Friday, August 11, 2006
Where's the Poop and other Special Firsts
I will get to that in a moment.
It is a day more important than the day we got married, really it is. We take champagne, a massive box of chocolates to the orphanage to pick up our son. Our SON. I love saying that, even now 6 years later. The new never wears off. We also take a case of formula and a case of disposable diapers. Not that I ever saw one on my son, but this is what they asked for, I would have delivered the moon if they had requested it.
We dressed up for the occasion. Always dress nice when pictures you will look at for eternity are taken, you will be glad you lugged panty hose, knee high black boots and your husbands wedding/funeral clothes across the ocean.
We walk in sign a paper and they take us back to the playroom. They had instructed us to bring everything he would need for him to wear and for the 2 ½ hour trip back to Rostov. We were basically getting a naked baby, no dowry included.
His primary caretaker brings him to us, gives him lots of kisses on the forehead and I am sure her Russian words were, “be happy, love him well and send us some photos.” With shaking hands we removed about 3 layers of clothes. No diaper just a long swath of cloth wrapped endlessly around his ,well, diaper region. Oh, My God, how skinny, light as a feather and doesn’t smell too overly good. Sorta vinegary. Thus my first discovery of the many uses of a butt wipe. I wipe him down, massage in some baby lotion and we proceed to diaper and dress him. He just watches with those huge baby blues, thumb ever present in mouth and utters not a peep. Can he tell we have no idea what we are doing? His clothes swallow him, not in length because he is along baby, but in girth. Shoes too big, so we end up tucking the ends of his pants into his socks. Coat and Hat, a requirement for children in Russia. More pictures with the Director, Kodak moment of our new family of three on the orphanage steps and we leave, while a large group of caretakers wave bye to us. In and out in 30 minutes. So quick and simple it was almost anticlimactic after the court ordeal.
Driving back he takes turns sitting on our laps(no car seats here) he looks around, cries softly for a few minutes then goes to sleep for the remainder of the drive.
That night the four of us celebrate with big Russian cigars and Russian beer. Christine and I try and figure out how and what and when to feed them, when to change them. Their son Patrick, who is older and much large than ours, will only drink formula, is not interested in a spoon or any food. My beanpole son, 3 months younger, will eat anything that gets anywhere near his mouth. Baby food, cookies, mashed up veggies, pulverized meat etc. They both require that their formula is HOT and the nipple has a hole in it so large that the liquid simply pours down their throats.
Riley does spit up often but not a big amount, we religiously give him the clear medicine in the small glass ampoules that they gave us before each meal. The only time he cries now is when we are finished feeding him. He opens his mouth like a small starving baby bird for more. I have no clue as to how much food I should feed him. That evening I put him in the bathtub with me for his first bath. He seems to enjoy it and gets a few “that’s my Boy“s from his Dad who is hovering over us. Dad is in charge of drying off, lotioning up, diapering and PJ’s. We finally put him in his crib beside our bed with his blue monkey and I stare at him until he goes to sleep. Which is quickly. Ok, I took some more pictures also. We creep down the stairs because, unlike Riley, who could and still does sleep very soundly, Patrick will wake at the merest hint of noise. He is also still like that today at age 7.
With our babies sleeping, us four new Moms and Dads sit for the first time and really relax. Which leads to endless giggles over what has transpired in the compound. The hysterical (to Us) naming of the ironing NUB( a small oblong piece of wood we iron on), which has snowballed into a whole new language among us in the last 7 years. We are the Nub Club, our kids are little nubbers and nubetts, we have a nubbin good time ,if your feeling amorous you want to get the Nub On, and after a particularly gruesome accident, John is now our mascot with his Nub finger. OK, you had to be there. We have an equally funny yet you had to be there story about my husband’s use of the word ”HOOOOOSH”, a word our friends Yankee ears had never heard and will now never forget.
Over the weekend we get to know our sons ,fall more in love with our sons and try to get this parenting thing down.The four of us bond in the sharing of this magical happening in a way we can with no one else. It cements our friendship for life. There are no other two people I would have wanted to share this journey with, John and Chris Hackett. Even if they do think the South is another country into itself. Only one thing is missing. POOP .Yes, Poop from our son. He has eaten us out of the house, peed extensively, but no Poop. Not a rabbit pellet, not a squirt not even a little gas. Nada. So I mix in some prunes with his food and give him apple juice.Two known instigators. Nothing. He is in no discomfort, no big or hard belly. He is just happy.
We have now begun the parent toilet patrol and news anchor. All parents can relate. Did he go, when ,how much and what did it look like? With only Pee to report, it gets pretty boring.
At 5:00 am the next morning we find ourselves standing on the tarmac ,in freezing snow and falling sleet waiting to board the plane for Moscow. We are at the back of the crowd, because in Russia , two women with infants strapped to their chests and ice hanging off their heads are no reason to let us up front or out of the weather. We finally climb icy metal stairs and claw our way to our seats. 4 seats in 4 different parts of the plane(again, fly business).
I pray , as I am bundled up and crammed into my seat to the point that I can only unbutton my coat so my son can breath, that he does not choose the next 3 hours to unburden himself of the treasure he has been holding on to for the past 3 days. I manage to give him a bottle, and he sleeps the entire flight.
Ah, Moscow, one step closer to home. We descend upon The President Hotel. It is opulent, huge, gorgeous as are our rooms. We have an hour to refresh and its off to the American Clinic for the medical exams for our babies. Moscow is amazing , the driving scary. At the clinic, an American doctor doing a fellowship in Russia exams our son and his medical report. Neurologically he is fine, underweight. When we show him the medicine they gave us he make s face and throws it in the garbage. He tells us there are only two things wrong with our son. He is a baby that spits up and he is lactose intolerant. Feed him as much as he wants , when he wants. The Poop, it will come. His body is just getting used to the new food and new quantities. This causes either constipation or diarrhea. Give plenty of liquids, be prepared.
Back to the hotel. We order in Pizza delivery, take baths and marvel at the amazing view of the Peter the Great Statue through our wall of windows in our room. Riley is happy laying in his crib and playing with some toys we have strung across the top.
All the months of waiting and worry have vanished like smoke into thin air, we are having the time of our life.
Do you smell something? I look accusingly at my husband as wives will sometimes do? Yes, but it wasn’t me , my husband insists. We turn and look down at our son who looks at us like ”What?”
Could it be finally, he has made us a present? Yes, that is the stupidest thing I had ever heard parents say and yet it is so right. We lay him on the bed for the unveiling. Wipes and fresh diaper at hand. Big Daddy slowly rips the tabs and there it is..
He laid a wooden egg as large as a Faberge.HUGE,Like an ostrich.
No way that huge thing came out of that tiny butt with out some major screaming and writhing in pain.
But Riley just looks at us and smiles.
We erupt in laughter so loud and so long and so hard that I, a women of 39, of class and sophistication, not only had tears running down my face but pee running down my leg onto the antique rug under my feet. This illicits more laughter. Then we realize it really does smell bad and no way can it stay in our room over night. So we wrap it in a plastic bag and my husband ventures out to clandestinely get rid of it. I never asked how, I had my own stuff to contend with.
My only regret is that I did not take a picture of that egg. I am sure one day my son would “not” have appreciated the moment as we had.To the Embassy and then
Home again, Home again , Lickety Split.


Blogger MMrussianadoption said...

This is hysterical! Thanks for sharing.

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