Thursday, March 31, 2005


She did it. Aysha lasted through the night last night without needing to be fed. Karla didn't. She got up at 2:00 to pump. On her way back to bed, she swaddled Aysha and gave her the soother. We all slept soundly until 6 the next morning.

Aysha also now seems to really be playing in her jungle gym. Instead of just lying there and bumping the dangling toys by accident, she is looking at them and hitting them. She even smiles and gets excited when she does.

She is now 59 cm long, which puts her at about the 50th percentile for height at 3 months. We don't know how much she weights exactly, but she is likely close to the 25th percentil in weight. She may have gotten a bit of her father's height.

I am serene...

Tiny hands

"No more pictures please."



Wednesday, March 30, 2005

O, Passport Where Art Thou?

Yesterday, I went to the Canadian Embassy at the prescribed time to collect passports for Aysha and myself. Since I had been promised, "If there's a problem, we'll call you" and hadn't received a call, I went with false hope. After a few minutes of waiting, I was sent to speak with the consul. To meet with the consul, you get you own little room, a privacy closet really. It's got a sliding glass door behind you to protect your privacy, and a bullet proof glass wall in front of you to protect the consul.

The consul told me that since the record of birth didn't have Aysha's name on it, they couldn't issue a passport. We could, in theory, use it to register another baby with a different name at some other time. He was very professional and in the twenty minutes or so that we talked, we discussed several possible strategies that might get Aysha a passport. On his end, he would take it up with Citizenship in Ottawa and see if there were any exceptions that could be made. On my end, I would try to get the record of birth re-issued with a name on it. He also suggested going down to try to have the marriage certificate certified by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs
again. He, quite accurately, suggested that the ministry tends to treat us westerners more kindly than it did the driver from one of the working classes that made the last attempt.

In the discussion, I told him that my passport wasn't a pressing matter since it didn't expire for more than a year and I only needed it to have the two-year Colombian visa put into. It turns out that they will not issue a new passport until your old passport has either expired or is within 6 months of expiring. So my own passport application was not valid.

With all that good news, I returned home to Karla.

The next day, Karla and I were up early. We were on a mission. We arrived at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs just after it opened and Karla went in by herself. A single western woman is such an irregularity at any office that she was thrust to the head of the line. She emerged 10 minutes later, not with the stamped form, but
with information. It turns out that the Canadian Embassy had been wrongly advising us all along. We didn't a stamped copy of the marriage certificate on embassy letterhead, we needed a letter from the embassy on letter head saying that we were married.

The embassy produced it the same day, along with my own new passport (because they felt sorry for us - I think they invalidated my old passport before they noticed and had no choice) We were back at the Ministry by 12:15. This time, Karla got the elusive stamp recognizing our marriage and we headed directly for the Ministry of Health. We arrived only minutes before it closed. Karla headed in to get the job
done. I was a little surprised they let her in. On Wednesday afternoon, I was expecting her to be turned away so that everyone could finish work on time. A few minutes later she came out. It seems that women can't register babies' births. I guess once the women have gone and had the babies, it's the least the father can do
to register the birth. Actually, Kuwaiti customs is that the new mother doesn't leave her mother's house for 40 days after the birth.

Once I arrived, we were in business. The paper work was correct. All was progressing well until I had to go speak with the supervisor. The Ministry of Health did not approve of our choice of name. Specifically, we could not combine an Arabic name with a western one. Since Aysha was a wife of the prophet Mohammed, it would somehow be sacrilegious to combine it with a non-Arabic name. So on the spot, in
under a minute we had to decide - two western names, two Arabic names, or fight. So Aysha Morgan is now being registered as Aysha Farah (FAR-uh) Hide. On the way home, we thought of a couple names that we would have liked more, but it doesn't really matter. We will change it to Aysha Morgan once we get to Canada (or perhaps in conjunction with her first passport renewal in three years).

We did win a concession from the supervisor. The nearly four week waiting period for a birth certificate has been cut down to one week. So Aysha should now have a passport no later than three weeks from now (Inshallah).

