Maternity Leave with 2.4 children

Europe » Montenegro » Kotor
September 3rd 2010
Published: September 6th 2010
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this week on the map

- crossed through Albania barely leaving a mark - 4 days in and around Kotor, Montenegro - 2 days in and around Dubrovnik, Croatia

I have been asked by my beloved husband, to lose some precious hours of night sleep, for the purpose of writing a blog entry that deals with traveling with two bundles of joy. Instead, since Ariel wakes up every two hours at night to have some yummy mommy-milk, I intend to go to sleep and let these lines write themselves.

Even before Ariel was born, we knew we will have this trip with him. I was shocked the first time Yaron started talking about this trip. It was after the first Ariel’s ultrasound. I had 8 more months to digest this idea.

Getting ready for any trip is difficult but this time it was the most difficult. Trying to think of all the things Liya will need and than trying to imagine the things Ariel will need ( how can I remember what a 3 month old will do and need when he Is only 2 months when we leave?), giving him all the vaccines he needs on time and packing all their summer and winter clothes. All our surroundings (parents, friends and colleagues) where amazed and astonished we are taking a 2 month old baby and a 3 year old to a trip, no matter that the destination is in Europe and not in Africa.

I was worried how it will be to breastfeed him. In Israel, we have dedicated feeding rooms in every shopping mall, and I know it is acceptable to do so publicly in a coffee shop or a restaurant. Since we were about to visit 5 countries with different cultures, beliefs and traditions, I didn’t know how it will go. I can report that up to now, I had no problems. I fed him on the airplane. In Muslim Bosnia, I fed him sitting behind the stroller, hidden near a closed store. Once I even fed him in an a UNESCO protected world heritage church (no, not inside the building - outside) . in every place, I always found a way to do it properly.

One thing we knew we will have to deal with was getting Liya to give away some of her home habits. For example - JUICE, -Who knew they don’t have a strawberry-banana juice?. At home, Liya is addicted to this juice. After trying at least 15 boxes of assorted kinds of juices and 2 brands of juice concentrate, Liya decided that she cleans up and drinks only water. We were very glad.

Traveling the way we do, means that almost every morning we wake up, eat and pack our stuff so we can drive to a new and exciting place. I think Liya understands the trip as traveling from one hotel to the other and doesn’t really comprehend the things on the way.

Ariel, from the day he was born, wakes up smiling in the morning and goes to sleep one hour later. In order to take advantage and drive as far as possible until he wakes, we have to get ready in the car at this hour. We play with him a little, and then put him on the bed. Most of the times, Liya jumps on him yelling:”where is your sister? Arielush!, where am I?” and he enjoys her attention no matter how much she lovingly bruises him. But, there are times that he is completely alone, softly tell us that he wants to sleep while we are doing our best to get us all in to the car. I feel so bad and promise that the next morning we will give him more attention (I don’t always keep this promise)… but although being neglected from time to time, he develops rapidly, laughing, turning from the back to the side and then sending his hand to a toy. He developed a laughing personality and became a true member of the family. in one of the drives I felt so free and sure of myself that I gave him for the first time a Banana puree that I mashed with my fingers and his face of happiness and surprise was amazing

An average car drive begins in the morning with me sitting in the front with Yaron, having some adult conversation and couple-hood time, Ariel tries to sleep and Liya is “reading” a book. After a while, when he wakes up, I move to the back seat and Yaron stays our driver. I turn to be a complete 4 men entertainment team. Between singing the “Cinderella song” , reading a book, pealing an apple, cleaning sticky hands, caressing, kissing, telling for the hundredth time how they were both born, stopping for a dipper change, than stopping for Ariel’s feeding time, then for Liya to go to the toilets, and then for Yaron to take another great photo.

Traveling with Liya is already known to us, following Turkey and the Norway. She too is fully adapted to this mode. This year, she understands so much more and that also made the separation from all the known and familiar harder. Her beloved kindergarten teacher gave her as an end-of-year present - her favorite kindergarten doll called MITZI.With MITZI and 4 loved books, it was easier for here to feel that some things are not changed from what she knows from home.

