Saturday, March 26, 2005

Dada Firsts Report: Week 5

Dada had her first playground playgroup outing. Here is a picture taken by Julie. We played with (and munched on) crayons. We had our first visit with the pediatrician. That was fun except for the four immunization shots, which were not so fun. Nice Dr. Markley declared her fit as a fiddle, scabies all gone. She appears to be pretty much in the middle of the American growth charts (which means she's at the top of the Chinese growth charts). She had her first bites of pancake, although she didn't appear to care for it particularly. She had her first band practice at Band Aunt Vanessa's house. That worked pretty well--we set up a portable crib/play yard in Vanessa's bedroom and Dada went right to sleep in it, just like we were at home. We were then able to do some quiet playing (accoustic only). This week we may try actually hooking up the instruments to the sound system. Given that last night Dada slept through the heaviest hail storm (marble-sized hail here at the house) I can remember here in Austin, I think she'll be fine with a little loud rock and roll.

We went out for dinner at Freddie's a new, kid-friendly place in south Austin (next door to Austin landmark Jovita's). We met a couple who adopted their daughter from Nanjing about 6 years ago. They clued us in to the local Parents of Children from China group. They said that their daughter was also the best baby ever and that, like us, they were still waiting for the other shoe to drop--I had hazarded the guess that age 13 was when karmic justice would catch up with us. I guess we'll find out.

And we're spending a lot of time running after our little walking dervish....

Deconstruction Report: The Place is Gone

The Place is gone, everything except the foundation, which will, we think, be taken out at the same time they're ready to pour the new foundation. As far as I know, the actual start of construction requires that the engineering plans be finalized and that the pending soil analysis be completed (to make sure that it's not, for example, loose fill under the back half of where the house will go or something silly like that). We also have to finalize the construction financing, which we're working on. This picture is taken from the south-east corner, which is the direction from which one would normally approach the new house (that is, from here you will be facing towards the front door, with the driveway stretching away on your left, the street on your right and behind you).

One bummer is that the builder (Decker) accidently told the destructo dudes to take out the one good pecan tree on the lot. That's the shattered stump at the right edge of the picture. Decker appologized for the mistake and promissed to buy us a new tree. On the up side, I'm going to try to collect as much of the pecan wood as I can to use in the smoker. I've already got the chainsaw out of winter mothballs and ready to go.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Our New House: Destruction is Easier than Creation

This blog is not just about our new baby adventure but also our new house adventure. To date all the new house activity has been with the architects as they refine our plans.

But last week the builder finally started tearing down the building that was on the lot. It should be completely gone by the end of the week. Here's how it looked Friday morning:

Back part of the place in ruins

This is looking from the back of the lot toward the street.

The construction dudes said they were waiting for a "big machine" to arrive in order to pull down the front part of the building but it hadn't arrived as of Saturday. Maybe today (Monday).

Once the building is torn down we will stop referring to this place as "The Place" or the "The Warehouse" and start referring to it as "The Site". We're very excited.

The plans are coming along. We've sent the mechanical/electical/plumbing (MEP) plans to our friend Margaret to look over. Margaret is a professional electrical designer.

We've also decided to have a Finnish-style dry sauna as part of the master bath complex. It turns out that pre-fab saunas are quite affordable--about $2500.00 for a 4'x5' sauna kit that you install into a pre-framed space in a couple of hours. A free-standing pre-fab sauna that you can litterally put in the corner of a room starts at about $3500.00. Who knew?.

So it looks like construction might start in earnest some time in April, with the goal of having the house ready for occupation around the end of the year (they've told us to expect 6-9 months for construction).

