Wednesday, April 29, 2009


We had a group at our house this morning, and I had to share about our time. A year ago, there was typically one toddler with us. Now, we have a 2 1/2 year-old, a 7 month old baby, and a 3 month old baby. Things started smoothly as we gathered and chatted. Joshua was extra fussy as he has been lately, so I put him down for a nap as usual. No problem. A man rang our doorbell to measure our windows for screens, (yay!), so I showed him around the apartment. I was carrying the 3 month-old at this point. As our time progressed, the 3 month-old went down for a nap in our bedroom, and our landlord rang the doorbell to make sure the "screen man" had come. I showed him our water heater for the third time; he has been fixing it for 5 days now. His little girl wanted so badly to play in Joshua's room and didn't understand why she couldn't. 3 month-old is crying at this point, and our friends are carrying on in the living room. Potty training 2 1/2 year-old is whining and hollering about "Pee-pee!" and treats every 10 minutes or so. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. It was very lively and humorous.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We have takeoff!

If you read the title, you might think Joshua is crawling. If you read the labels for this post, you might think Joshua learned to say something. Sorry, but neither one is correct! However, Joshua now has a tooth! Well, can you call it a tooth if you have to look really closely to see that it's there? Anyway, the Arabic word used for the eruption of a tooth is the same word they use for going up a flight of stairs as well as taking off in an airplane. Whenever we see friends these days, they ask if teeth have taken off.:-) This morning I put my finger on Joshua's gums to show my neighbor that nothing was happening... only to find that there is actually a reason Joshua cried all day yesterday. David suggested we take him out for pizza to celebrate.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Becoming a Gerber baby

People do things differently here; that pretty much goes without saying. It has been interesting to be a new Mom in a foreign country. There are things that I have had to do differently than I would at home simpy because I have no other option. Most things are available to us in some way at some point. We may have to drive an hour to get certain items or pay three times the amount they are worth, but we can get a good variety of things here. One thing we cannot have is baby cereal without sugar. Since I have never started a baby on cereal, I never thought about this before. The cereal that Joshua has been eating since he was four months old tastes like rice pudding. Yes, I have tried it, and it actually tastes good! My Mom and Gary sent some Gerber cereal when my Dad came, and I was anxious to see how Joshua would do without the sugar content of the stuff here. I figured it wouldn't be that big of a difference.

We are on day three of experiencing this new version of rice, and my son who eats everything has yet to finish a serving! I don't think it is that it tastes badly to him. I think he is just used to finishing the first bowl of broccoli or potato or whatever I give him and getting on to bowl #2... the good stuff! So naturally, when I gave him bland rice mush when he was expecting rice pudding, he protested. He was pretty tolerant at first, but after a few bites, he turned on his "green bean face." This is the face he makes when he doesn't like something. We are now working on tricking him by mixing some fruit with the rice, and little by little, cutting out the fruit. We shall see if he falls for it!

Friday, April 24, 2009

An afternoon visitor

Our water heater broke a couple of days ago. It gave me an opportunity to remember again some of the things that I love about living here. David went downstairs to ask about who we should call. Our landlord came up to check it out. (He lives above us.) He said he would return after an hour or two with someone who would fix it. When he came back, his brother was with him carrying the appropriate part. They went to work in our little bathroom-turned-laundry room. They probably thought we were so strange... not using the squatty potty and having a machine to dry our clothes. While they were working, one of the landlords precious little girls came to the door. She came in, and I got out a couple of Joshua's toys for her. He was napping, and she asked if she could see him. I told her that he would wake up if he heard a sound, but that she could see him later. She said, "But I won't make a sound!" She is maybe four years old with huge dark brown eyes and Shirley Temple hair.

Her Dad and Uncle finished their work, and he prepared to leave with his daughter. She wanted to stay, and I said that would be fine. I think that Joshua's toys were quite interesting to her. So we continued to play for about 30 minutes until Joshua woke up. Our little neighbor loves Joshua, and he is fascinated with her! She wandered around the apartment asking me to put Joshua in each of his different "places." (He has a swing, a bouncer, a floor gym, and a small mat with his toys.) She wanted to watch him play in each spot. I took her upstairs when we needed to leave, and I hope she comes back to visit!


