So we are officially all in Haiti as a family! It has been a long past 7 months being apart but we are now together. We officially moved down on May 9. I am not going to lie and say things have been easy….it’s been hard….really really hard. I have had to just stop and laugh a few times as I realized the differences in the things I was worrying about this time 2 weeks ago as the mother of a 6 month old (while still in America) and the things I am now worrying about. I started to write them down and it became somewhat of a top ten list so here we go:
- Noises & Light. At our apartment in America, I would put Sophie down for a nap or to bed with the curtains drawn, a white noise machine going, and proceed to keep things very quiet while she napped or slept (Sophie is a terrible napper so this factors in). Here in Haiti, Sophie has napped or slept with people hammering directly outside her window, goats crying (I believe one was actually being slaughtered during one of her naps), a rooster that begins crowing around 2am every night, and the sun rises every morning at 4:45am…and so does Sophie! She has yet to sleep past 5am since we have moved here.
- Water. I am guessing everyone reading this has clean, hot, drinkable, running water that you can turn on as needed. So do I….in America…. My biggest worries where water was concerned this time 2 weeks ago, were things like, “Did Sophie’s bottle come to the right room temp?” or is her bath water just how she likes it? Now, here in Haiti, it’s a little different. We actually just found out last Friday that our water here in the house is clean and drinkable. Up until now, we have been buying bottled waters and washing everything with that water. Getting Sophie’s bottles clean to a point where I feel like she can use them again is challenging and very time consuming. For Sophie’s bath, it is a mad dash to heat water and get bottled waters poured in to a baby tub (we are in the process of weaning her off of a hot bath and she’s almost there!). The first few nights we did this, Sophie sobbed all the way through it (pretty sure I did too) but she is now loving it.
- Bugs. To be perfectly honest, this time 2 weeks ago, I did not worry about bugs at all. Now it consumes my thoughts. Here in Haiti, we live amongst, tarantulas, lizards, flies, and worst of all mosquitoes. And when I say live amongst I mean they are in our homes. Most of these I have learned to deal with but I am convinced that mosquitoes are the worst thing in the world. Our house here has been pretty infested with them up until the last few days. We have been systematically sealing up and screening in everything and there is a huge difference. However, as I type this I have around 15 bites on my legs and arms. That is life here and always has been but it is a whole other thing now with Sophie. I put bug spray (all natural because I can’t bring myself to put Deet on her skin) on her around 4 times a day and watch her like a hawk. I am happy to say she has only gotten a couple of bites since we moved here but honestly, all it takes is one infected mosquito and she could get very sick. This is not something I worried about 2 weeks ago and I constantly worry now.
- Bedtime Routines. I love to read and so naturally have read lots of books on babies over the past 6 months. One of the things you constantly read is the importance of a bedtime routine. In America, we would read a couple of books to Sophie, give her a warm bath, put her in her footie PJs, feed her a bottle, then rock her and sing to her and put her in her crib. Matt and I would then usually watch a little TV together. While we have tried hard to keep her routine going here, it’s just not that simple. We are still reading books but now with fans pointed at us and one of our new german shepherd puppies (we have 2-Scout and Jem) trying to play. We then bathe her (we are all sweating all through the bath), cover her body in bugspray, put cornstarch on her back because she has a terrible heat rash and this seems to help, and put her in as little clothes as possible. She still gets a bottle but I have to put a towel on my arm because we are both so sweaty she keeps sliding off of me. There is still rocking and singing but it goes a little quicker here since we are so hot and then whoever is not feeding her stands by her pack-n-play ready to lift the mosquito net just enough to lay her in but not too much so that mosquitoes can get in (this is very tricky). At that point the kids come over for a nightly service in which we sing, pray, and read the Bible together.
- Trash. I know this one seems silly but it’s one of those things that I keep thinking about. Our apartment complex has “valet trash service”. This means that there is a box right outside our apartment that we are allowed to put 2 bags of trash in Sunday-Thursday nights. We are forced to use this service and pay $20 extra a month for it. I have complained many many times about it. It bothers me that we are forced to use it and also that we can’t even put trash out on Friday and Saturday nights. However, what I wouldn’t give for valet trash service right about now! Haiti does not have any type of trash service. People burn their trash here. That means that I have a giant hole in my backyard where the trash is piled (and smells) and then lit on fire at which point I run around closing all of the windows so that smoke doesn’t get inside (and then we all sweat even more because we have just cut off our air flow).
Stay tuned tomorrow for numbers 1 – 5!