Target Trip and Visitors

We constantly say it is good that she is so cute (because she can be very naughty)! Actually, she was a very good girl today, apart from naptime.

Aaron’s family came to visit today. Well, actually, they didn’t come until about noon, so let me tell you about our morning.

We got up, went through the usual morning routine and then went to Target. The kids did well. Someone came over and told Lena how pretty she is. We got in the car and were driving down this road which has a 45mph speed limit and no places to turn off– 31st street, for you local friends. Well, Aaron looks down and notices the open door light is on. He pulled off the the shoulder and I hopped out, guessing maybe I had not shut the back all the way after putting the bags in. Nope, Ilya’s door was open just a tiny bit. Weird, Aaron had shut it, but I guess he must not have been paying attention. So, we get home and back into the garage and then I heard Ilya open up his door. My response was “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!” Obviously we realized what happened back at Target and just need to figure out our child safety locks. I didn’t think either kid could reach the door handle from their car seat, but apparently he can. Scary. This is one example of how his “helping” can be dangerous. He also loves to “help” with the stove and oven, obviously things we’re trying to work on. It is not things I think about, because the kids I’ve been around have already been taught that the oven is a no-no or step away when they feel the heat, but yesterday, he reached for it. It is hard to be aware of these sorts of things sometimes, because not only are they unfamiliar with so many things, but they’re also always right at our sides. If we tell them to step away, they get upset and seem to think it is a punishment. In fact, Aaron got slapped today for that reason. Very surprising because it was the child who is not normally violent. I am glad that they want to be with us and consider that a positive step. Yet sometimes we just need a little distance to get something done safely. And of course, violence is a HUGE no-no.

So, anyways, Aaron’s family came to visit today. We had lunch with them, the kids took a nap which took 2 hours start-to-finish and only 20 minutes of sleeping. And then the kids opened up Christmas gifts. A lego train set, a lego firetruck, hungry hungry hippos, don’t break the ice, lincoln logs, two cute snow globes with their photos, and two small stuffed animals from Aaron’s grandma. The kids thought this was just great. They really had a lot of fun playing with everyone and their new toys. Both kids seemed very fond of their Uncle Micah helping them build things. I can see why they would like Micah easily. He is very easy-going and passive with the kids. He just handed Lena Lincoln Logs and when she’d turn her back, fix it so they would not fall over. If he didn’t have one ready for her, she’d throw up her hands like “what are you doing?!” The kids did very well with everyone today… Ilya obviously likes men better. Lena doesn’t seem to care much either way, but like I said, she really liked Micah a lot!

That’s Micah in the green sweatshirt.

When she was playing Lincoln Logs. I think this is cute… she just looks so tiny here. My in-laws were joking with me that finally I finally have another short person in the family. Someone shorter than me! I am not sure I was this tiny when I was 3, though. Mom, want to go check the chart?

After we got the kids done with the evening routine, we put on the movie “Babies”. I was a bit surprised by some of the content (ie. watch it yourself before showing it to your kids), but they loved it. Both of them sat nicely for it until they fell asleep. We’ve tried cartoon children’s movies and they don’t care, but they seem fascinated by documentaries. We are planning to try March of the Penguins and Planet Earth next. Anyone else have kid-friendly suggestions?

I’d like to say that I write this blog to share our experiences with us– first with adoption, now with parenting adopted children. I am being honest with you all about some of the stuff we are dealing with– struggles with the kids and struggles as we try to figure things out– things like child safety locks on the car and that they don’t know that the oven is hot. While this is embarrassing, I think it’s good food-for-thought for other people. I really, really love all of your helpful tips and encouragement. We love sharing this experience with you and it is nice to hear your more objective point-of-view. But, please keep it respectful.

BTW, sign language was not my idea. We first heard about it from our social worker and read about in adoption books and blogs. My friend Amy reminded me a few weeks ago and then when we hung out with Meredith Cornish and her new daughter, Aleksa, she was signing with her. It is very popular and I can see why! If you are adopting, I would recommend learning just a few basic signs, even just “more”, “eat” and “potty”. To help your kids communicate with you. It is way easier than I expected.

Oh, and I also took these photos today. We are hoping to do this weekly. But, next time, I’ll have to do it earlier in the day, when we have natural light and hopefully someone is in a better mood.



