Wednesday, August 31, 2011


(I'm very sorry, Pilar Sordo's interview is only in Spanish, I try to explain on this
post a bit of what she is talking about)
When we are confronted with the fact that we will become parents, we start really thinking about how we want to raise our future children.  In our case, we are blessed with the fact that we think very alike (we as in Jonas and I).  I think that is basic if you want to have a balanced family.  To be in the same page.  Although Jonas and I have very different upbringings and we come from completely different cultures, the essence of what we want for our daughter is the same: we would like to raise a well balanced, considerate, confident and conscious human being.  How do we do this? I have no clue, I just have a hunch on how to start.
Pilar Sordo, a Chilean psychologist says in an interview that in the last years parents have lost consciousness of the concept of authority and at the same time have become much more flexible causing children to demand more and be less respectful.  She says that we need to regain that respect and claim the authority again, because in order to properly educate our children, sometimes they have to do things they probably don't like.  It is not a democracy at home, she says.

Anne Nielsen, norwegian preschool teacher and psychosynthesis specialist who wrote the book   "The Parental Role, You are the adult!", (unfortunately it is only in Norwegian) talks about the same subject.  She believes that we are not doing our children any favors by taking a child-indulging approach, instead we need to regain authority and be consequent and firm to gain our children's trust.
I happen to agree.  I think discipline is key to a balanced kid.  A combination of authority and respect.  We can't be our children's best friends all the time, there will be times that they won't even like us or the decisions we make, but all is for the greater good!  I want to be there for Olivia and teach her by example.  Show her that respect for others, consideration and good manners are important.  Teach her that things must be earned and that with effort things go right.  I don't want her to think that all is given and I don't want her to take things for granted either... so, I agree, I want to be a teacher to her and also a loving mother, and want her to know that no matter what, I am here for her.
Anyways, that is the million dollar question right?  What is the best way to raise out kids?  Well, I am sure each family has a set of priorities and has different beliefs.  In my own family, my brother and I have completely different points of view, and we were raised in the same house, so, this is very personal.  I certainly don't judge other types of education at home either, I am just mentioning what has been on my mind lately... what do you think? 

Friday, August 26, 2011

My baby list.

Inspired by Joanna at A Cup of Jo, I decided to make my own baby list of needs for when a baby comes.  I wish I had found something like this when I was pregnant, but since I didn't I am making one for all those who might need some help (of course, this is so subjective and every family has different needs, this is what I think works best for us).

