Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Word on Diapers

Okay, diapers.

I love them. Not in such a way that I absolutely want Liam to wear them forever. Nooo, no no. But in such a way that they are in the top category of convenience as far as babies pooping goes. 

I use disposables. Cloth did have its appeal as far as low cost went, but then I thought about how crappy our washing machine is. Too bad.

Here was my other "option." And it's the option that most Chinese choose for their babies. Split pants. What are split pants, you might ask? Well, thank you for asking -- they are exactly how they sound. They are pants with a very large slit in the crotch. Large enough to not have to remove said pants while taking a squat. And take those squats they do.

In China, if you're a baby or even just a child, anywhere is a good place to take a squat. And I mean anywhere. It could be a street, or a gutter, or near a tree. One time we were coming up the stairs to the elevator from our apartment's parking garage, and there was a mother and her daughter (probably 3 or 4 years old) at the top of the steps -- little girl was taking a pee right there, and it was making a miniature waterfall down each of the steps. Drew and I just tiptoed around them, trying our very hardest not to step in the pee. Lovely.

The only good thing about these split pants is that the kids are potty trained at an incredibly early age. This is how they do it: when they're really young babies, the moms or dads or grandmas will sit with the baby on their lap with the baby's butt between their legs pointing towards the ground. When the baby makes a pee (or whatever), the adult will whistle. The baby learns that the whistle is associated with bathroom time, so then later when they hear the whistle, they will go on command. Pretty cool. The bad thing is the whole use-the-world-as-your-toilet thing. Plus the baby's you-know-whats are out in the open for everyone and their dog to see. Not very modest.

So, I'm grateful for diapers. Expensive? Yes. But so worth it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We're so very different, aren't we?

So, I don't know how many of you have been to a foreign country where the people are totally different from yourself and they just can't help but stare as you walk by, but let me tell ya --  it gets old. Really old.

In our part of the lovely city of Kunming, there is probably one foreigner to every 1500 Chinese. So when we walk down the street, or sidewalk, every eye is pinned on us as if we had an arm coming out of our foreheads (or six arms, for that matter). We can't help but feel like we're on display to the whole world, kind of like a medical phenomenon on 20/20. Sometimes the people look us up and down as if we not only look different in the head/facial area, but in the legs and feet too. And if this isn't enough, add a baby to the mix.

It's kinda nice, actually. Everyone has taken their eyes off us, and Liam is now the "medical phenomenon." And instead of bewildered looks that say, "Wow..... what ARE those people?!" the looks are ones of happiness and amusement. I mean, come on, everyone likes babies to some extent.

Sometimes, the old grandmas look at us like we're possibly THE worst parents in the world. Why, you may ask? Well, because we don't dress our child for Arctic weather when it's summertime! It's been 80-85 degrees every day, and Liam inherited Drew's genes for being perpetually hot all the time. So we dress him in simple onesies most of the time. Compare this with the Chinese babies: they have probably 20 different layers on, consisting of socks, 2 pairs of pants, 10 shirts, and a hat. I'm surprised they don't keel over and die of heat stroke by the dozens. But -- that's China. That's how the Chinese dress from birth to old age, and it's because of their fear of getting cold.

What's the big deal about being cold? Well.....

If you get cold, you could get sick, and if you get sick, you could die. So, there you go: dress warm or die!

It's an interesting place we live, that's for sure...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Like I said before...

To further emphasize the oddness of my child, let me tell you how he slept the last couple days...

The night after I posted (you know, where he was sleeping ALL afternoon), he woke up three times during the night instead of his usual one. Man, did that throw me off. He woke up at 1 am, so I fed him and put him back to bed. Then at 2, he woke up again and wanted to play. So I groggily entertained him until he was tired again. Drew never even wakes up for this stuff, lucky guy. After gingerly putting him back to bed, praying that he would sleep for a full 12 hours after that, he woke up again three hours later. What happened to 12?? Anyway, it was a long, looooong night.

However, last night he slept a full 12 hours! Praise the Lord! Will this become a habit? Please say yes. I am tired of waking up in the middle of the night. I am tired of having fun and interesting dreams being interrupted by the shrill sound of crying in the otherwise peaceful night. 

So let's see what the next night brings, shall we?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why are babies so odd?

My husband and I have a son, Liam. He is almost 3 months old, and probably the most adorable child I have ever seen. I don't think I'm biased -- this is cold, hard truth! At the moment, the little cherub is fast asleep in his Pack N Play, which brings me to the subject of all this.

He has been sleeping ALL afternoon. Now, I know babies are supposed to sleep a lot, blah blah blah. But not Liam. He doesn't sleep all afternoon -- ever. EVER. Usually he's awake and either hungry/alert/crabby, but never sleeps more than 2 hours or so. So what's going on here? Growth spurt? Maybe. I doubt he'll make this a habit. Which brings me to my next subject.

Before Liam was born, I read a few books on the whole routine/schedule thing. Drew (my husband) and all his six siblings grew up on strict schedules, and his mom says they're a God-send. So I thought it would be a piece of cake -- just follow what the book says, right? Oh, so wrong. The books I read were all about first Eat, then Play, last Sleep. Well, the eating thing is no problem. And neither is the playing. But the sleeping? That's another story.

Liam doesn't want to go to sleep every time after the Eating and Playing. Sometimes he just wants to keep playing. Or he'll want to sleep immediately after (and sometimes during) eating. At times he'll sleep for hours and hours (like now). And the rest of the time he'll sleep for like 30 minutes and then want to play. It is not organized by any stretch of the imagination.

But it's not that big of a deal, either. He eats at pretty much the same times every day -- wakes up once during the night around 2 am, wakes up for the day at 6:30, and so on...  And he's still getting over jet lag and all that. (To clarify, he was born in the States and we just got back to China a week and a half ago.)

Here's my conclusion: Do I care? Will it really matter if I try to get him on some sort of sleeping schedule now when another trip or a cold will just throw him off again? My answer is no. I do NOT care!! Well, I kind of do. But not enough to try and force him to sleep at certain times and keep him awake at others. It would be kinda nice to know when we can go out and when to bring him home after an outing, but... in the end, he's a baby.

And babies are odd.