Monday, February 28, 2005

First Full Day Home

It's now time to enter the really really boring and completely self indulgent phase of the blog wherein we recount the most mundane and tedious aspects of our day-to-day lives because we simply can't believe that anyone wouldn't be facinated because of course our child is the best child that ever has or ever will walk the earth and every one of you, even those of you have have, inexplicably, raised children of your own to be productive, well-adjusted members of society couldn't possibly know what it's like to be us in our completely unique experience of raising not just an adopted child but the best possible child that 5000 years of Chinese history could produce and it is only our towering modesty that prevents us from having the reality show of all reality shows to chronical our lives, thereby saving from certain obscurity erstwhile hits like Survivor and The Amazing Race.

Or it could just be momentum--after all, we've maintained it this far, might as well see how long we can find the time to do it now that we have to keep this child alive more or less on our own.

God I miss being able to call Housekeeping.

Things seem to be going reasonably well. While Dada can walk, she's still pretty tentative about getting too far from either of us, so we have a little more time to address the worst of the death traps that our house must hold. Today I had intended to do all sorts of installation of cabinet locks and drawer catches and whatnot but as far as I got was unpacking our second baby gate and reading the installation instructions on the new car seat.

As promised, Uncle Jay came over this morning to help out, bringing breakfast tacos, for which we wept for joy. Fortunately for Jay, the morning found us more alert and rested than I would have expected. The night went fairly smoothly, at least for me. Dada woke up about 1:00 and needed a messy diaper change and a feeding. I understand from Julie that she took some time to go back to sleep but I had passed blisfully into the waiting arms of Morpheus (again, the sleep dude, not the Matrix dude).

In the morning we started to come to terms with the shape our lives will take for the next few years. First casualty: the morning paper. I brought it in. I put it on the table. I even managed to read Dilbert. After that it's all a bit of a blur. I recall a trip to the grocery store (sure are a lot of moms with kids at the store 10:00 a.m. on a Monday--what's up with that?), a lot of washing of bottles and related dishes, a diaper change or two, a nap (Dada's, not mine), a walk around the block in the sunshine, another nap (Julie's), lunch of some sort (leftover pizza? it seems so long ago), and, oh yeah, Joanna brought the dogs home. Somewhere in there Jay, seeing that the tedium would probably be dibilitating, made some lame excuse about "needing to pick up Kay" and got the heck out.

The dog homecoming went very smoothly--Forrest was as cool as ever, of course. Lucy was very interested in Dada and, as is her way, wanted to lick her forever. We didn't let that happen, although there was some lickage. Dada did not appear to be frightened of the dogs at all and tended to laugh at them (they are pretty funny lookin'). She even got on the floor with them for a few moments. I was a little worried that there would be some jealousy between Lucy and Dada because Lucy is also cuddly, but she seemed to accept that Dada was my main focus when I was rocking her (Dada) to sleep. I also realized that once Dada is abed, Lucy can get my full attention, so I think things will be fine with the dogs. Dada will have to learn how to let Lucy know when she (Dada) has been licked quite enough, thank you very much, but I don't think that will be a problem. [Note: this picture is not from the homecoming--it's the only picture with both dogs that I could find on short notice.]

And yes, I was one of those dads, standing in the formula aisle on the mobile to the wife asking what the heck should I buy. Julie had no more clue than I did so I picked something that looked like it should probably be ok. Here's hoping.

Dada got introduced to Goldfish today. Liked em'.

In all the activity I was finally able to put together baby's first mix CD--a time-honored family tradition. The dubs will be going in the mail to the cousins (and Nei Nei, who explicitly requested copies of all my drive mixes) in the next day or two (if you'd like a copy, send a self-addressed stamped CD mailer to our home address. No C.O.D.s please, allow six to eight weeks for delivery. Void where prohibited.). Here's the track list:

1) "Get In The Car" by Moxy Früvous (2:36)
2) "Hey, Little Minivan" by Austin Lounge Lizards (3:44)
3) "Hot Rod Lincoln" by Asleep At The Wheel (2:58)
4) "Get Out The Map" by Indigo Girls (3:23)
5) "Where Do They Make Balloons?" by They Might Be Giants (2:41)
6) "C-U-B-A" by Austin Lounge Lizards (4:06)
7) "America" by Various Artists (6:15)
8) "You Will Go To The Moon" by Moxy Früvous (2:12)
9) "Tastes Like Chicken" by Austin Lounge Lizards (3:43)
10) "Roly Poly" by Asleep At The Wheel (3:14)
11) "Banana Puddin'" by Southern Culture On The Skids (4:48)
12) "She Drives Me Crazy" by fine Young Cannibals (3:39)
13) "No!" by They Might Be Giants (1:29)
14) "Wild Thing" by The Troggs (2:34)
15) "Higher Love (Full)" by Steve Winwood (5:50)
16) "Baby Now that I've Found You" by Alison Krauss / Union Station (3:48)
17) "Someone's Daughter" by Beth Orton (4:15)
18) "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper (4:01)
19) "Nancy Sinatra - These boots are made for walking" (2:46)
20) "Robot Parade" by They Might Be Giants (1:22)
21) "Wonderland" by Eliza Gilkyson (3:06)
22) "32 Flavors" by Ani Difranco (6:07)

We actually got to watch some TV, namely the final two-hour episode of The Amazing Race (it was the only thing on the Tivo that didn't appear to be a re-run). I'm sure we will soon look back on nights like this with fond nostalgia.

