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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Four Letter "L" Word

You don't see it coming. It hits you when you least expect it. Once you've got it, it gets in your head and is difficult to shake.

The Four Letter "L" Word has invaded our home. It's not love. It's Lice.

Now, before you think that we are dirtbags, let me just say that lice in Argentina is like the common cold in the US. No one wants it, but everyone gets it sooner or later. You don't go running to hang out with someone who has lice, but no one batted an eye when I informed them that our precious little girl had these nasty little buggers. The kids at school, her playmates, anyone she was in contact with over the last few days, literally no one took issue with the news.

This is strikingly different than my experience where if someone had lice in school they were expected to stay at home for at least a day or two, and even then you were scooting your desk away from the poor kid. When I told the other moms at Gretchen's kindergarten, I got messages back that said "Don't worry, it happens", "It normal!" and my personal favorite "It is that time of year...". Who knew, there is a time of year for lice?!

Anyways, I'm glad we went through it down here, this country is prepared for a breakout. After a bath, I checked Gretchen (who had recently complained that her head hurt to my mom) and confirmed that, yep, she had lice. I went to the closest pharmacy immediately, like, within seconds I was there, and asked for a peine para piojos, aka a nit comb. So, for all those folks out there afraid to ask for the translation of these nasty little creatures; piojos = lice, liendres = nits (the lice eggs). I hope you weren't eating.

The pharmacist recommended a treatment for a 2-year old child. I have no idea what chemicals it contains, I just wanted to contain and eradicate as soon as possible. So, I walked out of the pharmacy with a treatment called Nopucid and a nit comb called Assy 2000. (Apparently Assy is the most popular anti-lice product brand. How can you not laugh at that??)

After her bath, while her hair was still wet, we painstakingly combed through her lovely locks, every.single.strand. and rinsed the comb in rubbing alcohol. When her hair dried, we applied the treatment - not for the faint of heart, the stuff smells terrible -and then covered her with a swim cap for 10 minutes while the treatment worked it's magic.  My this time, we were starving, so we had dinner with the lice treatment doing it's thing. Gretchen didn't seem to mind.

 After the 10 minutes was up, we rinsed (and rinsed, and rinsed) and then washed her hair again. Before her hair was dry, I went through each strand again with the comb. Mommy's hair salon is what we called the whole process and she was a saint through the whole thing. Honestly, she probably thinks lice is the greatest because she got to play on the iPad for like 2 hours while I combed through her hair. The combination worked - we have been lice-free for a while now, and it only took one treatment.

We washed her bedding, giraffe blankets and pillows that she uses everyday. We also threw in the clothes she wore that day (including jackets) and all of the throw blankets on our couch. We vacuumed and dusted and cleaned all of the items used near/for the treatment. That being said, we didn't go crazy with the cleaning, we just washed the items that had been in direct contact with her head.

Miracle #2, no one else has been effected! We have been looking through Alex's luscious locks every day and nothing has been detected, and both Jon and I have avoided this fate.

So don't discriminate against people with lice, it's just bad luck sometimes! And it was much easier than I thought to get rid of the little pests - one night of hard work and we were good to go.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Post Our Son Will Hate

About 12 weeks into my pregnancy with Alex, we found out that we were having a baby boy. We would not have to decide if we wanted ear piercing at birth (a service that we declined with Gretchen), but we were faced with a new, more masculine decision to make...

Jon and I always knew that if we had a boy, we would go the circumcision route. There are a number of reasons that we made this choice - none of which I will bore you with now. This post is not about why or why not to circumcise, it is about how to do it in Buenos Aires if you choose to snip.

We took it for granted that hospitals in the US perform this procedure automatically, because in the majority of the rest of the world circumcision is not a common request. Argentina falls into this category - outside of religious reasons - there isn't a clear cut way of going about booking this procedure. No pun intended.

Asked my pediatrician and my OB for recommendations, and they both recommended Dr. Raul Korman (Recoleta, Azcuenaga 1517 Piso 1C, 4805-1681). He is a local pediatrician that, from what we can gather, performs circumcisions for foreigners on the side. He takes some local insurances, though unfortunately for us, he did not accept ours. I went in for a consultation appointment with Dr. Korman when I was 35 weeks pregnant, just in case our little man arrived early, and was instructed to call him when the baby was born and we would make an appointment for the surgery. The consultation took all of 10 minutes (after he described that he uses the same method used in the US I didn't have a whole lot of follow up questions) and cost $300 pesos. He also explained that there is not a hospital in the city that will allow him to perform the procedure on their property, so we needed to bring our baby to his office as soon as we were comfortable with after his birth - assuming the birth is healthy and recovery is normal.

