We have now been home officially 6 full days, and life is slowly faling back into routine...not that we really have one anyway :-) Our lives are too action packed for a real routine I guess. But as I type this I have three kiddos plopped in front of the TV resting a bit after a morning of sleeping in late, cleaning up the house, and jumping on teh trampoline in the hot Colorado sun. Dominick has been madly working days and nights, trying to catch up and earn us some grocery money. Don't laugh! We have gone through 5 gallons of milk in 6 days, 3 bunches of bananas, 2 watermelons...and that's just for starters! Whew, this kid can eat and the others are no lightweights in the food department either! Visions of teenage years are closer than I had at first anticipated!
Our first real problem with communication hit us last night as Tokie was trying to explain something to us and we had no clue what he was talking about. It was hilarious for quite awhile as we all tried hard to figure out what he was saying using pictures, searching through dictionaries, etc. and he took it all in good stride up to a point, and then he started slipping over the edge of frustration so we decided to get help. This was at 9:30 at night so I didn't want to call the first person on my "call" list who spoke Russian as they go to bed early. I called a gentleman in town who I found out speaks Russian but he couldn't figure it out, and then Dominick had the bright idea to call a friend of his sister's in California who we learned spoke Russian. Olena (I have no idea if I got the spelling right, sorry if it is incorrect) was SO sweet and spoke with him for several minutes and then explained to us that he was trying to tell us he was excited about going to summer camp and wanted to know if he was going to go swimming there. She kindly helped us clarify a few things for him about the adventure he will have in a few weeks, and then offered to help us in the future if we need it. I am always so amazed at how caring and kind others can be to complete strangers. The look on his face when he finally realized someone on the other end of the line could understand him was one of relief and joy, even if he did think for most of the conversation that he was speakikng with Saule, our coordinator in Kyrgyzstan! How frustrating it must be for him to be unable to communicate his thoughts, and even more so because he appears to be so bright and have a lot to share!! But he has really done well at working with us to figure things out, and seems to understand that we truly do want to know what he thinks or needs but that sometimes we just can't understand. We are all showing great patience with one another, and are trying ahrd to smile and not take it all too seriously when we can't "get it".
I took the boys out to a vacation bible school soccer camp that they attended last year, and Toktogul did very well for his first foray into American kid life. However, there was a strong reluctance to do anything physical and we need to encourage that in fun ways so he can build up his endurance and strength. We had one episode where I marched him to sit in the car until he decided he wanted to participate, but curiosity killed the Tokie and within 5 minutes he was out and back at it.
I scheduled an appointment with a specialist in Denver for the cleft issues but couldn't get in until August 8th, which actually is ok as it gives us time together before we start attacking some of those more painful procedures we know are in the near future. We have enough to do with redoing all his vaccinations, which we begin on Monday, getting ears cleaned tomorrow and fitting in other things like teeth cleaning and dental work unrelated to the cleft. One step at a time, as a friend reminded me today.
We celebrated Matthew's birthday this weekend, he turned 8 years old. Now I have virtual twins, just like our friends do, although a different gender ;-) I already mentioned the trampoline, which will obviously be the hit of the summer. My special first son is growing up, and it brings such pride to see who he is becoming and a hint of sorrow to think he is already about halfway grown up, that in a very few years that will pass oh-so-quickly he will want nothing to do with mom and dad and will be heading down the path that leads to his own future life, whatever that may be. Dominick and I just talked about Matthew and his needs, that it will be quite easy for him to be overlooked in this family of 3 boys, 2 of whom are actually quite dynamic and have very outgoing personalities. Matthew is the calm, quiet thinker of the bunch, and the focus is almost never on him but on Joshua and now Toktogul as well. Matthew will grow to be a man of great depth of spirit, for there are already signs of that in the child he is. He won't care about being the center of attention much, but that won't mean that it might not be painful at times if he is always the one igonored. I have vowed not to let that happen, as he is just as special and each of the others are. I am glad he has some special friends in his life who also understand this and care about him too.
Our summer is so busy with church camp, swim lessons, a hopeful trip to California to meet grandmas, and other local activities that I don't know how we are going to fit it all in! It's time to print out the calendar for the next 3 months and see if we can even squeeze in a camping trip or two...but mainly I want to hang out with my sons doing exactly what we are doing now, nothing. Playing games as we feel like it, visiting with friends, laying around relaxing in the sun, puttering around, visiting the library, sleeping in. Oh yea, and laundry...yuch!
It is sad when we actually have to work at keeping the Lazy Days of Summer in place!