‘Oh my baby falls asleep the second I start driving.’

‘The humm of the car puts my newborn right to sleep.’

These are things you would never hear my husband or I say.

Why you ask, because our son HATES the car.

It isn’t a phase (everyone has told us this) it is sheer torture for everyone in the car when we have to go somewhere. He screams, cries, starts to get sick, and sincerely hates it, with every inch of his little 17 pound body.

We noticed it when we took our first road trip (we never really drove with him before that) to the other side of Germany, 700 km away. It was a daring move to take a 6 week old on such a long car trip but we split it into 2 parts and spent the night half way. Thank goodness we did, because it was torture.

I was crying, my husband was trying to stay calm and drive, my mom (who was visiting for Easter) was trying to help and O was the most uncomfortable little guy in the world. It was not a nice drive.

Needless to say, we’ve flown back to my husbands hometown ever since.

But I digress.. 20 minutes is his absolute max, he cannot go any longer in the car without starting to get seriously upset. I swear most other moms (including our moms) don’t believe us until they witness it. And let me tell you, you will never forget it after being in the car with him past the 20 minute max.

So, over the last 8 months we have been trying to find ways to help him in the car, because if it is hard on us, I can only imagine how horrible the little guy must be feeling.

We’ve spoken to doctors who only tell us that we can’t medicate him. (Thank you, we know that and wouldn’t want that anyways.) They’ve told us we have to tough it out, asked if we have installed the carseat properly (ugh, yes.. ) and told us that when we can move him to a forward facing car seat it should get better.

Well friends, that means it won’t be for another 16 months.

If you are reading this because you’re going through the same thing, first, I feel for you, and second I know you are probably getting desperate! So here are some ways that we have tried to help him, I hope they help your little one too!

First, I sat in the backseat when he was exclusively breastfeed and would breastfeed him while we were driving, I know I know, you cannot take him out, so I did this miraculous thing and leaned over the carseat and would feed him. Yes, at times it felt like I needed to remove a rib, but if it meant he was comfortable I was fine with it. (a mothers true love is like no other)

Once he stopped being exclusively breastfed, I made sure to always bring a bottle of water with me for him to sip on. It helps having something going into his tummy, and well, food is just too messy for the car when its a puree haha.

We also have moved his carseat to the center of the back bench. Not only is this the safest place in the car, but it gives him a chance to be slightly higher and be able to look out the windows, kind of.

We have also positioned mirrors in the back seat for him to be able to see things moving outside. It really helps, when he is able to look at them. Sometimes he isn’t interested.

Bring toys, a lot of toys, preferrably something they can chew on. ,This helps them stay happy and not cry because they have something in their mouths.

Lastly, if we have to drive somewhere longer than the 20 minute allowance, we make sure someone is sitting in the back with him to keep him happy, give him new toys, point outside, sing, laugh, blow raspberries and feed him if necessary.

All in all, we avoid driving like the plague. We fly as much as we can and we don’t do social acitivites which are futher than 30 minutes max. I know it isn’t ideal but it stresses me out having him so upset and we just don’t find it necessary.

Does your child like the car?

Have any tips for other parents suffering with car syndrome? Please comment with your tips, share the knowledge!

Hope you’re having a great day! xx

I’m Lost

This February marks 6 consecutive years since I’ve been living abroad.  In those 6 years I’ve managed to go ‘home’ to Vancouver once or twice each year. Usually I get the homesick itch every 9 months or so (and it’s usually because I miss my favorite food or restaurants) and a short 2 week visit curbs the feeling. 

But what happens when it doesn’t feel like home anymore? 

Ah, the inevitable lost feeling. If you’re an expat living abroad or have ever lived abroad for a period of time you’ll know what I’m talking about. The feeling that no where yet everywhere is home, but you no longer feel like your home is home. 


Let me explain..

We went back to Vancouver this past summer for our annual trip, but mainly to introduce O to our family and friends there, and Canada to O. I was so excited to have everyone meet our son and to get my fill of ‘home’. 

The first two or three days was great, filled with guests, family, friends and a wonderful baby shower my best friend and mom planned for us. We were over the Jetlag quickly and really settled within a few days. But after the weekend I felt awkward, I wasn’t sure what I was feeling but I found myself aggitated, uncomfortable and out of my element. My husband noticed it too and kept asking what was wrong but I couldn’t explain it, I didn’t even know what I was feeling. 

We took a day to ourselves and went on a family adventure downtown and did some shopping and went for lunch. This was when it hit me.. 
I was standing in line at my favorite store which I dream about shopping at once a year (if you’re from Canada you’ll already know I’m talking about Aritzia.) The woman in front of me was paying and the cashier complimented her bag and the cute outfit she was buying, and I thought to myself “how annoying that must be, all the woman wants to do is buy her outfit and probably run over to Starbucks. She doesn’t want to have a conversation with a complete stranger.” Then the woman started talking back and telling her about her recent trip and her reason for buying the outfit. Oh my god, I couldn’t believe it, I had lost my Canadian-ness. 

In Germany, you rush through line ups, don’t make small talk (barely say hi to people walking down the street) and mind your own. So after my thought in the line up I realized I had adapted to German standards (expected after living here for so long). 

Then it got me thinking, I do nearly everything differently than I used to. 

I was sad. I was hurt. I felt betrayed, upset at myself and most of all lost. 

