Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lara and Gloria

Today, Lara and Gloria are one year old!

In this year, they have more than tripled their birth weight and they have grown more than 50%. In terms of growth, Lara is still ahead of her sister, meanwhile 2cm taller and 2 pounds heavier. In an amazing demonstration of neural network growth, the girls have learned to smile, to laugh, to hold their head, to turn around, to grab and to pick up crumbles. They have learned to eat from a spoon, to crawl, to sit up, and to stand. They have been through all vowels and are currently working their way through the consonants. They like to take and give toys, and as of lately have learned to throw them. They have both made the first stumbling step, but still deem crawling safer.

Lara has meanwhile two teeth and has found out that grinding them makes her daddy draw funny faces. Gloria has one tooth and now discovers all the possible ways to make noise with it, like running it up and down the bed posts or biting on cups.

It is interesting that while the girls are very different in character, they have made all developmental steps almost simultaneously. If one of them learned something new, the other would soon follow. The one exception is that before Lara could crawl, she had a phase of moving by rolling sideward that Gloria entirely skipped.

Every month, somebody told us the worst is yet to come. The worst are the first three months because they don't sleep through the night. The worst are months four to six because they sleep less during the day but can't yet use any toys, so want to be entertained around the clock. But wait, the worst are months six to nine because they get mobile and you can no longer just put them somewhere and go about your own business. Months nine to twelve are the worst because they get teeth and there goes your night rest. Now that the first year comes to an end, we've been told 12 to 18 months are the worst, because they start to walk and you can't leave them alone for a second. And just wait till they start talking!

As for me, the worst were month -3 to 0, everything after delivery was a vast improvement; I clearly wasn't constructed to carry around 17kg excess weight.

Still, this year has been very exhausting to say the least. We changed an estimated 5000 diapers, picked up pacifiers 20000 times, and our commuting from Heidelberg to Stockholm and my occasional conference attendance has been organizationally challenging. Scientifically, it went better than expected, in that I did manage to write two proposals (one of which was meanwhile declined however), gave a few talks, am organizing a workshop, and did indeed publish a paper. For me, the main problem working from home is the difficulty staying in touch with colleagues, which is also why there are some papers in the pipe that are not making much progress.

Stefan and I, we have been fighting now for more than a year with various institutions in Germany and Sweden for our parental benefits. Just in time for Christmas, we received good news: three quarters of what Stefan applied for has been approved. The problem with the remaining quarter is a fundamental incompatibility between counting in German and Swedish. The Germans count the months of parental benefits starting with the day the child is born (i.e. the 29th in our case); the Swedes count from the 21st on. In addition, the Germans count a month of leave as "taken" even if only one day has been taken. Based on this, they have calculated that for us the year 2011 has 13 months, and we've applied for one month in excess since we mistakenly assumed the year has 12 months.

We still haven't seen a single cent child allowance.

We have also encountered an ambitious local photographer, who has plastered the town with advertisements for "baby-shooting," and whom you have to thank for the creative arrangement in the below photo.



PS: You find some little videos here.

PPS: For birthday greetings more material than words, on Lara and Gloria's Amazon wishlist you can find what the girls will need in the coming months.

19 comments:

Steven Colyer said...

" Lara has meanwhile two teeth "

My grandfather reached the age where he only had two teeth left. He didn't mind though. He said "I only have two teeth, but than goodness they click!"

Sure the worst is yet to come, but they're not teenagers yet, so you have a decade and change to be happy. Enjoy every precious minute of it! That is one lovely happy family, and we bid you adieu with a ...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LARA and GLORIA SCHERER !! And wishing ya'll many many more.

Bee said...

Hi Steven,

Thanks for the well-wishes and thanks also for your advice and encouragement during the year, it is not lost on us :o) Best,

B.

Amara said...

What a wonderful summary, Bee! Happy Birthday to your two wonderful darlings!

Kay zum Felde said...

