adoption, family age, gushing, phoenix rising

one month together

He’s really here.

I have remind myself of that a few times a day. I’ll have him on my lap, cuddling his little body in my arms and it will hit me: this is real, we’re together. It happened. During the process of waiting I held a duel reality in my head and in my heart: he’s mine, he might never be mine. Loving without knowing is a different kind of love. It’s a deep, pounding, fight-to-the-end kind of love that doesn’t let go. It’s almost desperate in a way, this feeling of wanting and yet knowing you might never have. Please let him have a family. That was my constant wish. And now he has one. Ours. We’re family. A family rising out of the ashes. It’s another duel reality I hold: he’s my son, he’s another’s son.  I struggle not with guilt but with an awareness of the unfairness of this world of ours. Broken hallelujahs.

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And now it’s been a month of getting to know him. A grand, glorious month of more baby kisses than I imagined possible to cram into that time. Of simple moments of splendor as his personality unfolds, as he lets us get to know him more and more. You watch your baby grow up in pictures and you cling to each slight expression change captured in them, trying to read some personality trait, some meaning into them. And then suddenly the child is real, three-dimensional and complete. It’s like stepping into a painting, it’s an overload of input. I feel quite panicked at times that time is slipping away so fast. We missed so much of his life and now I want time to just stand still for a while and let us catch up on everything we missed.

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It’s good in a way though, to have that ache of missing those moments. They’re a reminder to see him as an individual, as someone with his own feelings and history and strengths. To look at this adoption story from his side of it, not just from ours. Because his is very different from ours. The day our family was complete was also the day he left everything he’d known for so long. The day my heart felt complete again was the day his lost his beloved foster family. He both came home and left home. Another duel reality to hold. I feel so grateful to his foster family. There are no words to say how much.

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To watch him open himself up to our love amazes me. To watch his shyness give way to oh-I-know-you feels like magic. It reminds me of watching mom make the whipping cream at Thanksgiving, watching the blender spin round and round and round and it seems that nothing is changing, then suddenly instead of liquid sloshing there’s peaks and valleys of sugary goodness. Magic. I pick him out of his crib after each nap and bedtime and suddenly his look is one of relief and recognition instead of confusion and surprise. Like his heart is whispering “oh it’s you, I know you.” And I whisper back “yes it’s me, it will always be me, and someday you’ll know that.”

This isn’t the post I meant to write today. I meant to write about his personality, his feisty and affectionate little self. How good he is at crawling now and how he gives kisses and then flashes this little look at that says “aren’t I clever to make you go all googoogaga  over me?” But I guess I just can’t get past the reality and amazement that he’s here. He’s really here.

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about thane

Trying to catch up on the latest about our cutie:

-He actually sits through books now that aren’t “Goodnight Moon” or “Barnyard Dance”.  Of course I usually have to make up a better story and do funny voices and/or movements but honestly I’m not sure if that’s for him or for me because the lack of storyline in board books is appalling.

-He can stack blocks.  Auntie L gave him these awesome soft squeezable ones and he finally got old enough to use them as something other than missiles.

-He loves climbing on things. Loves it.  He gets so proud and starts clapping for himself, kind of adorable.  I think it’s a good thing we used our hardwood floor fund for adoption fees instead because the extra thick padding on this carpet loves babies.  The off-white color everywhere, including the dining room not so much.

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-He really likes playing on my phone.  But after starting out pretty innocently by sending out a few texts & emails & writing on Gigi’s FB wall he moved on to deleting whole text conversations and somehow merging three different mail accounts.  So now he’s been banned from the phone unless I help him.  And whenever I get done with a conversation I’ll let him hit the “end” button.  Which mean he now will start saying “bye bye” as soon as I get on the phone, which is pretty funny.

-On a related note I must yell (cough, cough) at my computer a lot because he yelled at his laptop the other day.  Yes, he has his own laptop. (An old one of N’s.) Which he dances on. Literally, like on the keyboard.

-We sometimes call Baby K BabyKakes so Thane picked up on that and calls his pictures BabyBay and will kiss his picture when he sees it on my phone.  Melt my heart.

