Hello from Addis Ababa. Sorry for the lack of updates but it would appear that our daughter had some things to teach us, and that our liaison here is active in planning activities.
We have, as Cinn mentioned, not been getting a lot of sleep but I think we are getting better at managing the lack of sleep and the baby’s schedule. Sunday was quite nice… except for the screaming baby parts. But, that was our fault. Around noon time, the little one started to get fussy, and that fussiness eventually stretched into crying for hours, unhappy unless we constantly carried her around the room. (Dude. The football hold ROCKS.) After trying everything we could think of — you go through the checklist: is her diaper clean? check. has she been fed recently? check. is she due for a nap? and so on) we gave her another bottle and eureka! Despite the fact that she had had a bottle on schedule at noon, she was hungry an hour later. It seems that although she was fed on schedule at the transition house, she has a different appetite depending on the time of day. We have been documenting all her feeding times since we brought her home but we are still trying to figure out how much she likes and when.
This brings us to our schedule. Things work a little bit differently here than we are used to. We will get a call from our liaison indicating that he will be here in two hours to take us to a traditional Ethiopian meal, or that he is downstairs and to please come down so that we can go sightseeing around Addis today. This is all wonderful but it is not how we are used to operating. We are used to knowing what the plan is going to be and being able to prepare accordingly, or to opt out — especially now with a certain little someone whose plans (calling it a schedule, as you have read, is a bit of a stretch right now) trump everyone else’s and can change on a whim. And also, we came here with the plan to NOT do any of that stuff — our focus is on our little girl and so we had planned to just spend our time in and around the hotel getting used to being a family. We are extremely appreciative that our hosts want to take us sightseeing and do all these things to show off their country, but this is not our priority. Ten years from now, when our child is old enough to appreciate it, then absolutely, but now? We have different priorities.
So, yesterday’s call came just as we were feeding herself and getting ready to settle her in for a nap. Cinn had showered, I had not, neither of us had seen a toothbrush in a long time, and the wee gasbag was farting up a storm. The phone rings: “Please come down to the lobby. We are going to go to Entoto Mountain and also to do some shopping.” We explain that we are just getting ourselves settled and that we are not prepared but to no avail: “You should come down immediately.” Well, okay then.
So we rushed around like crazy people getting a diaper bag together, getting ourselves dressed, and fighting to get our daughter clothed in the 12 pounds of clothing appropriate to the locals for an Ethiopian winter. She was NOT happy about this plan, and really, we could not blame her. Carting a 5-month-old around in a crowded hot minivan through appalling pollution, jostling her about on unbelievably rough roads, and putting her in a crazy amount of clothing, when all she wants to do is sleep, is totally unfair to her. But we did not want to be ungrateful to our hosts and so off we went.
And it was not bad. Well, except for the fact that the thick smog has now given me a terrible cough and burning in my chest to rival a career smoker, and that our daughter decided about 2/3 of the way through that SHE. HAD. HAD. ENOUGH! and started screaming for all she was worth. Another bottle appeased her a bit, despite the gymnastics it takes to feed a little girl in a Snugli in bumper-to-bumper traffic. And then, to put a point on her displeasure, she peed on her mom’s leg.
So, we are slowly learning who is boss around here. And that what the boss says, goes… despite any preordained schedules, plans for the day, or cultural conflicts that may arise.