Off Topic Friday: Half a Man

24 Nov

We went to Miami this month so that Phillip could compete in a Half Ironman (Half, wimp right?). Anyway, as much as I would like to say I am proud of my husband and his achievements (half achievements). The Ironman has proven to be somewhat difficult for me to understand.  I for example don’t understand why anyone would put themselves through that kind of training. I have tried to explain to Phillip why I just don’t get it.

He finally sent me this video. My love, he gets it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B03dFMG8nR4

In case you don’t recognize me, that’s me in black and white telling Phillip he’s and idiot.

 

And here is my husband again. 5 Hours into the half-misery.

 

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Guess who’s bringing Sexy Back?

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In other news…

Phillip is competing in a full Ironman next year in Germany. So I guess by then he’ll finally be a full  Man?

Heil Halloween

18 Nov

This year was the first time in 7 years that Phillip and I have been together for Halloween. The lucky man has been out of town for the last 6 years. I love Halloween, Phillip hates it. Every year I come up with perfect costumes for him (Last year it was Freddy Mercury), and every time he has gone to a company retreat and missed it  (Suspicious right?). This year we were together for the first time in Miami. I couldn’t get him to dress up, but at least we got something awesome for Peter. Ok it wasn’t as awesome and legendary as I hoped it would be, but at least it was cute.

I actually spent a lot of time thinking about Peter’s first costume. I went from Yoda, to Smurf, to Pinocchio. I finally settled on Pinocchio only to realize that the costume was hand made, it cost 200 dollars and the lady who sold it would take 5 weeks to make it. It was one week before Halloween. I decided not to panic and quickly decided that I would buy a costume when we got to Miami. We finally ended up with a Fox. (See result below).

But before there was a fox, the topic of Peter’s first costume was deeply discussed with my family, especially my brother. We (he) came up with such a politically incorrect costume, that just cracked me up, that I have to share it with you. If only for this awful idea to live on. Before I tell you what it was, you need a little background.

Peter was born with a lot of hair. It soon began to fall out as it was (thankfully) expected. It almost all fell out except for a long strand of hair on the top of his head. Peter’s hair is a little red (we don’t know why), so when this strand got wet or messy it kind of stuck to his forehead and the boy ended up looking like Hitler after a long speech (yes, Adolph Hitler) for the rest of the day. So we obviously began to call it, his Hitler Hair.

Anyway when I told my brother about it, he laughed and said I had solved the question to Peter’s costume. I should dress him up like Hitler and put a sign on his hands that said “I told you I hate the Juice”. We laughed. Then he said: Too soon? And that was the end of that.

But still as tempted as I was to dress up Peter in such an inappropriate costume. I wanted the kid to have a happy first memory of Halloween, one where his parents and uncle weren’t using him for their own laughs. That begins next year. Or maybe this Christmas, there can never be too many baby Jesus.

Image

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In other news…

The Hitler Hair is gone now. Phillip did it himself. Peter’s first hair cut.

How do you mend a Broken Heart?

16 Nov

We’re thinking about changing Peter’s Dr. I recently wrote a post talking about how in love with him we were. Unfortunately things have changed. I haven’t made up my mind and we have until Monday to choose: Advice welcome.

Here’s what happened:

It all began almost a month ago at Peter’s 7 month checkup. I went alone because Phillip was away for two weeks on a business trip. When I arrived at the Doctor’s office there was a little girl in the waiting room about 2 years old with the most terrible flu you have ever seen. My Hypochondria immediately kicked in, and so my brain refused to sit in the same room as the girl with the “Ebola Virus*”. I was afraid Peter might catch her flu, so as soon as I saw the girl I closed the door and stood outside until it was our time to come in. I later realized it might have been slightly rude to close the door on a sick baby and her mother. But my fear of illness is greater than my sense of civism. Only thing was, Peter’s Doctor saw me close the door, so he knew we were outside the whole time. I don’t know if this is the reason we started the appointment with the wrong foot. But since it went so bad I’m considering all the possibilities.

