One Month In

Where has the time gone? Today marks exactly one month that we’ve been home with the boys. You may have noticed that our posting rate has slowed dramatically. Much of that is because we’re starting to get back to real-life, which means Lara and I are starting to work again. There just isn’t much time left in the day, or energy left in our bodies, by the time we finally get the boys to bed. We thought that surviving the first month made a pretty good excuse to say a little about our progress.

This week, the boys went to day care every day on what will be their normal routine. Lara started going back to work, which is going to take some time to adjust all the rhythms again, but it seems to be going pretty well. The boys like their school, and usually are excited to head off in the morning. Today the school held their Halloween party, so we borrowed some pumpkin costumes from the neighbors, since we didn’t have anything of our own. They both enjoyed getting dressed up, and especially enjoyed the little costume parade around the school.

Both boys are making tremendous progress with their English skills. Evan is now mixing English and Russian, often in the same sentence. He will say “da” for yes, and “no” rather than nyet, and can count to five in both Russian and English. He’s also adding “see oo ladle” to his “bye bye”.  You just have to love it! Alex is working really hard on getting real words out. He’s getting very vocal, and you can see by the expression on his face that he is desperately trying to communicate. What is really amazing is their comprehension. We can say nearly anything we need in English, and they actually seem to understand. Not bad for only 6 weeks of exposure to English.

There have been a couple of minor health hiccups along the way. Evan was diagnosed with a rare parasite, and is now taking a “compound” (some strange concoction of medicines) three times a day. Hopefully, within the next week he’ll have it licked. We’re wondering if that isn’t part of the reason that he doesn’t seem to be putting on much weight, despite eating like a horse. Other than that, he shows no physical signs of a problem. He has a lot of energy, and doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort.

Alex (and I) caught a cold this week. Alex was running a mild fever (99-100 degrees) on Wednesday, so Lara decided to bring him to the doctor. He was diagnosed with the classic ear infection, and placed on antibiotics. He’s a little congested, which is mainly a problem when he tries to lay down at night, but it doesn’t seem to be much more than a nuisance.

They’re both still running us pretty hard, although the exposure to the kids at school seems to be having some effect. They will now actively play with some toys, and are starting to use their imaginations, which is a huge change from when we picked them up. Evan decided to turn his little play broom into a horse last night, and spent nearly 30 minutes running circles around the first floor of the house. In one of those “where is my camera” moments, Evan invited Alex to ride on the back of his “horse”, and they took a couple of laps together, giggling all the way. That was pretty cool to watch.

Evan also started a game where he looks out the sliding glass door after dark, and pretends to see something. Whatever he is imagining might be “scary” (in a humorous way), or exciting, or just down right silly, but it’s pretty hilarious to watch. He’ll shoot you this excited look, and says “go see?”, and then creeps over to the door like the old Scooby Doo characters hunting some sort of ghost. When he gets to the door, he’s scream “tam!” (there!), and then run into another room laughing and screaming. He’s done this three straight nights, and it has pretty much become his favorite evening game. It’s definitely another video-worthy moment.

Unfortunately, the answer to “where’s my camera” is a bad story. Last Saturday, we decided to try out a new park that we had to drive to rather than walk. It went great, but when we got home, both boys kicked up a fuss as we got out of the car. As I tried to herd Alex into the house, I absentmindedly set the video camera down on the hood of my truck. Since I immediately had to go back outside to grab Evan, I forgot all about it. Later that day, the camera went for a rough ride when I ran out to fill up the truck with gas. I guess that’s another classic story of toddler parenting. So… I’m sorry to say that there will be no more videos for a while. We hope to replace the camera soon, but with the rash of expenses we’ve incurred recently, it might take us a little while.

Our biggest, or at least most consistent, challenge remains bedtime. Now that the boys are in day care, they are actually starting to nap during the day (at school, definitely not when they are at home). Some days, the teachers tell us that they are sleeping for 2.5 hours! Naturally, that means they really aren’t tired when bedtime rolls around. We start our bedtime routine around 8:00 – put on PJ’s, brush teeth, read books, sing a couple of songs, and then off to bed. We try to get them down by 8:30 or 8:45, and hopefully asleep by 9:00 or 9:15. That was working OK the first couple of weeks, but this week we had several nights where we were upstairs with them for two hours, fighting (especially Evan) to get them to sleep.

Evan had one night where he didn’t fall asleep until 10:30, and he was still up at 5:45 the next day. He’s tired, but he just refuses to sleep. The last couple of nights, he’s decided that he would rather sleep on the floor than in his bed. He’ll curl up in a fetal position, face down, and actually fall asleep with his face buried in the carpet and his rear end hanging up in the air. Neither one of us is sure what that’s all about.

We’re also dealing with a lot of the typical toddler discipline issues. Both of them are incredibly curious, and deviously smart. Evan has actually outfoxed all of the childproofing mechanisms in the house. He figured out the drawer locks within a couple of days. Then he managed to turn the doorknobs beneath the childproof covers after about 2 minutes of focused effort. Unfortunately, that means he can now open the front door on his own. Perhaps even worse, he’s now figured out how to open the child gate at the top of the stairs. This childproofing stuff is a huge scam!

Sharing is as big of an issue as it is with any two brothers. They will fight over just about everything. Evan might be playing with the coolest electronic gizmo we have, but if Lara gives Alex a plastic spoon to play with, Evan will go berserk if he doesn’t get to play with it immediately. There really aren’t any surprises there, but it adds to the drama around the house.

We’re not just dwelling on the negative. We have plenty of bright moments every day. Both boys are becoming very affectionate. Evan will spontaneously offer hugs or kisses, and Alex is starting to give real kisses on the cheek himself. He also lights up when we lean over his bed to give him a good night hug. Those are the things that keep us going.

If you’re wondering, we do plan to continue occasionally posting stories here. It won’t be the every day thing it was while we were in Russia, but hopefully every couple of weeks we’ll have enough material to write something up. We’re starting to get into grandparents visits, so hopefully that will bring some new photo opportunities along as well. That’s all for now!

4 thoughts on “One Month In”

  1. I was so thrilled to see the boys in their pumpkin outfits. Love hearing about them at the day care and at home. One month is behind you both and yes, there are the ups and downs and lots of changes, but you do survive, and
    the kids survive. It can only get better and I am so excited about being
    part of this . Proud to be a grandma… Love MOM

  2. We love the excitement in the guys’ eyes with their Halloween costumes on. That’s what being a kid is all about! It’s also great to hear that they’re enjoying school and picking up more English, and that you two are getting into a more balanced routine of working as well as parenting. It all sounds normal, happy and relatively healthy there (we hope Evan, Alex and Chris get well soon), so continue to take good care of yourselves . . . and see oo ladle 🙂

  3. It’s always so much fun to read the “latest” from the Waters’ household! So much good news – challenges, yes, but what wonderful progress for everyone in that month. What great pictures! I just love to see those smiles – I’ve got to get busy printing again! Hugs full of love to all!

  4. … what a month it has been!
    I was looking back through some of the pictures (showing any and all, the pictures on my cell phone)… which serves as a constant reminder of the “journey”, with all of the perceived worries, challenges… but most of all, the joys and thrills of the journeys!

    … and to think, it’s been barely more than a month ago, you were still in Russia!!

    Love
    Dad