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International Postcard Swap for Familes

Monday, April 26, 2010

Zoe at Playing by the book recently sent me an email inviting me to participate in an International Postcard Swap for Families that she is hosting.

I quickly agreed to play along, because I think the Monster will get quite excited about it, and it's a great opportunity for him to see that mail can be more than the stickers and hockey cards that his grandpa sends him from Canada from time to time.

The idea is this:

Send postcards to 5 families (she will provide us with 5 addresses of others participating in the swap), and receive postcards from 5 different families. She is hoping that there will be enough international participation that each of us will receive mail from at least 3 different countries.

(Monster is into countries. Carnivorology is still his primary passion, but he digs countries, too. So this will be a great way for him to maybe learn about or feel a connection to some new ones. Of course, when the World Cup starts in June, he will be in flag- and country-learning bliss).

Your postcard can be store-bought or home-made, and you can write whatever you want on it, though she suggests offering a kids' book recommendation, as an interest in kids' literature is what brings her readers together. She also recommends some books to read with the kiddies about sending and receiving mail.

I'm planning to let the Monster tell me what to write, if he wants to, and I also think that recipients would probably love to just hear a little bit about where we live.

All the details about how to sign up are here. The deadline for signing up is Friday, April 30th.

And if, by chance, you are one of the people I get assigned to send a postcard to - be patient! - mail takes its time here in Macondo.

Waiting and wallowing in the shitty

Friday, April 23, 2010

I am sick today. Looks like strep.

I'm all alone, all ache-y and groan-y, and surprised and relieved that Macondo Papa found a way to keep both kids out of the house all day. (Wow, I haven't nursed Monkey in over eight hours, and counting!)

A few days ago, I wrote about how I was feeling pretty down. I got some great advice from two of my favourite bloggers, counselling me basically to wait, wallow and embrace the shitty.

Well, it would appear that my body took heed of these wise words and has given me a really fantastic reason to feel like shit. Bodies are great that way.

But all kidding aside, my body often finds a way to render me bed-ridden when things feel like a bit too much, and until now, it has worked. (With the exception of when I had dengue fever), I eventually emerge from my sweaty sheets or my crazy-making itchies with renewed energy and a fresh perspective.

Even I knew that what would help was some alone time. It would have been better if it could have been while strolling along the beach, or burying myself in a good book (aahhh, that sounds heavenly), but I am going to take what I can get.

For example? A whole blog post started and finished on the same day, in just about 15 minutes, with no interruptions. Unbelievable..

Grumpity grump

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I am bummed. I don't know if it's just one of those things, one of those weeks, I don't know what's really going on.

But I feel tired, and empty, and bored, and boring.

I almost never write about "things" when I feel this way, but I should. So I am going to just try to complain and grump without worrying about this post. Otherwise I might turn it into a cheesy pep talk, as is my tendency, and I just don't feel like a cheesy pep talk right now.

My gripes?

- I am not exercising my body or my mind.

- I am not reading anything. I am not reading anything (except for blogs, which are awesome, and I love, but I miss books, and my brain misses books).

- The few times I have tried to stretch, my kids jump on me wanting to play horsey or "Attack".

- The few times I have had 30 minutes when I could have done something, I've done nothing. The somethings I'm not doing? Going for a run, reading a book, stretching, brainstorming PhD ideas, writing a thoughtful blog post, cutting my toenails, napping... Instead I wash the dishes or fold laundry or check my email or catch up on blogs.

- I am not pushing myself to do anything challenging or substantial with this blog.

- I do not have any really close friends here. My one good friend, kind of by default though I love her anyways, is so caught up in her world-class stay-at-home mommy-ness that I can't discuss the things that are most angsting me out right now.

- What on earth am I going to do with my life? A Phd? When??? And a research topic would help, too.

- If kids only go to school for half-days in Argentina, does that mean that I or Macondo Papa can only work/study for half days? Until they are teenagers? If I'm honest with myself, can I really be happy with that? Can I do things? How can I reconcile my desire to be a present parent, and how that resonates with me, with my restlessness and feelings of what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life.

- Do I just need to be patient? Wait till the kids are a little bigger, until I am regularly sleeping through the night, until the Monkey is settled into daycare? Am I just in that in-between zone, when my baby is old enough to start to need me less and I am starting to want some more independence, but we're just not all quite there yet? Should I just relax and trust that in a year I will be more me, and my body and mind and future will still be there? Or do I need to take charge of my life, make some changes and start figuring out what comes next?

