Friday, February 19, 2010

Mr. Brown can Moo... can you?

This is Joshua's current favorite book. How do I know that? Because I read it about 50 times a day. And David reads it about 50 times a day. And we both have it memorized. And David made a tune out of some of the lyrics, and they are in our heads all day long... and all night long for me. When I am trying to go back to sleep after a night feeding, Mr. Brown is with me in my head. I can understand why it is such a fun book; there are lots of different noises, and so far, we haven't hidden it from Joshua. Somehow, he has forgotten that any other book or toy exists!


Joshua has learned the concept of "zbeleh", or trash. We taught him not to play with the trash can, but he has watched us play with it time and time again. Over the past several days, we have watched Joshua throw things away a few times. It is almost always something that should go into the trash can: Ellie's dirty diaper, a torn kleenex, etc. However, we watched our friend replace the contents of her wallet several times because her young daughter had thrown her wallet away, so we are trying to teach Joshua that some things should not be thrown in the trash can. (First step: wallets and phones are not toys...) At any rate, we think we may get a trash can with a heavy lid in America so that we can monitor what goes in!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Trauma: Bathtime for Ellie

There is one thing that has literally traumatized Ellie since the first day of her life. She is typically a peaceful and content baby... until bath time rolls around! It is very cold, and I wish I didn't have to shower or change clothes at all, so I can hardly blame her. She also startles constantly the fewer clothes she is wearing; for that reason alone, I am glad she is a fragile little newborn during these winter months. Anyway, bath time goes something like this: I remove layers because I get very warm trying to console her and keep her calm. David prepares the bathwater, and we turn on our little heater so it will be warmer than 50 degrees in the kitchen. I begin the process of removing Ellie's layers. She kind of gets what is coming, I think, and she starts to suck vigorously on her pacifier in a desperate attempt to soothe herself. At some point, however, we have to remove the pacifier and move from the table top to the bath. She now gets calm if I just stand there and hold her head as she lays in the water, but as soon as any movement occurs, she is terrified! After we finish, we get her to the towel as quickly as possible... this is the absolute worst part! Then, I hold her for a little while as she goes into major self-soothing mode. I usually have to wait awhile to get her arms back into her clothes completely because she holds them so closely against her chest. That is why her pink sleeves are floppy and empty in the picture above!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Passport photo

Delivering a baby here is pretty similar to what I imagine it would be like in the States, but I never would have thought about all of the paperwork you have to do when you have a new addition to the family! When our kids were born, David had to run around to all sorts of offices in two different cities. He had to get papers filled out and signed by the doctor in order to get a birth certificate written in Arabic. The next step is to get that birth certificate translated so that we can take it to the Embassy in order to get a birth cerificate issued from the States. We have to take a big stack of forms and information to the Embassy on Wednesday to get Ellie's social security card, birth certificate, and passport. There are lots of forms to fill out and lots of pages of instructions on how precisely to complete them. Perhaps the trickiest part of the process is to get a passport photo. We have held two mini photo shoots so far, and hopefully one of the pictures will be acceptable. The criteria is Ellie's eyebrows and ears have to be showing. It seems to me her eyes should be showing, so we have tried to catch her in a brief moment of awake time. Our choices include the picture shown or a number of pictures where you can see my hands as I try to hold her hands down from her face. The idea of taking a picture this early is funny to me; I feel like her picture looks just like Joshua's picture, except that Joshua never wore pink mittens! It will be good for 5 years, but she will look completely different in the next 2 months!

Baby talk

Joshua has reached a new level of verbal expression. It is evident that he is telling us stories and explaining things to us in his own little language as opposed to the brief syllable uttered here and there. He has picked up on conversation and intonation, and it is obvious when he is making a request or when he is exasperated about something. It is also clear that he has a special voice for talking to his baby sister. Joshua will crawl into a room where she is a make sounds in a higher pitch than the one he normally uses. It sounds sort of sing-songy, and sometimes I think he is really trying to say her name. His new favorite way to interact with her is to rub his face against her head; actually he usually just turns his head to the side so that David or I can rub her hair against him. We think it is Joshua's equivalent of a hug since he simply turns his head to the side when we are hugging him or cuddling with him. What a sweet big brother!