01-Jan-2010 9:47 AM
I feel like an old fuddy-duddy for saying this, but you have no idea how happy Ali and I were last night when we realized that the nightclub next door had been rented out by the all-inclusive hotel across the street to host a bunch of geriatrics on holiday for the New Year. Meaning that by 12:15 all was quiet. Ouest slept right through her first New Year’s celebration.
01-Jan-2010 2:25 PM
Ali wore her pre-preggo jeans today. I’m no expert, but I believe as far as women go that is the guy equivalent of standing atop Mount Everest. Without oxygen.
01-Jan-2010 3:52 PM
It’s come as a bit of a surprise to us just how funny we suddenly find burps and farts. I’ve said it before, Ali and I are prudes, and that’s especially true when it comes to poopy jokes. We just don’t do it. Never have, and never thought we would. But when we are looking Ouest right in the eye and cooing in her ear only to be met with a violent burst of air out of one end or the other we just can’t contain the laughter. I think the funniest part about it is the total look of serenity on her face during that crucial moment. Priceless.
01-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
This Moby wrap has quickly become our favorite baby thing to date. Today Ouest was having a bit of a screaming fit when we decided to go for a walk. Within ten seconds she was the most serene baby on the planet. And she would remain so right up until the moment she was removed from it. Just look at that face in there.
02-Jan-2010 4:03 PM
This afternoon we went out for lunch with a couple of Bum friends who are on their way through town headed for South America in an old Toyota. It was fun hearing about their travels so far and comparing stories from places where our paths have crossed. Ouest chilled out while we ate, but she didn’t want anything to do with after dinner conversation.
02-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
We’ve been told it’s important for babies to spend some “belly time” each day. Ouest is still working on what exactly she should be doing during this time. For now she just grunts, gets angry, and sucks on the foot stool.
03-Jan-2010 12:07 PM
We need passport pictures of Ouest. Which isn’t easy considering she doesn’t have any neck muscles. We laid her out on a white towel and then I stood above her while Ali straightened out her head and then quickly pulled her hand away. I’d snap off a couple of pictures while Ouest’s head flopped to the left or the right. This is what we ended up with. Looks like a mug shot. I’m curious to find out if her passport will be valid for ten years with this as the photo.
03-Jan-2010 12:37 PM
One of the biggest surprises to me about this whole baby business has been regarding the diaper issue. I had no idea that her number two wouldn’t stink. She emits no odor except clean little baby smell. I’ve changed roughly a hundred diapers and figure there are about 9,900 to go. I haven’t gagged once and we’re practically home free.
03-Jan-2010 6:18 PM
You might not guess it by the picture, but that there is one happy shower taking baby.
03-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
More Bum friends. We had no idea so many people would be coming to PV for their holiday. This couple was our age and from Chicago and, I’m afraid, their lives may never recover from their meeting with us. Look for them to give up stable jobs and become bums soon. As an aside: a nice old couple from Iowa stopped by our table on their way out just to tell us what a good job we were doing with our little one. That was nice to hear.
04-Jan-2010 8:46 AM
I was thinking more about that elderly Iowan man that came up to me yesterday. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Yer dune good dad.” That’s midwestern for, “You’re doing good dad.” Then he sort of hesitated, patted my shoulder, and said it again.
Anyway, not that I needed the confirmation, but it really was a nice gesture. People just don’t do that sort of thing enough. You know most of us would sit at the table and talk about the dad and the baby, but we wouldn’t actually say anything to them. It’s just not in most of us.
In the same vein it got me to thinking about people we’ve met and stories I’ve read about people from foreign countries, maybe even just Canada, coming to the States and having some random stranger say to them, “Welcome to America.” For every one of those people that little comment seemed to have a profound effect on the way they viewed Americans. They all thought right then what nice, open, and friendly people us Americans are. And it seemed to carry over into their view of the country as a whole.
So I guess my point is that my resolution for 2010 is to be more friendly and open to strangers like that. To try and go out of my way just a little bit to make a nice comment and brighten somebody’s day. Even if sometimes they’ll pull their child a little closer and look at me as if I’m a total weirdo.
04-Jan-2010 10:02 PM
We went in to see about getting Ouest her Mexican passport this morning and found out that what we thought was the official birth certificate we got the other day was more of a “souvenir.” That’s how the lady that had helped us obtain it in the first place described it to us. Turns out that it was sort of a copy of the official certificate. To get the real deal we needed to pay about three dollars and return a few hours later. We did so and were rewarded with the official paper which had many more stamps and sort of a photocopy of our souvenir in the middle. We were so happy to learn this then that we bought three of them.
The passport that we originally went in search of didn’t work out today because that is actually a completely different office. One that we will have to search out another day. I liked the directions the lady gave us though. “Okay, you know the new bridge? Okay well on the other side of that is Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor’s house. Okay, so just past that is a little road on the right. Take that to a small building and go left. Up the hill is a white building. Go inside and to the right are some stairs. The second door is the oficina de pasaportes.” Um, there’s a new bridge? Who is Richard Burton?
