As much as I love my home country and too a certain extent do consider myself Brazilian, there are a few habits that I just can’t put my head around here! One of them is the sidewalk washing. I may have mentioned this before, but it’s a phenomenon to me. Every morning when I’m taking Miss N to school I see it: Every shop or building is having it’s sidewalk hosed down…. All the dirt, leaves and trash that people throw on the streets gets hosed away into the gutter so that when it rains the slightest in Sao Paulo the streets are flooded due to all the drain pipes being blocked up with the garbage…. The other day was really hot… I was walking to a store quite a few blocks down. At the beginning of my path was a lady hosing down the 2 maybe 3m in front of her shop. I continued down the street, did my shopping and must have taken at least an hour and a half to get back. When I passed her shop again she was still there, hosing away!! I don’t think anyone in this city has ever thought of considering the water that is going to waste when they do that!! I’m sure her feet were very refreshed though!
But the real question for me is what’s with the plastic bags?? A few months ago there was this whole movement going on in the supermarkets preparing everyone to stop using plastic bags. For weeks and weeks in advance there were signs warning the shoppers that the bags would no longer be given to us, but sold… There were tons of re-useable bags and baskets on the market. Then, finally when the day came to disappear with the bags it lasted maybe a month before everything was back to how it used to be. Customers were complaining, forgetting their re-usable bags all the time… I started noticing that when someone would complain about the lack of free bags they would be handed some bags from under the counter. This went on for another week or two and then, one fine day, everything was back to the way it used to be: Plastic bags being handed out to each customer… The worst is that the bags are so thin that most of the time we need to double bag items so they don’t tear the bag and fall out. It was such disappointment for me!
I remember once I saw this lady who put everything she was purchasing in one of those see through bags to then take it to the cash register where it would be once more placed in a bag…. I understand if you’re buying 5 apples to bag them, but one? Or a bottle of milk?? Why does that have to be in a bag to then be placed in another bag?
I went for a coffee yesterday and this is what I got:
My coffee in a cup… a pao de queijo and a tiny spoon, in a bag to stir my coffee. Why couldn’t they give me a normal spoon? The coffee cup will be washed anyway!
Often restaurants hand you the cuttlery in a little bag when you go eat…. It’s to prove it’s extra clean!
I use my bags for the trash here at home.. but still… how many bags do I see littering the streets and gutters?!! Too many!
Having two kids is like having a whole army sometimes! I don’t know if there is a difference between two and five kids… maybe not. But the leap between one and two is enormous! The plus side to it is that I really feel like we are a family now. Before it was my husband, and I, and Mlle. N. Now we are a family!
We recently bought a double stroller so I could take N to school with the baby.. When I go out with it I have the feeling I’m one of those long skirt hairy leg women who have 9, 10 kids following them around. Of course, those women’s kids are well behaved however, not mine! The thing is our sidewalks and public transportation are so crap here in Sao Paulo that if you’re going to go anywhere by bus there’s just no way to take your kids in a stroller. So unless you have a car, most people who have to go beyond a few blocks carry their kids in their arms. I don’t know how they do it, with bags, diapers, umbrellas and all that but they do. Plus the busses shake and rumble so much… and the drivers go around corners like nuts at 100km/hour… So when people see me with my double stroller they really stop to turn their heads. Miss N loves it though. She’s big on going out with her little brother and doesn’t like it at all that I cover him up because the light still bothers his eyes. She starts complaining if she can’t see him. So cute!
The down side of two kids is that they gang up on you to make sure there are no good nights! When one decides to sleep through the night by a miracle, the other makes sure to wake up at least two or three times so we don’t get a full night’s sleep or rather 5 hours straight. That would be too lazy of us! I have less “free” time now.. (by that I mean time off where I drop everything I should be doing and do something I want to) but it’s so worth it! Financially we are going through a bit of a rough patch, and having 2 kids certainly cuts a whole in our budget, but I still believe it’s totally worth it!
