We are a married couple who adopted our little Russky, Nikita {aka Nicky, Nicky noodle, little man, Nikoli, the Nickster, crazy dude, goofball, puppy love, etc...you get the picture!} from St Petersburg, Russia four years ago. Join us as we stumble through the joys and perils of parenthood, while our son teaches us a few things along the road...


"No Touch the Penit!!!"

I'll start off by saying Nicky is doing well after a long and eventful day! The fun started at about 5:25am with our typical morning ritual. We got to the surgery center just before 6am and after a bit of paperwork and handing over of the co-pay, we went up to Pre-Op. We were met by a very nice nurse who went over some info about what would be happening over then next few hours. Around 6:35am she gave Nicky some versed to make him sleepy and calm his nerves, and most importantly, take away the memory of it all! She said it would take effect in about 15 minutes...good thing...we needed to get him into the gown & he was having none of that. Almost 10 minutes later, he started to relax a bit and Momma put on his gown showing him how fun the "tiger pj's" could be. Of course, since I had them on, he wanted them ASAP..."mine pj's!" We got him in the gown, then he decided he didn't want it on - that's when the versed did it's job. Nicky became VERY calm and laid back on the bed without a fuss..."night nights. bed. doctor." I was sitting on the bed with him, along with "Mr Frog" and Daddy was on the chair next to us. Nicky looked over at Daddy, gave him a very dopey smile, then proceeded to blow spit bubbles at him! It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen! We knew at that point, he was good to go...and we wanted some of that good stuff too!

The OR Nurse & Anesthesiologist came to get him around 7am, and we watched as our baby boy was wheeled off to doom. Everyone was very nice and attentive, so we knew he was in good hands. Momma & Daddy then went to the waiting room and awaited the call that he was ready for us. The Doctor called at 7:30am & let us know that all went well, then at 7:45am we recieved the call telling us we could finally see him.

Let me preface this next part by saying this: We know he was confused, disoriented, sleepy, feeling out-of-sorts & outright weird and unhappy. However, we were not prepared for the 1 hour tantrum that ensued in the PACU! Wow, is this kid obstinate! He kicked, cried, screamed, and was completely inconsolable for the entire time we were in there! We put the Jungle Book on, thinking that would distract him a bit...nope. The Nurse & Anesthesiologist both told us that at that point, he wasn't in much pain (the Doctor put a lot of topical stuff to numb him, etc), however, it was probably a little sensitive & that the anesthesia itself is known to cause agitation in small children. That made us feel somewhat better...at least we knew he wasn't in excruciating pain! So, we grin & bared the "want juice" quickly followed by "don't want juice"; I wanna be held, don't wanna be held; "want cookie. don't want it."; I wanna sit on the floor, don't wanna sit on the floor; "clothes on. no clothes." In the end we had to act like we were walking out (going "bye bye") with him in his undies and socks, just to get him dressed, and even then we had to lay him on the bed kicking and screaming to get the clothes on him. Walking to the car (Daddy carrying Nicky) was fun too - he HATED being outside without his shoes on! Trying to put them on him in the car, at his request mind you, only resulted in Momma getting kicked. He screamed the entire way home and got even more mad when I took his socks away from him (they were in his mouth - keep in mind they were previously walking around on the PACU floor...um...gross!).

Once we were home, I sat him on the couch, replaced the socks, told he was gonna be ok & that we were over the screaming, gave him some juice and a cheese stick, and put Shrek (aka the one that saved us from the screaming) on tv, all was good with the world.
(notice the new tiger...Nicky got him from the surgery center...he hasn't left his side all day)

