Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Keeping It Small

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!!


Anonymous said...

He is a real cutie...about Russia did you have judge Olga in Izhevsk...that is who we had

Sira said...


I understand your feelings about looking at those pictures. Looking back at my pictures it brings back a mix of emotions- good bad and scared. It is hard to explain to people. My child cryed a lot and I did not expect that, it goes away with time and once you are in a groove it all falls into place.

I believe people have the same feelings after the birth of thier bio- kids.

Anyway he is adorable!

Meghan and Bill said...


Sounds like you're doing really well with the schedule and getting a routine down. Its so helpful for a newbie like me to hear your experience with transitioning home. Thanks for sharing.

The tug 'o war pics are great!

Michael and Carrie said...

Happy birthday to Daniel! It sounds like he is doing so well! It is so cute that he said his name to you-I'm glad you were able to stay on the road! :) It sounds like you are a good problem-solver and that you've come up with great solutions for getting him up, helping him not be hungry, and getting him to eat during meals. By the way, I had the same feeling when S cried not wanting to go to the church nursery a few weeks ago--it is great when they want us! :)

PattiK said...

I'm waiting for my first trip to Izhevsk any day. I will be trveling alone. Do you have any suggestions for me? I am thoroughly enjoying your blog. Any and all thoughts or suggestions welcome. Thanks, PAK

PattiK said...

I'm waiting for my first trip to Izhevsk any day. I will be trveling alone. Do you have any suggestions for me? I am thoroughly enjoying your blog. Any and all thoughts or suggestions welcome. Thanks, PAK

PattiK said...

I'm waiting for my first trip to Izhevsk. I will be traveling alone. Any suggestions? Do you have any pictures of the Baby House there? I'm not sure how many their are or which one my agency is using. Thanks! PAK

Mary & Michael said...

I’m glad your routine is improving and things are settling down. It is so cute that D. is learning his name. As always your photos are great. I will be checking out your new blog too, I definitely need to start watching those pennies.

Jane and Jim said...

You can totally tell you guys are doing a fabulous job with him - he's so healthy and happy it really shows in the pics.

You blog about whatever you want to blog about - don't worry about what the rest of the world thinks!

Becky and Keith said...

You are awesome! I love the way you tackle everything and look at it logically. Daniel looks like such a happy kid and Ruuuuuuuubeeeeee looks like a happy dog! We're suckers too - our dogs own the couches! You'd better be keeping a list of toddler tips and tricks - I'll be desperate in just over a week. :-)

Carey and Norman said...

Love the photos of Daniel with Ruby. Too cute. They are the perfect size for one another to play.

Glad you are figuring out the everyday parent issues. So many things are trial and error that what you might think is best (or even read is best) may not work for you.

I enjoyed our chats this week!

Ryan and Amy said...

He is so cute with your dog - good thing he likes dogs. I agree, it sometimes feels like we were never in Russia yet it has of course changed us forever. Thanks for your update.

Shane and Kathy Gebhardt said...

It sounds like Daniel is doing really well. You are doing a great job with him! Hang in there!

Kristine and John said...

Welcome to parenthood. Parenting is not easy and I hate to tell you but there will always be challenges....just wait until he says something that will REALLY embarass you. That is always fun....:D

Thank you for all your encouragement. It has been a blessing to have you as a blogger friend during this process.

Daniel is getting cuter each time I see his pictures. You are doing a wonderful job with him...

We all have behind the scenes court stories I am sure....Good, bad and scared is right! You have made it through a big milestone in your life!

Happy Birthday Daniel!

Anonymous said...

Rachel, it is so nice to hear that things are going great with Daniel. He looks so happy and content. I look forward to following your blog and seeing more pictures of that cutie pie!

Renae and Joe