The last two weeks have just been crazy: first, we went to Ras Al Khaimah for a short staycation at the Banyan Tree Al Wadi, a beautiful resort in the desert that I can only recommend.
It was a surprise for my birthday and an absolutely amazing experience – my first desert adventure since we have arrived in Dubai over one year ago!! Well, it would have been even more perfect if, oh, if we had not started our staycation with a doctor visit. Yup, on my birthday, Luca woke up with fever… It would also have been more romantic if little L had not started vomiting everywhere as soon as we entered the beautifully decorated villa… And, maybe, it would have been a bit more relaxing if we had not been supposed to move apartments just after our trip to the desert. But hey… we still went away for some days and we truly enjoyed it!
As soon as we came back to Dubai however, the real craziness started. Packing boxes for the move until late at night, moving apartments with a sick toddler, unpacking boxes in the new apartment, searching for this and that (“I am sure it is in a box – but which one????”)… I thought moving countries with a 3-month-old baby was a challenge. But, you know what – moving flats with a coughing, sneezing and tired toddler is also an unforgettable experience! Add the emotional ups and downs of a pregnant woman and – voilà, you get the picture haha 🙂 Nevertheless, it was all so worth it. We are super happy in our new apartment. Especially Luca! He has a bit more space than in the previous one and some adorable play corners!
With so many things going on during the last weeks I nearly forgot that I was pregnant! Especially during the moving phase my husband consistently needed to remind me not to carry heavy stuff, not to climb on unstable ladders etc. So, I am enjoying writing a bit about little Miss M today. It is nice to spend some time thinking about her and about how she is doing in my belly. I hope that she has not been too affected by the last weeks’ hurly-burly and the sleep deprivation…
The symptoms I am supposed to have in weeks 17 and 18 (and how I am really feeling)
Little Miss M
Miss M is now as big as a bell pepper! She is growing super fast! I’ve read that she still had plenty of space to move around and, apparently, she’s enjoying this 😉 I can definitely feel some tiny little movements now – like little bubbles. Apparently, second-time mums can recognize them earlier than women that are pregnant for the first time. Honestly, I don’t remember exactly when I started feeling Luca’s movements in my belly… It might have been a bit later, indeed. I just remember that I loved feeling little L kick my belly from the inside and move around – and so do I now. It is somehow reassuring to feel “something”. It helps create a connection with the baby. I truly hope that Miss M is doing well. That I have not carried too much during the move or been too stressed. Cause, apparently, this can affect the fetus as well… Well, I will try to get some rest this week, now that the super busy moving phase is nearly over 😉
This week’s topic
It’s a…. Granny!!
When we found out that I was pregnant again and when I started to get quite bad morning sickness, my husband and I suddenly realized that we might need some kind of help. During my pregnancy (especially during the last months) but also when the second baby will be here.
First, we needed a very quick solution as I was vomiting and not feeling well during the first three months of my pregnancy. Chasing a toddler when feeling unwell is not an easy job as every mum can probably confirm 😉 Nursery seemed to us like a good solution. So, little L started going to Toddler Town in JBR three afternoons a week. We had a quite difficult start (as you can read in my previous posts ). But after some weeks, Luca really started to enjoy spending time at the nursery. And it gives me some free time – to get stuff done without being interrupted or simply to relax a bit when I am feeling too tired. Of course, there are downsides: Luca is much more ill since he started nursery. That’s a fact. Apparently, kids need to go through this when they start nursery. To strengthen their immune system. Well, I would still prefer not to see him sick so often… But Toddler Town was definitely the right decision. I can only recommend it by the way. The principal in their JBR branch, Sarika, is one of the most caring and understanding persons I have met. She really loves working with kids and will listen to any concern you might have and reply to any of your questions.
Nevertheless, we knew from the beginning that we would probably need a bit more help towards the end of my pregnancy. For now, it is still easy to carry and to chase Luca. But will I be able to run around like this and lift him up in some months? And, more importantly, will I be able to be there for him 24/7 (cause this is what it is hehe) when carrying and caring for a newborn without going completely nuts? Probably not…
So, we started to seriously think about employing a supplementary helping hand. Maybe a live-in or a live-out nanny? Hmmm. I talked to other mums who already employ a nanny. Some of my friends were lucky enough to find “la perle rare” as we say in French. THE one. But I’ve also heard other stories. Unfortunately. That’s probably the risk when you get someone else to help you take care of your child. You might not be happy with the way they are doing it…
I knew it would be very hard to find someone. Cause I am very difficult when it comes to Luca. Well, probably every mum is. I just love him too much. My husband kept telling me that we had to accept the fact that we would not find a person who would do everything exactly the way we wanted it to be done. I, on the other hand, thought that, if we employed someone, this person should at least be willing to learn and to get to know Luca as a person – with special needs and his own personality….
