My sweet orphan boys don't all know how old they are. They don't know when their birthdays are or if it is their birthday, they don't know "how many" they are going to have on their next birthday. They don't know because they don't have a mommy or a daddy who is going to remind them and celebrate them. But my boys know or will learn this year because I am making a huge deal of their birthdays after I saw firsthand how difficult a birthday week can be for an orphan this past summer while living at Casa Hogar Douglas.
In the past 10 days, I've celebrated 7 birthdays at Douglas - some celebrations were bigger than others. Below are photos from 2....
David turned 3, is now potty trained (or really close) and started pre-school last week. He can say in spanish, "one, five, THREE!!!" before he jumps on something or wants to have a countdown. His pre-school teacher obviously has some work to do but I'm thrilled that he has started big kid school. He's starting to be a bit more vocal and says things like, "a que NOOO!!" when he doesn't want to do something.
For his birthday, I brought him some happy meal toys, 2 balloons which he immediately filled with water and threw with joy, and some play doh.
David was the lucky recipient of my cousins' old truck. He puts the shapes in and out of the truck bed.
Oziel turned 4 on thursday. I was working on his actual birthday and taking care of the boys dorm at douglas for boys ages 8 - 11 and I could not adequately spend time with him on his real birthday. Oziel has a Shelter Program sponsor family and they sent some money down to buy him a birthday present which I gave him on his actual birthday. But for you blog readers and for those of you have been here to Monterrey, you know by now that Oziel owns my entire heart. Spending one hour with him on his birthday playing with his new toys was just not enough for me. So I asked for permission to spend all day Friday with him. We had a fiesta day and did whatever my little man wanted to do.
First, we swam in the pool and shot squirt guns.
Oziel got his happy meal toys present from me - complete with all his favorites: marbles, stickers, 4 balloons, hotwheels and his current favorite thing on the planet- a Hulk action figure
He wanted ice cream so we went to McDonalds for happy meals and ice cream. As we walked out of McDonalds he proudly declared that he was going to spend the rest of his life at my house. This is a sensitive subject for him and honestly for me too. I love him so much and I hate that he lives in a group setting with group bath time and group meals and group everything. I explained that he was just playing at my house for his birthday and that we didn't have permission right now for him to live there forever. But as we got in the car, I told him my idea - we'd ask permission for him to spend the night. If they said no... he'd have to go back to his dorm and his brothers. Well they said, "YES!" He was soooo excited. He asked if he could sleep on my "gator couch." He loves gators. Obviously God picked out this child just for ME. I found him some PJ's while he found some more frogs and proudly showed them off to some of the other B2B staff. He literally jumped around with glee as I made up his bed for him.
This little 4 year old puts himself to sleep. When he is tired, he asks for a bed and just goes to sleep. After some Scooby Doo and after we read "Hands are Not for Hitting" (he struggles to be nice sometimes- I don't blame him), he put himself to sleep. He let me sleep till 7:45 am till he screamed, "CAROLIIIIINE!"
We watched more Scooby Doo at his request, played with his new toys and I started cooking breakfast to which he said, "what are you doing?" I said, "I'm cooking breakfast for you. I'm going to make chocolate chip pancakes. Would you like that?" He gets excited about a lot of things but I think the thought that I was personally cooking for him was obviously more exciting than any toy I've ever given him - this still shocks me. He kept saying, "you are cooking for ME?!!?!?!? Oh yes Caroline!!! Yes Caroline!" Then when we finally sat down to eat, he started by eating all the chocolate chips off the top. Then he realized that there were more choc chips inside the pancakes to which he asked before each one, "is this a bug or chocolate?" Only a child who has lived in an orphanage or on the street would ask that question.
Fernando turns 7 this Sunday. Happy Birthday!