Back to Basics

Not so long ago this blog was about Elena and Roman, a record of their growth and development and our interactions with them, not just about all of our crazy travels. I’d like to get back to that. During the past few months the miracle of growth and development has continued to play out in front of Jenny and me, embodied by these two children.

Roman has gone from unsure tottering to running everywhere. He knows to bend his knees when he wants to be successful ascending and descending steps, which he so desperately wants to do whenever he’s close to a flight of stairs. This may seem like a small thing, but it was like a sudden revelation to him. He understands a surprisingly large portion of what we talk about, which is often manifested when we ask him to find and pick up things that are far away or out of sight. He also has started to nod yes and shake his head no in response to some questions, usually with a big smile on his face. He loves playing with balls and balloons and is fascinated by my very rudimentary juggling, or when I spin his toys like tops. As we expected, he loved our trip to Tropical World because of all the different kinds of animals there, from scaly snakes, alligators, and lizards to butterflies, bats, and meerkats. Jenny has taught him to give bedtime and naptime kisses to herself, Elena, and me. Whenever I sit down on the rocking chair in the children’s room he brings me some books to read, although he doesn’t always hang around for long enough to listen to them. He’s even starting to talk; he said “hi dad” when I arrived home one day this week, and has been working hard on saying “trick or treat” for Halloweeen.

Elena has been thinking and expressing ever more complicated ideas. She accompanied me to the ballet, where we watched The Nutcracker. We carried on a nice conversation during the long walk to the theater, and despite the late hour she was happy to walk back with me when the show was over. Many times instead of being upset when she meets some setback (often imposed by us) to her plans or desires, she’ll come up with a creative solution and present it in a clear and reasoned manner. This isn’t to say that there are no tantrums, or that her proposed solutions are always good ones, but more and more she is thinking things through and beginning to consider the thoughts and feelings of others.

Both of them like to play the “push daddy over” game, where I sit on the floor and they push me as hard as they can until I fall over and we all wrestle. I remember wrestling with my dad–the memories must be from when I was older than Elena is now–but every time I went into it thinking that this time I would actually be stronger than him. My main concern now is trying to make sure that I give them both equal attention, and don’t bash their heads against each other. It’s comforting to know that I won’t have to worry about them being stronger than me for many years yet.

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