• Elle's World
  • First broken heart

    We have lived in our house for over 6 years now.  In that 6 years we’ve only become friends with one family who moved away while we were in Russia picking up the boy.  For the last 4 years we come and go into our home and only occasionally chat with a neighbor when they are walking by and we are out in the garden (front yard gardening is great for that).  When school started in September the boy started riding the bus.  On that first day a dad and his daughter showed up at the bus stop.  Kindergartners need to have a parent with them at the bus stop so I knew she was in Kindergarten.  The dad is chatty and a nice guy so over the last 4 months we’ve talked and he is a really nice guy.  The daughter is so very cute and a sweet little girl.  I hadn’t ever officially met the wife, but talked to her as she picked her daughter up from the bus.  The little girl is in all day Kindergarten so I really only see this family once a day.

    The other day I was sitting at my desk when I look out the window to see the dad and daughter walking up our driveway.  They knocked on the door and she asked if Oleg could come over and play.  Words cannot express how excited I was.  We have always wished for a friend for Oleg in the neighborhood.  Here she was on the doorstep.

    I asked Oleg if he wanted to go play, but Oleg has to work into things and having this sprung on him didn’t sit well.  He asked if he could do it the next day and that was fine.

    Tuesday was the day and was buzzing with excitement most of the afternoon.  The little girl doesn’t get off of the bus until 2:40 so he waited in anticipation.  At about 2:45 the little girl, her mom and baby sister walked up the drive.  Oleg happily skipped off with his new friend down to her house while I got to work in peace for about an hour.  She happened to have swim lessons that day so they would have to cut play time short.  When the mom brought him home she said it wasn’t nearly long enough and mentioned that maybe they could play again tomorrow.  Oleg thought that was a great idea.

    Yesterday I tried to do a few things to distract the boy to keep his mind off of the upcoming play-time just in case the mom said it in passing.  We have learned over the years that you cannot say anything in passing around the boy.  If a grandparent says, “you should come have a sleep-over” and doesn’t mean right that minute or that upcoming weekend the fallout can be horrible.  However, nothing gets past my child and in his mind he would be going to the neighbor girl’s house.  At about 2:15 he started sitting in the front window.  At about 2:20 he came in my office to say, “mom, she should be here by now.”  I said that her bus hadn’t come yet.  At 2:35 he watched as her mother walked by pushing the baby stroller and at 2:40 they all walked back by, passing our house.  He sat in the window watching and said, “maybe she has to go home and put her backpack away first.”  I had spent a good part of the day trying to prepare him just in case she didn’t come over.

    He sat in that window watching and waiting.  She didn’t come.

    As I walked out into the living room I looked at my son and his face just melted.  I scooped him up and we sat in the chair while he sobbed his little heart out.  I didn’t say anything because I knew that his little heart was broken.  He got stood up by a girl for the first time.  After he had collected himself it dawned on me that Derek had taken the dog to daycare so he had taken my truck to work.  It is possible that they saw my car wasn’t home and thought we weren’t home.  The boy informed his father that he was not allowed to take my car today.

    I distracted the boy for the rest of the afternoon with games of Operation and Chutes and Ladders and we worked on science projects.  Today, if she doesn’t come we’ll go down to invite her over.

  • Elle's World
  • Child 6.0

    It is time for our annual upgrade of the child unit.  This year we get version 6.0.  Last year we tried to recycle the 4.0 unit because of resistance to the 5.0 model.  Looking back I still would like to have that option.  However, if  I didn’t suffer through the 5.0 model I wouldn’t have gotten to the 6.0 model.

    We believe the 6.0 upgrade has promise.  Previous even numbered releases have been enjoyable and functioned properly.

    The upgrade seems to have an independence function added to the boss and sass feature.  The volume control knob seems to be broken and there are some malfunctions with the rear disposal unit.

    The child unit began formal programming this year.  It is assimilating the data, but doing so with an aloof demeanor.  Child 6.0 does enjoy the formal programming for the social interaction plugin.  The child even has a companion unit.

    The unit is still perfecting the self data interpretation algorithm.  It has been a slow plugin to work the bugs out on.  It prefers to repeat processing information it has previously assimilated to feel better about itself.  We are working on challenging it to assimilate new data, but it feigns tiredness.

    The 6.0 model is extra attractive.  The squeal and giggle function is especially cute.

    Peripherals for this feature are similar to the 3.0 model.  It once enjoys cars, but this time they must be bigger and self propelled.  It also is very interested in building things out of small interlocking blocks.