Mlle. N is all about taking part in my everyday chores now.. She wants to help with everything. Especially sweeping the floor and washing dishes… It’s exhausting sometimes, but I wouldn’t dare discourage her! Who knows, maybe it will last till her teenage years!
This is her helping Daddy dismantle the bed!
Dishes are her favorite!! She can spend hours standing on a chair getting soaking wet… If only it weren’t so anti-ecological!!
A few weeks ago we were visiting a friend and there was a little playground in her building… In the playground was a house… Mlle. N fell in love, claimed it for herself and we were stuck there for a while. It took a lot of coaxing to get her to leave… By that I mean her dad and I having to pretend to walk away, say bye bye etc. No, not nice, but it was either that or pick her up and have her scream all the way to the car…
So later when we were home I decided to make her a house out of cardboard. I had seen a model on pinterest and decided to try it out.
I know, I know, it’s very ugly and shabby looking. (not even close to the one I saw on the site!) But do you know how hard it is to put something like this together with an almost two year old hovering around wanting to help cut and paste everything?? (it’s really hard!!). Of course it didn’t last long! But that afternoon she sure had fun in there! She even ate her lunch in the house!
Later the roof fell off so I decided to try to do some “remodeling” and let Miss N decorate the outside:
Then we got bored of that so on another day she painted the outside… That provided a LOT of fun and laundry…
Note the detail on her nice sweater… : /
Anyway, after a lot of fixing up I finally came up with some shingles for the roof and “wallpaper” for the inside…
I used corn starch glue to stick the “wallpaper” up and coat the paint on the outside so it doesn’t rub off on your hands. It took me a while to finish, but was actually a really fun little project.
Well, my lovely sister and super back up is gone! She was here for a month after Baby G arrived to meet him, see N again and help out. It’s incredible how so little (in terms of what is needed) can help so much! Just someone who will pick up the baby when he’s crying so I can deal with Mlle. N helps sooo much! Yesterday I was alone with the two of them so I had to wait for Mr. D to come home to give N her bath because it was at the same time the baby needed feeding… In the end she didn’t even go in the water for more than 2 seconds since there was sooo much drama and crying…. After a lot of coercion and new tricks on my part, it all failed so we gave up! (bad parenting, I know, but sometimes exhaustion and hunger gets the best of you!)
On a happier note: Here in Brazil for some reason (probably the toy industries) there is children’s day! I know! Seriously insane idea… to make us poor parents have to spend more money on expensive toys yet once again! Mlle’s school has special games and activities going on all week. Today was going to school in pajamas day. Yesterday was fancy dress day. Most “sane” parents go out and buy some dress up clothes for their kids to go to school like batman or some disney princess… But since I have soo much time to spare (haha) I decided I’d make her outfit myself…. (Truth is those store bought clothes are yucky and synthetic not to mention expensive!)
So I decided to make her a butterfly outfit. Some cardboard wings and bug antennas for her hair… This is not a DIY post… No time for that but I will put some photos of the process….
I once heard that we forget just how painful giving birth is almost immediately after the fact. It may be true otherwise who in their right minds would want to go through it twice? I know we aren’t completely amnesiac, since we do have a vague memory of what it was like… after all there are many accounts, but I’m beginning to think that the extent of the real pain we forget. Same thing goes for sleepless nights and other pregnancy issues.
It’s not that I forgot how itchy I got in the third trimester of my first pregnancy, but for some reason I did think I could face it again. Hence the 2nd child. Same thing goes for the sleepless nights after Miss. N was born. I know there were (and still are) many many with N… but now that I’m going through it all over again feeling absolutely EXHAUSTED… I find myself thinking I don’t remember it being this torturous… I’ve had a sore throat for maybe 3 weeks now. I’m taking loads of vitamins but my body is too tired to deal with my throat.
