Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Party ...

... of one.

Two, if you count Nile, sleeping in her crib.

I usually enjoy Halloween and making a crazy costume in which to get dressed up.

This year, THE costume party to attend (going on now) is hosted by one of my officemates; all the more reason to definitely show up. Looking at the eVite, 27 people had responded, and many people were bringing friends. Neil, who is there now -- yes, we'll get to that -- invited two friends.

Why am I not there? I just felt like I'd rather stay here with Nile. I LOVE a good party, mind you, but I just really wanted to maximize my time with Nile. Well, before I put her to bed.

If I had a babysitter to just, well, SIT here now that she's sleeping, you better believe I'd throw on a Lady Gaga costume and run out the door to the par-tay.

But I just have an issue with getting a babysitter.  It is this awful cycle. Any parents out there, advice is welcome!

Nile is good with other people, but her only caretaker other than us is Nanny. Nanny lives outside the city and has to stay overnight if she babysits because the buses/trains she has to take don't run that late. Thus, we have only had her babysit on two occasions, when we went to social events.

I am afraid to leave Nile with other people because it could be upsetting to her, so the cycle continues and she doesn't get used to other caregivers. I don't know what it is, I am just SO super-paranoid about something bad happening to her, and/or her being upset and sad and crying at being left with a stranger.

This is really causing a problem, because then we either take her everywhere with us, which in most cases is fun and fine, or we stay home, which tonight is not as much fun.

Since she was BORN ............. we have had only the aforementioned two nights out. We never had family watch her when we were in AZ (big mistake, I should have taken advantage of offers to hold the sweet, sleeping newborn, but I was breastfeeding and not pumping yet, dumb me).

So that means no date night just Mr. and Mrs. for the past 7 mos.!

You'd better believe that's going to change shortly once we get home (and/or when the in-laws come into town next week). Yes, we are starting to realize how very SOON it is that we are going back "home" to the States for a break!

It's just that I feel like since we're leaving soon anyway I don't want to put baby Nile through the stress of meeting a sitter that we're only going to use once or twice before we skedaddle on outta BsAs.

I think our time back in the States with family will afford us some willing sitters who I feel trusting of and comfortable with.

But what should we do when we get to Botswana?

Well, what I have been saying for awhile now is, "I can't wait to have a live-in (nanny) in Botswana."

SERIOUSLY. I really hope it will be affordable and possible to have a live-in. Oh my gosh, my world would change. So that's pretty much No. 1 on my list of priorities re: Botswana.

Otherwise, I guess we should try out sitters? How does one go about doing that? I'm sure there is something said about the subject in one of these baby books we've got lying around here, but your advice is probably better. I don't feel like I'm a hyper-protective or even hyper-involved mom (come on, I leave my baby all day to go to work (issues about that another day)) but for some reason I feel anxiety about leaving Nile with anyone other than her Dad or Nanny.

I am not torn up about not going to this Halloween party, although I am bummed since it promised to be pretty sweet. And I don't regret staying home with baby Nile when she is awake. I know, I know, "sacrifice is part of being a parent." But I do need to figure something out so we can maintain a social and dating life when Nile is sleeping and it doesn't matter if we're the ones (vs. a sitter) at home anyway.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Polo Ponies


Argentina has arguably the best polo in the world. There is a polo field a short walk from my office. A few weeks ago they were hosting free matches during the early afternoon.


We walked up there one day to watch. I could have stayed all day -- gorgeous weather, beautiful ponies, an exciting game, interesting people-watching and an all-around fascinating sport.

These guys rode along the sidelines until a player needed to switch out horses, much like players are substituted in other running games like basketball and futbol.


The ponies are constantly switched out as they are exhausted. They are rapidly prepped for the match or stripped down afterward, with the neat rows of tack and blankets.





A couple videos if you, too, can't get enough of polo:

A quick switch of ponies. I sort of caught the tail end of it, but impressive how the players jump from one pony to the other without fully dismounting!

It was really interesting to watch the grooms quickly strip the ponies down after they came out of the game.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Is it Bad When You Don't Even Have?/Make? Time for Your Hobbies?