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Life with Dada Week 4: Firsts Report

This is a report on the firsts we've experienced over the last two weeks:

  • Last Sunday we went to the Zilker Kite Festival at Zilker Park, baby's first outdoor festival. We went with Andrea, Hava (Marla) and little Hallie Jane (age 3). We all had a good time. Ba ba got to fly the kite he bought in China (after getting a replacement strut for the one splintered in transit). The kite was lost when another kite cut the string. We thought it was lost for good but I went back and looked a second time and joy of joys there it was. All-in-all it went pretty well. We used the sling and took the umbrella stroller for seating and backup. We went on the shuttle bus, which worked out ok, except it was a long wait in line. Dada seemed to enjoy the event.

  • Baby's first sandbox session. We bought a nice plastic sandbox and three 50 pound bags of sterilized play sand from Toys 'R' Us and set it up. Dada took to it right away, playing quietly and happily for about 45 minutes before finally requesting to come out. She's very much the little baby scientist, studying everything very intently.

  • Walking for real. In the last couple of days she's started walking for real, which means we have to be serious about the babyproofing, which we've done some more of (putting up cords, putting away the game consoles, putting up more gates). So the honeymooon is definitely over.

  • First foods: edamame (cooked green soy beans), red rice.

  • First bath in the big tub, using the inflatable toddler tub.

  • Tonight we will try our first "band practice" at A-yi Vanessa's house, which will be our first time to try to put her to sleep at a strange house. Wish us luck.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Going to China: Lessons Learned--Advice for New Adoptive Parents

I've been meaning to write this post for a while and I need to do it now before I forget. We learned a lot on our trip to China, much of which wasn't provided by anything we had read or heard before we left, and some of which is at variance with what we were told. So herewith, what we learned and what we think new parents going to China should know.

The following items are in more or less random order:

- They have ATM machines in China, at least in big cities. In Beijing and in Guangzhou we had little trouble finding ATM machines that would work with our ATM card. At the White Swan there's a machine right in the first-floor lobby. In downtown Beijing there were lots of ATMs (e.g., in Bank of China branches). The main challenge was that some machines had no option for English menus (in particular, the one on the *outside* wall of the White Swan). But even in that case the guard was able to help us figure out which buttons to push. The ability to use ATMs mean you don't need to carry as much cash into the country. ATMs usually give you the best exchange rate so it's to your advantage to use them when you can.

We didn't have to go to any smaller provincial city so I can't say if you'll find ATMs there--probably you shouldn't expect to find them, but you might be surprised.

For comparison, we did was we were told and took $5000.00 in uncirculated $100.00 bills. We used 3000 of that for the orphanage donatation and less than 1000 for various expenses that needed to be paid in U.S. dollars, including tips and fees for our guides (and remember we where there for an extra week, paying for a guide out of our own pocket for the first 6 days or so). I came back with over $1000.00 in cash, partly because I sold some yuan to our traveling companions and partly because by using the ATM I only had to actually change money a couple of times.

Anyone who tells you there are no ATMs in China is simply not with the times.

- Buy *all* your basic baby feeding equipment in China, with one key exception (see below). We found that the American bottles and nipples simply weren't going to work because the babies tend to expect a very thick mixture of formula and rice cerial and are used to a fast flow nipple. We could find everything we needed at the 7-11 across the street from the White Swan or down at the Community Store a couple of blocks away from the White Swan.

- Exception to the above: find and buy at least two (2) of the divided formula containers. These are little round containers divided into thirds with a lid with a round opening that rotates over any one of the three divisions. You then use this to put formula or rice cereal into a bottle. It makes making a bottle a snap and we didn't ever see anything like it in any store we went to in Guangzhou.

You need two so that you have one for rice cereal and one for formula. Your baby will almost certainly be used to a more or less equal mix of formula and rice cereal. A normal 250ml bottle will require one division (from the container) of each, so you need two.

Your room in the White Swan has limited convenience space for making bottles, so anything you can do to limit mess and clutter will be to your advantage.

- How to make up a bottle

On the day after gotcha day they brought in some of the caregivers from one of the orphanages and they showed us how to mix up the formula but they didn't really help us with the minute details of making up a bottle, which turns out to be more challenging than you might think.

