I finally finished my CV for Denmark. Initially, I had trouble with the layout and needed examples from my friends. Then I wrote a version that said things that I wanted to say to the person who was considering hiring me. After that version was finished, I went back through and took out all the obviously inappropriate (read: emotional and over-analytical) parts for an job application... because that's the stuff you spin in a good light in the interview if it ever comes up right? I had my husband edit out the parts he thought were not relevant. Then I had a friend look it over- this friend hires people, so she looks at a bunch of resumes regularly. After incorporating her comments, I added the all important picture. Yeah I think it's strange to add a picture, but I like it.

Obviously I took out the actual text in my CV and replaced the spaces with pictures for posting purposes.

Most of the pictures have little stories behind them:
I left E alone in the bathroom for maybe 1 minute while I moved clothes from the washer into the dryer. When I came back I found him sitting in the sink.
E loves birds, so on our way to a friends house Marc and I stopped to feed some ducks so E could watch. The seagulls kept coming though, so I kept scaring them away.
E isn't really sucking his thumb ever but he does tend to chew on both of them occasionally. I think the only reason I don't have a thumb sucker is because I am still nursing! 


In a couple months I think I am going to look at my life and not recognize it; that is what I'm anticipating anyway. There is this song by The Dixie Chicks (E loves to fall asleep to them) where they sing about taking "the long way around" 
my friends from high school 
married their high school boyfriends 
moved into houses in the same zip codes
where their parents live

I know this is the normal thing to do, and I would never hate on it. I just didn't do life this way. So, every couple of years I look back on where I used to be and it seems like everything has changed for me. I have not had true and predictable consistency in "where I live" and "what I do all day" for more than two years since I was seven years old... that's twenty years of always knowing that in near future, the place I live will be different and the thing I am spending my time on (or the place it is happening, or the people it is happening with)  is a temporary focus for my energy. But I have never focused on that fact so much as I am right now. Probably because it is the end of that era.

I believe Marc could be working the same job in twenty years that he is working today. And, although I don't want to hope for such permanency for myself in job-work; I know for the next twenty years what my main day-to-day focus will be. And if I so choose, I know where I am going to spend those years. And I am so excited about it. I want to get bored out of my mind with where I live and my daily routine. Well, I don't think I'll get bored. But, I know, I'll be able to enjoy things more simply. I have had twenty years of background noise. And when it was just me, or just Marc and me, it kept things interesting. I think it kept me out of trouble. I have collected a few consistent friends and my extended family is always some sort of telecommunication away. Maybe I'll hate waking up at night from a dream and knowing where I am immediately, but I really think I'm going to enjoy it. I can not wait to have a baseline to watch time go by to.


we just bought a house!!! it's been a two month long crazy process with crazy twists and turns, but it is official as of five minutes ago. One day I will tell the whole story, today I am just marking it as happened.

next up we gotta find me a job :-P


We are pretty insulated from the daily news of the world. If we don't want to hear about the failing economy or the double speak of politicians, then we don't have to. I like being in a situation where I have full control over how many dissenting opinions I have to hear in any particular day, without totally cutting myself off from all media. I get most of my world news from The Daily Show :-D and it's 20-30 minutes that E and I look forward too four days a week. He loves the theme music, but he has heard it consistently since he was born so...duh.  E does seem to have an old soul for music. He'll dance happily to Micheal Jackson or Earth Wind and Fire, but covers his ears if I play a song by Fergie and turns the tv off for Nik & Jay music videos.

The small bits of the US 24 hour cable news circuit that I do hear always depress me. I'm glad the Occupy Movement has changed some focus of the world's discussion. Work and jobs are subjects we talk about frequently with Danish people lately, because there are not enough here for the young people, just like everywhere else. When Marc and I decided to have children, we also decided that I would keep them at home, teach them at home. My job would be raising children. And, I think if we were in Canada we might be having the second one by now. But in Denmark, we have changed our tune. Our issues with the Canadian system... the North American system... were that kids should be kids for as long as they are kids. I have no desire, even now, to send my child(ren) to a place where the main lessons are sit down, be quiet and do what you are told. Sure they are learning to read, write, problem solve, etc. but they can only have access to those things after they have learned the first lesson: submission. I have a problem with that because there is no real reason for doing it that way- except it is conceived as an easier for the adults to manage a room of children.

In Denmark school is about play. For a long time the kids don't have any real responsibility to perform. If they want to learn something the teachers are happy to assist them, but they aren't required to do anything. Sure they have to learn to play well with the other children. They do have rules to follow and respect must be given to their teachers, their peers and themselves. But, the teachers are not asking them to much beyond that for the first five years of schooling, at least. Because we are going to trust the Danish school system to help us raise our children, my job as at home caregiver and teacher is not available anymore. So, about fifteen years earlier then I thought it would happen, I am wrapping my head around re-entering the work force. It's a big deal for me and also not really what I wanted this post to be about.

I am going to be working because its how I will get more time to myself to write, to sew, to paint, to run and hopefully to do other things as well. But, many of these "other things" require a house. Marc and I have been looking into buying a house here. As a one income family we are unique to the banks here and that has caused us some issues. The banks look at us, at our life style and our budget and see that yes we could technically afford to buy a house. Then they think of all these what ifs that make them less willing to give us a mortgage. It doesn't help that we want a "project" house either...

