Thursday, April 30, 2009

April 30, 2009 - Poultry Mites and Busy-bodies

Ok, so I have two stories today.

First, our house has been infested by "poultry mites".  YUCK!  Who has ever heard of such a thing!?  Kristoffer and I have been getting bitten in our bed at night by bugs that we couldn't see but could feel.  The bites are tiny and excruciatingly itchy.  We tried all kinds of sprays and things to get rid of the invisible bugs, but when Grace started getting bitten we finally called a pest control company.  They came yesterday and quickly determined that we have these "poultry mites" which come from birds (often chickens, but other kinds of birds too) and that somebody who had been somewhere with these mites brought them into our home.  We think it is likely to be our staff, Ida or Charles, but there is no way to know.  And my dad read online that they can be transferred through a handshake so that makes it really hard to tell because we shake hands with a lot of people, although the pest control guy yesterday said most likely someone sat or touched on our furniture and transferred the parasites.  GROSS! GROSS! GROSS!  Grace and I were exiled to our compound's pool for a few hours yesterday while the house was fully fumigated.  I guess poultry mites are just part of the package when you live in Africa!  AH!

The other story I wanted to share is that Kenyans feel, according to Kristoffer's colleague, that babies belong to the community.  So they feel that they can pretty much say or do anything to/about someone else's baby.  We have definitely experienced this, but with a significant degree of discomfort!  Kenyans believe that babies should be kept really, really hot.  They put them in layers and layers of clothes and blankets in all temperatures.  This is actually really bad for babies because being too hot can cause sleep apnea (when you stop breathing in your sleep) and babies' don't have the ability to wake themselves up if they stop breathing in their sleep the way adults do.  So actually, keeping babies too hot leads to a lot of infant mortality in Kenya (and probably other African countries, according to a colleague of mine at UNICEF).  Anyway, because Kenyans believe babies should be hot and because we dress Grace temperature-appropriate, we OFTEN receive comments from people about this (strangers who obviously think they are entitled to an opinion about our baby!).  We received comments from the nurses in the hospital and often from other people.  Recent Example 1: at brunch on Sunday morning with our friends the waitress told me once that she was going to put covers "on the baby because she is cold", even though Grace was sleeping peacefully in her car seat and was wearing weather-appropriate clothes and was not hot!  Of course I think this is very rude of her, but the waitress thinks I am a bad mother for freezing my baby apparently.  This went one step further when Grace and I were at the eye doctor yesterday.  Recent Example 2: a mother and her 12-year-old-ish daughter came into the office when I was nursing Grace (because we had to wait an hour to see the doctor).  She was wearing a short-sleeved onesie, pants, socks, and I had a light blanket over her.  Now Grace tends to be really hot to begin with - just ask my father who would be covered in sweat after Grace took a nap on him!  Of course I knew Grace wasn't cold, but this lady thought otherwise.  Instead of saying something to me, she said to her daughter aloud, "That baby is so cold, she needs more clothes.  Remember that when you have babies, they need to be kept very warm.  That poor, poor baby, she is just so cold."  How passive aggressive!  Now I know that Ida thinks we don't dress Grace warmly enough (when it is 85 degrees outside!) but she at least has learned to keep her comments to herself.  Imagine what Kenyans would think of Danish parents who let their babies sleep outside in the winter...scandalous!

So here in Nairobi I am battling "poultry mites" and busy-bodies who think I don't know how to care for my baby!  It is a good thing Grace is so cute to help me deal with all of this! 


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 29, 2009 - Here's Looking at You, Kid

Grace went to the opthamologist today.  He was pleased that we were being so proactive about Grace's vision and he assured me that she is not cross-eyed.  It turns out she has what they call a "pseudo squint", which is a way of saying "it looks like her left is crossed, but it isn't!"  The bridge of her nose is a little bit flat and, as a result, her skin is pushed out into her eye a little bit on the left side.  So it looks like her left eye is crossed because we can't see the white of her eye on that side, but really it isn't.  She followed the lights he moved around perfectly; he said that with time her nose will "de-flatten" and the whites of her eye will appear more.  What a relief!  He said it was good that we had it checked because if she did have a "true squint", this is the best age to start corrective treatment.  He also thinks that given my family's vision history and the fact that both Kristoffer and I wear glasses, it would be good to give Grace a full exam just to make sure that her vision is starting off well.  He gave me some drops to dilate her pupils before our visit next week and I felt much better about her left eye.