First of all, for the mom:
  • Prepare some meals in advance.  Lots of comfort food.  Everything you like for those first very emotional days.  The less you and your partner have to do, the better!  Another great tip I read was to ask for homemade meals instead of presents for the baby, I thought that was genius!
  • Maxi pads.  Super absorbent and LOTS of them.  You will bleed for a while after birth and it's important to be prepared for that.  (-other great tip I read: put some drops of water onto your maxi pad and then freeze it, you'll have a cold press that way!)
  • Ibuprofen and paracetamol.  Have them handy for those postpartum contractions and any other kind of pain you may have after birth.
  • Breastfeeding advice! That was by far the most difficult part for me.  Know that it shouldn't be painful, if it hurts, there is something off, so, if you feel pain, get help as soon as you can, because once your breasts get sore, it is quite difficult to get them to heal since you are using them ALL the time.  I thought that it should hurt at the beginning, and so I didn't get help on time, and then it was really painful until an angel of a midwife came to my home to help me until I found a position that was right for me, after that, everything went smoothly.
  • Even if your baby seems like a puzzle, and everything seems overwhelming and difficult, know, that in a few days, you will know your baby much better and will be able to solve the tasks you have in hand now, everything passes... I cant say this enough, but it does.  The baby blues goes away, the breast pain gets better, the sleeping eventually regulates itself, nature is wise, give yourself and your baby time.  That is all you need to know, everything passes.
  • If you have a dog or pet, it worked for us to let him be part of everything.  Allow him or her to smell and be close so they don't feel left out.  Give them lots of love and attention, so they don't think they are being replaced.  It has worked very well for us.  Rafa is very sweet and interested in Olivia, he just wants to know what's going on, then goes back to what he's doing.
  • Be aware of what happens to your body after birth and know that you will recover fairly quickly although it may seem slow.
Things for the baby:
  •  A stroller.  Choose one according to your necessities and check out reviews online.  This is one of the most expensive purchases you will make, so, choose consciously.   We have the TFK Joggster Twist and we are super satisfied.  We don't have a car and we live in a city that needs a sturdy stroller, so, this is the one for us. I use it every day to go everywhere, it has lots of space, many pockets, it's light and easy to handle, in general, worth every penny. If you are in a place that has very cold weather, a sleeping bag for the stroller is a great investment.  We have  one my mother in law made us, and it is fantastic, she took her inspiration from here, I can't wait to try it out! You can find the pattern here.
  • Extras for the stroller: depends on the weather, a thick or a light blanket.  We've used a cotton knitted blanket for warmer days and a thick chunky woolen blanket for the colder days.  We also have a lambskin, it is perfect for any time of the year.  It breathes much better than any mattress and is warm during the winter, we are very happy with it!).  A rain cover, a mosquito net and a UV rays protector or a parasol.
  • A baby bed.  We bought the cheapest crib we found at Ikea with the best matress and matress pad we could find at Ikea as well.  The matress should be firm and breathe well.  So we splurged a bit here.  You will also need sheets and something to cover the baby with, either a swaddle, a baby sleeping bag or a baby duvet.  Whatever you are most comfortable with.  Olivia hates swaddling, so I would suggest for you to try it first before investing in expensive swaddle blankets because you might not use them at all.  (You might also like to have a moses or bassinet for the first couple of months, we used a bassinet we borrowed from some good friends until Olivia was around 8 weeks, we then moved her to her own bed, but the thing was, Olivia co-sleeped with us the first 3 weeks, then we moved her to the bassinet and then to the crib, I think we could've skipped the bassinet all together...if I could do it again, I would.  Good thing we didn't buy one!).
  • A changing table or a changing pad.  We have a changing pad on top of the dresser.  You will change around 10-16 diapers a day if not more the first few months, so make sure you change your baby at a height where you will not mess up your back, a mom with a sore back is not a happy mom. Along with the changing pad or table: diaper cream, diapers, cotton towels or cleaning paper towels and somewhere where you can put away the used diapers without having to much odor in the room (we have the diaper bin out in the balcony).
  • A bouncy chair: honestly, I don't know what I would do without it.  We have a second hand one from Baby Björn, it is fantastic.  
  • A baby carrier: when Olivia was born, she loved being in a baby carrier wrapped around me or Jonas, she would sleep in there for hours, we have a Didymos and it is great, very expensive though, but great quality fabric that you can use for ages and will just be reliable.  We also have a carrier (second hand as well) from Baby Björn that has proved to be very useful now that Olivia is older and likes to see everything around her. There are some great choices, if it wasn't because we got this one really cheap from a friend, I would have chosen this one or this other one.
  •  Some toys:  I am not into buying a whole lot of toys.  I believe she will find anything interesting so why buy a million things she will loose interest in?  We do have a few very loved ones: a pacifier (not technically a toy, but she uses it as a toy.  We tried EVERY brand, she will only take this one), a baby gym, a teether, a rattle I made her from Lotta Janstodder "Simple Sewing for Baby), a cozy blanket that I made her since she wouldn't take the pacifier and some stuffed animals she got as presents but isn't so into yet.  Baby books! Can't get enough of them!
  • A bag to carry all the baby stuff: I just have a very practical backpack where everything fits and doesn't take much space.  It fits well under the stroller but it's also comfortable to carry without hurting my back.  What's in the bag? Well: A changing pad, no less than 5 diapers, always, a light blanket, wet wipes, sunblock, a bottle of water (for me), an apple (for me as well), a bottle with formula, a pacifier and a burping cloth (is that the name?? oh well, it's late and I am half asleep, can't remember the name of this thing).
  • Clothes: To begin with, you don't need a whole lot of things, also depending on the weather and the time of year, you will adapt to your necessities.  I think, for us, in a mild, chilly weather (spring in Norway), when Olivia was born, this is what we really used, the rest, was excess:
Tip: Wool, wool, wool!
(can't go wrong with wool, it is warm when it is cold
but it breathes when it is too warm, so, wool is great!)
4-5 pijamas
4-5 bodies
couple of baby pants or tights
3 pairs of socks
a baby hat to go outside
a jacket or body suit
baby gloves
(if colder, add some layers or use thicker wool or fleece, 
if hotter, remove layers. If it's too hot, probably a diaper is enough :D )
  • Now the extras: These you might not need, and you will definitely not need at the beginning, but just to keep in mind later on:  
a traveling bed
a traveling stroller
a baby monitor

Well, I guess for now that is my basic list to start your life with your new baby.  I don't know if I am forgetting something, probably, but if I forgot, it means that it is not essential and you will probably figure out what you need on your own.  I hope this helps!  Ask away if you need to clear something up, I am more than happy to answer any questions.

Enjoy your new life!

    New space

    Short post just to vent out that I have a new website.  Finally managed to put together some of my work and I am in the process of getting my newest stuff up there too.  Along with my own URL, but for now, this is it! 
    Feel free to stop by, take a look.  This is what I did before becoming a full time mom, and I am still working with some projects (whenever I have 5 minutes of time and brains), so, there you go.   It is what it is :)

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    Nursery tour!

    The nursery is finally ready.  Olivia finally has her own room.  She's been sleeping through the night in her own bed for a while now.  I also managed to stop nursing her to sleep and she manages to fall asleep on her own in her own bed, so today we will start the transition!  I am sure we'll do alright, besides, it's all about being patient and persistent right?  We'll see how it goes!!

    Lot's of colors!

    Our reading/nursing corner with a bed with a bed in case she needs
    us there at night.  The wall has pictures of all the family!

    With some pictures of mom and dad.

    The bed, with some of her friends :)
    Finally, the changing table, and the painting my mom made for Olivia.

    Ps.  I am still working on that list I told you all about, next week, next week ;)

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    A hopeful August.

