Musical Program for Tots and Jazz Band

Today was my day off.  The day I really try to NOT do work and rest....kinda like my Sabbath.  I work every other weekend all weekend long, 3 12hr shifts during the week and 5-8 hrs on Fridays (depending on the Friday).  So on Wednesdays, I really try to keep from working and I rest....which means SLEEPING IN!!!  If you know me, or have been around this blog long enough, you know that anything before 9 is early...10 (or later) is preferable.  I am a night owl by nature and my circadian rhythm does not take kindly to changes....I've been TRYING for over 20 months now....no such luck.  Getting up before 9 on a daily basis (no matter HOW much sleep I get) is exhausting.  Constantly.
I was led to believe that the US Navy were coming today (they are docked in Maputo at the moment and always do service projects in the towns/countries where they are docked) and part of their program (with the help of a music guru ex-pat that lives in Maputo) would be a music program with the BH tots.  I was also led to believe that this would INCLUDE cute tots with musical instruments sitting in a circle, looking all precious, banging drums and shaking tambourines and ringing bells and the such.  Perfect photo opp, right?  So, though it was my day off, I sacrificed sleep and woke at 8:30 and dragged myself out of bed, got ready, skipped breakfast, grabbed my camera and prepared for the cuteness of musical babies and toddlers.

I was led astray.

Enter me, coffee and camera in hand, slightly groggy and very tired.  I was then told there would need to be a one-to-one adult to child ratio.  I assumed this was because of the precious instruments and how toddler could be...um....occasionally...a bit...heavy handed and excitable with said instruments.  I was wrong.  Very wrong.

Enter the music guru ex-pat who runs a baby music program out of her home with the boom box, saying pick a baby (we did half of the BH kids first round so it was 1-3 yr olds) and let's all sit in a circle on the floor.  Hmmm....where are the instruments?  Oh yeah...let me interrupt this wonderful reenactment to say that my favorite toddler Dio, woke up on the WRONG side of the crib this morning.  So from the moment I walked into the room he instantly became an extra appendage and really liked screaming.  So I was stuck with the screaming tot as my partnered baby.  We sat on the floor, then she started giving instructions.  Let's bounce the babies on your knees to the music.  Ok, D is 2 yrs.  He's not REALLY a baby.  and he's heavy.  and I haven't worked out in 20 months.  it's HOTT!  and he's screaming cause I'm sitting on the floor with him and he'd rather us leave the BH.  Then we are rocking the babies.  Now we are standing and dipping and swaying.  Then we're jumping with the babies....there's marching and free dance and more bouncing.  We're on the floor, we're standing, the kids are supposed to be on the floor mimicking us, then we're sitting.  My extra appendage doesn't separate so nicely, so we modified that song.  Also, my extra appendage would much rather the standing songs, because then he has the HOPE that we might leave the BH.  He despises the sitting ones.  He knows he's doomed to stay.  Not a happy musical tot.  Finally it's over.  I'm dripping with sweat with a very clinging tot and I'm already feeling the burn.  The tias pry D off me for snack time and I run and hide in the next room so they can get him to settle down and actually eat. 

Now it's time for round 2....the older BH tots.  

I picked one of the youngest, cause this group is 3-5 yr olds and some of them are HEAVY!  Mindah is laughing and playing until the moment we start the bouncing.  Then the thumb goes into her mouth, she gets a scared look on her face and tries to sink into me.  She's not so thrilled about this musical program.  So we begin the dipping and swaying and bouncing...and man are 3 yr olds A LOT heavier than 2 yr olds.  Then in the midst of it, Antonio gets free from his partner and decides he should be with me too.  So now I have two "babies" (both 3yrs) to bounce and dip and sway with.  Right......3 songs later, I pass of Mindah (who's not into it anyway) and keep giggling Antonio who's actually mimicking my moves and thinking this is a fun game.  By now I'm just hot and tired and in need of water and am already sore.  Finally it's over! 