All the things that are important to the bank about us buying a house are not the things that are important to us. So many things in life have no dollar signs attached and, yet, they have worth. We want a yard for our son to play in, we want to grow our own food in a garden and keep chickens to lay eggs for us. We want to remodel a bathroom on our own and replace a roof with our friends. We want to have a dinner party with more than six people at the table. We want a place to invite our friends from North America to come stay, and stay comfortably. We want a roof over our heads which is ours, a permanent place.

But, what counts to make all these other things that we really care about happen? money in and money out. I think money is so stupid. It's a lame thing to be focused on, it's a waste of time and energy to care about. And that is why I tune out the world, especially these days, as much as I can. It focuses way to much on money. Electronic numbers in computers more then anything- it is barely physical anymore. It's not greed that bugs me about money. It isn't the cost of things or the waste of bonuses. It's the lack of any actual foundation that the system is based on. Capitalism is not a fulfilling way of life. The parts of life that mean something don't have stock values. Why do people care about being profitable over everything else? because it's easy to quantify. Just like it's easy to say that 5 year old sitting in a chair doing a worksheet quietly is good. 


discipline without a light heart becomes resentment

I figured this out while running which requires a lot of discipline. This totally applies to my past, my present and my future.
I realized that when I was younger and always compliant, it wasn't because I wanted to be. Then came the resentment. Resentment that took me on a long path of feeling like I needed to prove to anyone and everyone that I wasn't anybody's anything. I've freed myself from that now, but so many people still see me as that past person.
Now I have to make sure I'm not disciplining myself, my husband, my son for self serving reasons. A light heart.  Sometimes disciplined is the way things have to be.
And in the future, I need to make sure my marriage and my children understand when the discipline is necessary.
This is one of those carve it into a piece of wood and hang it in the kitchen type sayings for me (so that I don't become my mother entirely).


I'm kind of immersing myself in running. I don't have as much time to do it as I want to. I forget until the day is over like "oh yeah, I wanted to run today." But I'm also reading a book (Run Like a Mother) about running and when I do remember to run I want to go.  I happen to be thinking a lot about running and how or why I got where I am. Especially since some of the points made by the book are dead on for me... I have more of a review of the book going on in my head as I read but, I'll save that for when I've finished it.

Today during my run :D I thought about how I got to the point where I could run 5k without stopping and how many different pieces have fallen into place for me to get here. There's a piece that made me stop making excuses, there's a piece that makes me run through the horrible pains of hard work, there's a piece that makes me push myself past "what I want to do."

I stopped making excuses because my husband was running. I made Marc quit smoking when we were first dating. And by made, I mean that I told him I knew I wouldn't marry a smoker and that eventually I would have to reconcile myself to that and end up re-evaluating our relationship. It was the first time in the couple weeks?months? we had been dating where the idea of us ever splitting up had been brought up as a realistic outcome. It was one of those statements that could have put us into a quick and simple break-up spiral. But it didn't. Marc stopped smoking on his own and I never had to re-evaluate anything. I did not say it to get him to stop smoking, I said to because I was being straight up honest. But, I am happy, obviously, with the outcome.

We have had similar experiences when it comes to either of us gaining weight. Though the "I won't be with this way" part of it doesn't play a role. But, I know for me, in the past I have said something not because of "fatness" but because of the implications about the lifestyle leading to the "fatness." When I was pregnant with E, Marc joined a beginners running group with my best friend. It was something I would have done with her, but since I couldn't Marc did. I was doing my own exercises and walking (not enough...) while Marc was running three times a week- in the middle of Canadian winter! I had never thought of Marc as a runner, but after a couple of weeks he was one. I followed Marc's progress like I was the one out there putting in the miles and I got to taste a little bit of the pride and accomplishment he was feeling because of his successes. I still get a status update after every one of Marc's runs, and I have modelled my start after his. Just about a year after Marc started running, I kicked my own but out the door and made myself try. It wasn't like I was saying "If Marc can do it, you can." but, that was kind of what I was saying.

The first few weeks of "running" I would run for two minutes then walk for one until my stop watch said at least 15 minutes. I think the most I got through was 20. Eventually I realized how little I was pushing myself, because I ran a few times with other people and felt like it was too hard to keep going, but forced myself to out of pride. I think it's important to have an "I'm gonna die moment" from running at least once every few runs. Though they are harder to get as you go because you train your mind while you're training your body.

In times when I thought I could not go on and I needed to stop, I would think about my natural birth of E. During the contractions, I would count through my breaths to focus on breathing. Breath six and breath seven were always so bad, I still don't know how I survived them- Right now I'm getting small bubbles of panic thinking about their pain. I am definitely curious about the next time I have a baby (which will hopefully come one day in a few years) how this memory will effect me. For running, the memory has been quite beneficial. "It's not as hard as a a six or a seven" was a common mantra for me as I trained my brain. Now, I kind of zone out into my thoughts. But if my mind ever starts to freak out about my physical capabilities, that's where I go. I never really thought about running a marathon before I started reading about running, but it feels like this type of mind trick would help me get there if I ever really wanted to. Which honestly, right now. I don't.

And now that I have been running for a bit, I have found little tricks to keep me going when I think I should stop. Focusing on swinging my arms, singing a song in my head, talking to God, setting a small goal and then setting another one once I reach it. Most of the tricks come along with the thought that I will appreciate it later. Short term losses, long term gains. You run enough and you can remember, even during the pain, the awesome feeling you will have after your run. Also for me I think about how much better I will sleep. I don't think a regimented exercise schedule can cure my narcolepsy. But, I know I get a more normal sleep in those times when I am exercising regularly. It makes my brain feel more normal during the day and sometimes helps me skip the excessive daytime sleepiness.