Ouest had a hell of a day today. After nearly a week of awesomeness she just fell apart on us. Twelve hours with maybe three twenty minute naps punctuated by a whole lot of intense crying. Makes us want to cry too. Fortunately tonight she was spent and has been crashed for a solid three hours now. We’re going for at least four before we sneak a diaper change and a little late night snack in her.
04-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
A pacifier. Binky. Whatever. Ali and I agonized over this thing during last week’s breakdown. I was fairly adamant that I didn’t want our child having anything to do with these things. The way I remember it my little brother was seventeen-years-old before we finally got him to give his up. I couldn’t bear the thought. But when Ouest was doing the whole crying and baby bird mouth thing I caved. Plus the internet, with enough searching, assured me it was okay. Babies need to suck. So anyway, we get the pacifier home and try it out. Suck, suck, plop. We can barely force the poor little girl to use it. All that worrying for nothing.
05-Jan-2010 10:17 AM
A lot of time with Ouest Lill is spent doing nothing but sitting and holding. Her entertainment options are pretty well limited to staring up into our eyes or at the ceiling fan. Both while lying in one of our laps. From this vantage point she somehow manages to experience a wide range of emotions. From utter contentment, to outright rage, to “Man, that’s some good weed.”
She really has been good lately though. Aside from yesterdays little issue. I think we’re sort of learning each others cues and we’re getting pretty good at calming her at the first sign of an impending explosion.
06-Jan-2010 1:18 PM
The paperwork chase continues. Today was American day. We met with the consular agent and had all of our papers in order. Because we were so well prepared we zipped right through it. Check, check, check, pay the guy at the desk over there. So for about a hundred and fifty bucks Ouest should soon be an official citizen and have the passport to prove it.
Unfortunately the passport photos I made were the wrong size. We went to a shop next door, but for some odd reason the guy couldn’t seem to make a picture the right size either. And since we couldn’t quite seem to communicate how to do it we had to give up. So tomorrow I get to drive out there again. Sometimes it seems everything in Mexico takes multiple trips to accomplish.
Another positive note on today’s outing was that we stumbled across the Mexican Passport Office. We went in there, got the information we needed, and are now ready to return there for that little bit of paperwork.
Another few weeks and this little girl might just be all official in two countries. We’ll see.
06-Jan-2010 6:27 PM
Troubleshooting a short somewhere in our boat’s electrical system was less confusing, and frustrating, than trying to understand the ups and downs of Ouest’s moods. Case in point; these three pictures were taken in this order over a span of exactly forty-one seconds. Forty-one seconds.
06-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
You’d think since we live in Mexico that when we cooked for ourselves it’d be things you don’t get every day here, like pasta. But not us. When Ouest crashes for the evening, and we don’t feel like running out and picking up dinner, we settle in and whip up a quick batch of tacos for ourselves. Yes, tacos. Yes, we now eat all meals standing up at the counter. And yes, I practically live in my underwear now.
07-Jan-2010 11:18 AM
I was watching Ali make her morning coffee today and I had to laugh because of our recent snap decision to buy a bouncy chair. Some purchases just aren’t as easy for us.
When we moved here we had a decision to make; whether or not to buy a coffee maker. Ali hemmed and hawed over it for a few days but then finally made up her mind that she didn’t need one. Instead she switched to instant coffee. But in order to do that she would still need a teapot to boil water wouldn’t she? No. Instead she puts a cereal bowl full of water into the microwave for a few minutes. She then tries her best to pour most of that into her coffee mug. I guess she’s not sure the mug can handle the microwave. Anyway, toss in a scoop of store brand instant coffee and french vanilla Coffee-Mate and you’ve got yourself a perfect morning in the making. See, who needs one of those fancy pants coffee making machines?
Thing is, we had a coffee maker in the bus. It’s incredible the amount of homey stuff we had in there that we wish we had now. Most of it got left behind in England. Stuff we had to replace when we got down here like dishes and silverware, beach towels, and now the coffee maker. Though again, Ali took care of that one.
07-Jan-2010 5:04 PM
For the record Ouest, because I suppose some day you’ll read this and be all pissed off due to all the talk about your mood swings; you are a very good girl. I don’t think you’ve really been any more moody than any other baby. At least judging by that little ball of hair screaming to get at his mom’s boob that we saw at lunner today. You seem normal enough. Now squeeze out that poop and quit squirming.
07-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
Ouest had the Guacamole Quarter Pounder. She barely ate half of it.
08-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
Ali prefaces each hair cut with, “You know that if you want to go in and have your hair cut you can.” What I should say then is, “Honey. No. You do a great job.” But what I say instead is more along the lines of, “Honey. No. You know I don’t care what I look like.”
09-Jan-2010 12:17 PM
Yesterday I was telling Ouest all of the awesome things we were going to teach her as she got older. Things like how to keep her air-cooled VW beetle engine running, how not to paddle out through the white water on her surfboard, how to sail a boat very slowly, and math.
Yep, math. Because quite frankly I am a mathematical genius. At least when it comes to solving rather rudimentary math problems in my head. And I firmly believe that if you can multiply a four digit number by three-eighths, in under five seconds, in your head, you will enjoy great happiness in your life. I also made it clear to her that I, not her mother, would do the math teaching. Ali overheard this and said, “Hey! I heard that.” But that was her only response.
