Archive for April 2010
PEKiP, otherwise known as “the naked baby playgroup”.
During one of Chicken Little’s first play dates, one of the mothers said she had enrolled her baby in a PEKiP class. Where in her words, the babies all get together naked on the floor and “go wild”. I must admit, my first reaction was in the range of “what?! why?!” I mean, they invented diapers for obvious and tidy reasons. I really like hanging out with this mom, but she fits more the “free spirit” parenting style category, whereas D and I are still solidly “by the book”.
But then we were finishing up our physical therapy sessions and the doctor said PEKiP would be good for little A. Even though she’s now advanced for her age, the doctor said “it’s good for her to see what the older babies do.” Two endorsements for PEKiP in less than 2 weeks, and one by a medical professional. Hmmm… Let’s try it.
We arrived with some trepidation (on my side) on Monday morning. I paid for the class and left the stroller at the door. Upstairs, the room was set up very similar to any childcare room. Exercise mats covering the whole floor, toys piled in one corner. There was a large plastic mat in the center of the room and some space heaters in the corner making the room quite warm. After we worked out that yes, I was the English speaker with the bad German, and said hello to everyone, we waited another 5 minutes and then the class began.
First off we get the babies naked and then each was given a beach ball to stand/lay over, stomach to the ball, and facing each other in a circle. The instructor said this was so the babies could see and touch each other as they wanted, and at a distance they felt comfortable. I’m not convinced babies this age really have the proper body-to-ball coordination, but okay. At this point I find out that the instructor has her own “baby”, a doll, that joins in on the activities too. Then we sing a song that goes “Guten Tag, something something, Guten Tag” and roll call’s all the mamas and babies in the room (oh yes, the doll has a name too).
Next up, the babies move over to a set of hexagonal-shaped platformed cushions, made of soft (waterproof) material and at varying heights. Perfect for climbing. The babies love this. I was happy that baby A got right in there. And then the instructor brought out two shallow tubs of plastic balls. Another hit.
Towards the end we put on diapers and held the babies in our arms to dip and sway for a song. Then we listened to other music on the floor and played with sheer, colorful scarves, while re-dressing the little ones.
I think 4 out of the 6 peed on the floor at some point during the 90 minute session. You wipe it up with your own towel, and then wash the area with some soap and water they provide. It wasn’t as bad as I imagined. All those baby cheeks were cute but I didn’t want to offend anyone by whipping out my camera, especially one our first day.
This class could be done fully clothed. So why naked? From what I have read, it is for better motor development and a more sensory experience. And just as valid a question, why not naked? Once you have everything waterproofed, a bunch of naked babies playing together sounds like fun (and it is).
More information about PEKiP can be found here.
Or perhaps more fitting:
Should we stay longer or should we go sooner?
I couldn’t count how many times we’ve asked this question. Or the number of tangents explored while trying to answer it.
We considered it carefully before baby A was born last September. Our original work contract and permit were finishing in April.
– Did we want to have our baby abroad?
– Could we handle birth classes and labor and delivery without speaking much of the native language?
Our other friends from Montreal that are also here had drove to Belgium, where they speak French, to have the baby there. And we wouldn’t have much help if we stayed here – no grandparents to babysit or cook us dinner or do laundry.
In the end we decided it made the most sense to stay – considering the excellent parental leave benefits in Germany, and the fact that securing jobs/insurance, a good doctor, a house, and a trans-Atlantic move, in such a short period of time was asking for trouble. Or at very least stress which didn’t seem worth it.
But here we are, April +1, and again, facing the same question. D takes his second month of parental leave this June (2 months fully paid for the father) and my year of leave finishes this September.
Are we ready to end this Expat adventure?
We both know that life doesn’t end with babies (I wasn’t as sure of this during the first two months post birth), but it does change (mostly for the better). And once this one, and who knows maybe another one, are in school, we won’t be wanting to traipse here and there all the time. Probably.
And I won’t even get into the job market/salary comparison/quality of living/culture/exchange-rate discussions here. Or of how sick we are of our small, worn out couch. Or about the growing pile of baby STUFF that keeps getting bigger by the month, stuff we’re probably going to want to ship with us wherever we go next.
I’m in discussions to maybe work part-time from home, which I think may be possible after September too, but we have other immediate concerns – space. We need a bigger apartment, with a child’s bedroom, but haven’t found one yet. In Germany you only need to give 3 months notice (no yearly leases), but still, do we do a small move now or just hold out for the big one?
Another post about the little one, because well, she’s amazing.
After a few weeks of kinda-sorta crawling she finally figured it all out last week. She’s been mobile for a while but last week she perfected her form. So now I have to be careful not to step on her when she’s under my chair and wrestle her away from bags of potatoes and boxes of tomatoes. She is getting more agile every day.
She also goes from crawling to sitting to crawling again. I’m thinking the physical therapist will be impressed next week – as long as baby A doesn’t get shy and act like a turtle (like she did last week). Just yesterday she’s starting climbing up:
Up her bouncy chair,
Up the first stair,
Up mama and papa.
It reminded me how much I’m dreading the long flight this summer.
I’m puréeing at home. So far it’s been easy. Peel, slice, steam, blend, freeze. It does create a few dishes but not enough to cry about. The taste is the biggest advantage that I can see – freshly mushed is better than not.
Maybe it gets harder when you have to grind up meat, etc… we’ll see. I also had to play around with the consistency. It seems runny, like the consistency of a cream sauce, is the best way to get more inside her right now. It also just depends on the day.
- rice cereal and toast
- sweet potato
- avocado (ate it yesterday, we’ll see how today fairs)
Last week she also cut her first top tooth, making a total of three. The other front top will make four very soon.
She’s wearing 74/80 cm (6-12 mth) sizes in most everything, though closer to 12 mth. I think she’s on the bigger side of average but not overly so. I ordered a pair of crawling shoes that are 12-18 mth sized and they are gigantic on her so I’ve ordered a different pair sized 6-12 mth.
She’s not sleeping through the night (sigh..) and she’s gotten the feed-me-NOW wail down to a science. Luckily, she drinks and goes back to sleep so it’s not so terrible on us.
Since Baby A is crawling now she seems to be looking for trouble. Anything that looks like it’s not for her is what she wants. She also likes tags and zippers – on clothes, on toys, on furniture.
We’ve had a 3 week break from swim class but it begins again next week. The weather has warmed up so we have been taking longer walks, and I’m hoping we can do blankets on the grass soon too.
She likes the Baby Einstein’s Baby’s First Moves. Books wise, she loves Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boyton. She likes to slap the animals on the pages, What more can you ask for in a book when you’re six months old? We have a play date with a couple of her baby friends about once every two weeks.
Papa coming home from work is the favorite time of day.