The biggest part of this that I hold dear is the part where Marc started it all. We have this relationship where we encourage each other to grow as people. We don't do it actively from the top down, like "sweetheart, here's a goal I set for you to achieve." We build from the bottom up. We celebrate each other's accomplishments and express when we're genuinely proud; when we're appreciative. Running really becomes that regular piece of accomplishment that you can hold on to because the rest of your life slowly is consumed by things you're unrecognised for doing. When your spouse is into your successes with you it's like a double-dip of satisfaction.


Peking Grill in Brande, DK
Everyday when Marc comes home from work there is the same to-do list for us to conquer: cook the dinner, clean the kitchen, entertain the child, go for a run (for one of us). Today, we set it up that while I took E for a walk, Marc would run and then start on cooking and cleaning. During my walk it occurred to me that it might be a nice treat to bring home Chinese food from Peking Grill- one of the only restaurants in our little town.

Marc barely ever asks me if we can get food from a restaurant because I always say no. The food at Peking Grill is delicious. But, as with all restaurants in Denmark, getting dinner here is expensive. Spontaneously, I decide to order some take out for dinner. I think of it like my version of bringing home a bouquet of flowers- just because I love my man. He does so much for our family, I wanted to treat him to a surprise.

So, my walk with E turned into a walk plus waiting twenty minutes for our pick-up to be ready. Because it was a spontaneous decision, I really wasn't prepared to be waiting with a one year old in a restaurant. I had him outside for as long as I could, but it was cold and started raining. This restaurant is small, so I am waiting with E in his stroller and people are eating their dinner not so far off. I occupy E with nothing for as long as I can, but his hunger gets the best of him. He starts to whine, and then when I won't let him out of his stroller, he starts to scream.

So, thanks to facebook and the seemingly never ending debate that I have been hearing all summer about how horrible parents are when they have screaming children in public- I start to get anxious. E won't calm down. He only knows one way to tell me how uncomfortable he is. All I can do is talk to him, but doing that makes him realize that I know what he wants and so he just gets mad and cries even louder.

I start tearing apart the diaper bag, begging there to be a toy or digestive cookie lost somewhere in the bottom. I won't make eye contact with any of the diners. E continues to scream as loud as he can. I'm just about to give up. I start to go through the not-exactly-short process of putting the rain cover on the stroller so I can get E outside and distracted. Maybe the diners will have to hear him scream for another three minutes, but at least it will end for them. With every second, I can just feel the room judging me an unfit mother more and more... Then, the woman who is always the front of the house comes out from behind the counter with a bag of huge puffed rice chips and a sweet smile. 

She put a napkin down on the counter and dumped out a bunch of chips from the bag. She doesn't speak English so she couldn't actually say "here, these will help you" but she might as well have. I handed one to E, he crushed it and then realized it was edible. He was happily munching on his third chip when we got our order and headed home. So, E screamed for a couple of minutes- maybe the diners thought "omg this kid is going to ruin my meal," maybe they didn't. All I know is the restaurant woman could have stood behind the counter staring me down, but she supported me instead. It felt like one of those "only in Denmark" kind of moments.


Almost a year since I became a mother. There were so many big changes in my life over the past year and it seems like bigger changes are to come. I'm quite excited to see what the next six months has in store. Recently I have had an epiphany about parenting. I think it will prove to be incredibly important for my future as a parent. The roots of it come along with attachment parenting. Deciding to be an attachment parent has been a decision I have struggled with. My husband doesn't seem to have as many issues as I have, but he is not the one that is home all day with E. What the books don't tell you about attachment parenting is that your child can become VERY attached to you as a mother. The books I read talked about bonding as this amazing thing that I will cherish deeply. Well, I'm assuming in the future I will look back and say "how wonderful it was to have my son want me every minute of every day" but in the present I don't always find it wonderful. I do find myself wanting space and time away. E doesn't always want that space and time from me. Marc is a wonderful husband, an amazing father, but he isn't me and sometimes that means E is inconsolable.

The amazing thing is that when E is well fed, well slept and away from me, I hear about how confident a child he is. I hear about how relaxed and fun he is to be around. I hear about how he doesn't whine or cry for things. I hear about how well he can communicate, how well he can play with other children. I have not seen many of these things myself beyond glimpses. And, for awhile I struggled with that. "Why can't he be a pleasure for ME, I'm the one doing everything for him." And then I realized that as his parent, as his mother, I'm the safe place. I am the one that gets to see the weaknesses and deal with the worries. And isn't that what I want when E is older? Isn't that the reason we choose attachment parenting in the first place. It was to build that bond from the ground up; from the start. A bond where E is not afraid to be raw and open with his parents, even if he has to be something else for the world.

So I am getting better at letting E be insecure with me. I am more patient with his whining, I am more focused on teaching him constructive communication. I am not as hard on him or myself when he is just having a bad day. Because I'm the safe place where any feelings are allowed and all expressions of feelings are totally accepted. Sometimes accepted then corrected, but still accepted. I just hope I don't get lost along the way. I really don't want to be one of those parents that wakes up one day and decides their kid owes them something because of everything they have been given. I am the parent. I am the safe place. I don't ever want to be anything else.


In my previous post I pasted my part in a discussion I was having with people on facebook about children who are disruptive in public and their parents.

I guess I'm tired of hearing about the child in public that does something a bystander doesn't like. And, I'm really tired of the only reason any bystander can think of for the child being disruptive is that their parents are lacking the tools necessary to deal with the child- or to be more mean about it, the parent is "bad."
I find the overall discussion to be very much negative towards parents and really unproductive. I say unproductive because, ultimately, someone always goes to the "if the kid can't behave they (the family) shouldn't be in public" scenario- and they go there quickly. I don't think children (or their parents) should be treated like criminals unless they are actually charged by law enforcement.

