caution: unintentional product endorsements follow
The great thing about this community (yes, here I go again - sorry) is how close-knit and supportive complete strangers are with each other in this world of international adoption. Through blogs and online forums, families reach out asking "Who is traveling soon? We just got our referral and would like to send a small package to our child." (and then the traveling family packs your care package and personally delivers it upon landing in Ethiopia)
Okay, they ask a lot of things - this being the most common 'favor' and the one we're about to ask at the end of this week once our care package is ready. The most touching public forum conversation I read was a woman posting that she just received word her child was admitted to the hospital in Ethiopia. She needed/wanted to send some medicine with a traveling family asap. Many families offered, but weren't traveling for another week or two. Then a family wrote that they were leaving in two days; no time for the mother to mail them the medicine. The solution? The traveling mother asked "What medicine is it and what care center is your child in? I can pick it up locally tonight and throw it in our bags. We'll drop it as soon as we land in Addis."
That was something I read many months ago and it impressed me like nothing has impressed me before. I decided right then that I love these people and I want to do the same for another family when we travel.
Yes, back to the Sights & Sounds. Have I mentioned how easily distracted I am lately?
I am loving the Sassy brand. Everything is plastered with bold bright colors & patterns to keep the attention of an infant/toddler. This little number below is a photo album that holds seven 4.25" x 6" photos and a mini shot on the front. Each page is tabbed in a contrasting bold color that encourages the child to interact and use their fine motor skills by flipping the pages. We snagged this at Buy Buy Baby for under $6 and stuffed it full of couple shots and then individual shots of us. It's safe for babies 3+ months. We put a little shot of Baby N on the cover so his caregiver knows it's his book.
Yes, bedtime stories from afar. Kai will read a book using one side of the tape and I, the other. I read somewhere that this is a great method for your child to slowly become introduced to your voice, making for a smoother recognition/bonding the day he meets (and hears) us as we enter his care center in Addis. Who knows if this helps, but it certainly can't hurt and if anything, it's an entertaining way for him to fall asleep each night. We're hoping his caregiver plays along and will play this for him as he goes to bed each night. I've heard such amazing things about the caregivers and am certain anything that assists the children is something they're game for.
We had to search for this little device. The more common models have all gone digital and start at $100+ at retail. Crazy price for something we'll use once for recording. Staples has the microcassette old school models for $30 (including one cassette & the batteries).