Today we had just read an e-mail where somebody told us to enjoy this time with Ouest because we’d only have her for the next twenty years. A minute later we heard her start to cry in the other room. Ali looked over at me and asked, “How long do we have her for? Twenty years? Only nineteen years and twenty-three months to go.”
And that’s why I love her. And why she loves being married to a human calculator.
09-Jan-2010 12:32 PM
It’s hard to believe how much an eight pound baby girl can wipe us out, and how quickly the days can fly past. Yesterday Ali and I were all high-fiving each other because our girl was quite possibly the best little girl on earth. Ever. She slept, she cooed, she pooped regularly, she took a bath without crying, she ate, she burped ferociously, and she slept some more. She was happy, we were happy, and I believe the whole world was happy too.
And then she wasn’t happy any more. And we weren’t happy. And the whole world wasn’t happy. Soon I was out walking the streets with my unhappy baby in her sling as the sun went down. Then Ali was rocking her. Then she was back in the sling being walked in circles around the apartment by me, in the dark, while drinking a beer (me not her). At the same time Ali and I were both trying to figure out how we’d get her out of that sling and into bed without her realizing that she’d been moved.
We pulled it off. And she slept through the night, as always, only being woken up for a quick feeding here and there.
It’s just these short daily bursts of unhappiness that have us on edge all the time. I’m starting to wonder if she does it only to keep us from getting too comfortable.
Note: We weren’t really high-fiving each other. Only nitwits do that.
09-Jan-2010 8:07 PM
We go for a walk along the beach every day, but today was only the second time we’ve actually stopped and had Ouest out of her pouch to enjoy it. Honestly though, she’s four weeks old and still doesn’t have a clue if she’s at the beach or in her bed.
09-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
Because the view outside our side deck was so ugly yesterday I thought today should be off of our bedroom’s front deck.
10-Jan-2010 9:47 PM
My mom and her twin sister arrived today. Ouest took to her grammy immediately. It was almost sort of weird having somebody else hold her. It’s been nothing but Ali and I for a month. So it was great to see her snuggle right in and watch my mom calm her during a couple of small fits.
And of course despite our protestations a huge sack of clothes appeared out of the luggage. For some reason I hadn’t yet envisioned my little girl dolled up in dresses, but it looks like that is a road she is now headed down.
My mom also brought along a stack of my baby pictures and it was immediately apparent that she looks a lot like I did at four weeks old. Which is good in a way because both Ali and I have sort of been staring at Ouest trying to figure out who she looks like. Frankly there just isn’t anything jumping out at us. But the early hair color and especially the old man hair style appears to come straight from me. I’ll take credit for the long skinny legs too.
11-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
Because apparently even burping time requires a pink frilly hat when Grammy is around.
11-Jan-2010 8:53 AM
I just read that Heineken bought Tecate. God I hope this doesn’t mean that businessmen in hotel bars from Tokyo to San Francisco will be switching over from that horrible swill in the green bottle to no flavor Mexican beer in a red can.
11-Jan-2010 9:07 AM
You know how parents always put on weight when their kids are like five years old and they blame it on eating all of their kids leftovers? After three days without a real meal we’re actually looking forward to that.
11-Jan-2010 8:56 PM
What a day. Things started out well enough, we went over to mom’s hotel for breakfast and Ouest had no problem being passed around the table while everybody ate. Then she decided that she wasn’t going to sleep for the rest of the day. That didn’t work out so well. We all reconvened at our place in the afternoon so Grammy and Aunt Beth could witness her in all of her agonizingly heart-breaking I’m-going-to-scream-because-I’m-over-tired glory. Fortunately moms have seen this stuff all before and really don’t think much of it. And of course she eventually fell asleep and the ringing in our ears subsided.
12-Jan-2010 7:44 PM
Every day now pretty much revolves around Ouest. Obviously. So it was great that she had such a wonderful day today. We all went out for breakfast and then because she was doing so well we walked out and went straight down to Old Town to do some souvenir shopping. For the next two hours the ladies browsed the shops while I stood outside with Ouest dangling sleepily in her sling. Because she was visible there was a constant stream of people to talk to about her.
Tourists marveled that we would travel with a baby so young. When we explained that she hadn’t flown here, but had been born here instead, that opened up a whole other can of worms. The locals loved her. I swear the Mexican ladies all have the same high pitched voice to use on her. Little girls absolutely love to touch her. And even a local guy came up and asked if he could touch her after telling us his wife was two months pregnant herself.
This was our first time out in the crowds with her and it was a lot of fun. One thing is certain and that is that it will never be hard to meet people with her around.
12-Jan-2010 9:15 PM
This afternoon Ali walked up to the hotel to pick up the ladies and bring them back to our place. As they were walking back Ali and my mom were talking away while Aunt Beth sort of hung back. Then all of the sudden Beth exclaimed, “This is so cool!” She was talking about the fact that she was walking down a cobblestone street, Spanish music was playing loudly from some nearby apartment, local construction workers were sitting on the curb having a beer after a hot day of work, palm trees were swaying overhead, bougainvillea was climbing a nearby wall, and she was in Mexico for the first time. It’s always nice to get a fresh perspective on the everyday things around us.
