Thursday, April 26, 2012

Doctor's Office

I've taken the boys to the Pediatrician in Garching twice since we got here. The first time was your typical meet the Dr. type of appointment. The second time was because James went from peeing 3-5 times a day to saying he had to go every 5 minutes, and crying for me to take him to the potty half the night. I was worried he had some kind of bladder infection.  Anyway I thought it might be interesting to point out some of the differences between this pediatrician and the ones I've seen in the US. Of course, it may be that this particular Dr. is different, or it may be that German Dr.'s in general are different. I'm not sure.

I got the referral for our Dr. from an American friend, so I knew he spoke English before we went there. I called his office shortly after we had our insurance in place and asked the receptionist if she spoke english. She told me not very much, but my German was so good, we could speak in German. (hahaha) I explained that "do you speak english" was the only thing I knew how to say in German, so she tried to talk to me in English. It didn't go very well. I think she didn't understand why I was calling if my kids weren't sick. Finally she offered me an appointment, which is what I wanted, so we agreed on a time, I wrote it down, and I hung up. As the day of the appointment approached I got kind of confused, the day of the week I had written down did not match with the date I had written down, so I called to confirm the appointment. This time I got a different receptionist. She spoke better English, and was able to tell me very plainly that we were no where in their system and I did not have an appointment. She scheduled me a new appointment a few weeks out.

When I took the boys everyone was really nice, and the Dr.'s English was sufficient. He used a lot of German phrases, when talking to the kids, and I would have to rephrase things sometimes when he didn't understand what I was getting at, but the kids seemed to like him. The office wasn't very busy, and the wait time was reasonable. Really the only things that stuck out to me as being a little different were the waiting room, and the exam room. There were a bunch of toys in the waiting room, and a ladder for climbing attached to the wall. I've never seen a climbing ladder in a Dr.'s office before. The exam room just seems different to me, but I'm not totally sure why. Maybe the way the table is set up. And the fact that they didn't put down any of that weird exam table paper stuff.

James scaling the waiting room ladder.

Rocking horses in the waiting room

Exam table

Exam room (the boys were obsessed with trying to turn the computer off. Longest 15 minutes ever waiting for the Dr. to come in!)

As always happens the day I decided James' pee issue was not clearing up on it's own was a Friday, so we only had one day to get him to the Dr. before the weekend. I called the office first thing Friday morning and got a hold of one of the English speaking ladies in the office. She heard the word "infection" and said they could get him in that morning. She told me to come in between 10 and 11 and they would try to squeeze him in to see the Dr. I've never had such an open ended non-appointment before, but I was happy to get him seen before the weekend, so I agreed. We got there and she suggested we go for a walk for a while since it might take a long time. This seemed weird to me though since we wouldn't know when they were ready if we were out walking around, so I opted to wait in the waiting room. Unlike the first time we came in, this time the office was very crowded. And all of the kiddos waiting looked sick. After about an hour and a half of waiting, they finally called us back. The dr. asked a few questions, and then told me James would have to pee in a cup. He handed me a plastic cup and pointed us to the bathroom. (yay for a two year old that pees on demand!) About 2 minutes later we emerged from the bathroom with our full cup of urine. There was no lid for the cup, and no discreet little door or spot to leave it in the bathroom. I tried to take it back into the exam room, but the Dr. saw me and told me to take it to receptionist/nurse/whatever at the desk. Weird. Anyway, I handed her the pee and then tried to return to the exam room when she told us we needed to go back in the waiting room to wait. I didn't realize our "appointment" was over and had left all our stuff in the exam room. The Dr. was already seeing more patients, so the receptionist/nurse/whatever went in and got my diaper bag and stuff and we went back to the waiting room. About 20 minutes later that dr. called us out into the lobby where he told me the test was normal and it must be some weird thing that would get better on it's own. And it did. Thank goodness.

Anyway, I wouldn't say the experience was "bad" but it was definitely different than anything I've experienced before. Maybe this is just the difference between a big practice and one with just one Dr., and not the difference between Germany and the US. I'm not sure. 

Hopefully we'll be able to stay away from the Dr. aside from yearly check-ups, but if not, it's good to have a relationship established with a Dr. who speaks fairly good English!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


My little guys are getting to be such good friends; it's really fun to watch. David has a special smile that lights up his face when James comes into view. At nap time I typically lay down with him and nurse him to sleep while James either lays on his bed or plays quietly I can always tell when James has crawled up behind me and is peeking at David, because David's expression and countenance change dramatically. He'll go from being nearly asleep to having this big grin on his face and attempting to spring out of my arms. It's adorable.

