A week ago now since I’ve posted something. Actually a long time, according to my plans. But during the week a lot of things were happening. It was nice, exciting and definitely exhausting. What took most of our time was the preparation of the flat so it could be taken over by the new tenants for the time we are gone. And the first week of being a stay-at-home dad.

Lessons learned

Friday was my last day at work, auto-reply was activated and I’m really looking forward to disconnect for some time now. Even though the people in the project and the project itself were fantastic, I noticed that it’s time for a break now to focus quite a bit more on what really matters. In the first couple of days I already noticed how little I saw and knew about Niklas. It’s weird, but while working I didn’t notice it so much.

The Saturday started quite nicely and we went to a Christmas party of some Swedish-speaking friends of Annika, enjoying Finnish christmas food and their company. We all have children and it was nice getting them together to play. Unfortunately, in the morning I found myself waiting in the emergency clinic because a tiny scratch got pretty badly infected and grew into a major wound. So I was not much help preparing the food or the party.

Sunday was a kick-start into my paternity leave. Annika was sick and couldn’t join me for the christmas markets to meet my colleagues and friends. So I went with both children alone and yes, it was quite a challenge. But I learned a lot that day.

  * Niklas sleeps perfectly well if you're outside and things are moving.
  * He doesn't sleep well if you try to feed him when he is not hungry and having a conversation.
  * He likes the bottle if you're patient.

Shortly after everybody was about to leave, Niklas fell asleep, I could drink my coffee, and spend a wonderful afternoon with Linnéa, her camera, brez’n and a christmas market.

Monday I had my company’s Christmas party, which was really nice. I woke up far too early with a hangover after almost a year of abstinence and quite some program for the day. I had to go with both children to the doctor’s to complete their vaccination program, and having a check-up on Niklas. Because of a flu, they couldn’t do the vaccination on him, but Linnéa got her shot. But a needle and a 3-year-old disliking needles and mistrusting doctors in general is not a good combination. Anyway, it was quite ok. After bringing her to the kindergarten, I went with Niklas in the bike trailer to sign the health insurance contract, which we need living abroad for such a long time. The rest of the week was mostly about getting the flat ready, even though I still  have one parental highlight to share. Linnéa had a tiny little hole in her tooth after eating sweet desserts for more than 3 months in the new kindergarten on a daily basis. Meaning, we had to go to the dentist. We had a huge father-daughter discussion, which ended in tears. She didn’t want to let the dentist remove the caries, even though the doctor was really, really nice. She showed her everything, from the camera she used for taking a picture of the bad tooth to all the other instruments. But Linnéa didn’t believe that it wouldn’t hurt. She didn’t want to give her finger to try out the instruments either. I got angry, she got sad, and the tooth is still not fixed. Not successful.

In general the first week was good. I felt what I was missing before without even noticing it. Linnéa is (still :)) so happy having me around all the time, and it means quite a lot to me. Before, I thought that I saw them quite a lot and spent almost every moment at the weekend around them. But it’s nothing compared to now. Annika still needs some time to trust me completely with all the stuff which has to be done. And for her it’s a big change, too. She was used to having the little one at her side basically 247. Now it changes quite a bit. But I’m sure it’s good for all of us. And I’m happy!

Preparing the flat

Besides all the things we did with the kids, we had to prepare the flat so it can be taken over by the new tenants for the 8 months ahead. We thought it might be quite some work. We didn’t expect it to be that much. We didn’t want to keep personal stuff like photo albums, or Linnéa’s toys and stuffed animals there. So we packed them into boxes and brought them to my colleague’s home, who was kind enough to let us store 9 boxes in their basement. Further we had to clean and sort all our stuff and rooms, change the toilet seat, as it had been partially broken for quite some time, returning empty bottles, emptying closets etc, and most of all packing our stuff we need for our tour. It ended with building new shelves and almost absurd constructions in our basement, and with being all but rested before driving the whole 600 kilometers to my parents with a rental.

All in all we were exhausted at the end of Friday. We wanted to leave around 18:00, but couldn’t do so before 21:30. While preparing we were stressed, grumpy and not relaxed at all. But we got it done. We went to Paffendorf and arrived Saturday morning, 4:30 to start the first part of our upcoming adventure.