Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kid Updates

Try as they might our moms still worry about us and their grand-kids.  This post is open for public consumption but mainly intended to calm the nerves of the two grannies in the house.

Be at ease grannies. Everyone is doing well.

We've been busy and in many ways it feels busier than when we last lived here even though Annie is no longer here and being down one ornery pre-schooler should make this feel easier, right?  No. Not.  We'll find our groove soon I think. All that aside, the six kids are great.  The biggest adjustment has probably been the travel time to and from school. We are not convinced it is something we can do long term. Right now it is the best option but we're reserving judgment about the more distant future. Nobody wants to spend that much time riding the clutch up and down hills in gridlock traffic. Troy's left leg is going to get disproportionately muscular and that will just look weird.

Paige, Joanna, Beth
Paige is going to be a big help to Troy and I at the Harbor House (the official name for the Teen Moms Home). The young moms living there all really like her and she bridges the culture gap a bit with her  understanding of slang and "street" Kreyol (for lack of a better word to call it). School is going okay for her. I think a really good friend would mean a lot to her.  We're praying for that.  She should be getting her braces off of her teeth very soon.  She's excited for that.  Jen let her drive home the other night so she felt pretty pompy having driven in PAP .... even if it was only three blocks. :)

Isaac is a little bit worried on and off about another earthquake. Troy has been praying with him a lot about his worries and he always seems to let go of it after talking through it.  He is making us laugh by asking Jen a billion questions and then looking up answers in his encyclopedia. He pretty much thinks Jen is able to answer any and all questions. The other night they discussed the black death, penicillin, and other random things of Isaac's choosing.  He seems to think about what topics he'd like to broach with Jen and then waits to grab her at the gate when she gets home in the evening. If Jen is having a down day he is sure to boost her ego a bit. She knows everything! :)

Hope already got to stay over night at a friends house last Friday and is doing great. She likes her teacher, enjoys school and is generally chipper. She has not complained about roosters or mosquitoes ... but she cannot sleep well without her fan.  Thankfully Troy (the master of inverters and the power overlord) got us back in business a few days ago. She and Phoebe share a bed now that we moved Lydia out of the crib and into Phoebe's toddler bed. Hope is usually very patient with Phoebe and they are two peas in a pod in a lot of ways. 

Noah is madly in love with his life here. He is less bored here than he was in TX and is just plain dirt-covered, sweaty, and happy. He has lost two teeth in six days and thinks ten gourdes is an awesome tooth-fairy gift.  One benefit of living in Haiti right there. He has fluid build up in his ears and probably needs tubes because he is having a lot of trouble hearing. (That started in mid to late December.) Dr. Jen is on it and has already found an ENT doc that will do it for us in Haiti this spring. April is a long time to be mostly deaf, we're hoping it might resolve itself. In the meantime we're repeating ourselves boisterously quite often and are glad there is a way to fix it if the fluid doesn't drain on its own before then. He loves his teacher, Mrs. Ackerman. (Hope had her for Kindergarten too). 

Phoebe is excited about all the dolls and toys she left here still being here and is happy to stay with Geronne when we're gone. She also seems totally at peace with being back. She has been and still is one of our most introverted but when she's been out for church and group functions she has done well. She melts down when there are too many mosquitoes or a big bug in her sight .... we're not sure where the bug phobia came from. She still speaks of herself in the third person consistently. (Like Elmo does.)  Tara thinks that is hilarious.

Beth's photo of Lydia and Marley
Lydia is the only kid that seems a bit fearful. We cannot leave her at home if we're both going to be out at the same time. We've done it twice but not without gnashing of the teeth and clawing at our clothing. We're not sure what she remembers from the EQ and we're no child-psychologists but she definitely does not want to be away from us. When I said Lydia moved to the toddler bed, what I really meant is that Lydia sleeps between us every night and her toddler bed is in the house she lives in waiting for her to come to it.  She LOVES LOVES LOVES all the dogs. She can often be found sitting holding a dog's paw at whatever house we are visiting. 

One of my favorite moments since we've been home was when Lydia watched Antoinette (a Heartline Hospital patient and friend) take off her prosthetic leg.  Lydie's eyes are big anyway but they grew larger as she tried to take in what she was seeing.  It was very sweet to read the concern and dismay she had over poor Antoinette's situation. We explained it to her and she verbally reviewed it aloud for the next couple of hours.  Last night, when we gathered to pray and sing and remember January 12, she saw Antoinette with her leg on again and told me, "She got hewr leg on now and she happy. Hewr house fall though and she scared."   It was cute because Antoinette was totally comfortable letting Lydia check it all out and stare at her.  Marjorie, another woman that lost much in the earthquake let Lydia check out the stump where her hand used to be. She even stretched it forward for Lydia to shake.  It was precious for two reasons - 1. Both of these amputees are comfortable and unashamed and daily being healed inside and outside  & 2. Lydia was genuinely concerned for them both and unafraid of touching them and asking questions.

Other less grandparentish news:

Jen & Kenny*
Geronne is very happy having us back.  On the anniversary of the EQ she definitely mourned a bit.  She thinks Lydia's ornery side is hilarious.  She is the only one that thinks that. :)  Her laugh is infectious and we are very blessed to call her our friend and co-worker.  She never corrects me when my Kreyol stinks and I am begging her to stop being nice because it is not doing me any favors.  If you know her, you know she'll probably never correct me.

Jen has a bunk bed and a corner of the dining room that she calls her home.  We all co-habitated in 2008 so we knew we could easily do it again and get along no problem.  We have a tight and an easy-going relationship and we all love her & really enjoy that she is here.  Heck, I'd love having her here if she was a court reporter or an assembly line worker, but I gotta say that having a (very good and very smart) ER Pediatrician in the house really puts this Mama at ease.  She'll be here another several weeks before she has to head back to the frozen tundra to be a grown up and go to her other life and work.

Time of worship/prayer 1-12-2011
Troy and I will be working together at overseeing Harbor House. (Brit G. has the biggest job of living there with the moms.) He is much better at understanding cultural nuances and his language skills are very solid.  He has a lot of experience managing employees and I don't. He is one of the more tender and protective guys you'd ever meet (ask B and P and Jen) and I am really grateful to have his help.  The main thing we're attempting to do right now is just building relationship and trust.  That probably sounds sort of intangible ... mostly because it is totally that.  One of the ways I'm doing that is to have them work with me one on one helping me with improving my grammar and vocab. They act as my professor, I am vulnerable and it builds trust and language skills all at once. At least in theory, anyway.

We're slowly finding our feet and very grateful to be back. 


*Photocredit: Theresa Reichert