In other news, Grace loves "tummy time" which we usually do in the morning and in the evening.  She is definitely smiling a lot more and giggling a bit too - it is very cute!  I actually think my favorite time with her now is when she is being changed because she is extremely smiley when she gets a new diaper or when she is naked!  Something else that is funny about Grace is that she really WANTS to suck her thumb, and often we can hear her in crib trying to do it, but she just can't seem to figure out how to get the thumb in her mouth without the rest of her hand.  Usually she ends up with a fist in her mouth or gumming her knuckles.  This too is very cute!

Last night, Grace and Kristoffer were practicing making faces.  Here they can do a sad face:

And here they can do a happy, or at least a not-sad, face:

Friday is Labor Day in Kenya so Grace and I are very excited to have a 3-day weekend with Kristoffer!  I think that means I get to sleep in on Friday morning :)


Sunday, April 26, 2009

April 26, 2009 - Two Months and Growing

Grace is two months old!  We can hardly believe that time is moving so quickly.  And in the last few days we have experienced the growing pains of a baby her age.

Thursday, as I said in that blog, was a bad day for Grace.   She at least slept well that night; we find that she usually gives us one long stretch between 3-5 hours when we first put her down at night, and then after eating she'll sleep 2 more hours, eat again, and then it is anyone's guess what her schedule is from about 3-6 in the morning.  Friday started out like a really good day: she and I did our usual morning routine of tummy time, reading, and listening to music.  Then we went to the UN and met Kristoffer for a late lunch.  By the time we got to her doctor's appointment, I felt like she had fully recovered from her discomfort on Thursday.  

When we saw the doctor we learned that she weighs 4.7 kg/10.34 lbs and is 57 cm/22.44 in; that puts her still in the 75th percentile for length and the 50th percentile for weight.  She grew A LOT in the last two weeks!  The doctor was pleased that she is eating so well.  He checked her out from head to toe and assured us that she is doing great!  The concern that we have about Grace is with her left eye: it tends to be crossed or a bit lazy at a time when it shouldn't be anymore (in newborns it is common).  He agreed that it wouldn't hurt to have a pediatric eye doctor look at it because he could see what we were talking about, so this week I will get her an appointment to have a full eye exam.  All was well, and then came her vaccinations.

Grace had to get two shots and take one oral vaccination.  The drops in her mouth went well.  The shots obviously caused her to scream.  She had just eaten before getting the shots so she was full and we were able to soothe her to sleep pretty quickly after the shots.  We were told that she might get a high fever and to give her baby Tylenol if that was the case.  So...we come home, have a regular evening with a sleepy baby, and then at 10 pm she wakes up in what seemed to be a lot of pain.  She has NEVER screamed and cried the way she did that night.  It was terrible for us to hear and see her in so much pain.  It took us hours to calm her down and get her to sleep, and any time we tried to lay her down in crib she woke up in agony again so she ended up sleeping for about 90 minutes on Kristoffer and about 90 minutes on me.  It appeared that her stomach was the problem - she was having extreme difficulty pooping - and needless to say none of us got much sleep.  She did have a low-grade fever, but not a high one so we didn't give her the Tylenol.  Rookie mistake.  Next time, on my sister's advice, we'll give her the Tylenol before she gets the shots! When I called her doctor yesterday morning he said that sometimes stomach discomfort and general-unexplained-discomfort can happen after getting the vaccinations.  Yesterday she was a little better and slept for almost the entire day because she hadn't slept the night before!  When she was awake she was still a bit fussy, but the bad part for us came again last night because she didn't sleep longer than one hour at a time and was awake a lot of the night (obviously because she had slept the whole day!).  Today we seem to be having better luck keeping her awake and hope that tonight she will be back to her "regular" sleep pattern.