After about ten minutes of waiting outside we were called into the Doctors office. The little girl still in the waiting room. When we went in. Peter’s Doctor was different. I mean his attitude towards us had changed from our last appointment. He was more serious and less patient with my monthly list . While he was checking Peter he called a fellow doctor to tell him he was leaving the next day on a trip (he said he was going to solve a family matter and he was dreading the whole thing) and he needed someone to look after the little girl. She was very sick and he was afraid of leaving her without support. When he hung up he wrote the name of the Dr. on a piece of paper and left to check on the girl. Unfortunately for us, as soon as he came in, he asked if Peter had gotten any teeth yet, and put his (unwashed) hand inside his mouth. I knew it as soon as it happened: The virus had found a new victim.

The rest of the appointment went fine. The Doctor remained serious the whole time. Not even Peter’s smile broke the ice. I left feeling uneasy. Like I had done something wrong. I went over the appointment in my head. I realize how crazy this sounds that I care this much about Peter’s Dr. But as I said before he is my anchor to sanity, so it broke my heart. I guess he had a lot on his mind with his trip the next day, and the little girl, but still.

The next day, things went from bad to worse in our Doctor, baby, mother relationship.  Peter woke up with a terrible cough and a stuffy nose. He had caught the virus. I knew the Doctor had left the country so there was no way of calling him. Phillip was still on his business trip so that meant I had to deal with Peter’s first illness all by myself (He also got his two bottom teeth that day, so double the fun). I resorted to writing to him via WhatsUp. I wrote that Peter was ill, and explained the symptoms, cough, nose, fever. I asked for advice on what to do. I got no answer. I wrote to him again, as things got worse with Peter. No answer. You might be thinking he probably didn’t get my text since he was out of the country.  Thing is, I know he saw them. You see,  WhatsUp  tells you if your message was received and when was the last time the person used the chat (Cyber Stalking). So I knew he had seen my messages. But I never got an answer. We were going on a trip abroad ourselves in 3 days, and I was afraid of travelling so far away with a sick baby. I remembered the name of the Doctor he had referred the little girl to. So I called. I got an appointment the next day. I took Peter and explained the situation. I left out the little girl story. He looked at Peter and told me he had an ear infection and needed antibiotics. He said we were just in time of treating it before the plane ride, so good thing I came in. He gave me his number and told me to call him and tell him how things were going.

I fell in love. I knew it would happen (after all he’s a doctor and was looking after Peter). But what charmed me most was the fact that I could see a lot of Phillip in him. He is this sweet man, with long white hair, a little crazy in the eyes, and a Let it be philosophy, that just reminded me of my husband. I called him a few times to ask questions and let him know how things were evolving with Peter. We went on our trip, and Peter got better as the days went by.

When we got home I made an appointment with him so that he could check Peter’s ears, but mostly so that Phillip could meet him. He fell in love (I knew it would happen). He gave us lots of advice and spoke to us as if we were with him for the long run. So now we have a big decision to make. Philip says we should switch to the new Dr. I’m not sure.

I don’t know what I want. I’ve thought all week about why this has become such a difficult decision for me to make and this is what I realized: I don’t want to tell Peter’s birth story again. I don’t want to look in to his face and read or hear something might be wrong. So far Peter’s Dr. has assured us we don’t have to worry. I don’t want that to change. I’m afraid.

We’re out of time. Peter’s monthly appointment with his old Dr. is on Monday so by then I have to have an answer. I’ll tell you my decision next week!

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*The flu Peter caught is now referred to in our family as the Ebola Virus, since it spread like wildfire: First to me, then my mother, then Phillip, and finally to my father in law (all of us in a week).

** I do believe its rude to leave a room if someone is sick. But I just can’t help myself. In my defense, when I’m sick, and when Peter was sick I stayed outside with him so that no other children would catch it.

*** I’m so glad to be back and writing!! Cheers!!

The Disappearing act.

15 Nov

I know, I know. I said I would never go missing again, and yet here I am, almost a month after my last post. I know I have a lot of explaining to do. And I will. There has been a lot going on. Hopefully you will be able to forgive me.  Let me begin by giving you a list of the events that led to this disappearing act.  

1. Peter got his first (Terrible, Horrible) Flu, while his Dr. was on vacation, and just 3 days before we were supposed to go on a trip our selves. Then he gave it to me.

2. Peter got his first teeth (Bottom two) while he had the Flu

3. We went to Miami to see Phillip complete half an Iron man (Peter´s first trip abroad)

4. We came home only to realize that Peter wasn´t adapting so well to coming back home

5. We are thinking about changing Peter´s Dr.

6. I´m back to writing.

So there. That´s what I´ve been up to. There will be a full detailed account. I promise. Being away for so long made me realize just how much writing this blog means to me. So thanks for hanging on. It means the world to me.