-He’s been with us over half his life now – I need to post about that.  It makes me emotional just thinking about it.

-He’s getting the whole concept of playing pretend now.  The other night at a restaurant he took this toothpick that had orange cellophane on the tip and started blowing at it and saying “haaaahaaa” (hot)like it was a candle.  Clever little guy.

-He pretty much runs everywhere these days.  Which is a blast except when I blink at stores and realize he’s off and down the aisle.

-He decided the garbage bag belonged in the living room the other day and when I asked him why this was his wordless answer.

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-The photo on the right is just because I love his batman shirt that the M family gave us.  And because “I’m Batman” was his first complete sentence.  Not that his Dad and I are proud of that or anything.

cave paintings of the soul, gushing

random memory dump

When I’m rocking Thane to sleep for naps (Daddy does nighttime duty) my mind replays images and memories and I think – I should write that down! And then I don’t, and the next time I sit and rock they come back again.  They make me happy.  So even though I’m risking the well known “fact” that once I write something down it gets erased from my mind, here’s some recent ones along with some pictures from June/July I never posted.

  • I think Thane’s starting to figure out jokes.  Awhile ago he deliberately hid down the stairs and then popped up to say hi to me, laughing his head off all the while.  Makes it hard to keep a straight face while he’s “hiding”.  Then, a few weeks later he went outside to his water table, stuck his hands in the water and came back and put them on my face. I gave him a kiss and went back to my reading.  He looked at his hands, looked at me and put them back on my face. Couldn’t figure out what he wanted his Daddy asked if I usually jumped when he put something cold on me.  So I “screamed” and jumped and Thane looked mighty pleased with himself and went back out to get his hands wet again.  Little stinker.

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  • In the car sometimes I’ll say “I love you teddy bear” (one of his approx four hundred nicknames) and one day he put up his little hand and I reached back to hold it.  Not long, he just wanted a little squeeze. But it’s moments like that I think my heart is going to stop because I love this kid so much.

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  • When he starts to get quiet while I’m in the kitchen working and he’s wandered off somewhere all I have to say is “patty cake, patty cake…” and he’ll start clapping his hands. Makes him easier to find.  It’s like a tracking device I tell you.

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  • Pushing the grocery cart is a new favorite thing.  He stands between my feet and pushes through the whole store while I guide it.  I like the grins on people’s faces when they catch sight of his little self, acting all big and important.  I’m not so fond of the look on people’s faces when I have to stop the cart to look for something and he does what we refer to as his pterodactyl screech.  But on the bright side it gives me a chance to quote Princess Bride “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”  There’s also some empathy and understanding thrown in, but those don’t make as good a story now do they?
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hour glass

Dear Time,

What’s your hurry? Are you late for something, the end of the world maybe? Couldn’t we slow down a little and make the time he’s little last a bit longer?

Because this baby is growing up so, so fast. I blink and he can do something new. Is trying out a new word. Is understanding more. And I sometimes feel like I’m in the middle of the ocean trying to stay unmoving. And the more I try, the faster I’m swept along.

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Couldn’t you be kinder time? Couldn’t we hold still for just awhile?

And then I think how kind you really are. Time is passing, Baby is getting older. Is getting older. As in growing up. As in not dead. And I think of all the babies and the mommies and the daddies who never got that chance. And I realize these feelings of moving so fast aren’t something to resent, they’re something to embrace. I need to lay back and relax into the waves. Letting them take me up and down, up and down. No fighting. Just breathing. Just being. Because just being is a gift not everyone was given.

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And these waves aren’t just taking me away from where I was, they’re taking me someplace new. Someday these baby days will be gone, but I’ll have others. And they will have a beauty and wonder and heartbreak I can only imagine.

So I take it all back Time, you are  kind. And I thank you for the moments I have, and the moments that are still to come. I promise to treasure every one.

-Thane’s Mommy

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{{This face will never get boring to me. Which is good because he makes it about 104 times per day.}}

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the baby turns one

I’m a bit late in writing about this, but we’re been living life too hard to record too much of it the last three weeks.

