I had to laugh the other day when we were at the grocery store and I saw this:
These watermelons were slightly larger than canteloupes. I don't know that I've ever seen a watermelon that small in Texas... never mind calling them giant!
Isn't it funny the difference in perception based on what you're used to? Here, these truly are giant watermelons (and shockingly uniform in size and shape!). I've never seen any bigger. In the US, I don't know that I've ever seen one this small.
Makes me wonder what causes this difference... Anyone know?
It's not surprise, given Ross' love of socks that Linus is amassing quite a collection. Ross is in charge of baby sock procurement and has done an excellent job. There are just so many cute options out there for baby socks. I mentioned to a friend the other day that socks may be the only baby item category where boy stuff is cuter than girl stuff.
Patriotic Socks for the Jubilee
Socks that look like sneakers
Linus has socks that go with just about every outfit he has and we quite enjoy putting together his daily "looks". I figure socks aren't a bad indulgence to have since they are rarely more than a couple of pounds for a pack and he doesn't outgrow them too quickly. In fact, some of the cutest socks we have for him are from Primark (a bargain clothing store here in the UK). This little bin, usually in the dresser drawer, hold his sock collection:
my hand included for scale
It may not look like much, but when socks are that tiny, a little bin holds a LOT of socks! In general, I find that the UK has much cuter socks than the US. Now that might sound weird, but it's definitely true of men's socks. Trying to find brightly coloured men's socks in the US is nearly impossible. You can find some if you order on the internet, but they aren't found in the average department store like they are here. Ross would always be sad when we visited Target and saw the fun women's socks, but not a bright color or pattern could be found for the men. I'm not sure if it's true of baby socks too, since I haven't looked at baby socks in the US that extensively. What I can tell you, is that we've procured the cutest baby socks ever. Behold:
Beefeaters, Royal Guardsmen, and Bobby Socks
Do you have any baby socks that could rival these? Seriously, if so tell me so we can get them too :)
Spurred by reader Michelle's comment on my last post, I decided to devote a couple of posts to children's songs in the US and UK.
I mentioned that we've been going to Rhythm Time where we sing a variety of songs with the babies. We shake maracas and tambourines. We bounce and dance and act silly. It's pretty fun. Linus is liking it more and more each week. Sometimes he ends up eating the whole time instead of participating, but I figure the exposure to music is good for him regardless. He's still not a big fan of when the drums get banged too loudly. I'm not a big fan of loud noises, so perhaps he gets that from me. We also sing songs and do movements at Baby Yoga, which I think Linus prefers for it's more mellow vibe.
Linus shaking his maraca.
One song that we sing at yoga is new to me. It's called "Run Rabbit Run", and it goes:
Run, rabbit. Run, rabbit.
Run, run, run.
Don't let the Farmer get his
Gun, gun, gun.
He'll get by without his rabbit pie.
So, Run, rabbit. Run, rabbit.
Run, run, run.
We generally sing it while we're moving the babies' legs in a running motion, which is supposed to be good for digestion and releasing gas. The yoga teacher told us a story the other day about how she'd recently done a Baby Yoga workshop at a conference and got in trouble for using this song because the organizers felt it was insensitive to the large number of vegetarians present. I pointed out that it could actually be construed as pro-vegetarian as it encourages the rabbit to elude the Farmer! What could be more veg-friendly!? :) In reality this song is about World War 2 and is meant to poke fun at the Germans. How very political!
On a note unrelated to singing, do you know what it means if someone says "Oh, she does rabbit on"? It could easily be applied to me and my penchant for verbosity. It means "she sure talks incessantly". Word is that it's cockney rhyming slang- "Rabbit and Pork" -> pork rhymes with talk (if you use a cockney accent, though I think it's a stretch). So to "rabbit" means to "talk". I prefer to think about it as how rabbits are known for going at it like, well, rabbits and that somehow relates to the speed of the chatter... or something...
Good conclusion, Meg. "Or something"... Yep, that's how I roll.
Yesterday at Tummies and Tinies (the mommy group that I go to on Wednesday mornings) they had a Fire Safety Officer (FSO) there to talk to us about... well... fire safety. I think we would have all preferred to be left to our own devices and had a nice chat while we played with our kids, but we dutifully listened to the woman's presentation.
(A different day at Tummies and Tinies)
She went over basic fire safety topics and told us about the top fire hazards in the home. I can't say that I learned anything earth-shattering, but it's nice to have a refresher on safety issues from time to time- especially now that there's a baby in the house, we want to be on top of things!