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In other news…

When we went to Miami we met up with Baby E´s Parents. She is doing well so far. Growing and charming everyone at the clinic with her looks. She is now more than a month old. Time flies. Keep the good thoughts coming!!!

Sound Advice

18 Oct

There are 2 precautions I have read in several baby books that have surprised me. In both cases, at first I thought the advice was just insane and frankly a little over the top. I wondered why they even bothered to write it down. It seemed pretty obvious to me. I soon found out this precautions are not only right on the dot. They (thankfully) once in a while come to me in time of need.

1. Don’t shake the baby

2. Don’t tie or glue the pacifier to his/her mouth

I’ll go about this separately:

1. Don’t shake the baby: Duh, Right? That’s what I thought. I wouldn’t in my wildest dreams hurt Peter. So when I constantly kept reading this advice, it got me wondering, how bad does it have to get to reach this point?. In case you haven’t heard, if you shake your child strong enough they could develop Shaken Baby Syndrome (Which could cause long term disabilities or even lead to the death of your child). Thankfully I have never reached the point were I have felt like shaking or hurting Peter in any way. But I can see how a scared, sleep deprived, exhausted parent could loose it.

I can picture it in my head. One second in your life. Your baby cries for the 50th time, you pick them up. Look at them and ask (While shaking them): What is wrong? Boom. You hurt your child, your life will never be the same. It gives me chills. I finally understood why this advice is given in every book: If you feel like you are loosing it walk away. Better to let your child cry than to hurt them. If you are aware of this advice, when the moment comes it will ring in your head and you will know what to do.

I thankfully have never reached this point. But I remember when Peter was about 3 weeks old, he had been crying all day because of gas. I had done everything in my power to burp him. But the kid was not collaborating. It was about 1 in the morning after a difficult day. I had just fed Peter and was trying to burp him by gently patting his back, when he suddenly started crying. I knew it was because of the gas. I didn’t want him to cry anymore. I suddenly found myself patting a little too hard. I stopped immediately. Wow. I understood.

2. Don’t tie or glue the pacifier to his/her mouth

Peter got a pacifier when he was 3 weeks old. At first I didn’t want him to have one, but Peter had such a strong sucking reflex that we had no choice. He cried, cried, cried until the day we bought him his first at the advice of his Dr. As soon as he sucked on it, the crying stopped. I was in heaven. Then came the night: You see, up to this day, the baby won’t sleep unless the thing is inside his mouth. This means that if the pacifier falls 20 times, that’s 20 times Peter will wake up. If you remember from my last post, up until 4 months, every time Peter woke up I would have to walk him around in my arms. So I quickly cursed the day we gave him “The Thing”.Then came the realization of why this advice is also constantly repeated in books. I can clearly see it happening, and can completely relate to anyone who has been in this position.

Friends (who have no children) have actually suggested that we tie it around and/or glue it. It sounds so logical. But since it shouldn’t be done, we don’t. We keep walking in and placing it in it righteous place, until Peter knows when. I have tried weaning him off. I screamed of joy the day Peter found his thumb. The joy quickly went away went he pulled his thumb out and it was bloody red (Extremely strong sucking reflex and biting). So I have decided to let it be. If I have to keep getting up to replace it I will. I choose a healthy baby thumb over a nights sleep. I’m grateful I read this advice before the situation began. I think my “creativity” would have led me to glue it to Peter’s mouth with tape. And  would have probably have felt like a genius. So thank you books, for popping that balloon and keeping my baby safe.

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In other news…

I really believe that the person who figures this one out will make a fortune. Lets create a mothers think tank and solve this collectively. So far I have come up with the following (an idea quickly killed by my husband): A pacifier with milk inside a capsule so that after a certain amount of time the baby sucks a little milk and therefore will feel the need to keep on sucking. Hey this was my first! I’m still thinking. Ideas welcome, we’ll split the money (probably).

Unsleeping like a Baby

15 Oct

Oh Peter. Long gone are those few weeks you so preciously decided that sleeping through the night was something you were willing to put into practice.

Here writes your tired mother.