This is the word that means "foreign" in Arabic. In our little community, everyone knows who the foreigners are and where we live because there just aren't that many of us. The sweet little girl I mentioned before went out on our balcony to call to her sister who is a year or two older. She yelled, "I am up here with the foreigners!" We have invited some neighbors to eat with us, and they declined several times. Finally, he told David he would like to wait until someone else had visited us in our home. I laughed when I heard that, but it also makes me sad. I don't know how we can open our home in a way that people feel comfortable here. I guess it will have to come with time. People here just don't like to try new things! For now I will just have to laugh and be patient as we will forever be "the foreigners" in this village.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A nighttime adventure of a different variety

I realize that "sleep" has been a more frequent subject of this blog, and I think that must be only natural for a new Mom. I will add another to the list. My Dad has been visiting this week, so Joshua has been sleeping in our room. He has done this before, but it was when he was younger and much less aware. I wasn't sure how this week would be; I expected him to wake up more often than usual in the night. Each night, David and I get completely ready for bed outside the room and then make our carefully planned entry. We ease into the bed as slowly and silently as is physically possible, and then we pretty much stay as still as we can until the morning. It has worked pretty well. Joshua has woken up a couple of times, but he goes back to sleep within minutes. I think he only cried the first night.

That is the necessary background information. Last night, we went to bed as usual. It was a little bit warmer than it has been, so I kicked off the blankets. I woke up with a pain on my ankle. I thought that something must have bitten me, but I didn't know how I should go about trying to find it without waking Joshua. At times, he seems a bit more sensitive to light than he does to noise. So I used my little watch light to look over the sheets. I didn't find anything, so I got back under the covers for some more protection. My ankle kept burning, so I finally got up to look at it in the light. There wasn't much to see. I went back to bed, but I couldn't go back to sleep. About an hour later, I was still awake when David started tossing and turning. I nudged him and whispered, "You are making a lot of noise!" (He had earplugs so I figured he didn't realize it.) He said something had bitten him, and it was hurting really badly. He got up to check it out as well. Now what we are thinking is that something has hurt each of us badly enough to wake us up, and it is somewhere in the room with Joshua.

We decided that we would have to move Joshua to check things out. I picked him up and took him into the dark living room while David combed the room. I was amazed that he didn't even budge as I held him... he even kept his thumb in his mouth. How incredibly lucky! What wasn't so lucky was that his pajamas were all wet. I hated to disturb him, but I had to change him! So what started as a bite on my ankle turned into our whole family awake at 3 in the morning... turning the room upside down, changing clothes, etc. We think it must have been a scorpion, and we never found it. I keep feeling things crawling on me now! Thankfully, Joshua cried while I change him, but he went right back to sleep at the end of the ordeal.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Don't leave me unattended!

Probably every kid in at least the last 30 years has one of these stacking ring toys. I never realized that it could be dangerous, but Joshua has found a way to make it so! He loves to take off the top ring and then shove the yellow stick into his mouth as far as he can. This timeless classic has become a "with adult supervision only" toy for our boy!

Dropping a nap

This week we have been doing a little experiment. Joshua normally sleeps during the hours that people are out and about, so we have moved to two naps instead of three in the day. I wasn't sure if it would work out because he usually really sleeps well during that third nap. I think we are on day 4 of this experiment, and we will probably stick with it. It is a bit more high maintenance for me to keep Joshua entertained for longer chunks of time, but it enables us to do more outside of the house. He has been so sweet and flexible, but he is certainly exhausted by the end of the day! With this new routine, Joshua is in bed for 12+ hours at night, and I miss him because he sleeps for so long!

