baby the great

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sleeping with your baby

Let me preface this by stating every family has their own way of dealing with every facet of their parenting lives. There is no wrong way or righter way, as long as everyone is loved, safe and secure. I respect other people’s decisions to raise up humans how they see fit, even if I personally disagree. The topic of sleep can be touchy, but this isn’t the place for soapboxes, yours or my own. 

Before he was born, the topic of sleep came up a lot. In particular, where would the baby sleep in this sardine can of an apartment? I definitely wanted him in our room so the thought of setting up a crib in the living room was out. Our place is that small y’all. 

I also planned on breastfeeding and I couldn’t picture myself stumbling out of bed to pick him up out of a crib anywhere. I don’t do well with leaving bed in the middle of the night. I’m prone to hurting myself in the dark and I don’t believe in turning on lights at night either. Plus, did I mention we live in a sardine tin for an apartment? 

We did look at cribs and the one I wanted the most was way out of our price range, but would have been the best as far as size goes. The other option was getting a crib from Ikea, which I definitely wasn’t interested in hearing about while still preggo. It’s all love Ikea. I came around some, but still not buying a crib. 

Dennis and I grew up differently. We both started out in cribs, but eventually he shared a room with his brother and I co-slept with my grandparents. Sleep sharing with my grandmother mostly, because my grandfather worked nights. Looking back through the lens of being a parent, I am so thankful for those years and I also couldn’t have it any other way now. I love the closeness of having him in bed with us. 

Bed sharing has been excellent for night nursing by the way. Sometimes I don’t even remember waking up to feed him, but I’ve conditioned myself to nurse on both sides, so I do move on the bed at night. Our rhythm is in sync ad it beats having to listen for a monitor at my head. Most nights Pixel will sleep by my feet. A family bed indeed.

My advice is to do what feels best for you. This works beautifully for us. We’re all pleased and he doesn’t know any other way of sleeping at night. He’s about 13.5 months and he’s spent every night of his life sleeping between us. 

Another mama that has done the same. 

The streets glow in the dark here

In Oss, lead designer Daan Roosegaarde of Studio Roosegaarde has invented solar powered road markings covering 500m of highway. The road markings replace street lights, created by using photo-luminescant powder mixed into the road paint. 

One thing I will never take away from the Netherlands is their ability to be so imaginative and have follow-through. They do a lot of amazing things in this country that make you wonder how hasn’t this existed until now. I love it. 

Roosegaarde has also invented a smog-sucking system to use in China, but is currently awaiting word from government to move forward. 

Story via Wired
Photo via Studio Roosegaarde. 

there’s a p & l in everything


^^Seiji and I in Vondelpark recently. 

P & L.

That’s what it’s called in business. Profit and loss. The objective being that we’re always in the black, never the red. Always gaining more than we’re losing. How does that apply to my life? To living in a country foreign to my own? Yes, some things can be numerated and measured but not all things. Others are much broader, more vague but definitely tangible and palpable. 

I had a long conversation with a friend over the weekend about relationships and knowing when you’re with “the one”. I’ve never been able to articulate it outside of I just took D for who he was after some high ups and some low downs and made a life decision privately on a visit to Amsterdam. I just knew in that moment. We weren’t engaged yet, but I wasn’t blinded by love. We saw some of the good and the bad in us both and we still chose each other. 

I am in a relationship with Amsterdam. The pendulum swiftly swinging at times. Being so far away from those I’ve known the longest has forced the serious ones to rise. I know not everyone is good at keeping in touch; I struggle with that myself at times. Relationships that are most worth it, that always had a deeper level somewhere even if I couldn’t feel it while living in Brooklyn have shone brighter with distance. Others have dimmed peacefully and quietly and naturally. I am thankful for it all.

When I first moved I was obsessed with wanting to keep in touch with everyone, even if that isn’t part of my instinctive nature.Later I became resentful of feeling like I was doing all the work, so I stopped. No emails, texts, Skype sessions. Nothing. I just needed a break from the overload of every minute detail of everyone and from feeling like no one was putting in a comparable effort. Of course some were, but since life was so different for me and all I had to pay attention to was what others were doing, it just never sat right with me. 

My quality of life is equalized. Living here is by far less stressful and much slower (in a positive way that I still haven’t grown tired of). The constant busyness of New York is draining. Especially if you’re a particularly busy. Especially if you have nothing to do. The pace that the city moves can be very invigorating, at the cost of your sanity and overall health.

Amsterdam took a lot of getting used to. There’s the romantic period where everything is so beautiful and you live on the surface. Eventually that fades and you start to see the bare threads in the fabric. I like seeing those threads. It reminds me that I’m not on vacation. This isn’t some magical place that I love more than home. It’s another place in the world to live and make a life for myself. It’s a place I appreciate and might fully love one day. 

A few weeks back I got to vote in their elections for the first time. It was the perfect storm based on when I moved here and that I’m an EU citizen. I felt the same about here as I did the day before: slightly annoyed but content. I wasn’t even going to vote to be honest because their political system is overwhelming. Too many abbreviations, too many parties, and it was just generally difficult for me to gage how effective my vote would actually be. I’ll go into detail another time, but I will say since voting I feel much more tied to this land. Social issues that felt like it was theirs to work out and I needed to respect that distance, now feel more personal. This grounding was a necessary one. 

One thing that can’t be compared is my relationship with D. While I lived in New York, we were always long distance. That worked great for both of us since we’re both very independent people. Yes I missed him physically being around sometimes, but I also rationalized it with, I'm moving to Amsterdam. There's no escaping him then. Ha!

We started a new life together when I moved. We were married. This is our future. I had to learn to live with all the bits, both good and annoying. He had to learn, too. Since we’ve been married we’ve been apart less than one month in the past 3+ years. Vast difference from when we were dating. This has forced us to learn to rely on each another, even when we might need a mental/emotional break. Relying on someone else for my every need is not something I’ve ever been used to. Manifestations of reliance crop up every now and then. 

In the end, I don’t want to count the positives and negatives of living here. I just want to be here, but be sober in my relationship to this place. To understand that everything isn’t mine to fix. It’s perfectly fine to expect more from certain people. I’ve gained perspective. I’ve gained the ability to let go. I’ve learned to continuously work on these new roles  I’ve never faced before. I’ve learned to accept what isn’t and to embrace what is. 

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