Friday, August 26, 2011

Caged Bird

When Ceiba comes home from the bus, I wait inside the walls of our apartment property. I stand behind these bars and watch the world go by. It isn't that Dhaka is that unsafe, but it's also not necessary to advertise to the world that expats live where we do. Though it is impossible for a light haired, blue eyed, caucasian woman to "blend" into Bangladesh, why draw more attention than necessary. Often, passers by will notice me behind the bars and rubber neck to soak the scene in. They look at me like a caged zoo attraction.
So as I stood one day this week, I thought about how the view summed up most of our time since we've returned to Dhaka. Having an infant, not to mention a 4 year old, can be a bit immobilizing in a developing country. Heck, it's hard enough to be mobile and confident with a little one in the US, let alone have all the obstacles we face here on any given day.

For the first week back, Avocet pretty much wigged out We ventured to the commissary and to the embassy on separate days, each time getting stuck in about an hour of traffic to go all of 10ish blocks to get home. It wasn't pretty. She  fussed and cried and just did not enjoy the ride. I tried to soothe and hum and comfort and bounce and rock and not loose my tear-holding-in-control, all while knowing if I just nursed her, she would calm down. But, though I like our driver, we do not need to be on that personal of a relationship. So she cried most of the way home, and then I thought best to board us up at home for the next week until the jet lag and the overwhelmingness of Dhaka to her little self passed.

We are doing better and now feeling a bit more comfortable to venture further and further. We had a med unit well baby check this week, where Avocet tipped the scales at 13.4 lbs and 23.5 inches at 9 1/2 weeks. So she is doing great! And hopefully she is thriving on my nutrition as opposed to the alternative reason for her growth... some crazy pollutant from Dhaka or some kryptonite fertilizer they spread on the vegetables. Hopefully, it's the former :)

Of course the vaccinations from said medical appointment did not make her a very happy camper, so my evening plans to attend the school open house for Ceiba turned into the night at home. Chris represented both parents, while I comforted Avocet at home. Luckily, her little pitifulness was short lived.
Parents out there living abroad, we feel your pain. Most of us have no sidewalks for strollers, no koala kids for changing diapers, no high chairs at restaurants (heck not even many food safe restaurants), no snack packs or fruit snacks at the local grocery, no-way-would-I-put-my-kid-on-that-ride amusement parks. The list of what we don't have could go on forever... but then again so could the list of things that our children will experience that we never did as children.

Though there will always be days that are difficult to raise children as global nomads, we look forward with optimism at the wonderful world that our children will experience, touch, feel, smell and breath and not just read about in books.


  1. We live in a cage too. I'm grateful, but at the same time I hate living behind bars. It sounds like you are easing into a schedule despite the challenges being away from 'home' and child safe/focused activities. Having raise one since infancy in the State Dept, I have found that one's standards will become relaxed, or you just drive yourself batty. And despite all attemps to keep my son pristinely safe, he still licked the door knob of the main gate at the Forbidden City, among other extremely unsanitary toys, disposed beverages on the ground/left behind on shelves. He has the most amazing immune system and a healthy sense of adventure and excitement about life! Just go with it and do enjoy!

  2. Glad to hear and see from the pic above that Avocet is adjusting :) Her smile is priceless!!!! Ceiba is probably happy to be back at school and in a routine :) Can't wait for dance pics!!!! And having passers-by look at you in your cage isn't so bad, as long as they don't start throwing peanuts or something at you to see if they can feed you too! just kidding! Keep smiling!!!!

  3. I really appreciated this post today. I fight some of those same worries, although we have been truly lucky with our first post here in Armenia because it is VERY family friendly. But the sanitary standards still drive me a little nuts and with Madi being almost a year and a half, she's all over everything. So I was relieved to read NBN comments and that her sons immune system is stellar because of it!

  4. ohh I feel your pain! Brought Will back to China at 7 weeks and not only was the jetlag insanely difficult, but he too has wigged out everytime he goes out awake. What with the horrible pollution here and his wigging out, I've only left the house a few times in the last week. Sure is isolating, can't imagine what its like with 2 kids! Hang in there!