Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 72

Dominic wouldn’t sleep one night.
Me: “It’s time to sleep, Domi.”
Dominic: “Dante sleep. Dorian sleep. Me no.”
Dorian: “They’re imaginating.”
Dante: “I’m making a bed for a baby. I think I’m going to put a door in it so you can take the baby out, though.”
Me: “There’s some major construction going on out here, huh?”
Dorian: “We’re not actually constructioning.”
Me: “What’s this drawing, Dominic?”
Dominic: “Supper. You eat it . . . supper.”
Me: “Oh, good job. What’s for supper?”
Dominic: “Chile.”
Dominic: “Want more?” scribbles on the plate he drew.
Dorian: “Would you like to be a chef, Mama? We could write what you can make on a cardboard and the prices. But we can’t make the prices too high or no one will buy it. Like, if you charge $750, no one will come because they need more money just to buy it. People like things like $2-$5.”

There’s Something About Sofia

I have four nieces through Irving’s family (no one else in the family has had a boy yet!). The oldest is Zanelle, of course. She is the oldest grandkid in the family at 11. The rest of my nieces are named Sofia.

Irving’s brother, Vardin, and his wife, Evelyn, had the first Sofia. Her full name was Evelyn Sofia. We call her just Sofia, or the original Sofi. She was born when I was four months pregnant with Dominic and she died when she was just over a month old. She had Crouzon’s Syndrome, but her death was from pneumonia. There are a lot of weird things surrounding her birth and her death, but we will just leave it at the hospital not being the best place for her.

Sofia 2 and 3 were born a month apart. Diana Sofia was born to Irving’s sister, Diana, and her husband, Miguel Angel. She’s a sweet little thing, but she almost never smiles. I’m currently her favorite aunt, but Irving freaks her out for some reason. She also really loves Dominic. She’s almost 7 months old and visits frequently.

Alejandra Sofia was born a month after Sofia 2, to Irving’s youngest brother, Melvin, and his girlfriend, Alejandra (see a theme here?). They thought she was a boy until the moment she was born, so that was a huge surprise for everyone! She is a chubby little angel who has a ready smile. Unfortunately, there are a lot of problems between Irving’s family and Alejandra’s, so Sofia 3 doesn’t get the benefit of knowing most of this side of her family. I’m making sure she gets to know most of her cousins though.

Despite all three girls having their mother’s name as their first name, all three are called Sofia. Why? I’m not exactly sure. It could be a method of tribute for the original Sofia. Or maybe it’s because Sofia is a very popular name at the moment (Sophia is apparently #1 in the US right now). Or perhaps it’s just a lack of imagination. At any rate, I think we’re going to have to find better nicknames than numbers at some point in the near future.

The Market Haul

This is what I got at the market a couple weeks ago, for about $20.

Just one of the reasons I love living here! Fresh food is much cheaper than processed. As I’ve been trying to increase the amount of fresh veggies that we eat, that has been even more important.

Much of these veggies went into salads or simple stir-fries. I also bought a 10 lb bag of chicken in the new supermarket in San Lucas (boy, did the guy look at me oddly when I asked for the entire bag of frozen chicken breasts!) and portioned it out. That has been a large part of our protein over the past couple of weeks.

For those wondering about food costs in Guatemala, this amount of veggies lasted us a week. I did supplement with other food like bread, rice, beans and turkey sausage, as well as the chicken breasts, but it was still quite affordable.

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 71

Me: “What are all these books doing all over the patio?!”
Dorian: “Books are our TV.”
Dominic has been having night terrors and while he usually sleeps with Irving, one night I took him to my bed after a terror. In the morning, he woke, confused to find me with him.
Dominic: “Uh oh. No more papa.”
Dorian: “Would you like to be a chef, Mama? We could write what you can make on a cardboard and the prices. But we can’t make the prices too high or no one will buy it. Like, if you charge $750, no one will come because they need more money just to buy it. People like things like $2-$5.”
Me: “Well, you have to consider the cost of the ingredients and your time, too. You can’t just pick a random price.”
Dorian: “Well, you’ll have to figure that out, I don’t know how to talk like a chef.”
Dante: “I have hiccups and nothing makes them go away!”
Me: “Drink some water.”
Dante: “I DID! Stupid air.”
Me: “Drink some mineral water.”
Dante: A minute later. “Hey, that worked! The bubbles opened up my throat so the air can get through!”
Me: “Dominic, can you bring me the control?”
Dominic brings me the control.
Me: “Thanks!”
Dominic: “Nada que gracias.” (This is hard to translate, but is used when someone says thanks and you think they should pay you instead of saying thanks. If you have a better translation, feel free to add it in the comments.)
I went to make baked oatmeal the other day and Dominic got very excited, seeing me melt the butter and get out the mixing bowl.
Dominic: “POPCORN!”
Me: “No, I’m making breakfast, no popcorn.”
Dominic: “Si, POPCORN! Poporopos!” Gets out another bowl and hands it to me. “Popcorn me.”
Me: “I’m not making popcorn.”
Dominic: “Papa, POPCORN!” Gets another bowl and hands it to me. “Papa eat popcorn.”
Dominic: “Popcorn? No popcorn?”
Me: “No. Oatmeal, we’re having oatmeal. I can see how you might be confused but there is no popcorn happening here.”
Dominic: Sad face “Oh. No eat popcorn me.”
We were walking down the path to the other house.
Dominic: pointing to a flower broken and on the ground, “ME!”
Me: “You broke the flower?”
Dominic: “Si. Me.” Walks a few more steps, points to a bunch of leaves crumpled in the dirt. “ME!”
Me: “You wrecked a lot of plants, huh?”
Dominic: proudly “Si. ME!”
Me: “So what are your goals this year? What do you want in 2014?”
Dorian: “I want candy.”
Me: “Well, a goal is something you want to do.”
Dorian: “Okay, I want to buy candy.”
We were walking back to the house in the dark after we celebrated an early New Year with the boys and firecrackers.
Irving: “Todavia puedes ver, Dominic?” (can you still see?)
Dominic: “No, mejor me cargas.” (no, you better carry me)

Adjusting to Our New Life

Back in December, I mentioned that one of the reasons I was behind on Christmas stuff was some news that threw our family for a loop.