Nicky relaxed with us on the couch, until he needed to go "pisca"...NOT good!!! Let's just say the screaming came back and he's not a big fan of the "lotion" we have to put on the penit (hence the "No Touch Penit"!). We finally calmed him down and got him dressed (also not a fan of pulling the undies up...) and back to Shrek we went. When the movie was over, we presented him with his "penit prize"...
Charlie is his name & he came with a great Discovery Channel video all about chimpanzees that Nicky loved! We had a nice lunch, then went up for nap time...which is usually accompanied by a visit to the potty...we passed on that part & opted of a pull-up instead. Nicky woke up dry and was less than enthused about trying to go potty...more of the "no touch penit" was heard and in the end, after much coaxing, all we could get on him was a t-shirt, undies & socks!
3 juice boxes and a popsicle later, we attempted the potty again. He finally went, screamed a bit, then was consoled with a chocolate "band-aid" (thanks Nana & Pop)! All said and told, I think he's gonna survive! We've heard a lot of "doctor. cut penit. owie. band-aid. momma car." all day. I don't think he'll be thrilled the next time we go to the Doctor - I might have to just tell him we're going to the store or something just to get him in the car!


100 Questions

Or it felt like 100 questions at least! I told Nicky that we were going to the doctor in the morning. He said "penit". I said "yes, we're going to see the doctor about your penit." "Band aid?" he asked. "Yes, you'll get a band aid." That was before bath. After bath, the inquisition began...

Nicky: "momma car doctor?"
Momma: "yes we'll go in momma's car to the doctor."
Nicky: "minute"
Momma: "in the morning."
Nicky: "oh"
Nicky (sad look on his face): "bye bye penit?"
Momma (heart breaking): "no buddy, the doctor won't take your penit. just a little bit." (while trying to demonstrate "a little bit")
Nicky (furrowed brow): "hurt?"
Momma (on the verge of tears): "maybe, but it will be ok."
Nicky (getting excited): "band aid!"
Momma: "yes, you'll get a band aid. and a big treat!"
Nicky: "oh"
Nicky: "doctor cut momma penit?"
Momma: "no buddy, momma doesn't have a penit."
Nicky: "oh"
Nicky (thinking really hard): "doctor cut daddy penit?"
Momma: "yes, the doctor cut daddy's penit when he was little like you."
Nicky: "oh"
Momma: "it will be ok buddy."
Nicky: "better?"
(sidebar - i've realized that i tend to say "there you go. all better." a bunch - Nicky now says "better" to just about everything!)
Momma: "yes, you'll be all better."
Nicky (pointing to window): "doctor over there?" "not in here."
Momma: "no buddy, the doctor won't be at Nicky's house. we're going to the hospital." (long pause while waiting to see what he says next) "it'll be ok..."
Nicky: "ok. hug?"

Then we hugged it out...as I was choking back tears. Man - if I thought talking about it with him tonight was hard, how am I gonna let them take him back for the procedure? Lord, please grant us the ability to remain strong for Nicky and help him to recover quickly!


T Minus 3 Days and Counting...

...until Nicky's penit snipping that is. It just became all too real for me. Talking about it is one thing. Completing the online patient history form is another! I never thought about how difficult it would be to fill out these types of forms. There were questions regarding his "family history" - well, I obviously can't give my or Kris' health history, as it wouldn't really pertain to him, although, Kris and I are his family. Very weird situation. The form didn't have an answer of "maybe" or "unsure"...just "yes" or "no"! Well, maybe his birth grandmother has had issues coming out of anesthesia. Or maybe his birth father does have hemophilia. I have no clue! I answered "no" to most of the questions, but also made a note that we flat-out don't know the answer to many of them. And - they asked about bruises - well, of course he has a bunch of bruises...he's a 2 year old! I know they're really asking more of the "does he bruise a lot and easily" question, but yes, he has a ton. He's still a bit wobbly when he tools around, so he does tend to go down to the ground a bunch! These are the kinds of things I didn't fully prepare myself for when we were gearing up to adopt in a realm of the "unknown"...kinda scary! Now I'm very nervous!!! He's still talking about it a lot - any time he's partially or fully nekked, he tells us "doctor cut penit. later. band aid?". I'll let ya know what he has to say about all this in 3 days time. Poor guy - first an enema, then an upper GI scan, now this?! He's gonna put a call in to Mother Russia and request to be brought back! I'm sure he'll wonder what the heck these crazy Americans he got stuck with are gonna do to him next! He'll for sure get quite the "prize" outta this one...I gotta go shop for something good!


