December 6, 2008 - A very long week

It has been a very long week. Just a warning - this post is about icky things. Caelia, Lera and Michael all got sick - really sick. Vomitting, diarrhea, headaches and general yuck. This was my first experience with Lera being really sick. She threw up everywhere in her sleep and never woke up. She actually got mad at me and Randy for waking her to give her a bath and clean up her bed. Caelia woke up and sat watching Lera saying " poor nina". She tried to hug and kiss her but we wouldn't let her. It's amazing how a little bit (or a lot) of puke between sisters is negligiable. Caelia is sweet that way - she was less affectionate when Lera got diarrhea. Just as Lera quit throwing up, I heard Michael run for the bathroom, where he spent a better portion of the night. Caelia waited for morning to join the party.

Of course, as soon as the kids were on the road to recovery - Mama got sick. Mama got really sick. Randy stayed home because Mama was so sick. He went back to work for one day and the spent the next night being ill. He got much sicker than the rest and all of us spent 6 hours in the emergency room on Friday so that he could get rehydrated. I spent all day Sunday washing clothes and trying to set my house back to rights.

The goal this week is to get the house spruced up for the holidays and spend some time with the kids. We are going to make cookies and treats on Friday. Caelia loves to cook. She loves to help. So does Lera. Lera looks at the different utensils with a great deal of curiosity. Food was brought to her at the orphanage. She understands what the knives and forks are and even the spoons but rolling pins, cookie cutters and cookie presses are a mystery. She is also a bit mystified by plastic disposable spoons. I send yogurt, fruit snacks and a drink with them for snacktime at school - I also include a napkin and a plastic spoon. Well, since she throws them away at school, Lera has decided that we throw all spoons away. I have been trying to find my teaspoons all week and finally found a stash of them in my garbage can. I wonder how long she has been doing this?

November 27, 2008 - Thanksgiving through Lera's eyes...

Most of the time, I kind of forget that life was different for Lera before she came to live with us. I can't really imagine life without her and she fits so well with us that I go along in kind of an euphoria - happy with my life and very happy with my family - for the most part, blissfully unaware that we are different. Thanksgiving reminded me of how much her life has changed.

She tends to come running when supper comes out of the oven or when I am fixing omlettes and sneaks little bites before anyone else gets a nibble. She gets such a happy grin when she scores these little treats that I don't have the heart to tell her no. My husband and other kids are just as bad for doing this, so I don't think about it. Thanksgiving made me think. I started cooking at 8am and I didn't notice at first but as the morning progressed I noticed that Lera was watching everything very intently. She exclaimed over the turkey as I was getting it ready for the oven. She stood on a chair and her and Caelia handed me potatoes to peel and then put them in the pot to boil. She talked very animatedly when she saw the BIG PLATE (turkey platter) and was in awe of the shiny dishes and silver.

Caelia came and went but Lera stayed right at my side. She clapped when the whipping creme became whipped cream like it was some special magic. She ate an enormous dinner followed by birthday cake (Happy Birthday, Randy!) and then came to sit by my side. She doesn't really like to hang around with the crowd, even though she knows them all. I asked her if she had enough to eat and she smiled and said YAH, rested her head against my side and patted my leg. She looked so very happy and content - I was left with the feeling that I had granted her some cherished dream.

It makes you think about the many things that we take for granted and may only remember on those special occasions. I like Thanksgiving day as much as anyone but I realized that there is so much that we obsess about (i.e. will the turkey be dry, will the stuffing turnout, how will I fit so many people at the table, etc.) that we forget what a true blessing it is just to have a full tummy, a house full of love and a place to sleep with someone to tuck you in. The little pink doll blanket was Caelia's attempt to make sure Lera was covered.