An Afternoon of Puppetry

Irving left early today, which meant I was on my own with the boys. When Irving is away, we often make things and do crafts, since he isn`t around to freak out at the mess. So, today, after naps, we made happy/sad puppets.

That new table sure comes in handy!

Dante tried to eat the googly eyes, so his puppet was a little simpler than Dorian`s.

Dorian`s got the full treatment, even hair!

The puppets have a happy face on one side and a sad one on the other. I think this fellow isn`t sure whether to laugh or cry at the way his face was put together. . .

By the way, the noses were going to be circles, too, but Dorian, who is learning about shapes right now, insisted on having ?ovals?.

While I was busy helping Dorian put his puppet together, Dante taste tested the glue . . . and wasn`t impressed.

Dorian has the whole happy vs. sad thing down, too.

A Switch Gone Bad

So, last night I decided to get Dante out of our room. The boys aren`t sleeping well, either of them, so I figured they could not sleep together. Maybe they`d entertain one another.

I moved the crib into Dorian`s room nice and early and the boys played around in there. Dorian was quite excited to have his brother sleeping in his room.

Later, I bathed them and dressed them in Pjs in the new room. Dante jumped up and ran into our room and waited for me, until I called him back for stories. We all three snuggled up on Dorian`s bed to read and the boys had a little wrestle, then I tucked Dorian in according to our normal routine and rocked and sang to Dante before putting him to bed, just like normal. As soon as I closed the door, he started to scream.

Now, I`d expected that the two of them would have a hard time falling asleep when they had a playmate in the same room. When Dorian was about a year old, he moved into his own room and immediately began to sleep better (our snoring had been waking him), so I didn`t really consider the possibility that Dante would be so attached to one particular sleeping space. Oops.

Kids are so different. Dante totally flipped out and was hysterical about the situation. I ended up putting him back in our room where he promptly fell asleep. So now we aren`t sure what to do.

One thing I thought of is that I usually do time outs in Dorian`s room, so maybe Dante associated the closing door with a punishment. The other thing is that he literally sleeps anywhere during his naps, so I`m thinking of having him nap in there and sleep nights in our room. Just to get him used to the idea. We`ll see. At the moment, I`m kind of reeling from the fact that my youngest son is so resistant to change when his older brother, usually the one who needs that strict routine, had no issues with moving out of our room.

This may also put a cramp in our plans to take the boys on a two day vacation to the lake, I`m not sure how I`ll get him to sleep in a hotel room, even if we take his crib.

A Day In The Ruins

Sometimes you just have to get away. I`ve been working my butt off the past few days and it was definitely wearing on everyone around here, so last night I made an executive decision and planned a picnic for today.

We headed to the San Francisco ruins here in Antigua. It`s an old church with the ruins of a monastery (ok, I know that`s not the word . . . a place where priests live? Like a convent but for men) behind it. It`s really cheap to get in and you can picnic there and everything.

We haven`t been there since Dorian was a year old, can you imagine? Well, it`s a lot more dangerous than I remembered, what with a super fast two year old barreling down the path and vanishing up huge flights of stairs into nothingness in a split second. :S Scary. Not all the drop offs are actually fenced off and it`s about a two story drop!

We had to wait while Irving went to do something up the street. Dorian got a little bored waiting, so we went into the church. This is one of your typical, big airy Catholic churches and he was SO impressed. He kept saying, ?Oh, WOW! It`s so pretty.?

First, the boys just ran around the old courtyard for a bit.

Here`s a shot of the courtyard from above, after I chased Dorian up. I didn`t really take many photos here because I was busy keeping him from flinging himself off into space.

Then we spread out the blanket and broke out the food.

Irving was in charge of bringing the cups, so guess what wasn`t in the pack when we arrived? But we made do:

Then, Irving and Dante had a little lay down.

And I took Dorian exploring for a bit.

Finally, I showed Dorian how to roll down the grassy slope. He loved it! Then I would chase him back up.

Finally we packed up and headed home, much to Dorian`s disappointment. Here are a few more shots of the ruins from our picnic spot:

13 Things Guatemalans Believe

Since I arrived in Guatemala, I have been bombarded with new ideas and culture, but nothing prepared me for having kids in another country, where the traditions and beliefs are very strange! Their beliefs are so different and mixed with a lot of superstition, even educated Guatemalans often believe these bizarre things. So, here are thirteen of the weird beliefs I have heard around here.

1. If you leave the baby?s clothes on the line at night, the Devil will play with them and your baby will get sick and die. Irving?s grandmother used to take in Dorian?s clothes right after I hung them because of this belief, resulting in damp, musty clothing all the time!

2. Your breastmilk will get ?cold? if you don?t wear a heavy sweater, even in the heat of summer, and make your baby sick.

3. Any chronic aches and pains can be healed by a pregnant woman massaging them. (I was asked to massage a few very nasty feet when I was pregnant!)

4. Babies don?t feel the heat, they are always cold. Hence the piling of dozens of wool blankets on them, even when the mother is sweating in a tank top! I?m pretty sure this contributes to the infant mortality rate around here.

5. Wind makes children sick. I have no idea why they think this, but children up to their teens are supposed to be protected from the wind so they won?t die. When Dorian would get a sniffle or something, everyone would tell me that it was because he had been exposed to the wind!

6. Jealous or drunk people can give a baby the evil eye. I have no actual proof that this one isn?t true, but it was new to me. The reason I am not as sceptical is that there were times when Dorian would be crying and screaming for hours on end and they would pass an egg and a herb over him while praying (mixture of Mayan and Catholic there!) and then break the egg into a glass of water. Apparently the number of strings that reach the top is the number of people who have ?eyed? the baby and sometimes the egg makes the shape of the person who did it. Almost always, after these sessions, Dorian would be calm again. Maybe he liked the attention, maybe he had the evil eye. Who knows?

7. Some foods are considered to be ?cold? others ?hot?. It has nothing to do with temperature and depending on the state of the weather and the time of day, either one can do you harm. For example, if you are suffering from tummy problems, it must be because you ate avocado, which was too cold for your stomach. Oh, and ?cold? foods must never be eaten at night, or you will get sick. It took me a while to learn what all the ?cold? foods were!

8. If you stand a baby up on your lap (don?t we all?), he will have bowed legs.

9. If you put a baby upright on your shoulder to burp him, his soft spot will fall in and he will die. Half of that is true, but they don?t realize the real causes of a soft spot being sunken. They mistakenly think that any time a baby is put in the upright position, he is in terrible danger.

10. Children shouldn?t be put on the floor and NEVER allowed to crawl. Kids here don?t walk until they are nearly two because everyone is terrified of them falling down! They are kept lying down on the bed or strapped to their mother?s back until then.

11. If a child bumps his head and gets a goose egg, it will cause cancer or he will have the bump for the rest of his life. They use a coin to rub the bump hard and force it down. Dorian has had about 4 goose bumps in the last couple of weeks and I did nothing. Gasp! They are gone now. And to the best of my knowledge, he is cancer-free.

12. When a baby is born with a problem, it is because his mother did something wrong in the past. Who hasn?t done something wrong in the past? I hated that everyone here told me I was such a sinner because Dorian was born with problems.

13. A child?s personality is determined by the pregnancy. If his mother was happy, he will be happy. If she was angry and moody, he will be too. I don´t know a single pregnant woman who hasn´t been grumpy at some point!

As you can imagine, I am considered to be a very bad mother, constantly risking the lives of my children because I let them wear just onesies, don?t smother them with woollen blankets on hot days, and, horror of horrors, burp them on my shoulder. Oh, and don?t forget that I let them learn how to crawl before they walk, a true sin.