Passport Photo

Joni's passport photoWe had Joni’s photos done for his UK passport so we can take him to meet the family next year. Passport photo rules say he has to have his eyes open, so we had to do mean things to him in the shop to wake him up, gathering ourselves an audience in the process. Then the rules say that no-one else has to be visible, so we were trying to contort the pair of us so that we could hold him up to the background cloth without being seen, only of course he can’t hold his own head up yet so it didn’t work too well. Eventually we took the background cloth thing off its runners and laid it on the counter, and put the baby on top of it, and then the guy taking the photo stood on a stool and looked down on his face.
Hopefully it will good enough for the passport people, although to be honest it all seems like rather a waste of hassle given that within a few weeks he won’t look anything like his passport anyway. Our friend Ben says “it would be more of a worry if it did (look like him); how many people do you know who look like their passport photo?” Still we provided some amusement for the general public of Cordoba; service to the community and all that. Next job is to take all the paper-work to the British consulate in Buenos Aires, and see if we can swop it for a passport.

On a different tack, we have solved the mystery of Joni’s missing red blood cells that I mentioned a couple of blogs ago. They tested all three of us for a bunch of possibilities, and discovered that both Martin and Joni have pherocytosis (it’s ferocitosis in Spanish, took me ages to figure out why I wasn’t getting any hits in English… stupid spelling). In the sort of terminology that I can understand, it is a hereditary condition characterised by a defect in the wall of some red blood cells causing them to be sphere shaped rather than egg-timer shaped, and therefore less elastic and more easily broken. There are some potential complications in a small percentage of cases, but the doctor says that more often than not, the first a person knows about it is when their offspring shows up as being anaemic; as with Martin and Joni.

The Hospital Privado, not being enormous, has a combined hematology and oncology department. There can be fewer things more symptomatic of the injustice of this world than the sight of little kids having chemo. We are really grateful that while our kid may not yet have hair, he is healthy, chubby and currently asleep.

Macbeth shall sleep no more

This quote is dedicated to all parents of small children everywhere….
“Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep,” the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast—
Still it cried “Sleep no more!” to all the house:
“Glamis hath murder’d sleep, and therefore Cawdor
Shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more.”
Macbeth, Act 2 Scene 2

Hazel and Joni in hammockWe carried these hammocks here with us from England and we hadn’t really had the use of them. But now we’ve discovered that Joni likes being swung, so we dug the hammock out. Except he didn’t like going in it on his own, so somebody had to sacrifice themselves to accompany him.

Martin reading a book with JoniDaddy was looking forward to a good theological discussion, but settled for a compromise and an exegesis of “The Wheels on the bus”… “Now this story tells us that at one time the UK had public transport. Notice that each stanza finishes with the line all day long which tells us how long it took to get anywhere…”

Hazel carrying Joni in carrierWe’re doing rather well for presents at the moment. This rather posh baby-carrier is thanks to some fantastic friends. It is fully adjustable in a zillion directions, holds him securely in a good position, and can be worn facing in or out. (Now why aren’t they paying me for this advert?) In fact it even works on…

Hazel and Joni on bike… the bike! Joni thinks it’s great too; he even fell asleep in it as we were peddling home from the post-office the other day (for the record we should clarify that mummy was doing all the peddling). Look closely and notice his stripey trousers, sent by granny and grandad from England. Now all we need is a generous benefactor to offer to do the 4 o’clock in the morning shift…

The sublime and the ridiculous

The sublime… Martin Fierro is probably the most famous piece of Argentinian literature. Written by Jose Hernandez, in 1872, it is the tale in verse of a Gaucho sent to the frontier against the indigenous, under the presidency of Sarmiento. The language captures the dialect and culture of the Gaucho at the time, and it is rich with imagery, metaphor and social commentary. I was challenged to read it, which is probably a bit like a foreigner to England reading Shakespeare. A challenge it surely is, but also a privilege to experience this work that is so embedded in the culture and history of Argentina.
The ridiculous…. Trying to buy more sheets for the spare beds. Went to the usual shop in town. They have clothes downstairs, and sheets and towels upstairs. Except that the stairs were taped off. So I went to find a shop assistant…

Me: Are you still selling sheets?
SA: Yes
Me: Where are they?
SA: They’re upstairs
Me: How do I go upstairs?
SA: No you can’t, it’s been closed off
Me: So how can I buy sheets?
SA: No, it’s not possible
Me: So actually you’re not selling sheets.
SA: No, we are still selling sheets
Me: (very slowly, as speaking to a foreigner…) Let’s do this again… you are still selling sheets?
SA: Yes
Me: But it’s not possible to buy any?
SA: That’s right
Me: (therapeutically, while backing slowly towards the door…) oooooo…kaaaaay…