It all started with Irving losing weight. He was dropping pounds at an alarming rate, though he was pretty stoked about it. My concern came across as being envious of his weight loss (which I was, too!), but it seemed a bit odd that he was eating everything in sight and still having to buy new pants because nothing fit anymore.

Then I noticed that he was sleeping a lot more than usual. He normally sleeps very little, staying up late and getting up at a decent hour. But he was now sleeping at 8 or 9, usually falling asleep in his chair and then waking up around 1 to crawl into bed. He slept as late as he could with three rowdy boys in the house and often napped on the sofa. He was always tired and mentioned this several times a day. It seemed odd, but I didn’t think that much of it since I’m always tired.

Then the nausea. Irving has always had mild stomach issues, which I chalked up to his rarely taking anti-parasite meds. But I did get him to take a round to kill off amoebas because he was feeling so unpleasant in the morning. If anything, it made things worse and he was constantly taking Sal Andrews, which is an antacid available here. He would buy in bulk and take several doses every day, muttering that his stomach was really bothering him. He would skip meals because of the nausea, which led to more weight loss.

The final straw was the most obvious. He was complaining that his thirst was never really quenched and chugging a lot of water. He normally doesn’t drink enough, so I thought it was a good thing at first. But when we went on a trip to Chimaltenango and he had to stop to pee more than I did when I was pregnant . . . that was a huge clue. He drank my drink and his own and Dominic’s when at the food court, then bought another bottle of water. I told him to get his blood sugar checked. It was too soon after he’d eaten, though, so we headed home, stopping a couple of times on the way.

I asked how long the whole excessive thirst and bathroom breaks had been going on and he told me it was a joke in the band. He figured it was caused by cold, because at home, he didn’t have to pee as often. I told him I’d never heard of cold causing bladder malfunction!

Finally, the next day, he went in to the pharmacy and had his sugar checked before eating anything in the morning. His blood sugar registered so high that the machine couldn’t even read it and it was rated for up to 450. The pharmacist who did the testing was stunned he was walking around and not even feeling that bad, though I think at that point, his body had simply become accustomed to feeling bad.

A trip to the doctor and a marathon of blood and urine tests confirmed what Google research told us, he was diabetic and in ketoacidosis, which can be fatal if not treated. The doctor put him on some meds to stabilize his sugar and told him he couldn’t eat any grains, sugar or starch and to keep his fat intake low. It was an extreme diet, particularly right before Christmas, but it was necessary. Irving was scared enough by my pointing out that he could well leave me a widow with three kids and the doctor telling him to avoid injuring himself on the legs or feet because he was at high risk for losing his extremities that he stuck religiously to the diet.

The past three weeks have been stressful as I try to figure out how to feed him without sending his sugar levels skyrocketing. We ended up buying a monitor so that I can test him before and after meals to see which foods affect him poorly. It has definitely been a major adjustment.

Since Irving’s blood pressure was also high, his diet also cuts fats and salt. While the doctor originally told us to eliminate all carbs completely, I’ve found that giving him a certain amount of whole grains is the best way to keep his level stable.

After three weeks, we finally have his blood sugar down to normal levels and his blood pressure, too! It has meant some major adjustments. When Irving goes off on a gig, I have to pack his dinner and a snack so he can be sure he has something that he can eat. Often dinners on the road are tamales with white bread, or rice and beans with bread or tortillas. It’s just easier to stay on top of things if I make his food ahead of time.

On the plus side, we are all eating better. The boys still get carbs, but I tend to eat more of what Irving does, not that it’s helping with the weight issues, but I know it’s healthier. I’ve also been working on a couple of blogs to feature the new recipes I’m coming up with, which will be specific to diabetics.

So, our new year is off to a stuttering start, but it’s all good. I’m learning a lot more about food and what has carbs and what doesn’t!

My Goals for 2014

2013 didn’t go quite as planned, but it didn’t veer too crazily from my original goals. School went well, work would have if things had kept steady, and really, the only place I really fell down was the weight loss. Instead, I gained a bunch of weight. But that was the one goal I missed.

This year, I have decided that my energy levels and health need to be top priority. I’m constantly tired and that doesn’t help with productivity at all. So, I’ve been working on some dietary changes. I’ve been doing a lot of freezer meals to save time and that also makes it easier to eat better. Another helpful habit is to prep food for the week every Sunday. When there are veggies already washed and cut in the fridge, it’s very simple to throw together a salad.

When it comes to work, I need to really assess where I’m going. At the moment, I do some projects of my own and a lot of work for other sites. I think I need to spread this out more and make sure not all my eggs are in one basket, which is what brought me down last year. So, in 2014, I want to make sure that I write regularly for Constant Content, publish at least one book a month (almost reached that last year), and set up at least one website per month. I also plan to take Gourmet Mama to the next level and get some advertising going on there. The goal is to make at least $100 a month by the end of the year.

With school, I want to make sure we’re a little more active. While online classes are great, I want to do lots of experiments and field trips and basically make school a lot more exciting.

Other goals include going to Canada to visit my family, though I’m still working on the financial side of things there, and seeing more of Guatemala, such as Xela and Tikal.