A Post About Posting

Never in a million years did I ever think I would talk more about poop and "penits" than I do now! So what am I doing...I'm posting about the fact that I post an awful lot about these two things! Poor Nicky is going to grow up and read all these one day and be like "Mom...what the heck was wrong with you?! Didn't you have anything else to talk about?!" And I'll say "Son...one day you'll have a kid or two of your own & you'll understand."


Happy (Belated) Valentine's Day!

A little late, but what can I say? We had a busy weekend! It actually started on Thursday, with Nana, old Nana (name my nephew Brenden came up with for my mom's mom) and Pop coming up for a visit. Nicky was very surprised to have Nana pick him up from school that day! He shouted "Nana" the second he saw her, and as they were leaving the classroom, he was telling his friends "Nikita Nana!"...very proud little guy indeed!

The next day was Nicky's 1st Valentine's Day party, so he went to school in the morning, then that afternoon we all went to my Aunt Sharon's memorial service. I have to say, it was really nice and actually very uplifting. There were some tears, however, there were several laughs as stories of Sharon were shared. The church was full of people whose lives she has touched over the years, and I know she was in Heaven smiling down on us.

On Saturday, Nana & Pop watched Nicky so Kris & I could go to a matinee movie and do a little shopping. Not that we don't love the little guy, but it sure is nice to have a little time to ourselves! Sidebar about movies...when the heck did they get so expensive?! The matinee tickets were $7.50 each and a medium soda was $4.25! I remember when tickets were less than that for an evening showing! Am I getting old, or is this just ridiculous? How in the heck will we ever be able to take Nicky to a movie with prices like these? We already smuggle our own snacks in as it is. Guess we'll have to visit our local dollar movie theater.

Anyway - that evening we ordered pizza and Nicky enjoyed a yummy Valentine's cupcake...definitely a big change from the usual fruit he devours after dinner. He asked for more when he was done and the following day pointed to it on the counter & wanted another one! Won't be long before the fruit will be thrown by the wayside!
On Sunday we test drove a church we're thinking of attending. We told Nicky we were going to church & he was so excited...kept talking about it all they way there! Pretty sure he doesn't understand what church is, but it was cute nonetheless. We took Nicky to the Sunday School class and dropped him off. His excitement dwindled a bit as we walked off...maybe church wasn't going to be as fun as he first thought. Afterwards, we went to pick him up and they were sitting in a circle singing a song. Although Nicky was still wearing his jacket, we were assured he did indeed have a good time, and that he is a "puzzle machine"! (About the jacket - that's his thing. He refuses to take it off when we take him places - like school, stores, and sometimes restaurants! It's almost like he thinks that if he takes it off, then he's staying wherever he is and we're going to leave him. Now mind you, it's the opposite at home - he takes it off immediately & wants us to hang it up in the closet - not on a chair or the banister, it must go in the closet!) That night Nana made us a yummy pot roast (not that I partook in that, but Kris said it was tasty) with mashed potatoes, carrots, asparagus and salad...we need to have her up more often!
Hope you all had a nice Valentine's Day!


Choo Choo!

All Aboard the Nicky Express!

"One, tew. Tew Nanas on the train."

Nicky & Nana on the "train"

Nicky & Great Nana on the "train"

Nicky was so excited to have "tew nanas" this past weekend. (his words - he'd look at both and say "one. tew. tew nanas!" all while holding up both index fingers!) He took them outside and made a "train" out of the patio furniture. We all sat in the chairs and went on some great adventures. Hmmm...I'm thinking a train set is in order for his upcoming birthday!