I am so behind on blogging. I know, I always say that. But really, I am! I have a huge backlog of blog ideas and saved drafts. I need to just get them out, but I am SO busy, I never feel like I have time. I have thought of making the goal of publishing one post a day, but really, there are some days where I don't get home until late, play with the baby for a bit, head off to a class and then get home really late. Etc. etc. I want to document our lives here, because there are so many little things that happen every day that I want to journal, because when I look back in my archives I am amused and surprised sometimes to read about things I had otherwise forgotten. So maybe I will strive to post once a day, at least until our departure from Buenos Aires, which is rolling around very soon! That way I will hopefully have many of our times here recorded, because after this chapter closes, I am sure I will compartmentalize it and forget many things about it.  OK, sorry you had to read this little conversation in my head. I guess I am hoping that this non-committal, sort-of goal will be a little more solidified since I told you I would "strive" to do it. No promises!

Mother's Day flowers from Neil.
Yes, we recently had Mother's Day here in Argentina, Oct. 17. One more thing I have yet to blog about!


The past couple days have been different.

Yesterday was a holiday, as Argentina shut down for the carrying out of its national census. Everything was closed by order of law from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Except a few critical places like hospitals. It was kind of interesting, in a hustling, bustling city like this, to have everything shut down. We were expected to stay home until the census taker came. Luckily our young census taker girl showed up a little after 1:00 p.m.

People here are very family oriented though, and I think it was a really welcome day to turn inward and spend time inside with family.

Headed out to the park

Afterward, we headed out to the park to lay around and hang out. Unfortunately, my camera battery died before we reached the corner of our block. I would have liked to have documented the glorious spring weather and groups of people of all ages spending time together in the park. There was also a girl doing amazing Cirque-du-Soleil type stuff with beautiful yards of red fabric hanging from a tree.

I didn't find out until I was online in the evening that former president and current first husband, Nestor Kirchner, had unexpectedly passed away of a heart attack that morning.

I feel so bad for President Kirchner. They appeared to be a very close couple, and I can't imagine losing my other half like that. Especially on a day that seemed to be such a gift of time together with family ...

Leaving the apt. Strange to see all the cars parked on the street during the day; usually everyone is away at work.

Then toward the evening I started to feel sick; I hadn't felt great all day and it suddenly started to get worse through the night. I went to see the Dr. this morning and then stayed home the rest of the day, alternately chilled and hot, aching and nauseous, having the strangest dreams. But it seems to have passed. I rarely get sick, so it's always weird and a drag when I do.

In other news, my sister in law and my parents in law finally bought their tickets yesterday to come visit us -- arriving on Monday! I am excited for their visit and glad I don't have to wait a long time for them to get here.

Yesterday, during the census, the streets were mostly empty. Such a different feel to the neighborhood, but nice to see couples and families strolling together. And this is where my camera battery died.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Neighborhood in Which We Live

On a recent walk around Belgrano, our 'hood ...

We be jonesin' for dijon.
(Jar left on wall outside high-rise apartment.)


I'm picturing a bunch of kids loitering and eating something that just demanded the use of dijon mustard ... ? Who has to crack open a jar of dijon on the street and then leave it there like a used ketchup packet? Except it's not a ketchup -- or a mustard -- packet ... it's a jar of dijon! This neighborhood is a little bit like that ...

We be bringin' our dogs with us to rent movies.
No really, Golden Retrievers and the like.

As I've posted before, it's not uncommon to see dogs waiting, unleashed, for their owners outside of stores. Some places, like the movie rental place, don't mind if you bring your dog inside.


Belgrano is definitely a nice place to live. Don't let the local flava (grey poupon?) scare you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fabric Fetish

OK, I know I have a lot of friends who are really into fabric and sewing projects.

I don't really know ANYTHING about that kind of stuff, let alone what's available. (Please don't renounce my membership to the My Cup of Tea Sewing Society, though! I promise I can contribute in some way ... ?)

But this one fabric store near my house always blows my mind. Maybe the fabrics they offer are normal, and I'm sure they're imported from the same places they get them in the U.S., but I feel like I have never seen stuff like this there! I'm SURE they must have it in the States?

Especially because I've noticed there's not a lot of variety of anything in Buenos Aires, and the same is true in this fabric store; a lot of the same pattern in different colors. But I still think they look cool!

