Just signed my third cast in three weeks this afternoon! How many times does a person get to say that? We got a good report from the doctor. The casts appear to be working, the bones in Rebeka’s foot are moving. Slowly, little by little, but it’s enough to be encouraged. And so we stride forward. Getting her temperature and blood pressure taken, and having a doctor and technician put on a cast, is no big deal anymore for Rebeka. A much bigger deal is losing her playmates to school. Yesterday was our kids’ first day, and we’re all sliding into a new routine as homework and after-school activities come.
But there is no routine for life with Rebeka, in a quiet house, where the sound of tapping keys was once the only thing to be heard for hours as I worked on manuscripts. I took a deep breath yesterday morning as Alayna walked out the door. Clay and the boys were gone. It was just Rebeka and I. What the heck were we going to do all day? How was I ever going to get any writing done? I sat down at the kitchen table, a ton of learning supplies at the ready (thank you Natalie and Kerri), and we set to work.
We spent almost two hours doing handwriting, and I developed a new vocabulary. A lowercase “b” is “all the way down, and then around.” I chanted, “all the way down, and then around,” as Rebeka painstakingly made her b’s. Sometimes backwards. Sometimes not quite touching the bottom line. I remembered how my kid’s kindergarten teacher let them circle their “best letters” and I liberally sprinkled stars all over Rebeka’s beautiful b’s. I found “fantastic!” and “super!” stickers. We sang the days of the week song.
And it was not boring. It was not wasted time. Because she was engaging, learning, trying so hard. I kept wondering what school looks like back home in Rwanda. How many kids are in a class, and how often a backwards “b” might get overlooked because a teacher can’t catch little things like that in a class of fifty kindergartners. When I asked Rebeka what letter she was working on, she said, “ball.” There was a picture of a ball next to the “b” on her handwriting sheet. So she didn’t understand the word “letter.” And when I was finally able to make her understand what I was asking, she couldn’t tell me the letter. Aha. All that time she was writing a “b,” but she didn’t’ really get that’s what it was. So we needed to work on letter recognition. To the shaggy rug with letter flashcards and an alphabet poster (thank you Debbie). I am finding my way with her. Figuring out what works.
As for the manuscript, I didn’t get to it our first day of school. But I did today. I’m getting up early to work on my current work in progress, and today Rebeka played diligently for over an hour while I snuck a few more chapters in. And just as I find my way, I marvel at how she finds hers.
Last week, Rebeka noticed a plaque with a coat hook sitting on the floor of the “middle room.” The room that has been an office, an exercise room, and is currently the holding tank for Alayna’s furniture, Rebeka’s clothes, and school supplies. (We moved the furniture out of Alayna’s room so we could fit both their beds.) I showed Rebeka how we would eventually hang that hook on the wall and then she could put her tutus on it. Apparently, she didn’t want to wait. As I puttered around, cleaning up, Rebeka spied a roll of duct tape across the room.
She crawled over, brought it back, cut a long strip of it, cut that into tinier strips, and then hung the wall hook with yellow duct tape. Voila!
She figured it out. We all applauded her ingenuity, and by the end of the day the hook was hung good and proper with a nail, adorned with her fluffy tutu.
As for adoption news, this middle room has also been referred to as “the baby’s room.” Our number on the list in Honduras continues to creep. Last we heard we were at #40, but we’ve taken our eyes off that number the last few weeks. A watched pot never boils. A watched number hardly moves. I’ll let you know how our new strategy is panning out. For now, we’ve got “b’s” to work on, a manuscript to finish, a company to start (ask Clay about that one), and too many football/dance/karate practices to think about. Oh yeah, and potholders. We’ve got potholders to make.