My May resolution and a visit from the doula…

The weather here has been absolutely gorgeous and I feel so energized by it. It’s amazing what sun and warmer weather can do for one’s whole outlook on everything! I’ve especially been enjoying the mornings. Although it’s still (barely) April, the days have been hot enough, especially when one is pushing a toddler in a buggy up a hill! But the mornings have been perfect, just a nice touch of coolness, and plenty of sun, but still not the sort of glaring hot sun of the afternoon. So I’ve been making a point of getting out the door at around 9:00 or 9:30 to take Liam out to play at that lovely time of day. He gets to have some fun, I get to enjoy the relative quiet of the morning, the playgrounds aren’t too busy, and then Liam takes a great long nap after all that running around. It’s wonderful. I also find that if I do something productive like that in the morning, the whole rest of the day is more productive. Or even if it isn’t, I feel better knowing that I got something done earlier in the day, so I don’t feel like a completely lazy slacker. So my May resolution is to get out just about every morning with Liam. This month will be the nicest weather and I won’t yet be quite so huge and uncomfortable, so I really want to make the most of it! Come June and July I’ll have a huge belly and it’ll be scorching hot, so I might not have quite as much motivation to get out tons, so I better just go for it now while I do!

In other news, our doula came over again today, which was lovely. We went over some breathing techniques for dealing with labour and contractions and talked about this and that. It was a nice visit and it’s good to start thinking about all these things. I just know the next three months will fly by at a ridiculous speed and it’ll suddenly be time to pop out a baby! Don’t want to leave all this preparation until the last minute!

Tomorrow is May Day and Richie’s off work, so that’s a nice treat. Richie said he heard that tons of things will be shut down tomorrow in the centre of Istanbul, in an effort to avoid or cut down on the rioting and craziness. None of this effects us much, since we’re out of the middle of the city, but it’s nice to get a day off together on account of it! We’ve got some modest spring cleaning and organizing plans for tomorrow, so it’ll be much easier to get that stuff done with two of us here. And then I think we’re meeting a friend for lunch, so it should be a well-spent Wednesday!


Playground accomplishments and photo update…

Well, the weather today is just absolutely gorgeous so Liam and I got an early start and headed to our nearest playground at about 9:00. I felt super sleepy this morning, but being out on such a lovely fresh morning in the (relative) peace and quiet was quite rejuvenating!

Liam enjoyed wandering around, chasing pigeons, inspecting berries and stones and all his usual stuff. But the big deal today was that he climbed up into the playground equipment and then came down the big twisty slide all by himself (with a little spotting from me on the  slide bit)! I was so proud of him and he was all excited and proud of himself too! So cute. He’s been going up in that stuff for ages but with Richie or I to help him on stairs and go down the bigger slide with him, but with my belly getting ever bigger, it’s getting more difficult to squeeze myself up into that playground stuff! So, it was one of those moments to  give him some encouragement and then trust that he could handle the new challenge. I know this is such a small example of it, but it was definitely a mini ‘letting go’ parenting moment for me. I try not to hover too much with these things and crowd him, but of course I want him to be safe and careful, but I let him try it on his own and he did great! Yay! Funny how exciting these little milestones are when you’re a parent, and the best part is seeing how happy he was with his big-boy accomplishment.

Well, having been out for a bit on this gorgeous day, I’m feeling greedy for more and after nap and lunch-time, we’re going to head out again to another park, the lovely grassy one down the hill from us. It’s got ducks and a pond and everything! But first, a bit of rest to recharge for the afternoon.

Oh, and here are the latest photos. The ones of him on that panda-bike type thing crack me up. We went to another playground in our neighbourhood on Wednesday and a kid there had that bike, and was really good about letting Liam ride it. I ended up just pushing him around on it FOREVER, and he just didn’t want to get off. He loved it! So much for him getting exercise! I was the one doing all the work, but oh well. Sadly, the family eventually had to go home and take the bike with them, which meant Liam had a complete meltdown for a few minutes and was inconsolable. After about three minute though, during which no comfort from me helped at all, he discovered a stick and then was perfectly content to poke around in the dirt and forgot all about the terrible trauma of the bike. Ah, the emotional upheavals of being a toddler!

Easter in Istanbul…

Well, being in a predominantly Muslim country, I must say Easter doesn’t necessarily feel very Eastery, but we had a lovely day all the same. The weather was absolutely gorgeous today! It was warm and sunny and perfect. The three of us had a relaxing morning at home, treating ourselves to breakfast from the bakery and some time downstairs in the garden. I was pleasantly surprised to actually feel hot in the bright sun! We didn’t stay out too long this morning because I was afraid of Liam getting burnt; he’s not used to all that sun! I also dyed eggs this morning. It was fun, but I’m really looking forward to Liam being able to help next year. I’m sure that will make it exponentially more fun.

Oh, and Richie got Liam a new scoot-around ‘car’ this week, as a sort of Easter present we’ll say, and Liam’s been loving it! He’s been scooting around the apartment loads every day. We took it down to the garden today so he could try it out down there, but rocks, snails and dirt were too distracting this time. But I’m sure he’ll get lots of use out of it this summer.

After Liam’s very short nap, we headed out for lunch and some time in the park. There were loads of people in the park, and tons of children around! We ran into a lovely couple and their baby, whom we met last autumn, which was a nice coincidence. The little girl, who is about 11 months old, was adorable, smiley and very interested in Liam. It was hilarious though when she gave him a hug and it looked like he was trying to move himself as far away from her as possible. He didn’t know what to make of that female attention! He was a bit freaked out.

