Sunday, March 19, 2006

Another Post in the Blog

It’s another long weekend in Cartagena. We’re a bit spoiled when it comes to long weekends here in Colombia. It’s two in a row, and we have another two to look forward to before the end of the year.

We took Aysha to the doctor this week. She was slow returning to her normal digestive cycle after her little bout of illness last weekend. The doctor gave her a clean bill of health and she is back to full form this weekend. We were very encouraged after the doctor’s visit. She was weighed and measured and when we got home we pulled out the growth charts to see how she’s doing. Her weight was about where it always is – on the low end of the scale for her age, around the 10th percentile. But her height put her around the 60th percentile on the first chart we checked and around 50 on the second. Perhaps Aysha would, after all, provide some hope to the vertically challenged Germaine/Hantke family. On second measurement, Aysha came in a whole inch and a half shorter than her first measurement, putting her back somewhere around the 10th percentile for height at her age. Now, those of you hoping for a tall baby, don’t lose hope. The doctor had a table specially designed for measuring babies. Karla and I conducted the second measurement but getting Aysha to stand beside a wall and balancing a book on her head. The likelihood of an error is probably much higher for our second measurement than the first.

Aysha is continuing to try out little bits of language. She is using the more sign frequently to mean that she wants more food. She hasn’t generalized it so that it applies to activities (but when your attention span is usually about 12 seconds, it’s hard to find an occasion when you need to ask to do something again). She can do book now too. And done. Vocally, up and agua are her two favourite words. She loves to climb things and will come to the edge of the bed and say, “Up.” All she needs is a hand to grab onto then the little goat-girl scrambles up onto the bed and then to the top of the nearest parent. When she’s done that, she will scramble down onto the floor (goat-girl is even better at climbing down) and say, “Agua,” which means, “It’s time for you to come and get me something to put in my mouth.”

Another little video is shaping up. Aysha walked down to the park with the help of one of her little walker toys and played on the play-structure and slide (with close parental supervision). The first trip to the playground was a trial and the second one was the video shoot. We decided to let Aysha walk the second time and by the time she got there she was tuckered out and not in the mood for much playing. Maybe tomorrow, we will take her down in the stroller for some better shots. I tell you, accommodating the needs of this little movie star is hard work!

It’s been a quiet week at school. This week about 1/3 of the middle school students have gone to Medellin for a big sports tournament. The classes were small which made for a mostly easy week. The ones that were left are a mix of the students who wanted to go but, through laziness or lack of aptitude, didn’t have the grades; and the ones who aren’t interested in sports. Last week Karla and I both had a few little crises as students who really wanted to go begged and pleaded to be allowed to slip through the cracks and onto the teams. Despite warnings from the experiences teachers that everyone goes anyways, a few were left behind. The goal of the policy is that the ones who get left behind get more time to do their school work, but it didn’t turn out that way - for my kids, anyway. The ones that had to stay in Cartagena were so mad about it that they sat in class all week and pouted.

We have made plans for Semana Santa (Holy Week) too. We are going up to Bogota with Tony, Diana and Julian, the other young family at the school. People say that the culture her on the coast is very laid back (which it is), but in the interior of the country, people are much harder working. We’ll see. It should be nice and cold up there – positively spring-like, as compared to here, which has been now moved past summer-like into plain-old downright hot.

Friday night, thanks to the DVD black market, we watched Good Night, and Good Luck. It’s the story of Edward R. Murrow, the journalist who worked for CBS and was critical of Sen. McCarthy during the Committee on Un-American Activities. The movie itself was well done (George Clooney directs), but lacked tension and didn’t arouse any great sympathy for the characters. To me, the main point of the movie was to point out the failings of the current media: its failure to report the real news under the double threat of being branded un-American and losing revenue from advertising.

We’ve been trying to work through some of the Academy nominees for best picture. Last weekend we watched Brokeback Mountain. It was sad. I am glad I’m not a gay cowboy in the 1970’s. I’ve been reading the short story since I saw the movie. It’s been a hard read – not because the story is difficult, but because they movie is so closely modeled on the book. It’s like watching the movie all over again.

It will be bedtime soon here in Colombia. Nighty-night.

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