trendspotting from the maternity ward

Observations of what’s hot and what’s not from the haze of the post partum bliss.
1. Disposable knickers and socks with grips are the fashion accessory du jour.
Paired together with dark circles, bedhead and your butt hanging out of your hospital gown, it’s what all the cool kids are wearing. I know what I’m stashing in my bag home 😉

2. Rocking the halls looking like you are somewhere between 5 and 8 months pregnant when really you’ve just had a baby. Ace.

3. Rejoicing the return of tastebuds post partum just in time to savor hospital food. Boiled potatoes, boiled chicken, boiled veggies…Did I say yummo?

4. Forget Push Presents created specifically for the mama who pushed baby out, Partner Presents are also making a surge for those awesome labor partners who not only go through 9 months wedded to a sometimes hormonal cow, then helping us through labor but then muster up the energy to dash out and get ‘real’ food for the new mama no matter what hour of the morning she gets settled into the hospital. On a side note, the lesser revered Putz Present is awarded to the partner who is more concerned with how he did in labor than the mama’s well being.

5. Baby powder is no longer recommended. Studies have shown that babies inhale the powder and get pneumonia. (true story from a nurse)

6. Breathing and meditation are underrated. Apparently you have no “pain management plan” unless it involves drugs. And if self-hypnosis and breathing are your main plan then clearly you haven’t thought it through.

7. Cuddles and kisses are still very much in.

8. Kankles. Guess what? You may not have even had them during pregnancy but after birth they are so in. Bonus: this is an easy couple of pounds you can easily lose just by listening to your doctor and putting your feet up when your not busy being a mama.

9. Though post partum mamas may feel like they have just rode in the Tour de France, childcare is not just like riding a bike – not everything comes back to you the second time around. Nurses are the top dog for reacquainting veteran mamas to all things newborn from breastfeeding to diapering. Being nice to nurses is always good.

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Our beautiful Monkey #2 born November 4. Birth story to follow soon



I’m in labor

So I’m writing this from the hospital on my iPhone, waiting for Big Monkey to return with all the clear fluids he can find to help get me through what appears to be me going into labor…and the eventual birth of our baby girl.
Something about 36.5 weeks, my babies like to make their appearance early at the exact same time.
It’s been an interesting day to say the least. All I am hoping for is that she is healthy.
If I can figure this app out it will post this tomorrow on Saturday, November 5 and I will be cuddling our beautiful new baby girl…and I will be still on track with NaBloPoMo :)

(that’s my yummy cold broth and apple juice dinner)
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Honored to be featured on BlogHer.com

Featured on BlogHer.com

I started writing about where I went in New York, what I was enjoying and what I was adjusting to as a means of chronicling my move and leaving a story behind for not only myself, but for my kids. I want to be able to show Monkey #1 the experiences he is being exposed to here in NYC, that he would not have experienced in New Zealand. It’s been great to look back and seen how much I’ve changed and even adjusted since landing in New York from New Zealand. It’s also been amazing to watch my son grow and even thrive in this city, making his own cultural observations. At times before we left I wondered if my husband and I were being selfish to move to the “city that never sleeps”. I’d done so much research, spoke to so many other families that once lived here and we both decided that it would be a great place for us and the little Monkeys at this stage in our lives.

It’s been a big deal for me to actually start sharing these stories publicly on this blog, but I’m happy I did.

I am honored to have been recognized for an observational piece I wrote on nannies and featured on the front page of BlogHer.com! BlogHer is a community primarily for female bloggers (but not limited to) that creates opportunities for exposure as well as acting as a platform for educating bloggers and the public. Content on BlogHer stems from opinion pieces to interviews, to fact based reporting.

Not everyone will agree with my point of view on the nanny article, but that’s what’s great about blogging – it’s my opinion, which is not necessarily your opinion. I ask you to hop on over to BlogHer and give it a read and let me know your thoughts, I’d really appreciate it.

