NAMASTÉ

Tomorrow my baby whale turns one. His very first year. The first of many to come.

It’s been an incredible year in that it’s been very exciting and ever changing. There have been a few curveballs but I believe we’ve hit them out of the park.

It’s been an insane year, barely any sleep and so much stress over trivial things. Heat rashes, candidosis, not taking to the breast, eating too much, eating not enough, displeasure, whining, crying, not crawling, not walking, falling, scraping knees, bumps and bruises, not getting into kindergarten, getting into the wrong kindergarten, being too sociable, being too clingy, refusing to sit in the car, refusing to sit in the stroller, refusing being in a wrap, refusing to be carried in a baby carrier, not playing alone, hating all toys, not wanting to get dressed, refusing wearing a diaper, refusing all hats and mittens, refusing socks and no sleeping, no resting and no sleeping.

But we worked through most of that. Some things are still there, of course, but I no longer stress myself about it all. I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. Erik’s had fevers and ailments that we’ve successfully gotten through, teething and all that it entails. We’re a couple of hams that just work our way through it all with a little help from laughter and a lot of love.

I was never very affectionate but since having the tiny whale all I want to do is hug and kiss away at him, and I do. He has hated it but seems to be warming up to it.

Everything is different, it’s better, it’s so much better. Because he rides in the car like a pro, sits in his stroller and flirts with every girl he sees. He’s a very happy and sociable baby so a lot of people come up to him to say hello and make sure I know how cute he is. He has a huge personality already and I can’t wait to see what kind of person he will grow up to be. One thing’s for sure, he will be loved wherever his life takes him.

And what’s not to love?

But with the first, bumpy, year soon behind us we venture into new territory. I hear that “the terrible twos” might be a bit chaotic, especially food wise. I have introduced Erik to A LOT of different foods. All kinds of fruit, from pomelo to watermelon. He loves fruit and veggies, dislikes cheese and potatoes. He’s not a fan of porridge or baby food in general. He likes sandwiches for breakfast and really hates anything sugary.

He’s had food from the Balkans, Sweden, Italy, Japan, India, Thailand, the US, Germany, China and Vietnam. So his base is wide enough for me to be able to find something he will like later when he refuses to try new things and I pride myself on that. He’s already a gourmet, I just tried catering to his tastes.

It’s been a year where Erik’s learned a lot but he’s also taught me a lot about myself. It seems I have an infinite amount of patience and love that I can only tap into with him. He’s clawed at me and bitten me, he’s constantly climbing all over me and kicking me. He’s headbutted me so bad a few times I’ve wondered if my teeth were going to fall out. He’s screamed so much, and slept so little that I have had loss of sight due to severe exhaustion.

Life has been turned upside down and it seems that finally it’s right side up for me. I’ve needed a tiny dictator to make things completely right.

So I say to him:

I bow to you.

My soul honors your soul.

I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you, because it is also within me.

In sharing these things we are united.

We are the same.

We are one.

NAMASTÉ.

Campbell of Sweden

On motherhood…

The holiest of subjects. There are so many preconceptions about it. And I think every person who’s ever thought about having a child has an idea or a thought on how they want it to be, or how they think it will be. And every person who’s since had a child will attest to it being a vastly different experience.

One thing most parents have in common is the overwhelming feeling of love they feel for their child. Something no one is ever prepared for, because it cannot be compare to anything one has ever experienced before. And I only have the one child but I believe that even if you have more than one, every single child you have you get that same overwhelming, never-before-experienced feeling of love.

But the hardships are many. Some are spared, and those lucky few are exceptions to the rule. Most of us have babies that have some sort of difficulty – be it sleeping or eating. Those are the two most common ones, my empirical studies show. Of course there are people who have children who are sick and they really struggle, and are the true heroes who tirelessly fight to make the best out of a situation nobody ever wants their children to be in. But us regular parents, we mostly struggle with sleep and food.

I lucked out in the food department, at least this far. Erik eats like a large, healthy horse. But his sleeping is bad, it’s very bad. He has had one night where he slept a full four hours, in nine months. He doesn’t sleep much during the day 2-3 naps circa 20 minutes each while being continuously rocked. At night he scrapes together about 1.5 hours then eats and falls back asleep only to wake up in an hour again, and so on. After 2 AM I have to keep rocking him otherwise he will be wide awake and angry. For hours and hours.

