I apologize in advance. I am getting pretty tired and this post has no outline in my head at all. I just wanted to document week one and the things we did and impressions we have gotten before I lose them.
Most days this week have been spent at home. If you have ever been to my house you know that does not equal boring. Not only do we have more than enough to keep us entertained, we have a revolving door of visitors. If its not the kids from around the block, its friends or family. And lots of them. I think we are overwhelming poor Artem with introductions. Hopefully overwhelming him with love, too! Days at home have consisted of riding bikes, playing video games, hanging on the beach, and taking out the boat. And eating. The kid eats more than Shaun. Loves meat. And fruit, but mostly meat. We did try to go to a community pool, but just as we got there it shut down because of lightning. So plan B was BK playground and ice cream. I also got him to the eye doctor (getting him reading glasses- need to go pick those up), and we have done some shopping for shoes and a winter coat to take back home and such. Typical 12 year old boy, he has little interest in shopping, so we have to keep it pretty short. Helps that he is decisive. He does enjoy getting nice things, though- he has mastered the pitiful "Please?" with those big brown eyes (used it on me for a second pair of sunglasses and a Transformer toy). He catches onto things really fast- very short learning curve. He has almost mastered my iphone translator and camera. He also asked to use the camera and took at least 100 pictures of everything and everyone, especially the dogs. He loves the dogs. He is really good with them.
The ride to church on Sunday was like an hour long (we are taking him to Kissimmee). No car sickness though, like they had us expecting. He was pretty well behaved at church. He seemed a bit bored and a little antsy, understandable since he couldn't catch much of what was going on. We did get him a Russian/English Bible that has the verses parallel to each other so he could at least follow the readings. And, I'll admit during the sermon I did play ticktacktoe with him and then teach him dots. I was trying to keep him from fidgeting and sighing every two minutes! I might have spoiled it for the next few weeks though he will expect games. I find myself torn quite a bit- between spoiling him like he has never been before because hey- I only have a month to do it- and treating him equal and holding him to the same standard as the other kids. Like so far- today I let him drink way more soda than I ever would the rest of my kids. And if he shows a preference for something- like a seat in the car or a certain life jacket- I tend to ask the others to humor him. It is not taking him long to expect that though, although he does still show gratitude. His "Sank you!" is pretty cute. He is a total clown. His teasing is a bit of a dilemma for me as well, though. I love that he is funny and having a good time, but good natured ribbing can start to appear like it might be sass. But how much should I really expect in less than a week? Part of me thinks I should be glad that he feels comfortable enough to smile and say "uh-uh, uh-uh!" in a little squeak when I tell him its time for bed or a shower or something. The important thing is he does do it, even if he might not want to, when I insist. He is really bonding fast (as are we). He loves the kids, and eagerly shares anything he might have with them. He enjoys time with Shaun quite a bit as well. They told us to expect him to bond to the father of the house first, but oddly I think he is a little closer to me so far. I think I'm his safety net, and I am glad I can be. He is quick to offer help to any one of us if he sees a need.
We found a Russian food store in Kissimmee which thrilled him. Not only was he able to speak to the cashier- he got to pick out groceries as well. In case I have any other hosting parents reading, here is what he chose: Sausage...Kielbasa type, smelled almost like bologna. Pickles (cucumbers in brine actually, but same same), chicken filled dumplings that the girl said they eat with sour cream on top, salted sunflower seeds, this little snack bag that was filled with basically onion flavored croutons that he ate like chips. A relish of some sort that tastes almost like a spicy cocktail sauce. A white chocolate bar. And toy filled chocolate eggs (he wanted enough to give all the other three one). So really, we have close substitutes for all of them.
Ok, well sleep is calling me. Sorry for the rambling post. Its been a long day! Let me throw in a couple of pics...(they always end up at the begining)