Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sweet 16 and Sweet 75

We had 2 birthdays this week. It's so hard to believe that Kaylin is 16. She's not our baby anymore... literally. She now has to give up her baby status to her litte brother and sister. This was a huge concern for our social worker, but Kaylin is doing great. I'm just loving the young lady she has become. She has always been kind and loving but she is developing a graciousness and empathy for others which is great to see.

We had a party with Grammy because she has a birthday on the same day. She came over and did well even though quite often, she doesn't deal well with evening activities. It's just too much. The kids were full of joy and fun and we all had lots of laughs.

Peter and Gaelle decorated with Robin and they even hauled out the princess cup for the birthday girl. It was so cute. Kaylin requested cheesecake which was yummy and a hit with all of us except Gaelle. That's ok... more for us. And Peter and Gaelle showed us how they eat avocados. You just mash them up and add them to rice and beans. Who knew?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mr. Mom

Since Robin is taking family leave and I'm still working full time, people are always asking not only how the kids are doing but how Robin is doing. Well, he's doing great. Really. I am so impressed!!!! He was determined to stay home full time once the kids arrived and just enjoy the experience. And what an experience. He takes the kids to their medical appointments, to the market, to the playground, to school for an evaluation, to playgroups. He gets up with Gaelle in the middle of the night and teaches Peter how to count money and do his math. He translates for the kids for the rest of us... because moms always know what the kids are saying.

He keeps the house clean. He almost borders on obsseive. It's great!!!

And he introduces the kids to all these new experiences but he does it in just the right way. Always making sure both kids feel safe and secure.

He makes sure both kids have a chance to run off their energy in so many fun ways. Thanks hon. I'm so proud of you. Keep it up.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


It was great to finally get a nice good snow storm so the kids could really go outside and experience snow. We had so much snow Wednesday, Kaylin had off school and Beth didn't have to go to work. Time to play.

Gaelle didn't think much of the snow and cold when she first arrived but she loves to be outside now and doesn't seem to mind the cold at all. It was cute to watch her "help" us shovel. She does like to help with all tasks and is just as happy shoveling as sledding.

Peterson has embraced the snow since he first arrived and so nice fresh packy white stuff was great fun. I just love to see his smile as he totally engages in activity.

Robin decided to purchase a good wagon to help with Gaelle when he is taking the kids places. We don't want to be that parent that drives their child everywhere but the reality is that Peter will need close supervision for quite a while so it will be helpful to have the wagon.

Both kids "helped" Robin put it together. It was quite the project.

This has become quite common place here. Kaylin gets on her silly face and Peter and Gaelle are more than willing to act like crazy kids too.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Big sister

People are always asking us how Kaylin is doing. She's amazing. She is so good with the kids and is a huge help and they absolutely love her. I think they completely understand her role as big sister and they love it. We have had a few issues with her bedroom and yet I know the kids will learn to knock on her door if it's closed. We've all had a few chuckles as we try to get used to little people surprising us by opening closed doors. I guess that's why they made locks.

More swimming fun

We took the kids to the family swim in our community on Saturday night. Kaylin came along and took pictures for us. It went better than I expected. Peter just LOVES the water!!! He told Robin that he wasn't allowed to go the pool without him.

It's so funny to watch Peter because he's in constant motion the entire time. He seems totally oblivious to the people around him. He tells us, "Watch me. I swim like a dolphin." And then he jumps off and splashes around.

As soon as we arrived he saw the slide. It's not big and could easily be in somebody's back yard pool so he decided to try it. Robin was in the water to "catch" him but when his head popped back up he said, "That was not fun!" We chuckled. Apparently he didn't like the feeling of going down so far in the water. Maybe next week.

We gave ourselves a time limit of 1 hour and Gaelle sat on the side of the pool for about 45 minutes. She splashed us when we came by but she would not come with us in the water. She didn't want a life jacket and she DID NOT want to be in our arms. A couple of times she started to slide her legs in the water, but then she quickly scooted out again.

Eventually she got her nerve up and she slid into my arms and away we went. She clung to me but she would lean over and dip her head into the water. She will get the hang of it pretty soon and I think she'll love the pool.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Name change

First things first. Peterson has decided he would like to be called Peter. It sounds like that was a nickname at one time and so we are trying to drop the "son", but it's tough. We love the name Peterson. He even prayed that we would call him Peter.

