I shared in one of my recent posts that Olivia seems to really be identifying with black people. I’m very aware of it, not because I’m looking for it, but because it strikes me every time she does it. I mean, she’s only 8.5 months old and I just wasn’t anticipating it at this stage. It makes me happy that she can connect that there’s something about these other people that is like her, that they look like her.
To give you an example of what I mean, I was reading a blog the other day. As the blog was opening a picture of a black, I think it was Haitian, baby popped up. Olivia was sitting on my lap at the time and as soon as she saw the picture she squealed and lunged toward the computer screen.
I should add that we have a mirror that leans against the wall in part of our house. It’s sitting on the floor and in a perfect place to crawl up to. Since Olivia was able to start moving around on her own she’s had fun crawling up to the mirror and making friends with the other baby. She even gives it kisses. I think it’s helped her recognize a difference between how Chris and I look, and how she looks. We try to hold her up in the mirrors around the house with us, and we encourage our Haitian staff to hold her and interact with her, something they all love to do.
So yes, I’m very aware that she’s aware. Tonight though, she blew me away. After dinner I had her on my lap and decided to try and read a book that I got for her while I was away.
I love Rachel Isadora’s illustrations, and I wanted to try and get Olivia some books with black kids in them so she would have a connecting point. As we were reading Peekaboo Morning she got excited about the pictures. The very last page has a picture of the baby in the book looking right back at us. When I turned to that page Olivia dove in and gave the other baby a kiss. I was so surprised at her reaction that I decided to go through the book again, but this time at each page asked her, “Olivia, where’s the baby?” A couple of the pictures are at weird angles, but the ones where the baby was clearly there, she would either kiss it or put her hand on it without any prompting other than me asking her where the baby was. Did I mention that she’s only 8.5 months old????
I feel like we’re just constantly surprised at what she takes in and processes and how it comes back out. I mean, I knew that babies go through developmental leaps and bounds, but when you actually get to watch it play out it’s really amazing. The other day she figured out how to clap her hands, as in the motor skills to put hands together and apart and together and apart. Yesterday Chris got all excited and said, “Olivia can speak English now!” He had said, “Olivia, clap your hands,” without showing her what he was meaning, and she just did it. Now you can tell her to clap and she just starts. It’s so fun! I feel so blessed that we get to watch a little life become a person. It’s so freakin’ amazing.
In non-Olivia news… on Thursday we got the call that our new mission van is in! As in cleared customs and just waiting to be paid for and taken home. We’re very excited about that.
We’re going into a very busy season. On Tuesday Owen arrives. Owen is a potential volunteer that is coming for a few weeks to check out the mission and for us to check him out so we can all see if it’s a good fit. While he’s here we’ll be hosting a class (19-24th) and it’s a full one with 10 students. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be trying to get all the regular work done, getting the end of year newsletter ready (yes, already) and prepping all the class materials. We got our new printer so that should be relatively easy.
The week after the class Owen and Matt will be taking one of our trucks and two molds on a trip to Milot, right around Cap Haitian, where the chapter of Engineers Without Borders that Owen started is going to be starting their filter project. A group of EWBers are flying in that week and Matt and Owen will meet them up there. It’s a great chance for Matt to see something new (something I haven’t even seen actually) and for him to be a resource to EWB as they get their project going. We’re excited about how the details worked out.
After they return and Owen leaves we have about 4 days and then welcome our Vision Trippers from the 8-15th. Vision Trips are a fun and encouraging time for us because we get to know people that are genuinely interested in what we’re doing.
5 days after the Vision Trip is done we get a family visit from Chris’ Mum and one of his sisters! We’re very excited about this. Mum has been her a few times, but it’ll be Chris’ sisters first visit. The day after they arrive two of Matt’s friends also come in. They’ll be spending part of their time at one of the local hotels and the rest here at the mission. About a week after all of them leave another of Matt’s friends is planning on coming in. If you’ve lost track we’re in December now. He’ll be here until the middle of December, and a few days after he leaves it’ll be my parents and brother that we pick up at the airport for the holidays! I’m so stoked that my family is coming here for Christmas since we won’t be able to go there. I think we’re all looking forward to it now that we’ve had more time to let it sink in. It’ll be a very different Christmas for all of us, that’s for sure. We’re all about the snow and fireplace and all things Christmassy. Palm trees and sweating on Christmas morning will be a very new experience for all of us.
So yeah, we have a very busy few months coming our way, but I’m actually not stressed out about it like I was a month ago. Not sure why. Maybe hosting people is getting easier. Maybe I just care less?
There are some squeals and giggles coming from the next room. Someone just got out of the bath and there was MUCH splashing, and a few escape attempts before Daddy could get near enough to actually wash her. Did I mention that same said certain someone ate TWO corners off of my new photography book this afternoon? TWO! It looks like a rat got at it.