April 2011

Happy Easter! We had a fabulous Easter holiday in Charleston, visiting with all of the Fisks: MeMe and PaPa; Aunt Kelly, Uncle Danny, Marley and Parker; and Aunt Susie, Uncle Steve, Lauren, Andrew and Ryan. Arina and Jack played and played, laughed and laughed. — illustrated best, perhaps, in the photo below.

Jack enjoyed dying Easter eggs for the first time. We knew this would be a hit, since he’s had a fascination with liquids — and dropping things into them — for some time now. Example: tonight, he managed to get the parsley open and to shake the entire container into the dogs’ water bowl. He didn’t enjoy hunting eggs as much, while Arina excelled (see the Rina action shot, below).

All in all, a fun time. — although March-April 2011 has had a number of highlights.

1) Arina had her hair cut. We’ve always favored short hair on her, but this is the shortest cut yet. She told her hair stylist, Jill, that she wanted a “rock star” cut. Jill obliged. And Aunt Nat made it a true “rock star” look with a bottle of hot pink (temporary) hair dye. See the photo in the gallery.

2) Arina was in her third ballet recital. She played a lilac fairy in the Koger Center production of Sleeping Beauty. Her aunties came to see her (Tracy from here; Rachel from Florida; Nat from California; and Stacey from New Mexico), and she couldn’t have been happier with her adoring fans.

3) Jack, now 17-months, is a toddling terror. He has a FIERCE temper. When he’s angry, he’ll scream “ACK” and shake his hands at us. Scott calls them “angry hands.”

Jack’s very much the little man, with all kinds of quirks. He must eat all food with utensils. He must brush his teeth several times a day. He loves to blow his nose. And he must be able to go up the stairs whenever he wants. We tried to do the baby-gate-thing, but after one too many “ACKS,” we gave up and took it down. He’s actually quite good at navigating the stairs.

We did, however, put a stop to his short-lived, favorite game of throwing stuff over the second-floor balcony. It was funny the first few times he did it. He would throw a toy over the banister, we’d throw it back, and he’d laugh maniacally. Because Jack has always been more prone to seriousness (a contemplative — dare I say brooding? — rather than a laughing baby), we were delighted to hear him giggle and encouraged the game. Then, a snow globe came over the banister.

Despite everything that’s difficult about a 17-month old, though, Jack is overall a delight. He loves his mommy so much that “mommy” has become the word for anything he wants. He’ll point at something and say, “Mommy, mommy, mommy!” whether I’m in the room or not. Scott has actually started using “mommy” as a verb, as in, “What do you mommy, Jack?”

He also loves his sister, who he calls “Ina.” And his Daddy? Well . . . they definitely have a more tempestuous relationship. I think it’s because Scott doesn’t interact with him enough, because he’d rather play on his computer than do so. One night, Scott kept the kids so that I could go to dinner and movie with a friend.

Scott was on the computer. Jack took off his pants and diaper, toddled over to Scott, and peed on him.

But, seriously: how could you stay mad at this face?

And now for some Arina-isms:

1) I was working at the computer in my home office, and A. came and stood silently beside my chair. Me, impatiently: “Arina, what did you come in here to tell me?” A.: “A lie.”

2) A. had a bathroom “accident” at school. Her conversation with Scott went as follows. S.: Why wouldn’t you go to the bathroom? A: Well, we were watching Word Girl, and I knew if I went to the bathroom, I’d miss the ending. So, I decided to go in my pants. S.: YOU DO NOT MAKE THE CHOICE TO GO IN YOUR PANTS! A.: THEN HOW AM I GOING TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED AT THE BREAD FACTORY!

3) We are not looking forward to hearing A.’s math placement for next year. She announced that she ran out of time on the standardized test. Me: “Were the problems too hard?” A.: “No. But I don’t like math. So I stopped doing it, turned the test over, and started drawing instead.”

4) A. blew me a kiss and said that it tasted like “strawberries, blueberries, and love.” She also made all A’s for the first time. This made her so cocky that she said she went ahead and gave herself 100 on her spelling test, so that Mrs. Carrington wouldn’t have to.

5) I asked A. if she got nervous as her hair got shorter and shorter. Her reply: “Nope. I always knew it was going to look GOOD.”

6) A. asked why she had to do something that she didn’t want to do. Scott explained that doing so would make her a better person. Her reply: “I don’t need to be a better person. I’m a better person already.”

7) And, finally, we’ve decided to start fostering dogs. — one at a time. I went to the City of Columbia Animal Shelter and rescued a sweet lab mix. We’ve found a wonderful adoptive home for him (special thanks to my friend Julia McKinney), and he’ll go there this week. I’ve been worried about A. getting attached, but she told me that she understands that we’re the “Baby House” and that we have to find Chester’s “forever home.” Too cute.

And speaking of cute, I’ve included some more photos we’ve received from Arina’s birth family in Kazakhstan. They sent us a baby picture, so now we know what a 4 month old Arina looks like. Visit the gallery to see.

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