Monday, June 27, 2011

Interna

So we're back in Germany. For the next months, I'm on parental leave again and Stefan works 9 to 5. Lara and Gloria are now almost 6 months old. They can now both roll over from back to belly, though not the other way round, and they've discovered their feet which make good toys that don't fall out of reach. They can grab and hold things, give them from one hand to the other, and bang them not only in their own but also in other people's faces. They can meanwhile eat quite well from a spoon, though they try to grab the spoon which makes feeding inevitably a mess.

Lara entertains us with a large variety of funny sounds ranging from moo-moo over uee-wee to fffff. The latter is particularly amusing when executed with a mouth full of mashed carrots. Gloria too finds distraction in her 5 minutes older sister and often turns to look at her or rolls into her direction. If Lara burps, Gloria laughs. Lara's hair finally seems to start growing, and it turns out to be lighter than it was at birth. Her eye color on the other hand is turning more brownish by the day. Gloria is still blue eyed and has a hint of blond hair.



Yes, my life has become very pink.

The girls now sleep reasonably well at night, but are more demanding during the day. Lara in particular manages to move around without actually being able to crawl and then gets stuck in all sorts of impossible positions. Gloria apparently loves to chew on cables, and it's good she doesn't have teeth yet. In the coming weeks, we'll have to childproof the apartment.

I have, to my great delight, meanwhile received parental benefits from the Swedish Försäkringskassan, at least for a couple of months, after I managed to convincingly explain I'm indeed still insured with them. The problem seems to have been caused by some EU agreement that assigns me to a German health insurance during my stay here. On the Swedish side however the health and social insurance are both in the domain of the same institution, so they seem to have concluded I'm back in Germany for good, never mind that I'm paying taxes in Sweden. Now they have some difficultly figuring out how many days I'm eligible for since Stefan doesn't live in Sweden. The Germans on the other hand have so far refused to pay a single cent of Stefan's benefits since they don't know what the Swedes will pay for me. The bottomline is we're still sitting on piles of paperwork and money is short. We've also learned of several people who've had similar difficulties which is both comforting and frustrating.

Our Saab's oil leak caused us some more headache than anticipated. Here in Germany we were told the broken part, some rusty hose, would have to be shipped from Sweden. Since we were on the way to Sweden anyway, we contacted some repair place there after arrival just to be told that Saab has only one warehouse for spare parts left, which is in Nyköping, and the part we need is out of stock. They could put in an order for fourhundredsomething Euro, and it might come in anything between next month or never. The car making more insulted noises by the day, I had the great idea to Google for 'Saab spare parts' in Swedish. Two days later I picked the part up from the post office; it came to about 25 Euro. To my amazement, it was indeed the right part and it's being replaced right now. Lesson learned: If you need a spare part for your car, buy it online yourself and bring it to your dealer.

Weather here in Germany is brilliant, 36 Grad, Es wird immer heisser, Es ist Sommer! and the women's soccer world cup has just begun.

26 comments:

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Your girls are looking great, yet the thing I noticed first is how quickly they’ve grown. They are indeed distinctly different, not just in physical appearance yet in there general demeanours. Gloria seems to want to get out and explore the world, while Lara more content to sit back and consider it for a bit. None the less, although they are not the same I think they will end up being quite complimentary. That is between Lara’s mooing and Gloria’s chewing I think they have it all covered and between them a potential that will be interesting to see develop.

As to the more pragmatic aspects of live, it’s apparent that you and Stefan continue to be presented with more than your fair share of challenges. This has me to wonder, if somehow there is a universal law, which has the degree of difficulty you’re subjected to being always proportional to one’s ability to cope. Not that I would wish this to be true, as on the contrary I’m hoping that things get a little easier for the four of you, so that you can all enjoy mooing and chewing together more often.

Best,

Phil

baghdadserai said...

A crisp dawn, a cup of coffee and the YouTube presence of your delightful future gymnasts, a sweetl way to start the day, thanks.

Christine said...

Hi Bee,

They look great! My son's birthday was yesterday, 12 years old. Time indeed flies. He was just a baby "the other day".

Best,

Christine

Jérôme CHAUVET said...

