Friday, October 24, 2008

Leave the baby at home once in awhile

The other night our friends babysat for us while Drew and I had our first night out together since we'd been back in China. 

It was a little surreal, to tell you the truth. Us, with no baby attached? It was kind of nice for a change. Not that I don't love Liam with all my heart, of course! But, you know.

We went out to eat downtown at this place called Salvador's -- pretty good Western food, they make their own coffee and everything. We had a really good time. 

By the time we got home, Liam was a wreck. Mary was warming up Liam's milk, while John attempted to keep both Liam and their daughter Adaline happy. Liam was crying pretty hard, but once I sat down and fed him, he was a goner.

I think we will definitely need to get out by ourselves at least once a week. It's really tough to work on your marriage when you've constantly got a baby around. I'll definitely say that marriage doesn't get easier when you have a baby. Yes, there is that common goal of raising a child and you're partners working together and all that. But the romance? Pretty much not, and it's especially difficult to feel romantic while you're breastfeeding. That's why it's so important to have quality time alone together. That's when you can really dig deep and talk to each other (and about things other than your child!).

Hey, I'm in this for life -- I'm not planning on going anywhere, so I know that if I want to be happy and want Drew to be happy (let alone have happy children), I need to work on being the best wife to my husband. That's what God would want too, I think.

Okay, enough with the lectures... see you next time!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This is what we experience EVERY DAY.

Construction, dirt, noise, and stares. Enjoy!

The Vegetable Nazi

At the vegetable shop again.

This time it's both Drew and myself with Liam. We're on the way home from our teammates' house, and I remember that I need some vegetables for the ratatouille I will be making that night. So we have Liam in the stroller, and Drew waits with him while I run around the shop finding all the veggies for dinner. 

Mrs. Chinese Vegetable Shop Owner (or the Vegetable Nazi) is there, of course. This time Liam is dressed semi-warmly, since it's kind of a chilly day. She walks over to where Drew and Liam are, and looks at the baby for a minute... asks how old he is. Comments on how big he is for only 4 months old (not in a nice way, more like she thinks we're lying). 

Then I go "check out" with my merch. Drew goes back outside with Liam to wait for me. The Vegetable Nazi takes my money and says, "He looks like you." 

I smile and say in a friendly way, "Oh, I think he looks like my husband."

She briskly hands me my change. Shakes her head once and smirks, "No. He looks like you." 

Okaaay..... whatever you say.

Just give me my vegetables, lady.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Everyone loves a laowai baby!

Chinese people love my child. LOVE. 

We had to run some errands today. It takes forever to run errands here. First we had to catch a bus (15 minutes), then we had to ride it to pay the water bill (30 minutes), then wait for another bus to go do our other errands, etc. I had Liam in the Moby, and he was pretty tired, so he was just kind of looking around docile-like at everyone.

On the way to the water bill place, an old granny sat down next to me. She couldn't stop smiling and staring at Liam. And then this random girl who was standing near us reached across the old granny's lap and held Liam's hand for probably a good 6 stops. Even when more people crowded and pushed their way onto the bus, this girl held on to Liam's hand for dear life as she was drowned in the sea of people.

Everyone would ask how old he was. In my poor Chinese I would say he was about 4 months old, and they would smile. One old man even said in broken English, "[something, something, something] little boy!" How sweet...

Did I mention the fact that I will always have a seat on the bus when I have Liam with me? Even if the bus is completely crowded, someone (and for some reason, it's always a female) will get up and offer their seat to the poor, weighted down mother. Hey, I don't object! Well, I do at first, but that's just the Chinese way.

Not many Chinese see laowai (foreigners), let alone a laowai baby, with their big blue eyes. So they are enraptured at first glance. I do consider it a joy to share Liam's cuteness with them. The new and improved happy stares are much better than the old ones.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Putting a baby to bed on time is VERY important.

I never realized just how important it is for Liam to get to bed on time until two nights ago. 

We were over at some friends' house, which is a nice treat for us since it doesn't happen that often. Our friends have a 7-month-old baby girl, so it's fun to get together with them. It's nice to see that there's "hope" for Liam as he gets older -- one day he will sit up, eat solids, grow some hair, etc. :)  So anyway, we stayed there a little longer than we should have.

Liam usually goes to bed around 8 every night without any trouble, but we stayed at our friends' until around 9. Then we had to catch a taxi, so we ended up getting home at around 9:30. When we arrived at our apartment, Liam was currently asleep in the Moby. How nice. But the story doesn't end there. Liam had a poopy diaper, and I didn't want it to get all crusty and stuff all night long (not easy to clean up).  So I tried as hard as I could to change him without waking him up too much. But alas -- the poo had already began the crusting process! So I had to wipe a bit harder than normal. Before I knew it, Liam's eyes were as wide as serving platters, just staring at me as if to say, "" 

After the diaper change, I tried to put him to bed. But he wasn't having any of it. There he was, propped up on his arms, staring around like he wanted to play. By the time I shut the light off and closed the door, he was wailing. And it only got worse and worse. He was crying his loudest and hardest, for a long time. To us, it was very long. We tried to ignore it, but like I said, it only got worse. Finally, after about 20 minutes of enduring it, I went in and got him.