Stephanie, maybe this is why I went nuts over that store in AZ? Maybe I just don't know enough about textiles to know what's totally normally available and what's not.

BUT, I see all of this fabric and I just want to make stuff!!! OK, let me clarify: I want to give someone the ideas to execute on my behalf. I really have no desire to sew; it looks really frustrating and time consuming and like something that is impossible to get any good at unless you spend years at it and have lots of time, which I don't have :/  (Would you believe my first major in college was apparel design? Maybe that's where I became jaded ...)

So what started this little obsession was thinking about some sort of "dust ruffle" for Nile's crib and/or fabric to use for some sort of covered bulletin board or something cutesy to make her room look a little more adorable and less like her mom spent zero time decorating it ...

So I went in and saw this, which I "LOVE, LOVE, LOVE" :


And then the snotty salesgirl told me it was the equivalent of US $50/unit (yard? meter?) which I highly doubt, it's 100% cotton, come on? But who knows? So I'm not going to buy it.

All of the corresponding little girly fabrics are so cute! I really think girl colors are so cute. Suddenly I love all things pink, what happened? :)


Even though I was sad not to buy some LOVE fabric for my baby girl (OK, let's be honest: I would have just left it folded up in the bag, not sure what to do with it just like the fabric remnants I bought in AZ), I admired all the other pretty, pretty fabric and imagined chairs, couches, comforter covers, curtains etc. in all of these beautiful hues and textures. Oh yeah, and I touched a lot of the fabric. I LOVE all of the chenille damask patterns!!!!



Are these normal, guys? Am I being crazy? Is this something I can get in the States, or should I splurge and get some of this stuff here?!

I really want a little occasional chair covered in this white and pink sun/geometric chenille!

As I said, a lot of the same pattern in different colors, but that in itself is kind of cool to see all the different "flavors."



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Piercing Story

This is a sad story, so if you're particularly vulnerable to children's pain, please stop reading here :(


OK, I warned you.

When a baby girl is born in the hospital here in Buenos Aires, they offer a complimentary head shaving and/or ear piercing. You read that right -- they shave girl and boy babies' heads at birth, if the parents so desire (we, of course, never had her head shaved in Ariz. or here). They think it looks better and makes the hair grow back evenly and thicker.

As far as the ear piercing for girls, they think that a baby is not really a girl unless she has her ears pierced. We felt that social pressure these past 6 1/2 mos., especially as people found novelty in the little flower headbands we put on Nile, popular in Ariz. but not at all here, as girls are usually easily identified by their gold ball, tiny pearl or tiny diamond earrings.

We were told they do the piercing in any pharmacy, but that you have to purchase the earrings in a jewelry store. I went to a local jeweler and bought Nile some lovely pearl earrings on gold studs, more expensive than any pair of earrings I own (OK, that's not hard to do, all of my earrings are Claire's equivalents). The earrings are the special piercing kind for babies, and have flat, snap-on safety backs.

When we finally got around to finding a pharmacy, we spent a Saturday afternoon going to three pharmacies and one hospital, and we were denied at every stop.

It turns out it is now against the law for pharmacies to perform piercings. One place gave me a business card for a house-call nurse company, whose nurses can do such procedures as piercings in the home. Another pharmacy suggested I go to a tattoo and piercing parlor ... The hospital receptionist was quite rude and said that they only do piercings for newborns, and as Nile was neither a newborn nor born in their hospital, they could not offer the service.

The next Monday I asked the nurse from the health unit in our office if she could call the hospital to make an appointment, but she had no luck either.

Our portero (i.e. porter -- doorman?) to the rescue! He always has the best advice. He knows a lady who works at the hospital who had her neo-natal nurse colleague call us to set up an appt. to do the piercing in our house.

The day (last Tuesday, Oct. 12) came, and I picked the nurse up at the hospital, conveniently located a few blocks from my office, after her shift ended at 2:00 p.m. Meanwhile at home, Neil had put some numbing gel from the pharmacy on Nile's ears, but I don't know if it really worked. I took the nurse to our house, where Nile was all smiles and cuteness toward the nurse, unaware of the horror to come.

