January 6 2004

I am so excited!  Today is January 6th!!!  I'm just excited by the date. When I first went to update the website, I went to January 4th. Nope, that already had writing. So, I went to January 5th. NOPE!! That already had writing.  The days are just slipping away. 

We all had another full nights sleep.  We are happy to report that success. Katherine's bedtime and naptime are no longer dreaded by all involved.  She falls asleep peacefully in her Daddy's arms and wakes up happy and refreshed!!

Well, my youngest son must have been practicing him M's while I was sleeping.  I got some MumMumMum's out of him today. It's about time he realized who butters his bread.  A little Mommy from his lips might get him an extra cookie or two.

Olga and Natasha were coming to pick us up at 3:00.  We prepared the gift bags and I had written a thank you note to Olga for all her help. There is  a website (http://translation2.paralink.com/) that will translate English to Russian (many other languages too, but that's the only one we cared about) .  My husband, oh clever one, suggested we type Natasha's thank you letter on the laptop and translate it on the website. So, not only did we translate it, but instead of printing it, we wanted to hand write it.  So, I sat down with the laptop in front of me and a piece of paper and a pen and tried to write this letter in Russian.  I had about an hour to get it done. Sounds like enough time, right?  Like to see you try. They have some really weird letters.  I felt like a first grader all over again.  I'd start writing and I could get most of the letters down, but I kept losing my place.  I'd be writing what was on line two and then all of a sudden I'd skip to line four.  Everything looked the same! So the kids woke up from their naps and of course Katherine HAD to have Mommy's attention and Mommy was concentrating so hard trying to do this hand written letter.  I gave her kisses and said good morning and went back to my work.  She was not pleased. Daddy and Anthony were on the floor playing.  Katherine went behind Daddy, squatted and started making a face. Daddy noticed, I did not. She was going to poop in her pants.  I was flabbergasted! We had worked with her all morning and of course last night.  She was angry because I was on the computer and not paying attention to her.  She is a tough cookie.  Luckily, Daddy caught her in time and brought her to do her business in the chamber pot.

I couldn't finish the letter.  I had not gotten through the whole thing and I had so many things crossed out and rewritten that I was going to have to rewrite the whole letter again. So we just printed it.  Olga came knocking on the door and Katherine and I went to the Hypermarket. We really wanted to get some staples before we left for Almaty.  Diapers, wipes.... Just because we know we can get them and where to get them and it's easier with Olga and Natasha. 

On our way to the Hypermarket, I told Olga and Natasha about Katherine's pooping in her pants. We know it's because she's jealous, mostly of Anthony. When I'm spending time with him and she doesn't want me to, she lets loose.  I was looking to see if Natasha had any motherly advice. Natasha said 'Maybe there's nothing you can do for that'. She also said that her 12 year old daughter Luda also sometimes gets jealous of her 3 year old Helena.   (Sure, but does Luda poop in her pants?  I think not!)  So Olga says, maybe you should see a psychologist. I'm like No, I don't think so.  She says, 'Don't all Americans go to psychologists with their problems?'  I said that lots do, but we already knew why Katherine was doing this and our mothers didn't need psychologists to raise us and we would do what our Mom's did. 

I think I've mentioned before that the Hypermarket is the largest/newest market. They have those carts that have cars on the bottom for kids to sit in. So, I put Katherine in the bottom and we started driving around.  She was good for about the first 15 minutes and then started getting antsy.  Especially when we stopped. She's leaning out the side of the cart. Sticking her hands out and touching things.  Of course I'm all No, No, No.  And of course she keeps doing it.  I had my bad mommy moment of the day about then.  We were coming up to the end of an isle and there was some sort of cooler, (like you'd have ice cream in) at the end. I went to turn and she stuck her head out and I smashed her head right into the cooler.  Talk about attracting attention to yourself!  She didn't even flinch.  She is a very tough cookie.  I took her out of the car part of the cart and put her in the standard seat in the top of the cart facing me.  It was a much better deal!

When it was time to pay for the groceries, the check out girl assumed I was a local girl, (as Olga would say).  She started speaking Russian to me. I think she asked me if I had my discount card.  That's the question I answered anyway, but of course I answered in English.  Then I fumbled through the whole money thing.  All my bills were 2000 tenge bills and the total for the groceries was 7235 tenge. Yes, I could give her 8000 tenge and that's what I had out, but we have a TON of tenge change and I had a bunch in my pocket and wanted to get rid of what I could.  There I was standing at the checkout counter with my hand held out and the girl picking through the coins to get 235 tenge.  Again, I felt like a first grader. She was VERY nice though, and we ditched a bunch of change. Olga gets a kick out of it when we are not recognized as foreigners.  I felt better about being mistaken for a local today. I had no hat on, my hair was at least pulled back and I had a little make up on. 

