When I was pregnant with our first child, many friends told us, we should still sleep, go out more, watch movies at the movie theatre and go out for lunch or dinner, while we still can. They were right for the most part, we could neither go to the movie theatre, nor could we have a good sleep, nor could we go to clubs/ bars, for obvious reasons, although I never missed that. But we never had any problem going out for lunch or dinner with Zoë.
Maybe it was because we never made any fuss about it, were relaxed about it, maybe it was just because she was easy with it. We went out for lunch for the first time, when she had been only a couple of weeks old. Since that we have been to restaurants at any time and any place. Simply when we felt like it. We never chose the restaurant for it´s family friendly characteristics either. We chose what we liked.
And thankfully our baby boy Jarle is exactly as easy about it. So we can still enjoy, what we love most besides our tv series and movies - food!
So, the day before yesterday, we tried out the first real family friendly restaurant, that also calls itself a family restaurant, which goes by the name of "The Kidchen". It had its opening about two weeks ago and it is still brand new.
The restaurant has a special chef de cuisine, namely Jens Dannenfeld, who has owned two Michelin stars during his career and has worked at "L´Escalier", a very well-known top french restaurant here in Cologne. The extraordinary thing about this restaurant, besides good food, is the indoor playground for kids. The concept implies, that parents should have a relaxed dinner, while the kids can play.
The indoor playground is about 600 m^2 big and consists of a playground for babies until the age of 3 and a bigger playground. They have build a big kitchen, so the kids can play like mice in between food (obviously not real food), juice and the like, climb and build towers, play with big pieces of cake parts. I really loved that playground and so did our big girl.
I have to say I was a bit disappointed by the food though, neither did I think it was set up really nicely, especially not for the kids, so my daughter did not have any reason for eating and would rather go on playing, which I thought was not the general idea of the concept. I think it should also stand out for its wonderful and appealing food for the youngsters. Nor did the food for us really satisfy or convince me. I chose the cod fish, which had been served with overly-roasted grains, so I could not eat any of the grains, because they had become bitter. And my husband chose the "Wiener Schnitzel", which had no special twist, nor a perfect potato salad and was not decorated nicely either. It was simply a boring, yet very delicious and tender Schnitzel. The desert was nothing extraordinary either. We had the "Kaiserschmarrn" and the chocolate mousse, both was good, but not extraordinary food.
The staff was really nice, they tried convincing our daughter to eat, so she could have her desert. They were helpful and attentive.
They have also put a lot of thought in the needs of parents with children, so you can find a special nursing space, a changing table and kid´s chairs in different heights for babies and kids at the restaurant. Also they have a great selection of lemonades.
Furthermore there were only two families besides us visiting at that time, so I think you could kindly expect the chef or sous-chef to come out after dinner, if they were only open for two weeks, in order to ask personally, how we had enjoyed our dinner. But it is of course not a necessity.
So, will I go there again? Zoë really enjoyed herself and I think they will definitely improve themselves, so yes. I would go there again. But next time, we will bring some friends.
Next to music, my biggest passion is my kids. I am sure everyone can say that about their kids, but mine really are the most important things in my life! They bring me constant joy and occasionally worries, but in the end, I wouldn’t want to miss one single second.
My big girl is turning three this year and my son is just 3 months old. I think that´s the perfect age difference between them and hope they´ll able to really interact more and play with one another soon.
When I am asked, what it's like with two kids, my standard answer is: "it is challenging."
It really is challenging and I keep asking myself, why when I was a first time mom, did I feel exactly the same way?
First time mom
When I became a mother for the first time, my whole life changed. Before motherhood, my life was all about work - staying up late, sleeping in on the weekends if I did not have to work, etc. and then life changed A LOT! Today I rarely watch an episode of my favorite tv shows from the end to beginning - I tend to fall asleep after 5-10 minutes tops.
Flashback to three years ago... My life was all about: "when will I shower or will I even get to shower?"; "will I be able to have breakfast/lunch/dinner?"; "when can I get my make up done and will I ever look like a normal person again without food or baby spit-up/vomit stains?"
Let´s just say that after a while I got so relaxed about it, that I no longer cared what others thought, all I cared about was that the baby and I were happy.
