June 27, 2012
- Always place the baby on its back, including after feeding
- Clean the umbilical cord with alcohol every diaper change; keep diaper folded below cord; notify physician for drainage or odor
- Breastfeed every 2 to 3 hours on demand
- If feeding with formula, feed every 3 to 4 hours, burp every ½ to 1 ounce and after feeding
- Change soiled diapers quickly; diaper away from umbilical cord, swaddle up to 10 days
- Keep the baby’s bottom clean and dry paying attention to folds, girls clean front to back
- Newborns usually have 7 to 8 wet diapers/day; less for breast fed babies until milk is in
- Breast fed infants will have meconium which is greenish black, yellow, slightly watery and seedy stools
- Formula fed infants will have meconium that is greenish black, brown, pasty; note changes in pattern or very watery stool; notify physician if stools are watery
- Sponge bath every other day until cord or circumcision is completely healed; gather all articles needed before beginning with face, then body, hair last
- Keep circumcision clean until healed which is about 10 days. Notify physician for drainage, odor, failture to urinate, bleeding.
- Take infant’s temperature under its arm. Notify physician of temperature elevation as per physician instruction
- Infants sleep at least 16 hours per day; if crying; hold closely and securely
- Notify physician of any abnormal temperature, difficulty feeding, diarrhea, vomiting, unable to calm or other unusual symptoms
Don’t be a martyr. Ask for help if you need it or feel overwhelmed and above all, enjoy your new journey of motherhood. You will be blessed in more ways than you can imagine.
July 11, 2011
The jury has spoken and Casey Anthony will be released in exactly seven days. Ironically, her release from jail falls on a Sunday, when most people are communing with their Lord. I wonder if that’s an omen.
Orlando is a small town, contrary to its prominent persona of tourist attractions. I should know. I’ve lived here for over 15 years. The Anthony trial was practically in my backyard and the presiding judge attends my church. Despite all of the hoopla, I didn’t pay much attention to the notoriety until the closing arguments of the case. It’s not that I didn’t care it’s just that nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to the state of Florida. If it’s lewd, ridiculous, unethical and unfair, look for it to occur in Florida. I’m not going to pass judgment on Casey Anthony because the jury has spoken. But I never expected Anthony to ever see the light of day once the trial was over. But she will and let’s hope that the person who exits the jail is much different from the one who entered. Why? Because Anthony is young, presumably fertile and will probably become pregnant again. As a society, we need to provide her with a lesson in motherhood.
Children are our gifts and we as parents are their custodians, their nurturers and providers. We don’t own our children, they belong to our Creator. Unfortunately, they don’t come with a training manual; our experiences are usually based on trial and error. There is not a woman on this planet that has not experienced some level of anger or frustration either towards her children or her circumstances at some point in her life. Sometimes motherhood is a thankless job whose rewards are not immediately apparent. It involves delayed gratification, commitment, patience, and a profound sense of humor. Our children can be both our greatest source of happiness but also our greatest source of pain. It is a dichotomy, this vocation called motherhood. It is not for the faint of heart or an uncommitted soul. And it certainly isn’t for everyone. Therefore I implore Anthony to please consider all of her options before she ventures down the road of motherhood again. If she doesn’t want to have children, permanent sterilization is an option and if she has another child and decides that children are not part of her infamous tattoo that reads “Bella Vitta” or the good life, then please consider the option of adoption.
Caylee Anthony is dead. Neither a death sentence nor Casey’s freedom will ever resurrect her.
July 6, 2011
The drive through the streets of Addis was enlightening but not surprising. The streets were crowded with the movement of brown faces, cell phones, old women in layered clothes with shawl covered heads and teenage boys wearing hooded sweatshirts and urban culture. The poverty was glaring with tin-roofed shanty towns housing people who possessed the will to survive. Except for the rusted tin roofs and goat herders in the middle of the street, it could have been any urban city.