- Other moms read, they write thoughtfully, they enjoy social lives, they take care of their bodies, they study something or create beautiful things - all of this above and beyond the whole mom thing. I'm not talking about the supermom thing. I'm talking about being a whole person, and a happy person.

- I am at home with the kids all the time, but not doing anything particularly creative or stimulating or awesome-parent-y with them. Yeah, I pull out the plasticine, markers, coloured glue and all that. I read stories. When forced and nagged to, I pretend that my pterodactyl narrowly escapes attack after attack by the fearsome tyrannosaurus rex.

But I am not creating a magical childhood for them. Not most of the time. We don't go on many adventure walks, we don't do many projects, I am rarely the playful or resourceful parent I wish I were (that hurts so much to say, but I am trying really hard to be honest).

- Changing any of these things for the better will require energy, and I just don't have any. I am disappointed in myself.


I have no idea how to finish this self-absorbed rant, but I am not going to do it by recognizing how much good fortune and beauty I have in my life and how it is really, truly quite a sparkly, wonderful life, despite my occasional bouts of gloominess. Okay?

The longest transition

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I've been waiting for the Monkey's daycare situation to be resolved before recounting the saga here, but now I am wondering: is that ever going to happen??? 

Here we are, daycare #3 since school started in March, and we are trying, patiently, to transition him in without any excessive heart-wrenching-ness.  We stay with him, slowly trying to interact less and less so that he can interact more and more with his teacher. We stand around like trees in the playground, crouch on kiddie chairs during craft-time and snack-time, linger at the back of the line to see if he will go willingly back into the room without us...

One day there's progress, the next day he's clingy. And so on. And so on.

And then!

Then there is conjunctivitis, abundant eye goop, and he is at home. One day, two days, (how many more days?), letting all our "progress" slip away, waiting for the green eye boogers to go away before we can start the whole thing again.

Good thing we are so chronically under-employed, I guess, and can drag out this horrible transition-adaptation-separation thing to such a painfully boring and unproductive extent.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Oooo, getting rid of stuff really feels so good.

Selling and giving away and dumping all of our stuff when we left Canada was pretty painful. We lost lots of stuff the likes of which we will never have again. All the loot we scored when my parents split up, for example: a hand-carved chest of drawers; a gorgeous, funky, metal platform bed; a porch swing. It hurts a bit just to think about it.

But being given the go-ahead to dump all the stuff we don't want in our rental house? This house filled with somebody else's fake flowers, straw bouquets, ginormous sombreros, broken lawn chairs and a full collection of chicken-shaped baskets?

It was sweet.

broken lawn chairs
(In hindsight, I should have taken a picture of the chicken baskets instead of the chairs).

There was no slow picking through things, debating if we would miss them or eventually use them or if someone else might get some use out of them. There was no need to make separate piles - this yes, this no, this we can give to so-and-so, this I'm not sure about.

We had stuffed it all into boxes long ago. There is only so long that you can live with so many chicken-shaped baskets.

So we just pulled it all out of the shed, piled it all together, asked the caretaker if he wanted anything, and we DUMPED IT on the corner. Fake flowers and large straw bouquets for whoever wants 'em!

Now, imagine me wiping the dust off my hands, extremely satisfied with all the reclaimed space in our little shed. Yay!

Communicating with my kid's school. Dog, orange, sailboat.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A few days ago, Monster's school** posted a little news item on their blog, reporting that some of the high school classes had taken a field trip to Wal-Mart. But not just that they had visited Wal-Mart.

We were informed that they visited this upstanding company to learn about their social commitment and their concern with sustainable development and environmental issues.

Cough. Cough. Gag.

I couldn't help it. I couldn't help myself. I posted a comment suggesting that some critical analysis would make such visits more meaningful and educational. I offered a whole bunch of links for anyone interested in further research (many from here).

But, I did not reread my comment several dozen times to be sure that it said what I wanted it to. And I admit, it came out a bit too judgmental. It wasn't as diplomatic as I would have liked (definitely not one of my strengths, as much as I loathe confrontation). I know that teachers work really hard, and I also know that I can not expect the impossible of teachers here in Macondo.

(We have spoken up about some things before, and we have also kept quiet about so much).

I really meant my comments to be...um, helpful? I don't know. I just couldn't let the 'upstanding company' thing go by without a comment.

