Back to the gym this morning. If it's true every dog has its had, today is the Big Dog's day: Bob beats me 6 of 7 and takes a 13-11 series lead. I did nothing right, he could do no wrong. However, as he did on the day I took 4 of 5, I win the final game and look forward to redemption on Friday.
Dana arrives at 9:45 to take us to another open air market: This one has similar wares in shoes, fashion, etc. but also features a food marketplace including a scary-looking butchery as well as produce, baked goods and fresh flowers. It drizzles most of the way over and back, our first sustained rain since the day we arrived. On the way back to the hotel, we discuss walking to the baby home v riding the bus: We decide to walk over (unless the drizzle intensifies) and bus home, as Olessya is meeting us with paperwork at 3:30.
The light drizzle on the way over gives Alli and Beth a chance to try out our new umbrellas: We picked ours up in Target before we left, they bought theirs in the mall across the street from the hotel. Bob and I just get wet.... Remarkably, the kids are outside today. (The cloud cover has kept temperatures cooler than normal, though the humidity is higher than usual too.) Alli, Bob and Beth find the boys in one crib wrestling and laughing. Bob snaps a couple of quick photos before they notice we've arrived. I find Molly in the walking chair - just sitting, thank you very much - bundled in sweater, pants and bonnet. She always greets me with the same wide-eyed look as if she recognizes me from somewhere but can't be sure. The care-givers chatter to her, and I hear, "Papa." They call her by her given name typically but make an effort to use Molly as often as possible. When they say Molly, their pronunciation rhymes with "rolly," as in "poly." Somehow, it fits....
We have another great visit today. No blankets for the floor - a one-hit wonder, perhaps? - and today's highlights include
(1) Daddy's turn on dirty diaper duty. Alli detects the first inkling of unpleasantness and verifies the culprit (Molly) with a quick peak. Suspecting a work in progress, Alli rolls Molly onto her back, and without benefit of closed door, reading material or a buffer of any kind, the little darling takes a moment to finish her business (accompanied by furrowed brow and other looks of determination).
Summoned into service, I quickly don my Haz/Mat suit, rope off and quarantine the area & go to work. Removing the offending diaper - Molly initially tries to push my hands away from the tape strips with a look of surprised modesty on her face - I'm relieved to find earth tones(and not the maroon stuff of which I've become so fond) from stem to stern (not quite the vertical diarrhea of song and story but, in lay- man's terms, pretty yucky altogether). I persevere, coached every step of the way: "Use the clean area at the front of the diaper to wipe up the mess on her butt and legs" and "Wipe from front to back - her parts are different than Aidan's" and "Are you sure you got it all?" Once again in lieu of wipes (we were told not to bring them as they are readily available here, but we have not found them yet) Molly gets cold water on a tissue. A couple of deft swipes and she's clean as a whistle. Now let's see: bear's face in front; tape strips from back to front; lift, shove, drop - oops, I mean gently place -bottom onto clean diaper; wrap and tape ("Not too tight!"); tie three legs together, throw hand in the air and this calf is roped!!!! This game is EASY....
(2) Niagra Falls on Aidan's face: Aidan's runny nose of yesterday is approaching flood warning status. Once again, while seeking higher ground, Alli and I take turns attempting to stem the tide. From his reaction, we are engaged in human rights violations of some kind. Let's face it, though: Drool is cute, but snot is another story. I'll deal with Amnesty International tomorrow.
(3)Snuggli Sack try-outs: BIG SUCCESS. Two fairly intelligent, college-educated people navigate enough straps and buckles for an Ed Rau fantasy, mount the contraption to yours truly and secure Molly for a test drive. She loves it! She sits with her back to my belly/chest, arms and legs free to wave and kick. I walk her up and down the hallways and stop in front of a mirror we've visited a dozen or more times with no reaction. For the first, she smiles at what she sees! After adjusting the straps to peanut size, it's Aidan's turn. He's more subdued - he always is - but he enjoys the ride and does a great job holding his head up and looking around.
We return the kids to their inside rooms and bus back to the hotel. We review and sign English translations of forms the Judge will review in Russian(and we sign copies in Russian for other officials, too). The information confirms our identities and those of the children (in their given names and the names we will give them at the time of the adoption),the childrens' birth dates, our address and our wedding date.
For dinner, Dana meets us at the pizza place at 5 PM to place our order and tally the bill. She walked from her home to spend no more than 10 minutes with us and assure we ordered what we wanted and were not overcharged. Her family is getting together tonight to celebrate her younger sister's 20th birthday, but Dana feels her first responsibility is to us. Bob gives her bus fare and we all insist she promise she'll bus home so as not to miss the birthday meal and cake.
Back in the hotel, time to journal and watch soccer: Tonight, Japan v Morrocco and Nigeria v Ukraine. It's 11:30 and Olessya will be by with more paperwork - the English translations of the medical reviews - at 8:30 AM. We're going to try air conditioning tonight:
I'm looking forward to minimal noise from the street and a chance to get under the covers for the first time in three nights....