January 3 2004

I just have to say my husband is a genius!  We have been struggling for 9 days with Katherine's nap time and bed time. We'd put her down for a nap and even if it started OK (that is without tears) it always ended with tears. Sometimes crocodile, sometimes real. Same story at bed time.  I said the other day that Bill was going to handle the sleep events with Katherine as he seemed to have better luck, but yesterday was no different.  Today Bill said to me, 'She gets no nap today.'. Those 5 words improved the quality of life in Kazakhstan. Katherine was a little sleepy after lunch (usual nap time), but that passed without incident. We went to the circus. We came home had dinner and a bath. Sat down with the lights low for Anthony's bottle. Turned on some Power Puff Girls and before Anthony was done draining the bottle Katherine was Out!  Who the Man?  Bill the Man!

Well this morning was pretty crappy. Literally.  Anthony took a crawl under the kitchen table and when I went to check on him he had poop up his back, on his legs,  on his shirt, pants and the kitchen floor.  The only way to clean that up is the in the bathtub. Katherine figured Hey! It's bath time and started throwing toys into the tub as I'm trying to rinse the yuck down the drain. My note of gratitude here is that he went under the kitchen table.  That amount of poop was not going to be coming out of the rug without some Resolve and we ain't got none here!

Later, Anthony was napping and Bill was showering. Katherine and I were writing our names on her 'etch a sketch' (spelling?).  Anthony wakes up, but it's kind of early so I want to go and see if he'll go back to sleep. I made Katherine wait in the living room. She really wanted to come in Anthony's room.  I wouldn't let her. She pooped in her pants. I think she did it for spite.  She's very bright that way. So, Anthony's nap was done. I helped get Katherine undressed and gave her to Bill in the shower.  Fortuitous that he should be in there ready to play Mr. Clean.  (By the way, the have Mr. Clean here, but he's called something else. Mr. Super or Mr. Power.  Can't remember - just another weird Kaz thing).

Just before Vadeem came to pick us up for the circus some lady started knocking on our door. This is not as infrequent as I would have guessed. Strangers seem to come knocking with some regularity. Usually you give them a little 'Ya nipanimyo Parusski, Dasvadania' (I don't understand Russian, Good-bye) and they go away.  This one was persistent.  Holy smokes!  She knocked lightly. She knocked hard. She knocked in rhythm.  She babbled in Russian. I did understand that she said she didn't understand English. But she kept knocking anyway. Katherine and I finally just looked at each other and with the appropriate hand gestures said 'Blah, Blah, Blah!'.  What else can you do but wait it out. I didn't know this little fact until last night either.  There are 3 locks on our door. All dead bolt types, pretty heavy duty.  The other apartment also had some hefty locks.  But here's the hitch. The hinges for the door are in the hallway. Fat lot of good 3 locks do you if somebody has a screwdriver! 

Vadeem came to pick us up for the circus.  We bundled the babes and headed out the door. There were lots of people at the circus.  (As there should be.)  I just have to say it was Wonderful!  We had a Great time.  It is the moments such as this that make being here tolerable. For a little while you just forget where you are and you can just be. You feel as if you belong where you are.  That feeling does not happen often while you are here, but you certainly learn to appreciate it.  Anyway - Vadeem and Natasha, their two daughters, Luda and Helena, and Natasha's sister and her son were all there. Luda reminded me a bit of my niece Katie. Not that they looked anything alike. Just the same mannerisms.  Needless to say Luda was very sweet.  She's about 12 years old and really liked Anthony and Katherine.  She couldn't wait to hold Anthony and she just loved him up.  She sat with Katherine for quite a while during the circus. After the circus she tried holding her while we waited for coats.  Katherine weighs a bit more than Anthony and that's the only reason she stopped holding her.  Katherine liked Luda a bunch too.  There were kisses flying her way.  It was pretty cute.

