Monday, September 28, 2009

September 28, 2009 - Updates

Lisa & Kristoffer: We had a nice dinner out for Kristoffer's birthday on Friday while our friend Stephanie stayed at home with a sleeping Grace. We are starting to get a little bit sad about our month-long separation. We used to be really good at that but that was before we were married, doing everything together all the time, and had a baby! Now it just seems a bit cruel that he will miss out on a month of his daughter's life, but he will be busy at work and can play as much squash as he can fit in while we are away.

Grace: Maybe the last two nights have been slightly better than the previous three nights, but she continues to be very tired and to sleep very poorly at night (not to mention she remains a mediocre-at-best napper during the day). For weeks she was doing great at going to sleep on her own in her crib after her bedtime routine, but now she insists on falling asleep while nursing and refuses to be woken up at that time. Then she wakes up anywhere from 3 to 5 hours later and she will literally cry for over 2 hours (even after you've made sure she has a clean diaper, is burped, etc.). Once she has woken up, she will continue to do so every hour or 90 minutes (after going back to sleep). She just wants to be picked up and held - not that I can blame her - but she has completely forgotten all the progress we previously made. I am blaming the pediatrician a little bit because he said that I should still be nursing her when she wakes up at night, so now if she wakes up she is expecting it all over again. Sigh. I am not investing too much energy at this point in sleep training her, because as of Friday she will have jet-lag anyway and I would rather try to get her on THAT sleeping schedule for the next month. We'll just try to survive the rest of this week.

She is getting better at waving in the last two days. Kristoffer said to me last night, "Do you know that the best thing about having a baby is?" To which I replied, "Um...how cute she is?" and he said, "No. That every day she can do something new!" He was referring to her new interest in grabbing things from the bathroom counter during her bath. When she is reaching and gets it, if you clap for her and cheer her on she gets the BIGGEST smile on her face. She is very proud of each new accomplishment.

Kristoffer's mom, thank you Farmor!, suggested we give Grace a carrot to chew on for teething and that kept her very happy for much of the day yesterday. Her second tooth looks like it is just under the surface of her gum but has been that way for over a week and has not broken through yet.

Ida: After I refused to communicate with her, she reached out to Kristoffer. She tried to call him and then sent him a text message saying that I was the one who stole from her because I didn't pay her enough money. She also said that we forced her to work longer hours than we had agreed to. Kristoffer's reaction was brilliant. He called her and went with the "kill her with kindness" approach. He told her that we didn't fire her for stealing but that we have since suspected that she was. She protested and he explained about the very low prices at the market; she didn't have a good reply. She complained that she worked more than 40 hours a week and we didn't pay her enough. Kristoffer said that while that may have been true on occasion, we hired her to work Saturdays which she never did AND she had 7 weeks of paid vacation in 8 months - so if you do the math, the hours she worked averaged to be less than 40 hours a week. She got quiet on that point. She said we owed her 3 months of severance pay and he reminded her that we payed her a dfair severance for how long she had worked for us. He told her that we were not actively trying to keep her from getting a job but that we didn't feel we could put up an advertisement for her given that we have doubts about her honesty. He told her that we hoped she got a job and that we would pray for her. After 15 minutes, he says the conversation ended well AND we haven't heard from her again. I confess that two times I have had dreams about her where she comes to our house ranting and raving and making a big scene. I am hoping to be over those soon now that the situation seems to be settled.

Jonipher: Our new housekeeper seems very nice so far. After her first 2 days last week the house was cleaner than it had been in months. She made us dinner one night last week that was very good. I asked her to hold Grace this morning for the first time while I showered and they did very well together for 20 minutes. I love that she comes at 9 am, does her work, and leaves at 6 pm. I love that she is not here more days than she is here, and that she has other Americans she works for during the week. There seems to be no hidden agenda. I don't dread seeing her in the morning and I don't worry about what she's going to do next. My stress level has decreased exponentially in the last week. Of course, we are still in the honeymoon stage but I have great expectations that this one will work out much better. I also like that I am still doing some work in the house (I collect and start the laundry before she arrives so that she can hang it up to dry when she gets in, and I do some dishes and cooking on the other days) and I like that I don't fear giving Grace to her. What a relief!

Charles: He is good and looking forward to one month off from work to be home with his family. Grace recognizes him now and when he puts her car-seat in the car or brings it in the house she smiles and babbles to him and he seems to really love that. He even told Kristoffer, "Grace knows me!" His own daughter is now almost 2 months old and he can't wait to be home with her for a month.

Internet/Electricity: Because of our power cuts three days a week our internet company has been having a lot of trouble with new equipment on our compound for our internet use. That is why last week we had 2 days of no internet. I have no doubt that we are way too dependent on the internet, but living so far away I really do feel it is our lifeline to family, friends, and the rest of the world so it drives me absolutely CRAZY when we don't have it to use on the days when we do have power. I find that even when we do have power I am trying harder to conserve it, but I am definitely looking forward to my time in the US where power is not an issue.

About the fiber-optic cable that arrived in Kenya for greater bandwidth on the internet: We have friends who can now watch YouTube videos and upload pictures and websites, etc. so quickly! They are loving the "like home" speed of the internet. They use a different provider, however, and our company says we are hooked up and should have faster speeds BUT we don't. There has been no change at all in what we can do or how fast we can do it. I don't have the energy to fight them on it before leaving on Thursday night, but when I get back we will switch to another provider if they don't get their act together.

Kenya: Conditions are not improving. The country is dealing with a drought whilst getting ready for potential El Nino floods. My hairdresser says that if El Nino comes it will be here for months and it will include days with 6 hours of torrential rain (like raining many inches in an hour). Roads will be ruined and people will die. It will stop for a few days a time and be sunny and nice, but will then be really bad for a few weeks. It could go on for months.

My boss from UNICEF came over to visit yesterday and brought with her news of corruption and fraud in the education sector in Kenya. I would like to say that I'm surprised, but that would be a bold-faced lie. The World Bank is now freezing funds to Kenya as they investigate the disappearance of large sums of their money from key education projects in the Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (KESSP - for which I attended some meetings and did a little work when I was at UNICEF). Project management from within the government is suspected of stealing the money - sigh - and so the World Bank will suspend further lending until they understand the situation better. This is where it is obvious to me that Kenya is its own worst enemy. At a time when people are really suffering and the country is lucky to have any funding it can get, it now puts future donor support in complete jeopardy and continues to confirm everyone's doubts about a country that can't appropriately regulate its own government.

Never a dull moment over here. That's all folks!
LMW

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