A Typical Day In Poland

7:00 – Good morning!  Elliott usually sleeps about ten hours to the minute, and is almost always up between 7:00-7:15 regardless of what kind of night we’ve had.  Hopefully we have had no night terrors in the night and are all feeling well-rested.  No matter how Elliott slept (or didn’t sleep) he always wakes up grinning from ear to ear!

7:20 – Bottle O’Clock!  After some smiles and snuggles in bed, it is what we call “bottle o’clock”.  Elliott starts the day with a bottle of porridge.  Alex is the bottle master and almost always makes and gives Elliott his bottles.  The porridge Elliott likes is only made and sold here in Poland, so we are either going to have to stock up on a LOT of it for the trip home, or find some sort of American equivalent to trick him into liking, because baby can’t live without his porridge.

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7:45 – One of us will then change and dress Elliott for the day while the other goes on our morning coffee run.  Our apartment doesn’t have a coffee maker, and since drip coffee is not popular here, we have not been able to find a store that sells the coffee pots we are used to.  There is a coffee shop less than a block away that makes fantastic Americanos, so that is where we go most mornings.  Often we’ll stop at the bakery on the corner for fresh croissants or pastries for breakfast, too.

The morning coffee/croissant run!

The morning coffee/croissant run!

8:30 – Unless we had breakfast from the bakery, I usually make breakfast around this time.  Elliott’s favorite thing to do between his morning bottle and breakfast is watching everyone on their morning commute from the window.  “Car!  Car!  Car!”

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9:00 – Breakfast!  Elliott’s breakfast favorites are scrambled eggs, banana, kiwi, pancakes, and oatmeal.  Plus nibbles from our pastries, obviously.

9:45 – Once we are cleaned up from breakfast and teeth are brushed (Elliott has been having his teeth brushed after every meal since the appearance of his first tooth – go Baba!), we have some morning playtime.  We usually let Elliott play on his own in the mornings.  We used to play with him constantly, and then learned that he is used to spending most of his time playing independently and the constant stimulation from us was making it difficult for him to wind down for naps and bedtimes.  When he isn’t watching out the window, he loves to push any of his wheeled toys around the tile floor and scoot around after them, or swish his dollar store strands of beads all over the floor.  Usually while he is playing, we take turns showering and getting ready for the day.

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10:30 – Usually around this time we will put on an episode of Curious George and snuggle Elliott to settle down for nap time.

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10:45 – I take Elliott in the bedroom and rock him or snuggle him until he is ready to fall asleep.

11:00 – Nap time!  During nap time we have a bit of time to hang out together and plan any afternoon outings (read: watch an episode of The West Wing).

11:45 – Wake up!  If Elliott hasn’t woken up on his own, we will wake him at this point.  Trial and error has showed us how important it is for him not to sleep past his usual nap time …

Waking up is hard work.

Waking up is hard work.

12:00 – Lunch time!  If we aren’t in a hurry, usually we try to give Elliott something for lunch that he can feed himself, like any small finger food.  Elliott had basically no fine motor control when we met him, and one of his therapists suggested we start encouraging him to feed himself.  Up until this point in his life, Elliott has always been hand-fed.  (My sister has cared for toddlers/preschoolers from many different countries, and said that in a lot of other cultures, kids are hand-fed until they are at least 3 or 4 years old.  Anyone know if that is the case in Europe?)  His lunch favorites are sliced turkey, swiss cheese, bananas, beets, and bowtie pasta.  Alex and I will usually grab something easy from our apartment or one of us will run out to pick up something from a nearby cafe or restaurant.

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1:00 – Afternoon outing!  On most afternoons, we will pick a local sightseeing place to visit.  We have toured castles, visited monuments, walked around palace grounds, saw iconic parts of the city, and checked out museums.  Sometimes we’ll just go to a local park to play on the playground or feed the ducks.  For longer outings, we’ll usually take the stroller, but as much as possible we prefer to use our Boba carrier.  It is great for bonding, and with all the cobblestone streets and stairs, this old city is hardly stroller-friendly!  Every couple days, we’ll stay in our apartment for the afternoon to recharge instead of going on an outing.

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2:45 – Afternoon snack!  Oftentimes we are still out or on our way back at this time, so Elliott usually has something portable like a little pouch of applesauce.  If we are in our apartment, his favorite snacks are bananas and cottage cheese.

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3:30 – Sometime around now, we get Elliott ready for his afternoon nap and rock/snuggle him until he falls asleep.  This is Alex’s and my main window in the day to get other things done.  Often I will go out grocery shopping and Alex will work on various adoption-related things, such as scheduling out everything we need to do for Elliott’s visa and passport.  If we had a wakeful night, we might also nap ourselves or just have some quiet time (read: watch an episode of The West Wing).

4:45 – Like with his morning nap, we will wake him up if doesn’t wake up on his own.  His afternoon nap is usually about an hour and fifteen minutes long.  After he has fully woken up, we usually have lots of good playtime where we play with him directly.  We like reading books, playing with blocks, rolling balls back and forth, singing and dancing to music, and working on sensory activities from the occupational therapist.

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6:00 – Dinnertime!  We almost always have dinner in our apartment.  Even though it is often easier and quicker to grab something easy, I enjoy cooking and we like having some home-cooked meals that taste like home!  For dinner, Elliott usually eats whatever we are eating.

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6:45 – Elliott is usually very active and happy after dinner, so usually we will play together and specifically do some physical therapy practice.  He is getting really good at crawling on his own!  During the evenings it is early afternoon in the States, so we will also often video chat with a different family member so they can see Elliott and we can keep in touch with life back home.

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Video chat with Aunt Laura & Cousin Kayli

Video chat with Aunt Laura & Cousin Kayli

8:00 – Bath time!  This is probably the highlight of Elliott’s day – he LOVES baths!  It has been a great way for Alex to bond with Elliott and really quiets Elliott down for bedtime, so we have incorporated it into our nightly bedtime routine.  Alex bathes Elliott and the two of them soak the entire bathroom with their craziness while I get everything ready for bedtime.

8:30 – Bottle O’Clock!  While Alex makes the evening porridge bottle, I get Elliott ready for bed – new diaper, pajamas, lotion, and relaxing essential oils.  Then, it is porridge time!  In his evening bottle, Elliott also gets an iron supplement and some vitamin D drops – the drops are common for kids around here this time of year because there is so little sunlight (it is dark by 3:45 in the afternoon and cloudy pretty much always).

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8:45 – When Alex is finished giving Elliott his bottle, I take him to bed.  After some singing, rocking, and snuggling, he is ready for sleep.

9:00 – Elliott’s bedtime!  Once Elliott is out, we can relax!  We usually get the apartment cleaned up from the day, enjoy a glass of fabulous European wine, and kick back after another full day in toddler adoption world (read: watch an episode of The West Wing).

10:30 – Usually around this time, we turn in and hope for a full night of sleep and get ready to do it all again the next day!

 

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