Monday, August 31, 2009

A Little Catch Up

First of all, I'm going to bite the bullet here and start calling the kids by their real names. It's just feeling too contrived to do the alias thing. I feel like I don't have enough time to be contrived. The whole alias thing messes up my mental flow, and God knows I sure don't need that!

When the girls first came home I called them by their Haitian names. I told them when we were in Haiti that they had American names, and I told them what they were. They seemed fairly unimpressed and I decided it would be best not to force the issue at that time. I also figured out that if they were really freaked out by a name change that I could easily live with them keeping their Haitian names as their first names. As time progressed, we would occasionally talk about it but I still did not force anything. Then I enrolled them in daycare. I enrolled them as using their Haitian names as their middle names, since that was the plan anyway. At that point I was not that attached to the whole idea anymore, but their peers started calling them by their American names and by that time they were ready for it, and they accepted it with pride and pleasure.

Ava Widmina; now just Ava

Elle Marie Lovely; most of the time just Elle now,
or Elle Marie

Elle Marie has been complaining about a toothache off and on and before I could get her in for a check-up, the situation deteriorated suddenly, and for the worse. All of a sudden as of last Wednesday she was in terrific pain all of the time, and orajel or Tylenol did not even touch it. I got her in to see the dentist Thursday, who referred her to a pediatric dentist. The cavity was right on a nerve, and that was the problem. Who unfortunately could not see her until today. The last 5 days have been pretty hellish. It's hard to have a baby that is crying in pain almost all the time. Hard on her, hard on everybody. She was prescribed Tylenol with codeine, which seemed to have a short shelf life when it came to pain relief and ending up giving her a stomach ache plus constipation on top of it all. Let me just say last night ended with a Tylenol PM for her and an adult beverage for me. Today we went to the dentist, and I knew it was going to involve sedation, so I was able to explain that to her. After looking, the dentist decided it was going to be best to remove the baby tooth instead of trying to save it. I explained all that to her as well. They took her back and it was all over with pretty quickly. She did well, and did not cry.

Until she got in the car. Then she started mourning that tooth. She did not believe me when I told her another one was going to grow in it's place. By the time we got home home she was in a full on rage. She raged over that darn tooth for at least an hour, boy was she mad. I also tried to explain to her that she was not going to have anymore of that deep pain, but she would not listen. That dentist took something important away from her, and she was having none of it. She'd already forgotten how much pain she'd been in over the past 5 days. Sigh.


Ava has been doing some extreme grieving over her 1st mom and her family in Haiti. It's hard to listen to and it's hard to watch but I know it's crucial for me to be there with her and I am glad that she trusts me enough to demand that I go thru it with her. Some seemingly little thing will set her off and she goes into an irrational tantrum. Then she starts screaming for her first mama over and over. Then she rages, and I mean she rages. Finally she breaks down into sadness and that is when she will finally allow me in, in fact she needs me at that point. The good news is, the whole process builds trust for her towards me. I KNOW she has to go thru it. Also, she will tell me lots of things about her life and her family before and after these episodes. There have not been too many, just a few at this point. It's really hard. And I know it's a 100X harder on her than me, which just blows my mind.


But other than these detours, the girls are doing really well. Ava likes to cook. She has alot of natural style. She is catching up in her reading level, moving really quickly. Her latest favorite saying is "Yes Ma'm!" Elle is full of energy and extremely naturally athletic. She can be unbelievably sweet. For all they've been thru they still have their innocence. And they are a ton of fun.


Nick and Ashley came over the other night on their way out of town. They were on their way to NYC via Raleigh and Philly. Not sure how long they will be up there, and he left a suitcase behind, but if I were a bettin' woman, I would say he'll be there for awhile. He's restless, and their is no place like New York for that. I could have lived there when I was younger, but I did not discover the place for myself until long after I became a small town girl again, so for me it's a great place to visit but I don't want to live there. However, I think he will like it. I don't expect him back for that suitcase for awhile.


As for Lucas...well, right now he's a teenager doing teenage things. He's pretty good with his sisters, but he was ready to see his dad the night Nick and Ashley came over, so he did not stay for this love fest. I promise I will sneak up on him with the camera soon!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It Begins...Again

The other day I informed the girls I was going to have to work on Saturday. My older one wanted to argue with me about that...."NO! You're not supposed to work on Saturday!" As much as I wanted to AGREE with her, it's not the reality, and it'll get a whole lot worse before it gets better! First home game is not until September 12 (South Carolina) and that is the good news. Usually we open on Labor Day week-end. The bad news is it's a night game. Fans may love that but employees hate it. Long, long days, and super-drunks galore. We can't sell beer or liquor but that does not slow them down. Fun times!

Yesterday, they were getting geared up for it all.

