Thursday, July 29, 2010

Toddler Waddle

This morning I was getting stuff out of the Depot for the volunteer house and as I exited there were two children from the elephant room who raised their arms in an attempt to help me carry the supplies.  I handed them each a pack of diapers and let them help me carry them.  Then another one of the elephant boys ran over wanting to help, but unfortunately I didn't have anything to give to him, so he had to stay in the baby house.

The two that helped me, a little boy and little girl carried their diapers all the way through the the court yard and over to the house.  They are still pretty young, so they did the toddler waddle the entire time.  I love watching toddlers walk, it's so cute!!  When we went back to the baby house, the other little boy who had wanted to help was standing at the door, looking through the bars with a pitiful little look on his face.  Luckily there was more supplies I needed to get, so he and another little girl from the elephant room were able to help me with the second trip.

All of the kids had big smiles on their faces as they helped me!  As a reward they each got an animal cracker!  This group LOVES to help out.  The other day I had an empty box that I needed to move.  All the elephant kids, and a few of the zandolits, crowded around the box and pushed it outside for me.  When I close the door to the depot there is one little boy that always comes over and puts his foot on it to help keep it shut as I lock it!  He always looks at me and smiles because he knows he is helping!! All the children here are so cute and it's fun to watch them grow and their personalities develop!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Hey all,  I just added all of our July pictures to our picture blog, and it's not even the end of July yet, look at how on top of things I am!!  Anyway, this month has been fun with parades, two birthday parties, new toys, and arts and crafts!  If you need the password to the pictures please let us know!!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Citadel Trip

My husband woke me up at 5:30 this morning to go to the only tourist attraction in the North of Haiti.  The Citadel is an old fort that was built during the Revolution to fight the French.  It's a large castle on top of a mountain that over looks all of Cap Haitien.  Getting to the Citadel includes a 45 min hike up the mountain, but it's well worth it.  It was all built without cement and cost 20,000 people their lives in the process.  Since this is Haiti there are no rules and we could climb throughout it all as we wanted.  There were no railings, so we would stand on the ledge and look over the side of this giant building on top of a giant mountain.  You can see the Citadel from the airport, and it seems to watch over us here at COTP as well.

There were cannons and cannon balls all over the place which were always fun to pick up to see how heavy they were.


We had a good tour guide named Jackson, but the great thing is that he could have told us anything and we would have believed him because we wouldn't have known the difference!


Apparently they just started allowing people to spend the night there, so Nick and I are thinking about doing that for our anniversary.  I mean who wouldn't want to have an old abandoned castle that was built during a war all to themselves for the night???

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Buzz Lightyear get out of MY pool!

So this story is older, but it is really cute so I decided I would share it any ways!  Better late than never!!

Every Saturday we have pool day with the children.  Some love it and others prefer to spend this time playing in the dirt or on the slide.  This one particular Saturday, it was almost time to end pool day and go back in for lunch and naps.  Most of the kids were cuddling in volunteers arms half asleep.  There was one 18 month old girl though, the same girl that slept in our room with us when we were here in January that was still in the pool.

The inflatable pool that she was in happened to be Buzz Lightyear themed, and had a giant picture of his face on the bottom.  All the sudden she realized that she didn't want him in there any more, so she would splash and splash at the water and yell at it.  She would get the water so rough that she couldn't see his face anymore and then she would stop and relax for a few minutes.  Then the water would calm down and sure enough, there was Buzz again, so she would hit the water and yell and yell at it until his face disappeared, only to come back a bit later.

Now I can't speak baby, but if I could, I'm pretty sure what she was saying was "Buzz Lightyear get out of MY pool."  It was really cute and we loved it!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Foam Party

Since our fundraisers brought in slightly more than our costs to live at COTP for the year, Nick and I are using the extra money to benefit people that we come into contact here.  Shortly after arriving here, Nick and I decided to purchase a foam climber for the children to play on.  We were surprised when it arrived in the mail yesterday, but also very excited to try it out.  The children were all taking naps at the time, but that didn't stop us from making sure it was safe for the kids to use.

Tericine tried it first, and then Nick had to prove that he was also small enough to fit through it.

Right after nap is snack, and the kids had the hardest time sitting still with this bright colorful toy staring at them.  A few kept getting up and running over to it and we would have to redirect them.  After snack they were finally allowed to play.  The kids loved crawling through the tunnel and climbing over top of it.  

After the big kids played on it for a while, they went outside and I brought the younger kids over to it.  The oldest child in the Bato room is just learning to crawl and he had a blast.  He army crawled through the tunnel and held himself up and rocked back and forth on the stairs.  The other Bato's didn't really know what to do with it as they are a bit young for it still.

The idea for this toy is to help kids who are learning to crawl and help them develop arm muscles by pulling themselves up on it.  This toy will eventually go into the Bato room for those children, but right now it's in the play area for the bigger kids.  We would like to get some foam toys for the bigger kids that they can learn to stack and move around, but we are still debating if they are worth the price.  If we decide to get those we will let you know!

