I’m getting lots of time to study and practice being a dad these days. Not that you can really rely on books or blogs to help, but it can’t hurt to research, and besides I don’t have much else going on. Most days are spent figuring out what we really need for bubs, and then where we can get it and save euros! I am now officially an expert on kinderwagens, dutch for pram, but not the sort of orange and chrome 70’s pram I was probably pushed around in, but the new lightweight uber-designed transformer pram, that with just a few swift clicks and clacks (and the occasional bad word), turns into a push-chair, or a travel bed, or car seat with optional espresso machine.
After checking out a few lightly used options on line, we jumped in the parents car, and went to test drive some in person… The first stop was a reminder of how varied peoples lifestyles, and used kinderwagen opinions can be. We’re not unrealistic, we knew we were going to check out a pre-loved baby machine, so we weren’t expecting the original plastic to be on the cushions, but we were also not expecting to be met at the back gate by a slobbering bulldog and a gypsy with fag hangin out her mouth, not that I have anything against gypsys mind, for our american friends think trailer park…. Needless to say, after giving the roller the once over and deciding the collection of dog hair and dust painstakingly stored in every available crack wasn’t in the list of accessories we were aspiring to acquire, we kindly said we’d think it over and weaved our way through the dog doo back to the gate and jumped in the car, laughing!
Not that it was a complete waste of time…. the ashtray was more useful than just helping us to see the other side of the neighbour from hells fence, but it also let us inspect one of the models we had been looking at online in 3D. The result, we changed tacks, and decided we would check out a different flavour the next time, one without the baby seat/coffee maker, that we would probably never use and definitely not get on the plane without a second mortgage, and get the more streamlined baby racer, that still offered the pram, the push chair and a very important off-road option. Anyone who has watched a mexican mum trying to push a baby down the street will understand, think trolley boy meets gutter grate!
Round 2 proved more fruitful… The previous owners had owned it since new (1 previous owner, bonus), and although the proudly admitted they hadn’t cleaned it, thinking instead that we would want to do that ourselves, the whole setup was almost clean enough to eat your stewed apple lunch off of. In fact, several of the bonus bits and pieces, hadn’t even been used – the easily velcroed in place carry bag, the winter baby warmer thingy and another piece… as yet we still haven’t figured that one out…. obviously not important…
Needless to say we snapped it up, were given a crash course in kinderwagen transformer moves, and loaded it into the car for the first, but far from the last time. It now sits proudly under the stairs next to the car seat we have been loaned while we’re here and the baby carrier we figure we’ll use most of the time, especially getting off and on the boat. After looking at several different designs, we ended up with one that will cover the lil one from newborn through to 3/4, even giving us the option to use it as a backpack, no substitute for shoulder rides, they’re obviously part of the over all plan as well!
We’ve also already had several appointments re bubs. Two with the midwife and another with the Kraamzorg, kind of like the plunket in NZ. Basically its a nurse that comes to visit once the baby arrives to help out with whatever needs doing, checking on the baby and teaching you what you need to know, great for first timers like us! Here in Holland you have the option of up to 49 hours of help if you want/need it, we opted to only get 3 hours a day for a week as we are both going to be here, and of course we have Sabine’s parents to help too, but we thought it would be good to get plenty of advice from the experts , and it costs us next to nothing.
That is one of the many reasons we changed our original plan of having the baby in Mexico and decided to come to Holland. If we had been able to get our long term visas in order, the Mexican health care system would have cost us about $500USD all going well – there’s the kicker “all going well” . Without the social healthcare we needed to go private, that bumps the price up to $3500 USD, again “all going well” which of course it will, but if any complications arose in Mexico, the price could easily get out of hand. Flip to the other side of the world, and the only expense we have is €300 for the hospital, regardless of whether there are complications or not. Add to that, all the family and friends here, and it kind of becomes a no brainer!