So writing about how I had a problem with this "don't come out in public if you can't manage your kids" thing made me realize I also have some problems with the "remove a misbehaving child from the situation" thing. In my head, before this argument, E would reach a point where he and I could communicate about my expectations for his behaviour, he would understand my expectations, he would choose to comply with them or not, and if he choose not to he would be removed from the situation.
But now. I don't know if my intentions behind these thoughts are pure or vindictive, but now I have a different scenario playing out in my head. Sure, removing E from the situation is definitely still on the table. But, I think I would only do that if I was the one gaining the most from it. I definitely wouldn't do it for the people around me... and I know how selfish that sounds but I really don't mean it in a selfish way. It would happen that way because I think it's the best choice for helping my son in the long term- to let him stay in the situation and work with me to figure out how to behave acceptably.

Marc is the one that first came up with the explanation of why I care enough to fight about the "remove the kid to end the disruption" thing. He's the one that said to me that a kid in a restaurant is a disruptive situation, not a disrespectful one. So it's like, if I didn't remove E from the area he was disrupting BECAUSE I wanted to bother the people around me, that's disrespectful. But if I didn't remove him because the way I want to parent him is to make him want to comply with expectations of his behaviour, and in the process he continued to disturb people, I don't think that's disrespectful. Yes, I'm putting my child's needs and the needs of my relationship with that child ahead of a peaceful atmosphere for others, but that's what I signed up for when I became a parent- to do what is best for that child.  I'm realizing how that's a totally different role from being a teacher. A kid who is disrupting the class because he intends too be disruptive is treated the same as a kid that causes a disruption unintentionally- and it has to be that way because a teacher is looking out for the best interests of 30 kids at a time.

We don't do permissive parenting but we could be considered that depending on what part of our parenting was looked at. Like "Do you let your kid put pretty much anything in his mouth?" yes.
But I know we aren't actually permissive. We focus on communicating that's the most important thing for us with E. An example: E is not gentle. When he is around other kids, and adults too, the first thing is does is try to stick a finger in one of their eyes. Then he might try to grab hair or swat their face and finally he'll pull on their arms and hands. He's also starting to bite. But we don't exclude him from being around other kids because he does those things- we know he is just trying to understand the world around him. Instead of excluding him, we talk to him about it. We demonstrate a soft touch to him. And, we stop him before he causes any real injuries. Now, as his parents we do see these techniques improving his behaviour over time. But, maybe someone watching him attack Rebecca two or three times during the church service would think we're permissive.
The people that know us, though, they celebrate with us. Like today, E didn't touch Rebecca during church for the first time ever. They were playing with the same toys and everything. And I shared that with Jytte afterwards and she was as excited for E as I was. He's learning and growing...just like every other child in the world. So maybe it will take him a few times before he'll sit still for an entire meal at a restaurant, but I'm not going to remove him when he doesn't because he can only learn if we work on it together.

I think my root issues are two-fold. 1) in general there are expectations that children should act more mature then they are developmentally- and those expectations fall all kids at a younger and younger age. And I'm not just talking behaviour. I'm talking about fashion and romance and toys even.
and then 2) people want compliance for compliance sake. Sit down at a desk and do work all day long except when we tell you that you can get up. Not because it's healthier or because at six years old you're developmentally inclined for it, but because it's easier to control you this way.
And if I take issue with that then I'm a hippie, or permissive, or I'm not preparing my kid properly... or maybe I just SEEM that way to someone who doesn't really know us.

So I guess it comes down to a question of do I want to raise the best child I know how to raise? or do I want people to think I am raising the best child, even if that means not doing my best for him? I think in the long term the results will be the same- at least in basic definition. But while E's a child, me and society are just going to have to differ in our opinions. Short term losses, long term gains.

So I've been the lone voice saying "I disagree" in a facebook thread that one of my friends started with a link to this article. To start- here are all the things I had to say about it:

puff piece totally disconnected from reality. if parents developed "the look" then children wouldn't misbehave? if only life were so simple.
A piece of missing perspective maybe: Parents are a lot less sensitive to their child's behaviour then bystanders. So when you're annoyed because there is a child yelling at their parents in a restaurant, those parents may not even realize the child is so loud because they are ALWAYS that loud-in good behaviour and bad. Behaviour and expectations are so subjective, is it really fair to pass judgement? all you can say is "I would do it differently" and even then you don't actually know that you could.
July 6 at 12:00pm

I guess this just makes me happy to live in a place where children are not expected to behave like adults and this debate doesn't happen.
July 6 at 6:32pm
Actually, yes I can say that. Children and their development are highly respected in Danish culture. Giving children the room to learn about themselves and express their individuality, even through bad behaviour, is possibly the most important thing that Danes, as a whole, work to establish and protect. Supporting parents and allowing them to make choices in how they raise their own children is part of that.
My point is that these articles take a lot of generalizations and give them one umbrella of thought to fall under. But, these situations that are generalized actually have important context and don't deserve to be thought about in the same way. Conditioning ourselves to ignore context does not make us a more respectful society.
How can I say to someone "you should respect me because I am around you" without first showing them respect by acknowledging that I don't understand everything about their situation, and therefore, won't make any generalizations about them or their behaviour.
July 6 at 11:47pm
I'm sure they will all be too busy riding bikes and eating pastry to bother you.
Thursday at 10:08am
I completely agree with the things you have said Anna. What I disagree with is the attitude that when you have a child you have to be a certain type of parent otherwise you're a "bad" parent according to society. Because society is making these decisions of what type of parent you are based on minuscule intervals of time without any context or really any direct interaction with the children they are looking cross at. Very different from a teacher in a classroom who possibly spends more time with the child then the parents do. And it would even be ok with me for people to be so judgemental without context, if they still supported the parents in the end. But that's not what people say, they say if we think you are a bad parent, then you shouldn't have your children around us; you shouldn't be welcome.

