I can’t even believe Daniel has only been with us for a little over two months. It feels like he’s been with us since day one. I can’t imagine life without him now. At the same time, it feels like just yesterday we left Russia with a squirming child on an eleven hour flight. What were we thinking?!
I looked through pictures from our second trip to Russia a few nights ago and it really surprises me that in a way it all seems like a distant memory. I have this odd feeling that it is almost like we never even went to Russia. I think it’s because I realized that no one will ever really know what it was like for us except for those who have been through it themselves. I also realized that I never really wrote much on my blog about our visits to the orphanage on trip one or on trip two and the circumstances we went through there. For example no one knows (except family) that Daniel was held in a hospital for the month between trips as on trip one when we said goodbye to him we said goodbye at the hospital where we were lucky enough to accompany him and a caregiver so he could have his routine check up done. Then there was a chicken pox outbreak at the orphanage before his return so they moved him to another children’s hospital so he would not get the chicken pox and be unable to travel to the US. Most think we picked him up from the orphanage on what some call “Gotcha Day” but instead we went the children’s hospital. I didn’t write much about court or why it lasted four hours or anything else for that matter. I did send more detailed emails home of course along the way, but mostly I kept a lot of what went on just between Troy and I. To remedy that, I’m hoping to write a newsletter to our family and friends this year of a more detailed account of our trip so they can feel more involved in the process and maybe understand more our time there. I find it hard to express the feelings we went through in Russia so it will take some time. Words just don’t seem adequate.
Our daily schedule is getting better since I’ve gone back to work. It was hard the first couple of weeks to get everything just right and we’re actually still working on it. We’ve overcome the “I’m starving” issue we had when I would pick him up in the evenings and then listen to crying while I frantically tried to cook dinner. I’ve finally found an afternoon snack that seems to hold him over ---- a cereal bar. Applesauce just wasn’t cutting it! That only took a few days. We’ve also overcome the “don’t wake me up in the morning, I want to wake up on my own” issue in which when I would try to get him up in the morning he would crawl as far away as possible and lay back down and squeeze his eyes shut and then when I would pick him up and start dressing him he would whine the whole time. Now I simply pick him up and make a big production of yawning and stretching and helping him stretch in my arms every which way and morning hugs and morning kisses and so on and so forth. It’s amazing what a silly song will do for a child and what they will do for a silly song!!
Last week I got my first big cry and “please don’t leave me today mama” whine from Daniel when I dropped him off one morning. I was so sad to leave as the sitter had to pick him up crying and take him to another room so I could get out the door, but at the same time all I could think was “He really loves me, he really, really does!!!” I know, silly me!!
Lately we’ve been working on Daniel’s name with him. He knows who he is and he answers to Daniel, but we want him to be able to tell someone else his name. We’re only working on the first name right now but finally just yesterday in the car I asked him, “What’s your name?” fully expecting to get a grunt back. Instead he said “Aniel” Close enough. I about drove off the road clapping and carrying on!! Just kidding – I promise I didn’t even go over any lines!! But I did clap and carry on!!
Lastly meal time has gone from being wonderful to being well...not so wonderful. We never bought a highchair for Daniel and instead used a portable booster seat that strapped to one of our chairs. Daniel started out as a champion eater but has now become ancy in his chair, tries to kick away from the table, bend his spoons in half (soft plastic) tear his bib off, smear his food, move it around on his plate and even throw it once or twice. After thinking about this and talking with several people, I decided we did need a highchair after all and that I needed to cut back on the food available on his plate at any given time.
You see, I’ve been so worried about giving him enough to eat and making sure he knew he could have plenty that I think I was actually overloading his plate and therefore his giving him too much to handle. It was just way too exciting for him to see all that food. So yesterday I started off with our old breakfast of the champs –oatmeal with raspberry yogurt mixed in. That was it, no extras and guess what-he ate nicely and he ate all of it! Then last night I made him chicken nuggets and macaroni salad with veges mixed in and instead of giving him a bunch I started him with only two nuggets and a very, very small portion of macaroni salad. At first he looked at his plate like, “Hey, wait a minute. Are you cutting me off?” Then he ate every last bit so nicely and when I asked if he wanted more, he said, “more” and I gave him two more nuggets and another tiny amount of macaroni salad. That went down nicely too. Then he banged his spoon on his plate, so I just took everything away quietly and on we went with our night. Mealtime was great!!
This morning he sat in the highchair for the very first time and although he tried to kick the footrest, see his feet over the edge of the tray and of course try to take the tray off, he ate nicely again with small portions. The highchair also forces him to sit up straight, instead of slouching way down and so he spilled less and the morning was pleasant!!
We’re figuring things out slowly, but surely!!
I’ll leave you with some pictures of Daniel playing tug of war with his favorite doggie, Ruby or as he says “Ruuuuuuuuuuubeeeeeeeee”. And yes – we let our dogs on one of our couches – what can we say – we’re suckers!!