Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Trolley strollying in Stockholm

Our first stroller was a traditional robust Emmaljunga - in baby transportation world Emmaljunga is what Volvo is in the car world! As first time parents we naturally wanted what we thought would be the best for our little miracle. Every thought of a fancy three wheel model was something we managed to surpress successfully.

As we strolled around the streets of Stockholm with our new black (this discrete low profile colour is Stockholmers absolute favourite) Emmaljunga we felt really mature and secure. Not that the strolley had been cheap - our daugther has a generous grandfather - but we considered us a bit wiser and down-to-earth than people with the flashy three weel strollers. Until something connecting the wheel broke the first time. We had it fixed but it happened a few more times besides some other annoying problems. Now we aren't as impressed about our stroller as we once where.

Besides our Emmaljunga we have a cheap light-weight easy travel stroller. It's a must-have especially when travelling by airplane as it's a complete suicide mission for strollers. I think I've heard that the airlines calculate that one out of ten strollers are damaged in the luggage handling and thus they adjust their insurances to this. But how fun is it dealing with these things after a beautiful vacation. So it's better having one that you don't really have to care about so much.

As if two strollers wheren't enough we now need a third one - a duo stroller! In one month we'll be a two-kids family and as both kids will be less than 1.5 years they'll both be needing to be transported around. This time we'll be considering also the fancier models in our stroller hunt. We're basically faced with two options - a budget or a luxury model! And the differences in price are quite impresseive. Here is a price example from a nearby shop which we've considered, it includes an extra carrycot for the baby to lie in:
8.695 Skr + 1.895 Skr = 10.590 Skr
3.495 Skr + 995 Skr = 4.490 Skr

The budget model is less than half price!! As there are more things in life than strolling around the streets with a luxury strolley, we think the decision should be easy! Let me add that the prices in the second hand market for the luxury models in Stockholm are really high, and the budget models are so cheap in the first place so second hand is not really an option for us.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Un-social democratic health care?

Again this morning I read in one of the major morning papers in Sweden about the huge problems around medical care in relations with childbirth. This time it's about Inadequate intensive care in Stockholm. The last half year the intensive divisions have been full at Karolinska University Hospital (which my family is belonging to), there's been no margins and the child intensive division hasn't been an exception. Patients in need have been denied intensive care due to a lack of hospital places and died as a consequense of this.

So, last week many chiefs and intensive care doctors at Karolinska University Hostpital (read: whos had enough) has presented the situation when it comes to intensive care in a report to the hospital board; If the patients get any care at all, many have to leave the nursing ward ahead of planned time with worsened possibility of supervision during the most critical period. The same patients must be moved back to the intensive care division or transferred to other hospitals with riskful transportations as a result. Also intensive care operations are postponed. Reasons for the hospital place shortage has according to the same report been unusually many infants this year who've been affected by the RS-virus with need of intensive care respiration as well as personnel shortage.

To me these reasons are just symptoms of a collapsing national medical care! I have discussed reasons for this in a previous post, read about Swedish GBS infection handling. However, I think it's a paradox that the Swedish medical care is so catastrophic when it has been built and maintained by a s-o-c-i-a-l d-e-m-o-c-r-a-t-i-c regime? Shouldn't social democratic policy be about social security to all the nations citizens, with issues such as childbirth as a top priority? I'm still hestitant about how to vote in the national election this year but I know at least one party who'll most definitely not get a vote from me!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Baby Boy Name Ponderings

It's not as we're panicing ... we still have plenty of time since there's up to three months after the baby's delivery to report a name to the Swedish Tax Autority (yes, these are the dudes handling our personal numbers, names etc besides tax issues). I don't know what people think when they repeatedly ask if we've found suitable names for the baby. I don't believe they expect us to have a long list still they seem to feel sorry for us when we say we have none. We realise it would be really comfortable to have made up ones mind about at least a few names before the baby's arrival, and that it'll probably not just "become clear as we see him". So we've tried really hard to come up with at least a couple of names but so far none has really felt evident. Most people seem to have come up with a few names on their baby name lists already from their chĂ­ldhood. We've no names like that. Instead we've gone through our family names on our Hungarian, Greek and Finnish sides and searched through Swedish name stastistics besides a wide range of other resources ! But as every name we consider need to be tested with questions such as: Will the name fit with the other names in our international family? Can it be used internationally? Do we loooove to use the name? Does the name reflect the baby's personality? and so on, most names have been abandoned. The few survivals are: Hugo, Marcus, Theodor and Leopold, but we're far from certain yet.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wool quiz

It's always fun to be a bit introspective and objective about oneself. Perhaps one can learn something new? Here is a really serious personality test which reveals what type of yarn you are. Weeeell, let's try it out:

You are a traditional sort who can sometimes be a little on the harsh side.
Though you look delicate you are tough as nails and prone to intricacies.
Despite your acerbic ways you are widely respected and even revered.

