Friday, April 4, 2014

The Finale


Every good television show (with more than one season) has a season finale.  Sometimes the ending feels good as it brings full closure.  Others just leave you hanging, wanting more in the next season.  When I last left you all, Abraham had a sort of hit-or-miss kind of a day where he had tantrums and he had fun times.  As a penultimate chord in this musical phrase, it had some uncertainty; how was this going to resolve?

We were up earlier than normal this morning as our appointment at the orphanage was at 8:15.  And to top it all off, we had to finish packing up our stuff as we would be leaving straight to Sofia after the visit.  Bus-sy, Bus-sy, Bus-sy.  Luckily I got everything together nice and quick, and we were out the door early.  I wanted every little bit of time with Abraham that I could get because this would have to last us for a few months.   

Also, today’s visit: 1 hour.

We got there about ten minutes early and there was no one there to help get Abraham ready, nor was the social worker there who was our designated overseer, at least that’s what I think.  So, we had to wait.

In the meantime, I got everything together for our last visit.  I had some goldfish crackers (baby size for easy eating) and some other toys that I had forgotten about.  I also had several things to leave behind for his newly re-hired Baba to help him with!  That’s right, he now has his Baba back; she starts next week.  If you don’t know what a Baba is, its like a grandmotherly figure to play and look after the little ones, a nice personal, and loving interaction.  The Baba program at this orphanage was discontinued last November due to funding issues, so we are very grateful that someone will be spending 1:1 time with Abraham on a daily basis again.

I left a photo book of our family and an audio-recordable book where the book plays back a pre-recorded reading as the child turns each page.  Sam, Joey, Rosemary, and I took turns reading to get him used to our voices.

I also left two disposable cameras that can be used to take photos of the little guy while I’m away.

Oh, here comes Abraham now!

He was full of life when he came into the play room.  That’s right, we were in the same venue as before, but he seemed very happy.  I heard that they were feeding him breakfast, and I have a feeling that had something to do with his good mood.


Today was a tour of the toys and going through all of the fun times that we had that week.  I started by feeding him goldfish crackers.  Oh, boy did he love those goldfish!  I gave him as much as he would take; I only have this hour left with him and the rest of his life to unspoil him.

Real food meets pretend "play food" he repurposed from various toys
We blew bubbles and we played with some silly putty.  He played his waiter game this time with live food in his new play dish, my empty can of nuts.  Oh we played our little spinning game on the floor and I tickled him.  It was a really great time with Abraham.


One touching moment happened when he decided to go off on his own to eat the goldfish in one of the cups while walking around the room.  I took that opportunity to play a little ditty that I wrote about a year or so back.  I really didn’t have any meaning for the song when I wrote it.  They were notes, but that was about it.  For me, that’s incomplete.  But it came to me that I should play this melody for him today and see how he reacts.


Just writing about this is choking me up.  So, I started playing and I looked at him.  The melody is rather tender and I thought very fitting for saying good bye or as a lullaby.  He was standing still, looking out of the window eating his goldfish.  He was listening closely to what I was playing.  And then he looked right at me, eye to eye.  I can’t explain, but it was something deep that happened there.  I knew that this was his song – I just didn’t know it at the time I wrote it.

Gosh dern it – I’m glad that I’m writing this now and not at the Munich airport.  People would think that I’m nuts!  My eyes are just leaking water for some reason.

Anyway, I knew that this was my boy and that he would be home before too long.  As soon as the visit began we had to say good-bye.  We hugged and I kissed him and told him that I love him (in Bulgarian and in English).  It was one of the toughest things to say good-bye to him and leave him behind.  I still don’t think that I’ve fully gotten over it.  


Once we left the orphanage it was a 3.5-4 hour ride back to Sofia.  I didn’t write about the drive over, because I wanted to get into the writing of the visits with Abraham, but it was a very interesting drive across Bulgaria.  We drove through mountains and flatlands (not Flatland) and saw all sorts of vegetation.  Yavor was great company on both drives – I almost think that I need to put up a post of all the things that I learned from Yavor on this trip.  But anyway, from time to time, I would ask him what this tree was, or what are those flowers, etc., and he was kind to illuminate my ignorance.


