Monday, November 30, 2009

Test Run

Grandma left for South Africa earlier this evening; she’s going to visit her sister, Dorothy, who is on a mission in Port Elizabeth with her husband Raymond (they work with the Perpetual Education Fund). We have mixed feelings about having her go.

It’s been wonderful to have her here, but I think we’re both kind of excited to see if we really can handle life (+2 kids) without her.

I did get the dishes washed tonight so it just might be possible.

Frankly, the only reason we are excited to see if we can handle having her gone is because we know that she’ll be coming back after a week, so it’s only a reality test run. We get her back for the rest of December, thank goodness. Perhaps by then we’ll really be ready to take the reigns. Maybe.

Rachel handled the parting better than I thought she would, although she did try to stowaway into the cab with Grandma. She knows, though that Grandma is only going for a week to visit her sister. She’ll be back soon. No tears were shed, surprisingly enough, and Rachel went to bed willingly.

We’ll see how tomorrow goes and if we end up eating something more than oriental noodles.

Have a fun time, Grandma! We’ll be counting down the days until you get back…

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Remember when…?

It’s amazing to me how children grasp the concept of time. They start out ignoring any and all attempts to schedule—2 PM sounds just as good as 4 AM. Slowly they begin to understand that dark means sleep and light means awake and it rockets from there.

Rachel understands that she once was littler than she is now and also knows that she’s getting bigger every day. This enables her to talk about both the past and the future in addition to the present.

“After I was a baby…” (alternatively “After when I was a baby…”) is often followed up with “I wored that shirt” or “I played with that toy” or “I spitted up on Mommy, too.”

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Motherhood is catching up with me

I'd like to take this moment to brag about Miriam: she slept solidly from midnight until seven in the morning. Rock on!

Now if only I could train Rachel to do that. *sigh* Don't think it's going to happen since I've been working on that project for 2+ years....

Only two days left of NaBloPoMo, thank goodness. Being under pressure to write every day this month has been kind of a daily trauma. It hasn't been a challenge in years past. I think motherhood is catching up with me...or maybe it's because I'm the mother of a newborn. That's probably it, actually. I'm sure I'll feel normal again someday.

In other news, Rachel entertained herself at the kitchen table with play-dough for about four hours today. Rock on!

Now if only I could train Miriam to do that. Just kidding. I like the newborn stage, as tiring as it is. It goes by too quickly. *sigh*

Friday, November 27, 2009

Flashback Friday: O Tannenbaum

I debated long and hard about what to do for today’s flashback—almost an entire nursing session (long time). At first I thought I’d just do a flashback to last year’s Eid al-Adha because we didn’t ever get out to see anything today (because child #2 didn’t go to sleep until 1:00 AM and child #1 woke up at 3:30 AM and stayed awake until 6:00 AM screaming and crying about this, that, and the other, and child #2 woke up at 5:00 AM and stayed awake until 7:00 AM and then we got up at 8:00 AM to get ready for church). Instead of going downtown to see stuff like this we had family naptime.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Eid al-Shukr

Tomorrow is Eid al-Adha, so on our drive to the Tueller’s to celebrate American Thanksgiving we saw several herds of goats and sheep for sale on the side of the road as well as cows tied to the back of pickup trucks…all awaiting their doom tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Miriam at one month

one month copy

More pictures are forthcoming. And probably something or other about Miriam, too. But truth be told, she decided that eating every half hour wasn’t an unreasonable request so I’ve gotten nothing accomplished this evening. Nothing.

If you ask her how bad she feels about that she just shrugs her shoulders and says, “Meh, about this much.”

one month 2

She’s not very remorseful. But she is pretty chubby…

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A smile goes a long, long way…

Miriam has been practicing her grins. Most often she smiles right after eating, right before she falls asleep. Pure contentment.


Emotional Wednesday

Sleep is more elusive some nights than others. Sometimes on the more elusive nights Daddy ends up in Rachel’s bed because Mommy, too busy with Miriam to check on Rachel herself, asks Daddy to go check on the screaming Rachel, a task he apparently understands as “climb in her bed and go back to sleep.”