I had asked Olga and Natasha to come into the apartment after our trip. So they helped me lug all the groceries and Katherine inside (they really do too much).  And we presented them with their gifts.  They did not open them here. I did not expect them to, but, we did give Natasha her thank you letter all printed out on photo paper since that's all we had.  Natasha looked at the letter and got that impressed kind of smirk on her face and nodded approvingly.  We were worried that the website would translate the words literally and not account for grammar changes (word placement), so we encouraged Olga to look at the note to make sure it was OK.  The look on her face was priceless!!!!!  Her jaw unhinged and her chin hit the ground.  It was great!  There was no way she would ever have guessed that we did it through a website. She just assumed that we figured it out ourselves.  She couldn't believe our grammar was so good! We of course told the truth.  It was a lot of fun.

Olga surprised us with a gift as well.  She gave us a stack of postcards and a statuette.  I'm not sure what it says yet, we're going to try to translate it.  Of course we will ask Olga if we can't figure it out.  It was So sweet of her.  We honestly did not expect anything like that. Katherine helped unwrap the package.  I wonder was it the first gift she helped open?  It must come naturally to her if it was.

When she picked us up, Olga said we had to go sign some documents at 5:00.  Had we known earlier, we would have not gone shopping at 3:00 and we would have made sure the children were fed. By the time we got back from shopping and exchanged gifts we had only maybe a half hour and we had to get Anthony changed and pack a bag, blah, blah blah.....  5:00 is feedin' time on the Delmedico ranch. Those children were hungry.  I packed crackers and pretzels and kept them occupied with the snacks through the signing process. The office we went to was a notary office. We had to bring our passports as identification.  The woman looked at Bill's passport and at Bill and did not recognize him as the man in the picture.  Bill does look like a convict in the passport picture.  He's got less weight on him now and he had some stubble in the picture.  Bill starts pulling off his hat 'Oh! It's me!'. The Ferets were also there to sign the documents. When we first got there none of us were exactly sure what we were signing.  Suzanne asked if I knew, I said I just didn't care. (I'll sign anything they put in front of me. I'm sure we need to and I'm too weary to care).  Bill and Jim Feret were making jokes about the documents being plea bargains that we were signing. We were only getting 10 years in the Kazak jail.  Hah! Hah!  Everybody is getting a little punchy.  The documents were really just power of attorney documents so someone else could act on our behalf when the children's passports and visas were being processed through Astana.  Poor Anthony was melting in his snow suit. I stripped him down as much as possible, but I'll be glad when we get back home and get that boy a regular winter coat.

Documents all signed, children all bundled, we all decided to go to dinner together at Bon Appetit. They have a great Korean soup there that is a meal in itself.  I can't remember the name, but it's very good and very filling. Jim and Bill had some spicy chicken dish.  I had a couple of tastes and it was good.  Service here is pretty slow.  We picked Bon Appetit because it is one of the quicker places for service.  I think in bigger restaurants like the Three Fat Men and The Grand, the make everything fresh and it's good but takes time.  While we were waiting for the food to come, Bill took Katherine for a walk. (Bon Appetit is in a shopping mall).  When they came back, Katherine had herself a brand new baby doll in her hands.  OH BOY did she love that baby up! 

Dinner was a little stressful. Everyone was there.  Jim, Suzanne and Sara Feret.  Olga, Natasha, Vadeem, Svetlana and Helena. And of course the 4 of us. Lots of kids. Lots of food.  Small tables and of course it was HOT in the restaurant. There are no high chairs, so you're holding the kids the whole time.  It's good to get out, but there's a price for everything.   Now that I've complained, Have I mentioned how cute Sara Feret is?  She's adorable.  Anthony was fascinated by her.  Suzanne and Sara were sitting on my left. I was holding Anthony and he was drinking from a sippy cup (a no spill one I might add). His back was to Suzanne and Sara.  He bent himself so far back to get a look at her he was almost upside down. She was oogling him too. Wanted that sippy cup.  If only her hands were a little longer.....

At the end of dinner, Katherine and Helena discovered each other. Natasha took each girls hand and walked them into the mall. Next thing you know, you've got two little girls holding hands, running through the mall, squealing with delight.  It's always good to see Katherine enjoy herself the way little girls should.  I think tonight was the most comfortable I've seen her out in public. She had none of that shy, hesitant attitude about her.  She still didn't talk.  But, she enjoyed herself.

I'm being cut off.  It's 10:30.  I'm pretty much done anyway. 

Hope you're all doing fine.  Have I mentioned I've got a rash on my arm?  Yuck!  Who knows what it is.  It doesn't itch. I am grateful.

Good Night! 

© Bill Delmedico 2013