When we arrived in Sofia, Yavor took me to a very nice Italian pizza place: Leo’s Pizza.  Yeah, no joke, no Cyrillic.  It was very nice and I am sure that I’m going to make use of them in the future when I come back for Abraham for good.  Leo’s Pizza had a lot of the same pizzas that I had previously seen when overseas (like the Margherita) and was genuine Italian style.  Very tasty.


We followed that up with some sort of Italian gelatinous cream that was also really nice.

Yavor then drove me the rest of the way to the hotel to drop me off and say good bye.  I have to say that he helped make the trip so much easier.  Not only in bridging the cultural divide, but in helping with the play times.  Even though Abraham doesn’t speak, he does respond to Bulgarian and understands what is being said to him.

Ciao, Yavor!  Thanks for your invaluable help on this trip!
After we said our goodbyes, it was time to get lost again.  Well, not really--I was on a mission... well, a series of missions:
  1. Folk Art Store--Time to get some souvenirs!  I got various little things that I knew the family would enjoy.
  2. St. Joseph Catholic Cathedral--I wanted to go and pray in thanksgiving to God for helping me through the week.  I got there in the three o'clock hour, on a Friday of Lent, to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  I really couldn't have thought of a better "coincidence" for my stop there.
  3. St. Alexander Nevsky Bulgarian Orthodox Cathedral--OK, I didn't have a map (that I knew of--little did I know that I bought a map from #1 above), so that means that I picked a direction and just started walking.  I kept walking in a straight line because I knew that I did not have the energy to get TRULY lost again.  I made it all the way to a park that was in the middle of the city before turning around.  I did enjoy taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of Sofia before returning to the hotel.


I made my way back to the hotel for some Skyping with Sam and the kids before heading for my last meal at the hotel’s PECTOPAHT.  I had some seafood risotto, excellent as usual.

And now, I am writing this blog.  Wakey time is 3:45 am for me for me to catch my 6:30 flight outta here, so I thought that it would be good to knock this out early before I go to sleep.

Thank you all for coming along on the journey.  I might write some more after I get over the jet lag on the way back.  I didn’t write about Sunday and I’m really really considering the “What I learned from Yavor” post.

I thank God that he looked after me and my family so far in this adoption and thank Him for our many blessings both here and soon to be here.  I know that He will see us through to the end.  And, at the end, I have no doubt that God picked little Abraham to be our child, and I am so thrilled that we found out.  The next couple of months will be tough, but we’ll get through it.

St. Christopher, pray for us!
God bless,
Sean

PS – Exactly 10 years ago I performed my senior music recital as a music major in college.  Is it a coincidence that music had a part to play today?

Until we meet again, little guy...


The Penultimate Meeting... For This Trip



The penultimate chord of any musical phrase can be the most important chord of all.  It sets up the ending.  (OK, ok, ok…..penultimate = next to last, good?).  If the chord is sour or strange, then it can leave the listener confused until the final chord is played.  Sometimes, there is no second guessing what the final chord is.  But you never know until it is played.

Today was Abraham's and my penultimate playdate.  This would set us up for the last visit for this trip.  For me, I had no doubts prior to the trip that I would love this child and if we had only one trip to come and pick him up, I would be happy.  But, since Bulgaria has a mandatory “try before you buy” policy of doing a first trip and then the second pick up trip later, we know that our first trip must end.

By the way, I think that the two trip policy is good particularly with children who have special needs.  Nothing on paper can give you as accurate a picture of your child's needs as seeing him in person.  Medical reports are often inaccurate, either overstating or understating their needs.  This time I have spent with Abraham will help us to prepare that much better for his arrival this summer.

