Archive for July, 2011

May-July 10, 2011

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Happy Adoption Day, Arina! I was almost too tired to write a post tonight. We had such a full, wonderful day. But, because it was so wonderful, I wanted to go ahead and record it. We spent the fifth anniversary of Arina’s A-Day in Charlotte, with friends Alec and Michael.

We met them for church at Caldwell Memorial Presbyterian, where Arina had fun with new friend Beatrice, and Jack had fun with Thomas the train toys. Then, we had lunch at Zoe’s with Alec, Michael, and church friends Craig and Perry. — complete with chocolate cake and a full-table rendition of “Happy Adoption Day to You!” for Arina. Finally, we toured Alec’s and Michael’s fabulous new condo, and there is nothing more fun for a kid than to be able to run, unchecked, in a large, empty space.

And, as if all of that weren’t enough, we picked up a fish tank for A. when we got home. Animal lover that she is, a fish tank was the only thing she really, really, really wanted for her A-Day.

Scott and I, in typical Scott-and-Nicole fashion, took our camera to Charlotte and left it in the car. Every time. So, the photo for today is not from today, unfortunately, though it is Arina, near enough to the fifth anniversary of her Adoption Day.

This A-Day seems more special than most, because Jack, at 18 months, is only a few months younger than A. was when we met her. So, right now, we look at him and remember her, the way she was.

18-months is such a fun age. Jack repeats nearly everything we say in a baby voice, and every word is phrased as a question, with a high note at the end: “Ju-Ju?” (juice); “Go-ge?” (pacifier, dubbed “go-ge” after Jack, in a moment of panic, said “Mommy! Go-ge, go-ge, go-ge,” as in “go get my pacifier”); and “tadpole?” since Arina plays with tadpoles in my parents’ goldfish pond all the time. And . . .

1) Like the toddler Arina, the toddler Jack LOVES his mother. I remember that Scott had to win A. over with M&Ms before she’d even sit on his lap. Jack does not like to be left with Scott, and, if I leave, will stretch out on the floor by the door and cry. Scott snapped the photo, below, when Jack fell asleep after one such crying fit. Perhaps M&Ms would help? Scott should try that.

2) Also, like the toddler Arina, the toddler Jack LOVES his Pop Plyler and Papa Fisk. They also love their Nanas and MeMes, of course, but there is something about grandfathers . . . Jack will tell Nana “No!” if she tries to take him from Pop. See, below, Jack having fun with Pop at Tweetsie Railroad. More photos of the kids at Tweetsie are in the gallery.

3) And, finally, like the toddler Arina, the toddler Jack has a surprising attention span for his age, and is PASSIONATE about the things he likes. With Arina, it was always animals. — stuffed animals, cartoons with animals, games with animals, animal shaped food, etc. Whatever “it” was, as long as it was animal-related, it could entertain A. all day.

Jack, true to his namesake (my grandfather), is similarly enthralled by TRAINS. At Tweetsie, he ran from store to store, playing with every train table he could find. If we said, “Jack, we have to go. Say goodbye,” he’d scream “No, no, no,” run from us, and finally cry. — the loudest, most distressed cry he could muster.

So, below, is Jack’s early birthday present. — a train table and set, bought as a Craigslist bargain. I expect to be able to get lots of work done, thanks to Thomas and his friends.

So, how is the school-age, nearly seven-year-old Arina different? She’s more of a Daddy’s and Nana’s girl now, although she says that she favors whomever she’s with at the time. But she still adores animals, so much so that I started fostering dogs on her behalf. We’ve had so many at this point — we’re on our ninth — that I’ve devoted a separate blog to it: Still, there are photos of the kids with several of our fosters in the gallery.

And, I think a photo of Arina with our second foster, Chester Berkeley, is appropriate here:

And, now, for some Arina-isms, starting with some end-of-school ones:

1) A. admitted that she got in trouble at school but insisted it wasn’t that bad, because she didn’t have to “do laps” like she normally does. Drama, on the other hand, was even more of a success, because she didn’t have to “sit on the white floor,” like she normally does. I’m beginning to regret my new habit of asking at the end of every school day for three details. Arina’s #3? — that Anson DID have to “do laps.”

2) A.’s gymnastics teacher said that she was “preoccupied” in class. — apparently, with saying the word “butt.” Me, in the car: “Arina! Why did you keep saying the word ‘butt?'” A: “I was trying to be funny, so I said the word ‘butt,’ and nobody laughed. So, I tried again and again and again. Because you say to never give up.”

3) I got a call from A.’s teacher. Apparently, A. hit Benjamin Tanner (yes, the weatherman’s son) so hard on the back that she left her handprint. B. asked A. to sign his yearbook. She not only signed it (ARINA!) but also drew a picture of herself. B. snatched it back. A. said, “Give it back! Give it back!” B. did not give it back. She explained, “I was trying to make the picture beautiful for him, and he wouldn’t let me! So, I had to hit him.”

4) A. overheard something I said to Scott about her suitcase. She asked me about it. I said, “how did you know?” She said, “Because I heard you tell Daddy blah, blah, blah.” Scott said, “That’s all I hear too.”

5) For Mother’s Day, A. gave me the following homemade card: “I love you Mommy. You are the best mom ever! You are a good cook! You are loved by me! You are great!!! relly great!!!!! You are speclie! to: Mom!!! by: Arina!” I asked her about the “good cook” part, since I don’t cook. She said, “Once you did. And it was good.” Scott explained, “She thinks making PB&J is the same as cooking.”

She also gave me the class cookbook for M’s Day, at which point S. and I realized that we didn’t send in a recipe for her like we were supposed to. Oops. So, she had written one herself, for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

6) A. was playing doctor, and she told her friend to pull down her pants, so that she could give her a shot. Me: “Not appropriate, Arina.” A., rolling her eyes: “Well, it isn’t a REAL shot.”

7) Scott sent A. to school with a shirt and no pants. Apparently, their conversation went as follows. S.: “You can’t wear that with no pants.” A.: “I have black tights.” S.: “Oh. Okay.” I was mortified.

8 ) A. announced the she was the only good girl in Music class. Me: “How did it feel to be the only girl who wasn’t misbehaving?” A.: “Really weird.”

9) I heard A. telling J. “No!” Me: “Arina! It’s not your job to discipline Jack.” A: “Well, he’s about to hit the dog with a frying pan then.”

10) I looked at Arina expecting to see blue eyes and saw green. Me, shocked: “Arina! Your eyes look green this morning!” A., nonplussed: “Didn’t you know that my eyes change color? You forget that I’m a pretty special little girl.”

11) I thought I’d be kind to my parents at Carowinds, so I volunteered to take A. on the log flume ride. When it was over, A. said “I’m riding this again with Pop!” Me: “What if Pop doesn’t want to get wet?” A: “That’s okay.” Me: “That’s okay; he doesn’t have to ride?” A: “No. That’s okay; he can ride anyway.”

12) Arina asked Nana to make her a ham sandwich, and then decided that she wanted a PB&J after the former was already made and delivered. Nana: “Eat your sandwich.” A.: “I don’t want to, Nana.” Nana: “Well, you’re sitting there until you do.” A., cheerily: “Well, I guess I’ll be sitting here all day then.”

Happy Adoption Day, Arina! We love you!