Here's the process we've finally arrived at, after much trial and error:

1. Have at least 200ml of chilled bottled water availabe (i.e., put a bottle in your minibar fridge). At the White Swan you get two free bottles of water each day, but you can buy it freaky cheap at the Community Store down the street from the hotel and you will definitely need more than you get each day for free.

2. Boil water in your hot pot (there will be one in your hotel room)

3. Fill a 250ml bottle about 1/3 full with boiling water

4. Using your divided containers, first put in one division of rice cereal (between 5 and 7 of the little scoops that come in your bag of formula). Put in the rice cereal first because the steam from the hot water will not clog it up and you can then pour in the formula with less effort and mess.

5. Using your divided container, put in one division of formula.

6. Cap the bottle tightly and shake the bejebus out of it (careful, it's really hot)

7. If you need a bottle right now fill the bottle the rest of the way with chilled bottled water, cap it, and shake it. It should be at an acceptable temperature. If you need a bottle for later, fill with room-temp water or water from the hot pot. If your bottle is too hot the little ice buckets make a good chilling container. They also make good warming containers if you need to warm up a cold bottle.

- Take a baby sling. Buy one in the states and get somebody to show you how to use it before you leave. You should be able to find an "Attached Parents" group in your town that will be all too eager to show you how to carry your baby. Baby slings are great for fostering attachment. If your baby is a clingy baby it will save your arms. If your baby doesn't like to be held they may be more willing to be carried in or sleep in the sling. If mom and dad are not close to the same size you might consider taking two slings so you don't have to adjust them to switch baby from one parent to the other (once you get a sling adjusted it shouldn't require much change). The only sling we saw in China is a very light-weight sling, which works OK but didn't look quite as good as the heavier slings typically used in the states. You can find slings at Baby's-R-Us. There's also a woman here in Austin that makes nice (but pricey) slings: We just bought one of these slings and it's really nice. We went to China with a Nojo sling, which is pretty nice but we've since learned is limited in how small it will go, so if you're a small person with a small baby the Nojo sling might be too big.

- Don't take a stroller with you. If you decide you need a stroller in China there is no shortage of strollers, either free loaners from the various laundry services around the White Swan or very cheap from any number of stores. But if you have a sling and your baby's willing to be carried, you don't really need a stroller at all, so why bother with it?

- Get a backpack-style diaper bag. We found a very nice one with an integrated changing pad. Much easier to carry than the bigger duffel style and it encourages you not to load it up with too much stuff.

- Don't worry too much about toys. If our experience is typical, balls of crinkly paper and similar things will be as engaging as anything you can buy. We did find some nice little toys at the Community Store if you feel compelled to get something manufactured for your bundle of joy to play with.

- Do take a supply of cheerios, such as the little single-serving boxes, or bulk O's repacked into the ziplocks. While they had cheerios at the breakfast buffet at the White Swan, we couldn't find them at the stores in Beijing and you do not want to be without Cheerio's.

- Don't overload yourself with wipes. I think we went through two of the travel packs of huggies wipes (the packs that are about 2in thick and have about 40 wipes). And of course you can find wipes there no problem.

- Expect to have to do some trial and error to find the right diaper size. At least with Dada, the age/weight guides were pretty useless. We bought a couple of different sizes and tried them until we found something we liked. Remember you can get diapers on short notice from the 7-11 (if you're going to a province it's probably wise to take a couple of small diaper packs in a range of sizes just in case).

- Don't hesitate to use the clinic in the White Swan. The personnel are very capable and very nice and will help you out. Their methods may be a little unconventional to our eyes but they seem to know what they're doing.

- In Guangzhou, Lucy's Bar and Grill will be your anchor when you want a relaxed, more or less familiar meal. However, the Golden Bowl restaurant is really good food just a block from the White Swan and will be much less expensive than anything inside the hotel, and at least as good. Everything we had there was excellent and the service is good. You can also get take-out.