We also just purchased a lot of plastic totes to help store stuff in the depot.  With the humidity, bugs, and rats, its very important to keep all our donated clothes, formula, and other supplies packed up so that it doesn't get ruined.  We currently are all out of room to store these items and so our depot has turned into a mess.  Nick is busy making a giant shelf to go along the back wall.  Once this is done and I have all the totes we ordered, I will spend several days in there organizing it all.

Thanks all for your support, we really appreciate it and so do the kids!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Last night we had a baby sleeping in our room, well actually we had 2 children staying with us, but this story is about one in particular.
In the middle of the night I woke up to hear him screaming, and I do mean screaming, this child has some lungs on him.  I quickly filled a bottle with surium, because that is all he can keep down these days, and instant silence.  I then check baby #2’s “dripper” to ensure that she is still being feed the correct dose.  The dripper is similar to an iv machine at the hospital, it automatically feeds her 45 mls of pediasure every hour via an NG tube that goes through her nose into her stomach.
As I am crawling back into bed, my lovely husband says “that was quick,” which is always a bad sign cause those things are never quick.  Promptly 30 seconds after I safely place my flashlight back into my pillow case for quick access, I hear the disgusting sound of diarrhea excreting through a child.
I grab my flashlight, crawl out of the mosquito net, stumble past playpen #1 shine my flashlight into play pen #2 (for those of you paying attention to details, yes, baby #1 is in playpen #2, but you get the idea!!), and discover diarrhea all over one of the last clean blankets in the house as he has already puked and pooped on several others throughout the day.
I take him out to the common area to change him and say Hi to a volunteer who is up with another baby (we currently have 9 kids in the house for various reasons, yikes!).  Of course as I open the poopy diaper it explodes all over the clean one I have placed beneath him.  I through them both away, wipe up the child/changing table and grab a second diaper, only to realize he has now peed all over the place.  (for those of you who thought this blog was going to be all fluffy stuff about cute Haitian babies, welcome to the reality of living with 30+ infants and toddlers!!)  I re sanitize the table, assemble diaper #2, pick child up and realize that the poop/pee combination has miraculously seeped all over the childs entire back and all over the clean diaper, which is amazing because I swear I checked to make sure I got it all.
I decide to abort mission, cause clearly this baby needed to be pressure washed and not changed, re sanitized the table for the 3rd time, and retreat to the bathroom to give the child his 4th bath for the day.  In an effort to not wake up the entire house, this boy has one volume and it’s extremely loud, I decide its best not to submerge him in a cold sink of water.  Instead I lay him upside down in one arm and sponge bathe him with the other.  
Point of interest here, husband and child sleep through entire process!!
I assemble diaper #3 (thanks to all our faithful supporters who send diapers down to us!  Next time your at the store you might want to buy double your normal amount with me around!! Just kidding), lay the baby back into his playpen, reinsert bottle, and begin scrubbing my hands.  It’s a good thing this child is one of my favorites because I am constantly covered, and I mean COVERED in his puke and poop.
I climb back into bed hoping to get a full 3 hours of sleep before the next feeding.  No such luck.  I’m kept awake by a baby down the hall who is upset and waking my husband up to turn the generator back on which also means resetting the dose on the “Dripper.”
Thanks hunny for jinxing me, maybe you can get up for the next “quick” feeding.  Scratch that, I’ll stick to explosive diapers, you stick to generator problems at 4 am and 5 o’clock airport runs, at least I can go back to sleep afterwards!
So, anyone still wanting to come volunteer?  We can find a really cute baby to keep you up all night!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


There has been a lot going on here lately, so I thought I would just write a few of the highlights....

-Yesterday we were going to have a staff meeting and I was put in charge of finding Nick.  Turns out he was mowing the soccer field across the street for all the community kids!  When I went out there, Nick was driving the tractor around with the help of about 9 kids.  There were 5 kids in the bucket, 1 on his lap, and a few hanging out around the seat.  Nick lifted the bucket up so the kids could grab Mango's out of the tree!  They were all having so much fun, I felt like the Grinch telling them they had to get out because Nick had to leave.  It was so cute, unfortunately I didn't have a camera to capture this.  Needless to say, Nick is a huge hit with all the village kids now!!

- Three babies have gone home since we have been here.  It's really great to see the how happy these families are that their children are healthy enough to return home.  A lot of the parents of our children come to visit on a regular basis.  This is really important in order to keep the relationships between parent and child. Since we have been here, Renel (our Creole teacher) has been working with the kids from the school sponsorship program.  A few kids have come who lived here a few years ago.  These kids are healthy, happy, and doing well!  It's really nice to see this!!

-Giving the birthday boy his FIRST haircut!  In Haiti boys don't get a haircut until after their birthday, no matter how long their hair is!  It's fun to be a part of this and then save part of it in a baggy for their parents.  We also take before and after pictures to help document it!!  I cut all the boys hair this weekend, and accidentally forgot to put the clipper on the razor, so the first boy ended up with his head buzzed!  Sorry buddy, at least it'll grow back!!