OK, so now the music begins:

Breakfast, done.  Got dressed… before breakfast, and done.  Ready to go?  Just got to wait for Yavor… Here he comes… ok let’s go!

Today Abraham seemed a little more tired and emotionally worn out than he did at the previous play times.  We started the day in the play room.  He would play with his cups for a little bit and then he got bored and threw them down.  He would try something else (like the toy saxophone that he started to get attached to) and lose interest very quickly.  I tried to engage him, but he didn’t seem to like anything.

Until I gave him a cookie.  When I took a cookie out, I would pat on the chair beside me to tell him where to sit to eat, and he would climb up and sit down.  He would be calm and still as I fed him the pieces of the cookie.  When he was done with the first, he wanted a second.  So, I gave him a second cookie.  But when that one was done, he was ready to climb back down.

No more than five minutes later he wanted to leave the play room.  I asked the social worker who was present if there was another room that we could play in.  I knew that he really wanted to go outside, but the temperature was cold and Abraham had a slightly runny nose so any other play areas would be preferable.

The social worker opened the door and we walked Abraham down the hallway to the next play room.  Abraham was fine until he saw the front entrance.  He then collapsed on the floor in a tantrum.  I tried to console him, but it was of no use.  He did not calm down until he got a piece of bread from one of the staff.  I then scooped him up and made our way to the elevator.

The elevator was small.  Yavor, the social worker, Abraham, and myself were about as much as it could handle at one time.  And this was one of those residential elevators where the elevator car is open on the “door” side and you can see the cross section of the building as you went up.  Kind of creepy looking.

Eventually, we made our way to our new play room on the fourth floor (actually it’s floor "3"; ground floor is numbered "0"). To be honest, this was something that I would have absolutely loved as a kid.  Heck, I wouldn’t’ve minded having one now!

It had a ball pit!  Oh Yeah!

Along with the ball pit, there were various pieces of large foam building-block-like materials and maybe gymnastics type mats and things of that sort.  Abraham seemed excited, but was a little slow in trying things out.  I showed him the ball pit and he kind of liked it, but preferred to resume the game of climbing back and forth over the wall of the ball pit over and over again.

Abraham started getting restless again and heading toward the door.  Then I remembered that I had an ace up my sleeve – bubbles!  Oh, wow!  Did he love that or what.  For a long time I would blow bubbles and he would smile, grin, and giggle as the bubbles would come and fly around him, sometimes landing right on his face.  I was glad to see him happy.

He slowly got tired of it and so I tried to show him the ball pit again.  He seemed more keen to play with the balls this time, but still not as excited as I would have been.  So I jumped in with him to show him how it was done.  And he learned pretty quick then.

He particularly liked falling back onto the balls.  He would go to the edge of the pit with his back to the center and then he would fall back.  Now, unlike most kids I would see, he did not flinch at all when he fell back into the balls – it was like a perfect trust fall from some sort of corporate team building exercise.  He would smile and grin and had a good old time with the balls.
We then had a cookie or two, and then he started to get upset.  Abraham would go to the door and kick at it to show that he wanted to leave the room.  I had the realization that the poor kid had cookies and bread, but not a drop to drink.  I get thirsty pretty quickly, so I asked if it would be possible to get some water for Abraham.

The social worker came back with some water for Abraham.  He took a couple of sips and then got really upset.  When offered the cup again, he grabbed it and flung it behind him.  The water flew after it.  

We took him out into the hall to see if we could figure out where Abraham wanted to go, and he lead us back to the elevator.  We went down to the ground floor, and then he took us towards the front door.  We couldn’t go out, so we went back into the play room on the ground floor.

Abraham was very upset and was crying and fussing about wanting to not be in the play room.  It took a while, but he soon realized that he was not going to get his way by crying and fussing and he eventually calmed down.  Yavor made the quite astute observation that Abraham reacts like a typical kid; he could reason well.

