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!)