12-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
These guys are living the old Chris Farley SNL bit “I live in a van down by the river!” They’ve been there for at least a month. Thing is, if we still had the bus we’d probably be parked up right in line with them. Only fifty yards to the beach.
13-Jan-2010 9:23 PM
We had another nice family day today. We ate, we walked the beach, we shopped more knick knack shops, and Ouest napped. Then we pushed it too far and decided to try going out for dinner as a family as well. Two major outings in one day with a one-month-old is not a good idea. Overstimulated and overtired are a punishing combination. Regardless however we had a great day with Grammy and Aunt Beth. It’s been fun seeing my mom with Ouest. This is her first grandchild so obviously she’s a bit excited. It has been a long time since there has been a baby around but she jumped right back into it. Like there was ever any doubt.
13-Jan-2010 ouest lill. one month.
One month. It might not sound like much little girl, but for your mama and I it feels like a major milestone. And we felt like we were totally ready for this.
Your first week was a dream. Thank you for giving us that. We needed it in order to sort of learn the ropes. You slept, and we’d wake you up to eat, and you’d sleep some more. Twenty-four hours a day. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your mama was in a lot of pain those first few days so the break you gave us when we came home was exactly what we needed.
After that you challenged us a little more. All of the sudden you cried when you were awake. And sometimes nothing we did could get you to stop. But over time we realized that you simply have your good days and your bad. Regardless of how the days go though, you always pulled through with a good long night of sleep. Again, thank you.
It’s been a lot of fun this month. Me and your mama have laughed more than we ever have. Sadly most of the laughs have been at your expense. You’re funny, what can we say. You make funny noises, you make funny faces and, let’s face it, when you poop on the kitchen counter, that’s pretty damn funny too.
Anyway, we’re learning. Hopefully you didn’t find this first month too trying and you’re happy to be with us. We are certainly happy to have you here. I promise that we will have a great time together.
Here is your first month in video. We aren’t exactly filmmakers, but rest assured that you’ll never be lacking in memories of your childhood. Hey, we even caught your very first cry. That one made me cry.
14-Jan-2010 2:35 PM
Last night we decided to put Ouest in a sleeper that she last wore about two weeks ago. It says it’s for 0-3 months. However, when we slid her inside her feet no longer fit. I was tempted to grab a scissors and lop off the toes but we’d just been talking about giving her outgrown clothes to the hospital nursery so we changed her instead. Now I just wonder how many different sizes 0-3 months actually encompasses.
14-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
Every night at six o’clock this pirate ship thing goes out in the bay and shoots off its canon three times. And it’s really damn loud. Nine times out of ten it makes me jump. Ouest doesn’t even flinch.
14-Jan-2010 4:13 PM
Now that Ouest is a month old we’ve suddenly started letting her dictate her own schedule. We figure she’s grown up enough now to make her own decisions.
At the moment it has been four hours and twenty-eight minutes since she last ate and close to four hours since she fell asleep. We’re both hesitantly letting it go, wondering if this is better than waking her up and feeding her according to some set time schedule as we had been doing. The reason we’re hesitant is because we’re scared to death that she won’t sleep at night like she has been doing all along. And that would be a punishment worse than death.
I was just interrupted by Ouest waking up and announcing that it was indeed time to eat. We rushed her under the sink for a quick shower and within seven minutes of waking she’s clean and she’s eating.
After this she’s going out for a little walk to Walmart for a fresh batch of poop catchers. And then, if our plan works, she’ll be exhausted again and ready for more blissful sleep. Of course it’s up to her. If Hannah Montana is old enough for her parents to let her boyfriend move into their house then Ouest is old enough to decide if she sleeps for three, four, or four and a half hours. (Mom brought a People magazine on the airplane and we’ve caught up on all the tween news.)
14-Jan-2010 9:26 PM
Not long after that last post, and returning from Walmart, Ali was handing Ouest to me for a burp when a sudden explosion of liquid spewed forth from her mouth. Ouest’s, not Ali’s. For those unfamiliar, as we were until this point, with a full on baby spit-up/vomit let me just tell you that it will take your breath away.
Here is the only way I can think to describe it. You grab a garden hose and then fold it in half right next to the end. Then you turn the water on. Once the pressure has built up you release the fold for three seconds. Then you fold it again. Take a deep breath and then release the fold a second time. Let it run for five seconds. And stop.
It’s pretty much the most awful looking thing ever. Not gross awful, but scary awful. Poor Ouest is just lying there in total serenity while white liquid pours out of her. Our hearts stopped for just a second.
We quickly consulted our pediatrician, Dr. Google Dot Com, and were informed that this wasn’t really so out of the ordinary. Apparently it’s not a big deal. It just happens sometimes. Though we’re both atheistically praying now that it won’t happen again.
15-Jan-2010 12:05 PM
It’s been awhile but the final installment of our VW Camper and Commercial series of articles came out this month. We always like seeing the pictures of our trip in a different layout like this. It’s sort of like looking at somebody else’s life.