- Twice a day I do Depot which is where we give out supplies to the nannies, cleaning ladies, and cooks.  At the beginning of this I always yell "Depot" so that everyone knows I am ready.  Yesterday morning after I yelled it one of the little girls from the elephant room walked around saying "depot" for the next hour.  We all gave her lots of praise and so now most of the elephants are trying to say it.  Last night when I walked in the baby house, this little girl looked at me and yelled "Depot" before I even had a chance to say it.  She knew it was almost bed time and therefore it must be Depot time.  Kids are so smart!

-Last night I tried to teach the kids how to say my name.  I would point to myself and say Nikki.  Now today whenever I try to get the kids to say my name, they point to themselves and say "Didi."  Not quite right, but it's still very cute!!  One of these days they will learn that they shouldn't point to themselves when saying it.  The elephant kids are really starting to talk a lot!  It's really fun to see!!

-Every night before bed the Elephants and Alligators watch a short movie.  The nannies like to watch shrek 2, but the kids prefer movies that sing kids songs.  They all get so into it!  A few will stand and shake their hips while others sit and do the hand motions!  They all stare at it and enjoy every minute of it.  I can't even explain how cute they are when they are watching this.  You will just have to come down here and see them for yourselves!!

-Today I told one of our nannies that I wanted to learn to do the kids hair.  There were about 4 nannies standing around and they all began to laugh hysterically.  I'm not sure if they were laughing at my poor Creole, the fact that I don't know how to do hair, or that they just couldn't imagine me doing it!!  They began to show me how to braid by using a blanket and intertwining it.  I tried to tell them that I knew how to do that but that I needed to learn the rest of it.  Madam Jeremie defiantly did the majority of it, but I helped.  Her hair turned out pretty good!!!

I'm sure there are more things that I am forgetting, but this is a few for now.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

When the Shoe fits!!

Today I was given a really fun task.  We have two kids who recently started walking and a third who is getting closer every day.  I was in charge of fitting these three with a new pair of shoes.  This may seem like a random task, but it was really fun!  The kids and nannies were all very excited.  I sat each child down and found a pair of shoes that I thought would fit them.  Apparently this is a harder task than I thought.  The child would then walk around the pavillion with a giant smile on their faces while all the nannies cheered and told them how good they looked.  After about a minute of showing off, the nannies would set them down in front of me and tell me, in Creole of course, that the shoes were too big.

I would then put on another pair and the process would start all over.  Then the nannies would tell me that this pair was too small and I would try it again.  Each child went through about 3 pairs before they found the perfect one.  Having a pair of shoes is a big deal in Haiti, so our Nannies were very excited for our children.  The kids had big smiles on their faces and kept showing their shoes to all the volunteers for the rest of the day.

All the other kids kept trying to grab at the shoes and wanted a pair for themselves even though they all already have a pair.  Unfortunately, a common theme for our children is walking around with only one shoe on.  I have no idea why this is, but almost every time I go into the baby house, there is at least one or more children who are missing a shoe!  Kids!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July Haitian Style!!

We had a great 4th of July.  It was unlike anything I have ever done before.  The celebrations started out with a parade.  All of us volunteers decorated floats and picked out cute red white and blue outfits for the kids.  It was the most patriotic I have ever been.  We all paraded through the baby house for all the nannies to see.  They all thought it was fun and laughed at us for a while.  The nannies began to sign happy birthday to the USA, which was really cute.  I think that us volunteers possibly had more fun than the kids, but thats alright.

The next part of the celebration included a barbecue.  We all sat under the mango tree and had hot dogs, brats, brownies, lemonade, and a few other special treats that we don't get here often.  All that was missing was watermelon, which I was craving all day.

We ended the day with a game of ultimate spoons in the dark on a slip in slide covered in baby oil.  It was a ton of fun and luckily no one got hurt too bad because it got a bit vicious towards the end.  As soon as someone would get a 4 of a kind, we would all sprint, dive on the slip and slide, crawl all the way to the other side, and fight for the spoons.  We even had someone spraying us with a hose, and she would occasionally hide the spoons elsewhere, or throw them after we had been looking for them for a while.  I think we all ended up having rug burns, cuts, and bruises on our knees and feet from slide on the tarp.

Unfortunately Nick has been pretty sick so he missed out on all the celebrations.  He is slowly starting to feel better

All of our pictures are up on the other blog and ready to be viewed!  I have to get the slip in slide pictures from someone else, but I'll add them when I can!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bon Fet and Pictures!!

Today we celebrated one of our children's 1st birthday.  We made a cake and all gathered under neath the tree to sign and eat cake.  The kids loved it and had chocolate all over the place.  The faster eaters began to steal from those who were savoring theirs!!  It was a lot of fun!!

Also, all of our June pictures are up on our picture blog!  Be sure to look at those as there are some really cute ones!!