Since David doesn't really talk yet, James is constantly "translating" his grunts and points for us. "David wants to go outside", "David's hungry, "David doesn't want to go to sleep","David wants to pretend your a horse", etc. Sometimes James is really being considerate and trying to help his brother out, other times he's just using David to get what he wants. Even so, it's really sweet the way he includes David.

They've started to play together. Some of the games are equally fun for both of them, and some of them are a little bit of James terrorizing David. Like when he pretends David is a dragon and chases after him with a trash can lid trying to "train" him. Of course with playing together comes a good bit of fighting, it's funny how appealing a toy can look when your brother is playing with it.

When David wakes up from nap, James is always the first one to run to the room and get him up. If David wakes up first in the morning, he will run to James' room to wake him up. He can hardly contain his excitement over this task. James, in spite of being woken up by a shrieking bouncy toddler, always responds with a big grin and thanks to David for coming to get him. He often tells David how "proud" he is of him for coming to see him.

The cutest part about their relationship though is the way they love on each other. If James is sad, David will run to find him his blankie and cat. If David is sad, James will run to find him his (James') blankie and cat. If James makes a cozy spot and goes to lay in it, David will follow him and try to lay their too. They always seem to have lots of hugs and kisses for each other. I think it's a huge gift, as a mother, to get to watch your boys grow into such good friends!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nap time dates

Having recently moved to a new country, finding a reliable babysitter to watch our kids for regular date nights has been hard. We almost always left our kids in the arms of loving family members back in the US. We were spoiled by that, and it has been hard to replace. Luckily we've come up with a solution, that  is working really well. Nap time dates! Before you go calling social services on me (or whatever it's called in Germany) I don't mean we leave our kids alone during nap time. We have been loading them up in the stroller during nap-time and bringing them on our dates with us. They doze peacefully and we go for walks, and visit beer gardens, or outdoor cafés. It's good on all accounts, we don't spend nearly as much money as we would on a fancy dinner or a movie, but we do get out of the house, and get to spend some uninterrupted time together.

Last Saturday we took our napping boys to the Englisher garden and the biergarten there. When they woke up we let them out of the stroller to run around for a while, and then we all came back home. I wish we had taken pictures, it was such a lovely day, things are really starting to bloom and leaf out here, and the weather was perfect. We even saw a mother duck and ducklings on the lake.

In addition to weekend nap time dates, we've started taking the kids for evening walks. We get them all ready for bed and then slip them into their fußsacks in the stroller. It allows us to have some quality conversation time, and helps the kids wind down before bed. If we're lucky, they fall asleep in the stroller, and we don't have to fight them to get them to fall asleep when we get home! Once the weather gets nicer, we could probably go on "bedtime dates" at restaurants or cafés with outdoor seating.

I'm pretty grateful to have discovered this little trick, it's making things feel just a little bit easier, and a little more comfortable.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


We had a great Easter yesterday! It was the last day of Kevin and Sandy's visit, so we had lots of family time together. We woke up to snow covering the ground, so we mostly spent the day inside, but it was still fun.

We made colored eggs, and James was so excited about it. Even though we didn't really let him do much, he was so happy with the results and just loved the whole experience.

We tried to find plastic eggs for our easter egg hunt, but we couldn't find any here, so we used the hardboiled eggs that we dyed. James was much better at finding eggs this year. I set them out in fairly obvious spots and he found them all in about 2 seconds. We had to make him stop searching for a minute so David could find one. The look on David's face when he put that egg in his basket was priceless!

We didn't do a big easter dinner with ham and everything, but the boys did get chocolate bunnies!

By the time we headed to church in the afternoon, most of the snow had melted. The sermon at church was great. All in all, it was a pretty wonderful Easter!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


We've been very busy this last week with Dylan's parents. Since it was so cold when we first arrived, and Dylan went straight to work, we really haven't done a lot of sightseeing; so we're finally making up for lost time!

We visited the Deutches museum on Friday where James was awed by the large boats, airplanes, and musical instruments. David slept through most of the museum, but after he woke up we checked out the "kids kingdom". It was great! They had a firetruck set up that the kids could climb on, a big pit full of extra large legos, some water display type things, musical instruments the kids could play, and a ton of other stuff. It was really fun!

On Saturday we headed to the Englischer garden and the Chinesischer Biergarten for some brewskys. I had a Radler which is mix of light beer and lemonade (sprite). It was surprisingly good. So fun!

(Thanks to Kevin for the pictures! I never remember my own camera...)