 



Worst places to go into labor in New York city

A cat looking like a deer in the headlights. Image credit to Raycan

Who me? Do you need my help? Image credit to Raycan

This post is inspired by a dream I had last night. I guess my brain is understandably enough focused on all things baby. I don’t know for an absolute fact that these would be the worst places, but if you read on you’ll see that it’s highly unlikely you’d want to go into labor in any of these places 😉

I dreamt that I was on the Subway in a beautiful long flowing purple gown and matching running shoes and tiara. The running shoes makes sense, I have been wearing sensible shoes lately to keep my tall frame and protruding belly from toppling over as well as to help me keep up with Monkey #1, but the dress and tiara don’t really make sense. I am standing gripping the pole in the middle of a subway train in one hand, and Monkey #1 is holding my other hand. Suddenly my waters break, I look around but no one will make eye contact and I’m trying to stay cool. I woke up in a cold sweat so I don’t know what happens next, but ever since it has had me wondering about what happens if I do go into labor in a strange place?

I was doing some reading on hypnobirthing and I found this article about circadian rhythms and the likelihood of going into birth in the middle of the night (which is higher than say going into labor later in the day). It’s an interesting read all about how we are more likely to go into natural labor when our bodies feel safe and rested (hence nighttime).

Even though my thoughts are so far fetched, still thought it would be funny to share the inner workings of my hormonal sleep deprived brain with you.

Besides the Subway, I think it would suck to go into labor in these places:

In line at CVS. Every time I go to CVS I swear the clerks actually try to hide from me so they don’t have to help me out. There are always tons of clerks milling around at the checkout talking to each other but never one to be found in the aisles. I’m sure one ran from me the other day after I made eye contact with him.

Central Park. New Yorkers are notorious for not making contact, unlike my other misconceptions of New York, I do believe this one to be true. But runners are of an even stauncher breed. They will run and run and run right through you without the slightest backwards glance. Their are so many rules about where you are allowed to walk, bike, run, push a stroller and even sit in Central Park that if you find yourself (wrongly) in the path of a runner you are likely to be bowled over. I don’t think even a woman going into labor would shake a Central Park jogger out of his or her zone – those exercise induced endorphins are a powerful drug.

Crossing the street at a busy intersection. If I had to describe drivers in Manhattan in one word, that word would be “impatient”. Honking at the car in front 2 seconds after the light turns green, cutting off unsuspecting mothers walking with their kids (this rarely happens, did happen to me at least once and it was very dangerous). I suspect a driver wouldn’t even notice and would just honk to get me out of the way and continue on their speedy way.

If you are or have ever been pregnant did you ever have crazy dreams? Did you actually go into labor in an “odd” place? I’d love to hear about it.



5 misconceptions I’m glad I no longer have about New York

Times Square - the grungy city of lights that is only some of New York

Times Square - the grungy city of lights that is only some of New York

New York is a city that I have been in love with since the first time I got off a bus from Montreal to visit waaaay back in my early 20’s. Something about the energy, hustle and bustle, bright lights and the people. Years later in a very different stage of my life I have been given the opportunity to live in the Big Apple. When my husband came home from work and told me he’d been offered a transfer  to New York, my first reaction was “Hell Yeah, we’re in!”. But I have to admit, their were a few things at the back of my mind that I was worried about. I’m happy to say that less than 2 months after living here these “worries” are not worries at all – they are misconceptions that thankfully are not at all true.