When Peter was born I read a book that told me babies had to be taught to fall asleep. Certainly the author  hadn’t seen the little sleeping blob I brought back from the hospital. This little human who I had to undress constantly because he kept falling asleep while eating! What nonsense! Who had ever heard of teaching a human to sleep? Well, apparently everyone, except me. Reality hit hard when Peter started showing signs of his now well known 40 minute naps. When we came close to the 2 month mark, my dear sleeping angel, the one I had to wake up to eat, was now refusing to sleep. It’s now been 5 months of trial and error. I’ve read the books, I’ve done the training. Sometimes in the middle of the trial (mostly when Peter is crying) I’ll stop and think to myself: I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing to this poor child. But I guess all mothers go through this, or at least that’s what I want to think.

It’s been a long long long (long) process. Please, enjoy my misery:

1. Walking it out

When Peter was about 2 months we resorted to walking him to sleep. If we didn’t he would not go to sleep. This is a baby that up to a month ago would not sleep in his stroller. I personally had never heard of such a thing. I used to envy those mothers who at least had the opportunity to strap their babies to the stroller, go for a walk and come back with a sleeping bub. He would not sleep in the swing either. So the only solution we had was to walk him around in our arms.  We carried him for up to an hour. Sometimes, if he cried we would walk around and lift him up and down (like weights). I was terrified when after and hour of walking I looked at him and his eyes were still open. I felt like crying and pulling my hair out.

I read many books, and although each one had a different method they all agreed in one thing: Put your baby down while drowsy not while sleeping. Sounds easy right? Ha, ha, ha.

2. Placement in the crib.

As time went by (close to four months) the walking was reduced to a few minutes. Then came the most nerve wrecking moment of the day. Placing the infant inside the crib without him waking. It was like this never ending game of Jenga.  Any false move and off you were to do some more walking. Phillip was so much better than me at this, I used to loose control at the end and Peter would wake up instantly. Needless to say it drove me nuts (the part were Phillip was so much better than me). I wanted to cry right along with Peter.

When Peter was close to 5 months, it became clear to me that the walking had to stop. You see, Peter is a big baby. When someone first meets him, they always comment on how big he is for his age (So either he is really big, or really ugly (and people find that commenting on his size is the most appropriate thing to say)). So as he started gaining more weight, it dawned on me that if I kept this going on, I would be carrying this huge baby around for a year, and my back was asking for a break. That’s when the real training began.

3. Pick Up, Put Down : What the Hell am I doing?

I had been told by Peter’s doctor that I could not let him cry it out before 6 months. And since I was loosing my mind by 5 months I decided to try another method. This is actually what worked for me so if I seem cynical at any point, that’s because I’m a cynical person. But the method worked, so I couldn’t be more thankful.

The Method goes like this: You place the baby in the crib while saying your “sleepy words” (mine are: Go to sleep: genius I know). Anyway, as soon as the baby cries you try to soothe him in his crib with out picking him up , if he cries (CRIES) you pick him up, and as soon as he stops crying you put him back down. You do this as many time as you have to until he gets the point and falls asleep. I think I was into my third day with the training, when I stopped, looked at a crying Peter and thought I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. The more I picked him up and put him down, the more he cried. At one point he would cry if he saw his crib during the day. I felt like a terrible mother. I was using Peter like my guinea pig. He was crying because I had taught him the only way to fall asleep was to walk it out, and now I wanted to change it. It took me a whole month. But we finally did it. Peter falls asleep in crib. He still wakes up at night, but at least the walking stopped.

4. The long arm goodnight.

Peter slept in our room for 4 months. I didn’t want him to sleep in the other room. I was/am terrified of something happening to him and being so far away (10 meters). But Phillip convinced me it was better for him. Before he moved away, I used to sleep with my arm inside his crib. Whenever his pacifier fell out or he was fussing about, my arm was there, ready to take over. So it was like he was never waking up. Sometimes my arm would get caught between the rails. Most nights it would fall asleep and hurt the next day. But we were able to sleep. Oh sweet sleep.

5. Crying it out

This I wish I had the courage to do. I don’t.

