I’ll start you off with the bad. Both kids had huge meltdowns today. Ilya’s came in the morning. He was in the kitchen with Aaron, he ran into the living room where I was, threw a piece of cardboard and a few papers on the ground and ran back into the kitchen. I went to go get him to pick up the papers and he just started screaming and crying. I think he knew what he was doing was not okay to begin with and I wonder if he was expecting a far worse punishment. His “punishment” was sitting with me until he calmed down. It took awhile. He cried for at least twenty minutes. I think the whole situation over the past two days may have just hit him right then.
Lena’s meltdown came in the evening, walking back from a fun night out. She just started crying and screaming and would not stop. Meredith Cornish tried to comfort her in her sling and gave her some hand warmers. But Lena just cried and cried and cried. She was cold, tired, and had to go to the bathroom. Meanwhile, Ilya kept telling us he had to go to the bathroom and Aaron and I argued over walking or taking a cab. Not our family’s finest moment.
But, the good. Apart from the meltdowns, we had a good day. We decided to go out for lunch, to TGI Friday’s. Not the greatest or cheapest restaurant, but Aaron and I have both been homesick for America food. Taking Ilya and Lena into TGI Fridays was so worth it too. Ilya was so excited about all of the food. It was like a scene out of a movie. I took this video when we were about halfway through the meal. I wish I had taken one when the waitress first brought out all of the food… total awe on Ilya’s face.
After we ate lunch, we took the kids to the underground mall. That was fascinating for them. Of course, they liked the toys the best. Here they are, faces pressed up against the glass.
We still had some time to kill before meeting up with Meredith & co. so we got ice cream. They may have never had ice cream before, especially not chocolate. Oh boy. Another movie moment, this time with both of them. The sweetest part? We just got one cup and they shared it. Ilya would take a few bites, Lena would ask for it, and he’d hand it over. She’d take a couple of bites and hand it right back. I have to say that this surprised me a bit. I expected them to be more possessive of something so yummy, but nope. I love how they enjoy these experiences, but also are so good at sharing and taking care of each other.
We met up with Meredith, her newest daughter Aleksa, and her friend Chris. We walked to see all of the Christmas lights. The kids seemed a bit bored until we got to the huge Christmas tree and tons of characters dressed up. Santa everywhere. Ilya would hardly budge, he just wanted to stare at Santa. We walked along, down to this underground mall to get some dinner for Meredith and co. We were not hungry yet, but Meredith shared some of her fries with the kids. When we walked home was when Lena’s meltdown began.
As I said before, she calmed down once we got home. We skyped with some family. First Aaron’s sister, her husband and sobaka (dog). The kids enjoyed that. And when we were done, we skyped with my family- mom, sister and sister’s kids minus one. That was fun too. The kids seem to have fun with each through skype, feeding each other crackers. Lena loves my sister’s baby, too.
Bedtime with Lena seems to be getting a bit better every night. Tonight she still cried, but she fought me less. She eventually laid down on the pillow with a big smile on her face.
Ilya, wow, he impressed me tonight. We decided to wait to put him to bed until Lena was asleep and the screaming was over. We had the door to the bedroom open, where Lena and I were sitting. Aaron was folding laundry in the bathroom. Without being asked, Ilya picked up all of the toys, the computer, etc. and piled them neatly on the desk in the bedroom. He put the clothes on the bedroom floor in the suitcase. When he was done, he asked me if I wanted him to turn off the light, and I told him yes and thank you. He got a big smile on his face, obviously pleased to know that I was pleased, and shut the door. I have to say, sometimes I am shocked that he is only 3. He has his meltdowns and some bad behavior, but then he does something exceptional like that.
Meredith commented tonight that it is hard to believe they’re just 11 months apart. I would have to agree! Lena is so small. People often refer to her as a baby and she can act like an older baby, crying to get her needs met and mimicking everything that the three of us do. Her behavior all seems normal if I think of her as 18 months old, instead of 3. Ilya on the other hand sometimes acts like a typical 3 year old, but he has moments like the one I described above, behavior which seem to be beyond his age. He also talks so much, and is happy to teach me Russian. We have a book with mostly just pictures and I will point to a photo and he will tell me what it is, I’ll repeat the word back and if I say it right, he’ll say “da” (“yes”) and if I say it wrong, he’ll repeat it again. Today when we were at the mall, someone’s McDonalds bag fell off of their table and he picked it up and handed it back to them, without any kind of request. He seems to have a strong desire to have things orderly and to help others.