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Spring Fever

The weather here has become warm - many might say, rather, that is is hot, with temperatures pushing 35 celcius in the mid-afternoon. But to me, it feels like spring. Walks along the sea-front are pleasant, as the ocean breeze moderates the day-time heat. We are trying to get out as much as possible to enjoy this brief window when it is neither too cool nor too hot to appreciate being outdoors.

Feelings of restlessness and impatience have arrived along with the change in weather. I've started the countdown - after this week, only eleven more weeks before we are out of Kuwait. There is a lot to be done before then, including having the proper paperwork for Aysha (so that she is able to leave the country). Jamie went to pick up Aysha's passport today, only to be told by the Canadian Embassy that they couldn't do it, because we still don't have the proper paperwork either from the hospital or from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Each time that we think we have the problem solved, we are told that we are missing some other peice of paper, information, or signature. It has been really frustrating, and almost makes me think it would have been easier to have flown back to Canada for Aysha's birth.

Before we leave Kuwait, we also have to pack, sell our car, and sell all of our apartment furnishings. I expect that transitioning between jobs and countries will be all the more challenging this time around because we will have to do it with a baby! Nevertheless, I am excited about moving on, and especially eager for Aysha to meet family and friends back home (or more accurately, for them to meet her, as I am not sure how much she will remember of her first summer in Canada).

We are in the first day of a four day weekend. Many of our teacher friends are travelling, but Jamie and I are catching up on school work (grades are due the Wednesday after the break). I feel swamped with the number of papers and tests that need grading before the end of the quarter. Since Aysha's arrival on the scene, I almost never take school work home, so I feel as though am perpetually suffocating under a pile of assignments that I should have given back a week or two weeks before! As someone who is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to providing feedback to students though evaluation, I'm having to relax some of my previous self-imposed standards and accept that things cannot be done as I used to do them. It's still a struggle.

If we can get enough work done, Jamie and I hope to get out for a few more walks along the Gulf. Other than that, we plan to go to a friend's graduation party on Thursday night. She and her mother are friends from dance class. They are both Lebannese. One of the things I have appreciated about Salsa class is that we've gotten to know a much more diverse group of people, both in terms of culture and age. We've been invited to this party despite that we stopped going to Sasla class last Novemeber (it was getting too uncomfortable/tiring for me). We started again a few weeks ago, but the number of students in class has increased to the point that we are not enjoying it as much (too crowded, and the instruction in not as individualized); thus, I don't know how long we will keep it up. Going to class also means having to find a babysitter for Aysha, and we already feel that we don't see enough of her.

Well, Jamie says that I am writing a novel, and that my readers will be getting bored. He may be right. Besides, I am procrastinating. I should really be getting back to the stack of tests piled in the middle of our livingroom floor. Depressing :( .

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Plans and Podcasts

Here it is, the plan for the summer, version one.
16th – arrive in Calgary
17th – Begin paperwork at Colombian Consulate in Calgary, and catch up with Jeff, Ryan and Lianne until Sunday
19th – to Fernie
30th – depart Fernie
1st – Arrive Humboldt
2nd – Joel and Kristin’s BBQ
10th – to Saskatoon
14th – to Fernie
21st – to Calgary for the Calgary Folk Festival
25th – to Fernie
31st – to Colombia

It’s spring break and we have no plans. Well, we both have grading, but admitting that that is all we have planned for the holiday is worse than admitting to nothing. The weather is in an in-between,actually-kind-of-nice phase. I have been out walking with Aysha a few times. Sometimes with Karla and sometimes when Karla needs a bit of peace and quiet to get caught up.

I have been using the new iPod to try out some Podcasts - a system where radio programmes as mp3 files are automatically downloaded and put onto the iPod (or any other mp3 player). The CBC is testing it out with Quirks and Quarks. I listened to the last one last weekend and the new one should be out today. It felt like home to be... well, it felt like home never has - I was pushing Aysha in her stroller and walking along the seafront - but it felt comfortable to be listening to the CBC. I could listen anytime on the internet, but the shows are never on when I want to listen to them. They're always on in the middle of the night, or when I'm out grocery shopping.

Aysha likes her walks. Part of the path is new and very smooth. I thought it would all be cobble stone. I am tempted to take Aysha for a jog. Karla thinks the stroller might not be up to it though. It will be too hot to jog outside in a few weeks anyway.