I think it's fine to expect more reasonable "adult like" behaviour from kids who are in school, but this article and discussion isn't specifically about kids in school- in fact there is no information about the kids beyond what they were doing to be so bothersome- and there never is. This article is a blanket blast of all "bad" children in public and their parents who must not have the tools to control them. An example: he writes about a very young girl that smacked her mom and then was told "we don't hit" in response- her mother is being portrayed as a "bad" mother. But hitting can be part of a normal child's development of communication; its how they tell you they are mad before they can really say it. And, any basic parenting guide will tell you to respond by correcting them simply. So, is the mother really a "bad" mother? we don't know because we don't have any context!

I am bothered by how easy it is for this guy to write a rant about all these parents he sees and say they suck; and then get people to cheer him on because "good" children in the US behave in a way such that they are not noticed by bystanders! (Again, totally different than the relationship with teachers.) And it's because of how easy it is for people to get all up in arms about a part of life that, really, is as inconvenient as being in traffic (and more inconvenient for the parents being judged- even the "bad" ones), that I wanted to say something in the first place.

I have had the opportunity to live in a society that is very supportive of parents no matter how their children behave and I know how it has made me a better parent. Not because there are hoards of children wreaking havoc here, as was suggested, but because I'm not worried about what people are thinking when my child is screaming and that gives me the opportunity to focus my full attention on meeting the needs he is screaming about.
Friday at 4:57pm
I'm not personally offended. There are a lot of reasons why I spoke out against this. I think the main one is that IMO its better to have a discussion about these things then to just cheer for the one side. I find the other side is noticeably silent in this argument and I wonder what implications that has on US society as a whole. I also champion showing love to other people, no matter how difficult or crazy or against the culture norms- not because I'm perfect at doing that but because I know its what Jesus would do. And it's unfortunate that background heartbreaking tales have become cliché because they are never a cliché for the person who went through the particular story.

I guess, also, I have a personal vendetta against this stuff because it's very American. And like most things American, it is never acknowledged as such. And the reason I care is because I'm raising a child, and probably more children in the future, who will have to spend portions of their lives within US society and I don't want them to walk away hating it, I want them to understand it's differences. SO instead of just walking away from this article and hating it, I spent sometime trying to understand the differences.
Yesterday at 11:52am
My issue was always the generalization and stereo-typing of a group of people for which we have basically no information about, except that in public their child's behaviour, indirectly, offended someone else for a short period of time. And, people can give as many reasons and explanations for why they think what they think- I don't believe a disruptive situation is inherently a disrespectful one. And I think that reacting that way has a larger negative effect on society as a whole than the children's behaviour that started it in the first place. Everyone else who's commented here thinks this guy has a good point buried somewhere in his article and I don't. AT ALL.

As to Jesus and love... (first let me apologize for adding yet another layer to this discussion and invite anyone who takes issue with what I'm about to say to PM me). While I agree that love is a two way street and all; I give only myself expectations in relationships with total strangers. Jesus meets us all where we are. I just show compassion and understanding to strangers, and leave the love based lessons to the people who actually know them. The Jesus I know would not ever be annoyed with a child acting up in a restaurant, nor would he think that the child's parents were lacking.

And, finally, I wasn't saying that judgement was American (but I see where I was confusing). What I mean by "this stuff" being American is the severe lack of support for parents in society- displayed through articles like this one. And, secondarily, a concentration of narcissistic children being raised such that it is newsworthy.

A final thought from me: parents have been and always will be good, bad and in-between. Kids haven't just started to act out in public recently, and I seriously doubt their behaviour is significantly worse now then it was twenty years ago. If those two factors haven't changed, what has which makes this debate so prevalent these days? I don't know. But I feel like an article on that would be worth reading.
about an hour ago
Obviously within I am responding to people who said things that I haven't posted here. But I don't think I need the exact words I'm responding to because (besides the one line snarky comment referencing Danish stereotypes) I feel like my argument is pretty consistent and doesn't need the words it was defending against to stand on it's own. I'm not trying to take my words out of context; I think the context is there without other peoples responses. Plus, it's more important to me to post what I said because writing it really made me evaluate myself as a parent and made me solidify some ideas that were only wisps when this thread started. And in my next post(s?) I am going to elaborate more on this idea.