At one point in her talk, the woman told us about a woman who's young daughter's nightgown caught on fire. She said that the woman had picked up her daughter and run with her to the bathroom, put her in the tub and run the water over her to put the fire out. The daughter ended up with burns on over 50% of her body. The FSO asked what the mother should have done instead. There was a brief pause in the room. You know the kind. When a room full of only semi-interested adults are waiting to see if someone else will call out the answer.
I proudly called out "Stop, drop, and roll!" The FSO looked at me with vague surprise in her eyes and said "Yes. That's right." The other mothers turned to look at me with interest on their faces. I queried, "Do they not teach that here?" The FSO explained that they teach the concept of smothering the fire, but not the key phase of "Stop, drop, and roll" that is so ubiquitous in childhood safety education in The States. One of my friends said that she'd forgotten that was what you should do, but confirmed that she had been taught it in the past. She was impressed with my little catch phrase and softly repeated it to herself saying "I'm going to use that!" I thought it was so funny that something so ingrained in me was totally novel to this room full of people!
It reminds me, yet again, of all those tiny little differences between cultures. The sayings that aren't common to both societies. Like in America it's "Buckle up for safety", whilst in the UK it's "Clunk, click, every trip". It still happens every once in a while that Ross or I will say something and the other will be baffled as to what they mean. It keeps things fresh. ;)
As a fire related sidenote: At the music group that we go to on Tuesdays we sing different nursery rhyme songs. Most of them are familiar to me, but the first week one came along that I'd never heard before. It goes:
London's burning. London's burning.
Fetch the engines. Fetch the engines.
Fire, fire! Fire, fire!
Pour on water. Pour on water.
The group's leader could tell that I didn't know the song by the look on my face and said that I'd have to bring in an "American" nursery rhyme to teach the group. I still haven't been able to think of any that don't have UK roots. Isn't it funny that nursery rhymes are all so old and no new ones have really caught on?
What catch phrases do you know that don't occur in both cultures?
Today my big brother is 35 years old.
We are 20 months apart in age which made for an interesting childhood. There were times where I was annoyed at being "Matt's younger sister" and felt it was so unfair. There were great times playing together and putting on elaborate plays for Mom and Dad. The epic that was "Faries in the Forest" had about 20 incarnations. I couldn't have asked for a better big brother. He let me torment him in the way all little sisters enjoy. Let's be honest, he still does! I couldn't have asked for a better big brother.
They wheeled me into the Labour Ward and I started to get settled in. I changed out of my clothes and into a long blue maternity t-shirt. I find it really interesting that they don't provide gowns to labouring moms in the UK. It's up to you to bring whatever you want to wear during labour. I was really comfortable in my t-shirt because it was a good mix of allowing me to move freely while still keeping me covered up. At this point, I was moving around to cope with the pain- sitting on the ball or leaning against the bed.
I met the midwife and student midwife who would be with us for the majority of the labour. The main midwife was fine, but a bit chirpy and flighty (she irritated Ross more than me, but because I was so focused on managing the pain I didn't notice). The student was great- very calming and supportive. I don't remember their names (or the names of any other midwives who helped us... it's just all a blur!) even though they were with us for hours and hours.
They wanted to monitor the baby's heart rate, so hooked me up. For a while they let me keep moving around, but they found that they kept losing the baby's heartbeat, so made me lie down in the bed. I'd been warned ahead of time that laying in the bed was the worst position for labour and I definitely found that to be true. It was instantly harder to cope with the contractions. I remember being really irritated that I couldn't move around any more, but continued with my technique of going zen and focusing through each contraction.
They examined me again and found that I had progressed a bit, but not as much as hoped. In came, a very chirpy young woman doctor who talked to me about Syntocin (similar to Pitocin). They wanted to administer it to help speed things up. Ross and I tried to argue that things were progressing on their own (albeit more slowly than expected) and that my being stuck in the bed wasn't helping matters. The doctor made a comment that I "obviously wasn't truly in labour because I wasn't distressed enough". Ross could tell I was about to show her distressed and interjected that my way of coping with the contractions was a quiet one and so if she was looking for yelling or hysterics she was out of luck. I could tell she didn't believe him and I wanted to smack her cheerful, patronizing face. It was so irritating to basically be told that I was coping with labour too well.
Ross and I took a few moments to discuss our options. I was so torn because I badly wanted to have an intervention-free birth, but I was also worried about complications. The doctor explained that we had the option to be sent back home and allowed to labour on our own as long as I didn't have a rise in my temperature. I looked at Ross with the question in my eyes. I felt awful, but I couldn't imagine going back home and continuing on at this pace. We were still in the midst of discussions, but were leaning towards allowing the intervention when the doctor made an announcement. I had developed a small fever. The decision was out of our hands, we needed to get labour going!