Monday, November 23, 2009

From our dinner table…to yours

Our friends Jaehee and Aden came over for dinner last night—they brought stroganoff and a salad. Karen made a jello salad and some buns to go along with dinner. She also made apple crisp.

Aden refused the jello salad on the first go-round because, he said, he wanted to save dessert for later. We informed him that the jello wasn’t the dessert.

“Wait!” Jaehee gasped, almost dropping her spoon, “There’s more?!”

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Safety First

Some pipes are being replaced down on Canal Street. They even put up signs to apologize for the inconvenience and to remind us that it is a construction zone and therefore caution needs to be exercised.

The mere fact that they even bothered to put up signs is amazing since so often they don’t…


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Basic anatomy and prayer time

After I had finished nursing Miriam, I put her on my lap and began to attempt to regain some semblance of modesty before shedding my nursing cover.

Rachel: What are you doing, Mom?

Me: Fixing my clothes.

Rachel: Oh. Are you putting your breasts back on?

Me: What?!

To be first

I imagine it takes a lot of courage to be the first muezzin to start calling the adhan—a lone voice piercing the nighttime silence, setting off a domino-effect in the surrounding mosques until all that is heard for miles around is a droning jumble of voices asserting to everyone listening that God is the greatest. Allahu akbar.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Flashback Friday: My first flight

My first flight wasn’t a very long flight but I still found it exciting. I believe that Patrick was about two, which meant that I had reached the ripe old age of six making David around eight. So this would have been the year…1992…maybe. We were heading out to Alberta from British Columbia to visit my grandparents and have a family get-together of sorts. My grandparents had purchased tickets for my mom and the youngest three kids, and while the thought of flying solo with three children seems a little daunting to me, it sure beats a twelve-hour trip with five.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One week early

I know it’s still a week before Thanksgiving, but here’s a video of Rachel singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, anyway. Merry Christmas.

For some reason she freaked out when I took the camera out and refused to do anything so I had Andrew film her from his desk while she sang to baby Miriam. She’s being a bit of a goof-off so it isn’t her very best performance. Maybe one day she’ll do a more polished version…

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It’s been a while

We haven’t been to the playground since before Miriam was born. That’s a long time in the world of a two-year-old. That’s a long time in the world of a mother. And I can’t be sure but I think that’s probably also a long time in the world of a grandmother. For Miriam, it’s been a lifetime.

Needless to say, it was nice to get out into the sunshine today for some quality playtime.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Should I be worried?

Miriam has been asleep since five-thirty this morning. No joke. It's eight-thirty in the evening now.

She might have been up for, maybe, an hour an a That's a generous guess.

What will this mean for tonight when she's actually supposed to be sleeping?

Monday, November 16, 2009

It’s been 3 weeks…since you looked at me

Last night when I was Skyping with my family, my mom remarked how big Miriam seemed to her. And it’s true—she’s really grown from last week to this. Her cheeks have filled out quite a bit and she’s unfolding more and more which makes her seem so much taller than just a few weeks ago.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

A walk through Maadi

My friend Jeremy asked me to post some pictures of Maadi and today I finally got around to doing it. I left the house, took the camera, took pictures and remembered to blog about it. It’s a postpartum miracle! Now where’d I put the baby…?


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jingle all the way, baby!

Grandma remarked over dinner how lean the hamburger was. Obviously it’s not Egyptian hamburger (which is more grisly than anything). Rachel, trying to contribute to the conversation and stay on topic, agreed with her,

“Yeah. It’s kinda mean. They don’t like him nose.”

Lean --> mean = what all of the other reindeer are.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Flashback Friday: Just go to sleep

Right now I’m so tired that I’m not sure I can even write anything coherent, let alone anything that would be interesting to read. But I guess that’s parenthood for you.

I remember not being very good at sleeping when I was younger. I often slept in my parents bed. Or floor. Or the little couch in their room. And when my dad left for work a o’dark thirty I’d climb in bed with my mom and then I’d ask her questions and things like that and she’d say, “Nancy, just go to sleep.”

And for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why.

