Friday, March 28, 2008

The Diaper Dude at Large in West Seattle

Hi everyone, sorry we haven't updated our blog for a while. For some reason, we don't have as much spare time as we used to ... mmm...not sure why.
Well, finally, we had chance to sit down at the computer and tell you about the latest adventures of Roman Green - Triple Nationality Boy Traveler. Right now he is sleeping (thankfully). He's been rather cranky this week as he has a cold and he's teething.
This morning, Missy, Helen, and Roman went out for a walk in the snow (yes, it is snowing in Seattle today)! Roman wore his snow suit for the first time since we were in Russia. He really enjoyed splashing in puddles (so did Missy). Of course, this is nothing like the deep Russian snow that he enjoyed playing in, but it's still fun for him.

Yesterday, we went to the toddler gym at Hiawatha Community Center in West Seattle. Roman really enjoyed himself and made some new friends. We think he's going to be quite a sporty guy as he was playing with the regulation size basket ball while the 3 and 4 year-olds were playing with toy balls. Our tiny little guy was actually throwing a real basketball! He loved playing on the bouncy toys and riding on a miniature Thomas the Tank Engine (he's a big Thomas fan).

Wednesday, Missy, Roman, and Helen went to Alki beach and played in the sand. Roman and Missy both love exploring the beach, and have become great friends. Missy especially likes having Roman around because he has a tendency to drop food on the floor. In fact, about 40% of Roman's food ends up in Missy, with 10% going in his hair, 10% in mummy and/or daddy's hair, 10% in Sally, 10% down the inside of his onesie, and about 20% in his mouth (although about half of that comes back out again, and is handed gleefully to mummy and/or daddy).

Harry (the fat orange cat) is another of Roman's favorites. Unfortunately, Roman thinks of Harry as a living plush toy, and is a little too rough with him (he often emerges from behind the couch with handfuls of orange fur). Harry is such a loveable, good-natured cat that he won't even hiss at Roman, let alone scratch him, so right now we are working on trying to teach Roman to be gentle with Harry. Sally and Aretha stay out of Roman's way (except when he's confined to the high-chair, then they congregate with Missy and wait for the scraps). Brother Tom is quite playful with him but will hiss at him to put him in his place.

On Easter Sunday, Roman proudly colored his first Easter egg (see pic). It has to be said, it was perhaps the ugliest Easter egg in the world (it turned out a sort of green sludge color, and then he stuck his thumb in it). He gave it to his aunt Mari as a gift.

We had hot cross buns for breakfast and read him the story of Easter from the bible (he was given his first bible by our friend Heather who was at the Vlad Inn with us adopting her son Alexander). Afterwards, he got a chocolate bunny, Easter eggs, and two cuddly bunnies, plus lots of Easter cards.

Last week, we had a playdate with our friend Sonia and her daughter Polina who is almost 3. Sonia and her husband adopted Polina from the Vladivostok area too. We met them back in November when we were on our first trip and they were on their second. Polina has been in the US since November and is doing really well. Polina and Roman got along great. We've noticed that Roman interacts well with other kids. From what we've read, he's actually quite young to be interacting with other kids, so we think he developed those social skills early due to being in the orphanage.

His comprehension of English is amazing, considering he has only been in an English speaking environment for 6 weeks. Every day, he surprises us with something new. When we say "would you like a bath?" he gets a big grin on his face and runs to the bathroom (he loves baths and usually gets two a day because mum and dad both like to give him baths and mum's not there in the evening so she gives him one in the morning). When we say "let's go upstairs" he races to the stairs (going up and downstairs is another of his favorite activities). When we say "bye bye" he waves, and when we say "daddy's going to work" or "mummy's going to work" he gets sad, and then starts waving bye bye. He also knows our pets' names although he can't say them, if we say "look what Harry's doing" he will look at Harry.

He doesn't actually say many words yet, although he calls Rich "dada" and is starting to call Helen "mama." He used to call pretty much everything "dada" but he's now just keeping that word exclusively for Rich. He says "hi" a lot, and also says "hello hello" every time the phone rings. He still uses his favorite two Russian words "dye" (for "more") and "adna" (which we think is a variation on "one" but he seems to use it to imply "I want that one")

Things constantly go missing in our house, and we usually know who the culprit is...he loves to play with keys, credit cards, socks, and toilet rolls. These items also tend to turn up in unusual places, usually the bath tub but sometimes Missy's water bowl. Yesterday, Helen spent half an hour looking for her keys only to find that Roman had stuffed them into the shoot of his "Busy Ball Popper"

Parenthood is fantastic but we have to admit that our current schedule is tough on us. We've made a commitment to avoid leaving Roman with a baby sitter for as long as we possibly can. In order to do this, Rich has temporarily changed his work schedule so he can take care of Roman on the weekends when Helen is working. So Helen takes care of Roman during the weekdays when Rich is working, and Rich takes care of Roman on evenings and weekends when Helen is working. Some days we only see each other for 45 minutes as one gets home and the other leaves for work. As you can imagine, the time the three of us get to spend together is very precious.

The reason we don't want to leave Roman with a baby sitter is because we are still in the early stages of the adoption and we need a good period of time for him to attach to us and understand that we're his mum and dad and that we'll always be around. Of course, daycare is absolutely out because, no matter how good a daycare it is, it will seem just like the orphanage to Roman. The adoption classes we've taken and the books we've read tell us that he may not feel absolutely secure until he has been with us for longer than he was in the orphanage ... wow, only another 16 months to go! Some children continue to have problems, but we're hoping that won't be the case with him. He's calling us mama and dada which is a very good sign.