Picture-perfect day for Bulldog fans Uganews

Janet is the greatest and had the girls over for a play date while I worked. They are beginning to trade clothes and toys. It's so funny. They got their nails painted with decals added and made jewelry. They had a ball! We are so blessed to live close by. Especially for my girls, who remember everything about Haiti; it's a good anchor and a touch point for them to have these friends, in a world where everything else is so different.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Family Blender

NG flew into Atlanta with his girlfriend last week and we finally had a family get-together yesterday at the home of his Daddy. I won't lie and say I'm entirely comfortable partying at a house I used to own with a man I'm no longer married to (and his wife) but I'm mostly OK with it. Plenty of life and time has gone by and anyway, it's all about the kids. Now we just have more kids, (not together of course) and they are all sisters to the original kids, so....there you have it.

NG and his girlfriend A.

The Brothers

The Sisters

It was good to see my boy who turned 21 last week! He's planning on sticking around for a few weeks and then he's going to NYC for an extended visit. So he won't be around for long; he's a traveler! But I'm glad to have him here for the time being.

Monday, August 10, 2009


They love to help me unload the car. They love to carry stuff on their heads. Cracks me up!


It's been extra scorching hot for the last week or so. Everyone gets grumpy in August. Sick of the heat. It's why we call it the Dog Days of Summer. I've lived in some hot spots, and there is no doubt, the Deep South takes the cake. (Well, except for Haiti in the summer. That's the only place I've been that is worse. When people say it's 'hot as Hades', internally I think 'hot as Haiti'...) Seems like the heat has been here forever. Most people in the South despise the summer. As much as our neighbors to the North hate their long cold seemingly endless winters. Same concept, opposite end of the thermometer! As for the girls, well, they don't mind this heat at all. They really don't like too much air conditioning, like at the grocery or the movie theater. But they are the only ones I know that feel this

School has been going well so far. They really, really like it and are responding well to the 'hyper' structure. They are smart and have a TON of energy, so they are just eating it up. Today they rode the bus to school for the first time. They were so excited they couldn't sleep and got up way too early :) But they were so cute when they boarded that bus and waved excitedly at me "Bye Mommy!" as they drove off. Six weeks ago I was sure that I would never be able to put them on the bus to school. They were trading off on meltdowns almost every other day when I took them to daycare. Little Miss Lady had so much anxiety the day before school I was doubtful it would be a good experience. So I am happily surprised and relieved!
I could tell they were overwrought from the heat and their exhaustion when I picked them up this afternoon. I feed them dinner asap when we got home, and they whined and cried and acted irritated with each other the whole time. But they were sound asleep within the hour. and I'm getting a much needed respite. Because it is sticky scorching hot. And I'm grumpy.

Come on, September!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Into The Real World

We made it! Today is the first day of school. I took this picture of all three of them as LG was waiting for the bus, but I actually drove the girls to school. Check out Princess P with the pout. Oh yes, she is expressing her displeasure with me. I did not have time to get another picture with her in a decent mood, since she did not snap out of it until we were driving. So this is her picture for posterity, her first day of school. I found out in the car she was mad because she does not like her book-bag. Mean mommy is not buying another one right now so she is just going to have to deal.

I enrolled her in Kindergarten, which she is very excited about. We went to open house yesterday and she did not want to leave! Her teacher is a treasure. Little Miss Lady is in the second grade. They are both one year behind their age group, and I can live with that. Although they have some catching up to do, I feel strongly they can succeed at these levels. So I can only hope I made the right decision. Both are enrolled in ESOL, and happily there are some other adopted kids (Nicaragua) in the class as well.

Unfortunately Georgia schools rate consistently low scholastically at the national level. That does not mean there aren't any good schools here, only that there are plenty that have churned out poor results. I am fortunate that I live in one of the best school districts in the state and both of my boys have received very good public educations. The down side is that it is not very diverse, and I have been especially concerned about that with the girls entering public school. The book, I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla addresses these issues honestly and without judgement. Even though it was published over 10 years ago, I found her views to be fresh and common-sense. After I read this I felt much better about enrolling them. This morning I peeked into my older girl's classroom (approximately 25 kids) and noticed her classroom is more diverse than I anticipated. Her teacher is AA as well which was a nice surprise. I know these issues have been heavily debated on other forums, but when you live in an area where it's not so unusual to come across a rebel flag flying in some one's yard, one tends to be a wee bit hyperviligent. You see, so far, my girls don't know racism. They have not encountered it. They know our family looks different and they could care less. I overheard one kid asking my older daughter about it at daycare, and my daughter just looked at her like "And??? What's your point?" She did not understand the fuss.

But, I digress. They were both so excited yesterday and this morning. They got up early with no complaint, and I'll enjoy that while I can! Spending time at the open house yesterday really helped alleve some fears. Not sure how they will feel when they get home today, but I'm hoping for the best! And oh yeah, I felt those MOM tears well up after I dropped them off and was walking out to my car. You know those tears. My baby is launched into the real world!

LG, meanwhile is in the 11th grade here, which ranked this year as #744 in Newsweek's nationwide poll of best public high schools in the USA! He is hoping to run Cross Country this fall, which will be exciting (and good for him) so I'm hopeful that works out.
I'll keep ya'll posted...I'm now off to tackle some much needed housework!

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