We had not even really started our search for a nanny when I stumbled across www.granny-aupair.com. One mum shared her (very positive) experience in one of the Facebook groups. It’s like a dating site. Except that it brings families and (mostly German) “substitute” grandmas together. The concept is similar to the one of “au-pairs”, which is highly popular in Switzerland. But unlike young au-pairs, these grannies are more experienced, have raised their own children or even worked as teachers, nurses etc. before retiring. They still know what it really means to play with a child. To spend quality time with them. They have played with their children or grand-children themselves. I absolutely loved this idea!
All of the grannies on www.granny-aupair.com want to take part in another family’s life for some time (from 1 month to 1 year or even longer) and most of them want to live abroad for different reasons (getting to know another country, another language, another culture etc). There is no salary paid as such but you can (should, I think!) give the grannies a decent amount of pocket money per month so that they can do some activities in their free time as well. Obviously, you need to provide accommodation (for us, it was clear that this would not be the maid’s room but rather the future baby’s room for the moment) and the granny will take part in your everyday life (meals, activities, restaurants etc.). Obviously, you would not expect the granny to work the whole day or do all the housework. Just like you wouldn’t expect your grandma to do this. I rather see it as some help with Luca. Some kind of temporary grandma! Such a lovely idea!! Especially as Luca’s “real” grandparents cannot come for a longer period of time. They are in Germany and Switzerland. Being quite close to my (today 95-year old and super smart) grandma myself, I’ve always wanted Luca to have this special experience as well. This special bond with the older generation.
So, we had a look at different granny au-pair profiles on the website. I got really excited! We decided to register and to create a profile. Even before being able to contact the grannies that we had pre-selected, we got a lot of contact requests! I was surprised. We organized some first Skype interviews, just to get to know some of the grannies better. Of course, you can never really know if there’s a perfect fit before really living with a person. But there seemed to be some sort of mutual understanding when speaking to some of them. I really liked the fact as well that these grannies were very open-minded and willing to live in another country, to discover another culture. This is really us. I like (and admire) the fact that they leave their life behind for some months to live with another family somewhere else in the world.
There was an obvious match with one of the grannies in particular. Not only does she speak German, French and English but we also seem to share the same opinions and have a similar character. So, we took the decision to try the “granny au-pair experience”! We will welcome her this week – I am really excited 🙂 I also think it’s great that she is already joining our family now. So, little L and our granny will have the time to get to know each other before Miss M arrives 🙂
It will be a whole new experience for us to have someone living with us though. It’s the first time someone else will be sharing our daily life, participating in everything we do. It will be all new for us. But then, it will be all new for her as well. I’m sure it will bring us so many great moments and we will learn a lot from each other.
To be continued.
Must haves for Miss M
I’ve been nursing Luca until he was one year old. Until he stopped from one day to the next as the pregnancy hormones had apparently changed the taste of my milk… Hopefully, I will be able to do the same for Miss M – even if I can imagine that nursing a newborn with a toddler running around is not quite the same experience… Anyways, my nursing pillow helped me a lot when I started breastfeeding after my last C-section. If I am able to nurse Miss M, I will definitely use one again. Recently, I have discovered the My Brest Friend nursing pillow, which looks to me like the Ferrari (or Aston Martin 😉 ) among all nursing pillows. It wraps around your body and even has a backrest that helps prevent sore back and neck. You can also put a water bottle and your phone in its very practical pockets – that’s amazing! I don’t know how many times I was trying to reach for one or the other when I was nursing little L! Definitely a must have – rather for mummy, I agree. But, at the end, if mummy is comfortable when nursing, little Miss M will certainly be comfortable as well 😉
Seen on www.babysouk.com
Price: AED 199
Hi there! I’m Tani De Gregorio. The one behind this little blog. ‘Our big Dubai adventure’ started about three years ago when I quit my job in a multinational in Switzerland to follow my husband to sunny Dubai where we are living now with our two little munchkins, Luca (3) and Maëva (20 months).
This blog is not about the glamorous life of an expat wife. There’s just too many baby wipes and too few high heels in my life for that.
Instead, it’s about our daily adventures in the sandpit. About motherhood away from home. It’s about the kids. About fun things for them to do. Things you might not have heard of otherwise. It’s about workshops. And cool places to explore. In this amazing city we call home. At least for a little while…