This is the situation now.

It is so much better than it was a few months ago but far from good. Some nights I don’t sleep at all since he needs to be rocked. Every time a tooth is coming he just stops sleeping all together, he is exhausted and clingy he whines and screams nonstop but he just can’t fall asleep.

So I have learned a few tricks while being at home with him. Mom hacks, if you will.

I do my nails when he’s in the shower. That way I can keep a close look at him and interact with him while also getting to look less like a hobo. I use a dip-in remover so it doesn’t stink up the place, then I file down the nails for a more clean look. After that I soak the hands in warm water and baby oil (that’s what I have on hand) and then file additionally if I see something I missed. I push back the cuticles, usually with a tool but these days it’s with my nails and then put some lotion on them to keep them moisturized.

I’ve tried the “Amazonian Saviour” from The Body Shop. And to be honest it is like a firmer version of Vaseline. I am really underwhelmed due to it drying out my hands. I later applied “Hand Repair” hand cream by Trind to actually moisturize my hands.

That process takes between 5 and 10 minutes. Usually by that point Erik is done splashing around, so it is perfectly synced. Painting the nails I can really ever do if someone is watching him. That I haven’t managed to hack yet.

However I am strongly considering getting a gel manicure set, just so that I can do a nail at a time and guarantee that it doesn’t smudge or smear. It is a bit pricy but I think it might be a good investment, because then I can do nail art without having it get ruined. Living alone with a baby that doesn’t sleep doesn’t leave any space for do-overs.

Nails and food have always been my two big hobbies. Two hobbies that eat up more time than you realize. And when you suddenly find yourself busy 24/7 you are forced to prioritize what’s important. As a parent you, and your wants, always take a back seat, so you have to learn to do what you can with what you have. New situations require new actions. So my nails are nude, for the most part. Some weeks I just can’t manage to squeeze in any upkeep, like filing, because Erik needs 150% of my time. Same goes for food.

On good days I can make simple dishes with Erik hanging onto me or climbing the stove or the dishwasher. Worry not, no area he can access is even remotely warm and I always have a splash guard so nothing splashes onto him. Dry brusselsprouts are not splash prone.

It is often said that one eats with the eye, so sometimes I try to plate my food nicely to make myself forget how simple the dish is.

This was a pepperoni sausage and wax bean casserole with some pasta and cheese.

Other days, when you’ve been up for 12 hours playing and only had two cups of coffee (how good is coffee tho) your eyes are not half as hungry as your stomach.

On those days you eat burger patties with cheese and butter fried beets with garlic. All drowned in Sriracha mayo. That was my breakfast, lunch and dinner today – all in one meal.

Erik has a fever, not a high one but a fever nevertheless so he hasn’t left my side all day and hasn’t slept for two nights straight.

And on days like these one just doesn’t prioritize eating, going to the bathroom or the fact that one has a herniated disc and sciatica. Pain is a French word for bread, which is the motto I live by. My pain is secondary, and any hobby I used to have is a thing of the past. Erik reigns supreme, in terms of getting my attention and time. And I can’t imagine a task more rewarding or fun. Because even though it’s quite painful and I’m exhausted, there are moments like these:

For a baby who is about as affectionate as his mother was when she was younger this is an unusual sight. But it is the biggest treat for the mom unit. Baby cuddles are quite amazing and I’m all but spoiled with them.

But about mom hacks, the best one so far is discovering that the grocery stores do home deliveries. In a small town like this where there is only one pizza place that does deliveries, and that costs as much as two overpriced pizzas (I shit you not!) discovering that I can get fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to my doorstep has been a lifesaver for me. Also I don’t have to carry all those bags. They have Erik’s formula and all the food he likes.

My other lifesaver – 3 AM coffee.

Campbell of Sweden

Food and inspiration

I’ve noticed that the tiny whale prefers food items that don’t contain any meat. I still feed him everything but there is a clear preference. I myself keep noticing that I too am moving away from all the meat I dislike, like poultry and pork. I’ve never liked poultry and pork is only ever good when it’s straight from the barbecue. So I’m currently in the process of eating what’s left in the freezer and won’t be restocking the meat drawer for a while. I like beans and I do like red meats so that will be the staples for my protein intake.