Such drama!  The good news is I suspect she'll be back to her "old" self tomorrow and can get ready for the new trauma of an eye exam (whatever that may be).  The bad news is that in one more month she gets another round of vaccinations.  Because we will be away for five weeks she'll miss her 4-month shots and so will get them at 3 months instead (the doctor says this is fine as long as there is 30 days between vaccinations).  And of course she gets more vaccinations here than if we were in DK or the US because there are more diseases here.

This weekend has been a real challenge for us as parents; it is extremely painful as a parent to see/hear/experience your child suffering and not be able to do very much to make it better.  Today we were happy to see her smiling again for sure!  

Also, on Saturday when she was a marathon sleeper, we took her to the recreation center so that I could have a good swim and Kristoffer could play squash and we also took her to visit the giraffe center and the elephant orphanage (where we saw the baby elephant my parents adopted for my sister and also the adorable baby rhino).  This morning we all went to brunch with some friends and she did really well, so we tried not to let her reaction to the shots spoil her whole weekend!

Here are the latest photos of our little one tonight - admittedly, not her/our best pictures, but that is understandable given her weekend!  Hopefully she'll be up to writing a blog of her own sometime soon.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

April 23, 2009 - Unlucky Number 8

Today Grace is 8 weeks old.  What a milestone!  But sadly, I ate some broccoli last night (my bad) and I am pretty sure that has screwed up her digestive system, causing her extreme stomach pain, constipation, and general misery.  Most of today she has been crying in my arms or sleeping in my arms.  She is now sleeping in Kristoffer's arms; she just wants to be swaddled and cuddled.  And the newest thing is that when she cries she has actual tears now!  It is so sad :(  

So, no cute pictures of Grace today...but we'll hope that she feels better when she turns 2 months old on Sunday (the 26th) and we'll take some new pictures then.  She is also seeing the doctor tomorrow for some vaccinations so we should have some updated stats soon.


April 23, 2009 - As I was Saying...

On the heels of my last blog, this is a NY Times article about the Mungiki violence that occurred the other day in Central Kenya. It is a pretty interesting article and, from my understanding of the Mungiki, fairly accurate. What I wrote that sparked the violence the other day - police having killed some Mungiki - was completely false, however (although some police did kill some Mungiki). The violence the other day seemed to be sparked by a community refusing to be victims to the Mungiki anymore and taking the law into their own hands.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

April 21, 2009 - Not About Grace

This blog will not be about Grace! I figure, people were reading our blog before I was pregnant because they were interested in Kenya and so every now and then I should get back to writing about Kenya! Here is a bit of what's going on around us while we live in Grace-land:

Politically, I think Kenya is in a bit of a mess right now. There is a lot of tension and collision between the two ruling parties of the coalition government, which means that stability is quite tenuous and could potentially break down with just a very small straw on the camel's back, so to speak. Parliament is long overdue to begin holding a local tribunal to try those political and business leaders accused of financing/supporting/inciting the violence that took place last year after the presidential election. They are way past their deadline which means that the trial should go to the Hague, and yet for some reason they have been given more than one second chance to get their act together. Personally I think that the ship should have sailed awhile ago and the ICC should just get involved...especially given that the coalition is so fragile and there is evidence from around the country that groups of young men have continued to stockpile weapons since the last violence took place in order to be ready for new violence if the coalition breaks down. Isn't that a scary thought!?!

Not necessarily related to post-election issues, there is a sect in Kenya called "Mungiki". They are from one tribe (the largest tribe in Kenya, Kikuyu) and there are considered to be the Kenyan mafia. Some people claim they are a religious group as well - I'm not sure of that because they commit many, many criminal and violent acts. A few of the Mungiki were recently killed by the police (police never try to arrest criminals, they always shoot to kill) , and last night there was a violent outbreak in the central part of the country (north of Nairobi, where the president is from actually) between the citizens in one town and the Mungiki, which left 24 people dead. Sigh.