We're constantly reminded how great it is the 2 kids have each other. They have lost so much in their short lives and yet they always have each other. Altho, we are noticing that Peter gets exasperated with Gaelle. She wants everything he has and wants to be where he is. Make no mistake... they have the typical sibling squabbles. But at least they share a history and an understanding that the rest of us will never fully know.

Peter cracks me up. He has the couch potato style down pat. Both kids are doing great with the dog and she seems to be getting over her jealousy. Robin is making an effort to take Snickers with them when they head outdoors. It is much appreciated by all.

The kids' doctor and her husband came over Sunday afternoon for a visit and to bring the kids gifts. Both kids were thrilled to see Dr. Lewis and we all enjoyed the visit. On a side note. After our first visit with her, we were driving home and Peter said, "Dr. Lewis is pretty." Then he prayed for her several times that week. So sweet!

She brought Peter and Gaelle craft kits so they have had fun working on that.

We love Gaelle's concentration here while she is painting her cow. She pressed the brush down as hard as she could trying to get paint out of it. And she changed the color of the cow about 4 times. She and Peter took about 1 hour painting. It was nice to see her slow down and stick with an activity for that length of time.

Both kids have some dental issues and lucky Peter was up first with his appointment. It turns out he has 2 rotten teeth that will need to be removed. Even though they are baby teeth, they are infected right now and so they need to be addressed. He's taking antibiotics and has another appointment to have them removed. He also had his teeth cleaned. I asked him how the dentist was and he said, "I didn't cry." Robin was afraid he was going into shock sitting in the dentist office. He looked terrified, but he sat still and didn't even flinch. The dentist said that his teeth cleaning would have been painful for an adult let alone a little kid.

The hygenist recommended electric toothbrushes for the kids and so they have been having fun with those.

Gaelle and Robin stayed with Peter the entire time he was in the dentist office and so Gaelle got to see it all. She also did well sitting there, but we're thinking she may need to be sedated in order to let anybody near her mouth with a pick. We'll probably take her to the dentist in a series of steps... we're not very hopeful it will go smooth. But she could totally surprise us. That's the joy of 4 year old girls.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Highlights from the week

Just a few more snippets from our week.

Whenever Peterson sees a black person he asks, "Is he Khaitian?" At first I thought he was asking if he was Cajun. But no, he just says "Haitian" with a K.

Peterson asked us this week where all the kids who flew to Canada were. "Don't they live here?" All of the children from GLA flew to Ottawa on the same plane. He finally got around to asking us why we don't see them. He was really sad and missing his friends and it was crushing to hear how big Canada is.

Peterson heard Santa laugh... Ho... Ho... Ho... He thought that was hilarious. He proceeded to show us how people should laugh. Hee... hee... hee... and Haa.. Haa... Haa... BUT NOT Ho... Ho... Ho...

Gaelle is starting to pick up English. It is the cutest thing to hear her say something in English. It's so unexpected. The funniest thing is how she says "Thank You". It's "Wank Ooo".

She pointed and asked me if she could do something. I said yes. She shook her head and said, "No. Papa do it."

The kids find it so funny to see Robin and myself hug and kiss, which just eggs Robin on all the more. Gaelle says, "Ooosh!" It's her way of saying, "Gross!"

Sometimes we don't understand what Gaelle is saying and we'll ask Peterson to translate. He says, "I don't know that word in English." Translation: Gaelle is saying something bad or mean about us and Peterson doesn't want us to know.

Today she must have been saying something really bad because Peterson said, "Gaelle just said a word we are not allowed to say." We just left it alone.

Peterson asks us so many questions when we read him a book. The other night he asked me a question and I had just read a line which answered his question. So I said, "Peterson, didn't you hear what I just read?"

And he said, "I wasn't listening. I was too busy talking."

Peterson loves highway overpasses. He wants to be on top and so we always try to remember to let him know when we're on the top and there are cars below us. I can't imagine the thrill he would have if we lived in a major city like NY.

I know I've mentioned this before, but Gaelle has not met material that she can't braid. This week our dog Snickers ripped apart a small stuffed animal and the stuffing came out. Gaelle picked it up and preceeded to separate the white fluff into sections and braid it.

