Tres Jolie & Pushy Dutch Midwives

Bonjour Kittens –

C’est moi! I am back from my European vacation and the relaxing glow and fabulous European style that I acquired simply from strolling the streets of Den Haag and Bruxelles is with me still. C’est vrai.

So what sorts of nuggets can I share with you from my trip across the pond. And what or WHO is tres jolie, you might be wondering.   Don’t fret, we’ll get there as part of my trip highlights and recap for you. 

First – for the mamma’s out there. Traveling on an overseas flight with a 2.5 year old wasn’t so bad. I expected the flight over to be relatively painless because my DD loves her sleep and well, the flight lasts through much of the night. She behaved even better than I expected, never really a peep of complaint out of her and she slept for three straight hours. The best was when the wheels touched down in Amsterdam she randomly shot her arms straight up in the air and exclaimed very loudly “WE MADE IT!”

My husband and I were stunned yet cracking up. Did she have some doubt that we wouldn’t? How did she know to say that? Where in the world did that come from?

Too bad the people sitting around us were all Dutch so they missed out on how hilarious it was.

I didn’t let DD nap too much that first day in The Hague and put her to bed at 7pm that night and a European miracle happened. Not only did she sleep in a big girl bed with no problems but I had to wake her from a DEEP slumber at 9:30am the next morning. C’est vrai. My kid. The one who preferred to wake around 5am every day for a year straight and now rarely makes it past 6:30am no matter how late we put her to bed. It was shocking.

And yes, I did check to make sure she was still breathing many times.

We found that the Netherlands and Brussels are very family friendly places to travel too with young toddlers, including the easy access to illicit drugs, prostitutes and the off-roading sensation one gets from sitting in an umbrella stroller as they’re being pushed across endless cobblestone streets. There were canals, baby ducks, parks, lakes, windmills, and more baby ducks at every turn. We even got our fill of cows and Llamas. It was like DD’s very own live version of European Diego.

While perusing through a Dutch baby store, I noticed something that is in stark contrast to what we are told here in the US and one of the many rules of having a newborn that I turned a blind eye too. The Dutch had all these fabulous cribs out on display and WITH those cribs, they were showcasing the most beautiful crib bedding I have ever seen. Add to it, each crib was displayed with a European style duvet cover tucked in tightly around the mattress.  And of course bumper pads.

AH HA!

Somewhere in the world they put actual covers on their newborns! I always thought it was a bit dramatic and ridiculous over here. These duvets were just gorgeous and the store employees were as mystified by my curiosity over the duvets for the babies as I was by the hot water bottles they sell to put in the crib.

You got it.

So it seems the Dutch midwives like to have the new moms put a hot water bottle in the crib, right next to the newborn, to keep the crib warm for them.

Now this sounds like a great idea to me….hot water bottle in crib next to newborn?
I might be a newborn rules scofflaw but even that struck me as a “hell no, not in my baby’s crib” thing. The saleswoman who I was giving the Spanish Inquisition too quickly noted that she, too, hates this cultural tradition and so would put the hot water bottle at the other end of crib instead of next to her baby as the midwife ordered.

Man, I wondered. Who are these Dutch midwives and they sure sound bossy! I mean, this saleswoman still seemed visibly rattled by her midwife and I’m thinking her baby must now be a teen.

Fascinating.

As for strollers, I noticed the Quinny was the most popular brand and in case you wanted to get into a blackmarket import-export business, the Bugaboo is the way to go. The exchange rate is so hideous as we know – and the Bugaboo sells for 900 Euros. That’s like $1500. Wowzers. Same for the iPhones, in case you wanted to add them to your blackmarket import-export business.

We had a quick Memorial Day weekend trip to Brussels to visit some dear friends, their two adorable kids and a trip down memory lane pour moi because I graduated from high school there. It was so nice to be back and Bruxelles is as tres jolie as ever.

And so am I, apparently.

Upon leaving a restaurant on Saturday night after a three hour meal with our friends, my friend’s husband and I were standing out front, waiting for my friend and my husband. Two completely wasted dudes were stumbling down the street and exclaiming to my friend’s husband (note: also my friend, not just my friend’s husband) how tres jolie I am.

Ahh….should I be blushing?

Or should I mention that these two dudes were gay and totally sizing up my friend and apparently determining whether it was a total waste or not that he wasn’t playing for their team?

Either way, you know it’s a good European vacation when two drunk gay dudes give you a bunch of unsolicitied compliments…  

As for the return trip, it wasn’t quite as smooth sailing as the flight going over, which again I expected, it being all day long and a full hour longer just in flight. We still survived, however, though much to our chagrin learned that the portable DVD player really only has 2 hours of battery life, not the 4 the instruction manual claimed.

Overall, a fantastic trip, DD has proven herself to be an international travel pro and has already asked to go back several times.  A girl after my own heart. 

One Response to Tres Jolie & Pushy Dutch Midwives
  1. Sara
    June 12, 2008 | 5:39 pm

    Being told you’re TRES JOLIE by two gay men may be the best compliment! They have nothing to gain from it… Tres jolie indeed!

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