Monday, June 30, 2008

Maternity Ward Czech

Wow, it's been a long time since I last posted. Nothing like working full time with a newborn AND having guests and clients in town. Pshew. It’s not that I haven’t been writing in my head (I do that constantly) but finding time to sit at the computer and type it all out - that’s what I’ve been missing. To ease my way back into the blogging sphere, I thought I’d favor you with a list of handy dandy Czech vocabulary words I put together for a friend of mine who is about to have a baby here. I came up with this list while I was in the hospital, waiting to come home and finally catch up on my sleep, ha.

Why a vocabulary list? The maternity hospitals here are very comfortable and the care excellent, but if you are an English-speaking mother the nurses sometimes shy away from you, or get a bit aggressive and loud (do all cultures have the habit of raising their voices while speaking to mute foreigners?). Having just a few of the same words to bandy about can really relax the atmosphere - especially at, say, 5 in the morning when the nurse needs you to weigh the baby before she goes off her shift and you think she is randomly waking you up for crazy hospital regulation reasons (both would be correct, but I did take comfort in knowing the exact crazy hospital regulation reason).

It's a pretty basic list, but nurses and doctors tend to repeat the same words (thank heavens). I did leave out certain phrases such as: "You don't really expect me to eat THAT do you?" and "Are those really goats mehhing outside my window?" because the answers are self-evident and the sentences long. Any further thoughts on useful words are, as always, welcome.*

* Thanks to Anne over at Tuckova for her editorial advice!

The very basics
můzu mít... = can I have...
je to mozny = is it possible
profen = ibuprofen
led = ice
bolí mě... = I have a pain...
břicho = belly
šití = stitches
hlava = head

Who is who
miminko = baby
malé dítě = baby
kojenec = baby (who is presumably breast feeding)
sestra = nurse
doktor = doctor
maminka = mommy
matka = mother

Words you'll hear in labor
tlač! = push!
contrakce = contraction
dýchat = breathe
dýchání = breathing

Words you'll hear after the baby is born
potrebujete neco = do you need something?
ukašte mi = show me...
kontrolovat = to control, or check
kojeni = breast feeding
krevní tlak = blood pressure
vaha = weight
vážit = to weigh
koupani = bathing
vykoupat miminko = to wash the baby

Your newborn's top 10 to-dos
vytahnout = take in
kojit = suck
škytat = hiccup
krknout = burp
blinkat = spit up
plakat = cry
čurat = pee
dělat bobek* = poop
zívat = yawn
spát = sleep

*I’m not sure how common this phrase is, but it is the parlance in our Czech family.

Other useful odds and ends
záda = back
bok = side
oblečení = clothes
plenky = diapers
prsa = breast
polštář = pillow
porodnice = maternity hospital
očkovací = vaccine
postýlka = crib

Friday, June 06, 2008

A Day for the River

The weather continues beautifully sunny and hot. Today while I work (on babies, contracts and laundry) I'm daydreaming about being out on the river, messing about in a boat. In Prague, paddle boats and row boats are easy to rent, there are several ferries that will take you across the river for the price of a tram ticket, and you can even rent a Chinese junk by the hour. My favorite boat for the river though is a canoe, and my favorite spot for a paddle is in the south, near Cesky Krumlov, where the river is wilder and the banks are closer than the Vltava near Prague.

While I wait for our next trip south though, Caroline and I have a treat in store for us - just in time for the summer, a read through of A Wind in the Willows and life with Ratty and Mole, Toad and Badger. It will be interesting to see what C thinks of a quartet like those fellows!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Books, books, books

One of our friends got married last weekend and we sent Will off to the States for the great event (and to do a little shopping!). To help out while he was gone, two very good friends (one my twin) split up the week and flew over to help out. Not only did they share the baby joggling, they entertained C, helped keep the flat clean and gave me a great excuse to go exploring everyday. Now they are gone and I'm a little lonely. But I do have some compensation in front of me. See the stack? Those are the books that Will brought back with him from the States when he came home yesterday. New reading material, hurrah!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wallenstein's Grotto

One of the oddest follies I've seen in the Czech Republic, Wallenstein's grotto stands at the south end of the long gardens enclosed by the Senate building here in Prague. The drips are supposed to be stalactites and stalagmites, but they look more like the walls of a seaside mud castle to me. Just to the right of the wall, you can see an apiary built into a corner of the grotto. We didn't see any of its resident locals, but just outside the mesh, peacocks strutted and yelped, sounding remarkably similar to the grass warden guarding the park from anyone who might dare to step on the lawn (other than the peacocks of course).

Monday, June 02, 2008

Prague Summer Weekend

View from Vysehrad
This weekend, Prague was hot. It was even humid. Most Czechs left for the countryside, but those who did not headed to parks like Vysehrad, in search of green trees and shade, good views and cold beer. We did too, on Sunday. Saturday I toured my twin sister and her family around Mala Strana, exploring the gardens at the foot of the castle. We kept to the less trodden byways and stayed as much in the shade as we could - but we were still nearly melted by the time we got back to our side of the river and home. Below, you can see some of the gardens we passed by and the castle on the hill, plus, very close by, a stream running towards one of the old mills on Kampa island.

What I liked best about being outside all weekend - besides family, beautiful views, pistachio ice cream, a few sips of cold beer and taking lots of pictures...besides all these favorite things, the baby did not cry. I think he likes fresh air. He definitely liked sleeping in Kampa Park.