder and carefully he let go and made a few steps toward the couch on his own. But now he still does not want to let go of my hand. So hand in hand we are walking all day until he will feel ready to be independent.

xox,

Andreea

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Life latelly

Two months already since I am back to work and things are beginning to resemble somewhat to normal for us. Luca is doing better and better at the daycare, I am home with him on Fridays and having a 3 days weekend is great. Life is not boring for sure. I am trying to get into a rhythm where I have enough time for everything I want to do. First priority everyday is spending time with Luca and Traian and some days this is all we do. But there are the days when I can devote a bit of time to my interests, blogging being one of them. All is very different from before but it is a good different. The only thing I would love to be able to accommodate better is spending more time with our friends. We are not able to arrange spontaneous outings with friends like before for now. We need to give the babysitter thing a try in the near future.

Luca is growing and his personality comes through. We had a bit of a headache with the teeth but as we are already counting 6 of them things seem to be calmer. He loves to be around people and he smiles at strangers like he knows them for a lifetime. He is not crawling yet but as he is more and more on the floor with his toys, I think we are close to him making a move. A part of me¬†can’t wait to see him move on his own but then I know that our house will need to be rearranged. I think my heart will stop ten times per day with all the corners, drawers and other possible dangers. But then again, each milestone he faces, we face with him and we are growing together.

He likes to eat and every time we introduce a new food and he loves it, I feel like I conquered Everest. He is into finger food and I try to give him fruits and veggies mostly. You know you are a Mum when you carry all sorts of snacks in your purse (one of my friends told me this and she was absolutely right :)).

One thing that has not changed since Luca came is our habit of being out of the house. We arrange activities during the day so that we spend as much time as possible outside. Luca loves being in the car, in the stroller and as of recent in the carrier. Being out with him is wonderful especially since he seems to enjoy it so much. Here are some pictures as of lately.

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The Little Things

Guys, I am wrapping my final week as a stay at home Mom. I am retuning¬†to work on Monday for only a few days a week and I feel so weird. I am not ready for this new chapter but again what woman is?! I will just have to figure everything out as we go along. But let’s focus on the weekend first. My mother is visiting and as it happens this weekend Zurich has another edition of the Street Food Festival. So I guess you know where we will be.

Here are some pictures from this past week.¬†It’s all about the little things. Have a fun and relaxing weekend!

You know it is Spring when peonies are everywhere.

The best roast beef sandwich in Zurich can be found in front of Globus on Bahnhofstrasse. I absolutely love it.

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My Mom felling knackered after one of our walks. Luca on the other hand was quite bored with the hole thing.

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His new favourite playground is a carton box. Who said babies need much to be entertained? He spends hours in there.

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Perfecting our selfie game as a family during our day trip to Luzern.

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xox, Andreea

 

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10 things I wish I’d known before becoming a Mom.

 

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As a first time Mom most of the time you will feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the change in your life, by the amount of new information it is thrown at you, by the love for this tiny human being and the list can go on. Now that 6 months have passed since I took on the role of a Mom, I asked myself what could have helped me to make this period easier. And here are the things I wish I’d known before becoming a fist time mom:

Most babies don’t sleep through the night in the first 6 months or the first year for that matter. Yes, some babies do sleep for 12 hours in a row but they are the exception, not the rule. You can try different methods, and it will happen eventually just don’t expect it to happen because you read somewhere that babies can do that. I read so much about sleep training and babies routines that I was expecting Luca to sleep all night by 3 months (also everyone with a baby around seemed to had mastered some kind of technique to get their little ones to sleep through the night). And when that did not happen for us I was sure I was doing something wrong, especially since everyone around was asking how he is sleeping. But after a few days of soul searching I realised that the pressure I was putting on myself was not doing us any good. Instead I started being more focused on making sure Luca was receiving all the love and the support he needed to sleep well for as long as he wanted (sometimes an hour, sometimes three or four). And in the end it paid off since he is napping like a champion and sleeping very well through the night.

Your body will surprise you and it won’t be for the worst. After I got pregnant and the weight was increasing I feared what will happen to my body after I gave birth. Will I ever look good again? Will I lose the weight after I give birth? How long before I will feel like myself? Well, to my surprise, the weight went away and my body recovered well after pregnancy and giving birth.

Giving birth is hard, but it’s not as bad as some people portray it to be. No matter how you chose to bring the child into the world (c-section, epidural or all natural) know that it is something that will pass and it won’t be the worst thing you had to endure in your life. (You can read my birth story here).

Breastfeeding might be all natural, but it also can be very challenging and not possible for everyone. This was my biggest disappointment as a new Mom, not being able to breastfeed my baby. I had so high hopes about this and I remember even dreaming one night before I gave birth how my child was grabbing my breast. Well, that did not happen and I had a few days of hell trying to figure out what to do. Also pumping can be painful and exhausting.