  1. Everyone in New York is rude: Not true. Alot of people I have come across are straight forward and don’t beat around the bush, but for the most part I have found people courteous. I can understand how for some people being so to the point can be daunting and mistaken for rudeness. I admit the average New Yorker’s way of being is a little different to what I am used to, such as service people don’t really ever smile. I like to kill them with kindness with a bright smile and a big thank you, you’d be surprised how many of these same people end up being alot more friendlier once they see that I am friendly (you give what you get). I guess the average New Yorker smiles alot less than the average Kiwi, but it doesn’t mean they’re rude.
  2. I’ll never understand how to get around on the subway: I’m not one of those people with a built-in GPS and prior visits to NYC have found me lost on the subway heading to Queens as opposed to Brooklyn. This time around I’ve got the hang of it pretty quickly. The signs in the  subway themselves can be confusing, but you just have to pay attention and soon enough they are not confusing at all. Google Maps and iPhone apps have been a big help in planning out my subway trips before hand – and in turn lowering my anxiety.
  3. Crime is rampant in New York: Like everywhere, their are pockets of crime in New York but it’s not like it’s anymore widespread than other cities. Big Monkey had read an article just before we left New Zealand showing how crime in New York was on the steady decline as opposed to it being on a steady incline in much smaller American cities and towns. I’ve read that sociologist and other experts had actually expected a trend of more crime in New York in these times of recession, but that they have been proven wrong. Their are people doing shifty things, specifically in the more shifty neighborhoods. Keep your wits about you, keep your head down and your more likely to stay out of trouble.
  4. Can I raise children in a city that never sleeps: Well, the city does sleep, especially in neighborhoods that are particularly family friendly. That’s the great thing about New York, their are so many different neighborhoods that will “fit” different people’s stage in life and interests. In some neighborhoods there is even a nice mix of people from very different walks of life – professional artists living amongst the stroller set in Park Slope for example. Basically, if you want to sleep you can just find the right nabe to do it in – and their are plenty.
  5. That I would be trading ants for cockroaches and that the rats are bigger than cats: In Auckland ants are a normal part of everyday life in most houses. You have your savory loving ants and your sweet loving ants. You figure out pretty quickly which ones you have invading your kitchen and learn tricks to keep them to a minimum. I think we used to have savory ants. If you left one morcel of bread on a plate on the counter you would have a full-on swarm of ants marching across the counter by the end of the day, what a pain! They bothered me to no end but I was even less looking forward to cockroaches, Yuck! Back when I used to visit New York semi-regularly , I would stay with this dude whose kitchen I would never go into at night. I did once and I swear I saw at least 5 crawling around in the sink and across the floor. Blech! That image is etched in my mind. The rats thing is just something that everyone says about New York. So far, I’ve been lucky to have neither where we live. Ok, so I think at times I may hear some sort of vermin outside by the rubbish bins, but at least they are not in my house. I think it’s safe to say some apartments and brownstones will be infested, but again, I don’t think it’s a given.
What do you think of New York? Could you ever live here?


Halloween in New York ain’t like Guy Fawkes in New Zealand

It’s been well over 15 years since I last trick or treated growing up in Eastern Canada. I remembering the freezing cold nights with 2-3 layers of clothes under my costume. Sometimes it wasn’t even obvious what my costume was because I needed to add a jacket over top to combat the biting cold wind – Imagine a gypsy who looked more like a bag lady trying to keep warm. It’s easy to give up Halloween when you have to go door to door under those conditions. I don’t have any recollection of being one of those akward teens who tries to make out like a bandit running from house to house to get candy barely even saying trick or treat, let alone thank you. Besides the cold it probably had something to do with how tall I was. I always looked older than I was and probably got weird looks from the old lady down the road that thought I was past my trick or treating prime.

Even though Monkey #1 is 4, he has yet to celebrate a Halloween. Depending on where you live in NZ, kids get suited up and head out desperately looking for houses that are taking part. We’ve never been in a neighborhood that took part in the largely North American celebration. for 7 of the 8 years we lived in New Zealand we lived a 3 minute walk from the beach. This beach was notorious for its Guy Fawkes celebrations that are held yearly on November 5th. In a nutshell Guy Fawkes is something to do with this guy Guy who tried to blow up some building in England, his attempt was thwarted and the people celebrated his arrest with bonfires. If you saw the movie V for Vendetta and did not fall asleep, like I did, you might have a better grasp of this moment in history. Fast forward to modern day England and some of its colonies (such as Barbados and New Zealand) celebrate with big fireworks displays. Last year we went to a Guy Fawkes party where at least 3 of the dads had purchased fireworks kits that cost $200 each! Meanwhile us mums had to pacify our littlies with ice cream and cover their ears to make sure they didn’t either lose their hearing from the sheer loudness of the explosions or have a meltdown from how scary the sound was. That year was my first DIY Guy Fawkes, it was fun. I can’t believe how fun explosives can be. Guy Fawkes always brings with it the need for dogs to be medicated or some git burning something down. Though the actual night is November 5, some die hards will let off fireworks for days before and after with no regard to the time of day or people trying to get sleep.



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KiwiCanadian expat adventures with my husband and 2 kids from life in New Zealand to New York and back again. Adventures in inspired family living, travel, health & fitness.Read More »