River of Thoughts

Christine Royse Niles — Changing the world one word at a time

Day 1 – Sunday, 6 August, 2006

Masha’s first day began on no more than 6 hours of sleep, having hit the hay at about 2:00 AM. She was up and playing quietly in her room when we woke up at 8:00 this morning! Masha and I went downstairs to make coffee and get some breakfast together. A quick response to “Chai eelee Sok” and the first juicebox made its exit from the stockpile! I boiled some water, made a double batch of instant oatmeal, and Mark emerged just in time to offer Masha a choice of white or brown sugar (she went with white).

Once Mark and I had coffee in us, and Masha was full of oatmeal and banana, she got ready for the day, and set forth to “settle in” to her room. This activity was made up of exploring each closet, locating Items of Interest, and relocating them to very specific places in her room. It also included collecting several choice selections from the “niece and nephew” toy bin in the basement.

Masha dedicated significant effort and concentration to the placement of her new treasures throughout the room. It was really sweet to watch her place the Taco Bell Dog in a spot, step back, cock her head, crouch back down, move it a quarter inch, and then nod approvingly. She seemed very sure of herself, and very particular!

Once she was satisfied with her work, Masha’s attention shifted to her new best friend, Simon. Gone was any shred of fear that may have been present the night before…Tolstay sabaka and Masha had fun playing and even a little bit of roughousing before we got down to the real business of the morning…perusing the Sunday paper ads to get a feel for where to shop for a few new outfits and what she might like.

Let’s just say that Masha has a strong sense of fashion, and very much knows what she likes. She was not at all shy about providing an unbiased review of each outfit on the page. Thumbs up with her award-winning smile or scrunched up face accompanied by “No, no”–we clearly knew what she thought. We very quickly discovered that PINK was the favorite, and I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised.

Following the newspaper reconnaisance, we all piled into the car for the short trip to Target, where Masha quickly identified not only the clothes of her choice, but also the correct American sizes! She is destined to be an excellent shopper! We agreed ahead of time on the quantity of shirts, pants/skirts, shoes, etc. and she selected items right within the budget. Mark was a great help in the selection process. My shopping radar, though, was not nearly as well-honed as the two of them.

As we moved on to shoes, we discovered a somewhat disconcerting fact. Masha’s feet are almost as big as mine! We found a pair of pink tennis shoes that fit, and then moved on to the selection of Dress Flip Flops. Since summerwear is considered “out-of-season” now that it’s August, we were a little challenged with finding her first choice in a large enough size, and after trying several different styles, we settled on a pair of two-toned leather ones that really almost fit me!

After selecting an inexpensive pink wristwatch and pink sunglasses, we were headed back home to remove tags and model everything for Mark. Like a runway model, Masha put on each outfit, emerged from her room toward the lens of Mark’s camera, flashed a beautiful smile, and slipped back into her room to change and do it again.

Once this was complete, a quick lunch of bologna sandwiches before we braved the hot sun to take Simon out for a walk around the neighborhood. While there wasn’t much chatter, we did learn the Russian for squirrel, and Masha very conscientiously kept Simon away from all passing cars.

A little TV (Gilmore Girls…don’t ask me what she got out of it without understanding any English!) before we peeled her away to go meet Mark’s sister, brother-in-law, and their four kids. The kids were all very excited to meet her, and Jerod even put forth an excellent “Priviyet, Mariya!” Excellent job for a six-year-old!

The kids immediately hit the playset, and with a little coaxing, Masha was on the swings keeping pace with Rachel, and grinning from ear to ear. After a time, swings gave way to the slide, and then, after a chocolate/banana fudgesicle (which was judged very good indeed), the whole gang hit the soccer field. Well, we all stood in a circle and kicked the soccer ball. Same thing, right?

Being a home full of kids, with an educator for Mom, we borrowed many learning tools, including videos, books, and a Leap Pad…Masha took to the leap pad like a fish to water, and, much to our amazement, grabbed a book of Bible stories, and started sounding them out and reading them in English! God is really doing something special in this beautiful little girl!

After such a huge day, we came back home, made dinner of beef stroganoff, and watched Masha fall asleep to a Leap Frog Math video. We woke her up just long enough to say “Bed?” She yawned, rubbed her eyes, and was up the stairs and in bed before we knew what happened.

We’ll deal with teeth-brushing tomorrow. For today, we just know that this little girl is a blessing, and that she had a great day!

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About Christine

I am a writer, a project manager, and a corporate refugee with a heart for orphans around the world. My two daughters were adopted from Ukraine at ages 12 and 14. I post about writing, chasing dreams, and making a difference in the world, and sometimes I share fun snippets of fiction in-progress.

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