Oh boy, where do we start?

First off, let me apologize for the rambling nature of this post. It’s been a looooonnnnnggggg day. For those of you who have been itching for news, yes, we were able to pick up the boys today. We were also able to get their passport applications in. Olga thinks they will be ready Thursday or Friday – right on schedule.

This may have been the best and worst day of our lives – OK, not quite worst, but pretty bad. Don’t worry, there is nothing serious. Lara and I just got our crash course in parenting two toddlers who speak another language in a foreign land while staying in a non-child-proofed apartment. At least watching all those episodes of “Super Nanny” has payed off. Not so much that it helped us know what to do, but that we had an idea just how trying this could be. I guess we can sum it all up by saying Lara was peed on, pooped on, and bit, all in one day.

Having both boys has seriously been a blessing and a curse. Evan was a miracle working with Alex. Alex was pretty scared when we came to get them, but Evan calmed him right down. We were worried about the car ride from Karachev to Bryansk, but the boys played well the entire way. This was a typical “Olga day”. She picked us up at 8:30, and we were running until about 1:30 when she unceremoniously dropped the four of us off at the apartment and bolted for Moscow. Lara and I didn’t have anything to eat from 3:00 yesterday until we munched on bits and pieces of the boys dinner tonight. And the boys didn’t get to eat lunch until about 2:00.

We finally managed to get them a decent dinner, and that’s when the real fun began. Both boys have a case of diarrhea – we’re not sure if it’s because of the dietary changes or what, but man that hit fast! We’ve been through 3 of the 5 changes of clothes we brought for them already (that’s right, both of them). Not bad for about 10 hours!

The bedtime routine had to be the best part. That’s where the curse comes in. Both boys would feed off each other, and we could not find a way to calm them down. We exhausted our little bits of Russian in the first 10 minutes, to no avail. They were so wound up. Pretty much every moveable item in the bedroom has been placed on top of the closet, and I would have put the closet up there too if I could. The bed was a trampoline, jungle gym, and fort. The window sill was a climbing wall. Lara’s bras were awesome toys (too bad we didn’t get a picture of that one). It’s all to be expected, of course, but holy cow, what an experience! They finally both tuckered out about 30 minutes ago. I think I even got some night video of them sleeping.

There will be no pictures today. We were only able to get a few anyway, and there is no way I’m going to go digging around for the USB cable now and risk waking up the demon children! Hopefully we’ll get into a little better flow tomorrow, and we’ll be able to get some pics and video out then.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Just remember that tempter tantrums and biting comes from them not being able to express themselves. Will is going through that now. He understands and wants so much more than he can say, which drives him nuts. Your little guys are going through totally normal stuff.

    As for being peed and pooped on, welcome to the club. Once you’ve been puked on, you’ve earned your badge. 🙂

    The good part is that they seem to have a way of making up for it in following days. You’ll settle in, they’ll warm up, and one day soon you’ll look at each other and realize you’re all cuddled up on the couch and that you’re a calm, happy family.

    I love you all very much!

    -Aunt Alana

  2. I found this information about tradional Russian children’s diets:


    First meal.
    9:30 A.M.

    1. Fresh apples or other fresh fruit.

    2. Cereals. (Vegetable.)

    3. Russian coffee, bread with whey (curd,) honey and toast, chopped-up herring paste.

    Second meal.
    1:30 P.M.

    1. Thick soup, puree of vegetables, bortach or tea. Vegetable soup should be given with meat only three times a week. When soup contains no meat it must contain butter.

    2. a) Meat croquette, fish, brains, or liver, with puree of potatoes or other vegetables, or fresh cabbage and cucumbers.
    b) Vegetable plate baked with butter, and dumplings.
    c) Baked or stewed cereal, rice, toast, liver, brains, currents, apples.

    3. Fruit, berries, or a compete of fresh fruit, fruit jelly.

    Third meal.
    4:30 P.M. (Perhaps at home.)

    1. Milk, coffee with milk, or tea with lemon.

    2. Toast, biscuits, or rolls.

    3. Fruit.

    Fourth meal.
    (At home)

    1. Sweet or sour milk.

    2. a) Bread and butter with curd or apple butter.
    b) Lettuce salad mixed with other fresh vegetables.
    c) Curd croquettes with sugar.

    3. Fruit.

    Such is the approximate diet suggested for creche children, and it is recommended that the parents follow out more or less the same menu when they have their children with them during holidays and vacation periods. It is not very probable, however, that any family would be in a position to buy such expensive food, so for that reason the children who spend their winters in the creche always seem more healthy and better fed than other children. I notice that in these sample menus there is no mention of caviar, which is practically the only fresh food obtainable, and always cheap throughout the year. Because of this, it is given to children in the creche and in the home. Mrs. Lucy L. W. Wilson, in her book, New Schools in New Russia, tells how school children usually receive fresh caviar every morning at ten o’clock because its vitamin content is very important in balancing what might otherwise be a meager diet.

