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Friday, February 17, 2012


My oldest son has moved. A couple of weeks ago, he changed his address from the room that he has shared with his two brothers to a room of his very own. After 3 years of triple bunks, complaints about Max's snoring, and differing sleep patterns (he likes to sleep in and the other kids are early risers), Madiyar decided he was ready for a change. We decided our boy has demonstrated a great deal of growth in recent months and so has earned the perk of his own room. This is probably the first time in his life that he's slept in a room alone, given his early history with his birth family and his years in the orphanage system. (When they first came to us, none of our kids from KZ could imagine sleeping in a room without company...they were too accustomed to sharing sleeping quarters with 13-18 other kids each night.) It's a testament to his comfort level in our family that he's ready to take this first step toward independence.

The former guest room/computer room has been transformed into a young man's bedroom, offering our 16 1/2 year old a space he can call his own and fix up to suit himself. The first change made was to turn the formerly sunny space into a man-cave with room-darkening curtains. Since he likes to sleep in pitch blackness and the other two boys like a light on at night, this was a big deal. He also likes having a double bed instead of his former twin bunk; we finished off the more grown-up digs with a black and grey color scheme for linens. He has a new set of flannel sheets to match his favorite comforter and the new curtains. The flag of Kazakhstan hangs proudly over his bed, right next to a photo of the American flag. Some of Madiyar's own artwork graces the other walls, would love to see him hang more of his stuff as he really has talent. (And no, I'm not biased or anything...)

He worked hard on the transformation, busily moving furniture and setting up his computer desk. He even built himself a desktop computer with Dad's help, scavenging from older systems and spare parts until he had just what he wanted for a computer system....and he's very proud of himself. Lastly, he asked if he could keep the ironing board and iron in his room because he likes to keep his clothes pressed. What lovely music to a mother's ears...I carried the board and iron up to his new digs myself!

Even more amazing is that my boy is suddenly tidy. Without a single word from me, he has adopted a new-found sense of responsibility for his possessions and space. His dirty clothes are no longer all over the floor and his clean clothes are folded and in his dresser drawers. He makes his bed each day and leaves his room so neat it's scary. And get this...he wakes up early in the morning without prompting and irons a shirt for school. Don't know how long this will last but I'm loving this new level of maturity.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

In sickness and in health...

I started feeling sick on Super Bowl Sunday and not just because the Patriots lost. I woke up in the night with violent diarrhea, vomiting, and chills which lasted until...well, about an hour ago. I haven't been able to look at food, much less cook for my family. I haven't been able to leave the bathroom, much less leave the house long enough to drive the kids to school. My DH has been pulling double duty with the AM routine, getting the kids off to school, and taking care of feeding them at night since I've been pretty much incapacitated...not fun for him as he already has a full plate with work but he's been a great nurse and helpmate. (The guy is a real mensch, I'll tell you!) My kids with abandonment issues are also feeling the stress of seeing me sick. I've answered several questions through the bathroom door that went like this:

Tanya: Mom, are you going to be OK?
Me: Yes, baby. I just have a virus, I feel awful right now but I'll be better soon.
Tanya: Mom, don't die, OK?
Me: No worries, sweetie...I'm not going to die...wretch, gasp, vomit
Tanya: Are you sure?
Me: Absolutely! Give me a minute and I'll help you with your homework.

Then there's Aniyar:
"Mom, I like the old house better because you never sick there. This house you always sick. I don't like you be sick"

Well, I guess 3 days seems like always to him. I know it's starting to feel pretty long to me, too.

And Madiyar, who kept popping through the door way of my bedroom last night, just checking on me, shaking his finger at me and sternly admonishing me to, "Get better, Mom!!!

And Kate who did her best to be a mini-me, helping Dad with dinner and other chores, fussing over me and offering me tea...

And even Max who gave me an awkward bear hug and told me it stinks that I'm sick.

It's Wednesday now and I think I can see the light at the end of the viral tunnel. I'm shaky, cold, and weak but at least I managed to crawl out of bed, shower and dress, and drive to the closest grocery store. When I got back home with the frozen chicken pot pie I'll be serving my family for dinner (gag, choke, I won't be eating it but at least I don't have to actually do food prep and risk infecting the rest of the family), I climbed back into bed and picked up my laptop to catch up on emails. Just then, my cell phone pinged, telling me I had a text message. Here's what it said:

Madiyar: Mom, are you feeling better?
Me: Yes, sweetie, I am feeling better, thanks. I even went grocery shopping. Don't get in trouble for using your phone at school! I luv u, Mom
Madiyar: OK, bye :-)

Awww...how sweet is all this? I may be sick...but I am so very lucky to be loved by these wonderful people who are my family. That's the best medicine of all.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Rodent Day!

My youngest came home yesterday from school and proudly told me that he learned something new. His teacher told him about an American holiday that would be celebrated on February 2. He asked if I was familiar with this strange tradition where an animal sees his shadow and predicts the weather.

"You know it, Mom? It's...how you call it??? Ahh, I remember now!! It's Beaver Day!"

My boy and his quirky memory can sure make me smile...but really, why should the groundhog have all the fun? Maybe it's time for a new weather-prognosticating rodent to have a turn. This guy is sleek, shiny, and ready for his close-up. Look out, Punxsutawney Phil!