13 thoughts on “Target Trip and Visitors”

  1. Thanks for sharing, so glad you are all home in your nest. We are in Kiev today. Plane leaves Wednesday. Papa is still thinking about staying and going back to Donetsk, but will have to wait and see. January 5th is the big day.

  2. I have no idea how I ended up on your blog! We are adopting from Ukraine so I've been reading everything I can. I love reading your story! Parenting is so much fun, isn't it? Reading some of yours today reminded me of when my 1st 2 where little. I took everything so seriously and thought so much about how each and every decision or situation would affect my kids future. I think I just needed a little reminding that there is no perfect parent besides God. Thankfully, He is our guide and He can also cover all of the mistakes we make! You are doing great! Keep loving these precious babies and try not to worry about the rest! I have discovered that boys have to learn some things from experience. I can tell them all day long that the oven is hot and will burn them, but unfortunately some kids just have to touch it for themselves! Through that horrible experience, they learn not to touch ovens but more importantly that their parents tell them the truth and warn them to keep them from danger, not from fun. Ultimately that teaches them that God's rules are for our benefit, not to keep us from enjoying things. I would so rather my little one have a little burn on his finger than learn this lesson with a teen pregnancy or drugs, right. Oh my goodness, how did I get on that subject? What I wanted to say was that I am praying for you and that I wish that I had your maturity when I started my parenting journey! I'm sure I made many more mistakes than you will make and so far my kids are great (Thanks to the grace of God)!!!!

  3. I personally love reading about your journey 🙂 I hope everything will go well with teaching Ilya about how to help properly. The children seem to be settling in remarkably well and they are both so stinkin adorable! And it´s amazing that your children love watching documentaries! I personally like all David Attenborough series and every single series the BBC has ever done on nature, they are incredibly well done and fascinating. So I´d say all David Attenborough and BBC (you can´t go wrong with them). Good luck with the children!

  4. They are precious!! Glad you are home and looks like you had a fun Christmas. Sounds like you have so many people that love you all so dearly to get your house ready (and then some)!

  5. My Dear Molly,It's one thing to go into parenting with a helpless newborn "blank slate". That is challenging. Not only are you learning to parent Pre-Schoolers, you are trying to undo less than desirable learned habits and quite frankly- Survival Skills!As parents, we do our best, handle each situation as best we can, and do a fair amount of "Learning On The Job"! When you feel overwhelmed; take time to celebrate small achievements! Take time for YOURSELVES too. I don't personally subscribe to any one "type" of parenting, but Bethany recommended a parenting book that I have a feeling will be useful for helping heal defensive children. PLAYFUL PARENTING L. Cohen PHD. Useful bonding tools, positive redirection, and "pick your battles" advice. IF you would like to borrow it I can get it in this afternoon's mail. ((((HUGS)))))My BestMelissa

  6. Gosh, they are cute. Ivan had a lot of the same "helping" issues. We are still working on that. There is a lot of grabbing and stealing toys from the kids and playing with lights, etc. But, I think that it means that they are comfortable with you if they feel that they can slap you or act out. I know that sounds a bit crazy, it is obviously "testing" behavior and not O.K. but it is also a good sign that they are bonding with you.

  7. Great Christmas pics of the kids. We could use some pointers from you on traveling with Olivia. Thomas is going back for Olivia on January 9th. We only got to spend 8 hours with her, so um, it should be interesting. You saw how she was. LOL. Little energizer bunny. SO glad you guys are home! Drop me an email when you can.

  8. You are doing an amazing job, mommy and daddy! Each kiddo is different, and like so many have said, add in the cultural differences, and you, my new friend, are just rockstars for having some routines in place, and I am inspired by you! As a mommy to three very different little girls (that I did have a clean slate with), I still struggle daily with things like, "Stay back, the stove is hot!" and "I love you, but I need you to step back so you won't get hurt!", and other various and sundry things, where there isn't a language barrier! Again, you are doing amazing, the kids are beautiful, and I can see Father's love, touching their spirits through you, and those that reach out to you through Him. What an amazing process! Thank you for sharing it with us! (Sarah from Vintage!)

  9. Hi Molly, I noticed that Erika has what is called a "W-sit" in the photo where she's playing with the Lincoln logs. My son is a chronic W-sitter, that's how I recognized it. It can be harmful to the hips and is discouraged for some other reasons. If I am crossing any boundaries please feel free to tell me to mind my own business and I will close my mouth!

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