You can give a child a bedtime…

We are all sleep deprived, but oddly enough the one suffering the most is Rachel. That girl!

Our goal is to have her be in bed by around 8:30 or 9:00 every night and we really don’t struggle with that goal very often. She’s pretty good about going to bed most of the time. She’s even mostly good about staying in bed. It’s the going to sleep part that she won’t do.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


The infant PKU test isn’t offered in Egypt, at least, not at birth. Instead you have to have a private pediatrician order a private lab to come to your home and draw some blood from your new born baby and mail it off to Germany to get the results. All this costs around 200 USD (from what I hear).

Rachel got tested in the States and she was fine—most kids are since only 1 in 15,000 babies born inherits the disorder.

We still haven’t gotten Miriam tested.

Part of me wonders if it is worth it—forking out two-hundred dollars to get back what will, in all reality, probably be a negative test result. Two-hundred dollars for peace of mind. That’s a lot.

On the other hand, what if Miriam is the one in 15,000? Suddenly two-hundred dollars doesn’t seem like that much…

I think I’ll have Andrew set up that appointment ASAP.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

You have two babies?!

After church on Friday Nic, a 5-year-old in our branch, saw me carrying Miriam.

"Whose baby is that?" she asked.

"It's mine," I said.

She looked at me all confused, "But I thought Rachel was your baby."

"She is," I answered.

"Then whose baby is that?"

"Also mine."

"You have two babies?!"

The irony of this is that Nic comes from a family of seven children so you'd think she'd understand the concept of a parent having more than one child. I explained to her that Rachel is still my baby even though we now have Miriam just like she is still her mommy's baby now that her family has Rex (who is Rachel's age). She seemed to accept that answer but I'm still not sure she believes that both those babies are mine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I’m a hippie

If you asked my father-in-law to describe me in one word, he’d probably say hippie. Or awesome. But probably hippie.

Truthfully I think it stems from the fact that broccoli doesn’t make me balk. Or it could be our parenting style. Possibly a toss up between the two.

We do some weird parenting things, it’s true, but we don’t adhere strictly to any child-raising techniques. I’ve never read up on attachment parenting or the Ferber method or anything like that. And I know I’m not a granola mom because I still shave my armpits and I’m pretty sure that disqualifies me from ever holding that title.

My handicap

Miriam, the champion-sleeper, slept from 1:00 AM until around 7:30 AM at which time I forced her awake and begged her to eat before I exploded. My milk supply, though still over abundant, isn’t quite as hyper-active as it was with Rachel which means that I can actually sleep for six hours before I feel like I’m going to explode. It’s kind of nice. Not that I slept for those six hours…

Rachel woke up almost every two hours last night and then came into our room around 8:00 AM. It was nice of her to wait that long because I heard her up and stirring much earlier than that.

I was so tired—I went to take a nap around 11:00 AM and didn’t wake up until 1:30 PM. And then I saw Andrew was online so I started chatting with him.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Don’t do that again, Miriam!

Late this morning, so late that it was almost early afternoon, Miriam and I ventured out of the bedroom. Rachel was very excited to see us. She’s often telling me how tired I am and how much I sleep and once when I came out of the bedroom after an extraordinarily long nap she exclaimed,

“Happy founding, Mommy!”

A “good morning” was definitely not called for since it was almost dinner time but she had to think of some way to greet me, I guess.

Anyway, when we came out this morning, Rachel wanted to hold Miriam so she got all settled on the couch with the boppy on her lap to help support Miriam and I handed Miriam over.

For a long time they sat peacefully and blissfully together, staring into each others’ little faces and smiling when suddenly…

Sunday, November 08, 2009

If you don’t give a 2-year-old a muffin…

“Give me my muffin!” she bellowed again, holding out her hand to further emphasize the demand that I relinquish the muffin, as if using the word “my” somehow automatically shifted ownership from me to her.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Flashback Friday: Recurring Nightmare

Yes, I’m writing my Flashback Friday on a Saturday. I’m allowed to do that because I just had a baby. Anyway…

In the defense of MOMster’s children, I will share one of the recurring nightmares of my childhood involving a beetle, and not just any beetle, but one of the most innocuous beetles known to childhood. The dreadful, the horrifying, the terrible…ladybug.