15-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
We love pelicans. They are so dopey and loveable. This one looks like he should be named Harry. Or maybe Ralph. Some sort of name from the 60s or 70s seems fitting for some reason.
16-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
We were walking along the beach and passed a young boy with his mom. The boy was looking closely at me as we went by, eyeing the wrap with Ouest inside. Right after he passed us he said to his mom in a confident little boy voice, “Yep, he’s got coconuts in there.” I think Coconut may just be some little girl’s new nickname.
17-Jan-2010 6:07 PM
Is it wrong that I am so happy when my baby is sleeping? Honestly she wears us out sometimes. She sleeps great at night, but during the days we’re sort of at a loss as to what to do with her at this young age. Generally nothing that we do with her lasts beyond about five minutes before she’s had enough of it and begins squirming or yelling.
Sit on my lap. Five minutes.
Hang upside down in my arms. Five.
Play on your belly. Five.
Lie on your back and stare at the ceiling fan. Five more.
Bouncy chair. Five.
Hmmm. That’s all we’ve got little girl, what would you like to do? I can sing to you. Read a book. Make funny faces. But she can’t answer. And that’s the problem we run into. Sometimes for many hours in a row. And that’s why hersleep is my happiness.
Of course, that isn’t the case all the time.
17-Jan-2010 6:53 PM
One thing about Mexico is that no time is a bad time for fireworks. At the moment it isn’t even dark out, it’s Sunday, the hotels are at about 20% capacity, and yet it sounds as if multiple car bombs are going off right outside our bedroom window. In celebration of what, we don’t know. Of course Ouest was sound asleep. Was. As I type this she is in Ali’s arms being rocked slowly back and forth in an effort to get her back to that state.
17-Jan-2010 8:34 PM
The Who are playing the Super Bowl halftime show. Does anyone else ever feel like baby boomers are never, ever, going to pass the baton? I’m sure The Who were groovy in their day, but I am starting to wonder if anybody from the boomer generation is ever going to retire. Daltrey is sixty-five years old for God’s sake. Most of the players in this game don’t have grandparents that old.
And let’s look back. 2009 – Springsteen. 2008 – Tom Petty. 2006 – The Rolling Stones. 2005 – Paul McCartney. Come on now, aren’t we almost through reminiscing? This is getting embarrassing.
18-Jan-2010 10:08 AM
A sign of things to come? I fear so.
Ali and I were busy this morning doing what married adults do a few weeks after the birth of a baby. Wrestling. Ouest had been sleeping wonderfully and it seemed there’d be plenty of time to lock Ali in a full nelson. Of course it wasn’t to be. Five weeks old and Ouest has already got a sixth sense for screwing up my figure four leg lock. She’s like that evil midget wrestling manager that used to throw salt in Hulk Hogan’s eyes just as he was about to pin Andre the Giant. Damn her and her salt.
18-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
Anybody who has traveled south of the border has seen this before. I would think the newspapers would be overflowing with stories of electrocutions. This tangle is outside the grocery store. One for the freezer department, one for the deli, another for my pizza oven, etc..
19-Jan-2010 8:13 AM
Now that we’ve got the baby we can’t go anywhere without meeting people and getting into random conversations. We met a family of Canadians the other day while walking along the beach when the dad suddenly yelled out to us, “Is that a baby in there? A real one?”
They were there with their four young kids. When Ali’s conversation with the mom turned to how old Ouest was there was the audible shock that we’d be traveling with such a young baby. Ali explained she’d been born down here. With a big O mouth the lady said, “That must have been scary.” Ali told her straight faced, “No, they have babies down here all the time.”
I was busy showing the little boys the baby and teaching them some Spanish phrases. The dad had told me they were homeschooling the kids and this was their yearly field trip. One of the boys then told me, “I’m five years old, and um, um, um, in seven more years I’m gonna be six.” I didn’t tell dad to concentrate a little more on the math. He probably knows.
I kid around, but it has been fun talking to people. The thing that has surprised us both is how often it is a man that initiates the conversation. You picture women oohing and ahhing over a baby, but half the time it’s men. And men of all stripes and colors. Bikers at gas stations, dads on the beach, restaurant bus boys, everybody loves a good baby it seems.
19-Jan-2010 2:12 PM
Ali and I talk nonstop now about whether or not we’re being good parents. It’s amazing how a crying baby can make you feel like a complete and utter failure. Everyone says if you feed them, keep them in clean diapers, and they get their sleep, then they’ll be happy. But more often than not that doesn’t seem to be the case with us. Getting through the days (not all days, but enough) has been hard. Once she goes to bed at night we’re great, but getting from eight a.m. to eight p.m. is a battle.
19-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
This is what not to wear to the beach in Puerto Vallarta. Nipple covers? Pasties? Really? Mexicans as a whole are a pretty reserved lot. You’ll generally see more local women swimming with t-shirts on than swimsuits. So it shouldn’t be surprising, to anybody, that chain smoking women wearing bright red pasties while picking up shells on the beach isn’t really considered proper. What goes through people’s heads?
