Wednesday, 25 February 2009

American Baby

Today marks a milestone in Crumpet's life: she is officially a dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Other Half and I ventured into London with her for the first time (an experience in itself) for an appointment at the U.S. Embassy to report her birth and apply for her U.S. passport. From now on, she'll enjoy the best -- and the worst -- of both worlds. Even if she never sets foot on American soil (impossible, since we're headed back to NC this spring, but theoretically...), she will still have to file income tax. And, if she were a boy, she would be liable for the draft. But I certainly think the benefits outweigh these little inconveniences.

Our visit to the embassy was an interesting one. We arrived earlier than our 2:00 appointment, so we decided to take a walk through Grosvenor Square to kill some time. Unfortunately, it was as we strolled past the imposing statue of Roosevelt that The Other Half received an unwelcome present from one of the feathered residents of the square. He took it as a sign. Security was quite tight, as you can imagine, and they confiscated our mobile phones, keys, and camera and even made The Other Half take a sip from each of the water bottles we had brought with us. Once inside the embassy, we waited for nearly two hours (twice as long as the web site had said to plan to wait). Crumpet, who had been asleep since we left a Pizza Express for lunch, suddenly woke up just before we went through security and was very smiley and happy. But as we waited in line inside, I suddenly smelled something a bit ripe coming from her pram. Sure enough, it was at that moment that she decided to do one of the messiest, smelliest poos she has done in weeks. I took that as a sign. But, luckily, she was well-behaved throughout the rest of the appointment, and we left with an (officially) American baby. She slept soundly on the way home (never flinching at the announcements on the Tube or the jostling of the carriage on the Victoria line or the constant opening and closing of the doors), and it was only as we were on the bus on the last leg of the journey that she kicked off because she was hungry.

Navigating London's public transport system was a feat in itself and required a kind of military precision. I had the route well planned ahead of time, but that didn't make handling a pram on the Tube any easier or fighting our way through the crowds on Oxford Street any more enjoyable. Traveling into London with a baby really makes me empathetic to those who are handicapped because the London Underground is not wheelchair- or pushchair-friendly. Still, we managed, and although I don't plan on taking Crumpet into London that often while she's still little (it's just too much of a hassle and leaves me far too stressed and exhausted to actually enjoy the experience), the journey did make me a bit more confident if we have to do it again.

When I was a kid and I imagined what my future life would be like when I was a grown up, I couldn't have pictured myself living across the ocean with an English husband and an English/American baby. Life takes us in many different directions and never ceases to amaze me.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Channeling My Inner Earth Mother

The weaning stage is upon us. After several weeks of sleepless nights that have been worse than when Crumpet was a newborn, I have decided to introduce solids into her diet. For the past week, I have been skinning sweet potatoes, pitting peaches, and blitzing bananas in preparation. No jarred food for me (unless we're traveling, of course). Not that I have anything against those cute little jars (in fact, I quite like looking at the smiling face of the Gerber baby), but, honestly, how long does it really take to boil and blend a few carrots? At least this way I know exactly what goes into Crumpet's food. I don't have to worry about it being sweetened with apple juice or have polysyllabic oils added to it. Besides, I question anything that has a shelf life of two years. And I figure I'll be saving a small fortune this way. At 60p a jar, I'll probably end up throwing most of it away anyway, since Crumpet will probably take two bites if I'm lucky. When a whole bag of carrots costs about 40p, there's no comparison. Maybe I'll suggest to The Other Half that we use the savings for a holiday somewhere sunny (I'm ignoring the fact that that flies in the face of my whole money-saving venture in the first place...).

So we now have a section of the freezer specifically devoted to Crumpet's food. I have cubes of apple, pear, sweet potato, plum, and other yummy treats just waiting for her to enjoy... and spit out and chuck on the floor! It's all part of the fun of it, I suppose.

It's surprising how excited I've gotten over "mush," as The Other Half puts it. Annabel Karmel would be proud.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Winter Wonderland

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...