Saturday, December 18, 2010

Our first full day together!

First, pictures because I know what’s important ;)

Her first night in a bed outside the orphanage!


She LOVES the toy cell phone.  True Ukrainian girl there ;)

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From the advice of the Lutz’s we bought a small backpack (clearance $3, can’t beat that!) and attached a key ‘leash’ to the top hook of it.  I brought a small carribeaner, but it doesn’t appear to have made it through security, so a ribbon might have to do the trick—to 'connect’ the backpack straps in the front so she cannot remove it.  Then, when she’s walking, there’s something to grab on to if she decides to bolt.  :)  Plus, it holds a few special toys and a cup for her.  She doesn’t want to wear it right now, but we’ll “practice” a few times in the next days and hope it goes over better.  She’s too big for the traditional “baby leash” but if we want her to be able to be down, we need some way to catch her (not walk her like a dog, but something to grab other than her shirt) if she tries to go off.


Just looking cute…

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She kept passing the cell phone between the two of us to chat.


In her PJs (this one’s out of order) this morning and trying on Chris’ croks.


On to my shoes… before we went out in the snow.


Ready to go out in the SNOW!  She is so funny.  She is SMILEY up until the pic goes off, then, she gets this stoneface look.  Her fingers aren’t down in the gloves, but her hands were warm and that’s what matters ;)  She was waving ‘paka paka!’ and saying it.  And yes, mom, I put my jacket on after we took the picture. ;)

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In the stroller!  I wasn’t sure what she’d think of being in a stroller, but she was fine with it.  She took the gloves off in the grocery store, but it was a quick walk home so we didn’t argue.  She actually really liked the stroller.  Thing is… it’s a pain.  We have to cross UNDER the street (down steps) to get to the plaza where the grocery store is.  So, I had to take her out and walk her down the steps anyway.  Then across the street (beneath it) and back up.  We come up right next to the store, which has 2 steps then a door then 2 steps.  Then walk across the lobby area of the mall and go down an escalator (Mandarin Plaza for those that know the area).  And riding the escalator, she kicks the step that her feet are near about knocking me over backward.  Not a good feeling.  The stroller was DEFINITELY worthwhile in the store though.

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Imagine a child that’s never been in a grocery store.  One that is probably hungry most of the time and has rarely been offered seconds.  One that walks into a dining hall and is handed food and eats it, and never sees food she cannot eat and never has to wait for food to be prepared.


This is her.  She about fell apart when she saw all the baskets of fruit!  She cried and screamed—I thought we might get thrown out of the grocery store (it’s not unheard of…).  I bought two apples and she ate about 1/2 of one!  At least we found something she likes ;)  That’s what she’s eating in the picture above.

For being so fixated on food, I’m surprised at her preferences.  She’s definitely used to the same thing ALL the time.  I’m ok with that, but I’m surprised that I’ve offered her food that she’s turned down.

Anyway, she likes apples and given slices (peeled, haven’t tried with the peel on yet) she was able to take bites.  One slice at a time because she can’t determine for herself when it’s time to put more in her mouth and stuffs everything in together.  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? (EMMA)

So we bought two apples, and I also bought a bag of potatoes, three carrots (locally grown funny shaped ones), an onion, some sliced cheddar cheese (texture of American and individually wrapped, but package says cheddar I think), a sauce that looks like a beet/carrot base that we’ll try tomorrow, a bag of tiny star-shaped pastas and another 1/2 loaf of bread.  We got butter the other day, and I picked up a salt and pepper shaker today since the apartment doesn’t actually have those… (it’s supposed to).

We went home and I made some homemade soup from scratch.  It was good!  I cut all the veggies up really small and hoped the pasta would be ok since it was tiny and well cooked.  I didn’t add the beet stuff on accident, so tomorrow we’ll try the leftovers with some of the beet sauce, making it more like a Borscht type of flavor to it.

Aleksa loved it!  She ate the (small) bowlful that I’d given her then about 1/2 of a second serving before I gave her a slice of bread.  She abandoned the soup for the bread.  She likes to share that with the floor (too bad we don’t have a dog LOL) so we’ve been sweeping after every meal.

