In all reality, it is a wonderful problem to have, and I am not complaining. I simply do not know where to start. I want to introduce you to all the kiddos, one by one, and yet that gives no space for the activities we do together, or the funny things they do, or the progress some of the more severely disabled kids make week after week. If I could only transport you all through time and space so you could fully experience this with me. If only.
For now, blogging will have to suffice. Today I'll give you a few snapshots of the last couple weeks, then introduce you to two new kiddos.
BOOKS! This week I bought some books to bring along with me. I go to Trustmart (like Walmart) every week to restock my orph supplies. Markers and coloring books and toys are constantly disappearing into the orph abyss, so it is a constant battle to keep my backpack stocked with goodies. Last week I saw a bunch of baby books on sale. These are potentially one of my favorite Trustmart finds so far... each page has one word and one picture on it (like apple, ball, car, etc) with not only Chinese characters, but also pinyin (that's Chinese spelled out) and English! Like this: "羊角, yang jiao, banana" The little victory in this is that despite my lacking Chinese and even worse Chinese reading skills, I can still read these books to the kids. So yesterday when I was in the baby room holding little three-month-old Anthony, I broke out the "Fruit" book for four-year-old Josiah, who was sitting next to me on a bucket for potty training purposes. He LOVED it. I cannot even count the number of times we read that book about fruit, saying the Chinese over and over, him copying me, and quizzing each other on what each fruit's name was. I've never had so much fun talking about fruit. Even some of the elementary age kids liked the book when I pulled it out with them later; mostly they just think it's funny when I get the names wrong.
This past Tuesday I spent about half an hour holding him, and I found his tickle spot. Right along the edge of his little tiny rib cage, where his skin is so thin and you can see the outlines of his bones, if you drum your fingers gently right there he will inevitably break into giggles and a toothless grin. Eventually I had to put him back in his crib so that he could have a bottle and take a nap (sometimes they let me hold them to feed them and rock them to sleep, but not always). Later that afternoon, I was playing with a baby on the other side of the room, and when I looked up I found Anthony's eyes watching me. I smacked my lips in his direction and his little grin broke across his face once again. If only he knew how much better life could be.
Moses is about 6 years old. He probably has Down syndrome and 50% of his skin is covered in burns. We named him Moses, meaning rescued, because whatever caused him to have such horrible burns must have taken a miracle for him to overcome. I am so thankful he has grown into the curious little boy he is now, that despite his disabilities he is a mover and a shaker. My goal with him has been to find something that will help him stay still and calm for more than 10 seconds. So far there are two things that have been successful: a sensory brush that I use on his skin all over, and a rubber chicken. His ability to make me laugh (a rubber chicken? how can you not laugh at that?) is beyond precious.