She learned how to say “thank you” and “please” in English and she say such a cute “tnek you” that everybody smiles at her. At the evening, when all the locals and tourists are out on the street, Liya enjoys to “walk-dance” and to sing all her favorite songs from the end of the year party.She immediately becomes the center of attention in the street. But then, everybody notices Ariel in his carrier and the sounds of surprise and admiration are even louder (it is like he is the first baby they ever saw!). They immediately want to touch him.

Liya is opening to many
Kotor, MontenegroKotor, MontenegroKotor, Montenegro

Liya dressing up for a resort town
different things in this time, like new flavors, different kinds of foods, candies, beds and having almost no routine. She also learning the facts of life. She was very intrigued to find a homeless person on the hotel stairs one night in Bosnia. Or a beggar holding a little girl Liya’s age coming to our table and eventually getting Liya’s uneaten pizza. She asks a lot of questions and repeats them until she fully understands. After a few days, she can suddenly ask us something regarding the beggar, for example, and we understand that these things really occupy her mind. She learned the difference between a mosque, a church and a synagogue and how people pray in each house of God. But was very troubled when a nun gave me a long skirt to wear in an orthodox church in Serbia.

Last year, when she was barely speaking, all she asked each evening when I was looking for a hotel was:” is the hotel good?” now, when I find us a hotel her questions are much more specific :”do I have my own bed? Is there a TV so I can find the baby channel for Ariel?”
Ostorg Monastery,  MontenegroOstorg Monastery,  MontenegroOstorg Monastery, Montenegro

We drove 1.5hr each way for this monastery. We should remember not to drive 1.5hr each way just for a monastery
she is so happy having him with us and told me the other day:” I am so happy we have a baby brother” and when I once told him :”I love you my baby”, she put her hands on her waist and told me in a serious voice:”he is the baby of all the family”

I have read some comments that we look less smiling on the photos and that it looks hard and difficult to travel with them two, this is far from being true, We enjoy every second and cherish those moments. Where and how else, the four of us could be together for 2 month without the hassle of the day to day, Yaron going to work and coming home late and Liya going to the kindergarten. It is a great maternity leave we gave ourselves and we are all getting to know and love Ariel as a very important part of our growing family.

I will finish my blog entry like every entry I write at every trip: please, please remind me to read this blog prior to freaking out before the next long trip we have at my next maternity leave . It is a wonderful experience, full of love and laughs and even when it isn’t always cozy, these are our best days as the Binder family

Shana Tova! , Hag Sameach! Happy new Year!

Additional photos below
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7th September 2010

Beautiful and inspiring
Shanah Tova!
7th September 2010

Wow, what a blog!
Hagit, that's a great post! You write so well, and so frankly. You guys are inspiring, no less! Keep having fun with your 3 kids ;-) Cheers, Ohados
7th September 2010

We love your inspiring blog entries. They give us more than a glimpse at the beautiful places you are visiting and the wonderful experiences you accumulate. We admire your courage and creativity.
8th September 2010

Love it!
I really enjoyed reading this entry. What a beautiful family! And good job on the breastfeeding. It can be really hard to find private places if you're unsure of customs. Thanks for losing sleep to write this!
8th September 2010

you are great
Love and kisses
8th September 2010

Thank you for sharing
Our own little bundle of joy is due next week and we have been planning a trip round the South Island of New Zealand with him/her. Friends alternate between saying we are crazy and have no idea what we are letting ourselves in for and being jealous that we have the opportunity to be able to do this. Its great to read another persons feelings on travelling with little ones, how rewarding it is. For us it will be a different style of travel than we are used to, but are hoping it will open more opportunities than close doors.
8th September 2010

היי גיתי התמונה של ארבעתכם במסגרת החלון מסמלת בעיני את ההווי המשפחתי הכל כך ייחודי שלכם - Been there !!!! absukotely !!! שמחתי לקרוא איזו חגיגה של כיך ויחד המסע הזה עבורכם ואני מבטיחה להזכיר לך לקרוא את הבלוג כשיגיע זמנה של חל"ד שלישית.... נשיקות שנה נהדרת לכולכם ולכולנו !!!!

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