Before I start this post, I want to make a quick announcement… If you are an adoptive mama who will be traveling to Ethiopia anytime soon, BRING DIAPERS with you! Everything in Ethiopia is pretty inexpensive… except diapers! I was really surprised at how much they are and they come in pretty small packages. The biggest pack I found was 50 diapers but there was only one of those packs. They have lots of packs of 9 though (I still can’t begin to imagine a scenario in which you would only need to buy 9 diapers!). I’d say bring wipes too. I’m not sure if wipes are more expensive because after doing all the math to figure out how much the diapers were, we couldn’t deal with doing it again for wipes. So I bought “fruity wipes” since they had the most in a package. They smell like fake strawberries. Very classy! J
That concludes my public service announcement.
I thought I’d share with y’all what a typical day looks like on my crazy adventure here in Ethiopia! Prepare to be… well, bored, really!
We are not allowed to leave the guest house and while it is significantly bigger than the room at the orphanage where the boys were (I’m here with another mom, her daughter, and her new son who was in Amani’s same room), it’s not really all that big. We run out of places to go pretty quickly. But here’s how a typical day goes down for us!
6:15 or so – Amani wakes up and is HUNGRY! We go out to the eating area and I carry Amani, a bottle of water, the canister of formula, a banana and a box of baby cereal. I put him in our little high chair and give him some little pieces of banana so I can run into the kitchen (the next room) for a bowl and a spoon. He eats breakfast and I give him a bottle afterwards.
Around that same time the guest house staff have figured out we’re awake and they start making breakfast for us. This is the only meal offered at our guest house and it’s usually really yummy. Amani and I play a little and when my breakfast is ready he goes back into the highchair for “second breakfast” which includes Cheerios, puffs, and bites of whatever I’m having (so far he likes the eggs and French toast, but didn’t like the pancakes).
After I’m done, we play some more. I’ve been giving him a bath during this time but tomorrow I’m going to start bathing him at night since that’s what we do at home.
“Play” consists of sitting on the floor next to the tables where we eat, sitting on our bed, or going outside. “Outside” is a pathway with paving stones that we can walk down. It’s lined with pretty flowers. But those are our only options. We have a few toys and a ball but mostly the boys like playing with puffs containers and water bottles.
9:00 – Amani is tired and needs a little nap. He’s been fighting sleep so it’s been taking me 30-45 minutes to get him to fall asleep. But today was WONDERFUL! I put him in the sling and we walked around and he fell asleep without hardly any tears at all! Whoohoo! As soon as he’s down, I run and take a shower and if I have time, I’ll check email/facebook. This is a short nap for him, maybe 45 minutes.
We “play” until lunch. Usually we move around from outside to the eating area to the bed and back again! He likes to walk around so we often hold hands and I just let him lead and we walk all around the guest house.
Around 11 I need to order food for us. We can order food from nearby restaurants and the guy at the guard house goes out and gets it for us but it takes an hour or more to actually get it. I’ve gotten smart and started ordering two meals at a time. That has been lasting us through 3 meals usually!
12:00 Lunchtime! Amani’s a great eater – I just knew he’d be ready for finger foods so we started in on that right away! He does great and eats whatever I’m eating. We’ve had Ethiopian food, fried rice, ravioli, chicken, and veggies. Our only real options are Italian food or Ethiopian food. Luckily I like both.
Around 1ish he’s ready for another nap. Again, it’s been taking 45 minutes to put him down because he fights sleep so badly. But today we did really well again - I used the same sling technique and it worked like a charm! It probably only took 20 minutes to put him down and we had minimal tears! J
At this point I have about 2 or 2 ½ hours to chill out. I write blog posts, check email/facebook, nap, read, whatever. Today I actually left the guesthouse with Jaeden!!! We went to the grocery store and it was VERY exciting just to get to walk around a bit!!! Honestly, it feels a little like being under house arrest!
When Amani wakes up, we have another snack. I tried buying him yogurt at the store today. Who knew Ethiopian yogurt is the same consistency as milk? Hmmmm… I mixed it with rice cereal, some pear juice, and sugar. And had to kind of convince him to eat it. I don’t blame him. I wish I'd taken pictures of his faces! But Jaeden had an idea to mix it with honey, so I may see if the guard can get me some honey sometime soon!
The boys eat dinner at 5 so if we are ordering out, we have to order by 4. I am REALLY hoping I can figure out how to extend his dinnertime. There’s no way I can get dinner on the table by 5 – Rob’s not even home by then! But today he had a big snack and our dinner didn’t get here till closer to 5:30 and he did okay.
After dinner we’re usually a bit at a loss for what to do. We make the rounds between playing on the floor, the bed, and outside. I’m usually trying to figure out what we’re going to do until bedtime! I think adding the bath during this time should help out!!! To be very honest, Kim and I probably check the clock 40 times between dinner and bedtime just hoping time will go by a little faster. That's the longest span of our day, I think.
8pm – bottle and bedtime! He was so tired tonight that he took his bottle and fell asleep with almost no problem. He fought sleep just a little but didn’t cry, and fell asleep really quickly! Success!
After he’s down I usually collect bottles and wash them, try to put our room back together, eat dinner if I’ve forgotten to eat while he was eating (I keep forgetting to eat while he eats and there is NO way to eat later without feeding him again so I have to wait till he’s in bed). Last night I watched Elf on my computer.
So you see how exciting our days are around here. Kim greeted me this morning with “It’s Groundhogs Day!!” And we’ll keep re-living day after day for at least another two weeks! Whew.
But things are different each day. Each day Amani trusts me more and allows himself to relax. He plays more, smiles more, freaks out less. He’s been letting me sit down as long as we keep the sling on. I can get up from the bed to get something (sometimes). We’ve been having much longer play sessions before he hands me the sling! And now I just keep the sling nearby and when he needs to be held, he picks it up and holds it out to me. He doesn’t cry and he lifts his arms up as I put the sling around me. It’s pretty cool, actually.
And we had an awesome interaction today with a visitor to the guest house. She was sitting on the couch holding up a toy wanting him to come take it from her. He hesitated, looked at me to see if it would be okay. I motioned he could go but he still wouldn’t take it from her. When she put it on the table, he looked at me again, went and took the toy, then brought it to me and came in for some snuggles. That was really great. He may not understand yet that I am his mama, but he’s starting to get that we belong together! Most of our playtime goes that way. He moves away for a little while, then comes back in for a hug. Or while we’re walking he’ll walk awhile, but always stops and lifts his arms for me to pick him up before wanting back down to keep walking.
We are moving in the right direction. Slowly… we had some tough times today too, but each day is a little better than the last!