I’m glad she decided to eat, though, and tonight she had some leftover rice-a-roni that I’d made a few days ago and I reheated in the frying pan for her, a slice of bread, some applesauce, and some crackers. 

She REALLY likes the apple sauce, and whoever suggested crushing the melatonin in the applesauce—THANK YOU!  I have just 2 small containers of applesauce, but I’m rationing them at bedtime until I locate more! :)  Tonight we waited until about 9 to put her down and I just sat with her.  She went down by 9:30.

Ok, some more about the good and struggles of the day…

Going out was of course difficult with the stroller yet I don’t know how we would have done it without it.  Maybe next time I’ll go to the grocery store and she and Chris will take a short walk outside and we’ll leave the stroller at home.  Not sure yet.  I’m not able to treat the situation as I would at home, because I cannot communicate with the people around me.  I simply ignored her today.  Plain and simple.  An occasional ‘no, nyet’ when necessary, and a ‘sideese’ (sp?), sit down’ a few times (in the stroller) but otherwise I let her scream and carry on and I just did what I had to and got out…  At home we’d stop and have a chat, but here there was nowhere to stop without her grabbing things or me being in someone’s way.  We’ll work on that later.  Even if she doesn’t understand my words, she CERTAINLY knows what she’s doing that’s wrong.  It’s interesting!

She learned quickly not to go on the step to the kitchen and bathroom.  Today we’ve worked on not turning off the light and giggling while I’m cooking.  I put her in time-out twice because she continued to do it (about every 30 seconds, seriously…) and it was becoming a problem.  She stopped.  She started again next mealtime, and the time out was faster to come and the behavior stopped.

We’ve also dealt with needing 1000% of our attention at all times.  Today when I skyped home, twice she said she had to go to the bathroom (or, rather, the sounds and motions she makes to say it).  The third time (the conversation was really cut up due to her behavior and the kids at home needing Mike) she peed herself while I was on the phone.  Each time it was just a few minutes (like, 2-3) into the conversation.  I see this may be an area of control.  The 2nd time I asked Chris to take her to the bathroom, since she’d used the pee tactic last night as well and I suspected that she was looking to take my attention back.  She did, and she went.  Then she didn’t ask to go, she just peed then told us… and of course I got off the computer to take care of it.

We’ll have to figure that one out, but I’m thinking it will get worse before it gets better since I’m not even positive HOW toilet trained she was… I know she’ll tell me, but I don’t know if she was dry all night or if she was used to being in a diaper, or if she had regular accidents… or?

Right now she’s wearing a diaper at night and if we go out.  I have some Goodnights for the trip home on the plane, but I’m saving them.  At home I’m not putting her in a diaper at all because I don’t want to UNDO her toilet training.

And on that note, she also made gains with the toilet today.  She used the ‘big’ toilet (because I offered no other!) and even got BACK on it once when I’d gotten her off and she started putting her underwear and pants back on, then she was all of a sudden back on the toilet and holding herself up!  Previously she freaked at the toilet and wouldn’t sit up, I had to hold her up.  The seat here is thin and round and the bowl is high… not great for a small child!  But, she CAN do it, and that’s good!!

She also didn’t throw herself on the bathroom floor except for once today, she didn’t dart for the tub except once, and she didn’t grab the toilet seat and throw herself at the toilet.  She did, however, try to take wet TP back OUT of the toilet.  That was fun…

We also had a little battle of the wills when she wanted a drink and I’d decided it was too late at night to get one.  She will scream and throw a fit and carry on, because she can SEE her cup, and she wants it and she wants it NOW.  It doesn’t work that way…

I finally told her to sit at the table and then turned my back to her (also sitting at the table) and talked with Chris on the couch.  She interrupted over and over and I’d turn and say “Mommy’s talking with Mrs. Chris, and I said no water.”  Eventually she calmed down, turned her attention to the TV for a few, and then I brought her ‘back in’ to the conversation.  She needed to know that not only is she not going to get her way from a fit,  but she’d also not get attention for it.  And… that she does NOT have to have my undivided attention at every moment.  Of course, she has it at 99% of the moments right now!  And I love that!  But there’s a time when that’s not appropriate and she has to learn that now… BEFORE we get Wesley!!

