Saturday, July 25, 2009

Today has been Awesome!

I have to shout from the rooftops that I see a definite change in Alex. It wasn't just a one time thing with him during our afternoon visit with him yesterday-- today he was just as well behaved. Now of course, I would be a liar if I portrayed him to be an angel, but what kid is?? But--- there is a noticeable difference in his attitude towards me like when I change his diaper, when I offer him a toy, when I ask him not to do something-- it is all done with much less hesitation and defiance. And believe me, I tell him thank you for his good behavior, and I smile at him to reinforce to him that a certain behavior is more desirable than others.

As I thought a lot last night before drifting off to sleep, I kind of think this whole thing with Alex's behavior was God's way of getting my mind off of his disabilities. A part of me was still thinking about his ability to walk and whether or not he would be incontinent all of his life. As soon as Alex's behavior became the main focus, my thoughts were completely off of his special needs and I was just praying for my son to listen to me and to be the joy that I had imagined him to be for the last year. Who cares if his body is not perfect-- I certainly don't and it certainly won't stop God from using him in a mighty way-- but our ability to bond to each other and love and trust each other is crucial and I just needed to be reminded of that. Now that I am seeing the sweet, funny, and happy Alex that I remember from last year-- I am so thankful-- and I am so focusing on that rather than anything else.

Does that make sense?

Moving on.......

Alex crawled onto a big ball and started rolling his body over it and so I took this moment to have some physical touch with him and I rolled him back and forth on an even bigger ball. I rolled him back and forth so that his feet would nearly touch the ground and then his head would nearly touch the ground. I did this over and over. I bounced him too. And I rubbed his back. And I stole little kisses on his cheek whenever I could.

And he absolutely loved all of it. At one point I asked him if he wanted to go to sleep and he said yes-- he was that relaxed. The whole visit was exactly as I would have expected-- and Alex acted exactly as I would have expected him to act.
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The trash collector comes every other day in this old clunky dinosaur of a truck. It is some woman's job to walk behind the truck sweeping up all the trash left in the street with her two foot straw broom.
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To make things simple, Julia and I have started making sandwiches for lunch. I fry the ham to make sure it is safe to eat.
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Julia has made three Ukrainian friends-- one girl her age and two younger boys. She is teaching them some simple English words. Julia's ability to make friends wherever she goes is such a gift. We have made friends with the four Babushkas that sit near the door to the apartment. One day, one of them called me over and took my cross that was hanging around my neck and slipped it inside my shirt. I thought she wanted me to hide it so it wouldn't get stolen because it was evening, but I am not sure.
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AND FOR THE FINALE!! In case you guys are not reading the comments, I wanted to post this one. It is from my wonderful hubby John. I had the best chuckle reading it and I thank him from the bottom of my heart for being able to make me laugh half way around the world.

"But speaking from VERY recent personal experience, here is a real warning about your 15 hours of 'just plane fun' to be ready for...if such a readiness is possible...(I tried calling you again and am not getting through...???)(Don't try me for at least 8 more hours (please)).Open up window (to let in BRIGHT SUN), close window, open up window, close window, ok Dennis, no more window, open out meal table, close down meal table, open out meal table, close down meal table, ok Dennis, no more meal table, No, don't kick the chair in front of you, No, don't crush your flimsy plastic water cup, yes you must wear your seatbelt and I don't care how loud you whine about it, your growling is too loud, don't lick me, don't lick the chair, ok, let's not lick anything, no screaming, sure you can open the window again, yay, good close of the window, now leave it closed.Wow, meal time, yes wear the bib, please don't drop the water cap, Dennis please don't drop the water cap any more, ok fine, no water cap for you, ok so you don't like any of the food here but let's not just throw it to the lady next to us, and let's watch our mountain of trash just sit here on our tray tables for another hour without spilling most of it into our seats, what? no room for you to spread out and nap? Well no crying about it either. Sure you can lie down on me (I'll hold your kicking legs). Is that smell coming from your diaper? Repeat all of the above every 100 miles of the 8000 miles.Just plane fun. And I thought I was a good parent!!! He really was a trooper though. However, WHILE we were LANDING at LAX, he handed me his EYE !!! Carrying him and the two huge rolling bags on and off the airport trams through passport control, customs declaration lines, etc, got me my needed work out!!!Good night to me. Good morning to you."

