Saturday, September 30, 2006

All I Want For Christmas

Here it is... Aysha's Christmas Wish List (up early by most standards, but requests for it have already been forthcoming from the early-bird shoppers - Grandma G.)

Before getting to the list, we would like to request that not a lot of money be spent this Christmas on Aysha gifts. She will have plenty to play with regardless, and later won't get any more enjoyment from a mountain of toys than she would from a few toys. If you would like to contribute something more than just one play item, then money invested toward her future education would be helpful.

In order to save confusion and overlap, we're dividing gift ideas by sides of the family.

The Germaine Side:
- stroller for "baby" - her baby, that is, not the one due in January
- Fisher Price Farm Set
- Hot Wheels Cars
- simple puzzles (wooden or other)
- paints
- books (a couple)
- musical instrumnets (ideas: tamberine, triangle, finger cymbals, recorder, drums for kids, xylophone)

The Hide Side:
- Mega Bloks (medium size, age 2+)
- clothing (24 months to 30 months) - pants, long sleeved shirts, socks, PJs
- Magna Doodle (Fisher Price makes these, but so do other companies)
- big ball (beach ball size)
- medium ball
- train set (something age appropriate)
- bubble bath
- play stethescope (she is starting to be afraid of doctors)
- a boat for the bathtub (she now identifies boats that she sees from our front window)

Of course, if you already have a gift ideas of your own, go with those. These are only suggestions for anyone wanting guidence. We are thinking that birthday gifts should all wait until the summer, when they will be more appreciated than on the actual day of her birthday.

As I look at this list, I realize how lucky Aysha and we are to have a family, immediate and extended, that love us immensely, and that are well enough off for gifts over Christmas to be taken for granted. I think that we will have to give a bit extra over Christmas to help Claudina's family so that she can purchase toys for her grandchildren.

My Morning with Aysha

Last night, the girls and guys gathered for their own nights. The girls watched Sex and the City at our place, and the guys met up at Tony and Diana's for a game of Settlers of Catan. It was John's first time playing and he seemed to be hooked by the end of the night, talking on the way down in the elevator about strategies and variables to account for. There's a bit of a Settlers of Catan craze on right now - the game is borrowed for a game or two a week and plans are being made for who will get which expansion pack over the holidays. Christian won John's introductory game(partly because I miscounted and declared myself the victor when I actually was one point short), but I came back the second game to defend my honour (and math skills).

This morning Aysha was up at 5:30 and wouldn't go back to sleep, so we got up and she had a breakfast of cereal - which she can ask for by name now - no longer requesting it by crowing like the rooster that is on the corn flakes box. While I was waiting for Karla to rise, I had an apple, which Aysha shared with me off the core. She chorused "mmmmm, apple" after each bite. After her apple, she decided that it was time for a rest on the yoga mat. She went over and lay down for at least three or four seconds before popping up to come and grab my hand. It seemed that we both needed a little rest. Unfortunately, our ideas of how long a little rest lasts are very different. After another few seconds, she let me know what was missing... "Baby."

We were off to the crib to collect baby. Snuggle Puppy was there too, so he came along for our rapidly expanding group nap. The yoga mat was getting full. Baby needed a clothes change, and after a couple reminders from Aysha that I needed to be quiet... "Shhhhhhh," the nap seemed to be coming to an end. I tried to lure everyone back to restful stillness by getting Aysha's pillow from the bedroom. It was a hit, but didn't produce the effect that I had hoped for. A couple of wrestling moves later, Aysha had baby safely napping in the center of the pillow and Aysha and I were headed for new adventures.

We took a look at the family photo album. Aysha is getting better at recognizing everyone, and is much better at pronouncing names. All of you in the book are also getting regular kisses through the plastic coated pages of the book too. Mom finally got up and pancakes were for breakfast.

In other Aysha news, she has become an expert at goodbyes. She watches us every morning and when we start to get our bags and shoes, she heads over for her goodbye kiss and hug and starts with her farewells. She has developed quite a repetory of words for the occasion: bye, see you, ciao, hasta luego, adios and hasta manana. She responds to requests for kisses and hugs and even sends people off with waves and blown kisses.

There's only two more weeks left in the first quarter of school - that means soon we will be half way to coming back to Canada for Christmas. Karla has been busy trying to get her tests corrected since the party last weekend left us tired and lazing in bed half the day. She tried all week to get caught up, only to give another test on Friday and be buried under paperwork again. I give my test next Thursday, and will be busy next weekend.

