When we last talked, we had an order from the court to do a staggered introduction of PK into our apartment. It was a plan that we all thought was great and I was impressed that the court system, and our judge in particular, care enough to come up with a creative solution for our little nugget.
The next day, Friday, we started the day cleaning. Not only was PK coming but Sister Director was as well. As Becky said as she frantically passed me in the hall, “There will be nuns, Matt,” and there were nuns. Sister Director and a nun we have dubbed SuperNun joined PK. Sister Director made sure everyone was settled and left but SuperNun was going to stay to make sure things were going well but stay mostly out of the way.
I need to take a minute here to give SuperNun the credit she is due. Her actual name is a variation on the Polish form of Hedwig and for my Potterhead friends out there, she’s just as stealthy, reliant, and possibly magical. She is a friend of the Sister who was PK’s main caregiver when we were here before and when we first met earlier this week, she took a quick family picture to send to our missing friend. Once, when PK was having a hard time and was all emotion and tears, she instituted the quickest “distract and get out” technique I’d ever seen. This day, she showed her true ninja-like skills. While Becky, PK, and I were playing, a quick observer would notice a phone slide just into view in the doorway and snap a picture, or Sleep Sheep ( a soothing musical toy) would slide into the room like Tom Cruise in Risky Business playing a gentle tune. Occasionally, I’d hear a snap and see the wizened form of SuperNun, in all her 4’8″ glory waving to get my attention from behind PK’s back with mimed instructions of what she wanted up to try.
One of these missions was to have PK walk with us throughout the flat. We headed to the back first and then towards the front of the apartment, where Supernun had been before. Not knowing what would happen if PK saw The Wimpled Wonder, I stepped into the room first and noticed her hiding behind a lamp in the corner. Becky and I high-stepped PK through the room and up to the kitchen. After a quick exploration, we headed back in the direction of the toys. Where was SuperNun going to hide this time? We got halfway through the room, my eyes peeled for her but it wasn’t until Becky and PK pulled ahead to the next room that I saw her lean out from behind the chair and wave at me. I snuck up to Becky to quietly inform her, “There’s a nun behind our chair.”
The rest of the morning passed like a dream. Becky and PK were inseparable, I got a kiss before they went, and through Google Translate SuperNun and I had a good conversation about PK and also a quick, crash course in parenting Polish words…as well as a few laughs at the expense of my pronunciation (I got them on the second try). Sister Director returned and told us that she would return around 2:30 in the afternoon to drop PK off to hang with us alone for a few hours. Saturday, they would bring her by and she’d spend the night with them checking on us Sunday to see how it went. It was exciting and terrifying all at the same time.
When 2:30 rolled around, Becky and I were edgy like someone waiting for their prom date to show up. Closer to 3, Sister Director came without PK. Through my computer, she let us know that PK had a stomach bug and had started vomiting after lunch. The doctor thought that she’d probably be ill until Monday. Everyone knew that it was important for us to be a constant in PK’s life now so we were invited to come and spend Saturday at the orphanage. “For a long while, until she sleeps” the message said. We thought a few hours until nap would be good. With tears in her eyes, Sister Director told us she was so sorry and we told her that we understood and would see her tomorrow.
Yesterday, Becky and I got up and headed to the orphanage. PK leapt into Becky’s arms (have I mentioned that she really is attached to Mama?) and didn’t raise a fuss when we went to the yellow room. We could tell she wasn’t feeling totally herself. We mostly laid on the couch and watched TV in the morning (I have now watched both Tarzan II and The Suite Life Movie in Polish). About lunch time, they brought down a bowl of soup big enough for an adult. The little one ate about 1/2 and the nuns were disappointed. Normally, she eats the whole amount. They then brought in warm yogurt and XL Nilla Wafers. She didn’t want the yogurt but she ate two cookies. They came in later to check and see if she needed a diaper change and, we thought, take her for her nap.
Instead, they told us they would be right back. 30 minutes later, they returned with her and said that she had eaten a banana and three more cookies. Before they left us again, I managed to get directions to a restroom. When I returned, I told Becky the directions I followed. Later, we found out we somehow went to two different restrooms. I take pride in having the better experience. By now, we were nearing on two o’clock and Becky and I were getting hungry. We’d had breakfast, a cup of tea at the orphanage and I had a chocolate biscuit left for us by the nuns (that Becky was allergic to). PK, however, had more food at her disposal. She ate 13 of the little corn puffs she loves so much (think Cheetos but without the cheese) and three more Nilla Wafers. At five, we were checked on again to let us know the doctor was coming on Monday and we could come visit her again on Sunday. Again we thought that perhaps they’d take her for dinner, but, alas for our bellies, no. We were told that they were disappointed in the fact that she hadn’t actually drunk anything all day (we tried but she wasn’t having it). We all know that she needed fluids with a stomach bug and they tried for about 15 minutes before they left with instructions for us to get her to drink.
Becky and I had now been in one small room with a puny almost-two for over 8-hours. We were hungry and a little stir-crazy. If it had been at our apartment, we would have had at least had multiple rooms to visit to break up the monotony. With our mission before us, we were determined to get her to drink so we could also eat
and drink. We begged, we bargained, we used Dad voice. Through a combination of methods, we fed her 3-4 oz on hibiscus tea with a spoon but none of us were happy and tears had been shed. When the door opened at 6:00 for her to be taken for dinner, bath and bed, Becky and I both declared that the woman who came for PK was the most beautiful lady we’d ever laid eyes on. On the way home, we stopped at a grocery store and bought what must have looked like a stoner’s feast – lunch meat, bread, cheese, ALL the chocolate, potato chips – and went home to collapse.
This morning, we were prepared to have another long day at the orphanage. Armed with some of stash from the night before, we headed to the orphanage. When we got there, we were in for a surprise. Sister Director met us and in her limited English told us that we, she and PK were going to our house. With the help of the all-mighty computer, we found out that they were sending her home with us (to be dropped off by Sister Director) along with a bag of clothes, food, and diapers, as well as a Christmas gift from the orphanage. By 10am, Becky and I were home with PK. Alone. She lives with us. We just have to go back to the orphanage at 5:30
tomorrow evening for a doctor check-up.
The day has been good so far. We fed her lunch, tricked her into drinking something, and
she napped for about an hour. She catches on to things fast and is stuck to Becky like a burr. Drinking can be tricky right now. I know that later, she’ll drink when she’s thirsty but having been sick, we’re trying to keep her topped off. We just successfully utilized a two-man approach where Becky held PK and I held her bottle (because God help you if you try to make her hold it right now!). It’s new for all of us and God only knows what bed time will be like, but today is the first day of the rest of our lives.