Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 31, 2016 - "You Should See the Other Guy"

This past week was a tough one for us.  Aya took a very bad fall in our bathroom and cut her head open just above her right eye.  She is perfectly fine now - there was no fracture, no concussion, her vision was not affected that we know of, and she is getting her stitches out tomorrow.  She has been acting herself for the last few days as well.  But it was an incredibly traumatic event for our family.  Apparently head wounds bleed a lot so Aya was completely covered in blood...she looked like you turned her upside down and dipped her in a can of red paint.  None of the people in our family, thankfully, had ever seen so much blood before!  Grace was crying, "Is she going to die? Is she going to die?" Noah was pretty quiet.  So that was horrible, and it was horrible that Aya was clearly in a lot of pain and was very scared herself.  

We got to the clinic within about 4 minutes of her fall and because I had called ahead, the doctor arrived about 1 minute after us.  He was so calm and reassuring; he handled ME really well so that I could try my best to help Aya.  She needed to be sedated, though, because I could not calm her down alone. Kristoffer dashed off to deposit Grace and Noah at a friend's house and returned with comfort items for Aya and clean clothes for him and me.  Before the sedative really kicked in, she was wrapped in a sheet (think: straight jacket) to keep her arms down and it took 3 of us (me, Kristoffer and the nurse) to hold her down while the doctor gave her local anesthesia and began the sutures.  He was really flawless in those moments and we were so grateful that he was the doctor on call (no offense to the other doctors at the clinic, but we would not have been as confident in all of them).  

I think we were home again in an hour.  When we picked up the kids they were relieved to see that she was alive and "okay".  But the next couple of days were interesting with them.  Grace woke up at 5 am (probably when I had just finally fallen asleep!) talking about it and saying that she needed to talk about it and would probably tell everybody at school about it.  Because I know her so well - she is just like me! - I had already emailed her teacher and the counselor at her school to prepare them for it.  So it was good for her to go to school and deal with it.  Noah, on the other hand, who usually wakes up before 6:00 am...did not get out of bed until after 8:00.  He said he didn't feel well and I let him stay home...he was very quiet and just played by himself or with Oliver the whole day.  By the time Grace came home from school she had a stomachache and a fever, and she spent the whole next day at home hanging out with me and Aya.   Ah...the love between our children just amazes me all the time.

So Kristoffer and I have also been feeling a bit fragile all week - just reliving the moment over and over again.  The lump in my stomach is finally starting to get smaller.  Kristoffer said he wished he could just keep her in bubble wrap now, and I totally agree!  But we are very grateful that it was not worse - it definitely could have been! - and that she is going to be just fine.  And her very big scar will get smaller with time and someday I hope it will just be a spot that her spouse finds adorable to kiss.  She will have no memory of this, like all kids who have such falls and such stitches...and just like all the other parents out there, we will not forget!   Sorry, Aya!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 22 & 23, 2016 - The Big Five

In East Africa, "the big five" usually refers to a well-known group of African animals (lion, buffalo, rhino, elephant and leopard).  But in Tanzania this weekend, "the Big Five" was reserved for our Noah who celebrated his 5th birthday with a "safari" theme.

Noah is a really cool kid.  He loves Legos and Star Wars and has an amazing imagination for making up games and "worlds" to pretend.  He is doing a great job learning to read and write and loves the school he goes to this year, where he has made some really nice friends and seems to do well in a really diverse environment.  He is stubborn as they come and a terrible, horrible, picky picky eater these days.  He is not great at listening "the first time", which we are working on!  He's made great progress in speech therapy over the last few months so that he is finally saying his "s" sound most of the time.  We need to work on bike riding and swimming - but he would much rather be building his Legos than focusing on either of those things...and that's also okay.  He has the greatest smile you'll ever see and the best laugh you'll ever hear.  He loves his sisters - he is usually admiring one and teasing the other, and then will switch!  He is a "Far's dreng" for sure...I asked him the other day what he thinks of when I say the word "Love", and he said "Far".  But he's always thrilled to see me when I pick him up at school - a few other moms have told me they wished their sons hugged them like he hugs me that's pretty wonderful.  He is silly and loud and wacky and wild...and sensitive and sweet and thoughtful and calm.  This boy is absolutely everything to us.  We are grateful for 5 years of him and wish him a wonderful new year full of growth and fun and all the Legos his heart desires.

Now for his birthday pictures...

He woke up Friday morning to our usual family birthday party (eh 5 am).

 (I love this one...they are both in awe of the Sar Wars Resistance X-Wing Fighter.)

 This guy is The Big Five!
Noah was psyched that Far took him to school on his birthday and Mama came a little bit later with cupcakes and goodie bags for his class. 

 (Tinga Tinga style name signs for his class.)

 He had such a big day that he fell asleep with his new Nerf gun when he got home from school!
 He Skyped with all of his grandparents in the afternoon.

Then yesterday morning we were in full-on birthday party mode.
 My friend made a safari cake, complete with the Welsien Family on safari...

 Silly pictures with our African animal friends...

 A snowball fight...not sure how we got to do this for a safari party...I think we pretended that we were on the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro...?
 Opening presents..

Then came the bajaji rides...a repeat activity from Noah's 3rd birthday.  The kids just absolutely love being allowed to go for rides in one of these.

 Lego Tower building contest (also a repeat from his 4th birthday...this kid likes what he likes!)

 Time to sing Happy Birthday to our guy!

Scavenger Hunt to find their goodie bags...
 Grace could read the clues this year...

Phew!  We were all really tired after such a great morning!  
And in the evening Far and kids relaxed a bit together...
We love you, love you, love you, Noah boy! Happy 5th Birthday!