    In the reception room of every creche there are charts showing the ideal diets for children, how these diets have been worked out on the calorie basis, and what is the best way to prepare the food. From time to time, when the parents are invited to a meeting with the creche employees, these subjects are discussed. The home visitors, too, attempt to teach the simplest and most effective methods of obtaining and preparing the approved foods. Parents who do not have their children in State or factory nurseries are told by the home visitors and their clubs, unions, etc.. to go to their local Museum of Mother and Child, where they can see food charts and at the same time learn how to prepare them. Both in the reception rooms of the creches and in these Museums, the following slogans are found on brightly coloured posters:

    1. Nothing but fresh food should ever be given to a child, and it must be newly prepared before each meal.

    2. Dairy and meat products must be kept in a cool enclosed place.

    3. Always wash fruit and vegetables before eating them.

    4. Be sure that your hands are clean before preparing food.

    5. It is advisable to prepare food for adults and children in separate vessels and then provide individual spoons and dishes for each child.

    6. The best pans and dishes for children’s food are made of aluminum.

    7. All pots and pans, as well as dishes, must be washed in boiling water containing soda and soap. Always rinse plates.

    8. Washed dishes and cooking utensils should always be kept upside down on a special shelf.

    9. Persons who are ill, especially those afflicted with tuberculosis or venereal diseases, must never be allowed to cook for children.

    10. Keep all food, dishes, etc., away from flies, mice, cockroaches, and other household pests, as these breed infection.

    11. Food is the most important influence on health.

    12. Mother’s, milk is the best food for a child during the first year of its life.

    13. All food must be well cooked and tastefully served.

    14. Candy and sweets should seldom be given to children, and never before meals.

    15. Children must be fed regularly, according to a schedule.

    16. There should be no excitement before or during a child’s meal, for it upsets the digestion.

    17. Immediately after a child has eaten, he should be given material for quiet play and should not be allowed to go right to sleep.

    In each Museum for Mother and Child there is a case containing wax models of the various types of foods to be given to children, as well as the types of dishes and cooking utensils which are necessary for their preparation. This kind of advice regarding food, cooking, and cleanliness seems hardly necessary to the average English or American mother, in spite of the fact that very poor people the world over are just about as ignorant on these subjects as are the Russians. That the Soviet is making a systematic attempt to educate everyone (fathers as well as mothers) whom it can reach in this line, is not only admirable but necessary, since bad and poorly prepared food has always been a menace to the entire population.

    The medical and social advantages of education regarding foods are very obvious, but their full significance in the U. S. S. R. can hardly be realized by those who are not acquainted with the backwardness of the Russian people in caring for themselves.

    It is not very difficult for the leaders of the Soviet Government to convince the adult Russian that no matter what may happen to himself, he must give his child the best care available, for the Russians seem to care for their children above anything else in their lives. The children in the Moscow streets and parks seem amazingly clean, well dressed and well fed in spite of the fact that their parents are sometimes quite ragged. It has been ironically observed by some visitors to the U. S. S. R. that the Russian people are infinitely better parents than anything else. If this be so, the creche is not so much an innovation as it might otherwise be. It is merely a scientifically planned institution for the better care of children with the co-operation of their parents. I am by no means suggesting that all Russian adults understand and approve the modern methods of child care as seen in the creche, for they do not; I only mean that on the whole, they seem willing to learn and anxious to do anything they can for their children. Whenever I came in contact with mothers in the creches, which was usually while they were nursing their children, they showed an intense interest in the technique of child care in England and the United States. They asked innumerable questions as to how other methods compared to those they knew, and were delighted when I told them that their nurseries and clinics were just as modern and up-to-date as any I had seen in any other part of the world.

  3. Somewhat later 9:50 PM Friday evening (6:50 AM Saturday morning in Bryansk), I’m wondering if you’ve thought to try a children’s dose of Pepto Bismol… which should make reasonably quick work of the diahrea. In the event you’re not familiar, it has a characteristically bright pink color… and I’d think it can be found in any pharmacy or supermarket.

    As for a possible broken toe, unfortunately there is no real “cure”. It’s unlikely a doctor would even “x-ray” it… with the only treatment being, to tape it to the adjacent toe!


  4. What a day!!! Full of good news and parental challenges! We hope the intestinal problems subside real soon and guys are feeling better — though they might become even more of a handful:-) But I suspect they are just feeling both the anxiety and exhilaration of a new life and a new freedom to express themselves — and also that, as you say, things will be begin to plane off in the next few days. In the meantime, all of you take care and enjoy!!!

  5. First of all, I’m cheating perhaps, thanks to the info derived from my cell phone. It’s 5:30PM CDT Friday (2:20 AM Saturday morning in Bryansk), so I find myself hoping all is very, very “quiet” and all are asleep in your apartment!

    I struggled finding the password in order to respond to your earlier posting from Bryansk… but tried to be assured that you were likely having one “memorable day”… (and I’d hear about it soon enough!

    While you guys are likely perceiving it all as a “trial”… most likely from being exhausted, I find myself wondering how a quiet, gentle “hug” (perhaps several of such), would “work” for two little boys who may never have ever experienced such a gesture and moment of caring. I suspect once perceived, they will be ever so eager to experience that again and again… no matter what the language barrier might present!

    I only wish I could be present to feel “the moment” when they realize, how important you are about to become in their lives…


  6. Wow! Gary says it reminds him of us 27 years ago!! We truly hope for a restful night for everyone and for a new day that holds a bit less chaos! I’m going to print this posting, I think Grandma and Grandpa will enjoy reading it. Love from Minnesota….

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