Week 9 – on our way back to Ust

Incredibly, we discovered yesterday that we have to up sticks and decamp back to Ust on January 3rd for a week.  We need to appear before an official in order for the passports to be processed and my return flight on 13th January is looking unlikely.  Don’t know what to say at this point. 
I just want to come home.

Last update from Almaty (this time around)

In my misery at more delays I have shamefully neglected to update everyone on how Daniel is coping with the huge changes in his life. All in all pretty well I think. He has gone from being a child who was completely uninterested in eating to one who would eat until he exploded given the choice, he also takes great exception to anyone eating in front of him and gripes loudly until you give him something. We started off giving him biscuits but have now graduated to the dreaded rice cakes. Never thought I would see the day I fed my child rice cakes! However they take him a while to eat and don’t fill him too full of sugar in between meals. He has started being sick a little but thats only to be expected given the change in diet and so far it doesn’t seem to be anything too serious. He also hasn’t yet worked out that the time to stop eating is the point at which food is backing up your oesophagus and reaches your tonsils.  I am mixing formula with Kefir (fermented yoghurt) with the aim to get him onto formula completely by the time we leave for home. He’s up to about one-third formula at the moment and seems to be tolerating the change pretty well.

Sleeping is a little more of a struggle, though even there I know it could be worse. I think he is so stimulated that he just doesn’t want to sleep – ever. He struggles against it violently and we are beginning to develop some strategies to help him. He is getting to sleep around 9pm and waking at about 7.30 am with a couple of wakes in between but is reasonably easy to get back to sleep. He doesn’t nap well, sometimes only managing half an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon – which makes for a grizzly time in between. The problem is that although he doesn’t want to sleep, he is very difficult to soothe as he is not used to anyone rocking him to sleep or even rocking him to calm him down. He is in that half way zone at the moment where he has lost his “self-soothing” rock which got him off to sleep before (good!) but hasn’t yet got used to being rocked and will fight with me intermittently to be put down then screams if he’s put down. This is improving and today he allowed me to at least rock him until he calmed down.

He has become so much more active over the last few days having settled in here and is starting to crawl around the flat much more and just today has started pulling himself up for the first time. I was beginning to worry about his inactivity but I think he is a child who needs to feel secure to become more active. It’s one of the reasons why I’m upset about dragging back to Ust and going through another change. It can’t be helped I guess – we get the 7am flight on Wednesday morning so will be up at the crack of dawn and head back to the frozen north and don’t yet know where we’re staying. I hope to have some idea by the end of the week whether the new timing we had been given is anything close to reality.

The weather has turned colder here and it hasn’t stopped snowing for a couple of days so we have been trapped inside most of the time – I am considering transferring to a hotel when we return to Almaty and my mum goes home, as at least I would be able to use the public rooms and see other people (and order room service!). The disadvantage would be living in one room with a baby but if you’ve seen the photos of the apartment block we’re in you will see why I’m reluctant to come back here on my own, though to be fair the area is very central and seems very safe.

Daniel snow suit

Gorilla snowsuit

Lucy (justamum) – thought you would like to know that your snowsuit is going to be used for


transporting sick children from Daniels group to and from the hospital

Malissa – fantastic news about your court date, can’t believe that we will get home at a similar point (fingers crossed!)

Thanks again to everyone for the care package – I gather some of the BigMoFo’s (you know who you are but I don’t – perhaps someone would let me know) contributed to the cost of the parcel as well as the West London gang.

Back in Ust

The journey back to Ust was about as bad as it could be with a crawling baby.  We got up at 4am to be in the airport at 5.30am for the 7am flight and due to bad weather we sat in the airport until 10.30 am before boarding then sat on the plane for an hour before taking off.  What fun – actually the children were better than we could have expected and despite being virtually catatonic with tiredness only cried and grizzled a little.

My mum and I were dropped off at a flat at about 4pm (having visited the passport office first to get the passport started again with the babies being eye-balled personally by the woman in the passport office).  I can’t even begin to describe the desolation of the flat but after wandering around in the dark trying to find a supermarket and failing, I had to call Alfiya our translator to take me to a supermarket whereupon I had a complete meltdown and cried and cried….  it did have the desired effect as we are now cosily ensconced in a tiny but clean and sparkly one room studio with bathroom in an area I knew from our last visit.  It is such a relief to be somewhere clean with clean crockery, and a fridge and an uncracked toilet and a basin in the bathroom and no drunk, comatose man curled up in the hallway.  You can fill in the description of the last flat from what this one isn’t…

Thanks for all the messages:

Foxie – I was only saying to my mum today that you must be due soon.  Hoping Foxie Jnr is not going to school by the time I get home.

Brenda – good to hear from you – how did you get your teenagers off the computer?!

Alice – can’t believe that Theo is starting school already!  I definitely won’t be at Judith’s in Jan but hope to show Daniel off to you all in Feb/March.

Watched Chocolat last night and I am onto episode 4 of 24 (series 5) but need to ration it to last the trip.  (Will need to go back and get series 1-4 now!)

Fiona – all your DVD’s have been watched some time ago except 24 (series 2) which I foolishly didn’t bring as I thought it was too much with the others I bought (wild ironic laughter echoes around studio flat in Ust Kamenogorsk)

Hope to see you all by my birthday in Feb…

love and kisses to everyone sorry if I’ve missed any messages.

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