A Rather Non-Typical Productive Day

You could say that today was not productive.

I had 8 articles to do, two blogs to get running again, a website to set up and new posts to write for three blogs. Irving left at 7 am for a music gig and won´t be back till the wee hours, so it was just the boys and me!

Dante was actually pretty good today, settling in his chair and talking to the butterfly toys dangling from the toy bar. Dorian was another story. I´m not sure what is going on with him, but suddenly he is super clingy.

If I sit at the computer, he goes nuts! He flops around on the floor, or pretends to hurt himself and screams his head off, or finds some way to lure me away from my computer. Should that not work, he comes trotting over with his bottle of water saying, ?up, up, Mama, up? and climbs onto my lap. Where he proceeds to bang on the keyboard, grab everything in sight and scratch my face. (he´s going through a scratching phase) Needless to say, I put him down as soon as he starts hurting me, which results in another tantrum.

Today, I decided that I just couldn´t handle more tantrums, so I turned off the computer and went and curled up on the bed with him to watch Hi5 and Barney. Then we watched Stranger Than Fiction, which I wanted to see for a while, and ate tons of raisins and had a few tickle fights.

He was pleased as punch to have so much attention, which made me feel pretty guilty about trying to work so much!

In the end, he went off to bed with a big kiss and a ?Gu nite, Mama!? I still have 6 articles and two blog posts and half a website to get up. And I can´t keep my eyes open (I know, it´s only 8, but I´ve been up since 2:30!). So, was it an unproductive day?

Nope! I spent time with my little boy, made him happy and remembered that I need to appreciate and enjoy my kids while they are still small enough to be thrilled that I´m playing with them!

Almost as Good as the Zoo

Today, Dante stayed with his tia, Diana, while I took Dorian into Antigua to buy diapers. It was really the first time we have done anything together, just the two of us, since I was about 6 months pregnant with Dante!

The trip was a huge success! I was worried that he was going to be running off down the street, but he was amazingly well-behaved (guess it was just his little brother setting him off!) and walked nicely beside me, even holding my hand!

The highlight of our shopping trip was passing the pet shop. They had all the animals outside today. Usually there is just a cage of bunnies or maybe a puppy or two. Today there were about six puppies, a cage full of full-grown chicken (kikins, as Dorian calls them), hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, rabbits, kittens and parakeets. With such a selection, we had to stay for quite some time, inspecting each critter!

The puppies were playing very rambunctiously and Dorian thought it was hilarious, until he laughed so hard he backed into the chicken cage and freaked out. I guess when a chicken is nearly the same size as you, it can be kind of scary!

We had no problems leaving either, I just said, ?Say goodby to the puppies.? He waved, said, ?Adios.? And off we went!

Considering that most of yesterday was spent trying to calm two screaming boys, today is quite relaxing!

5 Reasons Bottle Feeding is Great

I know a lot of people are going to jump on my back for this one, but what the heck! There are plenty of moms out there who need to know that breastfeeding is not the only way to go and that you aren´t a bad mother for choosing (or being forced into) bottle feeding.

Before I begin, I should mention that I am breastfeeding Dante, but supplementing with a bottle since he is a little glutton. Dorian never breastfed, he was only bottle fed.

5 Reasons Bottle Feeding is Great

1. You know exactly how much your baby is drinking, you never have to guess.

2. Other people can do night feedings, letting you get a bit more sleep. This is SO nice when you have a baby who wakes every three hours to feed.

3. Formula is more filling than breastmilk, so your baby should be able to go longer between feedings.

4. You can eat and drink whatever you want. (I ate avocado twice while breastfeeding Dante and he got a very upset tummy and now I can´t eat my favorite, guacamole with tortillas!)

5. It is more socially acceptable, ie. you can bottle feed in public. I´m not saying breastfeeding in public is wrong, I do it myself. In fact, I am 100% against all these stupid rules that say a woman shouldn´t feed her baby naturally in public, but if you don´t want to stir up controversy, bottle feeding is more socially acceptable.

So, those are my top 5 reasons. Don´t let anyone make you feel guilty for not breastfeeding, whether it was your decision or someone else´s. Dorian is a great, intelligent and healthy little boy and he only ingested about 5 drops of breastmilk total, in his entire life!

A Little Dorian History

I thought I´d just get this out of the way, nice and early on this blog, since I´m sure it will come up later.

My eldest son, Dorian, was born with an imperforated anus. That, in layman´s terms, means that his intestines didn´t connect to the outside of his body. His anus was actually non-existent.

It was a very scary time, especially since he was born here in the public hospital in San Felipe, just outside of Antigua. They didn´t have the equipment to operate on him and I was only allowed to see him for a few brief seconds before he was taken away to observation. He wasn´t able to eat anything because there was nowhere for it to go!