Brrr.... 1st time at the ocean

It's hard to believe that the kids have never been to the ocean because Haiti is surrounded by water on all but one side. However, this is the case. The sun was shining today and so we decided to take a quick trip to the ocean.

Peterson touches the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. Yep... it's cold.

Gaelle looks at a rock. Another reality of Canadian beaches. They aren't all filled with sand. We have a lot of rocky shores.

We introduced the kids to the joy of skipping rocks and just throwing them in the water.

Did I mention it was cold? Ever since I've lived in Grand Manan, I don't go to the ocean without a sweater and long pants in the trunk of the car. Seeing as it's winter, of course the wind is really going to be cold. And it was. But it was worth it. We all had a blast.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The end of the story

There's a smile and cute hair puffs to boot. Peterson was full of advice about how the nannies do the hair EVERY Saturday for church. Even though this only took Kaylin 20 minutes to put in, Peterson actually complimented her on it. "It looks nice."

I know our kids are not unique with their love of all things having to do with water. Gaelle must ask 20 times a day to "laver". Peterson sometimes joins in the fun, but Gaelle has not seen a dirty dish she does not want to wash.

This is not the steepest hill but it's still loads of fun. "Whee....."

The kids don't fully have the technique down for making snow angels but they sure give it a try.

Their first snowman. We had a light dusting of snow last night but it was good and packy snow, so the kids went out and had a little fun. Gaelle hasn't been too keen on playing in the snow, but she went out today and had a blast. She doesn't look too thrilled in this picture, but Robin assures me that she had fun.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

First full week together

Our week started with me going back to work and Robin staying home full time with the kids. This is something he has been discussing for a while and he has been so keen on doing. To be honest, I didn't know if I trusted him with the kids. Or maybe I just don't like being the one without the control. Either way... he is doing an amazing job. His ability to speak French seems to be a huge help with Gaelle. There have been meltdowns and power struggles between our little girl and us. But we are all learning... about each other and our triggers and the best way to deal with potential problems.

The kids went to the Doctor on Monday. She was amazing. She specializes in geriatrics but will be the kids primary care physician because she was a Doctor in Haiti for a few years. She spoke Kreyol to the kids and really took her time with them. We have an appointment with a dentist and with a pediatrician who specializes in international adoption later on. The dentist will be interesting because both kids have serious cavities and other dental issues. We're thinking we'll need to put Gaelle to sleep but the dentist will assess that when we go.

The kids were able to meet their big sister, Emily and big brother, Joshua on skype. For some reason, Gaelle comes alive with Joshua. She really hams it up. So funny.

Robin and Kaylin went out and purchased all kinds of kid friendly supplies. Our craft supplies have become depleted over the years and so it was time to pick up a few items. The play doh is a big hit but Robin has to get over his phobia of mixing colors. Because that doesn't seem to bother the kids.

On Saturday Kaylin and I started the arduous task of taking out Gaelle's little braids and beads. We 3 girls went to the store in the morning and purchased some hair supplies. Gaelle proudly held them and clearly knew they were for her. However, shortly into the bead taking out... the tantrum started. I'll just leave it there. I haven't downloaded the final product but it is cute and simple. In case anyone is interested in numbers... it only took us 45 minutes to remove elastics and beads... 3 hours to remove little tiny braids... 15 minutes to bathe, shampoo and condition hair... and 20 minutes to put in hair puffs. The entire process took us 24 hours. There's just no way we could do it in one sitting.

Peterson continues to be curious about his surroundings and has had quite a few adventures. He goes in the car with Robin for most errands. He has been to the market (grocery store), the building where Robin and I work, Kaylin's work, and then last night he went to our church's swimming party. This was his first time in a large pool and he had a blast. He and Robin went by themselves and even though Peterson was aware of the kids around him, he was completely in his own world. He and Robin just played by themselves and Peterson was generally beaming the entire time.

Both kids continue to be excellent eaters. I'm just amazed at how they will usually take a bite of anything I put before them. They won't always eat it, but they try. They still aren't fans of veggies but tonight I fed them beef stew and Peterson had several helpings and Gaelle finished her one small serving before asking for yogurt. Gaelle isn't a fan of bread but she loves to lick off the butter. Neither one of them liked syrup with their pancakes but they loved the pancakes. I thought they would like scrambled eggs but neither one of them cared for it at all. Anyway, we're so fortunate that they are doing well with the food.