What kind of yarn are you?
What can one say? Though I don't have any shetland wool yarn in my stash it seems I'm like this traditional yarntype! And, my husband says the result isn't so bad after all!

Airy livingroom

Our TV has now been removed from our home and we've been rewarded with a more spacious and relaxing living room! This is the corner where the monstruous energy sucking machine (thank heaven there are flat screens nowadays) was piled up on an ungainly and ugly TV-furniture! Now it has instead become a light and airy one!

Anthea hasn't even noticed it's gone, instead she's become a much more relaxed and present little person. I think we understand her better now and what this TV thing was all about. She's recently developed into a much more social person who needs to be around other kids. As she's still home with her father who's on paternity leave we now need to think of more ways of giving her the opportunity to come together with kids her age.

Have I been able to leave my hands from knitting? Almost yes! Yesterday I couldn't resist making this really, really small project (promise!) though. And I don't think it made any greater harm to my hands. But yes I know, I must be careful not to provoke the stupid "karpaltunnelsyndrom" to reappear during this pregnancy. However, I made a hand puppet dog, size toddler ++, for my daughter. It was really quick and easy to make.

This weekend we had a few + degrees Celcius in Stockholm. Still it's icy and really cold outdoors and since my daughter is too small to enjoy playing on an icy ground our activities must still mostly be focused on things you can do indoors.

Yesterday when my mom was over to play with Anthea she brought some tulips. I think I've developed a crawing for them this spring. Not ever have I needed to be reminded of the coming spring as much as this year. And tulips really help me keep up the hope!!

Monday, March 20, 2006

On Individual Responsibility

Today I read in one of the largest swedish morning papers about Swedish GBS infection handling. Thirty per cent of all women carries the Group B Streptococcus bacteria and in fifty per cent of every delivery it is transferred to the baby. One out of five hundred gets ill, it's app ninty babies per year. Without treatment there is up to one hundred per cent mortality. GBS can easily be screened on pregnant women and if found treated successfully with antibiotics. This is normal procedure in many contries such as US, Australia, Spain and France. But not in Sweden, and the question is why?

WHY is Sweden not giving it's citizens best quality medical treatment when it comes to important areas such as childbirth as well as for example cancer, mental illness? Last ten-fifteen years most of us Swedes have experienced many examples from our immediate surroundings where we've seen that the system doesn't work satisfactory anymore. One of my sisters who's mentally ill does not get much more than pills though she needs so much more. I'm completely panicing when it comes to my coming delivery. Will there be a hospital room available at my nearest hospital or will I be directed to another hospital? I was directed to a hospital kind of far from where we live last time I gave birth and the prognoses are even worse this year. I don't want to travel far with the risk of giving birth on the motorway the day my baby boy wants to arrive! There are many more examples. As far as I can remember we've expected full medical care from our national medical service system as we've had a history of paying tons of taxes and thought of Sweden as being an exemplary welfare state. And, the taxes has not decreased the last thirty years rather constantly increased.

WHY has Sweden not managed to diverge tax money back to its citizens in an effective way? Shouldn't medical care be one top priority in a functioning welfare state? I believe the reason is a political system error which can be described with social democratic policy that we've had for more than seventy years. A policy based on values such as the collective rather than the individual. In order to maintain such a value system more and more money have needed to be diverged to areas handling for example unemployment, long-term illness etc. Today we have one million Swedes in working age (we have totally sligtly less than six million people in working age) who does not go to work everyday since they are unemplyed, long-term ill etc. Many of these are dependent on government subsidies and most likely will vote for the same system they're so dependent on all over again.

I believe Swedish government needs a change in its policy value basis. The focus should be on actions that would help individuals fulfill their dreams; most of all facilitate emplyment! The result would be happier and healthier people! I'm not sure though that the Swedish people is mature or strong enough to see its need of a more individual focused policy. We speak of ourselves as a people who care about the rejected, we want everyone to be treated equal and so forth. Many believe this is what is being "social democratic" and for many people social democratic policy is equivalent with what constitutes the Swedish national identity. Moving towards a more pure liberal democracy would for them mean abandoning these values not understanding that much of these ideas actually are liberal in it's origin.