- If you can, do what my mother did and get a menu from a State-side Chinese restaraunt that has both English and Chinese. This can act as invaluable menu translator when you can't make sense of even their English menus. We used this on several occasions to order things we were familiar with from home but had no idea what they might be called. Judy got hers from a take-out place in San Francisco's Chinatown, but a menu from any good Cantonese-style restaurant should work (and most American Chinese food places are Cantonese, or at least run by people of Cantonese descent).

- When shopping around the White Swan, we found that Jordan's two stores were excellent--he stocks good quality stuff and prices it fairly so you don't need to haggle. We had done enough shopping by the time we got there that I can attest to the fairness of his prices. For example, he had a kite priced at 45 yuan that I had bought in Beijing for 80 after much negotiation (doh!). There are many stores around the White Swan with lots of very cute stuff for baby and even the inflated prices are cheap by our standards, but do shop around a little bit.

- Don't hesitate to expore beyond the White Swan--you can walk along the river or venture out into the market streets on the other side of the river. It's as safe as any place can be and very interesting. The people are friendly and welcoming and you will marvel at what you find.

- The boxed DVDs at the electronics market appear to be legit--I bought a copy of Mulan on DVD for $2.00 (16 yuan) and if it's pirated it's a darn convincing copy. I was afraid it would be Chinese-only but it came up with English menus when I popped in in the old DVD player. The DVDs that are packaged in little sleeves I can't vouch for--they felt a little dicey to me, but I don't really know. These were bought from shops, not from some dude on the street, so they're probably OK.

- Electronics are not significantly cheaper there and you will have to deal with issues like voltage and plug compatibility. If you think you'll need something like a portable DVD player or camera, probably best to buy it stateside and take it with.

- We packed a little voltage regulator kit and never needed it even though we had tons of electronics with us. Most modern power supplies are dual voltage (look on it for something to effect of "110v/220v").

- We packed a bunch of Chinese plug adapters (the kind that look like American plugs with the metal prongs rotated to form a "V" shape) and never needed them. We found that the outlets in our rooms either accepted North American plugs, British-style plugs (the big ones with three really heavy prongs), or European plugs (the kind with two round prongs). Therefore, either take a couple of universal plug adapters that will go from anything to anything or take at least one American-to-British and one American-to-European adapter.

- I was able to find a power strip for cheap that accepted American plugs. This worked well. I didn't bother to pack it home.

- Expect to buy an extra suitcase to come home with. There's a place right by the White Swan (I think it's Sherry's place) where you can buy bags for less than 15 dollars. The going rate seems to be between 80 and 120 yuan for a good-sized rolling bag. These are bags that are probably good for one trip home but they should make it home. Sherry also had luggage tags, which we ended up needing.

- If your child is from Guangdong and therefore you are only going to Guangzhou and not a provincial town, the in-China luggage restriction doesn't apply, so you can plan to check two or maybe even three bags from Beijing to Guangzhou if you need to.

- Take at least a couple of days at the front of your trip to sight see in Beijing or Shanghai or Hong Kong. It will help you get over jet lag and let you see some wonders of the world with a bit more leisure. While the Beijing tour that GWCA arranges is good, and not quite as taxing as I expected, still it's one day to see some key things, punctuated by a stop in a friendship store for lunch, which is pretty disappointing. Take some time to see things more as a local would. Arrange a guide and, if necessary, a driver. It may cost you as much as $150.00 a day, but it's money well spent.

- Haggle hard with most sellers, especially people selling you stuff on the street or at tourist sites. The typical guideline is that you should be able to get a price close to 1/3 of the original asking price. For example, I was able to buy 2008 olympics hats for 5 yuan, although the asking price was 20 or more. In shops and at stalls, you'll usually have to walk away in order to get the best price. This takes a lot of energy so don't be too hard on yourself if you pay a bit more just to avoid the hassle of walking away.