Although Peter knows how to fall asleep on his own. Apparently he only wants to put this knowledge to work one time per night. So even though he falls asleep by himself the first time. The next 10 times, he needs his mother to come in. Sometimes at 3 A.M when I’ve been up 5 times to place the pacifier back or to give him a rub so he settles back. I dream (maybe I’m still asleep?) that I had it in me to let him cry it out. I can’t say I’ll never do it. But I do know right now I’m not able to.  But give me a month and I’ll check back on that one.

So this is Peter’s sleep diary so far. Hopefully my little boy will find out soon that sleeping through the night is the new big thing. It will certainly make for a saner mother.

Off Topic Friday The Colombian Stigma. A Rant

13 Oct

This weeks Off Topic Friday, comes with my first rant. Enjoy

Ever since I started this blog I have been thinking about what people might think, and how the way they imagine me might change according to the place I tell them I’m writing from. Lets try it out: If I tell you I’m writing from the States, you’ll think of me differently than if I tell you I’m writing from, lets say India. Even the clothes you´ll see me wearing in your head will be different. You see, we all have this preconceived notions of how people look like, sound like, act like depending on where they come from. We carry the weight of what others have done for our country (good or bad), and that is the way the rest of the world ends up seeing us. Hollywood has done more than anyone I can imagine by  creating stigmas for different countries. Who can think about the Russians without thinking about some guy called Vladimir in a black leather jacket? How about something closer to home? Think about Colombia and what has been portrayed in the movies. It’s no wonder when I told you last week I was Colombian, I got all this messages asking for the good stuff. I presume it means you want me to keep writing? To keep the good stuff coming right?

I had planned to keep my nationality hidden from the readers. I didn’t want the label that comes with citizenship. But now that my Colombian is all out, I just have to say it pains me to see and read what people think about my country just because of what is shown in the media. I mean, have you ever seen the first few minutes of Mr and Mrs. Smith? They wake up in Bogotá (The Capital City) and the man (Brad Pitt) tells the skinny one (the woman) that the village is empty, people apparently left during the night.  Really? A city of 11 Million People, just decided to get up and leave? I guess we have better roads than we were aware of. Then the skinny one looks at the man, and a goat goes by, followed by a few chickens. I´ll keep this one short: No goats or chicken in the city. Ever. Have you ever seen a goat while walking through NYC? Nope? Same here.

I don’t want in any way to hide the reality and the struggles my country has and is going through. Believe me when I say that we are completely aware of the drug problem we have (which now the Mexicans have started to inherit). The thing is, we are producing it, the rest of the world is consuming it (but the war on drugs is another subject, another rant, another week). Just let me tell you this: I once saw an interview of Bruce Willis, where he said that to end the drug problem in the world, the solution was to invade Colombia and then all would be solved in a short amount of time. I guess Mr. Willis forgot the fact that we are a country with 40 Million citizens, and maybe invading us would take more than a few weeks. Just saying. It saddens me to think that anyone who saw this interview could have thought this was actually a possibility (or worse of all, a real solution to such a terrible and complex problem).

The point I’m so poorly trying to make is that we are all guilty of having preconceived notions of what to expect of other people. We believe what we see, read, and hear in the media. We don’t question what we are told. I’m guilty of doing it myself. So today I’m inviting all of us, to do some research of our own. We have this great tool now called the internet (yes, you are using it as you read). And we should use it to empower our selves. To verify the things we are told. To teach our children to be curious, to think on their own.

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In other news…

1. If you couldn’t tell, we Colombians are a little (a lot) sensitive about how our country’s image is portrayed abroad. I guess we have struggled so much, overcome so much, seen so many bad things happen in the hands of very few. That we have become a little touchy about it.

2. This clip of Ace Ventura portrays exactly what this post is all about. And this one we are all guilty of…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKpXDlcHmas

3. Yesterday was the Birthday of one of my readers. He is a red head (Married to my best friend; still managed to find friends and a wife. Who knew that was possible?)  Here´s a story he told me that fits this post perfectly. They moved to Madrid about 5 years ago. On his first day at the job. People were anxiously waiting to meet “the Colombian”. They were expecting this little brown skinned fellow who would be working with them (What they had seen in the media). When he arrived, they saw this 6 Feet tall, Red Head, White as a Ghost Man. They couldn’t believe their eyes. They started yelling to each other: The Colombian is a red head!! The Colombian is a Red Head!! His hair is RED!! And while we all know red hair is a no-no for everyone. It was a bigger surprise for them. Happy Birth Day J!!

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