For the Novembrinas holiday, we are heading to the Zona Cafetera, or coffee region, in the center of the Colombia. It's up in the mountains and should be a cool, rainy respite from coastal Cartagena. We are planning to go with Tony, Diana, and Julian again. Another teacher, John, and his wife, Katherine, are also planning to be in the region.

Well, Karla's got to get ready to head out to pilates for expectant mothers, which she is starting today, so I have to go take over with Aysha. We went to another doctor appointment this week. Everything seems to be coming along fine. The doctor confirmed a due date of January 15-26 after seeing the ultrasound. She is still willing to confirm Karla to travel back home, but would like another examination in Canada before Karla is cleared to return. Karla still hasn't gotten the low-down from Air Canada yet on height and size of the hoops they reserve for pregnant women. We'll let you know...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Tonight, Aysha put together her farm animals peg puzzle all by herself. I was sitting on the couch while mom was napping. Aysha retrieved the pieces one at a time for me, with a bit of prompting. "Where's the sheep? No. That's not the sheep." After she had delivered them all to the couch, I got up to see to the music playing on the computer. When I looked back, Aysha was picking the pieces up from the couch, one by one, and putting them in their places in the puzzle. She would even turn them until they fit in place. I was impressed.

There's not to many new words to report that Aysha says, but she really seems to understand a lot of what we say to her. She is usually pretty good at following directions. Well, directions that don't include the word "no." She can "go get" things and "give" things to someone. A couple times she has responded to the call for a diaper change by laying down on the clean diaper in almost the right place (except that the velcro ended up at the wrong end).

Karla and I are maintaining a good, clean lifestyle. Most days we get to be before 9, after not much more than a bit of baby playing, dinner and perhaps a walk or jog (for me, anyway). Novembrinas, a week long holiday, is coming up and we are deciding whether it would be better travel now, before the new baby, or in April, after the baby is born when Jeff may come to visit. My vote is for November. I think that with two babies, even with an uncle-at-arms to assist, a good day would provide 15 to 30 minutes of sightseeing amidst the rounds of diaper changes, feedings (breast and otherwise), naps (mother and children), stops at parks, diaper runs, clothes changes and other less glamourous aspects of travel with children.

That's all the news that's fit to blog for today.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Saturday Afternoon at the Pool

Yesterday, we sat out by the pool in the afternoon with Tony, Diana and Julian, and Christian and Sophy. Here are a couple photos from the day. Julian was doing some big jumps into the pool, but quit before I could get the camera. Aysha was being her usual cute self.

I played soccer at the school yesterday morning too - we moved the game from the late afternoon to eight in the morning, hoping more people would come and the game would be cooler. No one showed up at eight and by the end of the game at ten it was very hot. Next week we will go back to the afternoon game. I am still the worst player on the field, but am having as much fun as the others.

Last night we played a game of Settlers of Catan, which is proving very popular. First we played with Christian and Sophy a couple weeks ago and the next day at work, Sophy told me not to give any of the details about the game to Christian so she could get it for him for Christmas. Right after the game last night, Tony was planning to get the expansion pack so more people could play at once.

At school, progress reports are due on Monday (that means the first quarter is already half over) and so I should get back to work. I just took a little break to put up a couple of pictures.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It's A Boy!

Or so the ultrasound says. I'm estatic! And a little disappointed too - disappointed that Aysha will likely never have a sister, but excited to add another male presence to our family - someone to balance the male/female ratio. I guess the only perfect way would be to have two girls and two boys, so that each child would have at least one brother and one sister. That's what happened in my own family. But it was difficult enough convincing Jamie of a second baby.

In light of rising world populations, Jamie and I agreed from the beginning that it isn't right for families to opt for more than two children - unless they are willing to adopt someone needing a home. With that in mind, I've always maintained that if we had either two boys or two girls, then we would adopt a third child of the opposite sex. Tonight, after finding out that this baby is a boy, Jamie jokingly said something to the effect of "so I guess we won't adopt." His joke surprised me a little, since he has recently been so certain that he doesn't want more than two children. For a second I sensed that he wasn't as dead set against a third child as he'd have me believe. I said, "We could still adopt!" Whether or not we ever do consider adopting - it is certainly not the first thing on my mind these days - I really am delighted to be having a baby boy.