In all honesty I was worried about a lot of things in the beginning. Having no experience with kids, I held a baby once, never changed a diaper, and never had to calm a baby down. I was simply inexperienced and insecure. Fortunately, I learned that a baby tells you exactly what it needs and when. And even if you are a bit overwhelmed at times (positively and negatively), you instinctually know how to handle the situation and your baby will be grateful for your love, care, and attention; so it will forgive your minor mistakes. What makes this period even more special, is that you grow with your child and with each experience and life challenge, you are both facing it together.
What to get and what not to
I think most parents get (buy, are gifted, or just acquire) too much stuff for their newborns. We probably did too. Most important of course, is clothing. Summer basics should consist of 6 long sleeved bodies, 4 short sleeved bodies, 1-2 light cardigans of some sort and a light pullover, 2-3 pairs of leggings or light pants, 2 pairs of leggings with feet, 3 pairs of socks, 1 pair of wool socks, 1 blanket, 2 pairs of rompers and 1 sleeping bag. Just bear in mind, that even though it´s Summer, it´s better to get clothing that you can layer, as it might get cold and babies need a little more warmth.
Another important “first” is a baby sling or stroller, though I would not recommend using a BabyBjörn or Manduca before the baby has reached 6 months of age.
Also worth considering is adequate diaper or clothing changing space and maybe a crib that you can attach right to your bed. The latter can be useful during the night to bring your baby into your bed for feeding, care and comfort with the benefits of sleeping close to the baby, but without the worries associated with co-sleeping.
For the moments in between feedings I would recommend getting a baby quilt, so you can have your baby lie next to you wherever you are. Having a music box is a plus and can be put on your belly during your pregnancy so the baby recognizes and can find comfort or joy in the melody later.
Other than the abovementioned items, your baby really doesn´t need much, except maybe a rattle or one of those wonderful “grip and play” Oballs by Rhino toys.
Mom of two children - new challenges
All of a sudden you can be confronted with funny or surreal situations such as both kids screaming, whining or crying at the same time, and these moments will make you want to bump your head against the wall.
If you are lucky, your firstborn child is in the middle of his/her defiance or rebellious phase. This will present you with the challenge of coping with an exaggeration of its kind. Our big girl´s defiance phase has grown exponentially since the little guy was born! In a flash you have a screaming and crying child next to you, who is overwhelmed by its own feelings and trying to understand what is going on. At least in this regard, our daughter is coping fine. Some days it is easier for me to stay calm than others, but at the end, it is a phase that will be over at some point. Right?!
When you have one child you have to establish some sort of schedule to give the child some consistency; this supports you in building up their self-esteem, and gives them the security of a reoccurring somewhat predictable, daily routine. This meant my husband and I making a conscious effort to have breakfast, lunch and dinner at almost the same time and trying to stay on the same schedule for activities, groceries or the like. We were never strict about it though, and let our princess decide for herself when she had to lie down for a nap or when she wanted to go to bed. We took her everywhere with us and she was fine with it.
But with two kids everything changes. The importance of a routine has become even more important than ever. Because if we don’t stick to it on a daily basis, the older child is at risk of being late for kindergarten.
I don´t know how others manage it, but I struggle in the mornings, getting the two of them, plus myself ready. Having one child means having a child that will also easily adapt to your schedule. Having two children basically means, you have to adjust your schedule to the children and be very strict about the routine. Sticking to this is good for the bigger child´s self esteem and sense of structure. Thankfully for us, we still manage to take both of them everywhere we go, whether it´s out to dinner, concerts or theater plays.
We were aware of the possibility that our daughter could feel dethroned by the new child, since our attention and focus would no longer be solely on her and that she might try to act out or misbehave to get it back. Within our circle of friends we have learned that sometimes this comes with the kind of behavior NO parent would approve of. And in such cases, one should be thankful if your child does not direct its rage and grief against the newborn.
Thankfully our big girl did not and seems to enjoy having another little person in the house.
I guess what I want to say is….it´s ok to feel overwhelmed and it is ok to feel overpowered; this is something I have to constantly remind myself. But every day, I am overjoyed to have two of the most wonderful human beings (besides my husband) around me everyday.
The next song has been around for quite some time now, but somehow it just fits here perfectly.
Trufflepig. Talentscout. Music Advisor. Booking Agent. Singer. Mother of Two. Wife. Artist. Trendsetter. Muse. Fashion Addict. Starry-eyed idealist. Hobby Psychologist. World Traveller.