19-Jan-2010 2:17 PM
We headed out this morning to the Mexican Passport office. We were confident that we had all the paperwork in order, but somehow we also knew that there’d be something that would stop us from getting it done in one day.
We presented our papers to the lady at the front desk and she seemed reasonably pleased with everything. She then brought them back to the boss. Two minutes later she was back with issues. Our Mexican Visas do not have our middle names on them. Despite the fact that our passport numbers are on them and they know full well that those are our visas they told us we’d have to go to immigration and have them fill out a form stating that Alison Schulte, passport #xxxxx, and Alison Renee Schulte, passport #xxxxx, are indeed the same person.
Then sticking with the name theme he decided that the official letter from our doctor was also a problem. On it Ali’s name is listed as Alison Renee Schulte. Yet Ouest’s birth certificate lists it as Alison Renee Schulte Williams. We gave him our marriage certificate showing Ali’s maiden name and her new name, but that wouldn’t do either. We need to have our doctor fill out an entirely new form.
With these important changes made we can have a passport in three to five days. We’ll try again in a couple weeks.
On the plus side, during our outing we were able to pay our rent on the first attempt. We’ve never before caught the landlady in her office during her stated office hours on the first try. We rejoiced, because in Mexico you need to celebrate even the tiniest of victories.
19-Jan-2010 4:19 PM
When we returned home Ouest began her crying again. We’re beginning to realize we may have to admit we’ve got a colicky baby. Colic is defined as a baby crying inconsolably three hours at a time three days a week. We can lick that in just one day. Easy.
The worst part about it is that we just don’t get that goo goo gah gah baby time that you want as a new parent. She just won’t sit in our laps and stare quietly into our eyes. She won’t just lie on my chest and let me sing made up songs to her.
Basically the only way we can get her to calm down is to walk her around in the sling. I hardly bother taking it off anymore. She’ll lie in there and just stare up at you like she is the most perfect baby ever born and there was never anything wrong. Like in response to our astonished and exhausted looks she wants to say, “What? What’s your problem?”
While in the sling we stroll many a mile along the beach.
19-Jan-2010 7:16 PM
Our upstairs neighbor came down this evening while I was out on the breezeway walking Ouest back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. He came down because the two apartments on his floor had had somebody attempt to pry open their windows. Turns out they tried ours too. Fortunately everybody had their lock bars in and the thief didn’t get in anywhere.
He asked how Ouest was doing and we had the normal polite baby chit chat and then he said to us, “Well at least she’s quiet at night.” He’s friendly and didn’t mean anything by it, but man that hurts. These first five weeks haven’t been perfect, but the past couple of days have been horrible.
20-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
You just never know when she might suddenly fall asleep. For instance, here she is right in the middle of being arrested for attempted breaking and entering.
21-Jan-2010 2:33 PM
Grandma and Grandpa arrived yesterday. Ali and I waited until we had Ouest nice and calm and then tracked them down at the hotel bar. We then presented our perfectly behaved ray of sunshine to them for their first viewing. It’s always fun to see just how easily grandmas slip right back into mothering mode and sling the baby up over their shoulders like it was just yesterday that they were doing the same with their kids.
We hung out at the hotel and had dinner, pushing our luck a little bit and keeping Ouest out a smidgen too long before we all walked back down to our place for a feeding. No doubt about it, when Ouest wants to eat she wants to eat, and we better be prepared.
This morning Ali’s parents were out and about at the crack of dawn. We all got up and headed out to breakfast and a walk on the beach. Then spent the better part of the morning hanging out and talking at the hotel. Ouest was once again on her best behavior, showing off for the grandparents seems to be her thing. Make Ali and I look like we’re just talking smack about her and her crying fits.
We also gathered up all the stuff they hauled down here for us. The most important of which was a luggage rack for the Porsche. Something to strap Ouest and all her stuff to when we hit the road again.
21-Jan-2010 8:38 PM
Squeezed in a little beach time today.
21-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
Future surfer girl gives us the hang loose shadow puppet.
22-Jan-2010 2:28 PM
Some days we look at our little girl and are blown away by how quickly she is growing. We haven’t weighed her in weeks, but I think it’s pretty clear that at least one of us is not losing weight due to stress and lack of sleep. And my god, would you just look at those beautiful eyes.
22-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
Suddenly “down time,” after years of abundance, has become a very, very, precious commodity.
23-Jan-2010 7:10 PM
We haven’t been able to spend as much time with the grandparents as we would have liked the past couple of days. Though fortunately we don’t need to feel too bad since we are in Puerto Vallarta and they are instead able to spend their days drinking beer on the beach. We might be a tad jealous at the moment.
Some days we just feel like we can’t get things on track with Ouest. If she’s not sleeping or eating then she’s fussing or crying. At least that’s how it begins to feel to us. I’m sure it’s not nearly as bad as it feels, but sometimes it really does seem to be. We just keep plugging away, knowing full well that this phase can’t last forever, and hoping that whatever is next is more enjoyable for Ouest.
23-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
We swear we’ve gotten a couple of smiles the past couple of days. After this one we even went so far as to check her diaper to make sure she wasn’t just having a poo. She wasn’t. So smile it is.