As for Le Pudge, he cannot deal with beans so he will continue eating a well rounded diet until his little stomach can process foods that are a bit heavy and then he himself can choose what he eats and doesn’t eat.

This isn’t a declaration of vegetarianism, but rather a note for myself to remember that as an adult I do not have to eat eggs when I find them utterly disgusting. I do not have to force myself to try to like chicken when I haven’t done it ever in my 32 years of eating.

I need to learn even more about veggie based protein so that my diet doesn’t end up lacking a basic part. But no, I am not giving up seafood, fish or red meat. A nice steak beats most things in terms of flavor and overall food experience, if you ask me. But the other stuff, the white meat, I will leave for those who appreciate it.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that beetroot may be a food of the gods. A rekindled flame. Now to learn everything there is to know about food pairing, but I fear everything might be good with le beets.

That dish might be the start of a revolution in this home. Too much goodness on one plate.

Campbell of Sweden

Vlog

I haven’t been vlogging for so long now, so I figured I’d do a quick one now to get back into the routine.

Thank you guys for following a blog that’s been scattered and not very well looked after. But better days are coming. And more active ones!

Ms. Campbell

Not as fat…

This is the result of piss poor planning, execution thereafter and et voilà! It’s all saggy and blubbery, something I had grown accustomed to not seeing. But sometimes life just has other plans for you than the ones you thought you had made for yourself.

I will have to start fresh with my workout routine, from square one, since it’s been so long since last I did anything. Since I quit training I have been pregnant, and after that I picked up smoking. I’ve sort of been a prisoner in my own home and my own body. But Pudgy is bigger now and isn’t quite as hard to take places as he was the first four months of his life.

So when I have put him down for sleeps tonight I will sit down and make a food schedule for me. And go back to what worked the first time around- food prep for the week. I have no room for error now because if you don’t plan ahead you’re going to fall behind. Or so it’s been for me.

My eating habits have over the last year and a half just gone to shit, I got comfortable and comfortable for me means overeating when I eat and missing meals. That’s not a good routine at all, but it is a routine and those can be changed and altered at any point. It’s never too late to be better and do better.

Other than that, Pudgy is growing at a steady pace and last night he managed to fall back asleep in his crib without any rocking or even my presence. He woke up late, was fed a bit and changed. He looked tired and wired, so I put him in his crib and went out to the kitchen to make a late night sandwich (very bad habit) and when I came back he was asleep! I was so proud of him, my big boy.

But these numbers need to go down, and without a proper routine there’s just no way for that to happen. So we start fresh. Forget what’s been and focus on the future!

Here’s to new beginnings!

/Belma

Never have I ever…

I have never liked oatmeal. It tastes like cardboard to me, like wet cardboard. And you can mask the flavor somewhat by drowning it in different condiments but the aftertaste is still one of wet cardboard. But today I ventured into the unknown making oven roasted pears with honey, coconut oil and lemon juice.

I can honestly say, after this adventure, that I will probably never like oatmeal nor will I like coconut oil. It’s great, everyone claims, but I just don’t see it. On both accounts.

My healthy eating will have to focus on something else for breakfast because eating this stuff will make me give up my will to live before long.

I can’t help wondering about all these healthy living people, and their choices in life. How do you manage to force down all those shakes and chia seeds without dying more inside for every mouthful. I get that you want to be skinny, I do. It’s hyped up to be as skinny as possible without looking unhealthy, even if the way to get there isn’t very healthy most often. But why don’t you just eat your vegetables and exercise? Why down two liters of juice made of lemons and tears?

I’ve been scrolling around a lot lately, trying to get a bit of inspiration for my upcoming body challenge and all I see are these stick figure girls promoting juices and teas. I thought we had all outgrown the Herbalife Ponzi like scheme some 20 years ago. I was wrong in assuming that, which I noticed while scrolling around on Instagram.

People want to get rich, and they all think that if they get sponsored by a shit brand that approaches anyone who hastags “fitness” in their pictures they will reach their goal. The sad thing is that there are young girls who look up to some of these Instagram ‘models’ and buy the products in the hopes if looking like someone who spends hours under different knives and syringes.

This post is all over the place. I’m sorry for the lack of structure and point this far. Here’s what actually grinds my gears:

People who CHOOSE to eat oatmeal every damn day. Don’t they have tastebuds?