We get to the circus. The first thing you have to do is check your coat.  Coat checks here don't get tips. I worked as a coat check and you lived for tips. There were lots of coats to check. Too bad for them they were not checking coats in the states.  But, in Madison Square Garden you're not going to be checking your coat, your going to be carrying it with you. We stopped and got a souvenir for the kids.  Katherine got a necklace that had a soft spiky ball that flashed light. She did not pick it out.  She was totally overwhelmed when we got there. Her eyes get this glazed over look. Her mouth hangs slack. She looks kind of comatose. You just have to keep moving with her. So we picked the same souvenir for her that Helena got. We put it around her neck and she was still comatose. She revived little by little as we were there longer. Anthony is just Anthony. No problems adjusting.  Where's the food? We found our seats (or Natasha found our seats for us - we would be LOST without her.  She is the nicest, kindest, most helpful woman in Kazakhstan).  Just like in New Jersey, someone else was sitting in our seats and we had to evict them. No issue though. We took up the whole row, except two seats.  I sat next to an eldery lady and her husband was next to her. I had Anthony in my lap.  Bill was on my right and Katherine was sometimes on his lap, sometimes next to him and after intermission, was with Luda.  In the beginning, while she was still reviving from her coma, she was in Bill's lap. We had a few minutes before the show started. When the lights went down, Anthony freaked.  Not horribly. He was actually pretty good throughout the whole thing. He just started with a little wahh!  But the lights came up again and all the performers came out in costume for the introductory number.  Katherine was in awe. Her little mouth dropped open in a perfect 'O'.  It was to die for.   The good thing about the circus is that you don't have to know the language to enjoy it. We took pictures. We tried to get one of each performance. We don't know if they came out or not, so I don't know what will be on the site.  There was much of the usual. Jugglers, Hula Hoop Girl, Tight Rope walkers, Acrobats, Monkey doing tricks.  I do have to say, when I've been to the circus in the states I was not aware that the performers were wearing thongs. It was quite evident here. Another cultural difference? The best parts were these.

The clown.  He was great.  He did lots of clown like things, but he just had a great demeanor. A good face and he was great with the people. One of the best clowns I've seen.  There was a little boy in the row in front of us.  He was maybe four. On at least two of the clown performances that little boy was just rolling with laughter. He thought that clown was the best thing since.... since... well I don't know what since because they don't have sliced bread here.

The horses. There were six horses. Two white, two brown and two black. They did the usual flip over the horse, stand on the horse, flip under the horse, stand on a person standing on the horse, stunts that you do at the circus.  But it was the first Big Animal show that they had and when those horses came flying out into the ring Katherine's eyes went wide as the moon and that mouth dropped to the perfect 'O' again. That, for her, was the highlight of the circus.  Don't have to ask. Don't need words.  She was like WOW!  I've seen horses performances before and these guys seemed to go really fast.  They were good. It was a real crowd pleaser. They did the horse performance just before intermission so that children that wanted to could take a ride on a horse. I thought that was pretty neat. None of our children rode a horse.  Katherine would have had a heart attack if we tried putting her on one.  We'll start with pony rides this summer.

The last act of the night was the seals. They are the last act because it's got to be a hassle to clean up the wet that the seals leave behind. They put down a plastic tarp and clearly get them nice and wet before they come out. The one seal just glided on the tarp. He was really cool. Then there was the BIG seal.  He was HUGE!  He was also closest to us. Hope a picture of him came out. There was a lady usher standing at the staircase nearest us. The trainer was doing a trick where one of the seals was going around the ring. When we got to the staircase by us, he stopped and the seal started barking. I think the usher wet herself. You could see her physically pull back.  It was pretty funny.

I was not going to write this part, but Bill said I should and heck, I've written everything else so far, why hold back now. At intermission Bill thought it would be a good idea to bring Katherine to the bathroom. This just proves that theory and reality are not always the same. It was not a good idea. Natasha ushers us through the crowd and points to stairs going down.  We go down two flights of stairs and people are pushing and shoving and it's a girls bathroom so there's a line. As we got up closer to the stalls the stink of urine was overwhelming. There were other people in line that were visibly affected by the smell, so it was not just me. The floor was slickery wet. Yuck! We're finally at the front of the line. Thank God!  I think hey, that stall it available and pull open the door.  Oops! Someone behind door number one.  The stall next to it is surely available, the door's not shut all the way. I pull open the door.  There, for the first time in my life, hopefully never to be repeated again, I see a girl.  She is standing up on cinder blocks that are on either side of the toilet doing her business. OH MY GOD!  I was horrified.  I quickly shut the door.  Could the experience have been less than a second? Maybe, but that image is burned in my mind forever. Of course the girl I saw on the cinder blocks is the one that's done next, so she comes out of the stall and we're supposed to go in. I didn't want to go in, but I felt I had to.  For a minute I just stood there, holding Katherine in my arms, and gawked at the setup.  I hadn't locked the door and guess what someone opened it on me. Whatever! I wasn't standing on no stinkin' cinder blocks.  I locked the door. Turned and looked again. For the life of me I could not imagine how we would manage this if she really had to go. I looked at Katherine and pointed at the toilet. She emphatically shook her head No!  I love that little girl!  And out the door we went. The men's room was just the same, except I did not walk in anybody doing any business (this is Bill)  The cinder blocks are there to assist with total avoidance of any physical contact with the toilet.

Those are the highlights of the circus and the day in general. We're going to try and load the pictures to see what we get.

Good Night! 

© Bill Delmedico 2013