I'm not Charlie.
Every year I do a guest post and Charlie asked me to do one for her today.
Sometimes I tell a story, sometimes I tell how a day affected me, and sometimes I just take you by the hand through my day like the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.
In the mornings we spend time with the big kids. Usually we take them downstairs and play outside with them for a while before finishing off the rest of the time in the upstairs room. Today I took Charlotte down with me. That sweet girl is SO scared and hurt and locked up inside herself. She sits with me so sweetly and wants to be smothered with kisses and held but you leave her alone for one second and she disappears SO FAST! Today I found her sitting by the rocks and I went to pick her up and saw she had something in her mouth. She's always SOO hungry. Just desperate for food! So I opened her mouth and found a cigarette inside. My poor baby! I got the main part out but her mouth was black and yellow with the tar I tried to stick my finger in to scoop out what I could but she bit down hard. She's 7 years old and defensive about anything there is to eat. So I grabbed a water bottle and sat her on my lap to get her to flush out the tar. The desperation she had for water… oh those poor kids. All so thirsty and so so hungry. I shared the water with some of the other kids but at the end of the day, Scarlett was the one who had just eaten a cigarette so she was first priority in my book. She opens up to me a little more each day. My hope is that by showing her what gentle is and what love is and by being soft and gentle and loving to her, God will begin to heal the wounds that are buried SO deeply inside of her. Later as I was holding her she rested her head on my shoulder. That was a first. Her trust is definitely growing. Sweet, sweet girl.
We then took the kids into the playroom to do a little craft with foam stickers. Scarlett of course couldn't do the craft because she would just stick the stickers in her mouth but she was eager to watch the kids do it rather than sit in the corner like she's prone to wander off and do. She reached up to hold my hand when she usually pulls away from random handholding. She even let my play with her hair and give her shoulders a little massage. Usually she will move away or take my hand off if she doesn't like something I'm doing. So much improvement.
She wandered off to hold some Legos for a bit so I played with little Jordan. I tumbled around with her and tickled her and pretended to eat her. She thought it was hilarious. She even took a spoon and pretended to start eating me too! Silly little kid.
When we took them back upstairs for lunch and goodbyes, one of the nannies had the babies laid out on the table and was feeding them their mush. The older boys (Taylor and Dennis) had hair ties and were doing the little girls' hair. They were all having so much fun. Not only was it sweet to see the boys doing that for the girls and enjoying it, it gave me a glimpse of every day life when we aren't there. Maybe they don't just sit all day. Like siblings, maybe they have silly pretend games they play or things they learn together or even teaming up against the nannies or something. You really start to see just how much a team these kids are, even with the survival of the fittest mentality. It's a visible struggle between the two extremes. Anyways… as the nanny was feeding the babies the mush, scarlett wandered off to the big pot of mush right by the table with the giant, face-sized ladle in it and lifted it to her face. She's always SO hungry! I didn't stop her, she doesn't take much initiative so I figured, hey, you've gotta do what you've gotta do lol. I actually caught the whole thing on video J Well the older girl, Sydney, who is non-verbal and very shy and not all there mentally walked over to her (somehow that girl sees every thing and always wants to help. From making sure the kids have all their shoes on to keeping the other kids out of trouble) and gently grabbed her hand and led her to the bathroom sink. She turned on the water and washed off her hands. So precious. At the same time, the younger down syndrome boy, Paul, was in there by the squatty potty with sophie's potty truck that she sits on. I thought for a second that he was going to try to drink the pee or play in it or something but he got it all set up and then dumped the pee into the squatty potty. What a sweet thing to do.
On the way out for lunch I stopped into the baby room to meet up with everyone and Emily was over by the blue baby, charlotte, massaging her arms. Amy was a mess and Julia was holding her. She had just gotten done with her IV and the doctor hadn't fully gotten the IV into her vein so the fluid had seeped in to her arm and it was so swollen and hard. Emily was massaging the fluid into the rest of her poor blue body.
Lunch and break occurred next. Not worth blogging about. It was fun. Good times. I love my team. And so on and so on.
In the afternoon, we spend time with the babies, holding them and feeding them, giving them much needed stimulation and making them giggle. Oh the cute baby giggles. Warms a broken heart right up. Santa could run his sleigh on them, I guarantee it. I usually don't spend as much time in the baby room but today I worked with the toddlers. They are scared of us and don't want to be touched or held. I spent a good 45 min probably with one of the toddlers, getting her to warm up to me and eventually got to hold her for a while with minimal tears. I'm pretty sure she would have fallen asleep had I had more time with her. After the nannies took her to go have some dinner, I left to go to the big kid room for a while. I held one of the babies in the crib in the corner. Ashley just smiles and giggles when you hold her. They are so desperate for touch. Then I went to the bench where scarlett sits and put my arm around her and held her hand. She cuddled right up to me, sweet girl. Ray climbed onto my knee as well and it was nice to have some quieter time just snuggling with them. Then Cameron (one of the downs boys) came up and climbed on to my other knee. It was a snuggle fest. THEN PJ, who usually sits on his potty all day shaking his head not connecting with us, scooched over in his potty and stared up at me and started pinching me and holding his arms out to me. I was shocked at this little boy. 4 non-verbal kids gathering around me and this little boy in spite of his mental disabilities and his verbal disabilities and even his physical disabilities is telling me what he wants and needs. He rarely gets the attention that some of these other kids get so I let them down and picked him up into my lap. He would pinch me to get my attention and turn my face to him whenever I looked away. He wanted me to rub his belly and look into his eyes. Eye contact. You don't realize how badly you need it until you don't get it at all. You think we cone over here to help babysit or play with them but we come over here to touch them and stare into their longing eyes, and rub their aching bellies, and wipe their silent tears away. As I was holding PJ, Mia (another non-verbal girl who was rocking back and forth on a potty in her own world) stood up, pulled up her pants and walked over to me. She too wanted my attention. I finished up with PJ and then pulled her up onto my lap. For the next half hour or so she cuddled with me, hugged me, kissed me, patted my back and led me all around. It was so nice to spend time with the more neglected of the kids there this afternoon without the older kids fighting for my attention and my arms to hold them.
Back to the hotel and another day has passed in Chenzhou. Our time is drawing to a close and all too soon.
Its past midnight though now and I have no more creative energy to try to find some nice way to close this out. Therefore, I will just say. Good Bye.