Friday, June 14, 2013

Baby Book Entry 7: June 2013 Edition

with cousin, Whitney - early June


{By way of explanation, let it be quickly said, I have no idea what any of these children's first words were or when most of them started walking, or many of the milestones of moderate importance. The first born is 23 and her baby book is filled in to about the 15 month mark.  Nobody else ever had such a thing. We take billions of photographs and they stay in the electronic form forever and ever amen. I love the idea of doing a book of photos each year. It is an idea. Just an idea. So far.  I do these posts because I think when the kids are grown they will like reading about themselves. That, or they'll hate me for talking about them in a public place. 50/50 odds, I roll the dice.}


June 2013

Dear beats of our hearts, and fruits of our loins,

This letter and update is long overdue. These words must sounds so familiar to you. We're late, we're running behind, we're sorry, plans changed, not this time, maybe next time ... these are common phraseology in your little world.  This is the {Haiti} hand you were dealt. It will make you incredibly flexible and adventurous adults or it will make you bitter and resentful. I see you choosing the former. The last time I wrote about you,  (you know, thrice annually) was August 2012.  Look at me!! Not yet a year later, and here I am again. That is exactly like three times a year.  Only minus two.

The quick general overview about this time of your lives...
You finished school in early May. You are now doing summer school for seven weeks. You had a blast learning under Jimmy and Becky again for a second year. (Successfully completed 12th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, Kindergarten and Pre-K, and all move forward in the fall.) You are all freaking out excited that we will be taking all of you in chairs in the sky to visit America in late July. You are in various places in grieving the impending departure of Paige. We will find our new way, our new places without her leadership, I know we will. Things are generally harmonious, although Phoebe and Lydia continue to be wild cards. Don't bet real money on calm if they are involved. (In all other circumstances, gamble to win.)

I will start with Isaac (11.5 yrs old) this time.
Son, what in the world has gone on with you since last summer? Your voice is cracking. You wear deodorant (and when you don't, oh lawd!) and you put on Axe body spray like a boss. You love words. Words. More words.  I don't know anyone that loves words the way you do. You're doing fractions. This means you do math that I cannot do.You finished 5th grade, maybe even "vehemently" finished, you'd say.  You owned it.  Today you got out of the Heartline van, after riding home with many strangers from summer school, and you said, "Well it was great meeting everybody - have a great flight back to America!" I heard you from inside the house in my safe little introvert hiding space.  I smiled. Dad said, "The diplomat is on the job."  You love people. I hope that you always do. I love people too. Just less of them. You put the extro in extrovert. Or something. I would describe you as cautious, but I see you taking risks lately. I am always proud of you, but especially now that I see you doing things that are hard for you and trusting yourself and God with some new things.

And Hope (11.5) ...
I don't think it is kosher to discuss puberty on line. Certainly not. There are rules on the Internet.  I see you trying so hard to walk the tightrope between little girl and young lady. It is not easy but you're doing it your way and we have all got your back. Well, I mean the all of us that does not include Noah.  It is okay though, keep giving him the side eye when he bugs you to explain why you seem crabby. He will catch on eventually. You love getting away from us and reading your book. You love getting away from us to do a craft or draw or watch a DVD. You love getting away for your alone time.  We honor your need for alone time and we advise you not to have seven children or you can forget about it. The 4th grade proved to be no biggee. You crushed it. You have been doing well with piano and taking lessons from Melissa. You've been singing some. (This is one from six months ago.) We kept our tradition and produced a kick-bunz version of "So This is Christmas", thanks mainly to you, our only truly willing singer. Sometimes I worry that Isaac has Noah and Phoebe has Lydia and maybe you not having a side-kick is an issue but I think you like it this way because you are kind of the extra mother to them all. It is not uncommon for us to realize you've been listening in on a lot of adult conversation, you like to find ways to sit with grown-ups and chat. You are comfortable in your own skin, even in this time of transition. Your poise and discernment are evident.

Lydia our big 5 and half year old,
You read. Words. Sentences. Books. Once, around February or March, I sat with you for 45 minutes while you sounded out six words and I thought to myself, "That is it. We found our illiterate kid. Every family has one."  But no.  You are sticking it to the man mom, proving me wrong. Once we figured out that your brain doesn't like food dye, and sugar is better in small quantities, we began to see a new person emerge. People that came to visit in May said, "This is a new Lydia."  We liked the old Lydia, but more in the 'afraid to not like you, sleep with your eyes open' way. This new no food dye Lydia is funny, articulate, animated, spunky, smart, loving, and passionate. Lately when the sugar is pumping and you're feeling a little bit edgy you give us the sign by putting your hands in the air by your ears in bear claw formation and moving them rapidly while making an open mouth, scrunched nose, honey-badger face. No words are necessary, we know this means you are trying to keep it all joyful but the possibility exists that things could go south without warning.