Poor thing. As I held him and shhh'ed quietly to him, he tried his best to calm down. But he had been crying so hard that it was hard to breathe in without a sob escaping. (You know what I mean -- all of us have cried that hard, even in our adulthood -- or is it just me?) I felt bad, and I knew he was just overtired and didn't know what to do with himself. He didn't know that if he just calmed down he would fall asleep, which would solve all his problems. So I held him close against my chest and walked around the house, saying "mommy" things in his ear. He finally calmed down and found his thumb. I walked around as long as my arms would let me (he's almost 14 lbs now), and then as softly and quietly and I could, I laid him down in his bed. No protest, no sign of distress, just peaceful silence. *sigh of relief*

Even though it was a stressful night trying to get Liam to just go to bed already, it was kind of nice knowing that I'm his mother and he finds me comforting. I felt like it was my first mommy test, and I passed. 

On the other hand, I think we'll be sticking to the 8:00 bedtime from now on.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I hate colds.

Still sick.... I hate it. Now the stuffy nose and sneezing fits have been replaced by coughing my lungs out. I'm not sure which I dislike more.... probably the coughing. Early this morning Drew had to move out to the couch to get some sleep because I was experiencing a coughing fit. And, to top it off, Liam also has the same thing now! We noticed it two days ago when he was extra noisy breathing through his nose. It hasn't progressed really beyond a stuffy nose, so that's something to be thankful for. Maybe the coughing part will just bypass him altogether, now wouldn't that be nice?

Liam's getting pretty good with his hand coordination these days. Every time I change his diaper, he's got an iron grip on one or both of his feet. And he tries really hard to put his feet in his mouth, but he's not quite there yet. It's really cute... and I can't believe how fast he's growing! His eyebrows are even starting to be more defined -- he's looking more and more like a little boy. He's 3 1/2 months old now. I think he should probably be laughing pretty soon, but all we've gotten so far are little squeals of delight, which are still very endearing.

I've been going to visit Simple Mom pretty often this last week. It's an awesome blog website written by a mom of two who lives overseas (kind of like me!), and she writes about everything from organizing to decorating to budgeting. It's really helpful. I've taken her advice about envelope budgeting to heart, and we now have envelopes for all our monthly expenses. It's really eye opening actually, to try and cut down on your spending, especially groceries. Before I don't think we paid too much attention, but right now we only have $48 left for the rest of the month.And it's only the 7th!! So I've been making meal plans each week, trying to get the most bang for our buck. Potatoes are a favorite right now, since you can do so much with them, and they're incredibly cheap. At Wal-Mart they're only 30 cents a kilo (about 15 cents a pound).

Well, I better go and start on dinner. It's cheap chicken tonight!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Under the weather

I'm sick today. Blah.

On top of it, Drew left to go to the villages today, so I'm all by myself with Liam. Did you hear the part about me being sick? Not fun.

So, I'm trying to sort of get simple things done (such as writing this entry) while Liam's awake and distracted by his toys. Soon, hopefully, he'll get tired and need a nap... then I will have a little nap of my own. I am so exhausted.

Fortunately, he has been a wonderful baby today. Hardly any crying, or even fussing, for that matter. The good mood started this morning when Drew went in his room to get him, and he had rolled over onto his back just cooing to himself and waiting patiently for us to come get him. I think he woke up on the right side of the bed. Ha. Ha.

So I could not be more grateful for his pleasantness today. I can't imagine trying to calm a crying baby while blowing my nose simultaneously. Thank you Lord.

Today I got some scolding from the lady at the vegetable shop. I took Liam in the Moby wrap (love it, by the way) on some errands, sick as I was. The last stop was the veggie shop, so of course his arms were a little cool by then. Well, Mrs. Chinese Vegetable Shop Owner was feeling his arms and saying how cold he was and how the color of his skin wasn't so good and that he would get sick if I didn't put more clothes on him. I just kind of smiled and nodded. There's really no use arguing with these people. But I did feel kind of bad because his hands and arms really were cold. So I took him home and he warmed up right away.

Now Liam's playing with his "jungle friends" as we affectionately call them. It's like a little "gym" (I guess that's what they're called) that we borrowed from a friend, and it has three little colorful creatures hanging where Liam can bat at them. When he does a particularly strong bat, the creatures do a little song and dance. It's pretty awesome, because he gets distracted by them for at least half an hour.

I think I'm gonna try and put him down for a nap now. Wish me luck.