09 May 2014

We're baaaack!

Taken by a new Canadian friend
During my maternity leave I also gave myself a little break from all work-ish stuff, including the blog, to get used to having the littlest one with us.  It was a great time to just do some parenting and let new ideas develop "organically".  It was pretty brilliant, especially during the weeks that Innocent was home from school, to not have any tasks except hanging out with my kids.  When Wesley was born, we were on a bus to a Lahash conference two weeks later.  Fortunately, I haven't gone anywhere since Gretchen was born, which has been a huge relief.  We've had plenty of visitors to Shirati from America, Canada, The Netherlands, etc.  Among them was a friend we made last year, Dr. Jeff Graham, who was here with his wife, Reta, and two their kids last July.  Reta is an obstetric surgeon and Jeff is a family practice doctor with a master's in public health, and their medical background combined with Fred's and my community development experience has given birth to a program we've designed to reduce maternal mortality in the villages around Shirati.  Since being pregnant with and delivering two kids in East Africa, this topic has become so important to me.  I'll write more about the details of the program at another time, but it has the potential to become a big deal.  It's very exciting!

Double Duty
Fred tried to reign in his crazy work/travel schedule while the baby was new, but now the chaos is starting again.  He has a bunch of projects all going on simultaneously, but he's making a big effort to be around to help with the kids.  He's a super daddy, and little feet always race to the door when his voice is heard.  Wesley continues to be a daddy's boy, even staying up until midnight the other night to "watch" an English Premiere League football (soccer) match with daddy.  Fred has bemoaned not having another fan to watch matches with (I'm happy to watch football, but only at reasonable hours), so I think he might be training up a comrade-in-sport.

An extra pair of helping hands!

Innocent is now officially our kid, although not yet formally adopted.  We were granted official legal custody of Innocent.  This involved get his mother's death certificate, then Inno's birth certificate, then affidavits showing that Fred is his uncle and has provided a good environment for Inno.  Once we got formal custody, we got his passport issued, much to his delight.  He continues to thrive in school, finishing last term at the top of his class again.  His language scores, English and Swahili, are so high that lower scores in Christian Religious Education and Mathematics ("the tests were hard, Auntie!") didn't drag him down.

Swaddle practice on Menomena, his teddy bear
Wesley is adjusting well to big brotherhood, for the most part.  It just so happened that little sister came along right about the same time that Terrible Toddler-dom struck.  (It's perfectly misleading to call it the "Terrible Twos" when it starts around 18 months and lasts until...what...age six?)  Although I've had lots of help from Fred and Adera, there have certainly been some times when there are three people home and all three of us are crying from frustration.  Still, there are delightful times as we watch him grow up before our very eyes.  He's super active and super social, with a huge vocabulary branching into his third language (although of course he doesn't know it's a new language) and a terrific memory for faces and names.  Random motorcycle drivers and shop assistants stop Fred to tell him what a smart son he has, because Wesley has met them in the course of running errands with Adera.

Gretchen has been an amazingly simple baby, all things considered.  She doesn't sleep through the night yet, but she only wakes up to nurse briefly, then back to sleep, hardly disturbing me at all.  She's gaining weight much faster than her brother did, and beams at all of us when we peek our faces over her nest in the arm chair.  (No bassinets, swings, boppy pillows, etc. here, so we make do.)  She has started rolling onto her left side frequently, and I'm sure I'll find her going all the way over onto her tummy any day now.  She "talks" a bit, and sounds like a baby Wookie.  We were looking at some of my baby pictures the other day, and there is certainly a resemblance between Gretchen and I!  Even Adera said that, aside from coloring, Wesley is a miniature Fred and Gretchen is a miniature me.

Wesley telling stories to Daddy
The sweetest time of day - coinciding naps

Proud, big brother in his Buzz Lightyear pajamas


Frankie said...

Great photos and thanks for keeping us informed!

erin said...

Great to see you post again, I'm so glad you had a good break to focus on your adorable kids!