For most of the rest of the play time, Abraham sullenly played his waiter game, but with a new addition.  A couple of days ago, I finished my hotel snacks that I kept in a little blue nut container.  I brought it with for the visit and showed it to him like it was a drum.  Abraham decided that it was not a drum but some sort of serving vessel for his little cups.  It was very good to see him playing with nontraditional toys. 

And then, as quick as it began, the visit ended.  It was a little tougher saying good-bye to Abraham today knowing that tomorrow will be shorter and the last one for many months.
When we left, I wanted to get some photos of the orphanage and of the play yard so that we could have these pictures available to him when he gets older and might want to see where he spent the first years of his life.  As I was taking photos of the play yard, I heard a commotion on the orphanage side of the fence.  Apparently, they don’t like having pictures taken of the place.  Yavor spoke to them to calm them down while I finished up, and then we were off.
Along the way, we passed the hospital.  According to the reports we have, this is the most probable birthplace of Abraham, so I took some pictures.  It looked old and soviet; a great place for a Stephen King miniseries to take place.

Without the second daily visit, we had more “free” time in the afternoon.  We went to lunch at the same place and this time I had the fried chicken with corn flakes – a traditional Bulgarian meal, which came highly recommended by Yavor.  It tasted really good, but I have to admit that I was a little taken aback by the idea at first because I think that I automatically though of frosted flakes, not corn flakes!  Now that would be one for American fair food!
Fried chicken with cornflakes and a side of sirene cheese covered fries
After lunch we picked up some chocolate and then headed out for a little sight-seeing.  There was a particularly interesting Bulgarian national heritage spot that we could drive to that looked really interesting.  The road was windy with plenty of hairpin turns to keep me glued to the door.

Now there was another reason that I wanted to go to this spot – geocaching!  In case you don’t know, geocaching is like a treasure hunt where you can hide things and find things (AKA caches) by using GPS coordinates.  I didn’t have a GPS device handy, but I did my homework with Google Earth and was able to see where the cache was hidden.

Now, just because you know the coordinates doesn’t mean that you will get it right away.  Usually it takes several minutes even for the easiest ones.  Considering that I did not want to waste too much of Yavor’s time looking for the cache, I used the supplied hint and prayed for St. Anthony to help me find it.  And….
We found it!  Yavor seemed impressed that I found it so quickly.  And to be honest, so was I.  It was one of the quickest finds I've ever made.  Thank you, St. Anthony!  Now once you find a cache, you have to log your visit in the little log book, and usually there are many trinkets in there that you can take.  But if you take something, then you have to leave something.  I found some Asian currency, maybe Chinese, that was in there.  So I put in 2 leva and I took the Chinese money. 

Back at the hotel, I skyped with Sam and the kids, took a nap, studied for a little bit, and then went out for supper.  There was no concert so it made for an early night.  Tomorrow is an early visit and I have to get my bags packed, so it was good to get some sleep.

St. Christopher, pray for us!
God bless!
Sean

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Starting of Something Special


Good morning Bulgaria!  How’s the traffic out there?  Not bad?  OK!  Time to start the day.

Now it looks like I’m getting into a routine now.  Breakfast was at the same time as yesterday and it was roughly the same thing as yesterday, and Yavor and I talked about the same sort of things as yesterday at breakfast.  Seems routine.

So, today the first visit with Abraham would be centered around going to the photographer to get his photo for his visa.  Seems fishy to be taking out a credit card so young?!  NO!  Not that kind of Visa!  This is so that he can eventually become an American Citizen.  But, first it was play time.
Now, it looks like Abraham is starting to get bored of playing the waiter game with the cups.  He played with it a little and then went to look for some other toys.  I watched him do his imaginative play because I needed to ask a boatload of questions to the doctor.  Before now, I’ve been picking off questions off of the list and following up with appropriate questions rather than just going down the list of questions that we had.  Reason being I’d rather play with Abraham.  So, due to my lack of diligence, I had to make up with grilling of the staff.

