Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Raising a baby in Turkey - Part 1: It's getting hot in here. Take off those clothes. No, really.

Turks and Americans have some different ideas about raising babies. I thought I would share some. I'm going to be using sweeping generalizations, so please note that not ALL Americans and ALL Turks may be represented in my observations.

Turks believe that being cold, slightly chilly, or even barely warm will make you ill. Touching a cold wall will make you ill. Moving air will make you ill. If you eat ice cream in any month besides July or August you will probably die. You should not walk on exposed tiles in any weather at any time. They could be harboring a temperature below 90 degrees Fahrenheit and make you ill. I've also heard that stepping on an exposed tile floor will injure a woman's reproductive health, but I don't know how widely that is accepted.

Americans, on the other hand, believe in moving air. Oh, we love it. Especially people from Phoenix. We move our air around as much as possible. We set up fans upon fans upon fans strategically placed near air conditioning vents to accelerate already moving, cold air to make it faster and colder. We hate stagnant air, closed windows, and heat in general. Just move that air, baby. We also love, love, love cold tile. It keeps us cool, after all. We don't cover it up. We don't place a barrier between it and our feet. We lie down on it and roll around on it and generally try to transfer our body heat to it and other cool things.  All of these things are considered insanity for Turks, ways to insure a quick and sudden death.

In Turkey, sweat is bad because if air moves across it, YOU MIGHT COOL DOWN! Americans (at least in Phoenix) soak ourselves in water and then sit in front of moving air, preferably cold moving air. You get the idea.

So, Turks believe that babies should be wrapped in blankets. Lots of blankets. Fleece blankets. With hats. And socks. And multiple layers of clothing. In the summer. Or winter. Doesn't matter, really. Americans believe that babies should be kept as cool as possible without being freezing cold. Americans believe that being too warm can cause health problems, contribute to SIDS and just in general be very, very bad for babies.

This clash can cause problems for the American (and British person, I've heard) raising their baby in Turkey. Both groups are trying to do what's right, but the understanding of what's right are very, very different. Thankfully, doctors in Turkey are increasingly trying to educate people on the dangers of keeping babies too warm, so I've just been able to say, "The doctor said to keep the baby cool." Thank you, doctor, for saying that.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Re-thinking my daily routine - what really matters

I have felt inspired by a common theme lately – one of simplifying and prioritizing my life. I suppose becoming a mother has made me look harder at what is really important to me, and what I had just been doing out of habit. And yet, I’m now finishing up an 8 hour work day and getting ready to make the hour-long trek home on public transport (which I actually prefer to driving here in Turkey) where I will have about 30 minutes to do as much of the roughly 2 or 3 hours of housework waiting for me as I can before my husband and Moonpie come home, shortly after which I should have a hot dinner on the table, which first will need to be cleared off from all the stuff we dumped there yesterday, and, well, you get the idea. I feel overwhelmed a lot, and we don't have any huge issues. It's just LIFE. And I suspect that a lot of people are in the same boat. 

And yet, I found two sewing projects that I’d really like to do, but I don’t seem to have time. I have a few blog posts in my mind I’d like to write, but can’t find the time or mental clarity to bring them together. Other writing projects have been on hold for at least a month. Reading the Bible happens sporadically (I’m glad I have my verse-a-day calendar on my desk!), and more often than not I’m too tired and zoned out by the time Moonpie goes to bed to have any quality interactions with anyone.

Yay for verse-a-day calendars!

This post on The Art of Simple got me thinking, and this together with my continued goal of decluttering have inspired me to re-think my daily routine.

I’m going to commit to not looking at the computer at home, unless there is a really, really good reason. I already stare at the computer all day, and it’s just a bad habit. In my heart I’d rather look at the faces of my husband and daughter.

I’m also going to commit to keeping my morning quiet and simple. No checking of emails or news. I had the intention of doing Bible and devotional reading in the morning, but found myself watching a video about ISIS this morning. Not a great tone-setter for my day.

I’ve also decided that I’m going to give myself a 30 walk after lunch a few days a week. My mind is so cluttered most of the time, and the best way for me to clear it is usually walking, which is also great for my physical health.

The thing is, I have already purposed to do these things, but it’s so hard to change my routine. This morning I automatically reached for the ipad so I could read the news during breakfast, and I had to stop myself and say, “No, not gonna do that.” Today after lunch I’ll have to get my derriere off the chair and rip myself away from my coworkers’ conversations to go take a walk. I’m not really a list person, but I thought of making a list just to give me something to motivate my change. We’ll see. Maybe a list is a good idea.

Have you made a change to get out of a bad habit or simplify? What worked for you?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Baby update - We have a toddler!

Nearly there!
Moonpie is a walker, people, and I don’t mean that in “The Walking Dead” sense. Although she does try to bite me, we’re working on it, and she shows many signs of not being a zombie.

She was taking a step or two for a while (a month), but I refused to call it walking since it was just a more organized way of falling into my arms. But a week before her birthday she summoned enough coordination and balance to take 4 steps across our living room rug from me to her daddy. I started screaming, but then she was trying to understand if mommy screaming was a good or bad thing, so I had to tone it down a bit. She repeated that process many times, and has increased her steps to about 7 or 8. She can also walk without an adult there to catch her at the end, so I would say she’s officially walking now! Granted, she did a face plant last night, but I figure those are inevitable in her quest for independent movement. Thankfully, I was able to convince Mr. Stitches that we didn’t need to cover all of our hard surfaces in padding after said face plant as well. I love how he wants to protect her, though. So sweet.

She’s continuing to speak fluent baby – she uses very convincing intonation, though, so people have already started asking me what she’s saying, and I’m like, “Your guess is as good as mine, but I think in this instance she is referring to Newton’s First Law of Motion, as in ‘Let’s get this stroller moving, people!’” Or something like that.

Fun at the park
Anyway, that’s what we’re up to these days. Her sleep is still royally dysfunctional, so we are quite tired, but I hesitate to mention that for fear of sounding like a broken record. She’s also hard core teething some molars, so that is probably the reason for the sleep problems. Or any other of the 1,407 reasons babies don't sleep through the night. Sigh.