We have had many adventures since we last updated our blog. Apologies for not updating more regularly...now that we are back at home, enjoying life with our little boy, we don't have much time to sit down at the computer. If we do grab the laptop while Roman is around, he invariably presses the keyboard with his sticky toddler fingers, and even when Roman's sleeping, the cats have a habit of walking all over the keyboard, and in Sally's case, sleeping on the laptop (it's nice and warm). So that's enough excuses ...here's the blog...
March 29th was Helen's 40th birthday. We both had the day off work and the three of us went to the zoo. We're sure it was the first time Roman had seen tigers, bears, and gorillas (unless there were any wandering around Vladivostok). When he caught sight of his first gorilla he pointed at it and yelled "dada" (well, Rich is rather hairy...). The pic below is Roman, Rich, and the Sloth Bears.
We watched a puppet show at the Zoomazium (an indoor play area for kids). Roman loved it and joined in with the dancing at the end. We think he learned to dance at the baby home because he's got some stylish moves!
We ended our day with Roman's first Mexican meal (a chicken quesadilla and churros). There were two other toddlers at the restaurant, and of course, our son started a food fight with the boy at the next table, which caused much hilarity. Roman was also eyeing his mum's margarita and determined to have a slurp through the straw (a skill he has just mastered) ... he'll have to wait til 2027 for that though! Actually, we've told him we'll take him to the UK for his 18th birthday in 2024, so he can go up the pub with his grandad for a pint!
Later that week, Rich and Mari threw a surprise birthday party for Helen at Coffee to a Tea with Sugar. There was a wonderful cake, balloons, decorations, and of course, tea.
Two weeks ago four of the Greens (Rich, Helen, Roman, and Missy), went to visit Roman's Great Grandparents Harvey and Mildred in Davenport, Washington. It's about a four hour drive. On the way there, Roman practiced his new word "car." All we heard for four hours was "car, car, car." When we stopped at a rest stop, we took Roman to check out the semi trucks. The drivers very kindly honked their horns at us and waved to him. He is absolutely fascinated by any kind of motor vehicle (although he calls them all "car" except for buses, he can now say "bus"). The recycle-truck drivers and the UPS guys feel like movie stars when they see us, because Roman is besotted by them. He points and waves and refuses to move until they have completely disappeared. If we go out on trash day, we can spend half-an-hour following the garbage and recycle trucks.
When we arrived at Harvey and Mildred's there was another baby shower for us (a wonderful surprise). Roman loved meeting his Great Grandparents and other relatives. He especially enjoyed meeting his 2nd cousins Sterling and Gage (Rich's cousin's children, I think that makes them 2nd cousins). Sterling is 4 and enjoys bossing her baby brother Gage around. Well, she just loved having two little boys to boss around (Roman loved the attention). Gage is 14 months and much bigger than Roman! He's not walking yet, which means it's harder for him to get away from Sterling. At first, Roman didn't like being bossed around by a little girl, but by the end of the evening he was holding his arms up for Sterling to pick him up!
While in Davenport, Roman petted a horse for the first time. He also petted a 4 week old kitten (under strict supervision from mum and dad), and got up close to a tractor. Roman and Missy had lots of fun running around Harvey and Mildred's huge yard and playing on their swing (well Missy didn't go on the swing her legs are too short). Harvey and Mildred fed Missy lots of scraps and made a fuss of her. She said she'd be quite happy to live there, as long as mummy lived there too.
Meanwhile, the feline members of our family were enjoying a reprieve from "The Creature." Helen (who speaks fluent cat) tells us that the cats refer to Roman as "The Creature." Sally and Aretha are very curious about him. The other day, we caught them perched on the windowsill watching him, with superior looks on their faces. Brother Tom plays chase with him, and Roman loves it when he pounces on him. Poor Harry bears the brunt of Roman's toddler exuberance. Roman loves Harry but thinks of him as a living cuddly toy. He squeezes him and tries to pick him up, and often comes away with two handfuls of orange fur. We try to encourage Harry to fight back, but he's so gentle he won't even hiss at him.
Last week, Roman and Helen went back to the zoo with Roman's friend Adie who just turned two, Adie's mum Andrea, and Helen and Andrea's friend Katie. This time we saw orangutans (one of them played peekaboo with Roman), Komodo Dragons, monkeys, hippos, owls, vultures, and a huge peacock. Roman and Adie also had lots of fun splashing in big muddy puddles (they would get on rather well with the hippos, who all seemed to be enjoying a good wallow in the mud).
Roman loves the zoo, so we'll be visiting often. We also got an aquarium membership and will be checking that out soon. We're a little concerned that they have a "touch and feel" section of the aquarium. One squeeze from Roman, and the sea cucumbers will be goners!
Roman is attaching very well to us but he is showing a lot of insecurity at the moment. From what we have read in our books on attachment in adoption, we think that he is somewhere between a secure and insecure attachment -- he knows we're his mum and dad but he doesn't know exactly what that means, and he's still afraid we might leave him. That's an understandable fear as he was at the maternity hospital for 6 months and obviously attached to some caregivers there, then he was at the baby home for a year and attached to caregivers there. Although, this is a different situation (he's the only child, and it's just the two of us) we can't blame him for worrying that this may only be a temporary situation. We tell him over and over that we love him and we'll be with him forever (even when he's a teenager and probably wishes we weren't around!) but of course he doesn't understand us yet.
This insecurity is showing up in a strange way - we started "Water Babies" swimming lessons for him at the Y, he loved it the first time but since then he has become terrified of his swimming instructor. We also tried a Gymboree class but he was terrified of that teacher too. He is happy before the classes, and plays with the other kids and smiles at the adults who talk to him. But as soon as the teacher shows up, he screams and buries his head in Helen's shoulder and clings on for dear life. He was so upset this week at Waterbabies, that we had to take him out of the class, and we only tried Gymboree once. We obviously can't continue with either at this stage, as it's a traumatic experience for him. We think, although of course we're not experts, that the instructors remind him of his caregivers and that, coupled with the fact that he is with a bunch of children, makes him think that we are going to leave him at another orphanage.
We're going to be talking to his pediatrician about this as he is an expert in international adoptions and can hopefully give us some advice. Meanwhile we're continuing to stuff him full of food and love. He has grown 1 1/2 inches, and put on a couple of pounds. He seems to have literally grown overnight!
We'll write more soon. Roman's British Grandma is coming to visit us next week!
Helen, Rich, Roman, Harry, Sally, BT, Aretha, and Missy