I was able to feed Abraham some more of those cookies, and I have to say that I am very impressed with his motor skills, both fine and gross.  He would ever so delicately pick up the cookie piece that I broke off for him and he would put it in his mouth.  And better yet, when the cookie was done, he knew that it was time to go off and play.
Abraham checks out the cups while the social worker and Yavor look on.
But today, he seemed to get bored of the playroom a little too quickly.  I tried to show him the magna-doodle that we brought but he would have nothing of it.  Same reaction to the little green plane.  He would make his way to the door of the room and point at it.  He didn’t care for being in that room; he wanted to be out.  The problem was that we needed to wait for the driver to come.

One thing that Abraham seems to not like is to wear his jacket for too long while playing.  Bulgarians in general tend to bundle up in layers.  Almost all Bulgarians that I have seen are wearing a thick jacket with most probably a t-shirt underneath.  But anyway, Abraham comes to me and shows me that he wants the jacket off, so I oblige him.  Underneath he has at least two t-shirts on – more than enough for playing inside in my opinion.

After a while, and after grilling the doc on my last couple of medical questions, the driver came and was ready to take us.  Because we were going out, Abraham needed his jacket, and the staff tried to put his jacket on.  He would have none of it – he was crying and fussing and did not want his jacket put on.  At this point I saw the most familiar sight and I knew what to do.  I stepped in and got his jacket on him all the while during the fussing and then scooped him up.  He hunkered down on me and was calm in the blink of an eye.  It was beautiful.

Now, in Bulgaria, children do not generally ride in car seats.  They sit in the back (or on the Mama’s lap, unless she’s driving.  I don’t know, maybe even if the Mama is driving.  Got to start early if you want to drive on those crazy streets!).  The driver had his car right by the front door for us to hop in.  I helped Abraham in as he sat down between Yavor and me.
During the drive he was so well behaved.  I think he really loved the driving especially the stopping and going and sharp turns etc.  Once we got to the photographer, I held his hand as we walked.

It was a somewhat steep walk, but he handled it very well.  The photographer’s studio was rather small but served its purpose well.  It was a small room in the back of the shop that was set up with the background and lighting.  They put Abraham on a pink stool and took a couple of photos and that was it.

Pretty much the way back was just like it was on the way there; Abraham was so well behaved and the driving was insane.  Yavor was thinking that he might figure out a better way to the orphanage because the photographer was close to our hotel, but he said that the roads he took were too small and had too many cars.  It was interesting to say the least.

When we got back, it was time for Abraham’s lunch to commence.  So we said out “Ciao’s” and went back toward the hotel for lunch.

Yavor first went to pick up the photos from the photographer.  The parking around the photographer was packed and in fact many people started to double park, Yavor being no exception.

“You know how to drive manual?” Yavor says to me as he is hopping out of the car to get the photos.

“Uuuhhhh….no, no I don’t.”

“Ok.”  And Yavor takes the keys and goes.  I spent what felt like 20 minutes looking furtively around to make sure that the owners of the cars that we blocked in did not come back.  That was about as nervous as I’ve been all trip long.  Thankfully, Yavor made it back before the drivers of the other cars.

We had lunch and went back to the orphanage for round two.

We were again in the play room as the weather outside was slightly cold.  And they do not like taking the little ones outside in the cold at all.  So, we played and ate cookies like he usually did, but Abraham was more restless, he didn’t want to be in that room – he wanted outside.
We were able to distract him by playing the piano for a little bit.  He first sat in the social worker’s lap and would press on the keys one at a time.  Then he would play two notes at a time.  Each time he sounded a note, he listened intently at the sound of the note as if it had more to say than F#.  I then set Abraham on the chair by himself in front of the piano just to see what he would do by himself and he was happy for a while just playing on the piano.

Abraham got tired of that and again would go for the door of the playroom, he wanted to go outside.  So, the social worker consented to have him go outside for a walk around the building just so he can be outside.  We put on his jacket and away we went.

