Life has been……wow. Just wow. Really different kind of wow. Do we miss Germany? Yeah sorta. But we aren’t in a rush to go back just yet.
The first two months, Baby O (my nearly 2.5 year-old now) and I were flying solo. That crap was intense. I had all sorts of bad luck too. We caught the flu<—– something that hadn’t happened to me in about 20 years. O was so sick, I had to check her into the hospital for a few nights. It was an emotional, terrible time for us. I was also suffering from the flu, but there I was, sitting by my daughter’s side, like all mommies do, hoping she would finally drink something so we could get those darn IVs out and we could get out of there. We left there after two days, and she still had a fever! I have to say though— Germany takes the cake for hospital stays. I didn’t have a bed to sleep on, nor did I get food to eat. And when I nearly fainted, no one cared. Also, my wallet was stolen during this stay. Germany, you may lack customer service skills and sometimes compassion, but you are just so much better at providing services for families.
Anyway, I lost a week’s worth of money for that thing, not that it mattered at the time, because sick baby trumps everything. But I’ll tell you this: when you are solo momming, losing money really hurts. I don’t know how single-parent families handle it over here. I still had some money from the G-Man coming into my account, and we were struggling. And I’ll admit, I lost my hustling spirit at some point in the past 7 years.
Now onto one of my biggest struggles over here: nannies. We got here in January, which meant most of the great daycares were booked out till the end of spring. Now, there were some affordable options, but let’s be serious, I didn’t have the time to vet all these places and hope O would love it. It’s way easier and convenient to do the nanny route over here, especially when you are solo momming. And bonus: you only have to vet one person to take care of the single most precious entity in your life. So approximately 300 million interviews later, I found a nanny. Do I like her? I’m not sure because I don’t think she likes me.., thankfully, O loves her, so that’ll do for now. But there are loads of issues that have arisen- like do I pay for her metro card (I did), does she eat our food (yes), does she listen to all of my fantastic ideas of child care and local events that O might like to go to (eh no, not really), does she get angry when I get a day off (somewhat), does she see when O makes a food mess and smears it all over her books and toys and clean them (no, and that took a lot of time to clean up!), does she call out leaving me without child care (she’s a single mom so I get it, but she also lives with her Mother, sister and cousins in the same apartment building whereas I have seen my sister twice and O still hasn’t met her grandfather even though he’s in Boston…. but maybe I’m just a sensitive jerk and I need to cut her some much deserved slack….. at least sometimes.)
Anyway, this is just another part of Big City parenting. Everyone has nannies or daycares. I took O to the doctor and she told me, honestly, not to put O in a daycare because she will be exposed to more germs, and since we are leaving again, it would be good for her to not get attached to other kids and teachers since she was clearly (and still is!) adjusting to a new sort of life here in Brooklyn.
The G-Man has been here for about 3 weeks now, and that has been fascinating and great. It was hard letting go of the reins, and I still think he is a micromanager in our relationship sometimes, which drives me bananas, but I breathe a sigh of relief that’s he here. I can take solo showers! I don’t have to rush home to make dinner, then rush through cleaning up the house, then rush through spending time with O, and continue rushing through storytime, bedtime…. which was all for naught when she kept creeping out of her room and slipping into bed beside me anyway. Also, G-Man and I seriously love each other, so even on each other’s nerves, we still enjoy being together as opposed to apart.
One thing that I absolutely love about living in Brooklyn with our little family has been our weekend explorations. We never used to do this in Germany, and frankly, we really couldn’t sometimes. But here, we are adventurers. We pack O into a baby carrier (because of course she has learned to escape her stroller and often runs around like a maniac or gets too tired to walk after a while), we pack some diapers and wipes and baby stuff into a backpack, and we set off. We walk, we talk, we look, and we eat. O continues her love of good food, much like her parents, and enjoys a good bowl of ramen or pho, roti with oxtail+ rice and beans, lemonade with a blueberry doughnut, pappardelle any which way she can get it, corned beef, bagel with lox, black & white cookies, enchiladas, and dumplings of any variety. So this could not be more of a perfect food paradise for all of us. We went out for Vietnamese lunch/dinner yesterday, and to say she is wild about pho is an understatement. My heart is happy when I watch her slurp her noodles and when she takes just another bite of her fancy-schmancy blueberry poptart pastry while playing at a local kid haven where they have sing-alongs, loads of toys and kids to play with. Also, I took her to a gymnastics place one Friday afternoon, and all she did was jump on a trampoline for an hour and a half while saying “jump jump jump jump.” We all slept well that night.
Brooklyn is funky, stressful, amazing, chaotic, and such an awesome adventure for us. I’ve turned over a new leaf here. I’m changing into a new kind of mom: I look better, I dress better, I enjoy more, and I complain less. I’ve learned to shrug off life’s burdens with more ease, and I can stand my ground with more confidence too. I’ve even learned to clean the house in the morning before work, and make a baked good for us to share before the nanny comes. It’s not all sunshine and flowers, but it’s new, and it’s exactly what we all needed.
And as a working mom, I appreciate my time more with O, and I think she does too. Work is not the most fulfilling yet, but it’s fun mostly, and it teaches me new things to do with O. It also gives me so much to talk about with the G-Man, and we find that we have all these different interests that we didn’t know before.
We are ok being away from Germany for now. We miss our friends and family, but we’ll be back in a few months. We’ll have bunches of stories, and we will be slightly different people than before, but we’ll also be slightly better for it too.