Our Penance for Thinking Ourselves Clever

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.

4 thoughts on “Our Penance for Thinking Ourselves Clever

  1. OH MY doG! Laughing and loving every minute of this journey. I LOVE MISS SASSYPANTS!!!! We all know how to raise our kids until we actually get them and then, (as you are learning) all hell breaks loose and you just learn to go with the flow because they really are the boss. Enjoy. Take heart, you will get the hang of this the same way all the rest of us did, by the seat of your pants and totally sleep deprived! There are no two people on this planet who understand kids like you two, so hang in there. Once she has you trained, you will be great parents.

  2. Spoken like a true parent and in only a few days!!!!! I am impressed with the little Diva. She gave you a (what was it) a day and then let you have it. Bless her heart. Your Grammie Caldwell always said a good cry will strengthen her lungs. Stand by, it could get louder. Did you take earplugs with you.
    Seriously, you will have moments when you don’t know how or what to do but it sounds like you both came through with flying colors. Love, Hugs and Kisses.Watch out Cinn. BDH did a great blog for you. I’m still laughing!!!!

  3. Hey!!!!! I love you guys. I can’t imagine what it is like to deal with a new baby in a place you do not know,in a hotel room without the conveniences of your home ground to help you out. No help from in-laws or outlaws to guide you or give a helping hand or advice. (Not that you need it by the sounds of things.) My heart goes out to both of you. It is a great adventure you have begun and we are privileged to be a part of it as we were with our other children and grandchildren. To see them and you develop as a family unit is a wonderful thing to be a part of. We hope to become more involved in October, after all parenting includes grandparents.Ohhhh I’m getting all weepy. Love and Kisses.

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