Mrs. Campbell

And the work slowly starts…

Today I’ve done a check of my current BMR (basic metabolic rate). After my surgery, which is scheduled on September 11th, I will start going on a meal plan. I have a lot of excess weight after the pregnancy and the months preceding it.

I won’t have to start from square one but my body really does need some attention. I will put together a work out plan for myself, I can post the details if anyone’s interested. I will also be posting ideas on Instagram, both food and exercise ideas. I have an account called Unicorns and farts blog connected to this blog which has gone unused since somewhat early on in my pregnancy.

But I fully intend on getting back to training and eating a lot better than I have this last year and a half. So, here’s the naked truth, as per today:

Any and all muscles that I once had are now gone and replaced by a healthy layer of fat. But I don’t fear exercise and hard work. I fear going hungry the first few weeks but with some smart planning I won’t have to be hungry at all.

So, once again: here goes nothing!

Mrs. Campbell

Back to square one…

On Saturday I can start exercising again, or I could but I am going in for a minor surgery in the beginning of September and therefore have to stay away from the weight room still. But somewhere mod or perhaps even at the end of September I will start working out again. My weight is now no longer the issue, it’s the softness of my body aka “the jiggly bits”.

I’ll work from home to begin with. I wish I could say that I’ll be doing it when Erik’s asleep- but let’s face it that is just not how he rolls. So instead I will have Sean take him for a half hour here and there so that I can get myself in order. I’m pretty tired of looking like a jelly donut.

It’s not fair of me to have the little whale hang out in the baby gym and work on his neck strength when I am all weak and plain. So, after my recovery I will get back into a routine. However small and seemingly insignificant, it needs doing. I need to get myself back into shape, for my own sanity. I had a long and fantastic weight loss journey a few years ago, and I refuse to let all that hard work go to waste.

Plus, I need a hobby.

Because this is what I’ve succumbed to. And that’s just not acceptable for anyone, especially not myself.

And here’s a fun picture of Erik sitting up like a big boy in his crib, totally mesmerized by his new mobile.

Mrs. Campbell

Lost in translation…

There is a lot to be said about motherhood, but most things you’ve probably heard. Like the sleepless nights and the endless days. I was prepared for that. I was prepared for a lot of crying and and a lot of throw up. But I didn’t get what I had envisioned.

We got a boy who, still, starts screaming before he opens his eyes. Who doesn’t sleep unless he’s being rocked or carried. Who doesn’t spend any time in the stroller, who doesn’t like riding in the car and mostly who is more easily bored than his mother. He’s a bit of a monster in most aspects, added to that his weight (one of a toddler) and you have yourself a bit of an issue. But he is glorious. So incredibly cute and curious. He’s not the least bit shy and eats with such passion.

Watching him discover different things is by far the most entertaining thing ever. To see those beautiful blue eyes take in all the surroundings is my new passion, along with observing just how good he’s gotten at taking his socks off.

He has also learned to pull his foot out of his pajamas…

The biggest change for me has been, what feels like, the solitary confinement. We are home A LOT. I’m not used to that, and I didn’t think I’d be one of those people who had to stay at home – ever. But Erik hates being out for too long and his schedule rules our world, because if he isn’t happy nobody is. And there’s a lot of suggestions coming from everywhere. Try rocking the stroller, try moving it across cobblestones and all that jazz. Erik doesn’t like lying down in the stroller, he hates sitting up in it. He really hates being rocked while in there and cobblestones make him scream even louder than normal. So, we stay at home most of the time. We do short outings to places where we can park close by, and we no longer attempt to eat out.

This was at Espresso House in Stockholm a few days ago. This picture was followed by a half hour long scream fest while I ran to the car. That was fun.

But it was preceded by this amazing picture. A baby resting while mom enjoys an overpriced scone at a coffee shop where we are seated under a stairwell, on a bench made of the same flooring as pictured with some sat-in pillows.

The romance kind of disappears when you take it all in. It’s a perfect picture of a moment in time that was not nearly as nice as it’s made to look.

Instead my life is filled with this, hand washing bobos and cleaning. It’s filled with cooking and eating while standing up.

