I'm feeling pretty giddy right now. I'm alone in the house, and I have time to catch up on emails, blogging, etc. All 4 kiddos are at school! This is the third day in a row. Monday I had 5 hours to do all kinds of little jobs around the house that I never had time to get to, or got distracted before I got there . . .
We've had quite a busy stretch of days here now. On Sunday afternoon, a Russian-speaking friend of mine came over and translated a memory book that our agency sent to us. The book was compiled by the Social Worker at the children's home and included many pictures and anecdotes (in Russian). Interestingly, when she asked Sofia some questions in Russian (trying to get some details about pictures), Sofia would only answer in Swedish and said she didn't remember. I think she just didn't want to talk about it.
After dinner, for some reason, Joel, Sofia and Mattias started talking that we needed to adopt another child! Sofia fetched the memory book and flipped to the page with a picture of her group . . . she said we should adopt them all and she named them - all 6. Then we remembered that one boy has just been adopted by his forever family in Italy, so it would only be 5 more (btw, 4 of them are a sibling group and are absolutely adorable . . .). They ran around the house, deciding where they all would sleep. Sofia was talking about their behaviour - first what they were like in the children's home and then all the rules they would have to learn once they got here. I videotaped her and Joel running around the house pointing out all the problem areas, all the things they must do as well as the things they must not do. It was really funny, mostly because it's things we've said to her over the course of the last 2 months!
Later in the evening, she talked more about her time in the children's home. We learned about bedtime - that they were allowed to take one book to bed, that they listened to music, etc. We learned about which nannies were there at bedtime and which ones woke them up, etc. After she had gone to sleep, Stefan warned that there would be trouble the next day . . .too much talking about Russia.
Well, he was right. Miss Grumpy had a few "meltdowns" even before we left for her 9:30 dentist appointment on Monday. Actually, they're not so much meltdowns any more, but I don't know what to call them - moments when she reacts unreasonably to something that's happened . . . Anyways, we drove in silence to town. The dentist appointment went fine. She had plastic put in her 3 permanent molars so she won't get cavities in them. Then we did a bit of grocery shopping.
I teach every Monday night, and Stefan had a board meeting to attend this week, so Stefan's mom looked after the kids. They went to their house for dinner, and then she brought them back to our house for bed. I was really worried. It was the first time Stefan and I were away for her bedtime, AND she had had a grumpy day. Well, she went to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual. She chose 2 books to read herself (one English and one Swedish), she put on her sleeping CD (classical music), and when Stefan's mom checked on her at 8:30, she was asleep. I couldn't believe it when I came home at 9 that the house was so quiet. It was so nice to know that the change in routine didn't freak her out. Joel and Mattias were reading in their own beds and Sam was quietly doing his own thing in the basement.
Tuesday was a school day - and she said for me to stay home. So, we got them all out the door at 7:45 and I had the house to myself until the youngest 3 came back home at 1pm. Sofia was so excited. She told me about the big bus that took them to school and the small one that took them home. She told me the skates were good, the wool socks were good and the helmet was good. (I forgot to say that they skated in gym class. We moved the boys up one size in their skates so she could use a smaller pair of the hockey skates, and we had to find a better helmet because the white one in the previous photo really BUGGED her). Apparently, she did very well skating!
On Wednesday, Sofia went to school for a couple hours in the morning and then I picked her up because she need to go get a vaccination. Generally, it went fine because she's had so many of them, but it did hurt so she cried a bit. The health nurse gave her a really nice hard cover book of Swedish stories, poems and songs, so she was quite happy with that! Then I took her to Stefan's parents' house where she had lunch while Stefan and I went to have a mid-term meeting with Sam's teacher. Things are going well with Sam in junior high. He is getting decent grades, although he is described as being forgetful - something he needs to work on. What I liked hearing was that he was a nice boy. Polite. Well-brought up..
Stefan and I spent a couple hours at home with the kids, then they had to go back to their grandma's because Stefan and I had to go sign some papers. We were finally back home with them at 7pm, and the kids played a bit, Joel did his homework, etc. Sofia was acting out a bit - demanding attention when the boys needed it and being argumentative. Bedtime was a mess . . .everybody was short-tempered. In retrospect, the day was very hard on her - school, vaccine, "babysitter", etc. She must have been overtired, too. Despite the storm, she made eye contact with me, and once everything had settled down and she apologised for her behaviour and I apologised to her for my overreaction and gave her a hug, she burst into tears. I don't think anyone has ever told her they're sorry before . . .
This morning, she woke up in a good mood and is now at school. Today they are skiing (cross country) in gym class so she had a lot of gear to take along. I hope it goes well!
The outskirts of St. Pete
Saint Petersburg: Sankt-Peterburg, Russian pronunciation: is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. The city's other names were Petrograd (1914–1924) and Leningrad (1924–1991). Founded by Tsar Peter I of Russia on 27 May, 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1713–1728, 1732–1918). Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. Celebrating the 300th anniversary of its foundation, Saint Petersburg was selected as the main motif in a recent Finnish commemorative coin, the €10 Mannerheim and Saint Petersburg commemorative coin, minted in 2003. The reverse of the coin features a view of Saint Petersburg, with the Peter and Paul Fortress and its three turrets. In the coin the words "St. Petersburg 1703-2003" can be seen.