Tommorrow I will try "working from home" and see how that goes. I suspect that actually doing any work will be a challenge....

P.S. I forgot that I also managed to fix a real meal--roasted chicken and mashed potatos with gravy. Am I the best dad ever or what? Not like it will ever happen again, of course....

P.P.S. Actually, I chose that meal because it's really easy to fix yet really satisfying and comforting and there's yummy leftovers, so it's a high-value meal for the time investment. Also, they claimed that Dada ate duck at the orphanage so I thought maybe she could eat some chicken. Didn't have a chance to put it to the test today--I accidently misread the bird's temperature and had to put the thing back in the oven and she was already asleep by the time it was ready. On the up side, we got to eat a real meal in peace in front of the TV (see "nostalgia", above).


At 3:45 PM, Anonymous Judy/Nei Nei said...

Now that my jetlag is diminishing a bit, along with the sore throat that I caught somewhere on the journey home, I have enough brain power to reflect on our great adventure -- but not enough to remember what my blogger password is, so here I go as an "other" in commentland.

What an experience! What a baby! How could I have been so lucky as to be able to travel in that amazing country and then, far more importantly, meet my granddaughter on "gotcha day"? I shake my head in wonder. In the past few years I have been privileged to be present or nearby or on-the-way as a number of grandchildren were born: Joshua, Jeremy, Alex, Ashlin, Julia, Sophia. George and I met Brianna at age two, Gage at age three and Kaylee when she was four weeks. I was at the Spokane airport when John put Kelly into Jeanne's arms. Dada's arrival in that administrative office was every bit as miraculous and thrilling a blessed event. From the beginning, she connected with her parents by making eye contact and by calmly (regally?) allowing Julie and Eliot to hold her. She charmed her three grandparents immediately because she was just so darned cute! Before the day was over she had smiled and laughed. Even her self-comforting behavior of sticking her fingers in her mouth as she pressed her open palm to her forehead was poignantly cute.

Our subsequent days with her were so much fun: watching her bond with her parents (despite Eliot's beard, clearly a stumbling block for a baby raised entirely by women), realizing that Eliot and Julie had the whole parenting thing fully under control, appreciating their willingness to ask for help or advice if needed, and best of all, playing with Dada. She cried briefly when something was wrong and otherwise was either sleeping or happily interacting with people. As we often said, we had won the baby lottery.

Julie is a great mother. Dada figured out very quickly just exactly who her mother was, and although she enjoyed playing with the "grands", it was Julie she went to for serious consolation. Julie instantly mastered the arts of maternal comforting, feeding, dressing, worrying, etc. Meantime, Eliot was the envy of all the other dads because of his skill with the sling. He was often seen with Dada sleeping sweetly in that sling under his bearded chin, such a great way to promote attachment. He also had the emotional strength to administer the "vile liquid" that his baby needed, even though she hated having it squirted down her throat as the rest of us held her head. He is a superdad.

In addition, Eliot must be commended for finding the reserves of energy needed to create and keep up this blog despite fatique, evil Chinese hotel internet virus problems, and shortness of time. Since my return, I have talked with several people who have followed it daily, and no doubt there are many more. For me, it has been a wonderful way to review the many facets of the trip. I also appreciate Eliot's patience with me as I learned enough about his unfamiliar laptop to send a few brief emails to George. He and his dad put a lot of effort and thoughtfulness into making "gotcha day" videos for other members of the group. Those videos will be lifelong treasures for those kids and parents. I am a proud mom.

Peggy and I didn't know one another very well before this trip, so choosing to room together for nineteen days was a big risk, but for my part it was a splendid decision. She is a remarkable woman, a devoted grandma, and now my good friend. Easy to see where Julie gets some of her sense of humor and keen descriptive skills. Peggy and I had great fun sharing our granddaughter.

Bill Kimber and I enjoyed the chance to catch up on recent events and to revisit memories of Eliot as a child. Bill is a remarkable grandparent, lovingly getting acquainted with his very first grandchild. Dada was just beginning to get past that big beard and growly voice to allow her grandpa to cuddle up and give her a kiss. She has him eating out of her hand (literally, Cheerios).

This was the trip of a lifetime. I haven't even touched on many other possible topics, including Eliot's adventurousness as a traveler and our Beijing guide Amy's friendship-- but enough! Of course it's good to be home, but I miss that baby already. Now, let's see....does Southwest fly into Austin?


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