I may not be engaged in any great activist campaigns or world-changing projects out here in Macondo, but I thought I could at least try to make a few itsy bitsy spaces for some critical analysis. Offer some alternative viewpoints. And object, no matter how timidly, to multinational companies using schools as privileged entryways to bombard our kids with their barely camouflaged advertising.

My comment has received two responses:
  • One, from a student, saying that going to the supermarket with his classmates was an unforgettable experience (?). Yup, this is a small town, folks.
  • And the other, from a teacher, saying (very politely) that since I had no idea what the objectives of the visit were, I could not really comment on the value of the activity.
And now I have this nervous, sinking feeling in my stomach and a horrible taste in my mouth. (Have I mentioned that I really dislike confrontation?) I need to address his comment, apologize for coming across too strong, but restate my concern.

On one hand, I know that I am on a different planet. I will say 'ABC', and the only answers I will get will be 'dog, orange, sailboat', or 'dksolw.ddoips' or, in the best of cases, '????'.

On the other hand, I live here, this is the Monster's school, I have to at least try. Right? But I kind of want to run away and never face anyone at the school again. I know, I know, what strong activist convictions.

I am sorry that all this happened a week too late to write up my problem for entry in the carnival of natural parenting. This month the theme was to ask for parenting advice, and I could definitely use some:
  • How involved in this do I want to get? 
  • How can I be diplomatic and critical when dealing with my kid's school? How can I introduce social justice and diversity issues?
  • If my son is only in kindergarten, should I just give up on caring what the high school kids are doing?
  • Am I crazy to think that we can offer an alternative, critical education here at home while our kids become part of a mainstream, conservative education system (public or private)?
  • How can I stop feeling physically sick every time I find myself in a confrontation or disagreement? I would so love to feel confident that I could express my concerns or opinions in an articulate and respectful way and not want to run away immediately afterward. (Yes, just a huge little problem I thought I would slip in at the last minute).

**We have never been thrilled about this school. But, despite our efforts, we have not found anything better, and we have found many that are considerably worse. So for now, it is what it is. He's in junior kindergarten, he's happy, he adores his teacher, he has friends. We will whisk him away from here, to more inspiring educational landscapes, before any major damage can be done.


If you are the procrastinating type, then don't check out this site, unless you have a real, legitimate need for a seal or a church sign or a new soft drink.

Pushing my first baby into the world

Thursday, April 8, 2010

This post is for the 5th Healthy Birth Blog Carnival: Get Up, Stand Up! at Science & Sensibility (my first carnival, yay!). All the other carnival entries will soon be posted at Science & Sensibility.


Pushing is such a strange and special part of the whole labour experience.

All of a sudden, things are not happening to you, you are not just coping with the contractions, breathing, counting, swaying, moaning, or whatever works. Whatever zone or rhythm you managed to find (or not), you now have to shift gears.

Both of my births were very, very quick, what is termed precipitous labour. The first was less than three hours of active labour, the second was less than an hour (note that fast does not mean easy). So I did not have a lot of time to get used to the first stage of labour before I found myself pushing and I could feel my babies pushing my hips apart and moving out of me.

Because precipitous births are so rare (around 2% of first-time births), I feel strange about sharing my birth experience - and in this case, my pushing experience - as examples that anyone should be able to learn from. But, I have learned so much.

So, I thought I would just share a few memories and reflections on pushing out my oldest son.

(I spent all of my youngest son's birth trying not to push, hoping that a midwife would get there in time. She did, just in time for my last contraction. But that is a birth story for another day.)


My Monster was born (four years ago!) at home, in a planned, midwife-assisted home birth.

While pregnant, I had definitely devoted much more of my attention to preparing mentally for the first stage of labour, basically focussing on how I would cope with pain.

The only pushing-related advice I got before going into labour (from my midwife-centred birth prep class) was to push when I was ready, to push during contractions and rest in between, and that proper pushing felt exactly like trying to poo.

My midwives heard that I was ready to push before I was even aware that I was already pushing. I made a grunting, bearing-down kind of sound during a contraction, and they commented that it sounded like I wanted to push, and that I could go ahead.

I was on my back, because I had just had my first, and only, exam to see how dilated I was (already 9cm when the midwives arrived at my house). Having read and heard so much about not birthing on your back, I asked the midwives if I should change positions.

I honestly did not feel like I wanted to be in one position or another. What I wanted, was for the whole labour thing to be over, please.