The first 3 months with your baby are the biggest challenge and are when you learn so much about you and your child. So be patient and when you feel hopeless remember that this too shall pass and better days will come. This was actually my mantra in the first months.

Nobody is safe from post partum depression. Even though I did not experience what you would call post partum depression, I am sure I was very close to one. It is important to know and be aware of the signs and if you feel alone, remember that you are not and talk to your dear ones about it.

Friends with babies are going to be on your speed dial from now on. They know a lot by now and they might be very resourceful. Keep them close!

Having help is not overrated. I used to think that after I give birth I will be able to do it all by myself. That was not the case at all, and besides the support from my husband, I also appreciated the help from my mother. If I could have afford it, I would have hired a full time nurse for the first weeks, especially since we don’t have family here.

Your sleep routine will change to the point that when you will sleep five or six hours in a row you will think that something is wrong. I always thought about myself that I was unable to function normally without my 8 hours of sleep. Well, I was wrong. Maybe you can’t climb mount Everest, but you get to do what needs to be done. And you get used to it and life goes on. Easy, ha?

With a child comes joy, happiness and a new life. Also a new kind of love that you have never experienced before. And the best part is that this love grows bigger and bigger every day. I am sure this is one of the reasons why people have more than one child. Also had I know these feelings before, probably I would have started earlier on having kids.

And some pictures with my sweetheart from yesterday when he turned 6 months old.

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A quick coffee run

We are big fans of coffee at our house. And honestly it is one of the incentives of getting up in the mornings when I am way too tired (Luca makes sure that I don’t get enough sleep).¬†So whenever we have a moment to ourselves me and hubby either enjoy a cup at home or we make a coffee run in the city. We take Luca along of course and this past Sunday he was the sweetest boy, playing in his stroller while we chatted and enjoyed our coffee. It was a 45 minutes thing but it made our day since it reminded us of the things we love and that¬†are still doable with a baby.

We took some pictures in the parking lot since it was raining and we did not take the raining cover for his pram. Luckily the coffee place was right outside the parking lot.

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I am wearing: Zara coat and jeans (old), Converse white sneakers, Kenzo scarf, Celine handbag

xo, Andreea

Ps: Happy Easter and long weekend! We are at our parents for the next 2 weeks.

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Baby Talk: 4 months old

Luca turned 4 months last week. I am still having an Awww moment every time I realise the special bond I have with him. We are the luckiest people in the world to have him in our lives. As any proud mamma out there I want to memorise every moment with him. So here is a list of his favourite activities at this age:

Playing: He likes toys especially the ones that can fit into his mouth. Everything goes into his mouth, from a simple napkin to a chewing toy. He sometimes gets nervous when he can’t put in his mouth the suspended toys from the activity mat. He is very much into us making funny faces and talking to him. He laughs and smiles every time I sing or talk to him and that just makes me fall even more in love with him.

Cuddling: He loves to cuddle and I am so happy because he makes this sweet little noise whenever I cover him in kisses, which happens all day and during the night when he is awake.

Sitting: He loves to sit up either between pillows or in our arms. He has a favourite position in his Dad’s arms, that he is very fond of, especially in the evenings. It’s like he is sitting in an armchair, he looks so comfy and happy. If he is cranky, his Dad would hold him, sing their special song while looking in the mirror. This calms him every time.¬†We have tummy time and he is enjoying it more and more.

Sleeping: He wakes me up several times a night, either because his pacifier is not in his mouth, either because he is hungry. I still feed him once a night. By now I am used to being up sometimes every hour, and I really don’t mind it. I know he will sleep well eventually and I try to focus on the fact that he needs me now and I love being there for him. I keep thinking how comforting is to have someone there for you when you can’t fall asleep. I just hope that one day, soon enough, he will let me enjoy a full night sleep. We are working on that, so fingers crossed.

Eating: He is very much aware of the bottle and what it is for. Every time we feed him we show it to him and he just opens his mouth in expectation. We are going to start solid food as of next month since he seems more and more ready for more food. We have him sit with us at dinner time so he can watch us eat. I am hoping that when the time will come for him to see a spoon coming towards him, he will know what it is for and he will eat.

And some pictures of the little man since he turned 4 months.

 

 

 

xox, Andreea.

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Baby Talk: Activities with a 2 month old baby

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What have I been doing lately? Well besides getting to know my baby, not much. My mother was here for a week and having help was so good, that as soon as she left, I was depressed. Yes, depressed that I was again alone with no support during the day. Little did I know that I have all the support I needed in my baby. Yes, Luca is growing and is becoming this cute kid that loves to play and explore everything around him, starting with Mammy’s funny face. As they say, you need to feel bad before you feel good again.¬†I have been researching a lot how to make the most of my time with him at home and here is what I have found to help.

