The daily routine

She fell asleep! I was walking her back and forth, through the park, past the pigeons, doing EVERYTHING to try to get her to nap and finally she dozed off in her stroller. So into the I-cafe I sprinted.
We are kind of settling into a routine. We get up 7:30-8-ish and slog down 4 flights to the hotel restaurant. The help there was absolutely snotty to me but when I started showing up with Veeka (or Vicka as someone suggested-must think about that)I was then OK in their eyes. Anyway, the hotel got a list from the baby house as to accepted cuisine for the 2 adopted kids (mine and Mike and Carol’s little Andrew). So the kids are served kasha or buckwheat groats, which was what was on for this morning. Usually I get either a meatloaf-rice combo (I know, weird for breakfast but that’s what’s served here) or more often, two crepes with jam. Veeka is a very polite eater and gets almost nothing on her unless I try to feed her something messy like pasta or grated carrots. She also has not figured out what to do with a straw yet.
Then it’s back to the room for potty time and then some play while Mommy tries to study some Russian. I am now studying how to say “January” and “February,” etc. Also how to say “first” and “second” and so on. Russian has a way of jamming together as many as 5 consonants in a word, sans vowels. This morning Mike had a kiddie video of Dr. Dolittle and his animals or something like that. Veeka didn’t take to it much – I do not think she processes TV all that well because last night’s “Princess Bride” didn’t hold her attention.
Then it’s back down 4 flights to the ground floor where I say “Minya noojna kalasku, p’shalsta” (I need the stroller, please) and the concierge runs and gets it out of storage. Veeka is dressed to the nines because the locals around here will come up and lecture you if your child is not dressed warmly enough (in their opinion) for the cold weather. Today it is -6 Celsius – about 22 degrees F?
Then we drop by the 2 spots where the stray kitties hang out and leave some kitty food there. Then today we went and picked up some cute Kazakh souvenirs which will serve as presents and house gifts for at least the next year. Then it was off to the local mall where I nodded and pointed at what I wanted for lunch. Usually these snack bars have some kind of meat pastry, borsht or something like it, an American soft drink and a shrimp-and-corn salad. They don’t really seem to have lettuce in this country. The salads are good, but they tend to consist of peas, tomatoes, celery, etc. but no greens. Whenever I deal with a cashier, I try to repeat the amount I am paying back to them so I can practice my numbers; problem is, they think I am contesting the price, so out comes their adding machine while they insist they are not cheating me. Valentin told me to respond, “Ya trenyoorooyoo moy Russki!” (I am practicing my Russian!)
Sigh. WHY are they playing rap music in this cafe? Anyway, I try to keep Veeka active til noon, then feed her lunch (again, she is great in restaurants – very quiet and makes no scenes), then try to get her to nap, hopefully in her stroller and within a few blocks of the cafe. Today I will take her to a play date with an American couple staying at another (and more expensive) hotel. They are here for their 2nd child and their plight makes my time here seem like heaven. Their judge yesterday just told them their adoption agency’s papers were outdated (and there’s no excuse for an agency to let this happen)plus they want the parents and their coordinator to go find the birth mother somewhere in the Kazakh countryside to sign off on one more document. This poor couple is just tearing out their hair over this (the birth mom disappeared a long time ago) so I am taking them a CD of Russian “new age” music to brighten their day. So their adoption procedure has been put on hold until they can straighten everything out and who knows when that will be?
I have heard other bad stories about various from several Americans who are in country like I am. There’s a lot of corruption in this adoption business; once you’re here, you are pretty much on your own. There is not much your US agency can do for you nor the US embassy, for that matter. If a local prosecutor takes a dislike to you or wants to vent against Americans, you can lose your child. And some people have.
Note to Alison – yes, Veeka and Charlie must meet! And amusing Veeka is taking lots of energy. She gets bored easily with the same toys. Today Mike blew up some huge balloons for her he found at the local toy store.
Evenings – well, Veeka should be asleep by 7 but lately she’s not been. Must get her to bed early tonight; will be watching “The Shawshank Redemption;” don’t think she’ll be into that.