Today was my first occasion to spend some time playing with the twins inside. It’s been raining since this morning pretty hard. In here, there are no storm sewers so all the water floods the roads instantly and drivers don’t hold back. So you have to walk through 4 inches of water to cross the streets and be about 15 feet from the roadway to be safe from being given a mud-bath!

For the morning visit, it stopped raining, so I was able to make it back and forth just fine. Only the twins were allowed outside and since it was a bit cold, they were well wrapped in extra layers of clothing and the infamous pink tights. It was on the chilly side but a bit humid. Papa was more than comfy. So we played in the yard all by ourselves, mostly swinging, saying the numbers in English, etc. We also walked a couple of laps around the orphanage.

This afternoon it started raining again probably around 3pm and has not stopped since. I’m writing this at 8:45pm and it’s still going. My little compact umbrella that I store in the glove compartment of my Jeep didn’t do much good, except keeping my head dry. I was pretty soaked by the time I got back. Now I have the fan blowing on the clothes to help them dry faster.

When I got there, the caregiver was signing for me to go in and she led us into a room with a ton of toys, adjacent to their bedroom: bikes, tricycles, an electric motorcycle, a plastic car, building blocks, cushions in all sorts of shapes, balls, jumping balls…you name it! I spent most of the time re-packing all the toys that they were taking down into the middle of the room. They were going nuts! I guess this could classify as over-stimulation?! I had to get things under control as Isaac kept banging toys on other stuff or kicking the wooden blocks around the room or swirling ropes, while Isabella IMG_3000opened every bag known to man and dumped the contents on the floor while holding a toy broom. My attempts at actual play were futile, so I realized I had to gain some level of control. I can already sense that my patience is going to be tested and stretched to it’s confines in the coming months. So for those that work with me: you’re warned! Here’s a picture I took a while ago of their bedroom.

So I packed everything off the floor and didn’t let them take anything else. We finally managed to play a bit with a ball, the car and the broom. Both liked the bouncing balls and I goofed around too, pretending to be chasing them around on the bouncing ball. No, I didn’t actually bounce on it :p Isabella was riding the broom like a witch and then I did the same on Isaac and lifted him up, making a swooshing sound as I “flew” him around the room. He picked on the sound right away and repeated as he ran around with the broom between his legs. I think he would make a great Seeker.

So that was it for the day. When it was time to leave, both held my hand and led me to the door. I was confused as they seemed to want to go out. I knew that was not going to happen, so I told them “Pakaa, Pakaa” (that’s “bye bye”) and when I took Isaac’s hand off, he IMG_2999threw a fit; pretty much threw himself on the floor and cried hard. Isabella didn’t want to let me go either, but she listened and sat down. I’m not sure but perhaps they don’t particularly like the caregivers working the evening shift?? I’m sure if Alla was there, this wouldn’t have happened. Anyhow, here’s another photo I took a while ago of their TV area (that’s Isabella in pink).

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Jeri said...

It sounds like all the toys are stored and the kids are not given access to them. That is quite common...to see the new condition toys on shelves or in the director's office. They (those orphanages that don't allow the kids to interact with the toys) are just not getting how important it is for the kids to get some stimulation and how much easier it would be for them if they did.

What I've read from others that experienced some wild behavior from the get go is that they quietly and firmly let the kids know what wasn't acceptable. This actually comforts kids to know where the limits are.

Wait until you get them to Kyiv! Talk about over stimulation....new clothes right down to the undies, new smells and sights, etc. Another couple did it right (we didn't and paid for it big time) they pretty much shrunk their new daughter's world down to the hotel room except for some meal times. Their transition home was much easier than ours was. Alex was 3 years and 10 months old but really acted more like a two year old.

Also, while you are there, see if you can get a picture of the pictures they have of the kids on file. It will be impossible once you leave. I believe they are supposed to take a new photo each year.

The McEacherns said...

Funny you should post the pics of their bedroom. Last night we did a workbook lesson called "Beds and Sleep." I've seen pics of their sleeping rooms before, but your picture posting was a timely one!

Rain does create quite the mess in Ukraine, but I always liked it when it cooled off and rained there. And Ukraine does have a drainage system/strategy: they're called potholes!

Dave Baldacchino said...

Hi Jeri, thanks for the tip about taking photos of their file photos. I might ask if they'll let me borrow them and get them scanned.

As to the toys, I think they do let them play, but that room is mostly used in winter. At this time of year, they let them out in playgrounds together with some toys (mostly broken!), and occasionally with some tricycles and go-carts. I've seen some toys in their main play area too, so I don't think they withdraw them totally from toys. However I can imagine they get less "quality" exposure with their toys than they would in a home setting as understandably, there are not enough caregivers for one-on-one interaction. Isaac is also quite delayed, probably due to his medical issues and also since he was such a tiny baby at birth (2.2 pounds, 5 weeks premature). Some days he is really all over the place and cannot focus, which could be a side-effect of his current medications (epilepsy).

Potholes aren't big enough for all that rain, even in Ukraine lol!

Lisa, Chris & Lucas said...

I'm glad to hear it has cooled off some. Nikopol gets so freakishly hot in the summer, even to those of us used to Houston summers.

Yes, your patience will be tested...and tested...and tested...but you seem to be learning what works with them (notwithstanding the meltdown at exit time). You and Lori will do a great job learning how to be their parents. My motto when we first came home both times was "I'm way more stubborn than you are kid...and I will ALWAYS win". Pushing the limits is their job and you will find they are really, really good at it. When you get home, call me and I can share some of the things we did that seemed to work well for us to survive the first few months home and help the kids transition into their new life. Oh...and have a bottle of wine available at all times...for emergencies. (disclaimer: wine is for parents only).


Dave Baldacchino said...

LOL! Ok, we'll make a run to get some wine ;) Thanks for your help, we really appreciate all the tips we can get. You couldn't put it better: one has to be persistent and not cave in.