September 15th, 2011
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elliottWhen I think of the Russians and what they wear on their heads, I think of furry military hats or colorful babushkas (head scarves) tied around the babushka’s (grandmother’s) heads. Before I adopted Elle, I rarely thought of baby beanies we put on our infants heads.

But, I learned differently when I travelled to Russia to adopt my daughter.

It was June when I started my journey to meet and adopt Elle.  Since it was summer time I had been told to wear cool clothes, but be prepared for cooler nights.  There was no way the adoption agency could have warned me about the heat wave Russia was under at the time.

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Living in the Midwest, I am used to days in the summer that often soar over 100 degrees, but I have an air conditioned house and car.  Not, so in Russia.  The six days of my first trip saw the temperatures rise to the upper 90’s.  Outside of the western hotels in Moscow, they don’t have air conditioning, and they don’t believe in opening windows to let in a cross breeze.

Needless to say it was hot, hot, hot in Russia.

The day I met Elle, it dawned clear and bright and promised to be a scorcher.  After our initial meeting, I was allowed to take Elle outside, to a wooden cabana-like structure, and play with her.  I was able to feed her, walk her around, and sit on the floor and just hold her.

She wore no diapers, but a clean, well-worn playsuit, and a little beanie hat on her head.  It was roasting outside as the hour crept toward noon, and as I sat in the shade of the cabana, I took her beanie off and smoothed down her baldhead.

Minutes later, a very round caregiver came over, and in rapid-fire Russian started yelling at me.  Well, maybe not yelling, but she was intimidating.  I must have looked at her with a blank face, because she kept repeating the same thing over and over, but now she started patting the top her head.  I finally realized she wanted me to put Elle’s beanie back on.

I mumbled under my breath that it was too hot for a hat, but since she was bigger than me, and she was a little scary, I complied.  At last content, she happily waddled away.  As soon as she rounded the corner of the cabana and was no longer in our eyesight, I whipped Elle’s beanie off and blew cool air over her head.  I may not have officially been Elle’s mother yet, but I did know that hot was hot, and it was too hot to be wearing a beanie.

To this day, Elle doesn’t like to wear hats.  I imagine forced beanie wearing by rotund, Russian caregivers might be one cause.

Or wearing a pink beanie, complete with Winnie the Pooh and ears, may have been the bigger cause.

Photo Credit. LanitaM

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