    The first day with Child 6.0 has been rather enjoyable.  We have discovered that it requires a large fuel intake to reduce the whine and scream feature.  With this information we should have a smooth upgrade.

  • Elle's World
  • We will have fun and we will like it

    Yesterday we decided to have a family outing. ?We haven’t done that in a very long time and there was a new exhibit that opened on Saturday at the Pacific Science Center. ?I informed the husband that we would be going and at breakfast I had a conversation with the child about this being a good day and there would be no screaming, whining or talking back.

    As an aside: Every day, for the past I can’t remember how long, has included some form of the above malady.

    The child agreed that it would be a good day and after we had all gotten ready for the day we set off in search of a fun family outing.

    The first agenda item was to do a little shopping. ?That was successful since we walked out of all 3 stores we entered with nothing. ?From the Westlake area we walked down Pike to the new Hard Rock Cafe. ?I love the Hard Rock. ?If I’m visiting a city and there is a Hard Rock in the area I’ll be there. ?We had a great lunch, a well behaved child and Derek took some photos. ?Despite having to turn the ISO way up on the camera this shot of me turned out quite good. ?I love how you can see the reflection of Derek taking the photo. ?This is one of the only un-photoshopped photos of me.


    After our lunch we waded our way past Pike’s Place Market (one of my least favorite places in Seattle) to Sur La Table to look for a candy thermometer. ?Both of mine died this year and I wanted a nice high end one that would last more than one candy season. ?No luck.

    That was enough of downtown so we hopped on the Monorail to the Science Center. ?I am not exactly sure what I was thinking trying to go to a brand new exhibit on the weekend. ?I though that maybe because it was Sunday that it wouldn’t be overly busy. ?Oh holy nerdy hell. ?The place was packed with rube-a-licious rat-tailed kids (I thought that fad died in the early 90s) trying to solve the puzzles and hogging all of the stations. ?However, we did our usual run through the butterfly house where sweated off 15 pounds and snapped 1 good photo.


    After running around the crowded Science Center for a few hours, in cashmere socks (what the hell was I thinking) and mules and having not recovered from the butterfly house sweat-a-thon I was thirsty. ?I talked the boys into stopping for a snack and something to drink. ?I purchased a cookie the size of a small child and a lemonade the size of my head with enough sugar to send a small third world nation into diabetic shock. ?We found a bench to enjoy our snack.


    Please note the furrowed brow on my face. ?This is either because I didn’t have my sunglasses on or foreshadowing of impending doom. ?I’m going to go with the latter.

    The child handed me the cookie remains and then informed his father that he wanted to ride the carnival rides. ?It should be noted that the cookie and lemonade cost a small fortune and in order to pay for the rides we would have needed to take out a second mortgage on our house. ?It was the cookie or the rides kid. ?At this point the child started screaming. ?Did I mention that the bench we were sitting on was right at the bottom of the Space Needle? ?It was, see.


    That meant that hundreds of people were walking by to visit the famous Seattle landmark… also staring at the screaming child. ?He started in on, “you aren’t letting me have any fun.” ?When we explained that the rides cost money and that we didn’t have it to spend (also note he has never ridden any of these rides because they are so damn expensive) he progressed to screaming at the top of his lungs, “I WANT MONEY!!” ?At that point I got up and sat at another bench. ?A few minutes later I moved benches again because I could still hear him. ?Ten minutes later they boys came walking over and we agreed to leave. ?This is where the day took a nose dive. ?Oh, you thought a screaming child in the middle of a busy park was bad? ?Think again buddy.

    In order to get from the Science Center back to downtown we needed to take the monorail (the mode of transportation that got us to the Science Center). ?However, the monorail is the single least reliable mode of transportation in all of Seattle. ?It’s like traveling to Paris and thinking that public transport will be your go-to get around town mode. ?Of course the monorail was out of service. ?The lady informed us that it was closed for at least the next hour. ?That meant it was closed until at least June of 2012. ?This left walking (or a cab, in which I would have to sell a kidney). ?Walk it was. ?Only not if you are 5. ?The 5 year old decided that he needed to scream about that too. ?Our options were sit around the Science Center for an hour and listen to the child scream some more about not being able to ride the rides or walk to downtown carrying the said screaming child. ?We voted for option B. ?Halfway to downtown the monorail whizzed by us. ?A few minutes later we strolled past the monorail sitting on the track above us (sans people because they were testing it… unsuccessfully). ?Of course the child again started to whine and cry that he wanted to ride the monorail. ?I suggested we walk back all the way we came, wait for an hour and still have to walk to downtown because odds are, they aren’t going to fix it. ?He almost went for it. ?It should be said that the distance between the Space Needle and downtown Seattle is only about a mile.

