29 November 2008


This afternoon we caught the train into Zurich and went for a walk to look at the Weihnachts Markt and the various Christmas displays in the shop windows.

We happened upon a large group of people blowing bubbles outside of Credit Suisse on Paradeplatz.

We have no idea why this was happening, but everyone there seemed to have come with their own bottle of bubbles. There were no signs of any kind or indication as to the meaning of this mass bubble blowing. Seemed oddly whimsical for the German-speaking part of Switzerland, which is usually so stoic.

Anyone out there know what was going on?

27 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

What we're thankful for...

Not doing a Thanksgiving dinner this year. GLH doesn't have the day off and a full Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work, especially with a two month old.

However, if anyone should happen to show up with a pumpkin pie, we wouldn't turn them away...

23 November 2008

Our Hero!

GLH's colleague went above and beyond. Once the mother of two colicky babies who had special food needs, she understood our need more than most. She went from drugstore to drugstore and literally purchased as many cans of  the required infant formula as she could find.

We now have a 3-month supply of infant formula...

And after one bottle, we also have a baby who is contently sleeping without needing to be held and rocked or propped with pillows to keep him in exactly the right position to ease his upset stomach and without waking every 10-15 minutes to fuss before falling into another short, fitful sleep.

20 November 2008

No More Experimentation

After a very difficult week we have decided that we are tired of experimenting with formula. Although the projectile spit-up and explosive poo has subsided, he is still having issues and is obviously uncomfortable.

We had discussed trying a couple of soy formulas or driving to Germany to see what our options are there, but enough is enough. There is no guarantee those would work any better.

We know a formula that works well for him. He was always happy and smiling on that formula. He slept well and woke up cheerful and alert. He rarely spit up, and when he did it was a very small amount.

Even though it is not available in Switzerland, we are switching back to the US formula.

One of GLH's colleagues is in the US on business this week. She is bringing us a supply of formula when she returns this weekend.

Another person we know, who's husband is in the US Army, is bringing us a case when she visits us in mid-December. They stock it at the commissary on the base in Southern Germany.

My parents are bringing two suitcases full of formula when they come for New Year's.

Virtually every time we visit the US, or someone  visits us or we have friends making a trip to the US we intend to look at them with pleading eyes.

One way or another, we will figure out how to keep up the supply of infant formula for the next 10 months or so until our baby transitions from formula to solid foods.

It will be complicated, but we are determined to make it work. Global Baby deserves a Happy Stomach.

14 November 2008

Oy Vay!

Request for Information from Parents in Germany or France

So, Global Baby is lactose intolerant. This was extremely easy to handle in the US. In Switzerland, not so much.

Originally I was told that any baby formula which says HA (for Hypo-Allergenic) would be fine for him. This week we mixed the US and Swiss formulas together to change him over. Yesterday was his first day completely on the Swiss baby formula.

It was a day spent in Hell. He was spitting up almost as much as he was eating, any adjustment in position caused enormous farts, his diapers where indescribably foul and by the afternoon there was a whole lot of screaming and fussing for an hour after every bottle. Last night I got about 4 hours of sleep because I spent much of the night holding him while rocking on the couch (actual rocking chair on order) and rubbing his upset tummy.

Turns out that HA means lactose-reduced, not lactose-free.

After some questions we discovered that true lactose-free formula must be purchased from the pharmacy. This morning I went to get some. Tiny canister. Big price. A 2-3 day supply of formula was 32 chf!

He's only 7 weeks old. He doesn't even eat that much yet! Imagine what it will be at 6 months or a year old?

Buying formula from the US and paying for airmail plus customs tax would actually be cheaper.

So, can anyone tell me what the lactose-free formula options are in Germany or France? Periodically driving an hour to the border to stock up might be easier and cheaper than shipping from the US.

Man, I wish the US military bases would allow US citizens on base to use the commissaries. Because they stock the US stuff!

On the plus side, with the Super-Expensive formula Global Baby is now sleeping peacefully. Hopefully I will be able to get a nap this afternoon as well...

13 November 2008


For obvious reasons, we've been a tad preoccupied in the last two months or so.