It was our hope to have the procedure done as soon as possible after birth, so I called Dr. Korman the day we were released from the hospital - and his wife answered the phone. She told me to call his office. I did. His secretary told me that I needed to come in for a consultation, I explained that I already had. She told me that there was no way to make an appointment for the procedure until we brought Alex in for a "review" with the doctor. So I made an appointment later in the week, when Alex was 6 days old. I should have known better. I should have insisted on talking to the doctor. I have lived in Argentina for four years - I really should have learned my lesson by now.

Anyways, we loaded up the car for our first family outing and went to Dr. Korman's office. His secretary took my information, and told me that it would be $300 pesos for a consultation. Woah, woah, I say, I've already done this - paid my consultation fee for this procedure, I'm not doing it again. She sensed my post-birth irrational emotional state and said that she would check with the doctor before charging us. Needless to say, Dr. Korman starts our consultation with "You really should have called first", to which I explained that I had, both to his home and the office. His response was, basically, Oops, sorry about that, let's go ahead and book the procedure. So we booked for the following week, left without being charged, and I was kicking myself for the rest of the night for the wasted trip.

All this to say, if you plan on circumcising your son, there is only one consultation necessary - don't do what we did.

We went back for a morning appointment when Alex was 13 days old, the procedure was quick and easy (hopefully painless, or at least he will not remember it...), we paid the doctor $4,000 pesos and headed home for the day. We were given a prescription for antibiotic cream and instructions not to bath Alex for 5 days.

Outside of the wasted trip, this was not an overly laborious process. The only complication that I ran into was that no doctor would write me a prescription for the procedure (since it is elective) therefore, our local insurance will not cover it. I am happy to report that Alex is completely healed, and we are pleased with the results. I will spare him the addition of any photographs related to this post, but here is a new shot of our precious little boy just being cute:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Kindness of Friends

After we had Gretchen, we took a few days to be on our own, and then jumped right back into life. We brought her out to dinner when she was 12 days old, we went to the park when she was a mere 7 days old, and in general, life was pretty much back to normal (with the new inclusion of an infant) almost right away.

Things have been different this time around, and I'm blaming the c-section. Holy recovery time! I had no clue how good I had it the first time around! Between that ad the fact that there are now two little ones to entertain/feed/enjoy all day long (and into the night...) we are taking much longer to get back on our feet.  Needless to say, we are thrilled to be expecting grandparents to start arriving next week.

Luckily, our kids are great. Alex is sleeping and eating like a champ, Gretchen has embraced her role as a big sister - and kept the hilarious and often frustrating role as a 2 year old - virtually without incident. Potty training is still going great and life in general is pretty good. The tough part is having these great, fun little ones, and parents that are tired and recovering. It makes for a few "movie afternoons" and "french toast for dinner" nights. We are also lucky in the sense that Gretchen loves all of those things.

It's times like these that make living far from family hard. We would love to have everyone less than a 12 hour flight away - it's just not in the cards for us at the moment. So, I would like to express my thanks to our friends and local support folks that have helped us (more specifically, me) through these early days as a family of four.

So many offers to help, so many visitors that stay just the right amount of time, it has been heartwarming to have so many people reach out to us!

These beautiful flowers that were delivered (I don't even know how you do that here...) to our door, sent by my friend Miyoung:

The lovely ladies at SACS who brought flowers and the killer chocolates from Vasalissa - my favorite! Every night when I was going to eat just one, I ended up with a row of empty wrappers.

And this basket from our friends Jake and Becky that arrived on the morning after Alex and I left the hospital. How thoughtful is this?! Homemade goodies in their own labeled bags - complete with the recipes for said goodies. She even wrote notes about substitutions and omissions that she made. These treats were gobbled down very quickly, and the Homemade Granola (complete with yogurt that didn't make the picture, I had already eaten it...) is a recipe I have already made 2 times on my own. If you are interested in making the best granola ever, visit the 100 Days of Real Food recipe. Becky even left out the coconut, which I was happy to do without!

We are so happy to have these little reminders that even though we're far from home, people are looking out for us. And when the grandparents do arrive, we will greet them with our best 10-point smiles!
Hokie Twinsies!

Little smiles from our little boy!