Another example: Maybe it’s just our baby, but I’ve never changed so many diapers in my life before.. Is it another boy thing on top of the sprinkler? The other day I went to give him a bath. Thank God, I decided to ask my sister to help even though I can manage just fine on my own. I prepared his bath filled it up with the perfect temperature water put him in and two seconds later: pooof the little guy goes and does a big yellow poo in the water! Ah crap! (literally, right?) So while my sister holds him in his pooey water to keep him warm I get Miss. N’s bathtub (yes we have several baby tubs… something I thought was unnecessary till now) out and fill it up. As soon as the little guy goes in that one and I start trying to get all the poo off him… Poof, he lets out another one! Oh man!! Seriously?! So fine… I go get the tub, fill it up and we dip him in very quickly now… (getting smarter finally!)… Take him out again, wrap him in his towel… and just as I start drying the little fellow off, he goes and does ANOTHER one!! I swear, I’m telling the truth here… we somehow manage to clean him up while he’s screaming non stop of course… put a diaper under his bottom and just as I’m about to close it…. Yes, you guessed it! Another poo poo!! It sometimes takes me 3 diapers to change him because the first he poos in and then the second again while I’m changing him!
When we were pregnant with N, a very dear friend of mine who is very… how should I put it… eco-friendly? You know, vegetarian, hardly uses plastic stuff, etc etc… Well, she gave me one of those beautiful cloth diapers. They’re really cute… At some point during pregnancy I was actually considering doing the whole cloth diaper thing. (nuts right?) Well, seriously, can you imagine if I were doing it now? I mean, every time I change one diaper I’d have 4 to wash?!! That’s not possible! The main reason I was considering it wasn’t so much to be “green” (sorry guys, but it’s true) but rather because I thought maybe it’s cheaper… but I’d have to have a couple hundred of the cloth thingys so… maybe not so cheap! Plus, I’ve read the amount of water spent cleaning them is not at all eco-friendly, so there’s no real gain. In any case, if today with the disposable diapers I do several loads of laundry a day… imagine what it would be with the cloth ones? I’d be working harder than a laundromat! I don’t have any help here that can do that stuff for me… It’s just me running around like a headless chicken here at home most days when I attempt a clean tidy house and total chaos when I don’t. So, no green friendly diapers for me, sorry! But anyone who does use then has all my admiration and support. Really!
Don’t know what it is about new borns, we always want to see who they look like most or what color their eyes will be…. Miss. N always looked more like her dad! And the little new guy looks like my dad! But when you put them together next to each other they look more like each other…
Miss N. went to spend the weekend at the beach with my parents and sister… Although it is nice to have some peace and quiet around here, I can’t help but miss her!! The house is dull without her voice… I wake up at night and want to go check on her…
I’m sorry for all the maternity blogging over here… but till Mr. G gets his shots we are pretty much stuck at home and have little else to write about! I feel cooped up, but know it goes by quickly… Still would love to be out and about with the two of them!
Here are some photos of then and now…
No matter how tired and exhausted I feel… I’m so glad we are four! <3
A while back I was cleaning out our cupboards and came upon the conclusion that we don’t really need that many sets of bed clothes. Two, maximum 3 sets is enough. Same thing for towels. This is a great way to save space I thought. Sure enough, it is. If you don’t have kids.
We had another adventurous night here at home. Baby G, our youngest has been having some kind of stomach issues since he always has a hard time either digesting or evacuating, I’m not sure. His doctor’s appointment is tomorrow, so we’ll hopefully know better then. But he keeps us up for several hours during the night.
Last night it was Mlle. N who wasn’t well. She woke up crying at 3am and threw up. Off I went to change all her bed clothes, covers, pjs etc. Mr. D stayed with her so she’d fall back asleep. I went back to burping the baby who had just been fed. Ten minutes later I hear crying and my husband banging on the wall for me to go to the rescue again. Poor N had thrown up again. Off I go to get another set of sheets and Pjs… By this time I figured I may as well save myself time tomorrow and get the washing machine going. Needless to say, another ten minutes later: same procedure once again!! I’m just hoping that’s the last time ’cause we really don’t have many clean sheets left! (needless to say it wasn’t the last time… there was a 4th!)
We were up from 2am till 5 pretty much with all the commotion. Then, at around 7 the little guy decided he was hungry again! I think it was one of the shortest nights… sleep-wise so far.
