Posted in Lessons Learnt

#3. You can’t teach with a baby in your arms

teaching

Long story short

My mother-in-law had been doing an English course at the local Volkshochschule, and as soon as summer hit, there weren’t enough participants for the course to continue until September. She persuaded the teacher to privately tutor a bunch of them in her garden – great plan! Until he cancelled last minute. She asked me if I could do it, I agreed because .. well, what else can you do? I had to bring LG along of course, since Peter was working, and it ended up with an exhausted Mama and an even more exhausted baby rolling home after 8pm.

What have I learnt?

1. BABIES WILL NOT SLEEP WHEN YOU WANT THEM TO. I genuinely believe they can smell your desperation. I tried so hard in the 15 minutes before the ‘lesson’ started to get him down and nothing worked.

2. BEING IN A GARDEN DOESN’T NECESSARILY RELAX YOU. I think my mother-in-law thought it would be this wonderful chilled out, informal chat-fest. Nope. Her ‘co-student’ was still overwhelmed at the prospect of speaking English, and still relied on the archetypal classroom structure to make him speak.

3. ALWAYS COME PREPARED. Even when you’re told not to. I should’ve trusted my instincts and brought some worksheets to fill the awkward silences.

4. WORK IS WORK NO MATTER HOW IT’S SOLD TO YOU. The end.

5. YOU CANNOT BE THAT COOL WORKING MUM TEACHING WITH A BABY IN HER ARMS. My brain simply would not allow me to do both – comfort my fussy baby and ask questions to get people talking.

Neyt week, LG is not coming!

Mama M x

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Posted in Lessons Learnt

#2. Mamas + heat do not mix well

hotweather

Long story short

I thought I’d nailed the whole ‘heat’ problem. I had … for my baby. The thing is, Mamas need to drink a) to keep themselves hydrated b) to keep their milk supply up, and in summer you can add c) because it’s summer and it’s freaking hot. One Saturday I decided to trek to Neukölln (I have a voucher for DM), taking care to walk in the shade etc. I forget to bring any food for myself, didn’t drink and ended up frazzled & stressed outside Peter’s office, feeding LG and realising I couldn’t manouevre the pram into a späti for a drink. I ended up having to walk another 20mins to some bio supermarket where I spent far too much on a piece of quiche I inhaled and some fancy water. Then I had to drag my exhausted self home (another 30 mins).

Okay that wasn’t really a shortened account, oops.

What have I learnt?

1. ALWAYS PUT A BOTTLE OF WATER IN THE PRAM. Or two, that would be even better.

2. SECRET SNACKS. Biscuits, crackers, whatever. Put them in a small tub or zip-lock bag in the changing bag.

3. SUNCREAM YOURSELF UP. When you suncream your baby, suncream yourself. If baby wears a hat, you wear a hat.

4. TAKE BREAKS. Sounds like common sense but bear with me. You’re pushing a pram in the heat, which is pretty strenuous even if you don’t realise it. Stop every 15 mins and just sit on a bench/wall in the shade and sip some of that water.

5. BRING DEODORANT. To counteract all that sweat.

6. THINK YOUR JOURNEY/ ROUTE THROUGH. I should’ve realised that my walk would take over 2 hours, pushing me into midday heat. Next time, I’ll take the bus there and walk back.

Mama M x

Posted in Lessons Learnt

#1. Babies + heat do not mix well

sunny1

Long story short:

My Dad (aka Grandpop) was visiting. One of the first ‘summer like’ days of the year. We decided to walk to Treptower Park. En route, chaos ensued. *

What have I learnt?

1) WALK IN THE SHADE. This will involve constantly switching sides of the road, and your whole journey will take longer, but the pram won’t overheat (as fast)

2) BABIES GET THIRSTY. FEED OFTEN. Sounds obvious, but I just didn’t think logically. Of course babies get thirsty in the heat! They are tiny humans after all. Regardless of whether your breastfeeding or formula feeding, get that baby something to drink. More often than normal; since the Treptower Park day I aim for hourly around midday which works out well.

3) BLACK PRAMS GET HOT. Cover the hood with a white muslin (that drapes over the front too as a sun protector) and take of the lower cover (where there feet are) but make sure their feet/legs are shielded.

4) CHANGE THEIR CLOTHES. If they get damp and sweaty, get them changed asap because a warm/cool breeze when you take them out for a cuddle will do them no good.

5) AVOID THE HOURS BETWEEN 11 – 3PM. Again, sounds obvious. My bad.

6) BE PREPARED TO STRIP THEM DOWN TO THEIR NAPPY. Then add clothes when the sun goes away for half an hour .. then take the layers off when the sun comes back … then ..

*I ended up with a wailing (and very warm) LG, at the edge of a roadside. I had to strip him down to his nappy, sit on a bollard in the shade, and feed him as bemused/puzzled onlookers drove by. Don’t be like me, be smart!

Mama M x