Wednesday, September 29, 2010

toy story

Greg is almost 12 weeks now, and he’s developed some new habits just this week. For example, he learned that he could suck on just his thumb, and not his whole fist. It’s fun to see him experiment with his fingers.

Just the other day, he finally started trying to touch and grab at things, instead of just looking at them. To encourage this new skill, I constructed a home-made play gym out of some sturdy pieces of furniture.

He also likes to look at the colorful pictures in his book while he has some tummy time:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Trip to Lae

On Monday we drove down to Lae – Brian was on a trip to buy some weed eaters and other supplies for the Industrial Department. Greg and I tagged along, for a chance to get out of town and so that I could do a little shopping of my own.

Greg was Brian’s boskru (i.e. he rode “shotgun”. The boskru is the person who rides in the passenger seat on a public bus and takes everyone’s money). Before you freak out about us putting our child in the front seat, let me explain. First of all, we are not in the United States anymore – there are no rules about children riding in cars. He’s lucky we have a carseat. Second, the van that we were driving only has seatbelts in the front, and it doesn’t have airbags. I decided that it was better that I bounce around in the back seat while he was strapped securely in the front.

At the guest house, Greg got to sleep underneath a mosquito net:

He also got to go swimming for the first time. Here he is, all decked out in his trendy neon-green swim diaper and non-matching clearance rack rash guard. So cool!

In the pool with dad:

Brian was able to buy all of his supplies (it’s rare that he finds everything on his list) and I got to do my shopping as well. What was on my list? First we went to the grocery store and stocked up on meat, which is cheaper in Lae than in Ukarumpa. My other main goal was to visit Pacific Foam and have some new cushions made. Here is a before picture of our living room sofa – stained and torn. We kept it covered with an old comforter because it really looked rather disgusting, and have dreamed of replacing the cushions for over a year now.

Brian and I had stopped at the furniture store and gazed longingly at the “real” sofas, but then we decided that spending $1,000 on new furniture was silly, when we could spend less than 10% of that to get new cushions made for the furniture that we had. We also brought in the old cushions from the glider chair that someone gave us, and left them at the factory to use as a sample. The next day, we came to pick up our order. They had done an amazing job copying the old chair cushions. We were very pleased. Here is the final product – much more classy, and more comfortable!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cloth diapers

Today is a Thursday, but we have the day off work. Why? Because September 16 is Papua New Guinea’s Independence Day.

It’s only 10am, but we’ve had a busy morning already. In-between feeding and changing and bathing the baby, We’ve baked a few loaves of bread, had a Skype conversation with Brian’s parents, given Brian and haircut, and done three loads of laundry.

Laundry is a tricky thing during the dry season, because you just can never be sure if the sun while shine or not, and we don’t have a clothes dryer. This has become more of an issue now that we are using cloth diapers for Greg. I have about a three-day supply of cloth diapers, but if the sun isn’t shining they may not dry completely, which means that I’m washing a load of diapers most days, just to play it safe!

Cloth diapers have come a long way from when my parents used them on me. Nowadays you can buy many different types of cloth diapers – it’s not just rubber pants any more. When I was pregnant, I asked around with other moms here in PNG to get the scoop, because the variety available is overwhelming. Today’s cloth diapers are pretty nice – they are shaped like disposables and even have Velcro. The only difference being that you wash and re-use them. And it sure saves us a bunch of money. So, today I’m saying “yay for sunshine!”

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Greg's 2-month photos

This is a little late, as he turned 2 months on the 8th, but here are a few photos that I took of him on that day. At two months, he’s smiling and making all sorts of noises – he’s a very social guy. He can also roll over from belly to back, but not the other way yet. We got very excited when two nights in a row he slept 8 hours, but since then we've regressed a little. On a good night he'll sleep for a 6-hour chunk.

With the tiger grandma sent:

His serious look:

Monday, September 13, 2010

U save SMS?

When we arrived in Papua New Guinea, the use of cell phones was rapidly increasing.  It had been less than a year since B-Mobile, the national telephone company met it’s first competitor – Digicel – an international company offering mobile phone service.  Now, many parts (though not all) of the country are serviced by at least one of the two mobile phone companies.

Last week I attended a seminar presented by Malinda Ginmaule, a Papua New Guinean who we recently hired as an intern in our linguistics department.  She did a research project as part of her university studies on how mobile phones and specifically text messaging (called SMS here) is affecting language use in PNG.  It was very interesting.

Most people use either English or Tok Pisin (two of the national languages) to send SMS messages, but it is also common to use their local vernacular or a mixture of languages.  Texting is all about efficiency, and so people will use whichever language can say things more concisely.  For example, instead of using the English “come,” you would use the Tok Pisin word “kam.”  Likewise, as in English, numbers are used to shorten words.  The Tok Pisin word “sipsip” (sheep) becomes “sip2” when you are texting.

In Papua New Guinea, most cell service is pre-paid, and you buy “top up” cards to add credit to your phone.  The cell phone companies offer a free SMS service in which you can send a text to a friend, requesting that they donate some of their credits to your phone.  We have often received requests from strangers to send them 20, 50, or even 100 kina worth of credits.  But now people are taking advantage of this free text service to send free coded messages to their friends. 

For instance, requesting 10 kina means “Thank you” (10Q)
Requesting 42 kina means “call me” (a four letter word followed by a two letter word)

Requesting 43 kina means “love you” (a four letter word followed by a three letter word)

Requesting 99 kina means “Night-night” (Good night)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Just for comparison

For those of you who like to play the “who does he look like?” game…

Here is a photo of Brian as a baby, wearing a 1950’s outfit that originally belonged to his father:

And here is a photo of Greg wearing the same outfit. They are roughly the same age in the two photos.