Sunday, December 18, 2011

Baby Book Entry 5:

Posterity, this is for your sake.

In May I wrote entry 4 and resolved to write the next "baby book" post with kid-focused details sometime in the month of August 2011.


It is December.

Ah well, you know what they always say,  "late is better."

They do say that, right?

So, off we go... Detailing the lives of these children so someday they will know something about what they were like as kids. We all know there is no chance I'll be coherent or recalling history by the time they  reach adulthood. These posts are meant to save us from our feeble and failing minds.

As always, I offer one disclaimer ... pretty much grandparents and aunts may be the only people that will want to read this.

In May I wrote about the tribe "in no particular order". Fully understanding sibling rivalry, the intensity and consequences of said rivalry; this time I will write them in the OPPOSITE order of the no particular order I chose last time.

Britt & Chris -
These people are adults.
Why am I calling them babies?   (Rhetorical)
The two babygrownups just completed semester number one of graduate school.  They both love their chosen paths and respective masters programs and are plugging along in their usual impressive fashion.  We have some high hopes of trapping Britt in Haiti for five weeks next summer. She'll be working on a project for her masters in Public Health. Along with those high hopes we hope for Chris to come visit her for multiple days and nights during her practicum.  Chris and Britt run and bike and read extremely thick books and write very long papers. After that they take care of an adorable home and three mildly annoying dogs. After that they work full and part time jobs.  Then, in their spare time they have begun cooking all sorts of amazing and complicated dishes. We're excited to directly benefit from their culinary skills when we are with them for a week after Christmas. Sleep must be optional for them.  That's the only sense we can make of it. We're eagerly anticipating their arrival to Hispaniola.

Noah (7.75) -
The boy that refused to read  - has left the building. (The parents breathe a sigh of relief.)  Since I last wrote Noah not only learned to read, he also learned to memorize and give speeches.  He's always been walking a fine line between "I hate myself and I cannot do this!" vs. "no autographs please" & "Do you think people wonder how I got to be so awesome?" It can be terribly off-putting or terribly funny.  How exactly does a person vacillate between such extremes?  No idea.  But he does it at an advanced level. Thankfully his most obnoxiously over-confident moments happen within the four walls where people usually tend to have more grace for him.  He loves to talk and tell very detailed stories about the movie or cartoon he just watched.  When Noah asks to talk, sometimes I overhear Troy say, "As long as you're not going to describe that episode of Scooby Doo for me, yes." Physically he is like a spaghetti noodle. He keeps getting taller and thinner.  Earlier this year he was without front teeth.  Now he sports a mouth full of teeth that look like money in the bank for the orthodontist.

Hope (10 in just a few days)-
Is enjoying school so much this year.  She is surrounded by testosterone, always taking the high level of male-hormones in stride. If given a choice though, she'd choose coloring, reading, drawing, writing, painting nails, playing with makeup, making crafts, doing hair, helping Geronne with Haitian meals, and anything else that allows her to utilize her lady-skills. She chooses to spend a lot of her free time alone, quietly doing her own thing. Compare her  to her brothers on either side of her whom are typically waving sharp sticks in the air, she comes off as docile, although she is not. She can stand her ground. She enjoys music, singing, and movies. We all love listening to her sing. We celebrate her life the week of Christmas.  Thanks to the gift of her adoption, the birth of a special baby girl in the back of a tap-tap on Christmas Eve 2001 turned into an opportunity for this family to celebrate two births each December twenty-four.  Happy 10th Birthday to our precious girl/gift!

Phoebe (5) -
Ode to Phoebe, the quiet storm. 95% of the time no one knows where she is or what she's up to because she is ever-so-introverted and independent.  She spends a lot of time with barbies and other dolls.  Washcloths with hair binders are made into elegant strapless dresses. With the remaining 5% of her life she expresses frustration and anger in the form of screaming and crying. When someone has done something to offend her sensibilities, everyone in the house and neighborhood knows it.  The rivalry between the two youngest is truly remarkable, thus generating nearly all of Phoebe's boisterous meltdowns. The pattern and its causes are impossible to decipher, they are either inseparable and unparalleled friends or knavish foes. A happy medium, there is not. Phoebe grew a ton in 2010, she grew a ton more in 2011. For newly five years old, the girl has some long stems on her and is growing up much too quickly. We don't worry about keeping her in clothes that fit, both Phoebe and Lydia prefer a more natural and basic look; they can most often be found wearing only underwear.

Lydia (4) -
Because we recently experienced Lydia as an only child we know there are two versions of Lydia available.  While she was an only child she was pleasant, obedient, agreeable, and just plain easy.  Once we were back with her sisters and brothers the "spirited" Lydia returned.  Lydie has a lot of power within the family structure for a person of her age and girth. We don't understand how she does it, we just know we all do what we can to make her pleased with her life.  Much oddness surrounds her dietary needs.  She is sustained mainly by cereal, white rice, and white bread.  Place unapproved foods in front of her; you'd better  be prepared to hear about it.  She loves dolls, reading books, and riding her trike. She is a chatty person. Sometimes when I am checked out and only half-listening I'll reply  "Uh-huh, Uh-huh". Lydia grabs my arm and say, "NO Mom! Say words!" For the first time ever she talked about the earthquake recently.  She remembers things about it that we had no idea she could recall.  She reminds us a lot of Noah at this age.

Paige (17 - or, as she'd tell you,  "I'll be 18 in a little over 11 months")
The work Paige is accomplishing academically is astounding to us. Due to the shaking of the earth in January 2010 and some other educational mishaps Paige entered her Junior year needing to kick butts and take names.  She is doing that. The number of subjects and the hours spend studying is a complicated math problem in and of itself.  Paige is in love with horseback riding and riding twice weekly. Paige is now "dating" which came after "talking". We don't know what any of these labels mean. We only know that a boy named Kevin spends many a Sunday at our house.
How is Troy handling this?  Think Robert DeNiro as Jack Byrnes.
Jack Byrnes:I mean, can you ever really trust another human being, Greg? 
Greg Focker: Sure, I think so. 
Jack Byrnes: No. The answer is you cannot. 
Every person in a family plays into the family dynamic.  Paige brings so many things that cannot be easily replaced.  If you stop by one day in 2013 after she leaves for college, you may find an entire family curled up in balls on the tile floor rocking themselves back and forth.

Isaac (10)
Isaac is also growing fast. He is now just shy of five feet tall. Most days when Isaac returns from school I greet him and say, "How was your day buddy?"  9 days out of 10 Isaac says, "Perfect. I had a perfect day!" Keep in mind these are not party days or special events, these are regular school days.  We need to bottle this person up and distribute him worldwide.  He cares so much about the feelings of others. He encourages and blesses us with his random compliments.  Just when you're feeling down he'll rave about how good you look or how great the grilled cheese sandwich you made him tasted. A few weeks ago he dropped his piggy bank and it shattered.  He cried.  Troy and I panicked, we don't know how to handle sad Isaac. Nobody knows how to handle sad Isaac.  Just this week Paige was helping him deal with a score of 95; he was upset it wasn't 100. Paige was terror-stricken when he got tears in his eyes and quickly promised him ice-cream before the first tear fell.  If Isaac ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Isaac loves being with people. He eagerly meets each day, makes friends easily, and is the first to include someone new.

Against all odds, our designated family ambassador and lead diplomat continues to make us look good.

This concludes installment 5.