Friday, May 28, 2010

First Zoo Trip

The kids have been to the Baptist Mission in Haiti and have seen the animals there but we were looking forward to showing them zoo animals. Saturday was a gorgeous day so we headed to the valley.

The kids weren't crazy about ice cream when they first arrived but they now fully embrace our love for ice cream.

The obligatory pony ride. The smiles were pretty big the whole way around the track. So cute!

Gaelle was adamant that she also wanted to ride the pony but I wasn't sure she would go through with it. But she did. And again, her face was beaming the whole time and she was giving us big waves all around the track.

You've got to love the wild cat. Both kids were thrilled to pet the local cat. Forget the lions. Can I touch the cat?

Peter reached out to touch the llamas without hesitation. They were super docile. Probably the hit of the day was the baby goats. They are goats all over Haiti so this was hardly a novelty, but who can resist baby goats at play. We spent a lot of time just watching them. Good times!

Laughter & Tears

My parents' yearly visit had already come and gone, so we thought. But we received a phone call last week that one of my dad's brothers had unexpectedly died. He lives close to us in NS so my parents were on their way back up. The kids were beyond excited to have them back and told them they needed to stay for "17 days". Altho the reason for their quick return trip was tragic and really beyond belief, we were glad to see them again.

Mom and Gaelle went for their long walk to the market. It's now tradition to come back with Cheesy Chips. It's their thing.

Robin made a sand box for the kids (Gaelle says it's for EVERYBODY.) and she convinced Grampy to sit with her and play. Good times.

We celebrated Victoria Day on Monday with a trip to the Dingle Park in Halifax. We've been tellling the kids how cold the water is and they found out for themselves. But they still had fun in the sand.

We had some beautiful weather and had a chance to eat outside. For some reason, food always tastes better when it's eaten outside.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May is family month

We've had a few visitors since the kids have been home which is a mixed blessing. We love to see new and old friends and family but it can sometimes put a stress on the kids; their anxiety level goes up which most people don't even notice. A lot of attachment experts recommend a period of 3 - 6 months of a very closed world for kids who are dealing with trauma and transitioning to a new family. I'm not quite sure who can pull that off but we have done our best to keep our world small since the kids have been home with us.

But the month of May will be a big one for our family. Robin's mom lives by us and we see her every week and spend our Sunday mornings together. But Peter & Gaelle met my parents for the first time last week. Tomorrow Josh comes home and then May 27 Emily comes home. I'm thrilled but I know it's going to create anxiety in the kids and we'll see it in so many ways. Hopefully we'll stay patient and the teens in the house will be understanding. I, for one, am excited to create a new normal.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New routines

Gaelle with her bedtime buddy, Raggedy Ann.

Bedtime has been a work in progress for our family since Peter and Gaelle came home. They are sharing a room which has been a good thing but we have been through a few different stages with them. The first few nights we both stayed in the room with them until they fell asleep and they did sleep... through the whole night... for the first couple of nights.

Then Gaelle would come into our room around midnight and sleep with us. Then Peter joined the fun. So, we would both sleep with them in their bed until they fell asleep and then let them sleep in our bed when they woke up. Both kids were so squirmy and it seemed to take them forever to relax their bodies and fall asleep. Can we say exhausted? We were both so tired.

Then Robin caught a really bad cold. I slept with the kids until they fell asleep but asked the kids to stay in their room because, "Papa needed to rest." Surprisingly, they stayed in their room. Gaelle would crawl into Peter's bed and they were proud that they were helping Papa get better. We were estactic.

Papa got better and they were now sleeping through the night in their own beds. Gaelle no longer joined Peter. But we still each slept with them until they fell asleep.

Last week we announced that we would no longer be sleeping in their beds with them. Instead, we would sleep on the floor until they fell asleep. This did not go over well with Gaelle. Her need for control kicked in and there was a major battle. Not the first bedtime battle. There have been many over the past 4 months.

But after the first night, both kids accepted the new arrangement. Now we both do our bedtime routine of reading, singing, and praying, and then only one of us stays on the floor until they fall asleep. And the wonderful thing is that they fall asleep within 5 minutes. It's perfect! And it is so much easier on us.

It's only been 4 months and yet this is a tangible way that we can see the security and safety the kids feel. I'm actually surprised that we've gotten to this point, however, I can't even begin to imagine how long it will take for Gaelle to ever be able to sleep in a room by herself. But that's ok... tiny steps for now.