Penit Snipping

I finally got the nerve to call and schedule Nicky's circumcision, and it's slated for February 26, 2009 at 7am. We are taking him to one of our surgery centers (meaning one that is managed by HCA, the company for which we work), and the Administrator has promised to take care of all 3 of us! I figured I should probably try to talk to Nicky about what's going to happen, even if he doesn't understand all of it, at least I've tried to prepare him. The other night after bath time I decided I would test the waters to see how he would respond; it went a little something like this:

Momma - "Nicky, we're gonna take you to the doctor and he's gonna cut your penit." (his word for penis - still can't quite say the "s".)
Nicky - "Nooooo." (not really excited or upset about it, just a long, sing-song no.)
Momma - "Da. The doctor's gonna cut your penit. Like when we cut your hair." (very matter-of-fact, and this time demonstrating with my fingers.)(I couldn't think of any other way to tell him that he would understand.)
Nicky - "Minute." (said while holding up one finger to show me, not now, but in a minute.)
Momma - "Right. It will happen later. Not right now." (I guess he thought a doctor was gonna barge into his bedroom and do it right then and there.)
Nicky - "Ok. Later." (said while nodding yes, without much of a reaction. about the same as I would have gotten if I had said "we're gonna go to school in the morning.")

And that was that. The next night, during bath time, he told Daddy, "Doctor cut Nikita penit. Later." (said very matter-of-fact while holding up one finger). Of course, Kris didn't realize I had already told Nicky, as I had failed to mention this news to him (he was at the fire station the night I told Nicky), so he was quite shocked! The good thing that's come out of the conversation I had with Nicky is that he pseudo-comprehended what I was telling him, and was able to repeat it! That shows his language skills are improving! The flip side is that he obviously doesn't understand that any pain will accompany this impending doom, and I'm not sure how, nor that we should, try to tell him. I'm sure he'll realize that part all too soon enough! :( We'll definitely keep you all informed on the success of the surgery (gotta think positively, right?). Keep the little guy in your thoughts the last weekend of this month...I'm sure he's not gonna be too happy with his Momma & Daddy.


We Love & Will Miss You, Aunt Sharon!

The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. (Nahum 1:7)



A friend of mine recently asked if I found that blogging was helpful, emotionally speaking. I agreed that I find it has a cathartic effect and feel that it helps me when I write about things, whether or not anyone actually reads it. When writing about Nicky, I am forced to write about the "fun" and "good" times, even though some days I really feel like blabbing about his tantrums and stubborn behavior instead. It helps me to focus on the positive and reminds me why we went to Russia in the first place.

Well, this post is going to be all about me, and all about my feelings, so bear with me. My Aunt Sharon is losing her long battle with breast cancer. As I type that, tears rush into my eyes and a huge lump is forming in my throat. She is the most amazing woman I know (outside of my mom) and has handled it with what I can only describe as grace. She's never complained. She's never let on that she was in pain, and even if she did, she said it with a smile. She has always put her trust in Him and has lived life to the fullest. She made a "bucket list", so to speak, and did those things she always wanted to do and then some. Through her journey to God, she has been a guiding force to others. She has touched more people than she will ever know, as her humbling spirit will never allow her to take credit. She emailed monthly-ish "updates" that not only informed of her health status, but also had a "life lesson". Whether she intended them that way or not, that's the way most of us have taken them. Her writings would remind us that there was more to life than possessions, etc. She had a way of making one look for the good and amazingness in the littlest of things. She was truly an ambassador of God's Word and made me, personally, want to strive to be a better person. I feel so truly blessed to have ever been in her presence and am proud that she is my aunt.

Now, I ask of you, to please keep her and her family in your prayers as she makes the ascent into Heaven. She will be missed more than I ever told her, but I find comfort in knowing that she will soon be with her Savior and will then be healed.
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