Luca is now almost 11 weeks old. He is becoming more and more sociable, he laughs at us and makes funny sounds that we call baby talk. We answer with the same sounds to encourage a dialogue between us. He loves it. His schedule is still pretty hectic. He eats every 3 hours, he is up for more or less 1 hour, after which he gets tired and falls asleep. When he is awake, I was struggling to keep him interested and happy. Babies can get fussy real quick and with all the devices in the world I could not keep him smiling for long.

This until my mummy group recommended me a few activities. We signed up for baby swimming classes on First Flow and I have high hopes that he will like it. We start in March. Also among other classes we can try with a baby are: Pekip, mom baby yoga, baby massage class, kinder music class and a baby sensory class. Look for them in your region and they might be just what you need especially if you feel like leaving the house with the little one.

Also this website was eye opening. Luca hates tummy time and I was stressing so much about it, actually I was avoiding doing it with him. Until I read all about it on Cando kiddo. This and many more ideas to play and interact with your child can be found on the website. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.

Any other websites or activities you know about?

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Pictures with Luca on his activity mat that he is slowly starting to enjoy.

xox, Andreea

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A first glimpse of motherhood

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Our boy was 7 weeks this past Friday and I can’t begin to tell you how in love we are with him. Babies have this magic power that only by looking at them you just melt. And¬†if it’s your own flesh and blood then you are in big trouble. The mix of feelings you get makes me think I am crazy sometimes. I can go from being this tired cranky human being to smiling in a few seconds, just by taking him into my arms. But motherhood is so much more than this and I am just grasping everything as we go along.

I have learned so much in the past few weeks, about me, about my husband and about my baby. We are growing together as a family and this is the greatest adventure of our life. The beginning was not easy. I won’t lie to you, but there were days in the first few weeks home when I resented myself for not being able to enjoy everything. I was tired, hormonal, the baby was crying and I could not see the beauty in anything around me. Everyone was congratulating me and “expecting” me to be this happy person and all I could feel was self pity and stress. I was so restless and so stressed that I could not relax one bit. I know a lot of women experience this with their first child but only after I lived through it I can really appreciate how hard it is to get used to being responsible for another life.

I am lucky it took only a few weeks for us and I managed to become myself again. I can now say that I am out of the woods and that I can finally enjoy the gift that I have been given: a healthy baby boy.

Here are a few things I learned so far:

Sleep when the baby sleeps sounds very easy but it takes getting used to. Trying to fall asleep in the middle of the day knowing that you only have two maybe three precious hours to yourself is not easy. But you just have to remind yourself that being rested is far more important than anything else you have to do. I call it sleep training for new parents.

Find support in your loved ones. It can be family members if you are lucky to have them close by or friends. I have also joined a mothers group on Facebook that has opened the gates to so much information from other women with more experience. It’s incredible how good it feels to hear that other people have gone through the same as you.

Get access to as much information as you can. From doctors, nurses, midwifes and people around you that you trust, to books and online reading material, you can find out so much about babies and how to deal with them. Ask questions, listen and then do as you want. Don’t feel pressured to follow anyone since every baby is different and we are different. What works for one, might not work for you.

Going out with the baby as soon as your doctor advises is ok and it helped me a lot. I was scared at first because I kept thinking, what if he starts crying and get’s hungry etc. But now, taking a walk with him sleeping in the pram is the best workout and relaxing time I could ask for.

During my pregnancy I focused so much on the birth that I did not pay enough attention to what was going to happen after the baby gets here. I honestly would tell every woman out there to not worry too much about the birth itself. Yes, it can be hard, even traumatic, but it also can be easy and the most important thing, it passes. What comes next on the other hand is so much more complex and it takes getting used to. So try to prepare mentally for the period after birth as well, when the baby is home. I am still sorry I did not took some classes for how to look after a newborn until age of 6 months. It would have made the first weeks home with the baby a lot more easier.

I keep a baby journal where I write at what time he easts and at what time he falls asleep so I have an idea of how much rest and how often he eats. This has worked for me, because being so tired at one point I was starting to forget the time it was when he last ate or slept. So keeping a log gave me some peace of mind and I think it will help in the future when we are going to try to get him into a sleeping routine.

Babies need to eat during the night so you might find yourself awake for a few hours in a row in the middle of the night and it can get pretty lonely. Find a show, Tv series or have some music running in the background, something to get you in an awake and relaxed mode for when you have to feed him. Luca is a good sleeper now, but in the beginning after I would feed him, because of tummy problems and silent reflux, it would take him up to two hours to go back to sleep. I was holding him in my arms, comforting him and helping him to fall asleep. Being tired myself in the quiet nights I would feel lonely, but thank God for Netflix and internet. Sunday night¬†I watched the Golden Globes live on TV. Can’t wait for the Oscars…

Do you¬†have any tips or lessons you want to pass along? Please leave a comment here or on Facebook. I am so happy to be able to share what I learned since I know that it might help someone out there. Sharing is caring especially when it comes to our children’s well being.

xox, Andreea.