Phoebe six point five years old -
I don't know exactly when you found your voice in this big family, but you did.  We hear you. Sometimes from miles away, if you are angry or afraid. One spider, one scratch on your leg, watch.out.eardrums. A flare for drama, that's it. You are losing teeth right and left, which is good because there are way too many in your mouth. You are making huge progress with swimming. It was fun to watch you decide WHEN you'd let go of the ladder.  Nobody was going to guilt, shame, or trick you into it before you were ready which I think is a skill that will help you when you are a teenager. I love that you ignored the peer and sibling pressure and did it in your own time. You love coloring, playing house, and dolls. You are reading like a champ. Your giggle is infectious. You are the boss of prayer time, always moving things along if there is a lull. Tonight you prayed a very common prayer for you that began "Dear God, I hope you had a great day and that you don't have bad dreams."  Then, you informed each of us when it was our turn to pray.

Noah - our nine year old comedian,
It is your pleasure to make us laugh. You'll do crazy things for a laugh. All you ask is that the audience responds.  You recently said, "I'm gonna buy a car-house. You know, like a van, that you live in." After that, when Grandpa was here for Paige's grad party he worked with you on a Matt Foley (Chris Farley SNL) impersonation.  You and Granddad found your commonality, being border-line obnoxious while entertaining others. Acting and physical comedy aside, you have a serious and compassionate side. You are quite affectionate and tender too. I have seen you step into a big brother role in a way that I had not previously noted. You used to be content to be a little brother but I see you protecting your little sisters and guiding them. One night you helped Phoebe make an apology she needed to make, you led her down the stairs and gave her prompts.  You look up to Isaac, and were a little lost without him when he had to leave for a few days in May. You swim faster than most fish, we need to start the Port au Prince Aquatics club soon.

video

Paige (emancipated)-
Girl, I cannot say everything I need to say here in a public space. Voting is not as exciting as everyone makes it out to be. Just know that. This is a hard time, yes? I see you. I am with you. I love you. You are going to kick the ever-livin-heck out whatever you do. Congratulations on a job well done here in Haiti. In life. In love.  Fly baby, fly.

Britt & Chris -
I am officially graduating you out of Baby Book posts. I think your graduate degrees and four years of marriage earn you the right not to read about yourselves on yer Ma's dumb blog. When you have your baby we can start a grand-parental virtual baby book!!! We can, right? We are excited to see where your educational goals take you next! We are all so anxious to be on your turf  this fall.


late May 2013, all together!


~              ~               ~

Because you kids spend a lot of time with your teachers, they know you very well. I am including their descriptions of you here, too. Miss Becky wrote this to Miss Chelsea to prepare her for summer-school.

When I read this, I think to myself, oh my goodness, we are so so so very blessed to get to be your parents. It is like we won the lottery without even entering the gas station and buying a ticket; which is just to say that we are luckier than lucky.

Isaac is an extreme optimist,  who is full of joy, kindness and thankfulness. Isaac every single day thanks us for teaching that day. Usually several times at the end of the day. He is a good writer with quite the knack and love for vocabulary. He also loves Pokemon and chickens. He struggles with math, and with recognizing nuances or abstract concepts – He is very literal. He also has a hard time staying focused and on task. His brain works very randomly. Everything is different, every time. But he is always full of curiosity and questions, trying to make connections. He is pretty equally a visual and audio learner.

Hope is a beautiful, confident young girl quickly turning into a young woman more and more each day. She is always willing to learn and try and does what is asked of her. She loves and is very talented at art. She likes to sit and work at detailed things like puzzles and intricate crafts, that they boys have no patience for. She also is a great memorizer and has a beautiful voice. Her best subjects are Writing and Memory work. She struggles with math and Logic and keeping her things cleaned up. She learns visually and through music. Even though Isaac is older, Hope is your “momma” figure and likes to be the boss.

Noah is all boy. He likes to be moving all the time and is certainly a kinesthetic learner. He is very self-confident (sometimes overly so) and is a great communicator and relater. His best subjects are math and reading comprehension. He struggles some with spelling and grammar. His self confidence can quickly turn to self condemnation due to a perfectionist side in him. He also can be very lazy – he is fully capable of doing any work, but will at times whine and act like he can’t do it. He loves reading and talking and telling really detailed stories, and of course he loves to win. His brain works very logically.

Phoebe is an introvert who has come out of her shell this year. In a large group she may fade into the background but in a smaller setting she can be quite loud and crazy and loves one on one attention. She is a very good reader (and loves to read) and memorizer.  She is often overly dramatic. She is a hard and focused worker, but will give up and have a bad attitude if she thinks something is too difficult. She always likes having her own personal fan. She and Lydia are mostly best buds, but are also very competitive with each other.

Lydia is definitely the youngest child. She is full of spirit and a great combination of both tough and sweet. She is good at math and is a visual learner with photographic memory. She loves to talk! (You will find that she and Noah have this and many other things in common.) She works very well under very clear and firm boundaries and structure. She has to know that you are the boss. If she knows that, she won’t test you. If she thinks she might be the boss, then you better watch out. She loves words of affirmation and hugs.