May 14, 2008 (Wednesday)
Everyone is trying to get in a routine at the orphanage still – we all keep switching where we are going at what times, but I think it will be all settled by the end of the week. This morning I went to the orphanage and worked with my three main kids in Mickey Mouse Room #1 and then my three in Mickey Mouse Room #2. Valentina AKA my little string bean (that’s my name for her) was much more calm today. She likes to climb in my lap constantly, or if I’m playing with one of the other kids while sitting on the ground she will come from behind and wrap her arms around your neck. She is a tiny little thing, and she probably weighs about 15 pounds max. Right now I’m trying to teach her to imitate me. I will clap once and then do it with her hands once. Then I will clap twice and do it with her hands twice. She doesn’t quite get the concept yet but she will. She will just sit in my lap and look at my hands in amazement. As for the other two in room #1 Irina and Constantine, today I took them out of their seats. They just sit in their seats all day. It’s so sad…When I took Irina out I would do exercises with her and move her legs and body around because her body gets so stiff from sitting in their chairs. I got her to smile big today – Elisa said that smiling is basically the maximum amount of a reaction that I will get from her - so I think I’m doing good. It’s just hard to feel like you’re making a difference when they are disabled so severely that they don’t respond too much – but even if I make them smile it makes it worth it to me. When I took Constantine out of his chair I could tell how excited he was – he is a very flat boy – his head is flat on one side because he sits all day like that…when I put him back in his chair he cried. I hate it when they cry…it makes me feel bad.
One of the kids I work with in Mickey Mouse Room #2 has changed. I work with Andrei, Ulia and Maria. Andrei was his usual self today – full of energy. I have decided to nickname him “my little monkey.” He gives me a workout. We took Andrei and the rest of the kids outside again. I had two toddlers to take care of outside today – Andrei and Gitza. That was quite the chore – they can both walk fast but neither are very good, and they would both want to run in opposite directions. I have a lot of respect for mothers with twins. Ha ha. Finally I put both of them in swings next to each other so I could easily watch both and they couldn’t escape. Andrei would still try and squirm out of his chair though when he was done. I’m trying to sign to him. Everytime I say “yes” or “no” I will do the hand action – I think he only knows “no” right now though because he is constantly doing stuff to get in trouble – but he’s so cute it’s hard to get upset with him. After outside I took Ulia out of her seat. I’m trying to get her to reach for objects I put above her head with both arms – she will do it with one or the other but never both. I didn’t have time to work with Maria, but some of the other girls played with her – I will make extra time for her tomorrow.
In the afternoon I went to the apartments – floor 3 and floor 7. Nothing too exciting happened in apartment 7 today. Ilena was really grouchy but the caretaker there was super nice. She gave us some type of chocolate cake, and it was really good. As for the floor 7 apartment, it was my first day to really meet and get to know the kids. There are 5 children from 5 to 7 years old and they are all extremely high functioning. They go to school and everything and easily talked to us. They were so sweet and so fun to be around. One of the girls was braiding Elyse’s hair, we blew bubbles, played with blocks – lots of fun stuff. I’m excited to go back to see them…!
On our way home Elyse and I had to take a tram that we don’t normally take, because we had to go straight to the church for an activity called Outreach. Mary told us to get off at the stop after the “red bridge.” It turns out that there are about 5 “red bridges” so we just decided to get off when it looked like we were getting far away from familiar buildings, etc. We ended up getting off and roaming around until we found our way to the church. We just laughed about it – we figured we would get there at some point…Elyse said that the only reason we found our way back so easily was because we were going to church…the Lord helps us out!
Outreach was a lot of fun. Us girls played card games with some investigators and the missionaries. I guess Outreach is just a fun way to interact with those who are investigating the church. I lost at Skip-Bo, but then we played a game similar to Slap Jack (I forgot the name of it) and I won. My reflexes were like a cat. Haha…I slapped those cards! We were all laughing pretty hard. Then when I was turning to put a card down a Romanian guy in the ward (I forgot his name) set popcorn down right when I turned and the popcorn went flying all over Whitney Scott and on the floor…then before the night was over I didn’t see someone’s drink sitting on the floor and I knocked it over. Oh yes – that’s me. Every since I got to Romania I seem to be more clumsy. I don’t understand it…
On the walk home from church we all had a speed walking contest along the sidewalk. It was Mindy’s idea – and it was amazing. We all looked like COMPLETE fools, but we were cracking up. Anything that makes us laugh after a long and somewhat stressful day is worth it. So fun!
P.S. My Romanian vocabulary is starting to get better.
P.S.S. We killed another cockroach (#3 to be exact). The countdown begins…