But my midwives said that I was pushing very well, and that if I was comfortable (ha!), I could stay in that position, pull my knees to my chest, and keep going.

One of them had already explained her ideas about labour positions to me during one of my regular pre-natal visits. She believed that there were many positions to labour in, and that all women and all births were different. She encouraged moving around as much as was desired and helpful during labour, but she did not rule out lying on your back as an acceptable position if it was comfortable.

Once I was actually pushing, their advice was so helpful, and their encouragement was so...encouraging.
  • They told me to keep my voice (actually, shrieks) low, to send all that energy down to my pelvic floor, to use it to push. I learned that my voice is energy. This gave me so much strength, and was invaluable in my second birth, when no midwife was present until the very end.
  • They reminded me to breathe - before I pushed and afterward, between contractions. 
  • They told me exactly what was happening, what they could see and what they could feel, at every push. At one point I was invited to touch my baby's squishy, slimy head as he was crowning.
  • They involved my partner in perfect ways, supporting his support of me, and inviting him to watch and touch as the baby crowned.
  • They gooped olive oil onto me and applied pressure to my perineum just so, and I pushed my Monster out of me with no more than a tiny little scratch. (Having observed this, too, proved to be incredibly useful in my second birth, when we were on our own as the baby crowned and thought we would possibly have to deliver the baby ourselves!)
After a few pushes, I somehow realized that I had to change gears. Pushing was up to me. I wasn't supposed to lie there and cope with it, counting and breathing and moaning until it was over. It was time to be active, to decide when to push, when to breathe, when to rest.

When I was pushing, really pushing, I felt powerful. When I realized that I was in charge of pushing, and when I felt my contractions as guides to how often and for how long I should push, I started to reel in my mounting panic and to harness my energy.

I passed from the chaotic intensity of the first stage of labour, during which I felt little control, to a state of concrete doing. I was pushing, and it was productive. (This is what I most wish someone had prepared me for before I went into labour.)

It took another push or two as my new approach started to click and I incorporated my midwives' advice, and then it was really happening, I could feel how close I was. Soon my baby's head was out. I really wanted it all to be over, and somehow my mind and my body both worked together with every ounce of effort I had in me to push those shoulders and the rest of the baby out.

That last push was so full of intent, I don't know how else to describe it. But it is a pretty wonderful thing that babies are born precisely at that moment, a moment of agency and strength, and not during what, for me, was a panicky and extreeeemely painful first stage of contractions and dilation.

After less than half an hour of pushing, my baby was crying madly on my chest, enveloped by his shocked mama and his awestruck papa.

Several days later, when I was starting to heal but was still feeling quite intense pain, we realized that I had broken my tailbone during labour, though I am not sure exactly when (which goes to show how much general pain I was feeling, to not notice a little thing like a broken tailbone).

At one point in my pregnancy, we had discussed that this was a possibility; I had broken my tailbone as a child, making it more likely that I would break it again during childbirth. Luckily, I forgot about this detail during labour and did not focus on this terrifying possibility. Unfortunately, my midwives, too, forgot about it,  or they would have advised against birthing on my back.

In retrospect, birthing on my side would have been ideal.

Squatting, or any other position in which gravity helps to 'push' the baby out, would not have been a good idea, given the speed with which my Monster came into the world of his (and my) own accord. But given my previous tailbone problems, side-lying would have given the baby the most room to avoid bumping into any of my bones, without speeding things along unnecessarily.

Unsurprisingly, I did not birth on my back again. And, possibly as a result - or not - I did not break my tailbone again.

I learned many other things from my birth experience. Unfortunately, telling my next midwife that she had to come RIGHT AWAY was not one of them.

But, what I am happy to still carry with me - physically, mentally and emotionally - and to be able to call upon when necessary, is a strength that lies in the knowledge that my body and I can do the most extraordinary things.

A feminist critique of pop star Arjona (in Spanish)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

For any Spanish speakers out there who are not fans of Arjona - the master of bad lyrics and total cheese - I highly recommend this feminist takedown of him and his barfingly bad music:

¿Por qué nos gusta tanto Arjona?

This woman with a tampon in her ear was on the cover of the LAS12 supplement in last Friday's Página/12, with several articles offering a 'critical analysis of his most famous songs'.

Hilarious. Make sure you read the subnotas.

Parasites and our new normal

Monday, April 5, 2010

When it came to parasites, my 'old normal' used to be: Don't have any.

