Thursday, March 17, 2011

Earthquakes, Fourteen Year Olds and Four Year Olds.

I think I might just the right person to write about this earthquake. Having lost so much in terms of material 'stuff' I think I understand the impact. More importantly I have so many children, so I see the earthquake through the eyes of a fair few ages.

Maddee who is four seems okay this round. She was traumatized by the September event and took months to recover. She experienced so many of the staple issues of trauma for her age, reverting to babyish behaviour, clingy, and not sleeping. Every aftershock was a major event. We seemed to be finally getting through the worst of it as February dawned.

Amazingly, Maddee hasn't regressed much after the last event. She has started back to pre-school, today was her first full day. Aftershocks can make her jump (me too!) and sometimes she needs a cuddle after a sizable one, but she is soon playing again. The only thins she does is refusing to go anywhere near the two broken houses, but that probably just makes her smart!

Let's face it, Maddee is a clever little character,and she knows how to use an earthquake. Just before we found our newest house, when life was almost unbearable for all of us, Maddee was adding to the stress with naughty behaviour. I mean we tried to give her a break with all that was going on, but eventually enough is enough. "You're going to have to go to your room," I said to her. She looked at me, crossed her arms and dawned her scowling face, 'I don't even have a bedroom anymore, it was broken by the earthquake!" She also has figured out how to get a toy bought for her, she just has to pull at her mum's heartstrings about how many toys are still in the broken house and can't come out. Poor wee lamb...hey?!

Izzi's feelings at fourteen are more distressing. It may be hard on her, but believe me, what she is feeling is tougher still on her mother . Yesterday, as we drove through the traffic to get to school, Izzi talked to me about her year. Her camp, which should have taken place soon after the earthquake is cancelled and she feels there is nothing to look forward to. Probably just her age? I don't think so, not this time. The earthquake means many of the activities outside school just can't happen this year. As she climbed out of the car at school, she turned and looked at me and said, 'Do you reaslise that everything I got for Christmas, except for my cell phone, is gone now in that house?" Then she closed the car door and left.

I drove away from school feeling angry and helpless. There was nothing I could do. Okay, there was one thing, I could talk Ric into making one more dangerous little trip into that house to rummage around and find some of the rocks from her prized rock collection. He found a fair few, put them in her favourite container and we gave them to her on Sunday, her birthday.

It's amazing what even a few of your special things can do to brighten up life.


  1. Another marvellous insight. Thank you.

  2. Oh God - reading this has really stopped me in my tracks this morning. I had forgotten about the loss of birthday and Christmas presents and how much they mean to kids of all ages.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. You're a strong woman - keeping it together for your family xxx