The adoption agency and its guest house were smack in the middle of the Hood. The van turned down a very narrow dirt alley with shanty towns on each side and stopped at a gray tin gate that was encased with barbwire. The driver got out of the car, rang a buzzer and a security guard appeared along with the tiniest female toddler with the brightest wide eyes, long eyelashes and the color of caramel candy. Alert and beautiful, she was immediately swooped up into my arms as I said hello. The other toddlers ran forward and the gate was immediately closed. I could clearly understand the need for a security guard. The driver introduced us to the staff and showed us our room. Lunch was to be served at 1:00 p.m. so we had time to see our kids who were housed in a compound less than 300 feet away.
It was the moment of truth and we didn’t know what to expect. Armed with a digital camera, a camcorder, two toy cars purchased at a budget store along with two hearts filled with love, we approached another steel, barbed wired door, not knowing what to expect. The door swung open to a yard filled with screaming children in active play. Two young boys dressed in black tee shirts stopped for a moment and I immediately recognized Mamush. Both my husband and I called out his name simultaneously and he rushed to us, then gave each of us the tightest hug and sweetest kiss. Kayamo followed but was a bit shy. I pulled out the toy cars still encased n plastic and frantically attempted to open them quickly. Kayamo received his first and proceeded to handle it like a trophy with other children in hot pursuit. To my chagrin, Mamush’s car was screwed (of all things) into a case and it was a struggle to remove it. The nanny finally succeeded and Mamush was also displaying his gift from his new parents. Wanzo lifted both boys in his arms and the magic begun. We spoke to their nurse who gave me an update about their medical conditions. We saw their very humble beds and dorm room that was no bigger than a narrow hallway. There were four beds lined one behind the other in a room lit with a naked 40 watt light bulb. I couldn’t wait to get them home. My husband showed them a short video and their nurse translated. There were ooohs and aahs as they smiled with delight. Mamush mentioned Daddy’s car and the boys beamed with pride.
We walked back towards the courtyard, and then Mamush grabbed my husband’s hand pointing toward a building beckoning him to come. Kayamo followed closely behind as I remained, observing the new bonding. Kayamo then stopped, turned and looked at me as I waved to him. He walked towards me, held out his hand and beckoned me to follow as well. As it turned out, it was lunch time and the children were settling down to eat. Kayamo motioned for me to take a picture of him and his 2 buddies. Then Mamush stood before the children and said a passionate Amharic prayer that the children recited enthusiastically. We asked the nurse to tell Mamush and Kayamo that we were leaving to allow them to enjoy their lunch but we would return tomorrow. Both boys gave us the sweetest hugs and kisses. Kayamo held me so tight that I hated to let go. Any previous doubt or fear about the decision to adopt was eradicated completely. We were the proud parents of two precious gifts sent from Heaven above. These were our precious children with whom we are well pleased.
July 4, 2011
Independence Day always reminds me of my mother whose birthday fell two days prior to the holiday. My mom made her transition almost ten years ago but in her honor, I’d like to share a page or two from my journal that describes my own experience of becoming a mother.
I’m presently flying on Ethiopian Air across the Atlantic Ocean. The plane dropped 10 to 20 feet because of turbulence and my husband became embarrassed because I started calling on Jesus; loud and in living color. He tried to force me to listen to some Ethiopian music via red, antiquated looking head phones but I emphatically say no, I prefer to have a conversation with God instead. I’ve never been one who suffered in silence and when it appears like we’re headed straight for the ocean, of course I’m going to pray. I’m not a religious zealot but calling out God’s name in the time of trouble is like using a password to enter a safe haven in the midst of a chaotic world.
The pilot lowers the altitude and the plane is peaceful again. Back to the boys. I often wonder how did I arrive at this junction called international adoption? Twenty years from now when my sons are in their late twenties, I’ll be a three-quarter of a century. How will they respond to me when we finally meet? We appear to be getting closer to Ireland and Paris.
August 24, 2008. Seven whole days after my birthday and my life has changed dramatically. We stopped in Rome for fuel and a change of airline crew. The new crew was tougher, a little more no-nonsense but still professional and polite. I looked out the window and saw the demarcation between night and day; the dark, black sky giving way to a pale blue sky with orange hues. It was beautiful. I look at the flight monitor and watched our plane fly over exotic places such as Khartoum and Sudan. My former life seemed millions of miles away as the plane ventured towards my unknown future.
