Many months have passed since I last made a record here. I know, many think – ah, the baby appeared, so not a single minute free, changing pampers all day long…oh well, not really. I must say, of all things keeping us busy, the baby girl, Gabija, turned out to be least of the trouble (so far). And here she is, having just had her first Christmas and the New Year!
Many people say they wish last year didn’t exit; it went too fast; it was too troublesome, etc. Yes, indeed, Covid-19 (I promise not to mention this swear word again here…) did change things dramatically. But for our small family, it was just perfectly timed. I left office 5 days before birth on March 16th – and it’s literally on the first day of my leave the announcement came at my company that most people have to go to work from home. Everything shut down. All travel cancelled. All sports events cancelled. As if it was not the birth that happened to me, but the rest of the world – we got all locked in a big family bubble, and the things I was feared all my pregnancy to miss out on – travel, sports in particular – I didn’t miss, because it was not available anyway.
And yet. We didn’t just lock ourselves at home. My birth was natural, 8 hours, hard – harder than any ironman, ever – but with fast recovery, so I was doing crunches already on day 6th after birth, and 2 weeks after I started short jogs again. Since we do live on a golf course and right at the beach, literally, there was no lack of opportunity for me to get back to running and swimming, interchangeably with the daddy who did cover me on carrying the baby 5am in the morning. Before Gabija was born, we thought we will have sleepless nights, but in the first weeks from hospital, apart from a few days of struggle to feed her, she was sleeping so well at night that WE had to wake her up to eat every 3 hours…eventually, when she was 3 months, we gave up and let her sleep through the night with just 1 occasional meal at night. So our sleep hours improved to normal. The only thing we had to change a bit was our cycling routine – instead of outdoors during the first lockdown we resorted to virtual Tacx home trainer with our actual bikes, it did help us to improve a lot on climbing mountains we couldn’t even think of going to. Currently Gabija is almost 10 months, and sleep 7pm to 7am, sometimes up at 5am because if not…we have to wake her up and feed before going to do some sport. And yes, we got back to our bikes outdoors, and we even did manage to pull on a scarce race in November, a triathlon sprint (700m swim, 21km bike, 5km run), with a rather decent pace. We can’t wait to do other races – next in mid February.
Any help during the day? After 7 months of doing everything ourselves – working from home and taking care of home, and Gabija – we got a maid to help us around the house. So ironing, washing dishes, is no longer an issue, and we can spend more quality time with Gabija, who now is almost walking and already can feed herself to a certain extent. She is a big and tall baby, and grows out from her clothes so fast that it saddens me to put them away…for ever. Unlike my work clothes, which I haven’t worn for 10 months now. We are very hands-on parents. Compared to everything we have seen here in this little paradise we live in – kids spoiled, carried, pampered… – our baby girl is working hard to learn to walk and talk, eat and do pee and poo in her small potty.
Now I do realize I sound like a typical mother – baby, baby and baby… But I must say a lot of things happened this year moved me to become a different person and discover many more things in life. I only had 3 months of maternity leave, so I used this time for learning – from setting up a business, to programming in Python. I learned to play tennis – my hubby taught me – and now we do it every week. I got a decent Nikon mirrorless camera and started studying photography – getting better pictures at times. I got cast iron pans and learned to make steaks no worse than in restaurants – and baking cakes my hubby would eat in a day. My husband and me set up a mini lab for our fermentation business, which included me getting a lab level microscope (childhood dream :P). I got tools and started making haircuts to my husband – getting better at this each time ;). And yeah, I did stay at work, and worked hard from home – sometimes felt, harder and more than anyone – because I appreciated the flexibility of hours, the trust and the situation where I didn’t have to spend extra hour for preparation and extra hour for commute. Time saver! I can’t sadly say the same about other people: most of our attempts to contact people elsewhere, for business or other purposes, were bouncing like Gabija’s little balls. This probably what made this year most challenging. The world just disconnected from us!
Travel? Never since I remember I had a year when I travelled to little. This year travelling was particularly challenging. First, when Gabija was born on March 16th, parents were supposed to come right after. But it was right when the lockdown wave began and planes got cancelled. So we “postponed” their trip to what not seems to be for ever. Instead, in July we planned to go to Lithuania through Latvia – it was 2-3 cases of virus per day in both countries, total non-issue, but still self-isolation was needed and we thought we would stay by the sea in Latvia. The July trip with the baby: packing, masks, gloves, suits…preparation was endless. And yet we failed to travel. Twice! One time: my false positive test, which required then 2 consecutive negatives. Then, visa issues: government decided to change the rules right on the eve of our travel. So by the time we travelled, it was end of August. Ignas got a new job at the time, so we couldn’t stay too long – 2 weeks of self-isolation in Latvia and 2 weeks in Lithuania, during which we managed to baptize Gabija and buy a new flat in central Vilnius 🙂 the latter came after realization that staying in small parents’ homes with all Gabija stuff is rather a burden for everyone. And if ever the year 2020 repeats, it’s nice to have a secret getaway place.
I never liked babies, so it surprises me that getting your own baby does change everything – it’s a proper joy, and we do have a lot more laughs and funny moments together. Also, getting a child changes perception on things, appreciation of family and what matters in live. I think it made me understand what I want better and value myself and my capabilities much more. Also, this year was a year of connections: paradoxical as it sounds, the virus brought people out to the nature – in the 4 years we have lived here, we have never seen this many neighbours in the yard, with their kids, on the grass, on the beach… We also met very special people who we now call our friends. And potential business partners.
2021 is going to be special like every other year, in its own way. Me and Ignas will keep trying to be best versions our ourselves not just for us now, but also for our daughter Gabija. And we will build something she can inherit. Stay tuned 🙂