Papaless

Dominic is very much a Papa’s boy these days. It is partly because I work at home and Irving tends to have him more during the day and partly because this is just how little kids do things, alternating between favorite parents. Having been through it twice before, it doesn’t bother me. Except for right now.

With Semana Santa in full swing, Irving is gone. He was away yesterday, came home after we were all asleep and left again at 3 am. He won’t be back until Saturday.

Dominic MISSES his papa. He mopes around asking, “Mi Irving? Mi papa?” For a few days, he was convinced Irving was hiding in the bathroom. We’d open the door to show him that Papa wasn’t in there, but as soon as we shut the door, he’d be banging on it again, “Irving! Hey, Irving, veni!”

Now he’s decided to be clingy with me. I can only imagine his thought process, “Papa is gone, he doesn’t come back . . . what if Mama goes, too?!” And so, I have a 13 month old stuck to me like Velcro all day and all night. Seriously. He can’t even nap on his own right now. I need to be in sight at all times and when it comes to sleeping, the poor kid is terrified I’m going to go off and leave him, so he insists on sleeping on top of me. Which is fine for naps, because I just pop him in the sling and he sleeps on my shoulder while I read or work on the computer. However, at night, it’s a bit of an issue.

I don’t sleep well with a kid in my bed. Dominic likes to twist and turn and end up upside down with his feet in my face, so that pretty much keeps me awake. I don’t mind bringing him into bed around 4 am if it means that I can get a bit more sleep, but last night he was really upset and so he ended up spending the entire night in my bed, which he hasn’t done since he was a teensy, tiny newborn. Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of sleep.

He also wasn’t feeling well, so that probably had a lot to do with it. He woke up at 2 am with a lot of gas and sick burps and finally ended up vomiting a tiny bit and then went back to sleep. Needless to say, I did not, since I’m very much against vomit in my bed (I know, I know, I’m a mom, it happens . . . but not if I’m awake to notice the signs and whip him over a bucket!).

Tonight, he was feeling fine, but he wanted nothing to do with being alone in his crib. Finally, for my sanity, I let him fall asleep in my arms and then put him down in his crib. Hopefully he will stay there tonight and we can all get some sleep!

Semana Santa is Here

My favorite time of year. Not. You know you’ve been in a country too long when the tourist attractions that once made you so excited are now just annoying. It might be different if Irving didn’t work in the processions . . . if we could go out and enjoy them like normal folks, but . . . then again, maybe not.

Irving had a LOT of work for Lent. He originally signed on for a handful of velaciones, or mini concerts on Fridays throughout Lent, but kept getting last minute calls to replace people. It was strange since his work schedule is usually pretty set from November, when he signs the contracts! So, this year, Semana Santa felt like it started early because he hasn’t been around much for the past two weeks.

Interestingly enough, as soon as Irving got more work, so did I! That was poor timing, since I’m finding myself more than busy enough just trying to keep a super climbing baby from hurtling to his death from one piece of furniture or another. He actually attempted to climb out the window the other day, not once, but twice. A leash may be in his near future if he keeps trying to be a mini stuntman.

As is typical this time of year, it’s pretty hot with the occasional rainfall. The nice thing about the concrete is that I can now sit outside in my glider and work on the laptop while the boys play. It’s much cooler out there with a nice breeze that has Dominic yelling, “TREES! TREES!” because the trees are moving.

One more week and the madness is over. Until then, we’ve holed up with plenty of supplies and old episodes of the Pink Panther and Mickey Mouse. Well, all of us except Irving, who is getting a serious sunburn as he marches for 12-18 hours at a time.

Thirteen Months

Dominic is now officially one year and one month old. Crazy how fast it’s going.

He has mostly just been growing over the past month. He can walk, but prefers to crawl, since he tends to fall down often. Though he will stroll away from the couch when no one is looking and if you look at him, he laughs and falls down.

He uses a fork to eat and will sit waiting for utensils before eating most of the time. He’s actually better than his big brothers at eating neatly with a fork! Not sure how that happened, but he’s pretty darn good at it.