 

 

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My Birth Story

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I though long and hard about writing this post, since it is such a private matter. What made me decide to share my birth story is the fact that I remember the curiosity I had before giving birth. I wanted information and I wanted it from women that I could trust and that had been though this. So besides the experience from my close friends, I was also reading birth stories from women that were sharing them online, from fellow bloggers that I follow. It was very helpful to read stories that were not exaggerated, that were real and not just hear random comments of how painful and terrible vaginal birth is. I had heard that all my life and I wanted something else. I can only hope you find me sharing my experience as helpful and if you are pregnant, please keep in mind that every birth is different and the way we process this experience is entirely up to each of us. So here it is!

I can’t believe it has been almost 3 weeks since all happened. Here is the sequel of events from the 21st of November when our boy chose to come into this world. One day, that changed everything for us.

12.30 am I woke up dreaming that I was in a scene from Vampires Diaries (this was the show I had been watching all week – don’t judge) and went to the bathroom thinking it was just my usual toilet routine from every night. After a few moments I realised that I was spotting and that there was a slight pain in my belly. I gave the wake up call to my husband and we started monitoring my pain. Also we called the hospital that told us that we should come in if we think it is the real thing.

2:00 am We arrived at the hospital where a midwife monitored my contractions for about half an hour. There were only 30 seconds long and every 5 to 7 minutes apart. I was not dilated, my water had not broke so she said we should go home and wait and see what happens. Also she mentioned that everything might stop and that it could take another week until the baby would come. I was the face of disappointment when I heard one week and thought no this can’t be, this baby is coming today.

3:00 am Home again, in bed trying to lay down and sleep. Impossible since my contractions were now getting stronger and were every 5 minutes. I was doing my best to breath properly through them and that helped ease the pain quite a lot.

7:00 am Laying in bed was becoming unbearable so I started walking through the house and breathing. By now my contractions were around 40 to 50 seconds long and between 3 to 5 minutes apart.

8:00 am We called the hospital and told them the status quo and they said we should come in. As soon as I got there they put me in the delivery room.

10:00 am I was dilated 3 cm already and my contractions were stronger and stronger. I was already feeling sick to my stomach and the midwife said it was time to decide what pain relief I wanted. I went for the epidural as I knew I could not bear much more pain at this point.

11:00 am They did the epidural, which was not at all painful. I did not feel much and after 10 to 20 minutes my contractions were just noticeable on the monitor. I also got oxytocin to increase the contractions. The next few hours were quite relaxing, however I still did not manage to sleep or eat. And that was bad because it only made me weaker for what was about to come.

3:00 pm The baby’s head was not fully engaged and my chances for a C section were 50%, so they decided to break the water. Again not painful at all.

4:00 pm Baby’s head still not engaged so they gave me more oxytocin to increase the contractions and they said that if in the next half hour his head is not in the correct position, they will have to decide if I get a C section. At this point I was so against C section that out of desperation I started talking to the baby and singing and praying for him to get down and be in the correct position. My prayers were answered, that by the next half hour they gave the news that he is good to go and that I was 8 cm dilated. I still needed to get to 10. More oxytocin and stronger contractions, the epidural was still on so I was not feeling them.

5:00 pm I was at 10 cm and they stopped the epidural since I was about to start pushing and they needed me to feel the contractions. This is when I really felt I was in labour and that the ground under me was shaking. It was not a pleasant feeling, I was doing my best to follow the indications of the midwife, of my husband, but I was exhausted and out of energy and everything felt ten times harder. Also I went from being very cold and shivering to being incredibly hot, so my body was not really working with me. Still the pain was not that bad, it was manageable, but because of being under so much pressure, I am sure my brain was exaggerating everything.

6:40¬†pm Since my pushing was only getting me so far, and they were seeing the baby’s head, they decided to call the doctor. I was not very aware of what was going on by now, so when the doctor came, he looked me straight in the eyes and told me that he is going to help me get the baby out and that I needed to work with him and give a few more pushes. He mentioned the vacuum and part of me was thinking, I just hope the baby’s head won’t be damaged. What happened next was surreal. I remember feeling the pain of the vacuum and then out of the blue there was no more pressure just relief.

7:08 pm Luca Albert Belc was born and I felt like I had been to the end of the world and back. He was 3570 grams heavy and 50 cm long. There was happiness, tears, fear, curiosity, everything mixed and his little face. I remember seeing his lips and thinking they are so big…

My husband was with me throughout the whole thing and it was incredibly helpful to have him there. Nothing compares to sharing this experience with him. I would not have it any other way.

And our first Mother and Son photo session from today. Daddy takes the best pictures!

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