The Birthday (and the rest of week 4)

daniel 1 birthday

The boy’s birthday went well – I managed to negotiate cake buying in Russian as our translator had gone off to get a copy of our passports notarised again (I think she is wallpapering her living room with them, we have stopped asking what they are for), and my mum had brought proper birthday candles out with her (and other such essentials!).

The exclusive guest list – two Brits, two Irish, two Americans, three Kazakhs and 4 children (including Daniel) who all sang Happy Birthday in the appropriate language or accent and tucked into the cake with vigour. The carers kindly made tea to go with it and as I had bought baby biscuits even the children were allowed a treat (they don’t normally let them have sugar). The big hit of the event was Nanny’s birthday card which played “twinkle twinkle little star” ad nauseum… thanks Mum. Daniel was very unimpressed by the other cards which did not sing to him, and mummy’s present of his first pair of shoes definitely ranked below both the singing card and the train from Nanny. The carers were equally dubious about the pale blue beautiful shoes I bought about 2 years ago (I cracked in a weak moment and amazingly they are only a smidgeon too big!) and looked at the snow outside,

“Holodna” they said (cold), I explained that London wasn’t quite this cold and that they were “london shoes” which satisfied them and led to a conversation about exactly how much snow we got in London and how cold it got and they were mightily impressed by my assertion that London only got a couple of days snow a year at most.

The cake was delicious, the tea hot, the company scintillating and a good time was had by all – more photos in the album section.

Without doubt the best birthday party I have ever been to.
And on and on and on…

I have been here now a calendar month and I must admit to a degree of weariness having crept in. It is difficult to distinguish the days from each other and there is a limit to what you can do with a small child in a room that’s 10 x 7 ft for a couple of hours morning and afternoon. Added to which the weather conditions mean we are a bit limited in our excursions out, though I think we will have to start venturing a little further just to stop us murdering each other from sheer boredom. The trauma for this week is that National Geographic (previously the only English-speaking channel available) has now been dubbed into Russian. Sob, sob!

Tomorrow will be different as Daniel is being moved from the sick bay into a new group. I’m not looking forward to it as they’re moving him into the 1-2yr group and he’s so little compared to the majority of them that I worry about how he will cope with a bunch of walking talking big boys. On the upside, I think he is being moved to Sasha Collerans’ room and Aida is there too. He is warming up to his Nanny and will let her hold him provided she is doing something interesting. The swinging him around thing wasn’t such a good idea though. He was fine but Nanny looked distinctly green around the edges afterwards.

I have made the difficult decision to leave Daniel in the baby-house and continue visiting him there when the appeal period is over on Wednesday next week and I am officially his mother as he seems happy there and I think he will be very confused about living in a hotel room and the food change so I want to minimise it as much as possible. When the appeal period is over next week, then we can apply for a passport for him then once the passport has arrived he needs an exit visa, then we need to apply to the British Embassy for an entrance visa into the UK. I was hoping to get all this done and fly by 16th Dec but it is looking quite possible that it won’t be until 23rd, by which time I will be a complete basket case! Ah well, this too shall pass…

Playing with the Big Boys

My baby has been moved to the big boys room and they’ve dressed him in big boys clothes too!

daniel big boy clothes

I arrived this morning and went to the new room. Luckily I knew where it was as Adrienne and Declan had spent all their time there with their son and I often visited. They brought Daniel out to me and for the first time he almost lunged towards me, arms out. At last I was the most familiar face around! He has been moved to the 1-2 yr old group and is one of the smallest there. They moved several children yesterday and they spent half the night crying apparently so all the children were tired this morning. I think Daniel was one of them as he was very out of sorts and clingy all day. They have 10 children in the group now and so the two carers on duty really have their work cut out for them. All the children are put on a potty after each meal and when they wake up, it’s not exactly potty training as the younger ones aren’t consciously potty trained but with so many children it would be a never-ending nightmare of nappies and they don’t have enough money for disposables so potty training young is a necessity.

Tea this afternoon was an enormous mug of kefir (sort of drinking yoghurt) and I’m not quite sure where he put it all but it all went in and only a tiny bit came back out. I think there just wasn’t enough room for it all in such a small belly. I was alarmed to realise that he didn’t have a nappy on this afternoon but despite the giant yoghurt for tea, there were no accidents. The nice thing about this group is that it is Sasha and Aida’s group and I managed to get a quick photo of them for Adrienne and Declan and Brent and Kathy respectively.

I am exhausted now from the trauma of the move to the big boys room but must perk up as it’s movie night in my room tonight (The Shawshank Redemption) for the six of us left here in Ground Hog Day (I really should have brought that DVD with me).

How lovely to see Daniel’s Great Grandma online at 88 – I think she may have had some help but how lovely anyway!

Paka paka (bye bye)
At least it’s not wussie pink and I have big boys pants on and no nappy…
How is my mother doing?

Well she’s doing just fine – moaning about the loss of National Geographic in English and the cold like an old hand. Moving to the top (third) floor has been a bit of a shock to her arthritic hips but I say that the exercise is good for her…

Daniel has warmed up to her no end and though I still suspect that it’s due to his change of carers making anyone even slightly familiar seem better, it doesn’t really matter when the net result is the same.

I think the biggest shock to her has been the number of children being visited by families unable to keep them (and therefore not up for adoption). Understanding that situation and seeing the reality of it are very different things. The grandparents of a two month old were visiting in Alex and Aine’s room when we went to see them yesterday – Aine had previously taken photos when they were here last week and had got prints for them to keep. My mum was very affected by the fact that they obviously would prefer to have the baby and puts herself in their position. She has spent some time planning how to raise money for them to take him home. But as I pointed out – we don’t know that it’s just an economic issue and what about all the other children here? It is hard and to a degree you have to become slightly immune to it or you would drive yourself mad.

Whatever our complaints about being here, they really pale into insignificance when you see a grandmother crying over having to leave her grandson in the baby-house and go home without him.


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