So preoccupied that it took an e-mail from a friend for us to remember that today is our wedding anniversary.



Happy Anniversary, GLH!
I love you!

And I promise I won't forget next year, when we are unlikely to have a 7-week old baby!

11 November 2008

Another Binky Down

So, you're wondering how our cats, Max and Tilly, are reacting to this massive change in their lives?

They leave his crib alone, whether Global is in or or not. They occasionally sniff at him, but keep their distance because in their experience the very small people tend to be unpredictable. And Max has even accepted that he must share my lap. This after he didn't like the reaction the couple of times he tried to "head-butt" Global Baby off of my lap.

Actually there is only one area where we are running into extreme difficulty. Max has decided his newest, favorite toys are Global Baby's Binkys. (Proper Name: Pacifier; German Name: Nuki; British Name: Dummy) And he has become very good at patiently waiting for an opportunity to swoop in and steal a Binky when our attentions are turned.

We came back with 9 Binkys. We have now lost 3 to Max. Which means we have only 6 remaining.

This is a matter of great concern because we cannot replace them in Europe.

Our original plan was to use a brand of Binky easily available in either in the United States or Europe. But we were thwarted in our plan by the hospital, which gave us one free Binky on the first day of Global Baby's life. And he latched onto that model of Binky and refuses to use any other.

Mom and Dad: We might need an emergency shipment of Binkys!

07 November 2008

American Politics Abroad

For the first time in a long time I do not feel the need to disguise my American-ness while outside the United States. Not only to avoid becoming a potential target, but also to avoid confrontations with those who seem to think all Americans are personally responsible for the unpopular decisions made by the Bush Administration.

With the election of Barack Obama I feel so proud of my fellow countrymen and women who elected a man with vision. A man who gives us all hope. A man who represents change from the extreme conservatism that has been our country's official perspective for far too long.

Who knows? Perhaps with time we can even plan trips to the ancient sites in the Middle East and North Africa. Locations we have been avoiding due to rampant anti-American feelings.

06 November 2008

Bring Extra Bags

For anyone planning a trip to the US, here's a bit of advice...

Bring empty suitcases.* Seriously. Then load 'em up for the trip home.

Things are less expensive in the US to begin with, but due to the weak dollar and the struggling economy, things are now unbelievable cheap. We saw stores with sales of up to 75% - 80% off. And the stores were virtually empty and had a huge inventory. (Except Wal-Mart, which was exceptionally busy...)

And hey, shopping gives a little boost to the economy as well!

*Heck, with how cheap everything is, you could also just buy new suitcases for next to nothing!

Parallel Universe

I feel as if we have somehow entered a Parallel Universe.

I noticed it right away on Monday at the Zurich airport and every foray into the outside world in the last few days has just emphasized it.

Who knew that the Swiss could be so friendly? That they could spontaneously smile at complete strangers? How unexpected to have a Swiss person stop me on the street for a little chat!

I know that this is no reflection on me. It is all Global Baby.

But still, it feels very bizarre.

05 November 2008

Blogging with Baby

Blogging with a baby is not easy. I've learned to balance baby on one knee while he is napping while balancing the laptop on the other knee.

Learning to type one-handed, with a minimum of typos, will take a bit more time.

NOTE: Before I get a slew of cautionary comments, tummy sleeping while closely supervised is okay. At night he sleeps on his back, even though he'd much rather be on his tummy.

03 November 2008

Journey Home

We made it back, safe and sound.

The trip went extremely smoothly, at least until our arrival. That is when Global Baby decided he had been through enough and went into Baby Overload. He started screaming in the airport and it took nearly an hour to get him calm enough to sleep again. But when he woke up a few hours later, he was his normal Happy Self and devoured a bottle of formula with typical gusto.

Up until that point he had spent most of his time sleeping, occasionally waking to eat and grin at fellow travelers.

Early indications are that he will make an excellent traveler, which is very good given how much we tend to travel!

02 November 2008

Turning the Clocks Back

Tonight ends the Daylight Savings Time in the United States.

As we pack up all of the Baby-Related Accoutrements I have never been more grateful for an extra hour.