Much thanks to Andy who was kind enough to log on and post some pictures of Vincent and give a little update about our week in Moscow. There were a few things he left out. Maybe it's like childbirth; most mom's won't fully remember the pains of labor once they see their child's face. Having Vincent here with us makes it easy to put that week behind us. Just for the heck of it, I'll fill you in while it's still fresh in my mind.
We picked Vincent up on a Monday. We were in the lobby that morning waiting for our translator to meet us. I hadn't slept well the night before (due to both nerves/anticipation and the fact that the room was hot and stuffy). The hotel lobby was bustling; several large tour groups had arrived the night before. As I turned around I spotted a man who looked exactly like my dad, Vincent's namesake. It was very surreal. I had been thinking about him alot that morning. Much in the way people thing about loved ones who have died on special occasions, wishing they could be there with us. I took it as a sign that he, in some way, knew about the wonderful event that was to happen. It was difficult to keep the tears at bay after that point.
Our first stop was the Russian passport agency office. After we completed our business there we stopped by a grocery store and bought cakes for the staff at Vincent's orphanage. I had thought about what this final scene would be like; much emotion, tears, words of farewell from Vincent's caregivers, asking us to take good care of their special boy. Much like the final scene of a movie when something really good happens to the main character and the music starts on cue and they all walk off together into the distance. Instead, the orphanage was strangely quiet that morning. "Reds", the orphanage director, was on vacation so there was to be no commentary from her. The caregiver who appeared to be most attached to him was also not present. We knocked on the door to his group's playroom and they sent him out and promptly shut the door. We changed him out of his clothes and put him in the clothes we brought for him. We took a quick photo of Vincent with his caregiver and then the door shut; that was it! So much for the melodrama that I had imagined.
Vincent took our hands, walked through the door, and never looked back. Not even a tear when we put him in the car. Soon this beautiful little boy was asleep on my lap, holding tightly on to the teddy bear we gave him the first time we met back in May. I just couldn't believe that he was finally OUR boy. It had to be one of the happiest moments of my life.
Our week in Moscow had its share of challenges. Vincent was recovering from bronchitis and had a fever and a bad cough. He also had a horrendous diaper rash. Plus he was teething. Add 6 days in a small hotel room, new parents, and a toddler who comprehends only Russian. We survived. Just as we survived the 10.5 hour flight back to New York. At that point both Andy and I were sick, as was Vincent. Benadryl only helped so much; he slept for the first hour of the flight. After that we relied on every trick we had planned to keep him occupied. He screamed intermittently. He occupied himself with several lollipops, mostly by rubbing it in his hair, on his hands, and sticking it to his seat. We distracted him with Play -Do; that came to an abrupt end as he threw a chunk of it into the seat in front of him. He threw a small, plastic animal into the airplane toilet. He pushed the emergency call button and unlocked the bathroom door. It was a crash course in parenting, for sure.
My mom, brother, and his wife and 2 young girls met us at the airport, waving American flags as we came through customs. Vincent slept the entire 90 minute car ride back to my mom's house in NJ. That evening we had a little family party and my uncle and aunts joined in the celebration. At that point I was totally exhausted, jet-lagged, and sick. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep for a few days. Then I realized we have a 2 year old to take care of. How the heck do parents take care of them when they feel like crap? I think it was at that moment that I decided that Vincent will be an only child!
We've been home less than a week; during this time we've seen Vincent undergo such an amazing transformation. He was such a quiet, serious boy every time we'd see him at the orphanage. Now he's laughing and squealing nonstop. He already says several words in English...amazing how quickly he's learning things. He has quite a little personality. We can already tell he's a real comedian. He has his moments, of course, just like most 2 year olds. He's stubborn. H.e can go from a temper tantrum to giggles in 10 seconds. He's testing his limits with Andy and I, figuring out just how much he can get away with. He's amazingly affectionate; we had been told to expect him to refuse hugs and kisses for some time. We've been so blessed that his transition has been easier than we had anticipated.
Being home with him is hard work; much more difficult than I had anticipated. Simple things take up alot of time. Throw in a temper tantrum and breakfast preparation and cleanup can take an hour. I'm getting used to planning my day around his naps. It seems like nap time (or after he goes to bed) are the only times I can really get anything accomplished. I also figured out that it is pointless to run around after him, picking up his toys throught the day. I've also stopped worrying that he has a little bit of his breakfast on his shirt (and in his hair). Hopefully nobody will report me for that one :-)
My plan is just to enjoy every waking minute with our little guy. Right now he's sleeping peacefully; I have to admit that I've come to cherish this time for myself. Which is why I'll sign off now, put my feet up on the couch, and read a book....just like the old days :-)