Ok, well, now she’s awake and peed her diaper (then told me she needed to go potty…) and she’s changed and back in bed WIDE awake.  Must be time for me to go lay down with her and read. 

Today’s been a good day, and though I dislike the inaccessibility that exists here in UA and I’m ready to be home for that reason, we had a good time.  I’m very encouraged by her taking to the redirection and by her affection and playfulness.

We did “ring around the rosy” about 100 times, we’ve sang Jesus Loves Me over and over, and we’ve danced to the ABC song that her giraffe plays.  She’s a joy and a treasure and I am much more encouraged by our day today.  Yesterday was about at breaking point… today was a renewed hope. 

Keep praying for our homecoming, please!  We need Wesley’s passport on TUESDAY or WEDNESDAY in order to fly home on Thursday (need it for the Visa on Wed!) so please pray that it is able to happen in that timing!  We’ve told our kids at home that it’s a “surprise” whether we’re going to be home for Christmas or not… and it will be a surprise for us too.

Tomorrow is a new day, and today was (hopefully) our last Saturday in Ukraine ;)

Some pictures of the city from the last few days.  I promised not to tell which are mine and which are Chris’ LOL…IMG_0487 IMG_0488 IMG_0489 IMG_0427 IMG_0428 IMG_0429 IMG_0431 IMG_0432 IMG_0433 IMG_0434 IMG_0435 IMG_0436 IMG_0437 IMG_0438 IMG_0439 IMG_0441 IMG_0442 IMG_0443 IMG_0444 IMG_0445 IMG_0446 IMG_0447 IMG_0448 IMG_0449 IMG_0453 IMG_0456 IMG_0457 IMG_0458 IMG_0459 IMG_0462 IMG_0463 IMG_0467 IMG_0471 IMG_0472 IMG_0474 IMG_0484 IMG_0485 IMG_0486


  1. Love the updates. You are so awesome, Meredith. I'm thrilled that she's responded so well to all of these changes!

  2. Fabulous update! And of course in your trying to maintain a normal life in a foreign country you probably forgot that if you have apples, you can make sauce. I did with the apples that went bad. Just peel, cut, put in a sauce pan with a small amount of water/lemon juice-enough to cover and not let them burn. (I used lemon "Sik" that came in the box with the other fruit juices)and boil down with some sugar. I had brought cinnamon from home to add, but you can probably do without it.. They mash easily when cooked.
    Hugs and GODSPEED HOME!

  3. We stayed in that apartment! I had a feeling that is where you were when you mentioned the giant toilet! I actually got a picture of my feet that couldn't touch the ground on it! Be glad it's winter. The air conditioner could not keep up in that apartment and we were constantly hot there. Luckily we weren't in it long. Looking forward to seeing Wesley with you too!

  4. I love reading your posts! All the details make me feel like I'm right back there, except it's not 100 degrees anymore! :) Michelle Zoromski and I used to take Lilya to the Mandarin market! :) It was interesting getting her up & down the steps from the "tunnel" in the stroller! And I took Peyton there once, too, by myself while Jaime Hosford stayed with my girls. Only then did I realize there was an elevator! Very handy! Michelle and I had taken Lil up & down the escalator, stroller and all! :) I'm praying everything will fall into place time-wise for you guys and you'll be with your whole big, wonderful family together for Christmas.

  5. So whats with the stars on the snow? Glad you all had a better and safer day. All 4 grandparents are Seaworlding tomorrow together. Kids doing well. Love MOm

  6. Loved reading your update :)

  7. Is that confetti in the snow? Great pictures! I'm so glad the applesauce worked for your melatonin! (We actually don't crush it anymore, just stick the whole pill in..teehee)