23-Jan-2010 9:19 PM
It really is hard for us to believe how quickly she is growing. We’ve only got one more item of clothing labeled 0-3 months that fits her, and even that is becoming a stretch. Six weeks tomorrow and she has already moved well into the 3-6 month clothing pile.
24-Jan-2010 7:18 PM
Ali’s parents left today. It was a quick visit, but Ouest isn’t really up to spending a whole lot of time hanging out with family yet anyway. She’s got three weeks until the whole family comes to Mexico and we’re hoping by then she’s feeling a little more sociable.
24-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
The ocean swell here has been wicked the past week. The beach has been completely transformed. Meaning there is no more banana boat rides, parasailing, or jet skiing. Ali doesn’t know what to do with herself without her favorite pastimes. This is where Ali and I spent many days relaxing. It used to be a gentle slope to the water’s edge. Now it’s an eight foot cliff.
25-Jan-2010 7:43 PM
Something happened during Ouest’s afternoon nap. She woke up happy. And for the past few hours she has remained that way. Quiet, wide-eyed, and happy. Ali and I were so excited we didn’t want it to end. Actually excited isn’t the right word, we were nervous. Sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop. But it didn’t, and now she’s down for the night. Hooray.
25-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
It’s tummy time. And yes, a particular MC Hammer song goes through my head every time I say that.
26-Jan-2010 9:27 AM
It’s now been nearly twenty-four hours without a cry other than a little “I’m hungry now,” or “Can somebody please change this diaper” whimper. We don’t know what has changed, and we don’t really care. All we know is that was the first nearly twenty-four hour period we’ve had in weeks with a happy little girl. If we had a bottle of champagne I’d pop it. And spray it on her.
26-Jan-2010 6:48 PM
Why do I write things like that last post. For the next eight hours Ouest wouldn’t sleep more than five minutes and cried a good chunk of the day away. Ahh well, she seems to be feeling better and is finally crashed out again. This little girl is a full time job. Something I am not very well accustomed to any longer.
27-Jan-2010 11:01 AM
Had a little drama last night as a rather large dumpster fire spread up the side of the grocery store about a hundred feet away from us. Then the power for the neighborhood blew out. We were sure we’d be in the dark at least a day, but before the fire was even out the power company was here and had us lit up again. I have to say the fire department seemed a little slow on arrival, as we’d been listening to the alarm for a good fifteen minutes before we saw the flashing lights and went out to have a look.
Yeah, we listened to the alarm for fifteen minutes and weren’t alarmed by it. We’ve gotten so used to listening to alarms come from that building that we don’t even flinch. It’s sort of like people with car alarms. Does anybody even glance in the direction of a car blasting an alarm in a parking lot any more?
27-Jan-2010 3:08 PM
We called up the pediatrician and went in for a visit this morning when Ouest was having a rough time again. Turns out we are indeed terrible parents. It’s official now. Apparently we’ve been fattening our little girl up like a pig for a roast. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve been trying to buy her happiness by feeding her a little more often than she should be. Seeing as that has been one of the few things that works. But today we found out that at 10.5 pounds she’s already reached her eight week target weight. That’s almost two weeks early.
And of course that extra food hasn’t been doing her stomach any favors. So anyway, doc has us cutting back on her snacking and has put us back on a schedule as well. He also gave us something to help her with her colicky stomach pains.
In addition, she’s had this red spot on her nose for a couple of weeks. At first we thought it popped up when she sort of whipped her head back and forth and smacked it right into my collar bone. It looks sort of like a blood blister. But then it didn’t go away. And now it seems to have gotten a little bigger. The doctor took a close look and told us it wasn’t from smacking it, but that it looked like a collection of blood vessels, and that we need to go see a dermatologist about it. So now that’s on tomorrow’s agenda.
Poor little thing. With incompetent parents like us it’s a miracle she’s as healthy as she is.
28-Jan-2010 1:12 PM
This morning Ali was getting ready to drive to her doctor appointment. She was sitting on the couch and I could see the wheels turning in her head.
“How do I start it again? One push, two, or hold the accelerator down?”
“And reverse is down and to the left?”
“If I break down I’ll just take a taxi straight home and you can go fix it.”
Ali hasn’t driven a car in as long as either of us can remember. She moved the bus a couple of times. Fifty feet or so each time. And we have a vague memory of her driving to the post office once when we were back home. But she hasn’t driven the Porsche since the final day of the Great Race. In fact that picture of us coming through victory lane would have been the last time. I guess this goes to show just how much time Ali and I spend together. I suppose that’s sort of sickening to some people.
Needless to say she did fine. The car didn’t break down. She didn’t run any hidden red lights. And no traffic cop flagged her over to the side of the road. Really the biggest risk of the morning was probably leaving me home alone with Ouest for two hours.
29-Jan-2010 10:18 AM
We went to the dermatologist last night. We went in hoping they’d fire up some laser thingy, shoot a couple pulses onto the end of Ouest’s nose and send us home all fixed. Instead we got the news that what she has is called Capillary Hemangioma and fixing it isn’t nearly as easy as we’d hoped.
