Monday, September 20, 2010

Managing expectations during an extravaganza

Ike & Hope & our current abode ~ Feb '10
We currently live in a lovely house in the middle of Waco and we only pay utilities, not rent.  I don't know what rent would be, but I'm guessing it could be a lot. It is an amazing gift to say the least.

It is wonderful because we've learned that living in the USA it is much harder for our family to stick to a budget  ...  what with all the choices and the non-stop barrage of advertising convincing us of everything we need to own/taste/try/buy/experience.

Target has super-top-secret-powers to empty a wallet of $50 just moments after the customer enters their store intending to buy only diapers.

Let's just be honest, sticking to a budget in a place (like Haiti) that has close to zero places to spend money is really not all that impressive. So what we're saying here is that we are awesome at living on a budget in a place that it requires almost nothing of us. (but we're not afraid to celebrate mediocrity) 

While living here, we've attempted to find a happy balance between:
  1. Treating our kids to things they will not experience or enjoy in Haiti   - and -
  2. Spoiling our kids and ruining their chances of ever being content with the limited entertainment options in Haiti ever again
We don't actually know what the right balance is.  They don't either.

While we were at Sea World in July Isaac asked, "So, what have you heard about Disney World Mom? Is that supposed to be better than Sea World?"  We laughed and told him we'd really only heard horrible things about Disney. ;)  They have no idea what they're doing Isaac. The place is supposedly a total dump. ;)

It is fascinating to have such an obvious illustration of how our minds work.  He's never been to Sea World in his long and storied eight point five years on earth, but once there he is wondering about a place that might be even better. He's seen advertising. He's heard things. Even for a kid born in the poorest slum in the Western Hemisphere there is some sort of innate desire to do the next biggest thing.

So, all of that is to say ... While trying to balance all of that first world vs. third world expectation stuff we also found ourselves wanting to make up for numerous past lame birthday experiences for Isaac. We wanted it to be a special birthday party.  We were trying very hard not to end up at Chuck E. Cheese, the bane of every adult's existence and a place that makes me feel homicidal. We thought about bowling but realized that all the waiting you do for it to be your turn would mean a lot of listening to Noah whine and a lot of trying to keep Lydia out of the lanes.

Isaac makes a wish
Some moms plan their kids' parties weeks and even months in advance.  That is not how we roll here. On Wednesday I found a mobile rock wall. We called the guy. We rented it. The party was supposed to be Saturday but the rock wall was not available on Saturday so we moved the party date to Friday. We called the Ivey Family and informed them that we needed them to show up and make it a party and bam - 48 hours in advance an epic party was planned.

I don't know who loved the rock wall most, Isaac (9) or Christopher (24) ... it was a total hit.

The rock-wall came to our house. Grown-ups and kids could all climb. Four people could climb at once. It was awesome. We're hoping the wall will sufficiently meet all of Isaac's rock-climbing needs and that he never learns that there is a place called Colorado. We'll find a way to break it to Isaac that there will be no rock wall in PAP for 2011 ... But maybe we'll climb a pile of rubble and fondly recall our happy memories of Isaac's birthday extravaganza 2010.
Paige, Hope, Noah
Serious climbers, serious observers
Isaac scaling the summit

Happy Birthday Isaac!