Since we came home with baby G everything has been surprisingly peaceful here at home. After hearing many stories of exceptionally jealous older siblings, I was preparing myself for the worst. Miss N has been really rather sweet to her baby brother. She gets very excited in the morning when she sees him with me at the breakfast table. She loves to point out his hands and feet and ears… using all the vocabulary she has on the human anatomy! Only every now and then did I notice maybe she was missing the usual attention towards her.
I kept thinking to myself: that’s it?? She’s not going to start hitting him or rejecting the baby? As time went by though I think it sank in that her little brother is not going anywhere and that he does take up a lot of the attention that used to be all hers.
Luckily she’s still very sweet towards him, but less so towards me! Her temper tantrums have increased and she can be more difficult towards me or her father! I noticed I feel increasingly guilty at the thought of her pain. I know on the long run it’s much better to have a sibling than be an only child, but I also am aware her world has changed forever… and that for an almost two year old is a big deal.
As long as there are mothers there will be feelings of guilt I guess. There seams to be no way around it. I have lots of regrets in regards to Miss N’s birth… and feel bad that I didn’t know better and it ended up being an unnecessary C-section. It’s not that I go around blaming myself, but I can’t help think it could have been different.
I’m sure as time goes by my guilt list will only increase… I know my mother has a pretty long one herself even though I keep telling her I survived all of her mistakes and do not hold any grudges against her, I know she does and always will just like I do towards myself! It’a all part of this wonderful job we have as mothers!
I’m one of those people who like to have everything under control. I like to have a plan even if I don’t always follow it through. I am punctual and like to know what the day ahead looks like. At least that’s how I was until I became a mother. Then I realized quickly that with small children in the house, especially one very stubborn toddler, things don’t always go as planned!
I had to learn to let go of the dream of having a very pretty home and settle for something more functional and safe for my kids. So furniture was moved and a lot of stuff put away.
Then, last Thursday, we came home with our son. Functional has given way to chaotic and messy. I have been doing laundry non stop but there is still loads more waiting to be done. (How can one teeny tiny person produce so much laundry?) Now there are always dishes in our sink. Since I have given priority to sleep over tidyness!
I hope as time goes by I will become more practical and things will slowly find their rhythm, but I know it will be years till I can have the home I want. For now I will settle for the family I love. It still hasn’t quite sunk in that I am a mother of two. I was only just getting used to having one kid… I am also learning the art of typing with one hand as the other is always holding my baby boy.
Mr. D’s temporary office.
Miss N meeting her brother for the first time.
We got home from the hospital thursday night after a hellish ride through Sao Paulo’s worst evening traffic. It took us over an hour where as normally we could have done it in under 20mins.
Poor baby G arrived hungry and full of poop. We gave him a quick bath and and I fed him… We were so tired and hungry… But there was so much stuff to unpack from the maternity plus the baby’s cot to set up in our room…
By the time we got in bed it was after 11pm. All I wanted to do was sleep. My parents kindly offered to have Miss N sleep with them again so we could be 100% there for G. I breastfed him, burped him and changed him… Like I used to with N. The thing is boys have this little penis that likes to squirt in all directions! I’m not used to that. I was also unaware that they pee when they’re nervous or cold or whatever it is that makes them unhappy at being changed! So before we could even close the new diaper it was already all full of pee. It also went all over the place even on his head! The first few times it actually took us 2 diapers to change him each time! Even after we got smart and started covering him up with a cloth so it wouldn’t squirt all over the place it would run down and we’d have to change all his clothes! In one night I think we went through something like 10 diapers and 4 changes of outfit! By the morning Mr. D had to go out and buy more baby clothes!!
Most mother’s of boys say they’re easier to change and mother’s of girls say that girls are easier…. At the moment… I’m going to have to stay on the girl side of things!
No need to say the state of our once tidy house has gone from messy (with one baby) to chaotic now we have two!!
I will post photos soon, once I have the time to download them from my camera… Life around here has become extremely busy!!! :)