Happy birthday to the twins Lara and Gloria :-)

I cannot decide whether the bad has yet still to come, since I've no kids. But I think you master everything.

Wish the whole family happiness, healthiness and all the best :-)

Kay

Zephir said...

Maybe it's just hair, but Gloria looks prettier for me, whereas the Lara appears more Stefan alike..;-)

Giotis said...

Happy Birthday! You should go for the son now:-)

In my country we have a saying:

Small kids small problems, big kids big problems...

Phil Warnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil Warnell said...

Hi Gloria & Lara,

A happy birthday to the both of you and wishing someday you might share with us as to when your parents finally became manageable:-) Bee & Stefan although said in jest as with all things special in regards to nature as it relates to the human condition there also be some truth suggested as well. Thus I do hope as it is made evident here that your love for one another will have all future trials and tribulations to become welcomed experience and you all gain in wisdom by the experiencing of them together.

“In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.”

-Eva Burrows

Happy Birthday,

Phil

Plato said...

Happy Birthday to the Girls.:)

Best,

Uncle Al said...

In a proper Social State, both girls would have already received notices of military services due.

Google
"Swedish army" hair nets 4600 hits

No problem!

stefan said...

Dear all,

thanks a lot for all the nice words :-)

Giotis,

I actually remember the same saying from a neighbor of us at home when I was a kid: "Kleine Kinder, kleine Sorgen - große Kinder, große Sorgen." (She said this about her daughter, who is about 10 years older than me).

And when I was at my job for the first time after Lara's and Gloria's birth last January, I met a new colleague who also has twin daughters, now in their teens. He warned me, jokingly, trouble and problems won't get less, but just change over time.

So I am warned ;-)


Uncle,

well, not yet a draft notification from the military, but tax numbers...

Best, Stefan

CapitalistImperialistPig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Happy birthday girls!

Arun said...

It is good to have more teeth than years!

Happy birthday to the girls!

And wow, you picked a land with a bureaucracy as bad as that of India! Not an easy task, that :)

Arun said...

Hey parents!

I thought you would describe the babies' growth in terms of cross-sections :)

Secondly, everyone who is advising you seems to be of the "parenthood is a burden" variety. Find better company :):):):):):)

Bee said...

Thanks everybody :o)

Uncle: The girls are German citizens. Since July 1st 2011, military service in Germany is voluntary.

Arun: Yes... there must be a reason why birth rates in Germany stay low.

Phillip Helbig said...

Since both parents are German, it is logical that the daughters have (only) German citizenship. Yes, some countries have a policy that anyone born there is automatically a citizen, but as far as I know this is not the case anywhere in Europe. (Spain, though (and maybe others) grant such children Spanish citizenship, but only if they would otherwise have none.)

Low birthrates in Germany? Not that much lower than in neighbouring countries, but nevertheless somewhat less and statistically significant. The main reason is probably because there are too few kindergartens, creches, preschools etc compared to neighbouring countries, and the main reason for this is that, back during the cold war, West Germany sometimes tried to be different than East Germany, even if there was no good reason to. Since in East Germany (and in many other countries in East and West, but that is beside the point since the comparison was with East Germany) it was easy for women to work and have children, West Germany had to make it hard. This reduces the birthrate in two ways: some women have fewer children because they want to work more, and some couples have fewer children because they don't have enough money unless both work. For the past few years, there has been some progress here, but a) not enough, b) not everyone is convinced it's a good idea and c) even if all goes well it will take several years before the mentality changes.

Neil Bates said...

Congratulations to you, Bee and Stefan, and to the girls. Happy New Year, folks, and many blessingz from teh Ceiling Cat!

Molly Bloom said...

Happy birthday to your twins! We are in a very similar situation here in Houston (originally we are from Hungary): my husband is a physicist and we have 15-month-old boy-girl twins.
As for your post: the hardest is definitely the twin pregnancy itself - teething, crying and walking are nothing compared to it:)