    Hi! I am back again. 

    We've been traveling a bit and then a bit busy again.  But now we're back in Bergen ready to start doing things!!  There's a whole bunch of things in my "to-do" list that I need to start crossing out, maybe August will be more productive than the last few months.  Not that I haven't enjoy my 4 months baby-moon!  It's been great, but my mind craves more now.  Nothing fancy, just getting some things done.  Like starting a better exercise routine, planning better meals, catching up with some sewing, meeting with friends, taking an exhibition round every Friday evening, editing some videos, sending applications for video-art festivals, getting my homepage running, getting my US Visa (this particular task, I HATE! If only it wasn't sooooo much cheaper to travel to Costa Rica through the US), anyways, I could keep going for at least 10 minutes.  

    But first things first:  Olivia is now 4 months!!!!  I can't believe how fast time goes.  It feels like yesterday that I had terrible pain when I breastfed, that I couldn't understand her cries, that she was sleeping all the time and the rest of the time, eating.  That she made those newborn grunts that were so cute and harsh at the same time, that I was afraid of braking her.  It is soooo much cooler now!  She talks to herself all the time with the loveliest bird sounds, she shakes her arms and legs so strong that it seems like she will start flying any minute, she calls for our attention constantly, like saying "HEY! I'm here!", she loves loves loves kisses on the cheeks, she likes to sit on my lap and look at the world like a big girl, she is always smiling and just being plain cool.  I have to say, she is just the coolest baby in the world!!! (I bet all of us mammas think the same thing, hehe).  She's been incredibly easy these days, and I have to credit that to my new routine.  

    I know I've mentioned before that I got really stressed by reading books and that following my instinct has been the best for me, but I do have to credit one book that has changed the way I listen to my baby: "Secrets Of The Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect and Communicate with your Baby" by Tracy Hogg.  The book suggests to start with a routine from day 0.  I did not do this, in fact, I did not get this book until Olivia was around 4 weeks old, and I didn't finish reading it until she was like 5 weeks old, so, I applied what I could in those days, then decided it was too stressful to have such a strict routine (it might work for some) and started just following Olivia's lead with a little direction from me.  All in all, what I did take out from the Baby Whisperer was to listen to the babies cries and to start a small routine.  I started a feeding-playing-sleeping sequence every day, so I could distinguish the reasons why Olivia cried and didn't over feed her.  So far it's been great.  I feed her (breastmilk + a bit of formula every time), then we have activity time until she seems like she's had enough, and then she sleeps.  That way I know that if during the activity time she starts crying, is because she is tired, not because she is hungry.  And it works every time!  So, I suggest trying that if you are having trouble with "constantly eating" and trouble with putting you baby to sleep.  At night we do the same, first we change to pijamas, then lay down on the bed and feed (both breasts + a bit of formula, usually 2oz) and then she is full, we move her to her bed while still barely awake and 10-15 minutes later she's asleep, until next morning.  So yes, sticking to a routine works!  A full belly works!  Hope this is helpful.

    One more thing, have you checked out "A Cup of Joe's Motherhood Mondays"??  They are quite great! Last Monday was all about the essentials for when the baby comes, for all of those mammas to be.  It was a quite extensive and well explained list, and it got me inspired to make my own, so, that will be my next post, my "baby list".  I looked and looked everywhere for something like this when I was pregnant, but couldn't find any useful ones, except for the one we got at the clinic.  Which was quite accurate but basic.  So, look for my list on the coming days!

    Now, here are some more pictures of our trip to beautiful Ula, in the east coast of Norway.  Each year we have a family party where we eat crayfish with beautiful wine, then for dessert, Gorgonzola with Amarone.  The whole family gets together for this meal in this beautiful place.  This was Olivia's first trip out of Bergen and it went really smooth.  We are ready for Brussels in September now.

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Traveling with a 4 month old.

    Now here come some challenges.  We're flying to the eastern side of the country this weekend.  That will be our first trip with Olivia.  Just making the mental list of essential things to bring gives me a headache. Stroller, car seat, traveling bed, clothes, blankets, etc etc etc... I know after this first trip, we'll find out what essential really is.
    Anyways, we decided to invest in a light "umbrella" stroller that we can take on our trips from now on.  We chose Chicco Lite Way, it's very stable, light and 0+, which is great.  So we'll see and I will come back and tell you how the adventure went.
    Any advice??

    Oh the double chin!

    The drooling and the double chin are not the best of friends.  I need some advice! Olivia gets a lot of moisture in the wrinkles of her neck. I try to clean and dry it as often as possible but still, not a lot of air goes there so it gets red and yesterday bled a little bit when I was cleaning it up after her night bath.  I know it's completely normal but does anyone have any good tips?  I tried diaper cream yesterday and it is much better today, but maybe someone ha a better solution?

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    We are talking a lot!

    I just have to share! Olivia has been really talking lately, making the sweetest most adorable sounds all the time!  I just melt (and Jonas) every time she gets going!



    I am sorry for all these videos, I know 4 minutes (first video) of baby talk is A LOT! But, I have family in the other side of the world, so, they will definitely appreciate it! So, bare with me, the drooling mother!