Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer Vacation

Ahhhh, school is finished for the summer, we are planning a trip to the beach at the end of this week and then off to Las Vegas if all goes well and there is no strike…

I’m still fuming about the impossibility of going to Russia this year. Both Lola and I had our hearts set on it, and I’m tossing dates around in my head to see if there is another time we may be able to go. Darn the strike threats anyway!!! Having the possibility of this affecting my schedule at work if it actually happens is one thing to be expected, but when the ghost of a threat interferes with my life outside of work I think I have every right to be indignant and resentful!! Enough said.

Lola and I talked about “The Russia Trip” a couple days ago and decided perhaps Spring Break 2010 might be a possibility. Her relatives will not be going to the dacha until that summer, so we most definitely will find them at home. She tells me her aunt is so looking forward to meeting me, and the feeling is intensely mutual. All I have for her family is gratitude for dealing with a difficult family situation as best they could and for showing Lola they love her no matter what. She is most definitely close to all of them, and for that I am thankful.

I have literally BEGGED Lola every weekend since April to call her family to inform them we are not able to visit as planned this year. Each time I mention it, she refuses, because she doesn’t want to disappoint her aunt. I told her it is better for them to know we are not coming rather than just not telling them anything, leaving them to think we just don’t care! This was the time I so wished I was fluent in Russian. I would have called them myself to apologize for the whole situation. A few weeks ago I sent a letter of sorts to a friend who is in Russia, asking her to call Lola’s family and translate it so they know the complete situation. I don’t like to depend upon others for help, but in a situation like this it really was necessary. Guess I should get my Russian language books out and do a little summer studying…maybe by next April I’ll be able to communicate a little more confidently.

So with the prospect of going abroad crossed off our list of things to do this summer, we have decided on a few days on the beaches of Hilton Head Island and then a few days in Las Vegas so Lola can see what it’s like in real life. She was excited to see the city on TV in documentaries and movies, so I figured since we had some travel vouchers from last year that were about to expire we’d use them to take a trip to somewhere without going too many dollars over the voucher price. Luckily, we only had to pay $36.00 to fly to Vegas!! We also got a total steal on a 5-star hotel room there, so we’ll be living it up in our little suite and checking out all the different fun things and hotels on the Strip. I had brought up the subject of taking a day trip to the Grand Canyon, but after much thought Lola decided if we go to the Grand Canyon she would prefer to stay there for a couple days rather than go see it for a few hours and then board the bus back to the hotel. I think that is also the way I’d like to see it again. My first time was backpacking for a few days into the canyon from the North Rim, and the second time was via a full day bus tour to the South Rim. I think her choice of spending a few days there is a good one. Perhaps in the future we can incorporate that trip with one to the Colorado Rockies as well (another place she wants to see).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Horse Show

Lola had been entered in three events at the annual horse show, but with the continual rain we had been having I had to literally prepare both of us for the possibility that the show may actually be cancelled. Not a fun thought, especially when both of us were so excited for her to show off all she’s learned this past year.

So of course we arrived at the horse park about two hours earlier than needed (my error entirely - - - after years of making sure I’m early for important events it seems that in this instance it wasn’t such a wise idea - - - Lola being bored is painful for BOTH of us…though in totally different ways…) and had to wait through about five events, then a thirty-minute delay due to rain (and umbrellas are prohibited so as not to spook the horses so all were searching for places to stay dry), but then finally the decision was made to continue with another event, and it luckily was the walk/trot obstacle course. Lola did a FANTASTIC job and won a blue ribbon for her efforts! The big disappointment was when they announced that that was the conclusion of the show. Apparently they wanted each contestant to ride in at least one event to make it fair for everyone.

On the way home, Lola told me how she was shaking from nerves when she mounted Apache, but she talked to him the entire time she rode the event. I told her it paid off, because he was listening to her! A week later her riding instructor told us that Apache responds as well to verbal commands as much as rein commands. Good for Lola! She now knows that she can talk to Apache all the time and he’s a very good listener!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bug Reality Check

Lola came home from school and told me she wanted to help her friend out so she told her there might be lice in her hair The friend responded with comments of disbelief and denial. Lola further tried to convince her that she literally SAW them crawling, but still she was not to be taken seriously.