    What started out as a lovely family day went south. ?I blame lack of food and too much excitement. ?Just when I think that we can handle a day like that I am reminded what it takes to pull such an endeavor off. ?Next time bring snacks and institute mandatory rest periods.

    Despite it ending on a bad note I did go through the photos and found this one. ?He’s just too cute to resist. ?Look at those freckles.


    It should also be noted that I slept in the car the whole way home.

  • Elle's World
  • Screwdriver

    This past weekend we celebrated our 4th Gotcha Day. ?There are days when I can’t believe it has been 4 years and times when it seems like he’s been here forever. ?We have long moved past the newly adoptive family phase and live our lives day to day. ?Here is a little taste of how the boy has grown in the last year. ?I’m not giving a whole retrospective on the past 4 years because… well, this blog is just that.

  • Elle's World
  • 1st day of Kindergarten*

    *now with photos!

    It seems like yesterday that I was just picking my baby up out of the orphanage. Now, 4 years later I took him to his first day of Kindergarten.

    After 3 years in a private preschool we kind of dreaded the first day of Kindergarten. ?The boy cried last year when the preschool was moved from one side of the church to the other. ?He doesn’t like change… neither does his mother. ?We were sure that the transition from small private preschool to large public school would not be an easy one. ?We had a contingency plan just in case. ?The plan was to introduce him to the school over a series of visits through the Spring and Summer. ?We repeatedly asked the boy if he needed to go to the school to check it out and each time he told us he did not. ?After 4 years we have learned to go with his flow, whatever that may be.

    Last Thursday we attended the back to school bbq and briefly met his teacher. ?When I say briefly I mean, “Hi, what is your name, what bus is he riding, ok, put your things there. ?Next.” ?The trusty husband and I had always planned to take him to school on the first day. ?The boy had the grand idea that he would get to ride the bus on the first day. ?He was so not robbing me of my motherly duty to drop my child off on his first day in a new big boy school.

    kindergarten1We had our usual “can I watch this part of Handy Manny” moment and an argument over, “no you need your hair combed on the first day” ?(after that I don’t care). ?It took forever to get into the parking lot and we walked the boy into school and helped him find a chair to which he promptly started coloring as instructed.

    The trusty husband and I milled around a bit just to make sure and then we looked at each other and said, “ok, we can go.” ?The boy was smiles and kissed us good-bye and we walked out. ?No drama, nothing.

    kindergarten3Derek drove me home and I went to work in my office. ?No tears. ?I’m still a little shocked.

    I picked the boy up from school and we talked about what his favorite part was. ?”Oh mommy, I LOVE recess.” ?Of course you do child. ?All kids love recess. ?He was a little sad that he didn’t get a short jumprope though. ?Maybe next time baby.

    He really enjoyed his first day and can’t wait to go back. ?”But I really wish I could ride the bus home.”

    You will baby. ?On Thursday.

  • Elle's World
  • You want to be me

    Remember how I mentioned that the boy was turning into a real live boy? ?I have a feeling that I should put the pediatricians office on speed dial… that and my therapist (whom I haven’t seen in 6 years thankyouverymuch).

    Recent exploits of the child in my house include the following two scenarios (both happened yesterday). ?There was also a playing under the car episode that my mom totally downplayed while my head would have exploded if I had been the one to actually find him under the car.

    Scene 1:

    Small child yelling at dog (not unusual, in fact he’s doing it right now). ?I go into living room to find out what dog is doing to make small child yell at her. ?It usually involves breathing or walking or some other innocent dog act. ?The boy has the bottle of (eco-friendly and doesn’t work so don’t ever buy it) glass cleaner sitting on the floor of the living room. ?He has paper towels in his hand and the dog is eating some of the paper towels. ?Nothing unusual there. ?We taught the boy to clean the windows so now I have the “cleanest” windows in the neighborhood, but only to a height of 3′ and I wouldn’t really call them clean because we use that eco-friendly and doesn’t work so don’t ever buy it glass cleaner. ?So I see the glass “cleaner,” the paper towels and the bottle of bitter yuck spray sitting in the window sill. ?I have no clue how the child got the bitter yuck spray because it was on top of the entertainment center and there was no evidence of tool fashioning to retrieve said bottle. ?Also the boy was drinking copious amounts of water. ?I inquired as to what was going on, obviously he was trying to clean the windows, but why the bitter yuck and the water? ?He informed me that he got the bitter yuck because he didn’t want Busy to bother him while he cleaned… and accidently got some in his mouth. ?I love logical consequences.