Again, we didn’t want to keep Liam out too long in the sun, so we headed home earlier than I would have liked. It was just so lovely out I hated to leave, but realistically I don’t have to worry because soon it will be like that every day!!! So, all in all, a nice relaxing holiday. And we still have some chocolate and fresh bakery cookies still to enjoy!

Tip-toeing through the tulips…

We’ve finally witnessed some of the tulip extravaganza in Istanbul! The last two years we didn’t manage to get to a park too see them all in full bloom, so this year I was determined to get to see the tulips in all their glory. It was really lovely and we had such a nice walk through the park.

So, as my little bit of fact sharing for the day, even though most people associate tulips with the Netherlands, the flowers were first commercially cultivated in the Ottoman Empire. The tulip motif is pretty common around here, on pottery, scarves, embroidery, decorative tiles, etc. Quite beautiful. Anyway, here are some photos of the genuine articles!

Snowy Istanbul…

Okay, this has nothing to do with our trip and these photos are about two months old, but anyway, here’s the view from our apartment during one of the snowy days we had in January. This was the weekend before we left for Ireland if I remember right. I’m not really the biggest fan of winter, but it was a beautiful snow while it lasted.


Out and about…

Today I managed to get myself and Liam out of the flat all on my own! It was a great accomplishment and not so difficult really. The weather has been rainy and cold so far this week, so I had him all bundled up with a nice fleecy blanket, but at least today it wasn’t raining. Well, there was a slight mist for a while, but that’s not so bad. I think the weather is meant to improve next week, so I’m looking forward to a few more warm, sunny walks before winter sets in.

We also went to get his passport photo taken, which I thought was a great success too. However, I think his face is 2mm too big in the photo (they’re very particular about these things!), so I’ll have to go back tomorrow I think, and get them re-done. I’m hoping they have the photo saved on their computer so maybe they can just resize it, because getting a floppy little one-month old baby into the perfect position for a passport photo isn’t really that easy.

After our photo adventure, I decided to stay out a bit and go for a walk around Dikilitaş since we were already out and about. It felt great to have a stroll and I even enjoyed the brisk air. Now that I’ve managed it once, I’m definitely going to make walks a very regular part of our daily ‘routine’. Okay, we don’t have a routine at all, but still, I want to take a walk pretty much every day, at least when it’s not raining. Getting out of the flat make me feel so much better and so much more refreshed. And Liam has a great snooze whenever he’s in the stroller and looks so happy and peaceful. I’m sure the fresh air and different sights and sounds are good for him too.

Well, here he is, all snug and comfy in his stroller on our outing. The sun even peaked out for a bit which was great!

Visiting the hospital…

Yesterday Richie and I did our trial run to the hospital where we plan to have the baby. Richie finished work at 10.30, so we met at the Besiktas ferry and headed over to the Asian side. I’ve been loving the ferry rides and the fresh, cool air on these hot, humid days! I think it’s largely to do with pregnancy, but I can’t seem to get un-hot sometimes!

Anyway, we got over to Uskudar and hopped in a taxi. Most of the route was motorway, which was really fast and efficient. I think the drive took about 20 minutes, so it wasn’t as far as I’d imagined when just looking at a map.

The hospital is only a year old, so very new and shiny and modern. We had a little tour of the little maternity ward, and we were very happy with what we saw. The labour/delivery rooms and the ‘recovery’ rooms looked nice and bright and comfortable and didn’t have the sort of horrible sterile hospital feeling. We also took a peak at the neo-natal/nursery area, which is just a short walk down the corridor. Everything was just in one small hallway, nice and convenient and compact. The hospital also practices rooming-in for the babies, so I’m glad that’s the standard practice anyway. We definitely got a good impression of the place and it’s nice now to have a mental picture of everything.

On another note, when we first arrived, the woman giving us the tour thought we’d be switching to the hospital doctor until we explained that we had a doctor already but just wanted to give birth there. So, anyway, she mentioned meeting the hospital doctor and how he would advise ‘surgery’ (i.e. C-section) and that it was ‘easier for the mother and baby’ and the ‘recovery time was quicker’, etc. Mental. So, that was when we said, thanks but no, we didn’t need to meet their doctor, we already have one! I just find it so crazy how within about 1 minute of being in the hospital talking about birth-related things, someone starts telling people they’ll need to have surgery to give birth and tell them how much better and easier it is!!!! After the visit I was thinking about it and I just felt sad and a bit angry that this is what so many women are told and believe! I definitely feel lucky to have access to books and knowledge about other birth options and to know people who have had different, and very positive experiences! Thank god for choices and the chance to be better informed about all these things! It really seems that here, women are lacking those things. I hope it changes in the future.

But that craziness aside, the hospital visit was positive, and I’m so happy we’ll have our doctor who I definitely trust, and our doula to help us. I’m really excited about everything and while certainly nervous about such a monumental experience looming on the horizon, I feel very positive and am looking forward to seeing what my body can do and to giving the baby the best possible start in life.

So, after the hospital visit, we came back to Besiktas and met our friend Marijke, so the rest of the day involved drinking tea/beer/water in lovely cafes/outdoor bars, eating Mexican food, and just enjoying being out and about in the great summer weather. It was a fantastic relaxing day!