We finally approach Addis Ababa and as the plane was descending into the city, I observed the beautiful mountains and virgin landscape. It was breathtaking and of course, I cried. We had to obtain an entry visa that proved to be painless. They didn’t ask us to declare money nor the prerequisite pictures we were so careful to remember to bring. They only seemed concerned about the $40 visa fee and quickly snatched the two crisp $20 bills out of my hands and stuffed it into their pockets. Most of the immigration workers were 20-something year olds whose families probably bought their positions through backdoor deals and old political ties.
(To be continued. Please see Part 2 on Wednesday.)
November 18, 2009
Some things in life simply defy logic. Was it a drug deal gone bad? Hatred for her daughter’s Caucasian father? An Attachment Disorder? Extortion? Jealousy? Guilt? Functional illiteracy? I’m trying to fathom what would make Antoinette Davis allegedly exploit her five-year-old daughter as a prostitute? Shaniya Davis is now dead, and I’m mad as hell.
Shaniya’s senseless death is a tragedy of epic proportions and an horrific awakening. She was allegedly conceived via a “one-night” fling between her parents, Antoinette Davis and Bradley Lockhart. Lockhart raised Shaniya for years but decided to allow her to live with her mother who had recently found a job and obtained new housing. Several weeks later, his precious child is dead.
Hotel surveillance footage shows 29 year-old Mario McNeill carrying bare-foot Shaniya in his arms. I was sickened by his image. McNeill admitted kidnapping the girl but is expected to plead not guilty to any other charges.
So here are the questions: Where was the community in the midst of all this madness? Did anyone not see something awry in Davis’s home? Did anyone not think it was strange that a wiry-haired dude was checking into a hotel room carrying a barefoot five-year old girl in his arms WITHOUT ANY LUGGAGE? Was he afraid she was going to run away? Was she drugged?
The days of informality are over. Child custody should be done under the protection of Family Law. Lockhart did the right thing without anyone forcing him to do so. However, for better or for worse, we have social service agencies that are mandated to protect children. Had there been a formal court relationship, Davis would have been subjected to a formal investigation before Shaniya was placed in her home.
As an African-American woman, I am outraged at Davis and McNeill’s behaviors. As a mother I grieve for Bradley Lockhart’s loss.
Rest well, dear sweet Shaniya. You have returned home to the angels. Rest knowing that no one will ever hurt you again.
July 26, 2009
Lightening struck our home two days ago and I’ve been reeling ever since. While in the midst of preparing dinner as my sons showered and my husband changed clothes, it began to pour buckets of rain. The sky suddenly grew dark, thunder rolled and then we heard a massive explosion followed by a flash of light. I just knew our house was on fire. Wires hissed, I smelled smoke and then there was an eerie silence. We discovered that the useless 50-foot palm tree that occupies our lawn was struck by lightening as was the sprinkler system and phone lines. Sometimes the weather in Florida can be equally as bad as its politics.
When the smoke cleared (no pun intended), my beloved desktop computer was fried; our water heater demolished; garage opener– gone; landline phones silenced; alarm system deadened and an extinguished fluorescent light in the laundry room. The cable repairman stayed for four hours today yet we are STILL without phone and Internet service. Whew, is Murphy is having a field day!
When events of Biblical magnitude occur in my life, I immediately look for the lesson. What did I do wrong NOW, God, I pondered and the answer was self-neglect. I’ve been averaging three hours of sleep as I juggle a full-time stressful job, market a wonderful book, prepare for radio interviews, provide monthly consultations for an intense federal committee, take care of my active 7 and 8-year old sons and often neglected husband. I doze off in the middle of dinner and have had to pay a punitive $30.00 late fee for detaining the staff of my children’s daycare center as a result of taking a much needed and unexpected “nap.”
Lord, I have duly received the message to slow down. But did you have to be so dramatic?