    About 10 minutes later the boy comes into my office and says, “Mom, you know how to get bitter yuck spray taste out of your mouth? ?You have to brush your teeth with two different kinds of toothpaste. ?Now my breath smells minty.” ?That’s great baby, but I’m still not going to kiss you.

    Scene 2:

    The boy is playing in the back yard. ?The trusty husband is grilling burgers for dinner. ?The phone rings and it is the trusty husband’s bff. ?I go outside to give him the phone and the boy is behind the hedge in the backyard and the husband is talking to him. ?A conversation ensues…

    Derek: you did what?
    Oleg: mumble mumble mumble.
    Me: Derek, Matt is on the phone.
    Derek: ?You did what? ?You pooped outside?
    Oleg: mumble mumble mumble
    Me: He did WHAT?… Matt, hold on a second
    Derek: {looking at me} you deal. {takes phone} oh nothing, just doing a little parenting
    Me to child: you did WHAT?
    Oleg: I pooped outside.

    **BLAM** Head explodes

    {trying to totally not loose my shit, but doing a very poor job of it}
    Me: you pooped outside? Where?
    Oleg: right there {pointing to a pile of rocks}
    Me: get inside right now and go into the bathroom and wipe your butt
    Oleg: {now beginning to yell at me} but I already wiped my butt
    Me: with what???!!!

    {at this point there is no sanity left in me. Child and I go into the bathroom, I clean him up and we then have a heated conversation about who in the world said it was ok to poop in the back yard}

    Me: Where did you get the idea to poop in the back yard?
    Oleg: It was my own idea.
    Me: What makes you think it is ok to poop in the back yard?
    Oleg: I don’t know
    Me: Who in the world told you it was ok to poop outside.
    Oleg: {very matter of fact} Jon {who happens to be a very good friend of ours}
    Me: It is never ok to poop in the back yard
    {I then go into the kitchen where the trusty husband and I do a very bad job of containing the hysterical laughter}

  • Elle's World
  • Packing: Sweet or Sorrow

    Last week the trusty husband took a few days off. ?I had to work so he decided to do a little project. ?A totally unprompted, completed almost totally on his own project. ?I know right. ?He painted the boy’s room. ?It was time for an upgrade to big boy colors… the child is starting kindergarten next week and all (let’s just not go there… I’m not ready yet).

    So the husband cleans out the room, paints the room, we (per usual) argue while arranging furniture and then we decide to clean out the garage. ?Logical right? ?It is in our little world. ?The point of cleaning the garage was to extract the toys that were previously removed during the attitude intervention. ?Which went well, but we stopped giving toys back when we ran out of age appropriate toys. ?The idea was to get rid of the too-young-for-you toys to lighten the load in the house and to well… get rid of the too-young-for-you toys. ?Remarkably the child understands, “those are baby toys.”

    As we were cleaning out the garage we were looking at some of the super nice expensive wooden toys. ?My thought is I wanted to save those in the event that we have another child. ?Likewise I have a box of clothes that are all high end children’s clothes that I’d like to to use again should we ever have another boy.

    Packing and either donating or saving toys is bittersweet. ?On one hand I like the optimism of saving toys for a future second child. ?On the other hand, I know that our chances of having a second child are very slim. ?We have agreed that we will no longer try to get pregnant. ?It is too much on my emotional state and feels like an act in futility. ?At the time being, adopting again is out of the question. ?We simply cannot afford it. ?For reasons that are ours a domestic or foster adoption is not an option. ?International adoption is far too expensive for our budget.

    Realistically we should just pack up the toys and donate the good stuff to the preschool and the rest to the Goodwill. ?But I can’t let go. ?I don’t want the boy to be an only child. ?What would you do?

  • Elle's World
  • Please put on clean underpants

    I think I’ve officially become the mother to a boy. ?Yes, I did check prior to leaving Russia and I am aware that the boy has been a part of our family for almost 4 years now, but up until now he’s been… well… a little prissy. ?He didn’t like to get dirty. ?The thought of touching dirt was as if the world was going to swallow him whole. ?I attribute this all to the crazy being in our life that is causing more gray hair than my husband’s addiction to buying random cords for random electronics. ?The boy loves his dog.