- In Guangzhou, the big jewelry and pearl market is amazing. If you have time, plan to spend several hours there just to walk around and take it all in. We bought some pearls and were really happy--we found really pretty pearls for not much money. Even the high-dollar Tahitian black perls where still a very good price. Remember to haggle. I was able to get about 40% off the initial price, which seemed like a good price to me. If you plan to buy pearls or jewels and, like us, you're not that experienced in this area, it might be good to go to a stateside jewelry store or department store to see what prices are like and get an idea of what different qualities of stones look like.

- If you are into beading or jewelry making, you can find no end of amazing jade items at the antique market in Guangzhou (from the Pearl market, cross the main street and keep going about a block or so until you get to the obvious street lined with people selling small carved jade items). You can buy individual items or big bags of things.

- If you can, take relatives with you, ideally relatives with some childcare experience.

- On our return from China we had planned to do it all in one marathon go. As it happened we ended up doing it over three days, spending a night in Beijing and then in San Francisco. In retrospect we think that this staged return was the best thing to do. It took more time and was a bit more expensive (because we had to pay for a night in a hotel in Beijing--the Sino-Swiss Beijing Airport is about $90.00/night) but we felt much less wrecked when we finally got home. I think it helped stress Dada less too, since she didn't have to spend 25 straight hours in people's arms and on airplanes. This probably works best if you can stay with family or friends in your U.S. arrival city, but even just staying in an airport hotel in Chicago or San Fran or Minneapolis is probably not too bad.

- Learning to count in Chinese is actually pretty easy, compared with most European languages, and it really helps when shopping and bargaining if you can talk numbers in Mandarin. In Mandarin, all you have to know are the words for the digits zero to 10 and the words for "hundred" and "thousand". All numbers are a combination of these words. For example, "12" is literally "ten two", 22 is "two ten two", and so on. Except for the word for five (wu3), you don't really have to worry about tone issues. The only irregular aspect is that there are two ways to say "two": the number two ("er") and the word "liang", which is roughly equivalent to "a couple" in English. You normally use "liang" when you want to say something like "I want two of that thing" ("liang ge") and "er" when you are enumerating things ("yi", "er", "san"). However, if you say "er ge" ("two of") you will be understood. The word "ge" is the generic "counting word" and you use it to talk about numbers of things. For example, to say "I want three" you would say "san ge" or you might hear "yi ge" (ee guh), meaning "one of". Finally, the word for zero, "ling", is used primarily when saying large numbers. For example, 104 is "yi bai ling si" (ee by ling suh), meaning "one hundred zero [tens] four". All this information will be in any decent Mandarin phrase book.

And just to keep things confusing, there are two words for monetary units, "yuan", which is used when writing about money, and "kuai" which is used when speaking about money, plus a word that means "money" generally ("qian"). Therefore, the price "240 RMB" is written "er bai si shi yuan" but spoken "er bai si shi kuai". And the way to ask the price of something is "duo shou qian?" (do-oh sh+ow (as in "shower") chee-an) (literally "how much money?") not "duo shou yuan" or "duo shou kuai", although either of these will be understood.

We also learned that the polite way to decline an offer is to say "wo mai you qian" (whoa may yo chee-en), which translates literally as "I have no money". If you want to be really sophisticated you can say "wode yi ge hai zhi; wo mai you qian." (whoa duh ee guh high tzuh), which translates literally as "I have a child; I have no money".

For bargaining, the key phrase is "tai gui" (tie guh-wee), "too expensive". It's the appropriate response to an initial offer that is, invariably, too high. A typical exchange might be:

You: duo shou qian? [How much money?]

They: er bai wu [250]

You: (looking serious) tai gui, tai gui [Too expensive]

They: er bai san [230]

You: chi shi wu [75]

They: ha ha ha. yi bai ba [180]

You: yi bai [100]

They: yi bai wu [150]

You: yi bai

They: yi bai si [140]

You: yi bai

They: "ok ok" or they wave you off and indicate they won't sell at that price.

You walk away.