Yes, that same one featured in the nursery rhyme.

Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home!
Your house is on fire and
Your children are alone.

The protagonist of more than one story in our book bin. The one plastering Rachel’s pyjamas. The one that no child is afraid of.

Yes, that one.

Friday, November 06, 2009

I’m seebing her

Everything I do, Rachel does, too.

For example, Miriam spends a lot of time in a sling (courtesy of my friend Jill—thanks, Jill!).


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Men at Work

Since I never seem to leave the house anymore I don’t have anything interesting to say, really, except that I was breastfeeding Miriam with the window open and I looked up and was met eye-to-eye with a lumberjack.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

4 o’clock isn’t so lonely around here

This morning I was nursing Miriam while listening to the ghostly echoes of various muezzins recite the first adhan of the day. Their voices twisted and glided around the streets and drifted through our bedroom window, an eerie choir unconstrained by either tone or time—confusingly beautiful at times and ear-gratingly obnoxious at others—until the last voice finally tapered off and I was left in silence once again.

It’s quite like how I imagine the Hogwarts Anthem being sung.

Like lemon juice in a paper cut

Sometimes when I’m too lazy to walk anywhere I ask Andrew to do the walking for me. Yesterday I was too lazy to stand up after changing Miriam’s diaper and so I asked Andrew to bring me the sink to me instead, in the form of hand sanitizer.

He squirted a little in my hand and Rachel noticed so she, of course, wanted some as well. She loves hand sanitizer—she calls it hanitizer—she stuck out her hands and asked her daddy if she could have some, too. He obliged and gave her a big ol’ squirt. It was way more than her little hands could possibly soak up.

Looking for a quick solution to her overly sanitized condition, Andrew noticed she wasn’t wearing a shirt. We had taken it off for dinner-eating purposes.

“Rub the rest on your tummy,” he suggested.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Are you 'rected?

Rachel and I were just looking at the family tree we put together last night. She was asking questions about everyone on the chart. When we got to her great-grandma Conrad, Rachel insisted that she met her. I went and burst her bubble.

"Well, maybe you met her in heaven before you came to live in our family. She died before you were born."

"Oh," she said, kind of disappointed by that, "Mommy died, too."

"No, I didn't die."

"You didn't die?"

"No. I'm not dead."

"Oh, are you 'rected?"

"No, I'm not resurrected, either. I'm just plain, old alive."

Rachel is now acting like my position on the cool-chart just went down 10 points because I am neither dead nor resurrected.

Modesty on the Metro

I took my last metro ride as a pregnant lady the night before Miriam was born. It was an impromptu ride so neither Andrew or I were really dressed for a jaunt downtown. When we leave the expat-world of Maadi we both prefer to dress a little more conservatively, meaning long pants for both and long sleeves for me.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Recap of today

My toes are cold; we’ve plummeted from 100°F to 70°F since Miriam was born. I put away the fan this afternoon and I’m even considering wearing socks full-time, at least while in the house. It always seems chillier in the house than outside during the winter.

Maadi is a wonderful neighbourhood to live in because there are so many trees to shade the streets. It’s absolutely fantastic in the summer and even nice in the winter, except that our jaundice-walks aren’t working very well. Not only is it difficult to find a sunny patch of sidewalk (or street) to stand in, locals would think I’m a terrible mother for having my baby’s bare skin showing in this "cold, cold" weather.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

One week

Last night we finally finished that game of Hand and Foot that we started the previous Saturday. It took us a full week to play the last three rounds. We must have been busy with something else.


Miriam. We were busy with Miriam.

Two children

Having two kids is certainly more difficult than having only one. If nothing else it is far more confusing for everybody.

I’m pretty sure Miriam thinks her name is “Rrrr…Miriam.” We just can’t seem to spit out any name other than Rachel. Sometimes Andrew tries to recover by saying, “Hello little Rrrrrachel’s little sister, Miriam!” It’s pathetic, really—there are only two of them and you’d think that after a week of having Miriam around we’d at least have her name down.