The country continues to face rising food prices, drought in many parts of the country (and where there is not actual drought there is a definite lack of rain which has spoiled most of the harvest), and major educational gaps due to teacher shortages. In other recent months I have not seen any major improvements in Kenya. There are still several corruption scandals which are also affecting the effectiveness of the ruling government, as well as turnover in cabinet positions. And I assume you've heard of Somali pirates?! Well...these darn pirates are really screwing with East African countries - including their own! - because the ships they have been capturing are often bringing necessary food aid to this part of the world. What a mess!

Of course, we did have a Kenyan woman win the Boston marathon yesterday, right?! And in our neighborhood we have seen improvements in roads being paved (albeit paved so horribly that after a few days they are pretty crappy again!). At least our weather is good!

I didn't realize how depressing this post would be until I started writing it - Kenya needs some good news I think! Kenyans are still clinging to the developing-legacy of President Barack Obama and in a time when their own country might not provide them with a lot, at least he gives them hope.

In our own household, things have been a bit interesting lately. We are having some challenges in managing our staff - Ida, our housekeeper, and Charles, our driver. The major problem seems to be that they both want money from us. When we first hired them, we learned from others that we were paying them on the lower end of what most people pay their staff, and so we gave them a substantial raise after one month because we liked their work and we didn't want them to look for other jobs. But because we did that (and apparently we went a little bit overboard on the raise) and were probably too nice and friendly, they now seem to think that we have a money tree growing in our backyard.

Ida wants more money for her son to go to school and has also recently seemed to be very sad, often giving me a bit of an attitude. So we had a meeting with her last week to talk about her performance, her hours (because she complained about them), and how she is feeling about the job. The meeting went really well and she said that her sadness was related to her personal life not to her job (we didn't pry into that because we are trying to establish more of a professional distance) and she said she was happy with everything (why wouldn't she be - she has five week of paid vacation coming up!), except she said "I don't feel that I get to hold Grace enough." Well! I reminded her that we told her that she was being hired to be our housekeeper and cook, and maybe to babysit sometimes but not to be a nanny for Grace. I am not working right now so that I can spend all of my time caring for Grace! Kristoffer reminded her that in our countries, it is generally considered to be a gift for a mother to be able to spend all of her time with her baby (which is not the case in Kenya). She didn't seem that happy about it, but we have always been honest with her. I wouldn't be surprised if she was looking for another job as a nanny, but I doubt she will find people who will pay her as well with as much vacation and cooking classes! We did give her a loan to help her son take computer classes - since the college thing didn't work out - and she is paying that off in the next two months.

As for Charles, he is constantly telling Kristoffer, "I need X amount of money for my wife to finish going to school to get her teaching certificate..." or "I need x amount of money to finish building my new house..." This is his subtle way of asking because he is hoping that Kristoffer will say, "Oh! Here's the money!" Finally, yesterday he specifically asked Kristoffer for a loan and when Kristoffer asked why he thought we should give him the loan he said, "Because I have never asked you for a loan before!" As if that is a reason! He has only worked for us for 4 months! We think that is pretty gutsy of both Ida and Charles to ask for loans, because most people have told us that their staff haven't asked for money until they worked for them for a long time. Anyway, I am sure Ida told Charles that we gave her a loan for her son's education so he thought he could get one too. So, Kristoffer told Charles that we would give him the loan this time but that he shouldn't ask us for another loan and we will tell Ida the same thing this week - no more loans!

Particularly because we feel they both have pretty easy jobs - neither of them works that hard (that is the Kenyan way after all) and we know we pay them better than anyone we know pays their staff - it is frustrating to always have these awkward financial interactions with them. We have definitely learned a lot should we employ staff in the future (either here or in another country) about what to do and what NOT to do from the very beginning. I think when my parents were here, it was interesting fir them to observe all of this too.

Hmmm...I guess that's all that is going on here right now. Blogs about Grace are much more fun and positive I think. Wouldn't you agree?