33 comments:

Molly C said...

Ok I am cracking up at John's comment. Your hubby is wonderful Christine. I can just imagine Dennis upon landing passing John his eye, as if to say "We did it daddy! Here is your prize. My eye!"

and on the Alex note, isn't it funny when you get that little reminder that regardless of a certain disability, he is really just a kid, who misbehaves like any other kid!

Konczné Bogár Katalin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Calico Sky said...

Your family is just so wonderful and so filled with love & humor! I'm praying for a smooth time for you all until you are reunited!

Kathy C. said...

Hmmm. Long trips are such "fun."

gypsy@Hebrews11:13 said...

Ah, yes...thank you John for reminding me what traveling alone for a LONG trip with a little one is going to be like:)

Christine, I'm so glad that you are having good days with Alex. He is your son and the disabilities are only secondary to that! First and foremost, you want to raise him to be a man who loves Jesus!!! Don't worry about the incotinence- it can be fixed (I think I emailed you about that). That was always a worry of mine too, but then the worry just faded away while we were living REAL lives:)

Praying for you!
Lydia (adopting Tori)

Cammie Heflin said...

Crack me up!

raeannan said...

LOL reading johns post made my morning...

Rachel said...

LOL! Thanks for sharing John's comment, I hadn't seen it before and got a laugh out of it. I can just picture it all!

I'm so happy to hear of the change in Alexsey.

Jessica said...

Hi! I am Jessica, from the SB_Moms_and_Dads group. I don't post much there, but I do keep up with my blogger friends and I am going to add you to the list on my page. I am going to read more of your blog and get to know your family now!
Jessica

Stephanie said...

LOL! That was just hilarious!...at John's expense. :-)

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your journey so far. But I've been a slacker commenter. I'm still reading and I'm still praying for you!

Kevin and Pam said...

Oh I remember that long plane ride. I can't even imagine how long it must have been for Dennis. What a patient Daddy!

Jenn said...

It is so wonderful to know that Alex is doing so well. This has to be so incredibly difficult for him to understand. Praying that both of you will continue to attach and he will learn to trust you and John as Mom and Dad. I am still amazed by how much Alex looks like you. It is so sweet to see the two of you side by side. I can't wait to see more photos from the trip!

John's comment made me LOL! I can so relate to traveling with a little one! :)

Love and Prayers,
Jenn

Konczné Bogár Katalin said...
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Jodi Lewandoski said...

Hi Christine, I have SO enjoyed hearing about your experiences there! It all sounds so interesting and exciting. I'm sure that was hard with Alex the other day, especially being there at the orphanage and unsure how to disipline him and what he might be thinking and feeling. I'm sure you cant WAIT to get home with him. I have to say that Johns retelling of the flight home was hilarious! At the end when he handed him his EYE, oh my, I had a good laugh over that!
Keep us posted if you can- and try to really enjoy this time there with Julia, it's something you will both always remember.

Have Fun,
Jodi Lewandoski
St.Michael,MN

soontobemomof9 said...

LOL... I can not imagine! That is one for the memory books!

I am so glad to hear that you and Alex are finding a balance and things are going better! Praise God for His love and wisdom!

Sally- That Girl! said...

Great post by John! You should have him ghost write more often!! He is getting pretty good at it!

Chris said...

John's post about the plane ride cracked me up!! Just hilarious!

Tia said...

Oh laughing aloud at John's comment - I hope you have an easier time with Alex!

Re:continence - LF's spina bifida means she'll never be continent the way the rest of us are continent, but it doesn't mean we're changing diapers for the rest of her life either - we have a programme from her doctors which keeps her clean and dry during the day, and in a few years' time when she's older she will have surgery which will tidy things up immensely.

