Monday, May 9, 2011

Bonding Time

9 May 2011

I let Brandon do all the ordering.  Look what he got!  He savored every drop of that!

He thoroughly enjoyed his cotton candy.  Behind him is his favorite animal, the lion.
Yesterday Brandon read the map and led us to the Odessa zoo.  It is not as big as most of the zoos in America, but it had a lot of animals jammed into the space they did have.  He enjoyed his cotton candy and his favorite animal was the lion followed closely by the tiger.  On our walk home we were able to find a sporting goods store to buy a pump for his flat soccer ball.  We enjoyed McDonalds for dinner.  He did the ordering for us.  I wouldn't dare try!
I tested him last night to see where he is at with his math.  It seems we will have our work cut out for us.  In my opinion he is at the level of a beginning of the year 2nd grade student in Math.  He didn't know any times tables and struggled with addition if it had more than 2 number rows.  They haven't taught him at his school to show his work.   For example, if something comes to 13, he needs to put the 1 on top of the next row he will calculate. I taught him last night to show his work.  I also taught him the 0 and 1 times tables.  Today we will work on the 2 times tables.   I also taught him how to write a fraction of a pie depending how many slices the pie has.  He picked that up pretty good.  It is pretty hard to explain what I mean when he doesn't understand English and I speak limited Russian.  Another thing against us is his attention span.  He bounces from thing to thing to thing in about 5 minutes.  Even things he loves like his games, he only plays with 5 minutes and he is on his way.  It was the same thing with my "tutoring" him last night.  I tested what he knew and taught him the multiplication and fractions and that was all he could stand before he was on his way.  I can't tell if his attention span is short because EVERYTHING is new and exciting to him or if he really does struggle with an attention span issue.  Time will be able to tell. 
We've been filling our days usually with a morning walk somewhere.  Then back to the apartment, then out for lunch, then back to the apartment. He plays his DSI, watches TV, looks at picture files on the laptop,  plays with his remote control car, draws a bit (he's very good at drawing), gets out his markers and colors, then we go out again.  Back to the apartment, he fiddles with the soccer ball.  He's trying to spin it on his fingers like his Papa he says.  He's up to 4 seconds of spinning.
I am getting pretty tired.  It is hard work entertaining him all day long.  Don't get me wrong.  I am enjoying every minute with him.  We are bonding really well.  It is just tiresome.  He is used to 100s of peers to play with and now he only has me.  And like most boys, he has the energy of all 3 of my girls put together (and my girls have A LOT of energy).
Today we went to the big mall.  There is not ONE children's store in the entire thing.  Brandon needed a sweatshirt.  He gets cold at night and sleeps with his coat on.  He wears his coat all day long.  I've seen him shivering even inside of the apartment.  It's like 65 degrees, but even with the 65 he is cold and has his coat zipped.  I got him a sporty hoodie that zips.  It matches his navy warm up pants.
 We ended up finding his sweatshirt at a HUGE child store just outside the big mall.  It was 4 stories of kid stuff.  It had floors of kids' books, one of kids' clothing and floors of kids' shoes and then one big one for toys.  He had the BEST time looking at all the toys.  I bought him a remote control race car.  It was 80 Grevnas (about $10) and it's actually quite good quality and durable.  It goes from 0-60 mph in 2 seconds.  It is a lot of fun to go outside the apartment (down our EIGHT stories) and race it over the pot holes in the parking lot.  He likes to throw acorns at the birds that hang out down there and laughs as the lose their feathers while they scramble away from the acorns.  He is definitely ALL BOY and I have the best time watching him be one!  He is partial to cats.  He talks softly at them and whistles and tries to get them to come to him.  He doesn't do that with the dogs.
Yesterday outside there was a peanut can (about the size of half a soup can) and he turned it on its side and watched it roll down the slant of the hill.  Then he got his remote control car and tried to steer the car rolling the can back up the hill.  I thought that was very creative with his playing.  He likes to set up ramps with the trash around the dumpster and jump his car over the ramps.  He's already taken apart the remote control car and fiddled inside and put it back together.  Apparently it was losing its speed and whatever he tinkered with inside of it seemed to satisfied him.
Well, as usual, I'm off to grade papers.  I hope everyone is having a lovely day!
You can see God's attention to detail in this creature!

I hoped this guy would not get angry with me.
Odd looking bird

My personal favorite of the day!

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