When Irving came to see me, they told him that he had to find another hospital for the baby. Dorian was given to him, naked and without so much as a blanket! My brother-in-law ran to buy a blanket and a diaper for the baby and the search for a hospital that would do the very necessary colostomy began.

Irving and his mother were carrying this poor baby all over, trying to use Irving´s work insurance to get Dorian into a government hospital, since we had no money for a private hospital. Finally, one in the capital agreed to take him, thanks to my mother-in-law getting very pushy (she´s like that, it has caused problems between us, but in this case I was thrilled). Dorian had no papers, no birth certificate, nothing.

Meanwhile, I was stuck in the hospital in San Felipe, due to complications from pre-eclampsia (Dorian was induced because of this). I didn´t get to see my baby until he was 3 days old, and already operated. It was horrible, I thought he had died because he´d been moved and no one could tell me why he wasn´t in Intensive Care!

Anyway, to make a long story short, Dorian had his colostomy in February of this year, when they finally were able to close it (in a private hospital), after a reconstructive surgery on his anus when he was 8 months old. He is now ?normal?, but suffers from continued bowel problems due to the surgery.

So, that is the story of our firstborn. Thank goodness the second one didn´t have problems like that, I don´t think I could have withstood more hospital time with a baby who doesn´t understand why he is in so much pain and why Mama can´t make it go away.

Are You a Morning Person?

I am not a morning person. Well, I should rephrase that. I?m not a 3 am morning person. Personally, I like to sleep in until at least 6:30, but that´s just me!

Unfortunately my kids don?t share my enthusiasm for sleeping a few more hours after midnight. Both of them figure that an hour or two ought to do it! At the moment, they sleep in different rooms, Dorian in his own, Dante with us. But at some point these two are going to be in the same bedroom and that is when the trouble will really start.

I can just imagine them throwing parties in the wee hours, inviting stuffed animals and playing rock music, jumping on their bed and just generally wreaking havoc. A preview of their teen years, I?m sure!

The problem with the boys waking up so early is that they get to have naps and go back to sleep (they seem to fall back asleep around the time I would like to be getting up), but their poor mama doesn?t have that option! Unfortunately, laundry must be done, articles must be written and meals must be prepared.

A few people have told me to wake them up at 7 so they will get used to it. Trust me, I have tried. The result? Two VERY grumpy little boys who then proceed to cry and fuss until naptime, sleep for a couple of hours, then are up and crying again for the remainder of the day.

I think I prefer to let them sleep in the morning so I can at least get some stuff done! Besides, getting them up early never got them to sleep through the night anyway!

13 Things I Miss About Canada

I left Canada back in 2002 and haven´t been back since. It feels like a very long time and although I love my new country, there are SO many things that I miss about Canada. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. My family. Here´s a photo of my sisters (Cherith and Sarah) and my mom at a family reunion just a couple of days ago. They sent me this pic and made me cry! I haven´t seen a photo of my mom since I left. Not pictured: My baby sister, Rebekah and my Dad.

2. Daffodils. My favorite flower, blooms on my birthday and is non-existent here.

3. Twizzlers. This country has no idea what licorice is, much less red licorice.

4. Free medical care. When Dorian had to go through so many surgeries, it would have been nice to get it free!

5. English. I rarely get to speak English anymore and recently I noticed that I am losing some of my vocabulary! The only person I regularly speak English with is Dorian . . . who isn´t exactly fluent in ANY language yet!

6. English language magazines. I used to buy used ones from a shop here, but they stopped taking used magazines. Now I have to wait till Christmas to get my Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan fix! I know, I could read online, but it´s just not the same.

7. Being able to walk down the street without getting sex-related comments. This is such a macho society and foreigners are a major turn-on for all the nasties on the street. Would you believe that I got catcalls when I was 8 months pregnant, carrying Dorian on my hip?

8. Cheap postage. Ok, it is not that cheap in Canada, but it costs me about three times as much to send something up than it does to send something down.

9. Fast internet. I have wireless, but due to living on a volcano and the fact that it is the rainy season and therefore cloudy most of the time, it doesn´t work too well.

10. Free phone calls. You know how you can just pick up your house phone and call your neighbor for nothing? I can´t. Even if I had a house phone it would cost me Q1 a minute just to call my in-laws, a few meters away!

11. Libraries. They have them here and I would love to use them, but you can´t check books out! And I´m sure not sitting in there reading with a rambunctious toddler and a fussy newborn.

12. Public pools. Again, they do exist, but they are only for the very elite and are really expensive!

13. Being able to travel without worrying. Travelling to the capital on a chicken bus is not advisable, but it is basically the only way to go if you don´t own a car and can´t pay Q150 (about $20) for a taxi. And those buses are constantly being robbed or driving off a cliff!