When this standard was not met, the course of action was: Get rid of the parasites.

Following treatment, everything would return to normal, as in, No Parasites.

Not that I had all that many opportunities to put it all into practice. Really, it was just the 150 times or so that I got scabies during my Latin American travels, proving nothing more than that I am the most susceptible person in the entire world to the itchiest problem in the entire world. And that having to regularly trek through little mountain villages looking for a señora I could pay to boil all of my clothes is a great way to get off the beaten path.

But here in Macondo, things are different. As with bedtimes and organic food, living here means we have had to accept a new normal for parasites, too (I was going to write 'embrace', but I'm not exactly 'embracing' my parasites, no.)

Example 1: Intestinal Parasites

Apparently, 95% of the population here has intestinal parasites. Presumably, that means me and my family too. So the idea is not to eradicate the parasites and thus be free of the buggers (impossible!). The idea is not even to do the less-than-pleasant analysis that could confirm their presence (collecting and scooping your poo into jars with those little plastic forky spoon things for 10 days), because, well, it is less than pleasant, but it also gives a lot of false negatives, so even if they tell you you're clean, you don't believe them, since 95% means your chances are pretty damn good, and false negatives are common.

Instead, it's all about keeping your parasite load at a manageable level. It is unclear to me exactly what is manageable and what is not, but somewhere in the middle is making sure that you're healthy, your kids are growing, you don't see things moving around in anyone's poo, but you're also not overdosing on anti-parasite medication that will strip you of your stomach lining and load you up with pharmaceutical toxins.

So, in terms of prevention, keeping things clean matters more here than it did in Canada. Clean as in CLEAN, not tidy. Clean as in more than just wiping surfaces. Clean as in using fingernail brushes for the kids after playing in the dirt, and mopping the floors with vinegar (and even bleach, sometimes). I know that clean is always good, but here it's even better. We can't possibly keep up with it, but we (sometimes) try.

And, every six months we do three days of de-parasitizing medication (pills for the grown-ups, liquid for the kiddies). We time it to coincide with our close family friends, so we can all get de-bugged together and not contaminate each other's efforts. We will stop when the kids are a little bigger, but we feel that their growth and nutrition is particularly important while they are small.

(This, and I give the kids homeopathic stuff to suck on when they are teething and choose not to give them all of the vaccinations that are officially recommended. Macondo is not exactly the easiest place to be all that coherent.)

Example 2: Head Lice

When the Monster was at daycare in Canada, he brought a note home with him one day notifying us that there had been a few kids with lice. The note explained how to check for and treat lice, and asked us to keep him at home if he did have lice until he was lice-free.

He didn't have any lice, so that was that.

Two years later, now in preschool in Argentina, we discovered one day that he had lice. We called our friends who were on their way over for a play-date, in case they wanted to cancel. Their pediatrician dad had a good laugh at our expense. Lice was definitely not play-date cancellation material.

His indications did not include any special treatment of our clothes, sheets, pillows or any of the hassle that I thought lice generally entailed.
Nah. Wash his hair. You can use one of the lice shampoos if you want. Then just make sure to comb his hair carefully with a nit comb every day for the next few weeks, and then keep doing it every once in a while, always.

We rinsed his hair in vinegar and combed out quite a few lice and eggs that first night. The next few days I kept combing, and kept finding less and less. Until I didn't find any more.

I still do it every few weeks (about six months later), but I haven't found any more lice. This doesn't say much other than that he is not terribly susceptible.

(I must say, I actually quite like this new activity. It is surprisingly satisfying, either finding a little critter and getting rid of it, or not finding anything and declaring him critter-free. And it makes me feel very Mama Mammal, grooming my young.)

Many kids and their teachers here have lice, meaning not that they are crawling with lice, which is the way it first sounded to my ears, but that they repeatedly get it and control it. Without huge expense, and in many cases, without using lots of chemicals. Keeping them out of school and expecting the total eradication of lice would be unproductive and totally impractical.

So, there you have our new normal when it comes to parasites: 
  • accept it
  • don't let it get out of hand
  • occasionally resort to some chemicals
I hope I haven't grossed anyone out.

Our backyard birthday romp

Thursday, April 1, 2010

When I thank the birthday stars for Monster's 4th birthday party going so well, this is why:

Not only did a 40% chance of rain turn out to mean that it would be a lovely day, but nobody showing up for the first painstaking hour turned out to mean that the perfect mix of kids and grown-ups would come and a great time would be had by all.