Money is such a big problem right now. I just want to write this down so that I remember what it feels like in the future when things are not such a big deal.
We don't have enough money to make the student loan payments that need to be made and build our life here. For a million reasons, we ended up in Denmark at the end of our savings. Truly needing to start from scratch, a scratch that was not even possible without help from our families. We are blessed to have people that can back us up so that we have the luxury of travelling so far to find a job that wouldn't kill Marc's soul. And I know it is the best job for him- his work is great. Denmark is great and it is worth the debt we incurred to move here.
The bigger problem is the student debt. First, let me say that I think the concept of student loans is absolutely ridiculous and just shows how sick the system that issues them is. For so many reasons I would say avoid student loans in any and all ways possible because of what my husband has to go through.
I know many people don't have to imagine the scenario but I'm going to lay it out anyway...
At 18ish you have the opportunity to leave home, go to a school to get a degree in something you imagine is going to meet your totally idealistic expectations- the only problem is that you don't actually have all the money to pay for the tuition and the life you're going to need to live. But, there is so much money that is easy for you to access, you just have to pay it back later. Plus, you'll have an amazing degree which will get you an amazing job that makes sooo much money!!! So it will be easy to pay back, right?
Well, what happens when your degree ends up not being as awesome as you thought? Engineering schools pump engineering like you can rule the world and save it all at the same time. You can't. An engineering degree is not practical enough to have experience where you can actually do/make the things you understand and it isn't theoretical enough for you to be an expert at anything without a lot of extra school (and debt). If you're looking into Engineering and you think you won't spend the first ten years of your career doing soul killing work, you're wrong. If you're looking into Engineering and you think you can have a family or a consistent life outside of work... yeah you're wrong there too (unless you live in Denmark!). I don't know if this applies to other careers or not, and I do know that I am simplifying. I'm sure there are working Engineers out there who have been able to not kill their souls and have a family too- I just don't know any... well maybe I know one.
But neither Marc or I were so lucky as to find that glorious Engineering job that allowed the soul to stay intact and the family to thrive. Even now, the work Marc does is more technical and less Engineering. Had Marc gone to a two year college and learned a technical trade he would have been more qualified for the gratifying hands on work that he really wanted to do and we had to travel to Denmark for him to get. But then we wouldn't have met... and yeah.
So money. The loan payments are too big for one salary to carry. We're not starving, we're paying our bills and what not, but we can't save money either. So we have no cushion, no safety net. We have to rely on our parents, our siblings they are our financial safety net. If ever we need something that isn't a regular monthly expense (like plane tickets.... or new running shoes) it has been forcing us to make the dreaded "we need some more money" call.
I hate it. I have been fighting it. God keeps challenging me with it more and more. It's part of the reason I am writing this down, because I feel ashamed and I don't know why. I don't think I should feel ashamed. I want my family to be independent, to never need help and I think that is the idea God is challenging me with. In so many ways He is saying to me "reach out to those around you and lean on them." I know he will catch me if my support can't hold me up, but I don't live like that. I live angry at my situation.
It's a finite time life will be this way. I will get a job one day and we will be able to make our own safety net. Even now I have started doing some part time work. Maybe we will never be able to pay our debt back to our family, but I trust that they will understand. I know money is not as important to them as their relationship with us. I just need to live like I know it.


I feel kind of like the stereotypical ugly girl in late 90's movies. You know, the one who eventually gets a makeover and then a popular boyfriend. Yeah so I feel like that girl when I hang out with my Danish friends. I know they wouldn't probably be a bit offended to have me say that. But, I just don't look the same. I don't wear the same clothes or have family members around to hold my child. I don't think they same way so I don't always know what to say; and I regularly find things funny on my own and I just can't explain it.

I come from a totally different background, I know. But I just want to fit in soooo bad sometimes. Unfortunately, my big makeover means becoming fluent in Danish... not as easy as replacing oversize glasses with contacts and taking out a ponytail. And, I also have to accept that they don't need me around like I need them. I feel sometimes like we get pity invitations to things, but maybe we kind of do. Though, I know the Danes would never think of them like that.

Danes really do go out of their way to make you feel welcome around them. But, it's not so easy to get to be around them often. Marc and I are quite blessed to have found a group of Danish people to call our friends. I think if I were to make a list of the most important things we did for creating our life here in Denmark, attending the Brande Baptistkirke is on the top of that list for sure.


My baby was so funny today. He has just turned nine months. He has four teeth coming in on top that are just peeking below his upper lip when he grins. So, he is not a gummy grinner any more and it makes me excited for him. I am not lamenting the loss of this baby feature, which surprises me because it is the first time.

I was eating some french fries for lunch... the baked in the oven kind. I always share with E because he's a pain-in-the-butt nag if I am eating something and he isn't. I try to give him softer fries for my piece of mind. Now that he is getting some true chompers I don't fixate as much but anyway... We get down to the last french fries and they are all the little tough ones so I am eating them on my own. E has chipmunk cheeks stuffed with the potato bits anyway so I don't feel bad I've stopped sharing. I'm holding the last french fry in my hand. E grabs my hand, pries open my fingers, snatches the fry and shoves it in his mouth all in about 3 seconds. I was so shocked (not that I would have tried to really stop him). In any case, he totally manhandled my hand, stole my fry and then looked at me like "WHAT UP?!" with exploding chipmunk cheeks. He didn't really have room for that last fry, but he was not going to let me eat it.  I died laughing at him, it was too cute.