Yet boys are so much more foreign to me. Despite growing up with two brothers, and teaching classrooms always half full of boys, in many respects boys remain just a little less understood. What will it be like to be a parent of a boy? I guess I'm going to find out! And Aysha is going to have a baby brother!

So these are my thoughts at 2:00am. I think I'm too excited to sleep. Earlier this evening I was exhausted from a long day at school, and fell asleep on the bed in Aysha's room as I waited for her to do the same. Then, after moving to our bedroom, I lay awake tossing and turning with thoughts of boys, names (nothing yet chosen), and feelings of excitement. Maybe after writing this blog I'll be able sleep. Sometimes putting jumbled thoughts into words that won't disappear makes it possible to turn them off - the jumbled thoughts, that is. We'll see.

Monday, September 04, 2006

First Baby Pictures

Karla went for her ultrasound today. I stayed home and watched Aysha. It was a first come first served ultrasound, which meant that Karla needed to be there an hour early to avoid a long(er) wait in line for the machine. We didn't think that Aysha would appreciate the event, so we stayed home. They did provide us with a CD rom of the event, which I pass along to you in a slightly condensed version for internet viewing (three cheers for technology!). The whole video is a little more than seven minutes long. It does seem to freeze in places where the technician froze the screen to point something out. You can also see the meansurements being taken. According to the technician, the ultrasound shows that this baby is going to be a boy.

You can see quite a few parts clearly: head, ribs, spine, legs and arms. The moving part in the image is the heart. There is one part where you can see the face and one eye (but it looks kinda creepy to me). When Karla was talking me through it I could usually figure out what was there before she told me. I did get quite a bit of ultrasound practice in Kuwait at our monthly ultrasounds, but hopefully you'll be able to see the baby too.

The estimated due date did come in a week and a few days ahead of what Karla had expected, so we'll have to see what the doctor has to say about travel over the holidays. Karla still hasn't gotten in touch with Air Canada to find out exactly what their policy is either.

Here is the ultrasound of the new baby. (it's a 33 MB so it will take a while to transfer - probably much longer than the seven minutes it will take to watch - maybe you'd like to get yourself some popcorn and a cold drink, and dim the lights while you wait)

Watch the video

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Resting on the Weekend

Thursday, Karla saw the other OB/GYN that had been recommended to us. I couldn't make the appoint on account of it being right after school and me having gate duty at the end of the school day. This doctor did not have an ultrasound machine in her office. Based on Karla's dates, she estimated the due date between January 15th and 28th and said that if Karla's checked out before our return home, she would write a letter authorizing Karla to travel. We still need to contact Air Canada and find out exactly what they require in the letter from the doctor. Hopefully their requirements won't ask to the doctor to make any statements that she won't be willing to make. Karla has an ultrasound appointment on Monday for the new doctor, which may alter her estimate. Karla was impressed by the new doctor, who also agreed to allow me in the delivery room, as long as the delivery was proceeding routinely.

They are replacing the windows on the apartment next to ours. Yesterday they installed the new frames and windows and aare now doing a bit of finishing. it seems they have stuffed wads of newspaper in the gap between the top of the window frame and the brickwork of the building. The worker is just applying a layer of plaster over the newspaper to hide it from view. No wonder it took six months to get our AC fixed. It is a wonder that is it still working six months later (touch wood).

Aysha is doing her thing. She has added a few new words this week. She's started pointing our boats on the ocean, which she identifies as either agua (water) or mar (sea). She is also using in instead of up to communicte her desires. Sylvana, the neighbour's daughter who is a year older than Aysha, is much more willing to play with Aysha than she was before we came home for the summer. But now, Aysha is the one who doesn't want to share her toys. Claudina said that Sylvana told Aysha , "You would look prettier without that soother." I have started referring to the soother with derision: "soother? yuck!" in hopes that Aysha will catch on. I've also started taking it away from her in the day when I can. She is pretyy easily distracted and often immediately forgets she had it. It's all in preparation for "Operation Chupo."

Karla has been fighting a sore throat this week. She refused to stay home from school, but rested as much as she could at home. I ened up feeling like an overworked dad most nights. Hopefully this weekend, she'll take it easy and be in better shaoe for next week. She's napping right now. By the end of this post, she will have been sleeping for as long as she's been up today, which she needs right now.