Monday, April 20, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 16, 2009 - Counting in Weeks

Today Grace is 7 weeks old. In talking with Kristoffer last night, I realized that I have been "counting in weeks" for a long time now. First it was the weeks of my pregnancy, starting at 6 weeks and going up until I had Grace at 38.5 weeks...and now it is Grace's age! Kristoffer wonders if I will still be counting in weeks when Grace turns 18 years old - or 936 weeks!

After two very fussy days on Tuesday and Wednesday, today Grace has bounced back by being either very happy or very asleep for the whole day so far. To celebrate Grace's old age, I decided to take her for a walk on our street today. The good news is that the baby loves our only-partly-paved-and-very-bumpy road, the bad news is that her stroller did not. I managed to walk her up and down the street for about 30 minutes and she slept for about 24 of those minutes. I don't think we'll be doing that too often, however, if we want the stroller to last a long time! Or we need to get the stroller equivalent of a mountain bike :)

This was Grace before our walk:


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 15, 2009 - Grace & Alice

Grace decided to begin reading her first chapter book this week and she chose "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll, which our good friend Maureen gave Grace at my baby shower. We read one chapter yesterday and one chapter today. Grace really reacts to my voice with sounds of her own. She thinks that Alice is a bit silly and is curious about the rabbit with the waist coat and the pocket watch. I am sure she will be happy to review the book for the blog when we are finished.


p.s. speaking of sounds...I have a bit of a sinus infection this week and Grace DEFINITELY does not like the sound of me blowing my nose! her reaction is pretty funny!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 14, 2009 - Safari Baby

Everyone we met at our lodge thought we were so crazy for bringing Grace on safari! The thing is, she did really well! She came on all four of our game drives, sleeping through three of them and staying awake for much of the fourth one. This is a girl who loves a diesel engine Landcruiser and some bumpy terrain - we just strapped in her car seat and she was happy! We were sure to keep her covered in baby sunblock, all-natural-baby-safe mosquito repellent, and layered well for the chilly rides in the morning and our evening sundowner. She really liked her pink "safari hat" - thanks to her cousin Molly for the hand-me-down. The first night at the lodge she slept really well and the second night she didn't sleep at all because she had slept all day. One of these days she'll get her sleeping pattern straightened out.

It was a really fun trip - we saw so many cheetahs and lions, it was incredible! The champagne breakfast by the river with the hippos was serene and our private cocktail party as the sun went down was also very special. Grace also did really well on our plane rides. We didn't fly higher than 12,000 feet so the altitude wasn't too bad - she nursed going up the first time and slept the rest of the time; on the way home she slept going up, nursed in the middle, and slept going down! What a baby! We are hoping that is a good sign for traveling to Europe and the States come June...but we'll see :)

Here are some different pictures from the ones I put on my mom's blog, including Grace bathing in the sink at the lodge and a mama lion yelling at her cubs who were bickering with each other while nursing (it was so cool to watch while I was actually nursing Grace at the same time!). Check out my mom's blog for even more animal photos.

Now we are all just a bit sad (or in my case a bit more than a bit!) that my parents have gone. They were so helpful and wonderful with Grace, and Kristoffer and I enjoyed seeing Kenya through their eyes. They were much more open-minded and easy-going than we expected them to be - they tried so many new things; we hope they had a good time and that they can now picture what our life is like over here. We also hope they will come back! It is going to be tough for Grace to get used to only having me rock her everyday instead of my mom and having to nap NOT on my father! Good thing she'll see them in Boston in two more months :) And in the meantime, she is desperate to meet her other grandparents in Denmark - we leave for that trip in just about six weeks.


Monday, April 13, 2009

April 13, 2009 - Happy Easter

Yesterday Grace had a very nice first holiday - Easter! In the morning we all went to church. The previous two times Grace went to church she slept through the whole mass, but yesterday she had to eat before the mass was over so we didn't quite last the whole time. She has been cluster feeding the last two days - a growing girl for sure! After mass we went to brunch at Nairobi's newest and most exclusive hotel, called Tribe. The brunch there is REALLY good and we had a very nice brunch to celebrate Easter, Grace, and my parent's trip to Kenya. When we came home from brunch, Grace and Kristoffer had an Easter egg hunt around our house. Grace did a pretty good job and the eggs she liked the most were the two that contained new binkies (pacifiers)!