I held his hand as we walked outside the front door.  The “front” door opened up into a decent expanse of asphalt.  Across from the front door on the other side of the pool of asphalt was a half retaining wall over which we could see wildlife running free.  I took Abraham over there to take a look.  I held him up to touch the leaves of a pine tree (or some sort of conifer) and to look at some chickens that were walking about amongst the grass.  He seemed to take everything in stride and just liked being out of the building.

I held his hand as we walked around towards the back where the play-yard was.  He was absolutely content just holding my hand and walking.  Even when we got to the back, he did not try to pull free from me to go play, a reaction I expected from my four other kids at home.  He was happy even to walk up the stairs and go back into the building.
By the time we were back to the play room, it was time for his snack.  In a way, I am really glad to see that he is bored here because that shows that he really wants to learn more, see more, experience more – something that he will get in spades once back home.

Unfortunately, the next day we will only be able to see him in the morning, but we will have a longer session starting at 8:30.  So this means only two more visits before I have to go home.  It makes me sad to think about leaving him here, but I know that eventually he will be in a much better place.

Before ending off, I had a most interesting experience.  After dinner, as Yavor and I were walking back, we heard the sounds of traditional Bulgarian music filling the streets.  They were having a concert not too far away so we decided to check it out.

Traditional Bulgarian music can be summed up as trying to cram as many notes as possible in the shortest amount of time.  And, they don’t have a really regular time signature.  Very interesting to listen to it.

St. Christopher, pray for us!
God bless,
Sean

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Second Day with Abraham

Good morning west, evening east, welcome to my Manologue (Yeah, that’s right Dr. Ray – I’m borrowing your line.  I’ll pay back – WITH INTEREST).

Anyway, how could things have been any better than the day before?!  I don’t know but it found its way.

Before I went to sleep, I set my alarm using the cell phone that Yavor gave me.  I set it for 5:30.  Why?  So I could feel more like I do at home.  Well, also, there is a lot to do while I’m here and I want to be able to clear up everything that I want to do personally in the morning so that I can spend that energy focusing on little Abraham.

My traditional Bulgarian breakfast
After prayer and some writing on the prior days blog, I studied until it was time for breakfast.  Breakfast was very similar to yesterday, so I left my five little olives as my token of appreciation for a meal well made.  Except for the olives.

At 9:15, Yavor and I roared down the streets to the orphanage for the beginning of our second day with Abraham.  Not roar, more like rumble.  It has nothing to do with his car; it was all the road.  We got there at the exact right time.  Bravo!

Today we first stopped by to visit the social worker to discuss what was going to be coming up next.  Well, not us – Yavor and the social worker chatted and from time to time Yavor gave me an English bone.  We were scheduled to take Abraham’s visa picture tomorrow, so that was the exciting news.  I also asked a couple of questions from our list of questions before a staff member came in with little Abraham.

Similar to yesterday, it started a little awkward as we both tried to figure each other out again.  We were in the play room again for the morning and Abraham immediately started playing with his cups again.  He enjoyed just taking the cups in the little cardboard box top like a proper little waiter.  It was like he was in his own little world; whenever I tried to interact with him, he would go back to focusing on his cups.  It was very good to see him playing.
I tried giving Abraham a cookie from those that Yavor and I bought yesterday.  He took the cookie and took a very small bite and made a face like he was disgusted with it.  Yavor then tried just giving him a piece of the cookie rather than the whole cookie.  Abraham took it much better, so I helped feed him the rest of the cookie.  Once he was done he was off playing.

Then, the social worker who was also in the room, made the observation that the food that is served to the children is also in little cups like these.  So, he was acting out what the workers at the orphanage were doing.  And it even looked like he was serving something out of these cups to an invisible person.  I was happy to see that this child has an imagination and could imitate what he saw.

His eyes always look like they are scanning and observing the world, like his mind is working faster than we can see in his actions.