    Indications that my son is turning into a real boy:

    1) I must wash the scum off of his feet on a nightly basis.

    2) The best game ever… throw shovel fulls of dirt into the air and pretend it’s rain.

    3) A conversation with the trusty husband started with, “how much does a broken arm cost?” ?(the boy has begun climbing trees)

    4) Every morning I must tell the child to put on clean underpants

    5) The boy comes to me one afternoon after going to the bathroom. ?He says, “Mom, I have the funniest story to tell you. ?I was going to the bathroom and I had on two pair of underpants. ?So I took off the football underpants (the clean ones) and am just wearing the gray ones (the dirty ones his father told him to change).

    6) Now every morning I tell him, “please put on clean underpants and remove the dirty ones first.”

  • Elle's World
  • Why never getting sick can be a bad thing

    The very first time we met the boy he was sick. ?On that visit he decided to share his lovely germs with us resulting in the second worst case of sick I’ve ever had (worst being Swine Flu in the Spring of 2009). ?Since then the child has rarely been sick. ?He’s had a few colds, thrown up on me 3 times and we did have one multiple trips to the ER for a very nasty ear infection. ?With the ear infection he was prescribed antibiotics, but other than that nothing. ?The child is never sick.

    If you will recall we did take the boy to the doctor in late April because of his significant hearing loss and continuing hacking cough. ?The doc said he had an upper respiratory infection and prescribed him antibiotics. ?This would be only the 2nd time since living in the US that the child has had antibiotics. ?We have no clue if he was ever given any in Russia. ?We doubt it.

    Well… we give the child the medicine and things start to improve. ?Then Mother’s Day happened and we assumed it was just a flu. ?The Wednesday after Mother’s Day my mom was the recipient of a sick child. ?Again, we thought it was just the same flu settling in his intestine. ?He was fine the next day. ?There was also some speculation about some possibly bad orange juice.

    The next week there was another potty emergency. ?The next week another. ?The following week yet another. ?We were starting to think something might be up. ?My mom mentioned that she thought it was because of the antibiotic. ?But that was weeks ago. ?I know antibiotics can cause intestinal trouble, but nothing like this.

    The boy stayed the night with my parents last week and had another potty emergency. ?We all agreed that this had gone on long enough and something had to be done. ?Last Friday I took the boy to the doctor and he listened to us and the boy’s abdomen intently (have I ever mentioned how much I love our pediatrician?). ?There are two issues that could be at stake here and all of this is because the boy never gets sick.

    The first is that the antibiotics (which were not heavy duty, but rather run of the mill) upset the balance in his intestine causing minor lactose intolerance. ?This helped explain a lot for me since I’m lactose intolerant and spent the large majority of my childhood with a bottle of penicillin parked in the refrigerator. ?The other issue could be a case of Clostridium difficile. ?Either way we are treating him for both.

    The bottom line is that because the boy hasn’t built up a natural resistance to antibiotics they have severe side effects. ?Problem is that diagnosing what is exactly the cause can be rather difficult. ?For the time being we have eliminated 99% of dairy from his diet (yogurt is still ok) and he is on Flagyl (which is a horrible giardia medicine). ?All of this is in an effort to save his intestinal tract from long term damage. ?The good news is that it doesn’t slow him down at all and he doesn’t appear to be in any pain. ?So far we haven’t had any accidents, but it has only been 4 days.

  • Elle's World
  • And that’s the way it was


    Ok, not so much boring, but doing things besides sitting in front of a computer. ?We’ve been working on finishing up the garden, cleaning the house (somewhat) and trying to get out and about.

    Work has been going well for me. ?I’m enjoying getting out of the house and interacting with adults. ?I have replaced my horrible computer habit with my more expensive plant habit. ?This has caused me to take a serious look at my flower beds and figure out how to clean them up in order to plant everything I’ve purchased. ?The good news is by the end of the summer my garden should be back to beautiful.

    This afternoon I get to take the boy to the doctor (again) for what we believe is a serious case of too much fiber in his diet. ?My SIL and I laughed that he’ll be the only kid at a play group where his mother is saying, “come here honey and eat these greasy potato chips.” ?The child prefers vegetables over any other food in the house. ?Damn that eating healthy.

    We’ve started some of the first harvests out of our garden. ?Arugula needs to be harvested and reseeded. ?Lettuce is ready to go too. ?Salads (and more fiber) here we come.

    Since that’s all I have I’ll leave you with some cute.