I do have to say that it was really cute seeing these big men get on the floor and dipping and swaying and especially free dancing/waltzing with toddlers.  Hysterical even.  The best part is that most of the tots, though they usually LOVE visitors, were petrified and didn't really want to go to the Navy men and "dance" with them.  They mostly had frightened looks on their faces throughout the 30 min or so program.  Even the older ones.  Good thing I was lead to think it would be cute tots wielding musical instruments....cause I would have slept in and missed the workout if I'd have known the truth.

I've been told that this is going to become a biweekly program and that my help will be solicited.  I think I'll need a lighter tot or two to make it through.

Later in the day....much, much, much later (2pm later).....the Navy's New Orleans's style all brass jazz band played for me...I mean, the kids.  They seemed to really enjoy it.  Especially seeing their reflection in the giant (to them) tuba!  The kids were dancing around and the guys were really interactive with them.  It was great!  and boy do I miss live music and jazz music.

When coffee goes bad....

Think back to that high school or college biology class you took....you know the one with the fun labs with petree dishes and culturing yummy organisms and watching them grow.

I arrived in my kitchen tonight to microwave some spagetthi I had made from the night before.  As I was waiting patiently for the miracle of science to heat my food in a box....I noticed something very disturbing.
Surely minst eyes deceiveth me??? 

ok, I didn't REALLY think that...but close to it.  and NO my eyes were not deceiving me......

The picture above is what awaited me.....I mean I LOVE me some coffee.  But something about that just ain't right (as we would say in the South)!
It HAS to be something in the water.....maybe THAT'S why I'm always getting sick.....hmmmm.
ps.  no.  I did not culture it.  but I would LOVE to know what was growing in there.  and how many gazillions of them there were.  You'd think that would make me think twice about drinking coffee.  YEAH RIGHT.  I'll have a cup tomorrow too.  and I'll savour it!  MMMM.  MMMM.


Story Time

Let me introduce you to the 2 main characters in this plotline:

This is Stinkster, Grumpster, Eyeore, Mr. Grumpypants, D, Dio, Dionis, Dionisio, or whatever he chooses to answer to depending on his mood at that moment in the day.  He just made 2 years old at the end of Jan.

This is Anton or Antonio.  He is 2 months shy of his 3rd birthday.

I have known them both since I arrived over 20 months ago.

They are both alike in many ways: 
a-they are boys.
b-i like to shorten their names a lot.
c-they both have sorted emotional attachment issues.
d-they like to throw really good (and mostly hilarious) tempertantrums.
e-they have amazingly brilliant facial expressions, from which you can read their mood and temperant o the second.
f-they are both tremendously cute.
g-i love them both ALOT.
h-they love me.

I told you so.
Anyway, back to the story......

Antonio has come a LONG way since his arrival here (and mine) and has since MOSTLY stopped his outrageous tantrums that would be oh every 5 minutes or so (not really exaggerating either).  After awhile he stopped crying with them and he would just make his eyes go blank, slip into another world, slink onto the floor and lay motionless until you either picked him up or he decided he was over whatever sent him into the tantrum to begin with.  Despite how annoying most people thought the cute kid was....I loved him immediately and through the grace of God had the patience to deal with his screaming fits and having to pry him off of you when it was time to leave and the sheer terror you could see on his face.  But like I said, he's pretty much over that now.

Dionisio has come a LONG way since my arrival here and is now an (ALMOST) thriving 2 year old, though still a bit behind developmentally.  After finally learning to attach to a human around the age of oh 9 months, he has since developed a deep need to be attached to me when i'm in the room.  He's like another appendage.  Again, I love him and praise the Lord for the grace and patience to deal with it each day.  He's learning to attach to other adults as well and learning how to self soothe himself (which most infants learn about the time they start rewaking up during the night after previously learning to sleep through the night).  Some days are really good, and some days.....well horrible might be the nicest word for it.

