Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Seemingly-Boastful, Petty Post

Micah just beat me in Scrabble.  We've been playing a few times a week, and when he was sick we'd play twice a day there for a while.  So he's learned a lot of layering tricks and whatnot from his crafty mother.  And he's been reading a few years now, and loves Calvin and Hobbes, so his vocabulary is pretty good.  But still, he's eight.  And I pride myself on my Scrabble playing.  Our penultimate game (that's just me showing off to make myself feel better) I used all my letters spelling "licorice" and trounced him.  But today the day I knew was approaching way too rapidly has come.  He has beaten me.  He got most of the good letters (I swear, for the last few weeks he's gotten the Q and Z within the first few moves of every game) and his brother got the rest (Jesse was the spoiler, he quit right before the end, but not before he used both the J and X).  But again, he's eight, and I'm pretty sure there's not really a context in which he should have been able to beat his English teacher mother.

You may think that I'm writing this blog to brag about my kid, but really, it's much pettier and sadder than that.  I'm writing this to mourn that I'm being passed already.  I tried everything I could and tried my very hardest to make sure he didn't beat me, and I'm slightly devastated that he still did.

When we started playing we'd multiply his score by two (later by 1.5, and eventually by 1.25) to make it more fair, and so he'd beaten me before--but today he beat me straight, no points added.  You know, I don't think I want my kid to be smarter than me, certainly not yet!  And it's embarrassing to think that he may be already, at eight years-old.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Toddler Activities: An Interactive Post

I need your ideas!

I very recently started working with a large group of toddlers in an orphanage who are developmentally delayed--and in some cases disengaged--in a rather chaotic setting.  OK, I went last night for the first time, but I want to get involved regularly.  I am looking for safe large group activities and smaller group activities.  If any of them provide some play therapy or have any tendencies to soothe or help with physical or cognitive development, so much the better.

The catch:  There are a lot of them (30 or so?--maybe it's less, but it feels like 40).  They are not very disciplined and are used to being in front of the television for a large part of the day.  They do not interact well with each other.  They do not pay attention to any kind of group announcement.  Ages vary, but most of them are functioning well below level and all are around 2 or 3 (or appear to be).  They throw things at each other.  If something can be broken, they break it.  If there are small pieces, they put them in their mouths (the smallest ones).  They are starved for attention.  There is a very tiny outdoor patio area where we will be playing.

I want some ideas of activities to do with them, in large and smaller groups (when possible), when I see them weekly.

My large group ideas so far (some from the internet):

  • Blowing bubbles for them to pop
  • Colored chalk on the ground
  • Bringing "activity bottles" of colored water and glitter and little objects in old water bottles (hot-glued shut)
  • Little soft balls (they love to throw things)
  • Giving out stickers to put on their hands and shirts (I know they'll love that one)
  • Play doh (I'd just make a huge batch)
  • Singing songs and clapping (I have got to learn more kid Spanish songs)
OK!  So what other ideas do you have for me?  I think we could do books or puzzles or coloring in smaller groups, but really, my area is high school.  These kids are LITTLE!  And there are SO MANY of them!

I was thinking I'd bring things like matchbox cars, but I realized after being there that those would definitely become weapons.  Nothing hard or sharp or heavy or metal.

I'd like to bring in some toys, too, simple and not too exciting toys (so as not to cause fights), like soft small balls and things.  Any ideas about that would be great, too.

Thanks all!  Look forward to reading your ideas!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Our First Dominican Christmas

My parents came for Christmas, as I mentioned in the previous post, and I thought I'd share some of the pictures from their visit.  My mom made Abigail's apron--is that not completely adorable?  :)

Making gingerbread cookies

Move over, Luke and Leia . . .

Bonding gals

We got to see manatees at a national park next to the beach 

Boat trip at the beach, we were at Punta Rucia

Abigail is becoming the family photographer--she loves taking pictures

Monday, January 6, 2014


We had a fun break for Christmas, but we've also had more time and more testing at the hospital than we've had in a very long time.  Abigail started with what was first diagnosed as strep throat the week before Christmas; several days later we were confused by the fact that her fever still wasn't gone--in fact was still relatively high--and she was complaining of head and body aches (which are red flags for Dengue).  We were praying that she didn't have it, and took her in to the ER.  She was diagnosed with a virus and we were told that we'd have to come back in if the fever didn't go down in three days.  It went down in two, making this a six day fever (one of the longest my kids had had to date).

Jesse started up with it two days later, the day my parents arrived to celebrate Christmas.  We didn't worry too much with him because we figured that it must be the same virus.  And it even seemed to go away by the end of day three.  But Christmas morning he woke up with a headache and a moderate fever, and the day after that his fever was close to 104 (which we realized just as we finished supper).  At that point we were two hours away at the beach, and we made a spur of the minute decision to drive back (at night, over the mountains, which let me tell you is no easy drive) to take him to the ER in Santiago.  That left my parents at the beach with no phone service, no car, and very little Spanish.  Talk about stressful.  Jesse, in the ER, was ruled out for Dengue for the time being (it's never off the table until the fever is gone here), but they couldn't really explain the fever.  We worked from the assumption it was the virus and would wrap up soon.  And we went back to the beach to join the family.

Two days later, Jesse was up to 104 again and we drove for 15 minutes until we got cell reception to call his doctor.  She said he needed to go back to the hospital for more blood tests (again, here, Dengue is always a possibility, and platelet levels need to be monitored) so we left the next morning (a day early), this time with all of the family, and since it was a Sunday that meant the ER once again.  The tests revealed nothing (except to show that the fever was dehydrating Jesse).  His doctor wanted to do a bunch of tests to make sure we weren't missing any infections or anything, so he was in the hospital for at least 12 hours total by the time all was said and done.  And eventually (after ten days of fever), it just sort of cleared up, and we got Jesse to drink and drink before the last urine test so he could pass as hydrated again and be done.

This has been a beast of a virus.  It was quite a time.  I have never had a kid with a fever for over a week, and it's really stressful.  God was protecting Jesse and Abigail, we're really thankful.  Yesterday, Micah got it.  He's on day two and it's pretty mild so far.  Pray for us.  With the other two it picked up on day three or four.  We're praying for him to be done in a few days.