Family Ties and Stockholm Drains

I’m increasingly discovering that bringing up a baby is all about the details. The fine details. The things you would have barely noticed before but which now have a massive impact on your life. It’s with this knowledge that I turn your attention to the drains of Stockholm. Allow me to explain.

What do these pictures of random streets in Stockholm all have in common?

pic 1

The answer is drain pipes.

pic 2

Now the majority of housing in Stockholm is apartment buildings and they all have these long drains running down from the roof. The drains themselves are spread out about 5 meters along the pavements. Now, and this is the scientific bit dear reader, to get the water from the end of the pipe to the drains along the curb, they have these small ‘channels’ to funnel it out.

Pic 3

Now I know what you are thinking. ‘Fraser, what the hell are you talking about drains in Stockholm for, I’ve got better things to do with my time’. Well, as I said at the start, bringing up a baby is all about the details and these little channels have become the absolute bane of my life.

You see during the day, the best bet you have for getting young Rosalyn to sleep is to take her out for a long walk in her pram. The problem is it’s impossible to go over one of these channels without them bumping her awake. So what to do? Well I have developed two techniques to tackle my little channel nemeses.

In Fig. 1 below we have ‘back wheel pivot’. Essentially it involves rocking the buggy onto its back wheels in advance of, and then through, the channel. The move is finished by gently lowering it back into position on the other side. It’s simple, it’s safe and basically works.

Fig 1. ‘The back wheel pivot’

Fig 1. ‘The back wheel pivot’

Now Fig. 2 depicts the technically more challenging ‘bunny hop’. I should be clear this move should not even be attempted without extensive practice and nerves of steel. However if you have the stomach to attempt it, then it guarantees a more smooth transition from point A to B. Essentially a variation on the back wheel pivot, the bunny hop involves, as the title suggests, ‘hopping’ the buggy over the channel onto its front wheel before continuing. The key challenging is landing the front wheel just right so Rosayln stays asleep – a technique which takes, let me tell you a LOT of practice.

Fig 2. ‘The bunny hop’

Fig 2. ‘The bunny hop’

The one thing both techniques have in common is that you look like a complete idiot. However, as good as the two techniques are, life is never that simple and occasionally there are some hazards which are simply beyond navigation. Check out this little corner of mayhem below featuring no less than, a ‘bunny hop’, a huge patch of cobbled stones, or ‘guaranteed baby wakeup peddles of destruction’ as I now call them. And yes, believe it or not, that is ramp you are meant to push a pram up to the right. I defy anyone to pass through this and keep their baby asleep.

pic 6

Our steady stream of family visitor eager to meet Rosalyn has continued over the last couple of weekends, firstly with the arrival of Alex’s brother Chris, sister Sara and her two girls Anna (8mths) and Orlagh (2.5 yrs).

pic 7

Undoubted star of the weekend was Chris. I I don’t imagine many 23 year old’s idea of a great weekend away involves being a general dogsbody for his sisters and their kids but he did absolutely sterling work and basically deserves a medal. A particular high point came when he decided, for convenience purposes, to change one of the girls nappies on the rug in our lounge. You can guess the rest. At the critical ‘nappy transfer’ stage, the child in question naturally decided to REALLY go to the toilet. I’ve never seen Chris move so quick in my life! Anyway, talking of nieces, how cute is this week’s cover photo?

Cover Pic

It’s such a great feeling to know that Rosalyn will grow up in the company of cousins, all of whom are around her age, though clearly its already been established who is going to be ‘the boss’ of the group. I’ve discussed ‘The Big O’ on this blog before and what a little star she is. Practically anything she does is forgivable; I mean how could you stay angry with this,

pic 7 a

However, she went too far over the weekend and we had a major falling out. She basically decided to have a ‘headband’ off with me, something I’ve integrated as part of my ‘top knot’ growth strategy and unfortunately there was clearly only one winner in the ‘who pulled it off best’ stakes. As a result I am sulking and refusing to talk to her.

No contest really.

No contest really.

The next family visit was from Alex’s Uncle Kevin and his daughter Isla. In addition to the now obligatory photograph outside Muggen (d) – side note, I hope someone from Muggen (d) eventually reads this blog and sees me right for all the business I’ve put their way!

Pic 9

Now what was particularly interesting about Kevin’s visit was what he brought with him. He’d google’d  ‘best loved UK products you can’t buy in Sweden’ and had packed a veritable treasure trove of food related goodness. Just look at this stack – note to future visitors, the bar has been well and truly set. Now I was a little sceptical if I’m honest, we are in Sweden not Outer Mongolia… But I stand corrected. I can’t tell you how good a packet of Walkers Salt and Vinegar crisps are if you haven’t had one for 6 months!

pic 10

But he went one step better with a special gift for me. Now I’m not familiar with the TV show ‘The Vikings’ but apparently there is a character on it called Rollo, who’s action figure apparently bears a striking resemblance to yours truly. Now I’m not entirely convinced myself dear reader, I’ll let you decide, but what I discovered when I turned it round did give me pause for thought… he’ only got a bloody top knot!

Pic 11

Now before I move on to the regular features, an apology.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Brendadio (my dad) was building Rosalyn a car. Ok, not a ‘car’ but a ‘swing bin’ car. Indeed, not only was he going to build the car, but it would be designed to look like a Lotus Caterham 7.

pic 12

Now when discussing this plan, I may have been a ‘little’ dismissive about the odds on this actually happening. Infact I may have implied that Rosalyn will be old enough to drive an ACTUAL car before it found its way out of his garage.

Well, it is with a huge dollop of humble pie that I have to report that construction is already underway as these leaked pictures from the production line at ‘Hynes Industries’ goes to show,

pic 13 a

The plan, I believe, is to have the car ready for Christmas. Now the fact Rosalyn won’t be able to drive it by then is neither here nor there, the car is actually happening and I’m as shocked as anyone.

More reports as they come in.

 Baby Watch

Roz pic

Little Rosalyn Schumacher 8 weeks old today and the time is quite literally flying past. Last week was ‘interesting’ in the sense that she struggled with being over stimulated during the day; she is extremely curious and much like her parents not a huge fan of sleep for fear of missing out. On what exactly, I have no idea as her day consists of our flat, the inside of her pram and the cafes round our flat, but you can’t help but be impressed with her eagerness to learn! Thankfully she’s got a lot better at handling all the ‘mental noise’ she is exposed to and copes during the days a lot better (well, this week at least, it could all change again next week).

Picture of week

pic of the week

Meat crisps, where have you been all my life?

Winter Watch


The fountain in the park near our flat.

On the 30th September, it had water.

1st October? No more water.

Winter is coming, and it is coming quick.

Track of the week

Dedicated to pram pushes everywhere, The Long & Winding Road – The Beatles,

Fraser ‘pivots are for wimps’ Hynes

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