Ever since Dio moved back to the Baby House, Antonio has LOVED D.  He loves to pat him and tell him to calm down when he's crying.  He brings him toys.  He leads him places (by the hand).  He gives him kisses and hugs and calls him Baby Dionisio.  I think it's cause he knows that just like he's special to me, so is Dionisio.
Dionisio, well.....he's NOT so enamored with Antonio.  Yes, Antonio has bit him a time or two.  Side story:  Antonio is a biter.  Always was, still is.  Much, much better about it.  He bites when he's mad, suprised, happy, sad, for fun, and to say i love you.  He doesn't really equate it with hate or meanness....he just does it because....even mid hug (the hug he's giving you).  Ok, side story over.  So like I said, it was out of love that he bit Dio....however, Dio is quite unforgiving.  Dionisio feels VERY threatened by anyone that's taking the time or space that he feels is rightfully his...and by that i mean....ME.  Therefore....he's usually VERY threatened and angry with Antonio even when Antonio is trying to hug him and play with him.  

Today, Dionisio decided that, though Antonio was trying to sit on my lap and I wouldn't let HIM sit on my lap, that since he already hit Antonio over the head, he would make amends.....well kinda....he's laughing in this pic as he's hitting him again.
So Antonio steals the opportunity to seal the friendship and......
KISS Dionisio.  The affection was tolerated.  

Tomorrow will be a different story....as was this morning in church.
Oh sweet toddlers.


What's a maggot when it's NOT a maggot??

