I signed off last night at midnight, and rolled over to go to sleep. Promptly at 12:30am, Anna started fussing! I see she already knows how to push her Momma’s buttons (haha!) I gave her a bottle and held her, but it took her almost three hours to settle back into a deep sleep, and that only after I put her down. Things I learned: she does not like blankets touching her face, she loves her bottle, and she does the stiff-leg/stiff-back fuss when she is upset. She did (shockingly) cry, and I will admit that I was a bit excited to hear it! She is such a quiet one that any noises out of her at all are pretty thrilling. I think it also threw her off that when she woke up, I was wearing my glasses. She kind of gave me the stink eye, and liked it much better when I took them off.
After 3:30am, not a peep out of her until 8:30am when she coughed and woke me up. I rolled over and she was sitting up in bed sucking on her very empty bottle from last night. Just looking at me. I reached over and cuddled her close to me, and we both “woke up slow,” just staring into each other’s eyes.
We got out of bed and went downstairs. My mom and Abigail were already up, and the Guzo’s joined us shortly. Poor Simon is still sick, and had a really rough night with very little sleep. I feel so bad, because there is nothing we can do. He did take some “lem-lem” which is what they call Pedialyte here. Anna would occasionally look over at him when he would fuss, and her look says it all: Baby, what is the deal?
My mom made toast for us and Waguyu/Zimmet had coffee waiting for us when we woke up. Let me just stop right now and put a plug in for these people. They are both lovely, kind, helpful people. Waguyu is very hospitable and accommodating. He has his daughter-in-law and granddaughter visiting from Germany right now, and he just plays with that baby (age 14 months) all day! He walks her in the stroller and follows her around and carries her to show her different things in the garden. It is so sweet! And Zimmet! I cannot say enough good things about her. She is more than just a housekeeper, she is WonderWoman! Clean does not describe what she does here. The bathrooms are sparkling. The kitchen is clean with dishes done about twice a day. She keeps the house tidy, and keeps on top of the mountain of laundry that 4 adults, one 6-year-old and 2 babies make. She also made a huge batch of injera today which she set outside to dry, and she plays with Waguyu’s granddaughter all the time! She is fantastic, and I don’t think I can tip her enough! If you stay at Ayat, you will truly be blessed by both of these lovely Ethiopians.
Anna at some peanut butter toast for breakfast, and then we got ready for the day. She loves to have her face and hands washed, and always gets a huge smile whenever I do that. While I got dressed, my mom watched some cartoons with Abigail and Anna. Anna was waving at the TV, and when I was nearly done getting ready, Abigail came tearing up the stairs to tell me that Anna was talking! Of course, I missed it, but apparently she was babbling, which has been the main developmental milestone she has been missing all along.
The girls and I went out to play in the yard while my mom freshened. We looked at the flowers, walked around the house, and played with the dog (I call him “Mitchell” because that is what his name sounds like to me, but his name is actually Ethiopian. I will not attempt to spell it here.) Anna is definitely afraid of the dog! Waguyu held Anna for a while and we spoke for a time. Then we heard a knock on the door.
Our across-the-street neighbor is actually an American woman who is renting a house and providing foster care for her child while she waits for courts to re-open. I will write some other time about my feelings about this practice as well as her agency (who is known as the “trouble maker” agency by all the in-country reps)… or maybe I won’t. But Jean was just so excited to see other adopting Americans! I plan to invite her over tomorrow for some coffee and popcorn.
Soon it was time for lunch. Anna stayed with a caregiver and my mom, Abigail, and I went to lunch. We were surprised to see that we had a new driver, but with the overlap of families from last week and this week on Monday, we had a “back-up” driver. Today Anbes became our driver, and he is great! (Side note, he and his wife are expecting a baby in April. How fun is that? We also compared notes about the differences between driving in Ethiopia and driving in other parts of the world. He is very well-traveled, and he shared many interesting things with us!)
We arrived at the Beer Garden Inn (specializing in German and American food and German beer.) It is very nice, and the bathrooms are nice, too! (Did I mention that the bathrooms at the Cultural Dinner are fantastic? Use them!) Abigail ordered pizza (she was not impressed, but she ate it) and my mom ordered some sort of German chicken dish which she liked. I got the tibs. Oh my word! So tasty! I was careful to avoid the peppers, but the injera and tibs (traditional Ethiopian beef dish) was great! I also had a double macchiato, and it was fantastic! (I added a bit of sugar.) Smooth, creamy, and delicious! I can’t wait to get one at Kaldi’s (Ethiopian Starbucks.)
Tangent: I have found that the food in Ethiopia (even the food at the cultural dinner last night) is much more flavorful and not as “hot” as Ethiopian food in America. I have been able to eat most things (and I am a heat wuss!) There have been a few things that were just too spicy for me, but for the most part, that has not been a problem. I also like the way the food here tastes better than the Ethiopian food I have had in the US. In fact, I really want to go for more native food (but not the raw meat dishes. Although Ryan B. tells me that is the best way to catch tapeworm, and really, a tapeworm could help get me back into my old pants…) End Tangent.
After lunch we went to the Hilton to try to use the Internet. I brought my laptop and paid $109 ETB (about $11USD) for one hour of access. It stunk. It took that entire hour to send one email to my sister, and I couldn’t get any attachments to work (hence the no pictures in the previous posts!) Mer and Ryan used the hardwired computers in the “Business Center” and seemed to have slightly better luck. I will try that next time, and see if I can at least get a few pictures through. I don’t know if the access at the Sheraton is any better, but Anbes said that there is one other place that has good WiFi, so we might try there as well.
We stopped at the grocery on the way home to pick up more water, milk, and some baby foods. We also ended up with salt and popcorn (mom’s main staple.) I picked up something called a “Hip Hop Biscuit.” This was advertised on a billboard near the airport, and it was one of the first things my mom and I saw when we arrived. So we decided to commemorate our arrival with a Hip Hop Biscuit. I will let you know if they make me Hip or Hop. I am guessing not, but you never know!
On the way home from the grocery, we had a nice discussion with Anbes, and when we arrived home, my mom actually said that she could see herself living in Ethiopia. My jaw almost hit the floor! I think that I could live here, if I had my own house and didn’t ever have to drive!
Anna did great with the caregiver, but I could tell that she was glad we were home. After dinner, I let her talk (listen) to Teta on the cell phone, and she is now addicted to the phone! She was mimicking talking on the phone, holding it up to her ear, and babbling. That’s right! She speaks! So far I have heard her say “hi”, “dada”, “mama” and a “p” sound. I don’t think she attaches meaning to these words, but the fact that she is even saying 2 syllabub words is fantastic! I got a bit on video, and I think I got some of her saying “mama!”
Poor Simon is still sick. It’s too bad, because he is just too cute when he feels well! My mom is really taken by them, and watching Meredith and Ryan figure out this parenting this is so sweet. They work well together, stay calm, and really read Simon well. They are doing great!
I trialed my “kneeling at the side of the tub” hair-washing technique on Abigail and then later on myself. It works well, and I really stayed much warmer this way. If you stay at Ayat house and you have thick hair, try out this method. It might really help!
Anna went down tonight around 8:30, but it took until 9 for me to be able to pry her bottle from her mouth and hand. She is sleeping well next to me, and I will bring her close (but not too close, she doesn’t like that!) when I hit the sack. Tomorrow we visit the care center (which is quite close) and have a coffee ceremony then head to lunch and the embassy in the afternoon. I am stoked! What fun!
Now I will listen to the lull of the neighborhood dogs barking and drift off to sleep!