A Success Story for the Infertility Boards

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(This is a piece of creative nonfiction that I did this week.  I really felt like writing about the fertility treatments we went through, and once I started I couldn’t stop! A lot happened–it was an intense time in life.  Anyway, that’s why this is just a bit longer than anything that would qualify as a ‘blog post.’)

Recently I was out walking in the nearby fields and saw this chalkboard set up in front of a plant shop. Top left it says, “Mein groesster Wunsch ist” which means, “my biggest wish is.”

I read through the wishes and noticed that ‘Schnuffis’ appeared twice. I’d never heard of the word, but since two people on one board used it to describe their greatest wish, I figured it’s important. I could only find it on Germany’s Urban Dictionary and it means, “A combination of kissing, nuzzling, and sniffing all at the same time.” Which sounds interesting, I guess.

The sample sentence they offered is, “Every day I give my fat bunny a good schnuffing.” Um, okay.  Awkward.

Anyway, among the wishes for money, healthy grand parents, and a random thought about someone named Nils being an ‘ass face,’ I was especially touched by the one to the very left, just below what looks like a pointer finger tied over with string.

It says, “Ein Baby mit meiner Partnerin!”

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Tales from the Krippe

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The German word for daycare is ‘Krippe’ which sounds a lot like the English word ‘crypt.’ This seems fitting, somehow. Both places are stuffy, confining, and full of the ‘unknown.’

Oh, and can I also say that both are scary?

I’m obviously going to have a really hard time in August. I’ve been with this baby just about every waking moment of her life so far. The idea of dropping her off all day long at a daycare center where she doesn’t even speak the language is terrifying. I know, babies pick up languages fast. I’ve seen it happen. Back when I worked at a daycare center a little Russian twelve-month old came in and spoke fluent English approximately five hours later.

But—this is my baby. Until we’re months in the future and I see she’s doing fine, I’m going to dread this whole thing.

The other source of fear comes from the fact we, um, haven’t exactly found a Krippe, yet? Oops?

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My Wheel is Squeaky, Part 1

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It’s funny to think that exactly one year ago, today, I had an outie belly-button and constant Restless Leg Syndrome.

(Just in case you’re not familiar with RLS, it’s related to the nervous system and causes this constant urge to move your legs. Mostly at night, sadly, when all you want to do is relax.)

I’ve tried to explain to Todd what it feels like and the best I can come up with is this: imagine high powered fizz from a pop/soda rushing up and down through the veins of your legs.

The only thing that temporarily alleviates the sensation is to move. But, the moment you stop–that fizz starts back up. Slowly at first, and then gradually to a more nuclear fizz the longer you try to keep your legs still.

Pop fizz in the veins for at least four months straight. It drove me completely insane.

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We’re All in the Zoo.

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20160317_134232In the past three weeks, Laken has had her first American and German zoo experiences. Honestly, it was fun for me, but I’m thinking she’ll get a lot more out of it when she’s older.  I spent a lot of the time trying to coax her to notice extremely large animals that were literally two feet away.  I’d say, “Laken, what is that? It’s a polar bear! Look honey!” And she followed my finger no farther than the fence or to the kids standing beside us us.

That baby can pick out crumbs from the carpet, but is oblivious to zebras.  Oh, ten month olds.

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Thirteen Flights: An Ode of Sorts

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I was going to write about my second visa “strike” this week, but that’s a very long story (with back stories, and back stories to the back stories, and back stories to the back stories to the back stories…) so honestly that might be a “Resettled in Germany” assignment.  Feeling as tired as I do, it’s hard to imagine finding the motivation.

Laken and I are entering the second half of a two-week visit to Buffalo, New York, where my family lives.   Since I’m on maternity leave for the year, it made sense for the two of us to take advantage of offseason prices.

Todd misses us, terribly, and looks a bit like Grumpy Cat when we see him on Face Time, but he gets why we’re here. And why we generally spend five to seven weeks here a year.  And why 99.9% of my salary goes directly in to the “Trips Home” pot.

See, when Todd and I first got married, one thing I gave him fair warning about is that I don’t just like to fly home a lot—I need to fly home a lot.  Truly, I’m that person who, if I didn’t live 4,000 miles away from my family, would probably own a house on the same block and stop over at all hours of the day to steal canned goods and, as my dad says, “shoot the baloney.” Living internationally is a very big stretch, even fifteen years in.  The only way I can hack it is with frequent trips home.

The need to make these trips home is a thousand times truer now that we have a baby.  It’s crucial to us both that she knows her cousins, her grandparents, and our close friends.

So, Laken—who is nine months old—is already a seasoned, passport-holding traveler with no less than thirteen flights under her baby belt.  (I’m counting the intermediate flights between Frankfurt and Buffalo, where my family lives, and on to Washington, where Todd’s family is. We also did a weekend trip to England over Thanksgiving.)

Since our baby has reached teenage status when it comes to traveling by plane, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share thirteen thoughts, experiences, or tips in honor of each flight we’ve survived thus far.

One: Plane Rides Are Just Zippy Marathons. Continue reading

Death, Sheets, and Sarah

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Quite a few people have asked where we came up with our eight month old daughter’s name—Laken.

I wish we had some super cool story with loads of meaning and an ancestor or two thrown in, but that isn’t the case (sadly!) To be very honest, I first heard the name when I was teaching in London. One of my colleagues was named Laken, and I fell in love with it the second I heard it.  Any time she was mentioned at faculty meetings or in the hallway, I found myself rolling the name over my tongue again and again.  It just had such a good sound to it—no matter whose voice said it.

Like all parents, Todd and I took our duty to name a human being very seriously.  We wanted something that was unique and yet not impossible to pronounce or spell.  Since that seemed a tad broad as a starting point, we added the requirement that it be Irish (for no other reason than just because Todd loves Ireland so much) and we both had to be 100% in support of it.  Period. No compromises.

Todd’s initial pick for a name was Ireland. I just couldn’t give that big a tribute to the country, so we kept thinking.

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