Genauso wie Phil bin ich der Meinung, dass eure Töchter (zu) schnell gross geworden sind. Habt ihr schon irgendwie gemerkt,ob jede eine Besonderheit hat, die die andere nicht besitzt?

Bei mir ist der Unterschied zwischen meinen Töchtern auffallend : die Eine ist von dem "räumlichen Typ" - sie konnte zum Beispiel ohne grosse Erklärung begreifen, wie man ein Glas festhalten soll; die Andere ist vom "zeitlichen Typ", das heisst, die Geschichte ist ihr, was wirklich zählt. Der Unterschied wirklich prägt ihre Persönnlichkeiten.

...............................

I share my mind with Phil: your daughters grew up too fast. Did you already remark whether each has a particularity of her own, which the other definitely has not?

With my two daughters, I got the case. The one is of the "spatial kind", as she quickly understands how things are in space to be handled; the other is of the "time kind", that is, the story of events is to her what's really important. The one is more of the logical side, the other of the emotional side. The difference definitely define the schape of their personality.

Bee said...

Hi Christine,

Well, then, belatedly all the best wishes for his 12th birthday :-) So he was born in the midst of the winter, like our girls, just upside-down, so to say. Yes, they do indeed grow quickly. I've come to appreciate digital cameras much more since the babies were born. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi Jérôme,

I suppose it's too early to talk about their personalities given that they can't make sense out of explanations. All I can say is that Gloria seems to prefer practice (always waving with these arms and legs) while Lara is the explorer (putting arms, legs, fingers anywhere she can possibly get, trying to pull herself up, if she can't reach something with her arms she uses her feet or toys to hit at other toys, etc). Gloria seems to cope much better with new imput. Lara gets very difficult and has trouble falling asleep if there's been lots of new things or people to see and hear. Gloria is steadily curious and doesn't seem to mind noise and business. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

Yes, incredible to think they've grown 20cm in 6 months! The trouble we have is less difficult in the technical sense as time consuming if you see what I mean. I get easily frustrated by bureaucracy because it seems to me a sickness of advanced civilizations, and it's eating up time that I could use for better things, but it's not difficult like doing a calculation might be. (What is difficult is trying to find not only a way to improve things but also a way to realize it and that causes me some headaches occasionally.)

Regarding the question of coping, the European safety nets being what they are, if you can't cope it's not a sharp drop, you just put yourself increasingly at disadvantage. I mean, suppose you don't manage to fill out these forms correctly etc, you're not starving from one day to the next. It just adds to the general suckiness of life. One way of coping is not opening the mail ;-) Best,

B.

Uncle Al said...

Bureaucratic denial of support plus punctilious collection of taxes is... a Media expose! Contact Der Spiegel and Stern,

"Married theoretical physicist mom denied social insurance lavished upon Muslim immigrants."

Government is a topological insulator. You must skim the surface, for the bulk is inaccessible. Reduce that headline to four words and checks will flow like electrons through graphene.

"Hero mother told to starve!"

"8^>)

Christine said...

Hi Bee,

Thanks! I'll show him the pics/video of the girls, he just love babies..

Best,
Christine

PS: Yes, he was born in winter, but given that here in winter the temperature never gets lower than 6C and never snows, it's a major difference. Maybe looks more like some of your autumn days...

Kay zum Felde said...

Hi Bee,

just seeing them growing is really wonderful.

I'm sorry for you about all that beaucratic difficulties. I can only imagine how much work you have to do every day.

Good news is that your car seems to do his work again.

Take care Kay

Bee said...

Hi Uncle,

This'll give you something to laugh: Some folks in Swedes are actually arguing it would be better if immigrant moms got less parental leave because, you see, with all that paid leave the poor women are then 'trapped at home'. And what the heck to we do with all these Starbucks receipts? Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Well I guess what I called difficulty should have been more aptly described as frustration; which is more what I meant. This is the same for others I suppose, as although it’s easier to have one's self guided along by the tide, then attempting to steer a course, the tide lends the least likelihood of self discovery and therein personal growth. Perhaps this is the best evidence of all for the reality of free will, as to say with nature in general not having it that for anything which does has this unnaturalness manifest as frustration.