They: (running after you) ok ok

You: ok (money changes hands). xie xie [thank you]

- The White Swan and the Sino-Swiss both had in-room broadband Internet access (cable provided). Most of the time I wasn't asked to pay even though both hotels supposedly charge. But I just plugged my computer in and was on line. There's also some wireless access around but I didn't ever try to use it (the computer stayed in the room).

- If you are flying back through Beijing and have to handle your own check in, use the uniformed baggage porters--we did and they really helped. They will cost 10 yuan per cart and will be well worth it. And do not try to tip them. They do not expect tips and will get insulted if you try to tip them. They handled all the bags and made sure we got in the correct check-in line and stayed with us until we were all checked in an ready to head through security.

- When going through airport security checks in China they seem to be particularly concerned about liquids, so either limit the liquids you travel with or be prepared to have them opened and sniffed.

That's all I can think of at the moment, although I'm sure Julie will have more things to contribute.

Our First Fortnight With Baby

We've been home from China for two weeks and things seem to be going amazingly well. I almost hate to say how well they're going for fear of jinxing it.

We seem to have settled into a pretty good daily pattern. She's been pretty good about going to bed with a minimum of fuss. She's now crawling and toddling all over the house. We seem to be sleeping as well as we ever did (we're used to the dogs rousting us out of bed in the middle of the night so uninterrupted sleep has never really been a big thing around here). I'm still waking up earlier than I'd like but there's not much I can do about it--once I wake up my mind starts spinning and it's impossible to get back to sleep. On the up side, it gives me some quiet time to be on the computer. But falling asleep at 9:00 p.m. really puts a cramp in one's social life....

She is such a happy child. My nieces Julia and Sophia were and are both very happy children, children that make you marvel at their mothers, and Dada seems to be at least as happy. But I know it can't be because of us but at least we haven't yet made it worse. She is really comfortable around strangers and is getting much more comfortable around men. She is a wonder.

So far the minute-by-minute child care has been much less taxing than I expected it to be. Part of this is that I have been slacking at work, giving me more time at home, part of this is that we've pretty much put aside anything else we used to do with the time we're now spending attending to a child (most of which seems to be supervising her play at this point). Part of this is that when I am at work I don't see what Julie has to put up with, although all the reports so far have been consistent with my experience. Julie's doing a bit more laundry and we're doing more dishes (which is probably good since it forces us to be a bit more tidy in the kitchen). I'm finding that I actually enjoy the mundane parts of child care: bottle preparation, diaper changing, playing on the floor.

I'm particularly suprised at how much I enjoy diaper changing, for the simple reason that it's a time for focused interaction with this delightful child and a time to take stock of her physical condition, both because you've got her half undressed and because you can examine what's coming out of her. I've never been particularly sqeamish about poopy so that's not a problem (and really, except for the occasional really messy diaper, it hasn't been that big a deal anyway). So diaper time is fun time. I don't know how long this will last--that is, how long she'll consider a diaper change a fun experience. I do realize she'll be potty trained at some point.

My biggest issue right now is that I pretty much don't want to go to work any more. But of course that's not an option.

We seem to be pretty good at going places with her. We travel pretty light and she's always up for a trip so we can get out of the house about as fast as we ever did.

We're still working out top-down motoring--we probably need to rig up some sort of awning for her to protect her from the sun when the top's down, but she does seem to generally enjoy the experience (or at least not complain about it). I've ordered some strap-on baby sunglasses. We'll see how those work. Unsurprisingly she's not keen on keeping her hat on.

Dada and I went to the Attached Parents Music Playgroup the other day (Julie had to go and meet with our tax people) and that was fun. Dada seems to enjoy being with other children and plays as well as any 15-month-old will, which is to say she doesn't seem to be into hitting or biting but sharing is not yet a concept for her. I did feel a little conspicuous being the only adult male in the group but the mom's were very nice and we all had a good time. We were secretly pleased that she seems to be more advanced than another child that was a month older. So either we were seriously lied to about Dada's real age or she is in fact pretty well along on some of her milestones. Not that I really care that much--mostly we want to make sure she's not missing some key skill or ability, although that's looking less and less like something to worry about. She's certainly well within the normal range as defined by our "What To Expect: Toddler Years" book.