Well, it COULD be tiny balled up pieces of paper that SOMEONE shoved (or had help shoving) into their ear.
Now why would someone do that?  Oh yes.  Because they are a not quite 18 month old and clearly LOVES paper.  Now let's start this story a few months back (around 3) with me walking into the Bercario (nursery) to find Chelsia and Augustinho looking very mischievous.  These two are just days apart and get into a lot of things together, encouraging each other to do bad things, and learning, and feeding off one another.  Basically, they are cute messes!  Real Cute!  I half ignored the mischievous look on their faces, as I was honestly too busy to find out what they were up to, but something told me I should look into it.  So I came a bit closer and noticed that Augustinho seemed to have something in his mouth.  So I asked him to open up his mouth and inside I found balled up paper.  I gently explained that paper was for the trash and not food for his mouth and that we do NOT eat paper.  Then I took it out of his mouth and threw it in the trash, thus punctuating my point.  I then got back to what I was doing....a few minutes later, I notice that he has MORE paper in his mouth.  Perhaps I did not speak portuguese clearly enough to him.  So I squat down and remove the paper and start to give a toddler version of a lecture on not eating paper when I notice that Chelsia has something in her hands.....it is THEN that I realize what was really going on.  Chelsia had a small square of cardboard paper (like from a box of cereal or such) and had been tearing it into tiny pieces and literally hand feeding it into Augustinho's mouth, who was thus eating it.  I burst into laughter, took away the paper from Chelsia and the paper out of Augustinho's mouth and then explain (again) why we DON'T EAT PAPER! Chelsia immediately burst into tears, threw herself into the floor and Augustinho stamped around screaming at me.  Apparently, I had ruined all their fun.  But I was hoping that the paper is for lixo (trash) had sunk in....
Fast forward to last week.  The tias bring dear Chelsia to me because her ears look dirty and she's pulling at them.  I look and sure enough they look as though perhaps they have an infection in them.  I go grab my otoscope from the Baby House and have a little look.  One looks super dirty and I can't see much, so I pour some normal saline into her ear to loosen up the dirt and have a better look.....she immediately starts screaming and grabbing her ear and wiggling out of my hands....that's weird it shouldn't hurt that much.  I man handle her a bit and let the water do it's job....I then flip her over to have a look at the other ear.  This one looks a bit red and pussy and I clean it out with some water.  No reaction.  Hmmm....why did her other one hurt so much, I think to myself.  Back to the first ear.  I look in and now there's a giant round, very white and oddly looking thing in her ear.  In fact, it looks just like a maggot.  Not what I think a maggot looks like.  No, it looks just like a maggot cause I've seen and extracted them from children and missionaries in my time here.  Disgusting.  Hmmm.  Why does Chelsia have a maggot in her ear?  Well that would explain the fit she just through.  Maggot's need air to breathe and I successfully cut of his supply off and tried to drown the sucker...he was probably moving all over the place and hurting her.  Now I think....in all my time in nursing school and working in the hospital as a neonatal nurse, and all those hours watching medical shows, not once do I recall what to do if you find a maggot shoved into a 1 year old's ear.  So I think.  And decide, perhaps if I attempt to drown him again, he'll come even closer to the top and I can just grab him out with tweezers.  Right.  I pour in some more normal saline and Chelsia throws another grand fit.  I look again, even closer to the top.  I knew it.  I'm going to DROWN him out.  stupid worm.  I continue.  After several more minutes, I decide I might need a little more backup as my brilliant plan isn't exactly working out like I had hoped.  Clearly not my fault.  So I call in Meghann.  I hand her the otoscope and the bottle of normal saline and say....chelsia, right ear, have fun.  let me know what you think.  She takes one look in her ear and says....she totally has a maggot in there!  Yup, that's what I thought.  Thanks for the confirmation.  So then, the 2 of us try to drown out the maggot.  Without success.  Though at one point I could see it very clearly at the top of her ear canal with just the light and was attempting to extract it, when the fact that one little wrong move (from her of course) could result in me busting her ear drum.  So I give up and decide we'll flush it out with a syringe.  No.  We do NOT have those cool ear syringes.  But what we do have, are normal syringes.  So I filled a 60 ml syringe with normal saline, plunked Chelsia into a baby bath tub, meghann held her and I **attempted** to force that sucker out of it's cave.  Chelsia did not like my idea.  And now the darn maggot had curled itself up around the opening to her ear canal and was too far in for me to pull it out.  Darn thing.  So we conceded and decided we'd let the Mozambican doctor that afternoon have a go.
That afternoon, I bring her into the the doc and say....so I have a little problem for you.....there's a maggot in Chelsia's right ear, could you please remove it?  Well he takes a look and says....did you look with one of these (motioning to his otoscope)?  Why yes of course I did.  I responded with the same.  He looks at me funny and says, there's no maggot in there.  I say....ummm.....well there's something in there and it's big and it's white and it moves and it hurts her.  To which he responded...there's no worm or maggot in there.  I said, did you see the big white thing.....he says, what, this?  I say yes, that giant squirmy white thing.....he replies....THAT is normal.  Um.  Now, I know I'm NOT a doctor.  Believe me.  I respect that fact, but I know what a normal and a not so normal ear looks like and I especially know that giant white squishy round tubular things are NOT normal for anyone's ear.  The End.  So I say....well what is it then.  He replies- I don't know.  To which, I respond....what would you like to do about this normal giant white thing in her ear that was never there before.  and he says oh let's just give her ear drops and put her on antibiotics.  I take a breath and the prescription and walk out.  after mumbling thanks, I'm sure.  I take Chelsia back to the Bercario and call in back up # 3.  Jannie.  I say, please look in Chelsia's ear and tell me what you think that giant white thing is in her ear, cause I've been told it's normal.  She conferred with myself and Meghann.  So jointly, we decide on an extraction plan.  We haul her back up to the air-conditioned clinic and put her on the one stretcher we got. Then the 3 of us go to it....I hold Chelsia, Meghann's got the light, and Jannie's got the tweezers ready to do some damage.  By now, I'm pretty convinced that I've killed the maggot cause it's been in the same position and location for the whole afternoon and Chelsia doesn't scream anymore when you put in the water.  Probably drowned the little stinker....So Jannie tries to scoop it out and gets a piece of it.  Hooray!  I grab a piece of tissue and she puts it on there and starts to go back for the rest of it.....When I notice.....it's NOT a maggot after all....but it is CERTAINLY NOT normal to have in your ear.....it's paper.  Tiny pieces of wad up paper.  We spend 5 minutes extracting lots and lots of paper from her ear.  She still has some in there too.  Then I started her on antibiotics, gave her a big hug and explained that paper does NOT go in your ear EITHER!  Perhaps I should have been more specific last time.