Oh my goodness that was an unintentional long leave of absence from blogging. So long that I forgot my password to this site and found a few draft posts that never got completed.
So where have I been? Well…busy with our newest addition, Sofia Grace Firth.
She was born on 9th May 2018 in what was a pretty incredible, quick, pain-relief-free birth, that saw me back at home with our baby, less than 12 hours after labour started.
I have so much to say so I’ve started compiling posts about antenatal care, the birth experience and postnatal care. Now Sofia is 5 months old, I can carve a bit of time out again to blog and please let me know if there’s anything you’re curious about, now I have a Danish baby, as well as an increasingly bi-lingual speaking three-year old.
So to kick-start this off, here is the beginnings of a post I was meant to send two weeks before Sofia was born….I know it’s out of date but it’s nice to have a record of where I was up to way back then.
26th April 2018
I was debating what this blog post should be about. I meant to write about Fastelavn back in February, but my language test got in the way, then I was going to update you about the language learning, but we had four visitors over the space of five weekends and hosting took over – which I love by the way. Then I was going to write about our Easter weekend activities but third trimester tiredness hit me – and the panic that I had done absolutely nothing in preparation for a new baby. And now, well now I’m due to give birth in two weeks’ time. So I better write something! Just as we have set up a rhythm of life in Copenhagen, we are going to mix it all up again – in a good way, of course. The weather has finally turned, winter coats hung away (only in the last week!) and our bedroom has turned into baby equipment central. Lydia is also about to start a new nursery next week, which is a five minute walk from our apartment, as opposed to a 35 minute bike ride. We have waited seven months to get her place there, and it is just in the nick of time, although I am apprehensive that little Lyds will have the transition of a new nursery plus new baby at exactly the same time. But I am sure she will take it in her stride.
24th October 2018
And now, six months after writing that, we are fully settled into our new family life of four. It has been far less of an upheaval than I imagined, thanks to a straight forward birth, a laid back baby and our incredible parents coming out to support us.
Rich works for a Czech company so didn’t actually get any paternity leave. I know…we live in the country where Dads can get up to three months of paid paternity leave, but Richie’s company aren’t actually Danish! Thankfully he does work from home a lot and it’s been so lovely, as well as extremely helpful, to have him around. His job involves travelling across Scandinavia so I did have to start the solo-parenting stints when Sofia was three weeks old, which coincided with Lydia’s final back teeth coming through. Yes I did count down the hours until he returned but boy did I feel like I could do anything after that.
In fact, it wasn’t the relentless night feeds that bothered me; it was the relentless heat. My word, I’ve never experienced a summer like it. Neither has Denmark. It broke every record going and was longer and more intense than the U.K. heatwave. It started the week before Sofia was born and I think I was only able to wear leggings again in September. (Maternity leggings were my staple after Lydia was born – that plus a chunky knit hide a multitude of post-pregnancy wobbles so I was craving this attire).
Now I’m not the biggest heatwave fan at the best of times. I’m pale, don’t tan and generally fret about Lydia’s sun exposure and sunhat whereabouts at nursery. But add to the mix, living on a fourth floor apartment with huge windows that are a toddler death-trap if kept open, with a newborn in a room constantly above 26 degrees; I was in a daily sleep-deprived sweat. The heat and sunlight (it would stay light until 11pm in June) meant Lydia would fall asleep at 9 or 10pm and Sofia anywhere between 11pm and 1am, if at all some nights, because that’s what newborns do. The top smaller windows being constantly open meant we heard all the parties going on around our area – there were a lot. One evening Lydia woke, came running out of her room and started dancing saying “party!” We ended up joining her in our delirious state. All the while, Sofia, the ever nonplussed second child, was slowly realising she’d joined the crazy clan.
Now, five months on, both Sofia and Lydia are asleep by 7pm and we have evenings. It feels amazing. And cool air that comes through the apartment. Lydia is now at børnehave, which is the step up from nursery, where you go at two years and 10 months and stay until the school age of five/six years old. Luckily, her børnehave was in the same building as her new nursery but I still hated the timing that she had so much change during the summer. Thankfully she’s a sociable bean and coped brilliantly. In all børnehaven, there are 22 children per class, mixing all the ages, with three teachers, which turns to two in the afternoon. It’s quite a free-for-all, with lots of outdoor, independent play. Within a few weeks of being there, Lydia was out of nappies with no instigation on our part, her Danish rapidly improved and she fell asleep at night without a fuss from sheer exhaustion. She has a best friend who she adores and together they are teaching each other Danish and English. Lydia’s Danish is at the stage where she understands a lot but can’t say everything she wants to. So she switches to English, but spoken with a Danish accent. It’s almost like a different voice she does, to get the accent and intonation, it’s incredible to hear her develop. Other times, she deliberately mixes English and Danish words to make us laugh. When she turned three in September, she kept singing “tillykke med birthday!” and telling us “jeg kan tale dansk, jeg kan tale engelsk.” What will she be like when she has out-smarted us in Danish?! This is going to happen very soon by the way…
And then there’s Sofia…our little Danish baby, who Lydia loves to the point of squeezing too much at times! Five and a half months old and the most relaxed, easy baby we could wish for. She has slotted right into our family life and we are so thankful. We’ve enjoyed a holiday to Rømø, where Sofia met her Danish great-grandparents, aunts and uncles. And we spent three weeks of September in England, where we had back-to-back catch ups with friends and family. I survived a flight back on my own with two, so much so I’m doing it again next month.
My autumnal maternity leave days now consist of babysalmesang – baby music groups; coffee dates with other mums and activities that now involve two – quite often darting between a stationary baby and lightning-speed three year old. Negotiating 76 steps up and down our apartment with plus two is a bit of effort but daily exercise and all that…! Rich is loving his job and plays in a Danish football team. He’s even made friends with a Danish Sheffield United fan. Of course they instantly bonded and we’ve been invited for dinner. Since Sofia was born, both our Danish language learning has stagnated and in August, the government started charging for the lessons, so we haven’t taken them back up. I am however finding I need the fear of a teacher and homework deadline to actually learn, so I may sign up to do evening online classes. By which time, one of the girls will no doubt decide to end our evenings of freedom!
So that’s the update on life so far. My next blog post is nearly written so I promise it won’t be such a gap for the next one!
Nice to be back 🙂
P.S. For more regular updates of our Danish life, follow me on Instagram: danishgenes