Karla just turned in for the night. The quiet classical music is on and I was thinking that it must be getting late. Yup, it is late. 8:15. pm. Maybe I'll make myself a cup of tea and see if I can stay awake until 9:00.

Friday, March 25, 2005


Not so happy


Thursday, March 24, 2005

Grandparents, do not depair; it's only twelve weeks from today that we will be back in Canada.

It's the end of another exciting week in Kuwait. Not really. It's been about normal: a bit of tutoring and a bit of school. Toss in one crying baby, a nanny, and the end of term and here we are.

We've been watching Sex in the City. We borrowed a DVD set from a freind and have been filling in the breast-feeding sessions with episodes. Last weekend, we met up at Jeff and Lily's place for a little gathering for Jeff's birthday. We borrowed the first two seasons of Trailer Park Boys. Karla's not keen the Boys.

At school, we are almost at the end of the thrid quarter. Karla and I both gave tests this week and will look forward to correcting them next weekend - our spring break. We've only got two days next week, plus one teacher's only day. Two day weeks are never fun. A few students and their families go on vacation and just skip the two days. The rest come to school and act they are on vacation. Fortunately for me, we've just finished the novel and can squeeze in the movie. I get to reward the ones who come, and not have to teach.

I've been on super-baby-sitting duty. Karla is trying to catch up on some school work and has nominated me as child care worker #1. In one of her few happy moments today, Aysha was looing very cute, lying on her stomach, looking overtop of a pillow. However she was silhouetted by the window and by the time we had her turned around, she was in a crying mood again.

By the end of next week, Aysha will have her passport. After that we'll have to get her checked into Kuwait as a resident so that she can leave with us in June. At least once we have her passport, the school business office will take care of the rest.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Karla and Aysha enjoying a nap

A baby at rest

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Budda Bellies

To my relief, last Tuesday Aysha weighed in at 4.44 kilos (about 9.8 pounds), which the doctor delaired to be a healthy weight gain (we'd been told she was not gaining fast enough on the last visit). With the added weight, her little belly bulges. I've started calling her my little budda-girl!

I have to say that there is not a great deal new and exciting to report in my life. At the moment everything seems to revolve around Aysha. Last week, along with the weight check, Aysha had her first injections - one on each cheek. Jamie took her to the public health office when he had a couple of periods in a row without classes. The office is only open from 9:00am till noon. This country is in no way designed for working people! Despite the inconvenient time, Jamie said the trip was relatively painless (for him!). There was little waiting time, the nurses were helpful and friendly, and the injections were free. Aysha cried when the needles went in, and then was crabby for most of the day (with a slight fever). Jamie told her that she was a lucky girl to have injections, but I don't think that she was buying it!

The other news regarding our little bundle, is that we have finally made progress on the passport front. We had her passport photos taken last weekend, and took in all the paperwork on Monday. The embassy says that she will have a passport and a certificate of Canadian citizenship in about two weeks. After that happens, she will still need to get a Kuwaiti civil ID in order to be legal here.

This week we have had some problems with breastfeeding. Aysha figureded out that it is easier to suck from a bottle than from a breast, and she started to reject my breast when I came home from work. I did some research and found a few suggestions on the web to combat this problem, so we have now put some of these into effect. We've taken away her pacifier, so that she does not get sucking satisfaction from it and hopefully will be more willing to suck from my breasts. We also instructed our nanny to only feed her in the kitchen while we are away, so that she will associate bottles with the kitchen, and the livingroom and bedroom with be for breastfeeding. One day last week we had Sylvia (our nanny) feed Aysha with a spoon. This was very effective in getting her to take my breast when I came home, but I think it was miserable for Sylvia and Aysha (slow and messy). Sylvia has gone back to bottle feeding, and Aysha seems to be breastfeeding alright for the moment. I feel as though I could write a book on the trials of breastfeeding!