Maybe I'm being dramatic, but it was really sad!

Basically, I sat down in a chair, with Nile on my lap facing me, her little legs out to either side of my waist and her little head turned to one side on my chest. I am shuddering remembering! Neil was at my side and helped, but I had to hold Nile's head down firmly to my chest and hold her body as still as possible while the lady looked for the right spot on her right ear and then pushed the pointy end of the earring through her ear.

It made a >POP!< sound as it went through her little earlobe. I can't describe the screaming and squirming and red face and wide-open, gaping little mouth with tears coming down all around it. Soooo sad. I have never seen her so upset or in so much pain.

Then we had to turn her head the other way to do the left side. It was really horrible, I don't recommend it. She was making awful sounds and trying to get away, and I was holding her head so firmly to my chest that I think she couldn't breathe very well.

When the earring went through her ear this time, her screams reached a peak and she became sort of limp for a split second; I thought she was going to faint, but then vomit just cascaded out of her mouth, between her body and mine and all over the right side of my body. Then she cried some more, and there was a flurry of activity to try to sop up the mess, but I just stood up and thanked the nurse and told Neil how much she had quoted, asking him to pay her and took baby Nile to the refuge of her room.

It was so sad!!!!

I started to strip off her clothes, but I was now in a vomit-covered suit, feeling like a ridiculous impostor of a mother, so I just sat down with her in her chair to nurse her. She calmed down quickly, and Dad came in to soothe her, too, and help clean the mess off of my suit.

When we took her to the kitchen (where Nanny had stayed during the ordeal) to show Nanny her new look -- which Nanny loves by the way -- Nile had a sort of nervous smile and only let Nanny -- who she loves -- hold her for a few seconds before she reached for me. I did feel needed!

I had to go back to work, so I showered and changed into a new outfit and gave Neil instructions to keep Nile with him the rest of the afternoon so she would feel secure.

It is weird that the process is a medical one here, and I am not sure if the little gun they use at Claire's is more humane or not -- I don't know that they recommend numbing gel there, but it doesn't seem to make a difference anyway.

She seems to be totally over it now, but it was so sad as a mother to put her through the ordeal -- all for vanity! :(


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Drexel Heritage!

Shout out to all you Drexel Heritage lovers out there.

Neil, bless his heart, is a very good steward over our graciously supplied furniture. Ellie, naughty cat, has a bad habit of using them as a scratching post, even though we keep her out of the living room and keep the furniture covered with white sheets the majority of the time.

Ellie has taken to reaching up under the sheets and scratching when we're not looking!

So Neil went over them tonight with scissors to trim the threads and a lighter to singe any stragglers to nothingness. Then he applied clear anti-scratch tape to the arms of the couches.

Wow! I am glad one of us is a responsible adult.

While he was doing this work, Nile was watching with fascination. Again, good thing one of us is a responsible adult and will teach our daughter the values of stewardship and hard work.

She was scooting and crawling around, and she discovered she could finally pull herself up on the edge of the couch. Then, using fistfuls of dad's shirt,  she was trying to pull herself up on his back. I finally stood her up, where she clung like a little monkey, watching him work. She swayed this way and that, but held on for dear life!


But this post is not entirely about Drexel, but rather Nile's milestones and rites of passage; pulling herself up and, as you may have noticed in the pic above, GETTING HER EARS PIERCED!

Today, at 6 1/2 mos. of age, Nile got her ears pierced.

It is a totally different process here than in the States. I will explain the procedure -- and it is a procedure, requiring a doctor or a nurse -- and Nile's experience (at home!) in the next post.

Hopefully accompanied by a better picture. Gotta love the Drex!


p.s. between getting her ears pierced and falling on the back of her head a couple times while standing at the edge of the couch, Nile's tears have just about broken my heart today.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day

Gotta love holidays. However you feel about Columbus Day, to me it's just another day I get to spend with Baby Nile.

The whole fam -- Neil, Nile, Bolu, me (ok, Ellie the cat didn't come, too) went to the park where most of the city seemed to have flocked as well. It was a really enjoyable time though.

We managed to get a cute picture of Nile, although she was too distracted to smile. Thanks for the hat, cousin Jayden!