Today I made us oven fried potatoes (with Vegeta, rosemary, crushed garlic and tons of oil), minute steak, fried mushroom and onions with a side of a mixed salad with tomato and onion (salted, oiled and with a hint of red balsamic vinegar) along with a store bought parmesan sauce.

After we had been away to buy the little whale a sleeping bag for winter and Sean had been to an interview we headed home for more home adventures.

Erik had tummy time with dad.

They played on the floor while I took silly pictures of them.

Erik and I hung out in bed, to get some rest before bath time.

Bath time is a great time, most often.

We got a new outfit on and he was fed and is currently being rocked by Sean in the hopes of all of us getting some sleep tonight.

That’s what the days look like. The old life has lost its charm, but I haven’t quite settled into the new one yet. But for every day that passes it gets easier and easier.

Life sure is funny that way.

When did I age?

Mrs. Campbell

Shifts…

We’ve decided to deal with our Pudgy in shifts due to a lack of sleep. None of us is getting any sleep, because the little whale is a fussy baby. He sleeps for very short bursts of time and when he wakes he’s hungry and very, very angry. So we’re trying something new: 4-hour shifts, 3 each. Tonight I’m kicking it off by having the Pajama Batman sleeping soundly in his stroller while I make lunch for tomorrow. Sean takes the first sleeping shift.


Pajama Batman sleeping soundly in his stroller, socks and all.


Food in the making: Falukorv in the oven (about as Swedish as it gets).

As I was writing that, Pajama Batman woke up and sure enough he was screaming before ever opening his eyes. I changed him while he was still screaming with his eyes never open and now we’re enjoying feeding time – he with his bobo (bottle) and me with some falukorv.

Most people keep asking me if he’s breastfed and he was partially in the beginning but he was too lazy and way too angry to ever keep that up. So we gave him formula as a backup and he never wanted the boob again. 

That’s something that has kept me up at night, the guilt over not breastfeeding. As if it was ever my choice to stop. 

But we’ve all had that hammered in that ‘the breast is the best’. So we tried, and we cried but in the end Erik chose otherwise. There’s not much to do in that situation, so I talked it over with the husband and decided that we weren’t going to force Erik to something that he was just not wanting. 

But it was a hard decision to make and to this day I feel like I failed, both as a woman and as a mother.

But Pudgy is progressing well, regardless of food source. He’s gaining weight like a pro, adding a full kilo to his birth weight at the four week checkup. He was large at birth but at the hospital he lost 300 grams and then an additional 40 at home, due to the trials with breastfeeding. So we put him on more formula and soon after he started refusing the boob. As soon as he stopped taking it the milk just stopped being produced. I was pumping but there was less and less for each day and three days after he had stopped my boobs went dry. Which in a sense is good because I didn’t have to go through the pain of mastitis and all that horror.

He’s a healthy but angry baby. He’s not a happy baby but we’re suspecting he might have the colics due to the constant crying and screaming. He doesn’t sleep a lot and seems to have tummy aches more often than not. 

But he likes sleeping on us and he likes hanging out in his BabyBjörn carrier. So we went out today and got him an ErgoBaby one as well. He doesn’t like that one at all, but we think he’ll come around to it and that that one will be better for when he’s a bit bigger. 

He needs a lot of body contact but we’re trying our hardest to have him doing other stuff and sleeping off of us. Today he hung out in a bouncy chair/babysitter, and didn’t scream the whole time. 


Matter of fact he even fell asleep in it later on.

But yeah, life as a parent is different than I thought it would be. Way different. Especially considering that our baby is extremely fussy and strong, which makes it hard on the both of us since he wants to be carried at all times and throws himself about when he’s being carried. 

He loves kicking me on the scar when I’m trying to burp him and he loves slapping Sean when he’s asleep. But with all the trials and tribulations, with all the sleeplessness and the migraines – I can still honestly say that he is the best baby ever. I couldn’t love him more and I wouldn’t change a thing, not even the screaming. 

He’s a tough little man and he has his way, that’s going to be such a great thing to have in the future – a strong will and stamina. He will be one resilient person! 

As for myself I’m just glad to be on my feet. I was up and about right after the delivery, and two days after the c-section I drove. I was cooking and carrying the whale. Because I too am a resilient person, a stubborn woman with more strength than sense. But look at me – I am doing swimmingly and as soon as it’s all healed up properly I will be back to that same old, same old.

Mrs Campbell