Igor spent the entire day today and yesterday riding his bike! He must have ridden miles worth of sidewalk and road around our block.
He is so happy. I can’t describe it. He’s doing really well these past few days.
Something in him has changed.
It’s like he’s gone from 2D to 3D. Tyler told me that doesn’t make sense and he doesn’t understand what I’m saying, but it’s like Igor has gone from stiff and closed to shining and puffed up with life.
It’s like the difference between a sick fish with fins clamped down half heartedly swimming and a healthy fish with fins erect zooming around the tank.
He’s never come this far during hosting before.
Part of the difference is that this hosting period is the longest ever. It’s eleven weeks. In the past it was only four weeks.
It’s going to make sending him back that much harder. I’m trying not to think of it.
Instead of sending back a suitcase of winter clothes Igor is planning out how much non-perishable food I can fit in the suitcase.
The 50 pound weight limit is my enemy here.
Isn’t it sad? My kid doesn’t want to take toys or warm clothes back to his orphanage. He wants to go to Costco and buy food in bulk. Peanut butter, tortilla chips, peanuts, protein granola bars, cereal, strawberry jam, popcorn…50 pounds worth.
I keep thinking of when I skyped him last winter after he got back and he said, “Please you is coming to Ukraine and taking me home to America forever. I am hungry.”
Ok I have to stop thinking about this right now. We still have more than a month before I have to face this particularly gut wrenching reality. Right now we can just live in the present moment, where I am feeding Igor whatever high calorie foods he will eat so that he can gain some weight for the long winter ahead.
Even while riding his bike non-stop he has gained three pounds in the last couple of days! (He loves to weigh himself 10x a day. He also checks the mailbox 10x a day despite my repeated explanations of mail only coming once a day and not at all on Sundays…bless his heart, he gets so very excited when he finds mail in the box.)
Today Igor and I were looking through some Facebook pictures. He pointed out one of his best friends Valik who was in a picture with Igor during arrivals at the Atlanta airport. In broken English Igor explained that Valik was wearing Igor’s favorite Superman shirt, the one we gave him last year that he’s worn almost every single day since.
He asked me if it was ok that Valik was wearing it. Then he said that he Valik had no nice clothes to wear to America and he wanted Valik to look nice when he met his new family, so he gave him his beloved shirt.
Igor was very matter of fact about it, as if giving away the only possession you’ve managed to not get stolen from you is no big deal. I got tears in my eyes, dang emotions.
This kid. I’m telling you. He may be a little broken because he’s been starved, neglected, abused, teased, beat up, and left to cry himself to sleep nightly. But he has so much potential.
It’s easy to forget how much about the world he doesn’t know. Tonight I was trying to explain to him that milk makes me sick and that’s why I couldn’t eat any of the ice cream he really wanted to share with me.
He was all like, “What? WHAT? Dis is come from milk, yes?”
I said, “Yes, milk that comes out of a cow.”
He stopped eating and stared at his bowl in disgust, then looked up at me with this face of confusion and horror.
“No.” He said. “Dis no from COW. Mama! Dis ice cream!” Then he muttered in Ukrainian while finishing off the contents of his bowl. God knows what he was saying…probably that I am a crazy liar and trying to trick him. ;)
We bought a season pass to the zoo the other day. It was only about $25 more to get the season pass than it would have been to just buy tickets for everyone to get in once, so it was totally worth it.
Once we got in and saw how big the zoo here is, I was glad we got the season pass. No pressure to see it all at once. We can just go for a few hours at a time whenever we feel like it!
This is the first time we’ve ever lived near a zoo. It’s about 40 minutes from my house, but it’s a fairly easy drive on highway type roads.
This is Ada posing with her dollar while waiting in line to feed a giraffe, which she ended up being too scared to feed…
Outtake, can’t stop laughing.
Igor feeding this baby giraffe for Ada.
Nom! Please more, hurry!
I freaking love the giraffes! Columbus Zoo has so many of them!
Here are some giraffe pictures from my real camera and not my phone:
This is the zoo’s only non-castrated male giraffe. However he is not the father of the baby that Ada and Rosie fed, pictured above. The zoo worker told me they are anxiously awaiting him to…ah…figure things out in the birds and bees department. For some reason he seems to be a bit slow in catching on to his manly duties.
I loved the Africa layout at this zoo! It actually felt like a safari setting. Pretty cool. We didn’t even see all of Africa. We went here at the end of our afternoon and the kids were all tired.
I think they were looking at the brown bear here. This is when Igor told me at Ukrainian Zoo he got to pet a tiger. A tiger who was so so big and so so so so cute Mama!
He also told me in Ukraine that the giraffe attacked him and bit his hand, dramatically when he petted it.
Now I see two possibilities here.
1) There really is some kind of horrifying Ukrainian petting zoo with beastly animals freely accessible to small children. (Honestly this is not unlikely…)
2) Igor has never actually been to the zoo but he doesn’t want me to know that.
I wanted to kiss this big cat in the face. Probably could have if this were Ukrainian Zoo…
Igor’s favorite animal is the tiger. He is quite impressed with them.
These were funny! Part of some kind of pirate display.
In case it isn’t obvious the kids loved the animal statues.
The lions were amazing. They were all sleeping right up against the plexiglass divider. I’ve never been so close to a lion before! It was very crowded, so we had to wait in line to get close and look then take a quick picture. Still pretty cool though!
There were tons of exhibits we never saw, so we’ll definitely be going back soon.