1 July 2007
Today is Sunday and the BH is “closed” on the weekends, so you don’t have to visit, but you can if you want. The last two weekends we paid Masha extra to come and visit with us, but this weekend we didn’t, and it has been a good experiment of us figuring things out on our own. Since the BH is closed we have to get past this elaborate lock that holds the gate shut.
When we get to his “house” he is in the playroom and his little shoes are in the “dining room”. Every day he sits down to get his little sandals on, and every day I help him, and every day his caregivers tell me “He can do it by himself!” Ahh, the pattern never gets old.
Today I made the mistake of helping another little guy with his sandal, and he yelled at me to stop . . . these Amerikanskies aren’t very bright, are they?
We go outside right away, and even though all of us talk to each other, we don’t always understand what the other wants . . . there are moments of misunderstanding, but Sasha has a great personality and he recovers quickly from disappointments. The goldfish, juice and m&m’s are the first areas to address now, and he is finished with that (the best part of the two hours) in about four minutes.
Today we tried asking him if the green m&m was blue, and he grinned up at us and said, “Nyet. Gree.” This is pretty clear evidence that he is one of the smartest three year olds in the world.
We have a lot of fun on the playground, and it feels more like being at the local park now. Usually just one of us is with Sash, and the other is playing with other kids or chilling in the gazebo. Today the boys went off and did “Man Stuff” which included looking in the garage, finding rocks, then throwing them, banging things with sticks and possible discussions about how men and boys go to the bathroom.
This bathroom question comes up regularly. Sasha is potty trained, and he is good at knowing when he has to go. Here all the kids in his group sit on a potty to go to the bathroom, and if we bring him up to his group room he does just fine. The other day Steve tried to take him to the public bathroom on the first floor of the BH. It was awesome; Sash took one look at the toilet, firmly said, Nyet, and walked quickly away.
So here is our question for you parents of boys: when does a little guy move to the standing up, rather than sitting down method of peeing? Being parents of girls, this has not come up until now. The even deeper question is about bathrooms on a plane. I have a good 16-18 hours in the air with the little man, and I am thinking we will have to go to the bathroom at some point. Is there a different protocol for a small, bumpy, flying bathroom? Reply to our email or the blog . . . any insight will be appreciated.
As we wind down our playtime Sasha helps us put all our toys in the tan bag, then proceeds to find this manhole cover very interesting. This manhole cover can be very interesting for five to ten minutes. We look at it, stand in it, put rocks in it, throw rocks out of it, stand near it and hope to see a machina . . . there is a lot to do at the manhole cover.
Once we peel him off the manhole cover, we head inside, where he finds the very interesting broken tile. This, too, is fascinating. He takes the tile “puzzle” apart, puts it back together, makes a very satisfying noise by clinking the tile pieces together, scrapes at the sand that is below the tile . . . you get the idea.
It is awesome that he has a great curiosity, and that he has people (us) who will take the extra 15 minutes for pit stops before going in, but the most awesome thing is that these seem to be delay tactics to avoid ending our time together, and that rocks.
This bonding time has served its purpose: we know each other well, and we belong to each other. We are his and he is ours, and it is all a gift.
The Other 22 Hours
While Steve toils endlessly in our “office” I have found good things to distract me. My favorite (that just came to an end) is the book Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. If you like to read, get this book. Her writing is amazing, and the story gripping. When I read the last page I had book grief—that sad feeling when a great book is over. But I thwarted the feeling by opening back up to page one to start again.
My other endeavors have been acquiring all the gifts we need to give people after court on Tuesday. I had an inkling that many gifts were involved, but not exactly how many and of what caliber. So Masha, great cultural guide that she is, has been helping me shop. We have the nine caregivers (I only brought enough stuff for six . . . and I think all the gifts have to be the same . . . . grrrr), the Director of the BH, the assistant to the director, the representative of the department of child care, and the judge. Yes, even the judge gets a gift. Other friends of ours were given a list that had even more recipients, including the Chief of Police. Suspiciously, their translator said she’d take care of delivering the gifts to about half of the people, and away went the gifts.
So the gift-giving shopping is almost done, and now we get to move on to the fun gifts—the toys and loot for Sasha’s group. We will have a small party with them on Wed. before we fly out and give them their presents then. They are headed for play-doh, floor puzzles (not as great as the broken tile in the hall, but they will have to do), a noise and light making truck they can ride, and serving ware for their pretend kitchen.
The most important gift we need to get is for Masha—she has been a godsend and our good experiences here are directly connected to her. Now that we know her better we want to get her some things from the U.S., so I will bring her loot back to her.
We are off to meet friends for some pivo . . . we will check in again tomorrow! Ciao!