It was then I decided Lola had done everything she could to remedy the situation, and bravely so, but a little intervention was needed. I called the school nurse, identified Lola's friend as the suspected source of the lice, and waited.

Lola came home from school today and said she has not seen her friend there for the last four days. I'm guessing the lice were found and were being treated...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lola the Pool Shark

We are winding down the school year and are both quite ecstatic that there is not much homework the last two weeks of school. All Lola has is a science project, in which she has been happily immersed every afternoon after she comes home from school, and a project for her ESOL class, which she is working on in class. Life is GOOD! Yesterday she worked on her science power point presentation for awhile, then we were off to the gym for an hour, and afterward went to meet Kimmi at Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game on the big screen TV.

We had fun at the gym, and more fun at Buffalo WW watching hockey. While we were eating Lola spotted a pool table over in the corner. She remembered how much fun she had playing while we were in Mexico last year and begged me to play with her. We had a blast! I showed her if she hits the intended target ball on the right side with the cue ball, the target will go in the opposite direction. She thought that was pretty cool! I love being able to present a scientific or mathematic concept to her through something she loves. She practiced and was actually getting better the more she played! The game was close - - and I lost. Scratched on the eight ball. She was ecstatic! That's my girl!!!

Later that evening she informed me which one of her friends may have been the one who gave her head lice. She told me she was sitting next to this person and saw not only eggs in her hair, but bugs as well ! Lola was afraid to tell her, but asked me if I would contact the school and let them know…

Yes, what an uncomfortable situation for me, but still, considering how many children may potentially contract the lice because the friend may not even be aware she has them, and the fact that it’s not only my child’s head at stake, but the heads of all the other students (and teachers), it’s worth my discomfort in contacting the school to let them know. The thing that does bother me, though, is that I had already named this friend of Lola’s as a possible source for the head lice in the first place when Lola brought them home a couple weeks ago! Was there nothing investigated? And, all curiosity aside, how exactly does the school check to see if other students have these little critters? A notice to the parents? I haven’t seen one. A general head check done at the school? Doubtful. That may have been deemed an ‘invasion of student privacy’. Maybe I'll ask...

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Lola came home from school with the matter of the head lice in the top spot of importance, but she did find time to let me know that her teacher, with whom she was disappointed by the no-show at the ice rink the day before, had a hugely valid reason for not having been there - - -she had somehow injured her back over the past week and was in such pain she couldn’t even stand upright. Lola was understandably quick to forgive…


When I made my final adoption journey to Russia to bring Lola home in December 2007, little did I know I’d be introduced to the wonderful world of head lice.

Lola had them while living in Russia and unwittingly shared them with me. It was a situation which took the better part of three weeks to resolve. Her fondest wish was to NEVER have bugs again! She did share with me that she had had them since summer camp in June 2007, and since they were discovered in January 2008 that’s SIX MONTHS of itching and reproducing. I can’t even begin to imagine how many generations of the little pests were living in her hair.

This last Monday after school she called me and said “Hi, Mom - - I have good news and bad news - - which do you want to hear first?” I decided I wanted to hear the bad news this time. She told me she was in her first period class and her head itched. When she scratched she found a 'bug' in her hair. Being so mortified she could hardly function, she held that bug in her hand for the entire class period before finally squashing it and throwing it in the trash once she was sure everyone had left the classroom. All day worried about how she got them and from whom, and was fearful that they would jump off her onto other people.

That evening I inspected her hair (yes, we still have the nit-picking comb and some shampoo from last year’s ordeal, so we were well-equipped at a moment’s notice) and thankfully only found one other live critter and removed several eggs that were just about to hatch. We had caught the silly things just in time.

