Thursday, December 15, 2011

German Zahnartzt = Terrifying

Imagine walking into an office, laying down onto your back, and someone covering your face with a thick green cloth with only one small slit. That slit is for your mouth. No one talks to you, except to say "Auflassen" (as in, "Keep your mouth open"). Then they spray your mouth with a strong smelling unidentified substance, and your gums, tongue, and lips go numb. Next comes the whizzing and whirring of various instruments that dive into and out of your mouth. Your lips are dry, but no closing your mouth, no rinsing until it's all over.

This was my first teeth cleaning in Germany, and it was as terrifying as you might imagine a German dentist to be. I should first clarify that I have never had a problem going to the dentist. Doesn't stress me out or make me uncomfortable, and I have had plenty of drilling down on my cavity-prone teeth. Now I am scarred for life.

When I was finally allowed to rinse there was obviously blood in my mouth. I floss - my gums don't normally bleed. They did not offer me a tissue to wipe off my face where water and toothpaste and whatever else had sprayed me (the slit moved a little - and there was stuff spraying everywhere). I really don't know exactly what they did, except clean my teeth German-style.

Hey Baby! What's your sign?

Simon has been talking up a storm lately. Especially animals. He loves his animals. When he stacks his blocks, he first find the side with the animal and tells me what it is.

So, he's not actually using his voice - but rather baby sign language to communicate. He knows over 40 words, at least half of which are animals. I remember the first time he did a sign back to me. He said "please" asking for more more crackers on a flight from Mozambique to Jo'berg. Once he realized that we could actually communicate this way, he picked up words pretty quickly. If I were a better teacher I am sure he would know double or triple the signs.

Sometimes we improvise . For example, I didn't know the sign for skunk - on one of his blocks - so we came up with one ourselves. (Pinch your nose and saw "ewwww.") Or when Uncle Ti came for Thanksgiving, he made a sign for himself. (Flex your muscles - that's Ti!). Whenever Simon sees the picture of Ti in the hallway, he flexes his muscles!

Signing has been fantastic for us. Simon is able to communicate most of his needs - more, milk, water, eat, help - along with learning good manners (please, thank you). It has definitely made life easier for both of us.

Interested in learning more. Here's the book we used, although  I am sure there are many great resources out there.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Par le vous...??

I just came back from a weekend away with 2 girlfriends. No babies, no boys, just us ladies and the lovely town of Antibes, France. It was simply dreamy! We ate fantastic food, including lamb that slid right off the bone and pastries that were sinfully divine. We made a great traveling trio, all moving at the same pace and interested in the same things (food!). We shopped, we ate, we ate, we shopped, we played games while sipping tea or absinthe.

It was a much needed break for all of us mamas. At one point my friend Maha asked if we were thinking about our little ones back home, and Barbara and I looked at other - "Nope!" was our immediate and unapologetic response. I needed this break, and for 48 hours I was happy not to worry about diapers or meals or naps or bedtimes. It's rare I get to take time for myself, so I took it!

And now I know I'm back in Germany as I walk by the bakery without a second glance. That could never happen in France.