We went to the beach with some friends after church on Easter Sunday. E dug in the sand and enjoyed having his feet buried, though he was confused at where they went. E also ate some sand. We haven't been trying to control what he puts in his mouth very much. Obviously it goes with out saying: things that are dangerous for him, we don't let him have. Sometimes Marc and I have conversations like: 
"do you think it's a good idea for him to have [something weird] in his mouth?"
"I don't know how it could hurt him, do you?"
"No, I guess not"
And then we just don't make a big deal about it. If you make a big deal about something it sparks the curiosity. For example, E knows electrical cords and computers are off limits because we always stop him from touching them. Eye glasses too. And when he see any one of these things and he thinks he can get it, you can watch the exclamation point go off in his brain (sometimes you can hear it too). People wearing glasses think he really likes them for all of about three seconds until SNATCH. He's a quick little baby.
I notice regularly how much E has grown or changed. A lot of the time when he is put down to sleep for the night I think "wow he looks so much more like a boy and so much less like a baby" I am pretty sure those will be my thoughts until he's like 25. But I think if I am putting him to bed at 25, we've messed up somewhere :)
Life otherwise has been really interesting. I really like living in Denmark, though I am starting to get annoyed by all the little things that come with moving to a new country. Danish is not an easy language to learn. Right now I am still taking courses. But since my sister is not around to watch E, I don't study the language everyday, as much as, I just try to get my assigned lessons done on time. I think most of my learning is coming from the TV now, so I have started to understand a lot better. But, my vocabulary is too small so trying to speak beyond the basic polite phrases is still killing my confidence.
I think I'm also just growing up more and thinking it is related to moving, but really it is not. I'm not partying any more. I don't miss that, but I miss socializing. I like seeing friends, I look forward to it. I miss my best friends (besides Marc) and I wonder if I will have as close friends here. I feel like as you get older, your family is who you socialize with. But my family is my husband and my babbling baby. Facebook makes it plainly obvious to me that I don't have any friends who are really experiencing life like I am right now; I guess I just feel lonely because of that. I know I'm not the only person who feels too far away, who feels like building a new life takes too much effort. But, I know in a few years I will only remember this feeling because of this blog post. Also, I have to be thankful for the friends I have made here because it truly is a blessing that there is a group of people who care about me and mine, and they aren't related to me.
I can't imagine what kind of person I would be if I lived within 30 miles of my mother for my entire life... not this person, not in this place, not with this husband and child. I really am who I always wanted to be as a little girl- though it comes at a bigger price then I want it to. Now to just allow E to become everything he wants to be with less price to pay. And that is why I think it's nice he spent his first Easter eating sand.


I gave up using soap, shampoo, conditioner- basically all skin application products about four weeks ago. I stopped using them on E as well. The exceptions are on my hands and face and on E's bottom we still use wipes and bum-bum balm when he has a rash. I got the idea from a post on boingboing which led me to a whole bunch of other places on the internets. I found it is generally well documented on a variety of blogs.
We had been experiencing some issues on E like dry skin spots and way too stinky feet. The reasoning made sense to me: your skin is an organ that can regulate itself, why use chemicals to try and mimic that? instead let nature take its course. So it does take a bit of time for your skin to balance everything. The internet led me to believe it would be about two weeks, but I really wasn't convinced for myself until after three. E's skin was better than ever after about a week.
The hardest effect to overcome for myself was having greasy hair, but the benefits during the experiment kept me from turning to the shampoo. Eliminating soap etc. has totally simplified my life. I wasn't the type to shower everyday or really more than twice a week because soap dried out my skin and hair. Now I can shower everyday which gives me a place to start our daily routine. I don't have to think about what to do first which maybe sounds kind of lame to those who haven't been at home with a baby all day every day, but trust me it's like magic for putting me in an optimistic place mentally. Plus, since I don't have a to-do list in the shower it can be as long or as short as E says :) A bonus- our recent trip to Paris was easier to pack for. This summer we hope to get Marc off soap as well, he needs a few weeks off work where he can be stinky and greasy.
I'm a fan of no soap! And I highly recommend it to everyone, especially new mothers and babies.


My baby turned six months today, I win!
I am focused on learning how to speak Danish, how to be a good mother, how to be more patient, how to be a runner- en lidt, and thinking about what is coming up next.
Life is cycles and waves a rotating roller coaster you can't see very far ahead on. Life is Space Mountain at Disney World going down a drain. I need to be sitting here thinking that the best part about a roller coaster is the climb right now because I have been going through one of those stomach bottoming-out parts lately.

With the six month birthday feeling kind of like a place I want myself to remember what life was like I am giving myself a monumental challenge today.  I want myself to write a book between now and whenever I get a job in Denmark. Realistically, this "getting a job" thing will probably coincide with entering E in danish "kindergarten" which starts at 2 år 9 måneder. If a I have the decent makings of a book at the start of that time I may spend some alone at home working on it alongside applying for work.  I think this is a realistic goal to set myself and if I complete it... well I can't really get there mentally yet.
But it definitely gives me enough time to really have a grip on speaking Danish- I expect to be able to hold my own in a conversation with E's teacher... or Jytte's parents and, of course, in a job interview :)
It gives me something to do if I get bored at home but with a little bit more pressure and expectation than a hobby.  I think sewing is something I like doing once in a while... like on big projects or custom items. Writing this book... a novel I expect... will take a lot longer than any sewing project I would willingly take on.

So I set myself this goal today and if it all goes well then I might mention it again :D


