Friday, July 22, 2016

Nadia Charlotte - 6 Months Old

Nadia reaches up to grab my face with two chubby hands, drawing me close. I kiss her cheeks and little dimpled chin and she opens her mouth wide to eat my face. I pretend to eat her face too; she giggles and covers me with drool. This face eating ritual, sometimes known as kissing, is one she can really understand. We continue this face eating play until the ceiling fan inevitably claims her attention.

We peer together into the bedroom mirror.  Nadia's head whips around trying to keep up with all there is to see:  Mirror mama, mirror baby, MIRROR FAN! Mirror mama, real mama, mirror fan, mirror baby, real baby, REAL FAN! Fan, fan, fan. It's hard to compete with entertainment like that.
Can't. Stop. Watching. Fan.
In addition to fan-watching, Nadia enjoys rolling around on the floor and chewing on her toys. She isn't sitting yet, but she can roll halfway across the floor. She enjoys some quiet time with mama but gets bored if her sisters are gone for long. She is used to noise and chaos. The sisters climb on her and wave toys in her face, laughing and talking loudly and slightly endangering her, and for the most part Nadia loves it. She beams whenever her sisters come home, and she puts up with a lot of roughhousing.

Flying in the air with daddy is one activity sure to bring smiles and laughter. Nadia also likes grabbing daddy's beard and examining his glasses, but one day she succeeded in pulling off his glasses.  She stared and stared at the strange face before her then started wailing in fear.  Good thing Kevin never wears contacts.

Nadia has just gotten over her sixth sickness in six months. It's hard being the third baby. This past time she had a few days of fever then appeared to be better, but the fever returned the next week. After a trip to the local hospital and starting some antibiotics, she is finally doing better. She didn't seem too unhappy when sick (except for wanting to be carried around constantly for the last two weeks), but she is so much happier now that she's feeling good!

Sleep is still not going well. Nadia wakes up at least every 2 hours. I don't like to do cry-it-out with young babies, but I had been really working on getting her to fall asleep in her crib with minimal help. We were starting to make some progress and had a couple of decent nights before she got sick and then sick again and that all went out the window. It doesn't seem to bother her too much, but mama misses sleep cycles. She is still taking three naps a day – a longer early afternoon nap and 45 minute morning and late afternoon ones.

Now that Nadia is six months old I guess we'll need to start solids – somehow the thought isn't quite so exciting after the first baby. Life before solids is so much easier, but after our vaccination trip next week I guess we'll have to take the plunge.
Just hanging out, playing with my toes.
At the moment Nadia is nursing...some number of times during the day. I know she can go longer than she used to, but I really don't keep track. Her distracted phase came a little late, and sometimes she still has trouble focusing if more interesting things are going on, or if she hasn't watched the fan in a while. She is also getting in a good deal of night nursing, what with all those wake ups and no other distractions.

I still can't believe Nadia is six months old already. I realized I've been thinking of her as four months old for the past two months. She is still pretty roly-poly with big chubby legs and delightfully full cheeks, but she has definitely lengthened out in the last couple of months. I recently found the videos from Nadia's first days (still on the camera), the first one taken one minute after she was born. It's hard to realize that tiny, scrunchy little baby has grown so quickly. Here's to hoping the next six months hold a lot less sickness and just as much cuteness!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

American in China

A serious patriotic post is beyond me. My thoughts about the United States are too complicated to even try to express. I imagine living in a foreign country for nearly a third of my life (woah!) has something to do with that. Even saying “United States” sounds foreign when we are so used to saying “America” for the benefit of our students. (Sorry Canada.) But if my sense of patriotism is confused, who knows what will become of my children, who have only spent various scraps of time in their passport country.

On Sunday we celebrated 4th of July with a standard 4th of July picnic. It was standard in that it was a picnic and a potluck, but otherwise it veered pretty quickly from tradition. The picnic was attended by other Americans well as Australians, South Africans, and Singaporeans. The annual Yinchuan 4th of July picnic always has quite an international population, which is one of the things I find enjoyable and amusing: The Norwegians grilling their salmon, the Australian/Chinese baby wearing an Old Navy 4th of July shirt, the Singaporeans bringing the only patriotic looking desert. For our part Nadia was appropriately decked out - even her diaper was blue and white stars! - and I made chocolate chip cookies...and the traditional 4th of July tofu.

Thanks to Facebook's “memories,” I have been noticing a trend of some interesting reflections surrounding patriotism and life in a foreign country. For example, four years ago we celebrated 4th of July in America: me in my blue Thai shirt, Kevin in his red Cambodia shirt, and Juliana in her red, white, and blue China outfit.

Two years ago when we also spent the 4th in China, I showed Juliana some patriotic video renditions of America the Beautiful. She spent the rest of the day singing, “South AMERICA, South AMERICA” and could not be persuaded otherwise.

Last year Juliana tried to convince me that every day they raised the American flag at her Kindergarten (“Red! With little yellow stars!”).

A few weeks ago I decided perhaps I should teach the girls the pledge of allegiance, seeing as they weren't going to learn it anywhere else. We looked at the flag and talked about the meaning, then I had them repeat the pledge after me. Juliana repeated, “One nation, under guns...” She had no idea of the dreadful irony, just one day after the Orlando shooting.

So you might say we are a bit confused about our relationship with America. But never fear, I am keeping the love of chocolate chip cookies alive.