Of course our holiday followed an amazing safari weekend - but we have 650 pictures to sort through before writing that blog so I will tell you that story with pictures later this week. Let me just say that Grace travelled incredibly well and we all had a fantastic trip. For now, here are some pictures of our little Easter bunny:

During brunch, Kristoffer and my dad started talking about quickly Grace is growing and all of the different stages she'll grow through in her life and how it will all just fly by before we know it. The result of that conversation was that my hormones kicked in and I started to cry! Sheesh - just leave my baby be a baby before you have her getting married already!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April 8, 2009 - Six Weeks Later

I am posting this blog one day early because tomorrow we are going on safari and are leaving early in the morning. Grace will be six weeks old tomorrow!

Grace saw her doctor yesterday - she was asleep before he started to examine her and then became completely traumatized when she woke up during the exam! In general, she is doing great. She now weighs 4.3 kg/9.46 lbs which is 1 kg/2.2 lbs. more than she weighed at birth. She also grew 3 cm so she is now 54 cm/a little over 21 inches. For both weight and height, Grace is in the 75th percentile now (up from 50th at 2 weeks old)! The doctor was VERY, I repeat VERY, impressed that she has now rolled over 7 times in the last 3 weeks. He said that some 4-month old babies still can't do that! Her head and neck continue to be very strong, she is pushing up on her legs more, her eyes are more and more focused, and she responds with smiles more and more as well. We are so happy! The best news, for me at least, is that last night she slept for 4 hours and 50 minutes. That's right - one stretch of almost 5 hours! When I realized this I felt guilty for about two seconds that I didn't wake up sooner and check to see if she was still breathing - she has never slept that long before! But that guilt subsided quickly when I realized how well-rested I felt :) And believe me, I never thought that I would consider a little less than 5 hours of sleep "well rested" but it's true.

My intention was to post a video of Grace when she was 7 minutes old and a video of Grace today so that everyone could see how much she has grown and changed. However, I cannot get the videos to upload because our internet is so slow here - maybe next week I will have more time to let the videos post for hours and hours.

Anyway, we continue to feel so blessed to have a healthy daughter and we are grateful for so much happiness in our lives; here are a few pictures of Grace from yesterday and today:

In her new sweater that my mom knitted for her:

Complaining to her father:

Chillin out in her bouncy seat:

An afternoon nap with (I mean ON) Pops:


p.s. I saw my doctor today and all is well for me too :) We picked up Grace's passport today (she already doesn't look the same as in her picture!) and we are really excited to take Grace on safari with my parents...although the slightest mention of them leaving on Monday leaves me in tears!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April 7, 2009 - Opening Day...or not

The newest member of Red Sox nation was highly disappointed that opening day at Fenway Park was rained out yesterday. She was all geared up and ready to go!



Monday, April 6, 2009

April 6, 2009 - Big Girl!

A few more pictures of Grace...she is really big! We are very eager for her doctor's appointment tomorrow and are taking bets on how much she weighs exactly! When we leave for the Masai Mara on Thursday morning she will be six weeks old!

In fact, she is so big that she is not sleeping in her cradle anymore! We moved her big crib from her nursery into our bedroom so that she has enough room and because when we put her down in her cradle she would sometime wake up from the rocking and then not easily go back to sleep. Now she is in her big crib and sleeps a bit more soundly we think! We also think she has been going through another growth spurt because on Saturday night and Sunday she was cluster feeding every 45 minutes to an hour. Luckily (for me and Kristoffer) she slept very well last night with two stretches of almost three hours.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

April 5, 2009 - Grace's Mini-Safari

Saturday we took my parents and Grace to Naivasha to the lodge that we had stayed at after during the December 2007 election. We went there just for the day to take a walk on the lake and have a nice lunch. This was sort of a mini-safari and was Grace's first experience seeing (through her closed eye-lids) animals.