My sister is staying with us for two months so that I can take Danish courses. She has been here for two weeks now; this, the third week, is the first week where she is not jet lagged and we are not sick.
E is six months old tomorrow.... E er seks månder i morgen :-)
And, he just started "high function" crawling today. He has been "almost crawling" for about a month now, slowly becoming more efficient at scooting on the floor, getting up on his knees and then adding his arms. It has been amazing to watch the progression.  He has yet to realize that this newest iteration of crawling is much more efficient.  In a few days I am sure he will be moving quickly across the room in a furry of opposite hand to knee action!
It is not a surprise to me that this new stage of development comes after he has finally started sleeping as much as he did before we went on our holiday meet-the-baby tour. Sleep is the key to this whole "having a baby" thing. Learning that just because E has woken up doesn't mean he has slept enough has been probably the most important thing for me. I try to give him an opportunity to fall back asleep every time when he wakes up. I have learned as well that just because he is awake doesn't mean he doesn't want to sleep, sometimes he is over stimulated and just can't get there. On the train I have had to put my coat over his head to put him to sleep, otherwise the world whooshing by is just too distracting.
We have traveled on the train quite a bit lately. To København (Copenhagen) and back to Brande twice in January. My sister and I spent a day exploring Copenhagen and I carried E in the sling (I made) the entire day.  it was not as exhausting as I thought it was going to be. We are going to Paris for a few days in early March and I plan to carry E around all the time then too.
Yeah so make the baby sleep even if he doesn't think he wants to, even if he just woke up, even if he is too distracted to try, even if covering his head makes him scream and cry; otherwise he is more whiny and clingy to his mama then he needs to be. At least, when he is well slept he will spend time with his morster [a Danish word for an aunt who is the mother's sister], giving me time to learn Danish.
I will say that I am very pleased to be able to learn Danish over the internet with Netdansk instead of having to go to a Lærdansk school. I feel like I am learning at a good pace and so do my Danish friends. I was worried about the travel time and being in a classroom because of my narcolepsy. I think I would fall sleep a lot more if I was in a conventional setting trying to learn Danish. As it is I do have some narcoleptic issues.  Like today, I was so tired while I was studying vocabulary I had to make coffee- caffeine is the only drug I can use to help me with my narcolepsy these days. I had a cataplectic spasm and dropped my coffee mug, it spilled all over the counter! But I made more and studied more and didn't nap- VICTORY!
Soon (I think) I will start talking to the Danish doctors about managing my narcolepsy.  I'm not going to take any drugs for it until E has totally weaned himself, but it will be good to get my new Danish sleep doctor before that happens, especially since I'm thinking I will try to work when E starts in the Danish "kindergarden"


So we went to the US and Canada for the holidays. It was a three week trip with long drives, three cities, many new people and no real bed (except for one night <3). E did really well, Marc and I did not do as well.  By my calculations, E met about 80 new people and most of them took a turn holding him. E did so well being passed around as much as he was especially considering how fussy he was for his first two months. I think it is the Attachment Parenting that has made E so calm and confident. At some point during the trip I was telling people that E doesn't cry and he doesn't... anymore. Well, he will cry if we don't acknowledge his earlier forms of communication, but these days he "yells" before he gets upset enough to cry.

Since we have returned home, E has been a lot less easy going then he was on the trip. I think it was part suffering from jet lag, part wanting attention from me that he had been missing because of all the new people and part reacting to the total shake up that we have been doing to our apartment (more on that in a future post), but E totally stopped sleeping in the night, period. We had about a week were he was up from 1am to 4am, and this was a week after arriving home. Ultimately I was really to blame for my baby not sleeping.

I was still submitting to jet lag a bit so we were waking up late in the day. The best way to beat jet lag is to get sun, and we were waking up when the sun was on it's way down (because we're so far north it happens pretty early in the day). When we did get up I would put E down to play on his own because I was reorganizing and cleaning. I was still paying attention to him and in his presence, I just wasn't really engaging with him because I was more worried about things like where to move the dresser and where to put other stuff. Also, we moved our family bed into another room of our apartment. E was yelling a lot when he was playing by himself so I figured he must be hungry or tired and so feeding or putting him to sleep would happen. By the time Marc came home from work though, I was tired from organizing all day. And, E's yelling is seriously a sensory system over loader... a baby in general is, but when he yells all day it just puts me on edge. So I want to hand E off but Marc has things he needs to do, plus we have to make dinner and we've started E on rice porridge so we have to fit feeding him that in to our evening. Oh and every time I give the baby to Marc he is putting him down to play on his stomach and walking away, just like I have been doing all day to him. By the time bedtime comes around E won't sleep for me at all and when Marc gets him to sleep he wakes up when he is put down in his section of the bed. The only night I got E to sleep through was one where I went to bed with him and he used me as a pacifier, so 80 percent of the night he had a boob in his mouth.

It seems so obvious now, but I seriously could not figure it out at the time. I think a lot of parents would sleep train their baby if he was acting like E was. I definitely thought he was staying up because he wanted to play. Plus I started worrying that maybe he should be able to fall sleep without being nursed or held.  The point where I realized I needed some help was when we were lying in bed with E and he was screaming like he was abandoned, holding him wasn't even calming him down. So I went on some Attachment Parenting forums and realized all the little mistakes I was making. E spent three weeks being secure because I concentrated on meeting his needs. I didn't realize it at the time, but when we got home I took the assumed security for granted; I expected the results without doing the work. I can focus on other things, but I need to make sure E's needs are all met first just like I was doing when we were travelling.

The forums recommended a few things but mostly just reinforced the ideas about AP. It was also the first time I had read positive things about a child that needs to nurse to fall asleep. E doesn't NEED it but he does choose to nurse himself to sleep sometimes and I always felt like I should discourage it until now. I also realized while reading the forums that a big problem was trying to get E to sleep in his section of the bed- he wanted to be closer to me and would check for me when he was waking up to make sure I was right there.  While we were travelling he couldn't sleep separately because our sleeping arrangements were smaller and he likes this better, what baby wouldn't? The forums also reminded me about how babies need more attention, affection and attachment as they hit major milestones and E is so close to crawling :)

So thanks to AP and my sweet son I am reminded once again to live in the present and adjust my expectations to it...and also to give a lot more motorcycle-kisses.
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