Warning: Suffocation hazard

David brought home some bins to store off-season clothing under the bed. I filled mine very quickly, and as I covered it with the lid, I noticed that it had a picture of a baby on the under-side of the lid. The picture was a warning advising the user against putting a child inside the bin. I am not even sure if it would be possible to fit anyone in there, but I will keep that in mind!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

100% Potato Chips

When you buy a bag of chips here, you never know what you are going to get. That is not a deep Forrest Gump thought; it is reality! David brought home some nacho cheese tortilla chips today. Sounds like Doritos, right? Well, we were pleasantly surprised to find that they are, in fact, similar to Doritos... and much cheaper than the Doritos we can buy here. I noticed the bag said "potato chips", and that made me curious. I continued to study it, and the back of the bag says "100% potato." We thought that was strange since they sure taste like corn chips. The front of the bag says "100% Cheese Nacho Tortilla," and the back of the bag says "100% potato." Which one is correct? Well, the first ingredient is corn, so I guess that answers the question!

I'm bo-ored!

I am guessing that any Mom can hear that phrase ringing in her ears. The phrase I hear lately doesn't have those words, just lots and lots of fussing to let me know that Joshua is ready for a change... again.:-) So my new role as Mommy during much of the day consists of looking high and low for any random item in the house that will look fun to Joshua but not be dangerous for him to explore. His current favorite are his little plastic bowls. Who knows what it might be next hour?! I put away most of his toys, and I will get them out in a week or so in order to re-gain novelty. My next options are icecube trays, and I will just have to keep thinking!

Joshua is officially sitting up by himself! His big realization over the past few days has been that he can't actually lunge for a toy out of reach... this results in a shocking fall. Now he simply reaches toward something, and if he can't get to it, he looks around for something else. Always something new in the first year, right?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

And the elephants came falling down

Joshua has a "pack 'n play" that he primarily uses for naps when we have meetings at different houses. It is light green with jungle animals. There are three elephant heads that hang over him when he sleeps on an arch that attaches to the sides. Over the past few months, we have enjoyed finding Joshua in all different positions when we get him from his pack 'n play. He usually makes a ninety degree turn for some reason, and he is very precise. His most recent adventure in the pack 'n play is pulling the elephants down. The first time David noticed it, there was one little elephant that had clearly been gnawed. The next time, all three were in the bed with Joshua... what fun he must have had! We have taken this as his way of telling us that maybe he is ready to be lowered from the bassinet portion of the pack 'n play... not because we don't want him playing with his elephants, but because he is getting far too active in there to be that close to the top!

What comes with spring

We have been here for just over a year now, so I now have memories of every season in the year in a new location. As the weather has gotten slightly warmer over the past week, I am remembering the differences that we will experience with the start of spring and summer.

The most obvious difference is construction. Maybe a month ago someone commented on how peaceful and quiet our street is. I now laugh when I think about that comment. There is one building going up across the street, a gazebo right behind our house, 2 buildings a bit farther away behind our house, and a cage next to our building. I thought it was going to be a fence at first, but no, it really is a cage! And the bulk of the noise is in Joshua's room, so I am very thankful that he likes to sleep! You can also hear people outside enjoying themselves well into the night. I thought this was a fun part of the culture last year, and this year, I am hoping that the sound of voices, laughter, and music doesn't remind Joshua that he is missing out on things!

There is one interesting more weather-related difference during this "in between" time. When I say "in between" time, I mean that the temperature outside is warmer, but not warm enough to make our apartment that warm. So starting yesterday, we wore short sleeves outside and put on jackets to go inside!:-)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Besame Mucho

Another family that lives here has a little girl who is two years and a few months old. She is really cute with bright blue eyes and light blond hair. We meet together a few times a week, and Joshua has recently been so interested in watching her when she is around. He also flaps his arms and leans toward whatever he wants to see. Yesterday, Joshua was sitting in David's lap when his little friend came toward him. He flapped his arms and leaned forward so that he could explore her face. Her Mommy told her she should give "Baby Josh" a kiss. (She calls him "Baby Dosh" when she sees him.) Anyway, Grace gave Joshua several kisses right on his mouth, and he made some interesting facial expressions in response! He still seemed stunned from the experience several minutes later. I think he was more expecting to tough her cheeks and grab her nose.