Thane’s birthday fell on a weekday and we decided to celebrate with just the three of us.  Our own, still relatively new, little family.  (We had a family party later that weekend, and a bigger one in CO a few weeks later.) N had to go to work of course but he got off early and Thane and I just had an amazing day together. I finished his cake, put the finishing touches on the decorations, and still had lots of time to play with the birthday boy. I left the kitchen a mess after cooking, and the bathroom a disaster after bath time,  because really, dirty dishes and wet towels are an everyday thing aren’t they?  But birthdays come only once a year, you have to hold on tight to every precious moment.

And what moments they were.

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{{I was super pleased how the little decorations I made all came together – the banner over the fireplace, the one on the front of his highchair, his little hat, and the banner that went on his cake. And I simply adore paper lanterns, they scream *Happy* to me.  I was shocked he actually wore the hat for 5 seconds allowing us to snap a few pictures of the cuteness!}}

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{{He started off very serious about the whole thing, politely taking little licks off his fingers, but it didn’t take long for him to dig into the thing with gusto. There’s nothing like your first real rush of sugar apparently.}}

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{{If he looks like he’s waving to the adoring crowds he was, we had two computers set up with family on Skype, including my sister who lives overseas. How special that technology allowed her and her family to share in the moment. It was rather funny when Thane would wave at his cousin sending cake and frosting flying, speaking of which I believe there is still some on one the slipcovers in the living room.}}

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{{I think he had a good time.}}

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{{Cake covered dimples are the best.}}

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{{Rubbing noses with Daddy.}}

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these are the moments

…that they warned me about. The moments that rip your chest open, grab out your heart, and scream “you have lost all reason – you are that in love with this child!”

Moment One: Saturday morning (the 12th) we all woke up.  Okay, that’s not really true.  Thane woke up and proceeded to climb, paw, talk/yell, and in general made it known that we should wake up as quickly as possibly to have the honor of hanging out with him. So we did and talked and played in bed for awhile. (He sleeps the majority of the night in his crib, but the last couple of hours are sometimes spent with us. This is our attempt to buck both the AP group and the co-sleeping is dangerous faction.)

And at one point, with him sitting on my stomach and me telling him “I love you” in various attempting-to-be-humorous voices he looked at me and said “I lo lo”. No freaking way. And then he did it again. And perhaps if I had responded with a slight smile and a gentle squeeze and told him I love you back in a gentle mother’s voice he would have continued to say it. However, I’m me and so I screamed, lifted him in the air, tickled him, ate up his cheeks with noisy kisses, and in general acted like a darn fool.

Moment Two: Thane is very opinioned about me talking on the phone, as in I should only do so if the phone is on speaker. He also assumes every phone call is Daddy, though he’s getting better about that one. One time he yelled at me because it was NOT Daddy on the other line. It’s humorous. It will probably not be so humorous when he’s twelve. Oh well.

So, May 7th was just another phone call and Thane did his usual big smile, excited flapping response to hearing Daddy’s voice, and I did my usual “say Hi to Daddy” speech. But instead of being met with babbling (common) or just a wordless smile (more common) or biting the phone (extremely common) he opened his perfect little rosebud lips and said “haaaa”. My child spoke! In a southern accent no less.

Since then he’s repeated his trick for Gigi on the phone and a few other times. He still refuses to do it without the presence of a phone call though, my attempts at getting him to say it in person are met with a look that clearly says “you’re crazy woman – there is no phone.”

This brings his current list of words up to

  1. Dada
  2. Mamama (which can mean mommy, but often just means I want something)
  3. Bababa (bottle)
  4. Nanana (I don’t want something or  whatever you are doing right now – STOP)
  5. Haaaaa (hi)
  6. The word he uses for his foster mother (I’ll expand more on this in another post.)

Moment Three: Thane doesn’t really offer kisses unprompted too often. But on the 8th he out of the blue grabbed my face between both chubby hands, turned it sideways and planted a wet sloppy one on my cheek. *Cue angels singing and harps playing* this Mommy was ridiculously happy.