Today we'll have our first really big day out, going to the dog park in the morning and then to the Zilker kite festival in the afternoon.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Po Po's visit and new wallpaper

Putting up new wallpaper! Isn't it cheerful? Posted by Hello


Monday, March 07, 2005

Back to the Office

Today is Monday. It's been a full week since we arrived home from China. We seem to be settling into a more or less consistent day-to-day pattern of existing. We've gotten a little better at getting Dada to bed with a minimum of fuss, although how much of that is due to the Benedryl we give her for her itching remains to be seen. We've made it most of the week with at most one night waking and last night she slept through the night with just the odd singular cry.

She's starting to get more confident about crawling and walking around the house and playing more or less on her own. This means we've gotten a little more serious about babyproofing. Uncle Jay and Aunt Kay came over on Saturday and we tried to do more but were quickly stymied by the old and cheap cabinets and drawers in this 40-year-old house. We got the changing table screwed to the wall and anchored the dresser in the hall to the wall, which seemed to be the most serious dangers. We did find that the two-cable cabinet locks will work for the most dangerous cabinets in the bathrooms (the little slide locks were too short and too thick for our cabinets and pulls). Otherwise we'll have to rely on removal of dangers and appropriate supervision. We'll see how far that goes. We'll probably have to rig up a gate for the kitchen (the kitchen doesn't have a doorway into the main living area so standard baby gates won't work). It made us start to wonder what percentage of the baby proofing stuff people buy actually gets installed. If our experience is typical it's somewhere less than 25%. We've had two different people give us bags of cabinet locks and such like, none of which we'll use.

I have to go into the office this week for all-day meetings so Julie will be flying solo, at least for Monday morning. Po po Peggy is coming to town later today to help out and start trying to wallpaper the baby's room.

I'm fully expecting to have a baby handed to me the minute I walk in the door at the end of the day....

Friday, March 04, 2005

Settling In. Still Jetlagged.

Babies don't get jetlag. Wait. They may get jetlag, they just don't suffer from jetlag.

That is,their little internal clocks are disrupted by travel, but they just have no inclination to struggle awake when they're sleepy or to sleep when they're alert--it's not like they have jobs to get back to or need to be awake to drive or operate machinery or something. So Tuesday and Wednesday morning, Dada slept til noon (prompting us to worry she was in a coma or something)after partying into the wee hours; she's just now getting back to a more local schedule, with some help from afternoon walks in the sunshine, such as it's been (to reset her internal clock).

Sure, we've made some rookie mistakes: apparently, if a child wakes up a few hours after bedtime, it's not effective to bring her into the livingroom to watch The World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel. Who knew? It sure made her mama fall asleep. But our girl is ready to go to Vegas.

As for me, I'm still recuperating, not just from jetlag but from the various -itis type ailments: first tonsilitis, now sinusitis and bronchitis. I'm taking some broad-spectrum antibiotics but have eschewed the sedating cough syrup so far (cause I'm a virtuous mom, plus Dada's not entirely ready to have her dad console her when she's really upset; plus codeine gives me freaky-weird dreams). And I'm optimistic that my intestinal problems will resolve themselves soon.

Dada and the dogs are adjusting to each other's presence; Forrest, against our expectations, is less interested and sometimes mutters under his breath she touches him (not quite a growl, but enough for me to separate them pronto). Lucy, on the other hand, tolerates a lot of touching and gets really distressed if Dada cries, running to each of us as if to say do something, you heartless people! Hard to explain to a dog that diapering is mandatory.

Anyway, the fact that I have a few minutes to write this should indicate that we're getting used to each other around here. Today I'm hoping to find the time to make Eliot a birthday cake, probably during naptime.