Then, he went towards the piano and pointed at it.  I thought that maybe he had memories of a teacher or staff member playing the piano.  The staff said that he liked to move and dance when music is playing.  So, I took this as my opportunity to see what he does.  I started playing a happy little melody for him on the piano.

He stopped and listened.  He would stomp his foot from time to time, but he was still and listened intently to what I was playing.  When I stopped he looked at me as if to say, “Why did you stop?”  So then I would pick it up again and he would listen intently at what I was playing.  I felt quite moved.

After a while of playing Mr. Waiter, he decided to start silly playing with the cups.  There was a lot of laughing and giggling.  I gave him two more cookies that I broke into pieces and put into the cup.  When he was done, he became quite upset because…he wanted his bread!  It was around lunchtime and he knew that he was supposed to have some bread.  Bread is his favorite food, the staff said.

Yavor and I then left for lunch and a break before the afternoon.  I walked around and took a few pictures and a video of a crow infested park.  Creepy!  I saw some humorous signs in English…the “Fast Food Face” tickled my funny bone.
When we arrived for the second visit, we had to wait a little bit so that they can get Abraham ready to go outside.  He was woken from his nap and looked not quite awake when he came down for the visit.

When we walked outside into the play-yard, he started to squint and smile enjoying the fresh air and the sunshine.  He wasn’t very active for the first ten minutes or so; I walked him to the top of the stairs of a slide and he just stayed there looking around.  He would hold onto the metal railing for the slide moving back and forth.

Well, while he is on top there, I can give you all a quick description of the place.  It was an old playground with some rather seriously outdated play structures.  The slide that I mentioned above – the paint on it was so cracked and worn that it almost ceased to be a slide.  Well, yeah, it wasn’t a “slide” more like a “scooch.”  The grass was growing well but not too long.  They didn’t allow nature to fully take it over.

Most of the play structures were made of metal and the paint was chipping off.  To quote Executive Officer Marty from the movie “Down Periscope” in regards to the WWII vessel the USS Stingray:
“I think I need a tetanus shot just looking at it.”

I’m going to see if Abraham wants down now, let’s see…

With some help, I got Abraham to “scooch” down the slide.  After that we visited various play equipment.  He was interested in the swings, but once he got in and they started to move, he didn’t care for them.  So, we walked around a little more until we got to these little play houses that were made of metal.  They had a roof and a quarter wall that was just ornamental iron “piping” for a lack of a better word.  This gave rise to a most entertaining game with Abraham.

He went to the quarter wall and hiked his leg over as if he wanted to go inside.  So I helped him.  Once inside, he turned around and then hiked his leg over again.  So I helped him.  And then…well, you can probably guess what happened then.  I became his “antigravity” device so that he could jump over this wall for at least 20 minutes nonstop.  Abraham was smiling and giggling the whole time.  I knew that normally this would be a tiring physical feat to do for that long, but I just couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  He was so happy.

After a long while, with Yavor’s help, we were able to coax him into going somewhere else.  There was a “merry-go-round” type thing where you spin like a centrifuge that I thought he would like.  Abraham came onto the “thing” and looked content.  I slowly spun the thing to check his reaction.  Immediately he scrambled for me to get him off of the spinning death trap (his words, not mine).

Abraham then was running in the grass and loved to be active.  After a while, I tried the “thing” again with him, but instead of just spinning it, I walked around it, holding onto him as it spun.  He wasn’t scared anymore.

Then it was time to go, and Abraham would have nothing of it.  So, using the old Distract-The-Kid approach, I turned him into an airplane and flew him back into the building.  He absolutely loved it!  For many hours afterwards, I was euphoric knowing that this little guy was happy.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos that round as I spent my time playing with Abraham.  I know – I’ve already spent my time in the corner and I’m not going to let that happen again!  And tomorrow is another day with Abraham!

St. Christopher, pray for us!
God bless!
Sean

PS – I heard that Lufthansa airlines was cancelling flights for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week because of a strike.  I’m hoping that they get this resolved soon!