Friday, July 30, 2010

Mexico Q & A

I live in Mexico. Surprisingly, this brings on lots more questions then, say, living in Bellevue does. They are all, usually, good natured, honest questions that people really just want to know the answer. So, to the inquiring minds that need their fix of useless information, I'd like to just set the record straight.

Question 1. You live in Mexico, so why don't you have a tan?
To me this is like asking, you live in Seattle, why aren't you wet? Yes, may come as a shocker, but there is inside in Mexico, too. And, another shocker here, I have a day job. And to just keep the shock effect going, I don't live in Cancun, wish I did, but I don't. So, the answer to this question is the following: My life consists of going to work, coming home, taking care of a baby, cleaning (sometimes), etc. It doesn't leave to much time for basking in the rays. Plus, where would I bask? The parking lot in front of my house just seems like maybe not the best place.

Question 2. When are you moving back to the USA?
This one is a kick in the guts every time I hear it. I love Washington. I love the trees, the fresh air, the Cheez-its, the Targets, the Old Navys, ok, getting off track. Point, I love where I am from. But there comes a time in every young woman's life, (please imagine me with grey hair in a rocking chair while I share) when she needs to make the decision that's best for her family. My family unit consists of Ramon, me and AV right now. Here's the short answer, I don't know. We will be wherever it is best for us to be for as long as it is best for us to be there. That means anywhere in the whole wide world. For now, it means Puebla. If you know how to convince my husband that Washington is the best place for us, by all means, share away.

Question 3. Will AV speak English?
Short answer, She'd better. Long answer, I speak 100% English to her and around her. I blab on and on about anything and everything so that she is inundated with English. The rest of her world operates in Spanish. I can't control that. She'll speak all right, she might prefer Spanish, but she'll be a native English speaker.

Question 4. What's it like where you live?
I get the feeling that people have two very general understandings of Mexico- tiny little towns where everyone wears sombreros and beach paradises where only tourists where sombreros. I don't fall into either of those categories. (I know I'm like totally shattering some people's worlds right now, sorry) Puebla is the 5th largest city in Mexico. Approximately 2 million people. Yeah, so it's big. It was one of the stops along the way for Hernan Cortes as he travelled and claimed Mexico for Spain from the port of Veracruz to what we now call Mexico City. Puebla is known as the city of angels. And, now I sound like a tour guide. Long story, short. It's a huge metropolis.

Those are the main questions that I commonly hear, but if you'd like to hear my witty, intelligent, and oh-so-interesting answers to any other questions, feel free to share.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Like there was ever any doubt

In my world, since March 30th, there has never existed even the slightest shadow of a doubt about who's kid is the cutest in the entire world. Just so we're all clear, it's my kid.

Case in point. I give you the following:

AV has shades.
There are no words to describe how awesome she looks.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Learning a lesson...

AV has two new tricks. Rolling over and screaming.

Not at the same time or that would be three tricks.

I'll focus my mind on the first trick while I write this to remind myself how normal, sweet, smart, and wonderful she is. It's so cute to put her down on her belly and watch her flip right over on to her back. She gets so much momentum sometimes that she almost does a full 360. On Saturday, I told Ramon that by the time we got back from the US, she would be rolling over. Not 5 minutes later, she did!

Now that I've calmed myself down, I'll focus on the second trick. I guess I shouldn't describe this so much as a trick as it is, hmm, what word shall I use? Thinking... Choosing wisely... Umm, what do you call the thing that makes you think twice about having another baby? I guess for lack of a better word and considering my mood, we'll call it "extreme vocalization" for now.

AV has learned how to extreme vocalize. Yes, that sounds much better than scream bloody murder. This has come in tandum with her refusal to take long enough naps to make her not so tired. I feel like I've got one in the "win" column because I am about 89% sure that she cries because she's tired. Another 1% thinks she has something wrong with her. The last 10% is the first-time parent uncertainty bubble that looms around every possible child-centered decision.

Hearing your child scream, I mean extreme vocalize, is a sure-fire way to make you feel like just about the worst parent out there. Part of me wonders when I can expect a knock on the door from curious neighbors wondering just what in the world I am doing to her. She has this really awesome knack (Does knack have a silent-k? I feel like it does, or at least should) for vocalizing when we are around Ramon's family. So, the discussion begins, what's wrong with her? To which the defensive new-mom in me wants to scream, "Nothing! Sometimes babies cry!!" but to which I nicely (at least it's nice in my head) say, "I don't know."

We started a new nap routine today- Operation Nap Time. It worked pretty well in the morning. She slept for an hour and a half and only needed her binky back in once. We tried again this afternoon and she slept for half an hour. Then we went to my in-law's to eat, and the vocalizing commenced. COME ON, AV! I mean, seriously, you couldn't just vocalize at home? You had to save it for the abuelos?!

After rocking and swaddling and shushing her to no avail, I politely said goodbye and wandered home. She was quieter outside. (Putting that one in the ideas pile for ways to get her to vocalize less extremely) I came home put her in the sling to chill her out some and then transfered her to the crib. I could have kept her in the sling, but mom needs a break.