Aysha has begun to smile! She doesn't do it often, but when she does, it is adorable. I have to admit that I think she is a really cute baby. I know I am biased, but a lot of people have told us that she is one of the prettiest babies they have ever seen. Jamie and I tease her and tell her that it is a good thing that she is so cute, because her diposition often leaves something to be desired. When Mom came to visit, she told Aysha that she shouldn't frown so much or she might have wrinkles by the time she gets to kindergarden! Jamie and I have decided that "cuteness" is a trait babies have to aid in their survival - it motivates parents and others to love their bundles, despite midnight feedings, poopy diapers, spit-up, and a lot of crying. Jamie has promised to post some more recent photos of Aysha as soon as I finish this entry, so you will be able to enjoy some of her "cuteness" along with us.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I have been meaning to get back to this thing for a long time, but it just hasn't turned out. Today, a few things fell into place so tonight I can relax and get caught up.

Today Aysha has a passport and certificate of citizenship officially being processed. I finally got everything together and got it in. We never managed to get a Kuwaiti birth certificate, but the embassy is going ahead with everything without one.

Second, Aysha went in to the ministry to get her immunizations. I has to leave work to take her in to the government clinic, the only place in Kuwait that gives immunizations. After the ordeal of the birth certificate, I was braced for the worst. It took us a few minutes to find the office (Sylvia came with me). The woman in the office informed me that I had come to the wrong office. It is the one closest to our home, but our ID still has our old address on it. But she did agree to give Aysha the shots. It took a minute or two to figure out the mix of Arabic Aysha with Hide.

We also took Aysha back to the doctor to check on her weight gain. She is weighted in at 4.44 kg (just shy of 10 pounds). She has been eating more - some days all breast milk and other days she gets an extra bottle of formula, and seems happier. The past few days she has been less interested in drinking from the breast. She get angry and frustrated now that she is used to how easy the bottle is to drink from. For the past two days she has not had her soother during the day. We tried one day of Sylvia not giving her the bottle during the day. Instead she spoon fed the baby (which, despite the saying, was difficult and messy). That day, Aysha was much more interested in breast feeding. Today, we withheld the soother, but went back to the bottle. Aysha wasn't as eager to feed as yesterday, so we might go back to spoon feeding.

In other news, it's 13 weeks tomorrow that we bid Kuwait goodbye. It sounds like it's soon, but it doesn't feel that way.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Grandma Germaine left last night at midnight. We are a little sleepy today, but I am waiting to talk to my whole family tonight. Jenny and Dave are headed to Fernie for the weekend to see an old Fernie resident, Marc Charon, play in town. This weekend, we discovered Skype. Well, maybe discovered is self-aggrandizing. We tried it. It's a internet telephone service that was created by the same people who created Kazaa, the file sharing system. I read a review of Skype on CNet and encouraged my family to download it and try it out. It works like instant messaging, except instead of typing, you talk into a microphone. The sound quality is very clear. There is a slight tinniness to the voices and a bit more of a lag, but not much more than our regular long distance. We were using a cable connection on one end and a modem connection on the other I'd like to think that two high speed connections would work a little faster, but am just optimistically speculating. And it's free. You can talk for as long as you want.

Aysha went to the doctor. She weighed in at 9 pounds. The doctor said that she has not been gaining weight fast enough. Since then, we have been feeding her more regularly. Karla has been pumping at the end of feedings too to make sure that all the breast milk produced goes to good use. Today while we were at school Aysha got an extra bottle of formula on top of what she regularly ate. She has been very content since we got home from school. She has even squeezed out a few little baby smiles.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Aysha is taking advantage of the three sets of hands ready to hold
her. In between (and sometimes during, we have been trying to show
Eileen the highlights of Kuwait. This past weekend was the national
holiday. Gulf Road, a road that runs the length of the city alongside
the Arabian (Persian) Gulf, get plugged with cars covered in Kuwaiti
flags and posters of the Amir. Kids runs alongside traffic, and often
among it, to cover cars and each other with spray foam and spray
string. Often it gets out of hand. Karla's student said her famly
forgot to lock their car doors and returned to find the car full of

Aysha almost has her birtH certificate. I went down to the Ministry
of Health yesterday to get it only to learn that there were more hoops
to jump through. In my frustration (I can only get out to the
ministry once every 6 days), I went to the school office. Luckily,
Mohammed was sympathetic and put one of the school expiditers on it.
Yesterday, he had to take our marriage certificate to the Canadian
embassy, then to the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Maybe today
or tomorrow, he can get the birth certificate.