This lodge is not on Lake Naivasha, but a smaller lake that probably used to be joined with Lake Naivasha called Lake Oloidon. This lake is just a little bit salty and occasionally has a few flamingos that got lost getting to Lake Nakuru, which is a large salt-water lake just north. Because of the lack of rain here (the long rains are about 3 weeks late now and before that it was a very hot, dry season) the water level is down and therefore the lake is more salty than usual. Almost all of the flamingos from Lake Nakuru - at least 50,000 of them - have thus been staying at Lake Oloidon and it was our great fortune to see them yesterday! We are so glad we didn't decide to take my parents to Nakuru to see the flamingos because they wouldn't have been there!

We also got to see about 50 hippos sun-bathing outside of the water during the day, which is also a rare find. We saw a few giraffes and zebra, some interesting birds, and some different antelope. It was nice to walk along the lake, although it was a bit like walking in an animal-poop minefield! Even though it was hot, there was a lovely breeze and we had a very pleasant guide named Peter.

Here are some pictures from the day (my mom wasn't feeling well so she didn't go on the walk with us):


Thursday, April 2, 2009

April 2, 2009 - The Big Five

In Kenya, the "big five" is what the group of the following animals is called: elephants, rhinos, leopards, lions and buffalo. In our house, however, the "big five" means that Grace is five weeks old today!

At five weeks, Grace is prematurely aging. She has horrendous acne like a teenager and a hairline that is receding faster than her father's! Okay okay, so baby acne and hair loss are completely normal but it is funny to me how much those two things can change the looks of a baby so much. The good news is that for the last two days Grace's blocked tear duct has been unblocked (knock on wood) so she no longer has yellow crust or goo coming out of her left eye.

This week Grace has had two really tough days (today included) and two really great days. Monday was her first really bad day - she was just unhappy and inconsolable and just wanted to be held and rocked the entire day (possibly the result of something I ate?). Today began in a similar fashion, and she has gone back and forth between the moods "I will sleep as long as you hold me, Mom" and "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to". [Note: Grace is sleeping in my left arm and I am typing with my right hand alone. Not the fastest way to blog, but it gets the job done.] She is almost getting to be too big for her cradle in our room, which breaks my heart a little! She is only five weeks old! I did try putting her in her big crib today, but that only lasted a little while because of her aforementioned moods. I will certainly be eager to get her updated length and weight stats from the doctor next week.

On Tuesday Grace had a great day! That day she was making the cutest baby noises (she is increasingly not that quiet!) and we think actually smiled in response to our voices and not just gas (a few times yesterday too). I wouldn't go so far as to say that she has mastered a social smile, but I do think she is starting to figure it out. She hasn't rolled over since last week (she has rolled four times in total) and Kristoffer has yet to see her do it so maybe he is starting to think that my parents and I made it all up! In terms of sleeping, I would say that she still sleeps more during the day but she will usually give us one three hour stretch every night along with a couple two hour stretches. She continues to love being in motion and music definitely soothes her. We are also having more success with a pacifier when she is a bit ornery but does not need to eat; she is still eating on demand which can be anywhere from every hour to every two or three (never longer than that!).

In Kenya the rainy season has sort of started - we had two nights of torrential rain this week but yesterday was brutally hot (or at least it felt that way to me and Grace when we went out to meet Kristoffer for lunch). More rain should be coming and the country desperately needs it. In one week we are taking Grace on her first plane ride to the Masai Mara for a two-day safari with my parents. It should be an interesting 45-minute test-drive to see how she does before we take her on really long flights to Denmark and the US in June. My parents come back from Mombasa late this afternoon and I am eager to hear about their beach trip. I didn't receive any emergency phone calls from them so I assume they got along just fine!

Here are some pictures of Grace from this past Sunday after going to church and out to brunch for the first time (she hasn't yet been out to dinner at a restaurant, but she has "done lunch" a number of times so far).

And here are a few pictures of Grace today - reminder that she is not in the best mood, although still cute as a button! And, yes, I did just realize that she is wearing the same onesie both days - whoops (what can I say, both days were a little cool and I went with the long sleeves)! Thanks to Mark, Kate and Brady Andersen for the cute outfit!