Here's my top 10 new-mom self-help counselor advice-
1. Chill out, mama. Babies cry. That's their job.
2. You need to cry with her? Go for it. But, only for a minute. No wallowing.
3. (Very important epiphany) Put her down and walk away. Step away from the baby, crazy woman.
4. This, too, shall pass.
5. No one said parenting would be easy, they just said it would be worth it.
6. It's beer o'clock somewhere. She's asleep now, reward yourself with whatever you want, beer, chocolate, facebook, whatever floats your boat, honey girl.
7. Tomorrow's another day. Maybe she won't cry. If she doesn't, great. If she does, you'll deal with it then.
8. You think she's crying because she's tired. You're probably right. Go with that. If it doesn't work, try another idea.
9. Take a deep breath. Relax. Get your shoulders out of your ears from being so tense. That's not helping anyone.
10. Jesus, I trust in you. (I said this all through my labor and all day for the first few weeks of her life. It helped then and I'd forgotten because I'd gotten confident.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

When the goings get rough

It's times like these that I wish Puebla and Seattle were neighboring cities.

My baby nephew, Connor James, was born Saturday, July 10th. His original due date was August 19th. The doctors had scheduled my sister for her c-section on July 27th due to a rare condition called Placenta Accreta. She had been on bed rest, in the hospital for over a month, when she had serious bleeding and they decided that baby needed to arrive even earlier than anticipated.

He's in an incubator, he needs oxygen, he's jaundiced, he's a tiny peanut. He's beautiful.

Knowing the love I have for my baby girl and how I used to cry and cry when she would cry and cry even though she was healthy and strong, I can't imagine the hell my sister and brother-in-law are living right now. I'm crying as I write this just thinking about it.

I wish I could be there right this instant to hold hands, give hugs, distract worried faces, try to calm frightened family. The next week will be an eternity while I wait for the day I can finally be with them.

For now, it's a lot of prayer. Asking Jesus to protect His little angel, Connor. To help him grow stronger with each passing hour. To comfort his Mom and Dad and big brother. To calm their fears. To heal my sister from her surgery. To help them come together as the united family that they've always been. To help them be brave. For their hearts to overflow with peace and comfort. For their sleep to be restful and multiplied so they have the energy for each new day. To know how much we love them and would give anything to make everything better.

May this, one of life's most difficult trials, bring praise and glory to God when Connor and Erin are both home and healthy.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Closing up shop.

It's the end of the year at the AS world. That means there's a whole lot of sitting around doing nothing on my work schedule. The end of the year brings a whole lot of ridiculous with it, too. I will allow myself to share with you.

1. Change classrooms AGAIN. In August, I will begin my 5th year at the American School. I will begin it in the 6th classroom. That's right. 6 classrooms, 5 years. It's a good thing I'm ocd about throwing things away so I don't have that much to move. But, honestly, again? Another classroom? I'm going back down to 5th grade because they say they need my crack-the-whip, respect-my-authority, no-you-may-not-do-whatever-you're-asking-to-do, yes-you-do-have-to-do-what-I-say, discipline-is-my-best-friend attitude with the next generation of kids. Needless to say, I'm psyched for the groups to come.

2. Have a party. We celebrated 4th of July with a staff barbeque- hot dogs, burgers, baked beans, etc. Only a few people gave the beans a look that blatantly said "You put sugar on the beans." To which we kindly resonded with the look of "You put chocolate on your chicken (aka Mole)" The 6th grade team and a couple others spent the WHOLE day, 8-2, preparing, partying, and cleaning up a 1-hour lunch. Complete with Conga line and dance party. It's just what happens when teachers get a little freedom.

3. Say good-bye. Now, this doesn't really fall so much into the ridiculous category as it does into the I-can't-believe-it category. I'm not lying or exagerating when I say that I can count all of my friends here on approximately two hands. So, when people decide to go back to the USA or dedicate their time to their families, I'm jealous, I mean sad. My good friend Claritza is leaving with her husband and soon to be born little girl. We started at the school together, did our masters together, got married and pregnant within months of eachother. We've really grown-up together from late Friday nights with too much beer and dance parties in our living room to sharing ups and downs and asking eachother's advice. I will REALLY miss her!

4. File and unfile, and file again. The Secretary of Education sends report cards for Spanish teachers to fill out, in pen, with zero mistakes, at the end of every school year. This year those report cards are behind schedule. Which means that everything is now behind schedule. We file student grades in their individual files at the end of every year, too. Because we didn't have grades to give to parents, we had to unfile the previously filed grades, put them into the envelopes to send home, print out new report cards and file them again. Maybe I'm just nuts, but couldn't we have skipped a few steps here, printed the report cards again and just put those in the envelopes??

5. Here's my year in review:
Number of times called to the office: 6
Number of times called to the principal's office: 1 (a real improvement for me)
Number of times accused of starting a strike with the 6th grade teachers: 1
Number of weeks worked: 30
Number of weeks of maternity leave: 14
Number of hours at work per week: 30
Number of hours of actual work completed each week BEFORE maternity leave: 28
Number of hours of actual work completed each week AFTER maternity leave: 2

School's out for summer. One month from today, I'll have to be back. Better hurry up and start enjoying the days off!

Monday, July 5, 2010

And you wonder...

...with eyes like these, how could her nickname be anything OTHER than bug!?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

365 days

365 days ago, I married my best friend. On that day, there were smiles, tears, laughter, mariachis, photos, friends, family, and so much more. It was an incredible way to start an incredible journey.

365 days later, we've had ups and downs. We've had joys and sorrows. We've laughed and fought. We've welcomed the most beautiful baby girl into our family.

I can't wait to see what the next 365 days hold. I love you, Ramon!