A Trip Out

Over a year ago, Mum and Dad went away for a few days (or a week) and took Chad (or maybe they didn’t–as you can see it was long enough ago my memory of which trip it was is vague) and as payment for my babysitting services, they promised me a day out with the both of them. I didn’t know what to ask for, so Mum suggested the Cheesecake Factory, because we have never been there and cheesecake is a rare treat at our house due to multiple food allergies.

Friday was (finally!) the day my day out happened. We had to go to the city on some errands anyway. Mum and I ducked into Crate & Barrel while Daddy found parking, and it was amazing to know that we could stand and talk for a half hour by the china glasses, if we wanted, and nothing bad would happen. We ate a packed lunch and swung by the Cheesecake Factory for dessert. I had the Chocolate Tuxedo. It was excellent, and nearly too much too eat. I had to split it with Mum and Dad.

Cheesecake factory

It was really nice to get out with Mum and Dad by myself. I used to get out with them when they drove me back from my Christmas Concert, but the last two years it hasn’t worked out, because babysitting is so hard to line up. I sort of get them to myself when we go to Baltimore –because Katya isn’t what you’d call a big talker (think 15 month old)– but Katya understands practically everything now, so conversations have to be “through the roses”, and I still have to watch out for her in shops and things, so this was really special.

Katya on the Couch

When we first adopted Katya she didn’t understand the pleasure that a pile of warm towels can bring. Her first laundry day she was a bit upset when I tried to lay her down on the couch, but when she realized how nice those towels felt, she actually lay still for ten whole minutes until they cooled off.  Now all I have to do is yell, “Hey Katya, towels!” and she comes running.



“Warm!” she says.



A January Walk

Yesterday I took Katya and Chad out for a walk, after Katya got home from school.  The woods were wet, muddy, brown, and very beautiful.


Katya wanted to take a different path than usual, and so we headed up a steep muddy slope on a thin foot path. Within the first two yards, I discovered that Katya has a fear of slipping. “Katya, look at–Katya, look at me. Do you want to go back? We can go back down?” “No, no, no. There!” said Katya– I translate–pointing up the path. “Are you sure?” “Yes!” “Then stop screaming!”


But it was hard for her to stop screaming. It was a narrow muddy foot path, surrounded by bushes, saplings, grasses, and the odd thorn. Katya’s plant recognition is not sufficiently developed to the point where she can identify prickers vs sticks or stalks at a glance, and she knows that bushes can poke, so she was in a constant state of twitch, shrieking every three steps or so. The muddy path posed an additional problem, because at any moment Katya felt that she could be pitched headlong into one of the aforementioned perils.  But she did *not* want to quit!

We must’ve taken a wrong turning, because we ended up on the golf course.  Katya was *so* happy to be able to turn around without worrying about bushes and sticks and things.


The way back down was a challenge for me. Chad has been climbing down hills since he could walk, and has mastered the sideways “crab walk” necessary for descending steep slopes with dignity, but Katya’s early life was spent on flat surfaces. Her unsteadiness led her to grip tightly to my hand, depending on me to keep us both upright, a difficult task when she kept stepping on my foot!

Apart from a muddy shoe, we made it down without mishap. We cleaned our shoes off in a snow pile, and Chad and Katya had a snowball fight.


We arrived home at the best time–just in time for supper!

Katya, Just Eleven

Katya's Birthday 001Katya's Birthday 007Just like that, she’s a pre-teen!

2015 has been a big year for Katya. She’s had two surgeries, reads fluently on a first grade level, and has become “Katya the Brave”. Just this month she climbed a huge milestone when she came to me for help when she was sick!

Katya at Just Eleven:


color (blue)

pattern (stripes)

food (soup, vegetables, anything)

dessert (chocolate)

music (nearly everything)

activity (jumping, baths)

subject (music)

weather (sunny)

animal (n/a. Dislikes all animals, hates dogs. Approves of food chain.)

book (Piggy and Elephant, Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories, Richard Scary)

movie (Frozen!)


secret talent (hiding things)

worst thing (animals, crowds)

New Skills:

speaks at level of (15 month old–some words intelligible to family!)

reads fluently at (first grade level)

says thank-you 50% of time without prompting

manages fear of (balloons, sparrows, lanyards, sudden motions, conversations about food,  getting clothes wet, the dark, talking, school,  pigeons, vomiting into a puke bowl, aprons, forests,coughing, and gold fish.)

Hopefully Katya has a great year in 2016!





I Backtrack to Baltimore

I got distracted by shiny Christmas sweaters, but here is Katya with Dr. D., getting her picture taken. Oddly enough there were no observers at our appointment. Usually there are at least one or two people standing in the corners.  But this time it was just Dr. D., which was nice, because instead of being “Dr. D., Teacher” or “Dr. D., Colleague”, he was just “Dr. D., as Himself”.


In this picture, Dr. D. was showing Katya how to tip her head, but she didn’t understand quite what he wanted, and mirrored him instead.


After Katya’s appointment we took her up to say ‘hi’ to the nurses, which was great, even though some of them were out on lunch break, so we didn’t get to see everyone. When we got to the floor (Hello again, 10S!) Katya said “Six! Six!” and wanted to go see her old room! Mum was surprised that she remembered her old room number. We brought the nurses some chocolate from Trader Joe’s, because nurses are awesome and deserve chocolate.

We also ran into Payton from Child Life! It was great to see her again, not only because Child Life was so instrumental in getting Katya through her hospital stay, but also because Patyon is just a nice person.

Though Katya was pretty mellow while we went to appointments and visited people, later she laughed and laughed, and was so happy. Weird as it may sound, it was good to be back–under pleasanter circumstances.