The first day that we will be leaving him with someone will be May 1st, when Helen's mum (Grandma Linda) is visiting. We hope Grandma is ready for the Russian Rascal! Roman is already used to seeing his grandparents as he has waved to his Grandma and Granddad in England, and his Grandma and Grandpa in Atlanta on Skype!

Thank you everyone for your encouragement, toddler tips, and offers to babysit! We will certainly take you up on those babysitting offers soon!

Helen, Rich, and Roman

PS Official adoption announcements and thank you cards are coming soon (and will probably have a special sticky thumb print from Roman on them!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy Half Birthday!

Today was Roman's "half-birthday" (he turned 18 months old!).

We decided to celebrate it since we missed his first birthday. So we got him a lemon cupcake and put one and a half candles on it. When the people at the coffee shop heard how he had just got here from Russia and it was his half birthday, they said he could have any cupcake he wanted for free!

His eyes lit up when we brought the cake to him and sang "happy half-birthday" This made us really happy because he seemed to know what a birthday was, and we think the caregivers must have celebrated birthdays with the kids at the baby home. It definitely seemed like he had seen a cake and candles before.

While we were at the coffee shop playing in the kids area, we met two little girls who were about 8 years old. It turned out that they had been adopted from Russia too. They proudly announced "we're Russian." One was from St. Petersburg and the other was from Kazan. They only knew one word of Russian (Nyet), but when we saw them again later in the pet store, Helen taught them the Russian word for cat! 

Roman's half-birthday present was some books including "Brown Bear Brown Bear" and "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." He loves books and often brings them to us so we can read to him. We're really happy that he is a bit of a bookworm as well as being very active and mischievous!

So far, Roman has six words in his vocabulary, two English ("Hi" and "Dad") two Russian ("dye --- more" and "adna----one", a word that is used in both English and Russian ("Hello"), and one that isn't really a word at all but most babies say it ("da da"). He loves to pick the phone up, put it to his ear and say "hello" (our phone bill is going to be huge when he is a teenager). Whenever he hears the phone ring he says "hello ... hello." 

On Sunday, we went to the "Basset Hound Meet Up" at WestCrest Park (an off leash dog park in West Seattle). Missy always loves chatting with her basset friends, there must have been about 20 bassets there. Roman had lots of fun. At one point he had four bassets licking him simultaneously, and he was just giggling away. He really enjoyed being around the dogs and being licked and sniffed. We're always sure to keep an eye on him around dogs and cats as he doesn't yet know that not all animals are friendly and gentle (our five are very sweet with him).

This week, we are going to check out "Lil Kickers." It's a soccer class for kids 18 months to 12 years (so Roman just qualified today!). Helen's excited to take him because she wants soccer to be his favorite sport. Now Rich has to find a football class soon before it's too late and he gets the soccer bug :-) 

Friday, March 7, 2008

An Inconvenient Diaper

Hi everyone,

I was rather groggy from jet lag my first week home and just couldn't get to sleep (for some reason mummy and daddy didn't seem to be getting much sleep either). Well, this week I'm sleeping much better. It helps to have our basset hound Missy snoozing in my room too, she keeps me company (although mum and dad complain that all they can hear on the baby monitor is Missy snoring).

Mum and dad were off work my first week home, and we did lots of fun things. We went to the beach with Missy, and I had fun climbing on the driftwood and exploring the tide pools. The beach is my favorite place! Mummy and Daddy's friends Don and Carri had a baby shower for us. I got lots of presents and I played with Don and Carri's kids Lauren, Kaysen, and Devlin -they're 5 1/2 years old (so they're much much much older than me, it was really cool playing with them). They're triplets! I wish I was a triplet. Devlin gave me his fire helmet so I look like a real firefighter when I'm driving my new fire engine (see pic). The triplets have a girl rabbit and soon they will have a boy rabbit ... they promised me one of the babies (but mum and dad said we have too many animals and besides Missy might eat it).

Mummy and daddy went back to work on Wednesday. Daddy works during the day and mummy works in the evening, so there is always one of them around to play with me. I went to mummy's work at KIRO TV yesterday. Wow! It was fun. I got to sit at the anchor desk and be on camera. They have a brand new set at mummy's work, (gosh, I wish I'd brought my crayons with me, I could have made it look even nicer!). Then I went in the control room and there were lots of bright buttons everywhere and I just had the urge to push all of them all at once and see what happened (for some reason, mummy thought it was best to leave at that point). Soon, I will go to daddy's work and push all the buttons there too (and this time, I won't forget my crayons, the Fox Sports set could do with an update).

Last week, I went for my first pediatrician's appointment. He's a very nice doctor called Dr.Davies. I don't like the nurse though, she gave me lots of vaccines because she said I hadn't had any yets o I needed to have all of them all at once. Then I went downstairs to the laboratory and a mean lady stuck more needles in me and took lots of blood (yuck). To make matters worse, I had to give a poop sample too :-(

I am looking forward to having playdates with my 6 girlfriends (Adie, Charlotte, Rachel, Ellie, Polina, and Mary). I don't have any guys my own age to hang out with but I do have 6 girlfriends so I can't complain :-) I wonder if they know that I like to behead dolls ... better not tell them.

Hope you like the pics of me,

Love Roman