Ditto with her physical disability - now she can't walk and never will; Alex by the sounds of things is already walking so that's great. I can honestly say though that LF in her wheelchair is very definitely the equal of any other child her age on legs!

It's different - but then you already do different! Managing the continence issues, dealing with the physical disability - that's probably not much different than adjusting to e.g. Denis' prosthetic eye (oh and definitely harder to lose a wheelchair if you drop it!).

Tia

The Dulls said...

awesome, awesome, awesome post!!!!!

Mountain Girl said...

I'm glad things are going better with Alex, but you are right you can't expect a kid to be "perfect!" :-) (whether they have special needs or not!) Julia - it sounds like she has such a gift. It sounds like you are having some nice "bonding" time with her - especially over ice cream! And John's rendition of a "plane fun time" was hilarious! I hope your trip goes much smoother and not so much fun! HA!

Anonymous said...

Hi

Great post - I have gotten a soft Ice Cream Machine for my birthday
http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-Ice-45-Soft-Serve-2-Quart-Ice-Cream/dp/B000F94GPQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1248544797&sr=8-2
And the reipes are great - the ice cream is Really creamy and delicious and just consist of Heavy cream, milk and "taste" like vanilla, chocolate, raspberries(my favorite) or what ever you desire..
Susanne

Audrey said...

I am so glad to be keeping up with your journey! Admiring your awesome mom-skills and John's incredible patience! What a trip!! Can't wait to hear that you are home safe and one BIG happy family-

Praying here in AZ-

Audrey

Missy said...

Great stories!! Can't wait to meet you in Kiev! You'll have to be sure and let me know where to get that ice cream!!

Thanks also for the updates on Simon. I crave every word!! :o)

Mike and Gail said...

Thanks for the great laugh.

Anonymous said...

LOL John! Well written! I can so totally imagine being there.....
I wonder why the lady slipped your cross into your shirt..?
Looking forward to seeing all the pics :o)

Terri-Anne said...

Anonymous said... oops! (Hit enter before I typed in my name!)
LOL John! Well written! I can so totally imagine being there.....
I wonder why the lady slipped your cross into your shirt..?
Looking forward to seeing all the pics :o)

AussieKirstie said...

LOL love John's comment it gave me a much needed chuckle the joys of having a toddler huh?
also i just found this video on youtube i though people might like to see it its called fun with the reeds i think the penmens musta posted it
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FABE3ARn2-M

God bless

Anonymous said...

Too funny ! What a great dad !

Instead of here's your sign, here's my eye, lol !

Charlotte

Chelley said...

Sounds like baby steps in the right direcation for you! Prayers that your TRIP home isnt as FUN filled as Johns was!

thedickinsonfamily said...

I am in stiches, too funny!

MamaPoRuski said...

Laughing with tears in my eyes! I love the plane fun! I bet every woman on the plane was thinking of the poor single dad and wondering where Dennis's mom was...sigh!

jules said...

So "he handed me his EYE" is something I have never heard, I laughed to hard I am crying. I think John needs a regular spot on your blog, his train ride story was a fun read as well!
Be well and keep your faith!
Jules

Annie said...

Between reading the last post and this one, it occurred to me that it is great Alexei is testing you....and that you are responding like a parent. I think he wanted to get a sense of just you you are to him, and he's learning....and the fact that you are behaving like a parent (or even like a caregiver....but some one permanent, not a temporary cheery visitor) is very imporTant for him and you. I think it's great!!!

For Orthodox people, the cross is worn next to their hearts, next to their flesh to always remind them privately to behave as a Christian. They are to never remove the cross they receive at baptism. Zhenya has a wonderful patron saint - a young soldier named Evgenii who was martyred rather than remove his cross as ordered by his Afghani captors. I think it may be considered a little ostentatious and "showy" to wear a cross so it can be seen - like the man praying loudly in the Temple in the Bible. Of course WE see the cross as a way to evangelize. Just a different way of looking at the same symbol.

A BIG THANKS to your friends with the computer!