I think most of us woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. I can only account for myself and my attitude, but I did not seem to be the only one who wished it was not morning. Paige and Isaac are happy, the rest of us need to start over again.
A baby that was born on Thursday was brought here by her mother early this morning. She has a horrible birth defect that will most certainly result in death. We took photos but decided not to post them. After a few phone calls to people who know more than us - Troy told them where to go to try and get help, but the general consensus is that the baby won't make it long.
Sometimes ( no - ALL the time) the lack of choices and resources make me feel mad. There is no where to direct the anger, I am just ticked-off in general. How can it possibly be so screwed up? Why does everything have to be so hard here --- why are there so few options for these people. It is maddening.
Phoebe is sick for the first time. Nothing makes her happy. She just sits and gripes all day. It sounds to me like she just has a bad cold, but she is clearly in pain because she cannot stop complaining. She is 8 months old, so I suppose she could be working on a tooth too - but I don't see or feel one yet.
I sound negative. I am going to knock that off now. Really, I am just a little down and tired today. I am attempting to do better for the second half of this post.
I got an email asking me to blog about the logistics of raising a slew of kids here. I don't know exactly which logistics were in question, but here is the Readers Digest version - the way we do things ...
Every kid gets a bath every day. When tempted to skip a bath I remember scabies and the nightmare problems they create and off to the shower they go. As odd as it sounds, I actually look forward to a time this fall when in a cooler, cleaner environment I won't have to give four baths every day. We believe in "all business bathing." No farting around ... get in, get wet, get soaped up, rinse off, get out. All four little kid baths can happen in 12 minutes. Or less.
Grocery shopping is not something you can just run and do. If you want something specific, you are probably looking at two hours of travel time to get to the store or market that has it. We're used to it now. Last week we ran out of butter and margarine and just waited four days until Troy was going to Port to have him get it. It's not that big of a deal, when you're out of something you just wait.
Laundry is crazy with this size crew. Most of the kids change mid day when they come in from playing outside and are sticky and hot. Paige is a constant fashion show and thinks three costume changes a day are required. Troy changes once or twice a day. I just wear my nasty sweat-soaked things as long as possible because I know who gets to wash, dry and fold it all. I would estimate that I do an average of 3 loads a day. The humidity and sweat means we wash towels and sheets often so that adds to the daily average. I am spoiled as far as missionaries go. I have a washing machine and a dryer. I know a lot of missionaries hire someone to do laundry by hand for them. My dryer is the really amazing thing. I don't know anyone who has one. A lot of people hate me for that. ;-) I hang some laundry, but to hang as much laundry as we produce would be tough. The humidity and dust would also not help that situation much. The only thing I do differently here in Haiti is trying to do the laundry when it makes the most sense. Doing it while the generator is running is best, that helps with diesel costs. Sometimes it is tough to get it all done during the four or five hours a day that the generator runs, but if we don't get behind we can do it the energy efficient way. See, I am not even in America being pushed around by Hollywood and I am "green." It is also easiest to do laundry when there are not rats giving you the stink eye in your own laundry room. But that is another story.
Cleaning is something that goes in spurts around here. Energy levels vary, cleanliness seems to vary accordingly. We should dust more than we do. It could literally be done daily, but we do it once a week. The floors are swept every day and mopped every other day by a lady who comes in for an hour each morning. Bathrooms are my least favorite chore and should be done more often then I do them. Blech. We do dishes non-stop, but everyone over age 5 helps with dishes so we do okay with keeping the sink clear. (No dishwashers and no garbage disposals here.)
As far as schooling - up until this point things have been very controlled and manageable. Paige works independently for a few hours a day and we check her comprehension on the subjects she works on alone. She has a babe for a math teacher and I work with her on all English related subjects. She enjoys the flexible schedule that homeschooling offers. We enjoy being free from school-system labeling and being able to see our kids as individuals rather than part of a pack of kids who are all expected to learn the same way at the same pace.
Britt has always been an independent learner and other than encouraging her during some tough subjects, or helping her find someone smart to answer her questions, we've not had to push her at all.
This fall is going to get interesting (read: scary) as Hope and Isaac start Kindergarten. I won't lie --- I am nervous about the added responsibility. While we are in MN they are going to go to Kindergarten 2.5 days a week near my sister's house. Once we get back to Haiti we have a young lady from Minnesota who is praying about joining us in Haiti for five or six months to help out during the transition time. Losing Britt, adding a baby and starting Kindergarten will change the look of our days here. Please pray for Tess -- for the Lord's direction in her life and that she will know whether or not Haiti and the Livesay family will be a good fit for her.
The other question posed was about the hardest adjustment for us. I think I can speak for every one of us and get the answer correct. The hardest thing to get used to is the pace of life. In America we were just like everyone else in America, we played sports, we took music lessons, we met friends for pizza, we went to parties and social events, we went to a movie or the mall on a rainy Saturday. In Haiti you don't do any of that. You make your own fun. You don't really "go" anywhere. That was the hardest thing to get used to, but it feels normal to us now.
I was restless last night, having trouble sleeping -- I was looking at a pregnancy web-site to see what sort of insomnia advice they had. I found nothing useful but did read this highly informative NEWS BULLETIN -
You are now entering the third trimester and final phase of your pregnancy. By this time, your baby is completely formed, his/her major internal systems are maturing. Your expanding uterus may be creating discomforts, too, including edema (swelling) of you legs, ankles and feet, and varicose veins . Often women entering the third-trimester complain of trouble sleeping.
Thank goodness for the experts, I knew I was uncomfortable and could not sleep --- now I know the detailed medical reason is: my expanding uterus. I am relieved to have this valuable information. The Internet is such a powerful tool.
Happy middle of July weekend to you- stay cool -
tara for all of us