Sleep has been an issue for a bit. Dominic has had quite  few nightmares lately, so nights are tough. It might not help that he is a papa’s boy and Irving is gone most of the time now for Lent processions and veladas. He’ll be gone even more for Semana Santa, but when that’s over, we should be good.

Dominic is also obsessed with phones right now. If he hears one ring in a movie or in real life, he puts his hand to his ear and says, “Allo? Allo?” He is also enjoying our concrete and spends most of his days outdoors at this point. I’m so glad he has that chance! He gets into the dirt as much as possible and water and helps destroy his brother’s houses that Dante builds with extra wood. In short, he stays very busy all day long!

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 59

It was a rough day in school and the kids were having trouble understanding their respective subjects.
Me: “I can’t teach two complicated things at once!”
Dorian: “Well, I guess you shouldn’t have had two boys, then.”
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Dorian: “Wait a minute . . . I was in your belly and you were in Gramma’s belly . . . how did Gramma exist?!”
Me: “Well, she was in your great-grandmother’s belly and so on and so forth. It’s been that way for a very long time.”
Dorian: thinking for a minute “So, that’s an awful lot of babies in the world then.”
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Irving’s phone has bad reception inside our house, so he’s always yelling into the phone. The other day, Dominic grabbed my phone and, for the first time, pretended to talk on it. (He usually hands it to me and wants me to talk.)
Dominic: “Hallo? QUE? Ya? Ya? Ya? HALLO? HALLO? Ah, si. Vaya. YA?”
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Dante: “Nobody wants me. I guess I’ll just have to go into the woods and build myself a house.”
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Overhead from the living room: “And this guy over here was just sitting and thinking about what it would be like to be a banana.”
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Dominic took a few steps the other day on his own and said: “Good job! Good job! Do do do it!” (you can do it)
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Dante: “These noodles are burnting me!”
Me: “Burning.”
Dante: “Yeah, that, too.”

Getting Better

Lately, our family has been so very sick with one thing after another and it has become more than just an annoyance. We made a list of potential issues that could be affecting us:

  • Dirt: We had a yard full of it and dogs and cats coming through all the time. Many of the parasites that the boys pick up are from dog poo, so we knew that was definitely an issue. Shoes was an obvious solution to us, but it’s very, very hard to get children to wear them all the time. Especially my children, since they have the same aversion to shoes that I do.
  • Water: This is a possible issue. We don’t drink tap water, which varies drastically in quality depending on when they feel like dropping chlorine tabs into the tank. Some stuff, like giardia, which we recently had, is not killed by chlorine. We buy purified water but let’s face it, there’s no guarantee those five gallon jugs are anything but tap water and since we keep getting things like giardia, I was getting suspicious.
  • Food: We eat a lot of salads and lettuce is supposed to be one of the most easily contaminated and hardest to clean veggies around here. I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about how fields are watered with raw sewage (which would explain the giant carrots available here) and I always peel what I can and soak things in bleach water. But maybe it’s not enough.

So, with those three big factors (there are other smaller ones, too, which we’ll be working on), Irving and I sat down and figured out how to combat them. Our first move was to eliminate the dirt issue. We did the concrete which you saw in the last post. We still have some dirt, but not much and once the lawn is in and the flowerbeds planted, there will no walking on it.

The concrete is easy to hose down and has made cleaning the bathroom easier, too, since I can actually just hose that down, too. In addition, we are putting in a gate to keep dogs out. We can’t do much about the cats yet, since they run around the top of the wall, but I’m not so worried about them since they do tend to stay up high.

We also invested in a water filter. I want one for the whole house eventually, but for now, we have one that attaches to the kitchen sink and we can use it or switch easily to regular water for other tasks. That eliminates my worry about potentially contaminated water and the most likely source of giardia.

Finally, I am setting up a container garden and using a ton of ideas from Pinterest to start growing the most dangerous foods myself. That will allow me to ensure that they are grown safely. I’m starting with a wall garden for lettuce, but herbs, carrots, strawberries, tomatoes and other veggies will be close behind.