As for your mail hypothesis, this was put to the test recently here with the advent of a postal strike. The problem being, the government legislated an end to the action, thus not allowing enough time for sufficient data to be collected. Has one wonder if the motivation was to act for the general good or rather as it not become evident that what’s considered an essential service is no longer essential, as now we will never know; then agian perhaps we will? ? ;-)

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Just one more observation I’d like to share and that is as to how tall (long) I’ve estimated Gloria to be. As crib slats are to have no more then 2 3/8 inches between them, aprox. 6 cm and if we consider the thickness of the slats to be 2 cm then to centre they are 8 cm. Counting the spaces from the tip of her head to her foot one gets 7 spaces and estimating if the legs were extended it would be 8. So 8 X 8 has Gloria at 64 centimetres tall, or roughly 25 ¾ inches. This has her as only 4 cm less than average for her age being 68. So my question is how well did I do; as curious minds like to know :-)

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Oh yes looking at Lara the same way I get 9 spaces, thus 9 X 8 has her at 72 cm, which is 4 cm taller than average. Interestingly enough together they are right on the average of 68 cm. So one could say they are covariant :-)

Best,

Phil

Zephir said...

Interesting creatures... Apparently, having two kids instead of single one brings value added in their social interaction.

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

Haha, clever :-) We don't actually know how tall they are. It's difficult to measure. They either won't hold still or they're sleeping and have their knees at their chest. But we have a doctor's appointment for the next checkup on Thursday, and the doc is well equipped with baby-measurement-devices. So we'll let you know then how well the remote measurement was :-) Best,

B.

Amara said...

Hi Bee: About height: Once they are two, one can start predicting their adult height:
http://www.babycenter.com/child-height-predictor

Amara said...

(Yay, btw! Something shifted at blogger and let me post a comment here for the first time in a couple years.)

Uncle Al said...

@Bee. "8^>) Everything in the social sciences, and its opposite, are true. A social advocate makes virtue of failure. The worse the cure the better the treatment - and the more that is required. All failures are increasingly subsidized through the increasing destruction of all successes. Compassion! Diversity! Sacrifice!

Social engineering is the string theory of freedom - 10^500 answers; no solutions.

Depression is a rational counterpoint to living in a toxic, corrupt, imploding society. Depression is anger without enthusiasm. Support evolution, shoot back! Go postal before the rates rise again.

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/moviespeechnetwork2.html
Let everybody hear you scream.

Anonymous Snowboarder said...

Bee - once they can stand I'll see about getting a couple of snowboards :)

Thomas Larsson said...

You might want to get those spare parts for your SAAB while there still is a SAAB to get spare parts from.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

I look forward to Thursday then. You might mention to their doctor his measurements are critical respective of the Theory of Twin General Covariance;-)

“Dadurch verlieren Zeit & Raum den letzter Rest von physikalischer Realität”
-Albert Einstein

Best,

Phil

Plato said...

Of course watching the process...as you must know I myself am the grandfather of almost three year old twin girls.

Grandfathers(GPA's as my grandson writes of abbreviation) are important too?:) A slightly different perspective.:)

Grandmother Clouds as well as the female population are most important of course as to making malleable children who are soft and cozy toward the world?:)They help most definitively with this female side in men too.:)Helping the to find that "right balance."

So it is always about "the children" of children now:) Be more patient, then the father was, to fathers to be, or rely on what our own meme's of experience, about what or what not should be, as fathers and mothers were?;)You then will become markers to your own children...see?:)

Best,

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

So, here's the data: Gloria is at 66cm/7.5 kg and Lara at 68cm/7.9 kg. They're both pretty much on the average line. Besides that, they are both healthy, got the 3rd round of immunizations and are now a little cranky because their butts hurt. Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Thanks for sharing that information and it seems I had Gloria 2 cm too short and Lara 4 too tall, so my Theory of Twin Covariance has apparently been debunked as the actual mean being 67 rather than 68. However as a rough estimate in terms of magnitude of scale I didn’t do too badly:-) I’m sorry to hear the two girls are now a little cranky from getting their shot, yet a small pain in the butt now must take precedent as to avoid a potentially greater one later on I suppose.


Best,

Phil

Arun said...

7.5 Kg = 1.7 * 10^9 reduced Planck masses which is the appropriate unit of measure for a physicist's daughter, no? :) :) :)