They gave me a cannula with two ports in it- one for antibiotics and one for fluids. It was just before midnight and I knew we'd be having a March 1st baby.
I have to say I find this song a bit disturbing and find myself cringing every time it plays on the radio.
Daddy, I've fallen for a monster
Somehow he's scaring me to death
(ah yes he is)
He's big and he's bad.
I love him like mad.
Mamma he's the best I ever had.
Daddy, I've fallen for a monster.
He's got a black heart.
Seriously?! Is this supposed to be a love song? I don't get it. This song makes me uncomfortable and sounds like a cry for help in getting out of an abusive relationship. It seems to think that these bad qualities are balanced by the fierceness of the singer's love for her man. It hardly seems the type of message I'd want my daughter listening to and singing along with!
Full disclosure: I never got the "bad boy" attraction that so many girls have. I always went for the soft-spoken nerdy guy in the boy band. I prefer a goofy sense of humour, intelligence, and a sweet heart in my men. (Sorry, Ross. I didn't mean to blow your street cred. Words out. You're a wonderfully sweet goofball!)
As every blogger in the UK has no doubt told you, this weekend was the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. We had bank holidays on Monday and Tuesday in honour of Her Majesty and there were celebrations galore. There was a flotilla on the River Thames, a huge concert in front of Buckingham Palace, and a church service of Thanksgiving amongst other things.
We tried to celebrate by going into Manchester to watch the flotilla with others on a big screen, but sadly the weather meant that was a bust. Not only was it wet, it was unseasonably cold!
Check out those thronging crowds!
We stayed for a bit and then headed back home to watch on the TV, but Linus was still decked out in his British best to mark the occasion.
Perhaps my favourite part of the Jubilee has been all of the neat specials they've been airing. There have been tons of great TV specials on the air lately- looking back at the Queen's reign and showing interviews with her nearest and dearest. I especially enjoyed one that showed Charles watching old family home movies and reminiscing about his childhood. He came across as relaxed and nice and warm. It was evident the affection he has towards his mother.
That has been the biggest takeaway from the Jubilee. The enormous affection towards the Queen- from her family and her subjects. I mean sure there are those that are anti-Monarchy, but by and large the feeling has been really positive. The Brits aren't generally as demonstrably patriotic as Americans, but when they show their love for their country, they go all out! There was definitely a positive buzz in the air.
It's crazy that you are three months old all ready! The time is just flying by. This last month has been a big one for you. Daddy and I both noticed that you seem to have hit some magic point where you are much more alert and interactive. You are super-fun right now!
You are really starting to show your personality. You are sweet, silly, and usually chilled out. You make the sweetest faces and your little noises are just adorable. You haven't really started chatting yet, but it's not far away. You are staying awake a lot more now. Being in your carseat, stroller, or sling doesn't guarantee instant sleep any more.
I asked Daddy to put your jeans on you and this is what happened.
I think I know where you get your silliness from...
We've gotten into a good weekly schedule. We go to Rhythm Time (a mommy & me music group) on Tuesdays, a play group with your friends Gram, Eric and Bea on Wednesdays, and Baby Yoga on Fridays. It is nice to have set activities. You don't always participate. It's hard to time it so that you're in your sweet spot and not hungry or tired.
shaking your maraca at Rhythm Time
Everyone comments on how sweet you are and how much you are growing. You started to wear some of your 3-6 month onesies. I'd guess you are about 11 pounds now. You were weighed last week and were 10 pounds 6 ounces. The other big development is in your night sleep. You've slept through a couple of times now and I'm crossing my fingers that this trend continues.
You met my friend Micah this month. She came to visit you from Africa and brought you lots of fun presents. She doesn't usually like babies much, but determined that you are pretty great. You didn't seem to have a strong opinion one way or the other on her, but you never got any bodily fluids on her and for that she thanks you.
You've gotten a few nicknames now. We call you an assortment of silly names that rotate constantly, but "Line" and "Liney" seem to be sticking. Daddy and I are having so much fun watching you grow and learn and we just think you are the greatest. Lately your Daddy has been picking his socks to coordinate with yours. He accomplished the exciting feat of finding father/son matching socks and there are plans to wear them for the Jubilee this Sunday. You really light up when Daddy makes silly faces at you and you seem fascinated with him.