While we have other ideas in mind, these are fairly easy to implement (well, most have already been implemented) and if nothing else, at least now we don’t have dirt in the house all the time! And happier kids, since they have more space to play. Hopefully we will see an overall improvement in health, as well.

And the Concrete is Done!

The side yard . . . I have big plans for this, since those windows and door are to our room, which, if we ever build a second level, will be the school room. That space will be a container garden with a nice little clay fireplace in the corner and a table and chair so I can sit out there and work.

The breezeway in front of our house. The stepped up bit to the right is because the bathroom is a different level than the house and we have our washing machine up there. I would show a photo of that, but it’s a disaster right now. We have tin roofing making a sort of lean-to there to protect the washing machine, but now that we have all this concrete (there was just a little pad there before) we are going to build a proper room, one that is big enough for my sewing table, which can be switched out with a bed if anyone decides to visit us.

The dirt at the end is where we will have our lawn. It’s in front of the living room.

And here is the entrance. The rest of the “callejon” is not our responsibility, though I’ve considered filling and laying concrete there, too. The next doorway you can see to the left is Vardin’s property.

I took these photos when the entrance was still wet, so here’s a shot from the breezeway, looking down to the side yard. You can see the flower bed continued a little ways. That will have a brick edge on top of the concrete to give more room and a nicer look. We’ll be building a box to cover the pipes and also to put the gas cylinder outside, since I would rather not have it in the house. To the right is the kitchen and the breezeway.

Babies Everywhere!

It seems like everywhere I turn, there are babies right now. One of my fellow Guate bloggers and reader, Carrie, just had her sweet baby boy yesterday. Congrats to her! He’s a gorgeous little guy. :)

My in-laws are coming up babies everywhere, too. My sister-in-law, Diana, is due to have her little one within the next month, I believe. My BIL, Vardin, and his wife, Evelyn, are doing genetic counseling to see if they can try for another, though I know their hearts are hurting for Sofia still. And it looks like there will be another baby in the family soon, too, via another sibling-in-law (that’s not 100% confirmed, but we all suspect, heh).

I thought all these babies would be sure to give me baby fever, but so far, nothing. There were two brothers who were at our house yesterday, with their mother, to work on the concrete. One is 10 and the other 16, the same age difference as Dorian and Dominic. The brothers seemed to pretty much ignore each other except for the occasional snide remark and it made me sad to see. There was no camaraderie between them as there is with Dorian and Dante and it hurts me to think that Dominic will grow up by himself. They love to squeeze and play with him now, but in ten years, that will be very different.

That being said, I feel done with babies. I have 0 desire to be pregnant again. NO interest in puking for nine months and absolutely no interest in going through another C-section (or birth in general, for that matter). When I see a pregnant woman, I try to imagine it again, but nope. So I think our original decision stands. Domi will have to make do with cousins and tagging along after big brothers.

And on that note, I need to start working on baby presents! I’m hoping I’ll get some snuggle time with someone else’s babies. ;)

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 58

Me: “Let’s put some shorts on you.”
Dante: “Ok, but I want soft hilo (thread), not hard hilo.”
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Dominic was grabbing my shirt and pulling it down.
Me: “No, no, no.”
Dominic: “Si, si, si!”
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Dante: “This says ‘Wii’ but that’s wrong. It should say ‘We’ because we play it together and ‘we’ means together.”
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Dorian: “It’s Dominic’s birthday soon? He’s going to be one?”
Me: “Yup. Remember when you guys came to see him in the hospital?”
Dorian: “Yeah. I thought he wouldn’t be cute, but he was really cute.”
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Overheard one morning, when the boys crept into our room where Dominic was awake and standing in his crib.
Dorian: “Happy birthday, Domi! You’re one! Can you say one?”
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Dante: “What does this say?”
Me: “Do-It-Yourself Encyclopedia.”
Dante: “Do it yourself? I can do it myself, because I like hammering. If someone needs anything, I can make it myself. If they want a house, I can build a house. I can make ANYTHING by myself!”