This is a good segway into today's main event: riding in a taxi from Nizhny Novgorod to Moscow. The whole thing took about 8 hours, due to 3 car accidents that we saw and road construction, not to mention 3 toilet stops. And then add in that Silas cried for 4+ hours of the drive. He did really well for the first two hours and then was tired of the carseat. I think he also wanted to sleep but couldn't do it sitting up. After 2 hours of crying, I took him out of the carseat and rocked him. The whole time I was praying that we would be safe and that we wouldn't get pulled over by the police, sent to jail, and deported, etc, you know how your mind jumps to conclusions...anyhow, it was just what Silas needed. He went right to sleep and then the rest of the 4 hours of the drive consisted of him going to sleep, being put back in the carseat, he sleeps for a bit, begins to cry, continues to cry, then I take him out and the pattern repeats itself. I was a basketcase by the time we arrived (finally!) to our rented apartment in Moscow. There's just something about sitting by a screaming baby that has an overwhelmed effect on you...And to top it all off, Calvin threw up in the van. I have no idea why, perhaps motion sickness? His health has been fine, so it was a surprise to all of us. At least it happened right as we arrived, so we didn't have to smell it the whole way. I felt bad for the taxi driver, who was very nice to us.
It was a bit chaotic when we arrived. The taxi driver pulled up in between two apartment buildings and said we were here. Where, exactly?! So we had to unload 4 suitcases + 4 bags of groceries/snacks + two boys + coats/hats/scarves and take them into the apartment. Thankfully, the cleaning lady was in the apartment waiting for us so she could watch the boys while we brought it all up.
By the time we got to the apartment, paid the rent and sent the cleaning lady on her way, I was exhausted. I had nothing left to give. I didn't want to do anything and I cried a few times. I know that part of it was due to listening to my sweet boy cry for 4 hours and not being able to comfort him and for the stress of Calvin throwing up and the stress of everything costing money and and and...I just wanted some downtime. Tyler went out to get some groceries - I was eager to make something more REAL for dinner instead of pringles and cookies and water - our taxi drive fare. It was in this state that I prayed for help. I said that I didn't think I could show affection right now, that I was spent. I facebooked a status which stated my hard day and prayed for support to come from my friends there. And then, I started seeing some of Calvin's baggage.
For the most part, Calvin does beautifully with Silas. They play and laugh together. But, Calvin is already in that tattling role. If Silas steps out of line at all, Calvin is right there telling me about it. It also seems that Calvin is trying to make up for the past 5 years of not having a doting mama. This is completely natural, I know. I am happy to fill the role of his mama and am excited about having him as my son, but I cannot give him ALL of my attention ALL of the time. He is frequently looking for me to pay attention to every little thing that he does. He colors one little star on the page and has me look at it. Then he colors the second star and has me look at it. Then the third. Then the fourth. You get the idea.
Tyler has noticed that Calvin goes to the restroom an insane amount of times per day. I thought it was because he had an overactive bladder or something. But Tyler remembered that the first time Calvin went to the restroom, we praised him. So now he goes all the time - to be praised. At least he isn't doing negative things for attention (yet!) but this has to stop. I cannot give him all the attention that he craves and when we get home there will be 5 children who ALL want mama.
Anyhow, I noticed these issues with Calvin and I was somehow able to pull it together and be there for him. We had some snuggle time, which he initially didn't want, but after time he was able to calm down and make eye contact with me - this is key in establishing attachment. The idea is that adopted children do not think that they are worthwhile - because no one has validated them - so they avoid making eye contact, almost in a shameful way. As you spend time with them, making eye contact when possible and smiling at them while doing so, they begin to trust you and realize that they are important. I also sing to them and rock them, which is good for healing. This is what we did with the twins and it was hugely successful. Our family therapist, Melody, saved us during our Ukrainian adoption and what we learned from her will help with our current one.
We have SO many positive things going on with these two boys. We couldn't have imagined a more smooth transition for Calvin and Silas. They get along so well. And healing is already taking place with them. Today for the first time, Calvin cried. I think the whole leaving the orphanage and joining our family finally hit him. He has been so excited for so long and now I think he's dealing with the pain of change and perhaps trauma from past experiences. I feel like for the first time I have an adopted child that I can learn the pain from his past. Both Iryna and Keith don't remember the orphanage and Silas is so young - but Calvin is 5 and I hope that when he can speak English that we can discuss what he remembers.
Silas is really coming out of his shell. He is saying lots of words - I assume they are Russian - and is coming up to us a lot for affection. That is one area that I feel confident as a mama - I can give plenty of hugs and kisses and snuggles and tickles. I am good at it and I know that affection heals hearts.
Okay, I think I'm rambling now, as it's 11:06pm and it's been quite an emotional day. Let's see what pictures I have to post:
Saying goodbye to Sveta. This was tough. I got emotional when she left and I am sad that I don't know when/if I'll ever see her again. I invited her to visit us in the states and hope she'll take me up on the offer. :)
Getting ready to pack up our things at the hotel. The boys loved playing with our empty water bottles.
Poor Silas cried a LOT today in the taxi.
Calvin took a 2 hour nap! :)
Some snuggle time. I so love this man.
We noticed this Mercedes van today and realized that they don't sell Mercedes vans in the US - at least, we haven't seen them. Tyler thinks that the reason is because Mercedes is viewed as a luxury car and a van might ruin that image. Thoughts?