You see, in Germany I’m a foreigner, yes I speak German fluently but I don’t think like a German, I don’t act like a German and my name stands out like a sore thumb! But in Canada I’m a foreigner too, I don’t act Canadian in social settings anymore, I speak English, obviously, but everyone always tells me that I speak with an accent and I don’t feel like it’s home anymore. I’m stuck between being a foreigner anywhere I am and it sucks! 

In the end, home is where my husband and son are. Whether it’s in Germany or Canada or Africa, I’m happiest with them. Regardless of my nationality, they get me and my mix of actions. I won’t be so caught up on where I am in the world anymore and more focused on the memories we’re making. 

Part of me will always be Canadian and part of me will always feel at home in Germany, once the next chapter of our lives comes in sure part of me will be stuck in that place as well. That is after all, the joy of being an expat, isn’t it? 
Thanks for reading! Xo

Baby on the move 

This is a question I get asked a lot so I thought I’d start with it.

Traveling with a baby!

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Living far from both my in-laws and family, as well as a passion for exploring, traveling, and in particular flying, will be the norm for our children. Our first big flight with little O was to Vancouver, guys, it’s a 10 hour flight, for his first flight!! Needless to say, I was so worried, not only about O’s behavior, but about the glares, eye rollers, upset people around us.

But wow, I was amazed! The flight was so awesome! The flight attendants were so accommodating and O was so happy and giggling the whole time, all the passengers loved him and kept telling us how beautiful he was -SUCH a nice surprise!

Believe me when I tell you, I had over planned for the flight, we bought portable baby hammocks that attach to the seat (waste of money) packed numerous blankets, brought expressed milk in case I felt uncomfortable to breastfeed him, brought a carry on full of toys to help keep him entertained, all of which we didn’t need.

But here’s what you do need to survive a long ass flight, or any flight for that matter. First and foremost, an easy going attitude. As soon as we got on the plane O had a huge explosion, leaking on his pants, haha we weren’t able to change him until after take off so this is where I realized, no matter how much I planned, it was out of my control. Aside from the usual diaper bag necessities here are a few things which with help immensely!

Baby banz headphones, they are amazing not only for flying but for hotels too! We didn’t need to use them the whole time, we only put them on when there were other children sitting near us, as they tended to be somewhat unpredictable with melt downs haha. O didn’t hear a thing and was peacefully sleeping while the 2 year old behind us was screaming.

Some kind of white noise. We really like the white noise app on our phones, O really relaxes to the sound of water running so anytime he would get uncomfortable (generally with take off and landing) we would turn on the app and let it do its magic.

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A wrap/carrier, we obviously wanted him to be the most comfortable on the plane, for his sake and all of the passengers, and of course he’s most comfortable in our arms, which we were expecting to spend a lot of time walking around with him (it’s what we signed up for when we became parents) so tag team walks around with your partner to make it easier on you both and use a carrier or wrap to help your back out from time to time.

Disposable baby changing pads, this is one I learned after the fact, the change tables in the washrooms are essentially useless, I know they mean well but common, his head was wedged between two pieces of wood haha, it looked so uncomfortable! So what we ended up doing was changing him in the bassinet or on the seat between us, of course, if your child has horribly stinky poop, try to use the washroom for those ones, but for a simple change, the seat/bassinet is fine and much more comfortable for them too!

Try to get the front row with the bassinet option, or ask for an extra seat. Luckily we’ve managed to get the front row from time to time, and if not the front row they’ve given us an extra seat which is so nice to let him stretch out his lets when he needs to.

Snacks for yourself! If your breastfeeding this is crucial, you need to keep up with your calories to avoid your milk supply from dropping. If you aren’t, it’s still important to get energy to keep up with the littles. I brought a bag of snacks and water and it was empty by the time we landed. This is a big tip!

Toy sanitizing baby wipes or something similar. Honestly, I can’t tell you how many times O dropped his toys, these made me feel safe that they were cleaned afterwards with something that he can put in his mouth. Also bring wipes for your hands, our son was teething and always wanted to chew on our hands. After washing with the airplane water we didn’t want to let him put them in his mouth (ew) so we would use some of these wipes and bottled water in the sink to wash our hands.

Rest when they rest. Really though, when the baby is sleeping or your partner has them, rest, don’t worry about anything but resting.

And here are some things you don’t have to worry so much about.

Don’t worry about bringing expressed milk, O didn’t even want it and I felt very comfortable feeding him oddly enough, if you’re afraid you won’t feel comfortable you can always ask the flight attendant if you can feed in the back or front of the plane. They are usually really accommodating and try their best to make you feel comfortable, so don’t stress. In the end, most people understand, he’s a human and needs to eat too.

Don’t worry about their ears, O slept through take off and landing numerous times, which makes me think it isn’t as bad as we think it is. I was expecting him to wake up screaming at any point but he was good!

Don’t worry about other passengers, most people understand and even those who don’t get soft when babies smile or laugh at them, so in the end they aren’t upset at all. Justiciable on your baby and everyone will be happy, I promise.

In the end, while flying with a baby is much different than the relaxing ways before (we would watch movies, talk, read and get served), it has its own charm and fun to it. We love experiencing it through his eyes and seeing the excitement at the littlest things. Enjoy it, and remember, you’re making beautiful memories that you’ll cherish forever!