Wikipedia explains it as: A hemangioma of infancy is a benign self-involuting tumour of endothelial cells (the cells that line blood vessels). What it looks like right now is as if somebody punched her in the nose. A sort of blueish-red swelling with one dark red spot on her left nostril. What this condition looks like in pictures on the internet is an absolute horror. We know those are all worst-case scenarios, but we can’t help being frightened.
Our problem right now is that the doctor says just wait and see what happens. These things apparently grow for a year, then just sit there for two years, and then, hopefully, go away. People deal with these things for years and years and years. At the moment we can’t even imagine just sitting and waiting to see what happens. So we’ve got an appointment in a couple of days with another doctor.
This past week has been the hardest week of either of our lives. Even before this news. Her colic has been raging and we’ve absolutely dreaded daylight hours. Fortunately Ali and I have been here together for it and have been able to pass her back and forth, sometimes after just two or three minutes, but it has taken a brutal toll on our mental health. We’ve never experienced any pain worse than watching our daughter scream inconsolable in our arms.
Anyway, we keep plugging along. Each day still brings us a glimmer of hope that things will get better. Will improve. That she’ll be a bubbly happy girl soon. And we’ll keep researching and talking to doctors until we find the one who can fix her little nose. We know that in the end all three of us will be just fine. That others go through this, and things much worse than this, on a daily basis. It’s just going to take time.
30-Jan-2010 10:33 AM
It’s amazing what a good night of sleep can do for one’s outlook. From the people we woke up as yesterday to the people we are this morning. Our minds are clear again and things are back in perspective.
Yesterday was spent in a blur of tears and pent up emotion mixed in with phone calls and hundreds of internet searches. Today we feel like we’ve got a good plan in place and that things are going to be alright. It’s important to keep reminding ourselves that we have a healthy growing baby that isn’t in danger. That whatever happens with this we can deal with it.
30-Jan-2010 our life. daily.
This seemingly innocent bump has caused a lot of drama in our lives the past couple of days.
31-Jan-2010 9:10 AM
Ouest had a good night but woke up in a pretty foul mood. Ali and I just can’t get a grip on this colic thing. The part that confounds us is that at those times when she is just out of control, screaming and crying while seemingly in pain, we can slip her into the sling and within seconds she will be totally calm. Often sleeping within fifty yards of walking. So one minute we’re convinced she’s having terrible gas pains, and the next minute we’re convinced there was no pain. I guess that is what colic is all about. Nobody can really explain it.
I took an early morning two mile stroll along the beach with her while Ali enjoyed the sudden peace at home. I marveled at the tourists. Seven a.m., still sort of dark out, and their all outside saving their beach chairs with towels, and lining up fifty deep at the hotel breakfast buffet. Why can’t anybody relax on vacation? Jesus, at least stay in bed until the sun comes up. Ali’s dad was just here, strolling the beach at five a.m. and wondering where all the hotel employees were so he could get a cup of coffee. He found out the hard way that even the Starbucks down here doesn’t open until eight.
31-Jan-2010 11:17 AM
So the past couple of days we’ve blanketed the United States finest Hemangioma specialists with emails and phone calls. After a couple of hours we got a reply from a highly respected doctor in Minnesota saying, “Given the nature and location of the hemangioma your child needs treatment quickly. We will do our best to help her.”
Ali was at the store when it came in and when she got home I tried to read it to her but couldn’t get the words out. Just too upset. The thing with these Hemangiomas is that at her age they are in their high growth stage. It’s possible they won’t grow much, but it’s also very likely that they will grow exponentially within a matter of days or weeks. On her nose it could be devastating. The tissue is so thin and sensitive that the Hemangioma would likely damage the underlying tissue permanently, requiring reconstructive surgery to fix it.
The doctor was so concerned that he gave us his home phone number and I called him Saturday night. I talked to him for quite a while and felt much better afterwards. Many doctors and parents still feel that it is best to let these things run their course and attempt to heal on their own. Ali and I feel we need to be far more proactive than that. We couldn’t live with ourselves if the worst were to happen and we had sat by doing nothing when there was something that could have been done.
Here is what one study said: Two of the most serious problems associated with nasal hemangiomas are destruction of cartilage of (either on the nostril or the nasal septum), and displacement of the cartilage that forms the nasal tip. As the hemangioma grows in this area, it pushes the cartilages apart from the nasal tip so that when the hemangioma finally shrinks, the nose is disfigured. We therefore believe its best to excise the nasal tip hemangioma sooner rather than later. This will enable us to reappose the cartilages and allow normal growth of the nose.
Anyway, we’re booked on a flight back home to Minnesota on Tuesday and will see the doctor on Wednesday for a consultation and more info on how we’re going to attack this thing. We’re scared, but very hopeful.
31-Jan-2010 2:29 PM
Ali is keeping herself busy at the moment doing what she does best, cleaning and packing. It’s sort of strange right now because we have no idea if we’ll be back next week or next month. Or if I’ll just have to race back here and drive the car out of the country in a quick thousand mile jaunt. Yeah, the car is sort of our hang up issue down here. It needs to leave the country by April 6th or pay import duties. Either way, it’s not high on the list of concerns at the moment. We’ll sort it out when need be.