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{{I love this face. This is a face of concentration and trying to figure the world out. This is a face that studies things.}}

gushing, Uncategorized

remember this, vol 1: flying down memory lane

Dear Thane,

So many of your little mannerisms are already changing from when we first met. You are an ever changing source of excitement and wonder.

  • You used to love to “fly”. Anywhere and everywhere, when we would pick you up and face you forward you would flap your little arms, kick your chubby little legs and fly. Down to the laundry room, down the hallway, across the living room, and to worlds unknown. Okay, we didn’t manage to make it to any unexplored worlds, but someday.

    Your flying was hitting its peak about the time Gigi and Papa came for their second visit, Papa would wear himself out flying you around the living room and through the kitchen and you would smile a full two dimples worth. The day we all went to Home Dep*t to buy wood for the gate Papa built you for the back deck (so someday you can ride your tricycle back there without literally flying down the stairs) you flew all over the store in Gigi’s arms. I’m not sure how she had the energy to carry your flapping self, my arms gave out around the paint department but somehow she did.

  • One time (before you learned to crawl) we were out in the front, I was attempting to work in the flower bed and you were sitting in the grass watching me, and the cars go by. Okay, mostly the cars, because my little boy you absolutely love cars. And as each one passed you started clapping and saying “aaaayy” for each one. People were openly slowing down to stare, wave back, and smile. You made everyone feel like a Nascar driver that day little guy.
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Bunnies, Bibles, and Babies

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{{Thane’s first Resurrection/Easter Sunday.  In Bunny ears.  Mommy’s world is complete.}}

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{{He loved the Easter grass.  I liked that it was the shredded paper king and not the plasticky-sticks-to-everything-made-in-the-bowels-of-Mordor kind.}}

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{{Two Thanes!!  The cuteness was almost overwhelming.  I was afraid the mirror was going to break.  Since I hate said mirror I was kind of sad when it didn’t.}}

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{{His smile says it all.}}

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{{Reading his Bible with Daddy.  Okay, slapping the pictures while Daddy read is more like it.}}

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{{His first taste of non BPA-free plastic.  I’m afraid he’s hooked.}}

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{{Giving his new PJ’s the foot pop of approval.}}

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the park(a)

{{from March 2}}

I had it in my head that Thane’s first trip to the park should be magical.  If it was a children’s book it was going to be illustrated in watercolors with swirling points of light.  The words would be written in a curly font and they would be filled with everything that makes childhood delicious and perfect. I picked a park on the (Lake Washington ) waterfront, you can see the mountains across the way, and the seagulls float lazily along in a cloud-filled sky .  It’s a perfect setting.  It was Gigi and Papa’s last day and it seemed a fitting send-off.

So off the five of us went.  So filled was my head with unicorn dreams that I failed to remember that it was barely March.  In Seattle.  And there was no sun.  Now we had had lots of sun all week so I wasn’t quite as in denial as it might have seemed.

We arrived, bundled the baby up in his adorable new coat from Auntie AB and his too-big hat that makes his cheeks looks especially squishable.  Then I realized this park doesn’t have swings.  What kind of park doesn’t have swings anyway?  But it had a slide.  So we tried that (with N holding him the whole way.)  Nat hated it.  Hated it.  There were a few tears on the part of the bay and lots of guilt on the part of his mommy.

All told we spent about five minutes there and I’ve never seen a baby so happy to be put back in his carseat.

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{{“And why exactly can’t we just do this at home like always?”}}

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{{“So, let me get this straight.  A park is a place you go where you wear three times as many clothes as normal and then stand around taking pictures?  How… fun.”}}

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{{Still slightly interested here.}}

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{{Right before the tears started.}}

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frozen

When I look back on this time in your life Thane, this is how I’ll remember you: eyes big and beautiful, half a smile, and arms a-waving.

You get so excited, about so many things.  I love watching life through your eyes.  I love how you light up when Daddy and I talk to you.  I love how you do something clever and then look to see if we’re watching.

We are baby boy.

We’ll be watching with pride, always.  When you take your first steps, when you throw your first ball, when you get your first job.  And when I sit at your wedding someday watching you say your vows I’m going to wonder if inside your head, your arms are still a-waving.DSC_0308