Despite the birthday traditions of extravagance, commercialism and junk food here in this small town in Argentina, we managed to have a fun, low-key, backyard birthday romp without offending anyone (that I'm aware of) or violating too many sacred rules (relative lack of junk food notwithstanding).

Other than one family we are very close with, we don't have any friends here (boo hoo), so our invitations consisted of some mid-week phone calls to invite a few acquaintances with kids, and a last-minute decision to invite two of the Monster's classmates (a third was ruled out based on the unacceptability of having to make small talk with her parents). In all, we invited 9 kids and their parents, and 5 kids and their parents actually showed up.

We had a good supply of juice, water and maté, bakery munchies and meat sandwiches (I'm the only vegetarian around these parts), chocolate birthday cake made by the beloved abuela (grandmother), and some apple slices I put out as an experiment just to prove a point (a few did get eaten).

The all-important party gear included whistles, party hats, clown noses, masks, face paint, dress-up stuff, musical instruments, chalk for drawing on the walls, bubbles for blowing, and kids' music at a reasonable volume.

Our shocking birthday party attire? Monster wore his favourite shorts, his nose painted red, and a big spider web painted on his chest (his idea). I wore my bare feet, a skirt and a tank top. Monkey wore a diaper, and Macondo Papa relied on his standard shorts and t-shirt. I only include this fashion note because of the contrast with other birthday parties we've attended here (and with some of our guests).

The alternative piñata I stuffed was full of balloons, whistles and little plastic animals. The awesome loot bags we gave away had bendy pencils, a pencil sharpener, little plastic animals, a little package of plasticine, a little (store-bought) container of bubble solution, and a lollipop.

I know, you're all reeling from my creativity and counterculture audacity. What can I say? This is revolutionary stuff here in Macondo (check out these parties for comparison).

(Let me just stop for a minute to award myself a non-commercial medal for trying harder than was reasonable to find all of these things without a TV or movie character plastered all over them. I went out of my way and over the top. Beyond the call of duty. I'm talking about going all over the nearby city trying to hunt down birthday items without barney, without barbie, without anything disney, without spiderman. The more I looked, the more determined I became that I would NOT get that stuff just because there was no other option. And I got pissed off, too. Anyways, now I have my very own medal to prove it all.)

Up our sleeves, should they be needed, we had a few party tricks, like pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, hide-and-seek and a treasure hunt.

As it turned out, the kids ran around and yelled and jumped and danced and laughed and painted and blew bubbles and blew on whistles and got dirty in the dirt. There was a fairly bizarre game of hide-and-seek, in which all the kids would hide together in the same place, every time, and one kid would look for them in the same place, every time, and then they would all run together to the other end of the yard, every time. Good times.

So good, in fact, that except for when I was needed to help find a special whistle, put on a mask, take special care of a piece of cake or provide refuge during the happy birthday song, I barely saw the Monster at all.

The grown-ups, too, had fun. There was some dancing, but mainly talking. With promises to spend more time with one of our acquaintances who may soon become a friend. And connections with two of the Monster's classmates, who now have open invitations to come and visit him and enjoy the beach and our backyard when they want to get out of the city. I would say there is no chance that their parents will become our friends, but at least an afternoon of forced social interaction while our kids play seems tolerable. This may not seem like much, but you have no idea. Trust me.

The only mishap occurred when a pair of scissors made it into some enthusiastic hands, causing a slight alteration to our curtain-that-keeps-the-flies-out-but-not-the-mosquitoes-so-what's-the-point (the subject of an ongoing debate with Macondo Papa). The fact that it makes it into a kid-sized door makes it kind of cute, I think (especially since the curtain was useless anyways, against mosquitoes, that is - ahem).

Here are two additional party moments:

Me: Monkey! Where are you? Monkey?
Daughter of our close friends (2.5 years old): [Runs out from behind a bush] We're sitting behind that bush giving each other kisses.

Son of our close friends (5 years old): [In the car on the way home] That was the best party ever. I played with everybody. And I didn't get a lot of candy in my loot bag, but it doesn't matter because now you don't have to decide what I can eat and what I can't. And I got lots of cool stuff to play with.

Now that it's over, I have relaxed, and so I have predictably gotten sick. Thankfully, this time I'm the only one that's sick right now, so I get to lie in bed and moan a bit, which makes it much better.
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