We did the shampoo treatment and combed her hair with the fine-toothed comb for about an hour. She was thankfully quite patient. I knew I had to keep her out of school until there was no trace of them. Since we had such a long-term resolution to the problem last time, I wasn’t sure how long this episode would take.

I checked my own hair and found a couple eggs - - I did the shampoo treatment on myself as well (and darn it, I have checked everywhere for less toxic shampoo - - - which is a much safer alternative - - - but I just cannot find it anywhere!) and combed and combed, but didn’t see anything else.

The next morning I called the school to inform them of the situation and was told to keep Lola home until all traces of the little rascals were gone.

That evening we had a mutual hair-combing session, as well as the next morning. I was safely bug-free, but she still had a few eggs which we quickly exterminated with the comb. Another day at home. She was truly bored and I think secretly wished she was at school.

It took two days of some serious combing, but she was deemed bug-free on Wednesday night!! She was ecstatic knowing that this time it only took two days to resolve the problem!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Disappointment and Forgiveness

Lola and I went skating today, but her friend Lavinia had to stay home this time. She was grounded by her father that weekend just from skating, and for reasons we thought a little strange, but hey- - - who am I to argue with what parents establish as house rules?

Anyway, at the last minute Kimmi decided to join us skating, even though she had gone through some dental surgery on Friday and was still very sore. As was the usual routine, we headed off to McDonald’s for lunch (which is the only time we go to eat at McDonald’s aside from grabbing breakfast there on Saturday mornings before all of Lola’s lessons) and then off to skate.

Lola was very excited because she has been learning new skating moves at the speed of sound and was quite anxious to show them off to her ESOL teacher, who had told her she was definitely going to be there. It had been about a month since we last saw her teacher at the rink, and today Lola was so happy she was almost in vibration mode.

While we skated I noticed Lola looking around for her teacher every so often, and when the Zamboni came out at 3:45, she went on a massive search. After the Zamboni finished and we were allowed to go back onto the ice, Lola was going to the concession area every fifteen minutes to see if her teacher had arrived, but each time she came back her expression was that of further disappointment.

By the time we were ready to go home, Lola looked at me and said, “Mom, I’m so mad at her. I just don’t care any more.” I told her I knew she was very sad and felt let down, but perhaps although her teacher really wanted to come and had planned to come, something else came up so that it just wasn’t possible. My heart was breaking for Lola’s feelings of betrayal and hurt, but I wanted her to understand that what she was feeling was part of a much bigger picture. Usually, once all the pieces of the whole picture are put together and we learn of the situations of all persons involved our reaction changes. She decided to talk to her teacher first thing tomorrow about it.

In the evenings just before bedtime, Lola and usually have our heart-to-heart talks. Today was no different. We sorted out all the issues of the day - - why Lavinia was grounded and why it was or wasn’t fair, how long until Kimmi would feel better from the dental surgery, and possible reasons why Lola’s teacher was a no-show at the rink.

We talked about forgiveness and situations where forgiveness is difficult, and Lola revealed to me that after how her Russian mama treated her she feels that she cannot ever forgive her. I just hugged her and told her everything takes time…

I thank God every day for this little girl, and the way in which He brought us together. I thank Him for what life experiences I’ve had, both good and bad, because that is what develops wisdom and insight within us. I’ve had some major forgiveness to distribute, and it was never an easy task.

I see now that even my most difficult life situations were really gifts in disguise. They were presented to enrich me emotionally so I may be better equipped to give Lola the foundation she needs of patience, tolerance and forgiveness once she can finally see the whole picture.

Historical Find

I was looking through some things on our computer due to the inkling that my system has been infected with a potential virus, and I came across a journal I had written to Lola when I made the decision to adopt. It covers the period of time between November 2006 and May 2007, and I have added this to the very beginning of my blog. I re-read the entries this morning and so vividly remember all the feelings that I experienced during the adoption process. There are later entries to Lola in the journal, but I have some hand-written and others elsewhere within my computer.