However, my hope is that we all stop relying so much on the system and that we take our individual responsibilities for our lives, families, neighbourhood, community (geographical or virtual), nation, region and globally in the given order. This way there's some hope we'll see some changes that will be benefical for everyone - I'm sure!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A peek at Baby collection 2006 - Drops Designs

I had a peek at Drops Designs 2006 baby collection and I really liked what I saw. Most Drops Design patterns are only written in Nordic languages though a few are translated into English every now and then. However, the models are made using Garnstudions yarns that are of fairly good quality for a reasonable price. The Drops Design team would like to have our input before they decide which of these models to include in the pattern collection. Thus I've voted for and commented on the top models that I hope will be included in the future catalogue. If youl'd like to influence the selection of models you shouldn't hesitate to participate too! Many models of the collection would be perfect for my baby boy to come, these are my favourites:

Truly qute kit and a bit grown-up type of cardi model for the little professor!

Simple and practical models and look at the elegant scarf.

I dig these multicoloured cardis and the trousers!

Fancy cardi and must-make blankets!

Give-away toys perhaps, and trendy kit with cardi and boots.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

No more TV

- TV and DVD is a fantastic babysitter sometimes when we need some time and space for ourselves.
- We're aware about the warnings from psychologists about small children watching TV but we believe it's better with a happy parent than with an exhausted.

Most of the people around us who have small children use TV as a temporary babysitter. Doing so seems to be the most natural thing in the world for many worn-out parents, and we are not an exception. Lately I've observed some alarming tendencies though from my daugthers side which has to do with her Teletubbies and Pingu watching habits. Nowadays I find her wining about Pingu in front of the TV every time she feels a bit bored. Also I think she finds some strange kind of comfort from her TV-watching. When she's sad of some reason her first impulse is often to run to the TV, as if it could give her some happines. Besides this I'm sure she gets stressed up by this passive activity when she instead could be playing around or just chilling-out!

We've decided to do something concrete about this problem. We'll now get rid of our TV! Both me and my husband are used to not having TV for longer periods in our lives, so it is not a hard decision for us. Of course as a small childrens parent it is perfect with all kinds of home entertainment. But really, there are so many other creative things we'd prefer doing anyhow. And most of all, we'll feel much more confident that we are trying our best in giving our daughter the best possible upbringing!

ALSO, as a bonus we will get a much nicer spacier living room!

Friday, March 10, 2006

March mama therapy

- Everything about my beautiful husband
and daughter!
- Tulips on the kithchen table - wish I could speed spring to come pronto !!!
- Writing a small (University) paper about EU:s external policy
- Shopping, shopping - it's always the best instant gratification!
- Well made food!
- Sleep
BUT most of all
- I want baby nr two to "arrive" soon, I can't remember ever being this heavy with baby nr one and it's still nearly two months left.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A Linen Shawl, perhaps

When browsing through my list of "Other Knit Bloggers" I came across a super chich cardigan designed by the author of the blog My Fashionable Life. Not sure if I ever dare to go for this project, it seems a bit advanced for me but I would happily wear it if I had it in my possession!

Just gorgeous cardi fantastically designed!

I've come over a pattern of the extremely popular Flower Basket Shawl and have thus finally determined to create one for myself this summer. It will either be in wool/mohair/.. or in pure linnen. Linnen would be a bit more heavy but oh so beautiful and perfect to wear with my summer dresses! A woolish type of yarn would probably be as beautiful AND much more light weight BUT, not as useful during warm summer days. I cannot bear the itchy feeling of wool-materials against naked skin, especially during a warm summer day. So, linnen would perhaps be a more interesting choice for this summer. Also I have only wool shawls in my wardrobe at present. Yll & Tyll's tunt linne is a not too expensive linnen yarn and is made in various colours of which I would probably go for "ljus plommonlila", it means something like light plum-lilac.

Perhaps The Shawl for my summer dresses ...

... made in "ljus plommonlila" linnen!

Yesterday my sweet daughter Anthea, husband and I went to Odenplan in Stockholm for some shopping and "fika" at Coffehouse by George. Anthea had a "kanelbulle" which she succeeded to eat almost all of.

Nam, nam ...

The coffehouse is by the way next door with the knitting shop Ljungqvist Garn but we didn't even go for window shopping this day. I guess there's no point in shopping yarn when The Syndrome is awaiting around the corner, see more about this in the previous post.