The gym was terrific, though a 9AM workout after 8AM breakfast was too soon. I don't know whether it was the sit-ups, the rope jumping or the breakfast meats and cheeses, but I was feeling pretty barfy after about 45 minutes. I took it easy the last 15 minutes, then Bob and I played three games of ping pong. Bob won 2-1 and we decided to make a summer-long tournament out of it....
Today brings another change of plans: The medical records review we were told would take place on Monday will take place today instead. (Olessya called Beth M while Bob and I were at the gym.) Our marching orders: muster at 11:45, meetings with each couple individually beginning at 12 noon and visitation with the children to follow. Bob and Beth go first and emerge with good news: The review covers information from birth through the most recent updates in June, 2005 and includes all tests, measurements, vaccinations, illnesses, diagnoses and treatments. Dr. Irina and a very serious-looking Kazakh doctor go through all the paperwork in Russian, and Olessya translates for us. We are shown the paperwork, but it too is in Russian and we can't follow along. (We will receive copies translated into English by Olessya sometime next week.)
The updated stats on the kids: Molly weighs in at a robust 8 Kg (17.5 lbs) - we laugh when the doctor notes her hearty appetite - and measures 64 cm in length (2.54 cm to the inch, I'm told, for those of you interested in doing the conversion at home). Aidan is 7 Kg (a wee bit more than 15 lbs) and 65 cm long. For a frame of reference, Molly was 3 Kg, 350 g and 52 cm at birth and 5 Kg, 170 g and 54 cm when admitted to the baby home. Aidan was 3 Kg 200g and 53 cm at birth and 4 Kg 810 g and 57 cm when admitted to the baby home. The only news of any concern: Aidan has been diagnosed with an umbilical hernia. Interestingly, Bob and Beth's Nicholas has the same diagnosis, yet his belly button protrudes a good inch or more whereas Aidan shows no outward sign of his condition. In sum, both children are in "generally good health" and progressing normally, and Dr Irina makes a point of remarking the care givers consider them both nice children.
After the meetings, we all go to the boys' room. Aidan is more animated than in any of our previous visits. He responds when Alli says his name with motion and a big smile, and she gets a few giggles later when tickling his leg just above the knee. It's lunch time: Alli stays with Aidan and I'm off to feed Molly.
She's in a jump seat when I arrive: Hard to say if there's any real recognition - I get the fish eye as usual. But she's cooperative with my effort at feeding her a particularly attractive maroon mixture of something including what looks to be ground beef and beets and a shot glass - no joke, an actual shot glass - of some kind of broth. Apparently, I'm a little slow, however, and one of the care-givers takes over to finish the last 1/2 dozen spoon- fulls. After she gets a quick post-lunch wash up, we dress in the requisite two layers - appears to be the same pink sweater outfit as on the previous day, though with a smaller, cuter bonnet this time - and we set off to meet up with the boys.
Neither Aidan nor Nicholas is dressed, so I sit Molly on the floor. She sits up by herself but doesn't make a move to get to her belly or crawl. When the boys are dressed, everybody hits the floor on all floors. All prop themselves right up, and Aidan is the first to actually move. Nicholas looks up and all around, while Molly rocks in place. Rounds of applause for our wonderfully talented children!
It's 11:55 and our ride back to the hotel will be here at 2:10. We go outside where Aidan becomes very sleepy and Molly takes a shining to Alli's hair - death grips on two handfuls - and then to one of her new teething toys. Aidan likes to play with my beard and is more interested in my watch than his teether. At 2:10 we drop the boys in their outside room and I take Molly to her inside room.
We're back in the hotel at 2:30, off to the internet cafe at 3. Alli and I do Blog updates and answer e-mails. On our way back to the hotel, we see Olessya and Beth 1: Beth 1's paperwrok is complete, and they're on their way to get her airline tickets for the return home! Alli and I stroll around the park and one of the more residential areas adjascent to it from 5 to 6, and we meet the gang - Bob and Beth (B&B), Beth 1, Olessya and Mary Ellen, who has just returned today for the second of her two trips - at 7 for the ride to dinner at "The Kabob Place" (probably not the real name, but simpler for us Yanks.
Dinner is great. After Olessya patiently translates every item on the menu, we ordered salads, sides and a mixture of chicken and pork kabobs, which she writes out in Russian for the wait staff. After dinner there's dancing. Alli and I break the ice to a round of applause from our gang. Olessya asks me to dance - this after telling me earlier that I look younger in person than in our dossier photo - and she's pretty smooth on her feet for 29 weeks pregnant (get with the program Vegas!!). Eventually, everyone but Bob's Beth - claims she can't dance - and Mary Ellen (who has hit the traveling wall right in front of our eyes) makes an appearance on the dance floor. We're back in the hotel at 10....
It's now 11:25. Tomorrow, Bob and I will walk to the baby home with Beth 1, who walks every day at 7:25. She's adopting two children - I think I mentioned that earlier - of different ages, so she gets an hour and a half with her son and another with her daughter. The four of us will walk for our visit at 12:15.
We've made arrangements to go to church on Sunday: A Roman Catholic mass in Russian, though we might not be able to take communion without someone from the congregation to vouch for us. Mass is at 10, then we'll visit the kids at 1. Might do some shopping or sight seeing with Dana, the girl who takes Olessya's place on the weekends.
Alli's asleep and I'm fading. More tomorrow....