Friday, October 30, 2009

Cloth diapers, broken stroller wheel, Children's Hospital

Cloth diapers: We bought 12, plus 6 covers. They've already paid for themselves in the amount we save not buying disposables, I'm sure. Disposable diapers aren't cheap! Cloth diapers aren't either, but they're durable. I've already washed them 50 million times.

I only have 12, though. That's enough for a day and a half.

They're great in that they have high waists, and they prevent AwesomeCloud from scratching himself in his medically sensitive areas.

They're bulky, however, which is not so great. His 18-month clothes don't fit over them. He has 5 pairs of overalls that still fit. Other than that, I think I'll have to buy 4-year-old clothes and hem them. I've been saying that for a week and I haven't done it yet. But we're drowning in baby clothes, and I've been trying to organize them and look for pants I can add to the 'fit' pile.

My neighbor gave me a lead on a brand of cloth diapers that are less bulky and very well designed. But he couldn't remember the brand name. I will have to ask him again sometime.

Broken stroller wheel: You may remember that our carseat/flightseat/stroller lost a wheel in Nanjing. What a sweet little contraption it would have been if it hadn't broken! Zooming the kiddo easily through airports, retracting the wheels at the last second to create an instant carseat.... instead, we had to carry the kiddo by hand, and the stroller too.

We emailed the manufacturer and they sent us a brand new wheel and installment instructions. The carseat/stroller will live again! Except... well... we haven't had a chance to install it yet. But at least we have the new wheel.

The customer service rep wondered if we'd send them a picture of the kiddo in the carseat/stroller. I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, he's plenty cute enough to be a model. And I do like the product. On the other hand, it broke when we needed it most, inconveniencing us terribly. Allowing them to crow, "Our product helped this child's family when they went to China!" is a tiny bit dishonest. But... he's a super-cute model. And maybe they won't mention China.

Boston Children's Hospital: I have been there twice and I have some impressions and advice for those families who may visit it in the future.

It is bright and colorful, to the point where you can't help but be cheered up a little. Every corner and corridor declares, "We care about children!"

Even so, it's huge. The place is a maze, and the route to your department is not always obvious. Ask directions early and often. Flag down anyone with an ID tag and ask where you should go. Flag down 4 or 5 of them, in case some of them aren't sure. Helpful people are everywhere.

I found that bringing along a friend or non-immediate relative was extremely helpful. Someone who isn't as invested in your child's health can help you stay calm under stress. They can help you read the signs, flag down the aforementioned staff members for you, and take notes if your child is demanding all your attention. They can hold and/or entertain the child if you need the restroom, or if you just need to take a break for a few minutes. And since they won't be worrying as much as you, the two of you won't end up in a worry-feeding spiral. That can be a problem if it's you and your spouse.

Brace yourself to see children who are sicker and more severely disabled than yours. It can be both depressing and enlightening at the same time. I felt sad for their families that I had a bouncy, healthy son with me while they looked forward to a lifetime of struggle, pain, and in some cases imminent death. At the same time, I felt glad for myself.

Sometimes, when people who know my baby is SN say, "Aw, poor thing! It's amazing that you'd do such a wonderful thing like adopt that poor special needs baby!" I cringe. I find myself defensive, at a loss for words. I think, now, I'll be even more so. Sorry, what? Poor baby? Who? I'm the lucky one. He's the nearly-perfect one. We're not amazing; we're just a couple of ordinary schmucks who just got our lives enriched. We just go to doctors' appointments now and then and soak in the good news about complications he doesn't have. We're not one of those near-saintly families who bust their butts keeping their child alive one more day, one more day, one more day.

With adoption, you can say no to that kind of lifestyle. You can hand-pick your child to make sure the challenge isn't too great for you. A discomfiting thought, but it's true. You can't help looking at a child strapped tightly into a wheelchair with tubes everywhere, and thinking, I wouldn't have chosen a child like that. The harried, bleary-eyed daddy pushing her across the lobby wouldn't have chosen her, either... but... well... nobody gave him the choice.

We all rise to the occasion, if we can. Some situations are just easier than others. And harder than others. Our family is in the middle somewhere, but it really hits me how very, very lucky we are. How many difficulties we avoided having. When people pity us, they're only comparing us to the absolute best-case scenario.

But, you know what, I think we're close enough to the best-case scenario.

As my sister once wisely said, "Every baby is a sick baby sometimes."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yay healthy baby

This will be a short entry, because even though today's tests were easy, today itself was hard. I was fortunate to have my great-aunt along as we went to Children's Hospital. It was nice having her there to talk to, and she helped keep the baby entertained during the waiting periods.

AwesomeCloud's kidneys are healthy! Hooray! That was the first test.

We have not yet gotten the results from the second test, which was upper GI. That was the more difficult experience, as we had to hold his limbs in place, and he was not happy to be restrained.

Afterwards we went to my great-aunt's and grandmother's house (AwesomeCloud's great-great-aunt and great-grandmother) for an early supper. He was hungry after all those tests and car rides. He had yummy delicious mashed potatoes and carrots, and I had linguine and meatballs. Mmmmm, Grandma's meatballs.

Then we had another long car ride home. He's asleep now, and I will be asleep very soon.

I had forgotten I brought the camera. I wanted to take pictures of the relatives holding their new great-grandson and great-great-nephew. Oh well. I will next time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

AwesomeCloud likes the floor now

Here he is going shopping for pumpkins with daddy. That was the smallest pumpkin they had! It's on our front stoop right now.

What should I do with it? Draw a face on it with a black permanent marker? Carve it? Cook it? Leave it intact and toss it in the compost pile later to help the opossums fatten up for winter? More than one of those? The decision is up to me, of course. If I felt I had the leisure time to do it, I'd give it a good scooping, carving, and processing and then make 3 or 4 yummies with the insides. I don't know about that now, though. Starting on November 1, I'm joining NaNoWriMo and writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

I don't even read fiction! And I have a brand new baby! But it'll enrich his life to hear the story of how Mama and Daddy participated in NaNoWriMo one month after he got home. We refused to skip a year, even for parenthood. That's commitment!

And, when we fail to reach the 50,000 words, he can learn that failure is okay. Don't give up just because you know the odds are against you. Writing 20,000 words with a baby in the house is its own kind of success. Hey, even keeping a blog is a decent accomplishment.

Tomorrow we get tests at Boston Children's Hospital. They won't be difficult tests. We'll be all right. It's actually kind of exciting that his medical treatment is zooming right along! I'm not a big lover of doctors' offices, so if we can do this quickly and easily, it suits me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Doctor, doctor, gimme the news...

Things continue to go well. AwesomeCloud grows and improves in leaps and bounds. He's such a joyful, happy, giggly kid. And have I mentioned he's cute? How did we end up with such a great little boy? We're so, so, so lucky. I keep looking at him and marveling at how lucky we are.

People say we're doing a great job with him, but I really think he's the one doing his own great job. He cheers me up. He's the one who giggles at everything and blows kisses. I didn't teach him all that. He's the one teaching me that if you put on some techno music and bounce a baby on your lap, suddenly the world is a wonderful place. He's the one who celebrates unsweetened oatmeal by kissing at it. He's the one who interrupts his own crying jags with a sudden gleeful squeal.

I'm just along for the ride. I provide the toys, the music, the dangling set of housekeys. I'm the one singing "Let's Go Fly a Kite" for the entirety of a walk around the block so he can stare in wonder at the colored leaves to my droning voice.

Yes, I read National Geographic while I'm feeding him so he doesn't get my full attention. Yes, I put him down on the floor and leave him there while I feed the cats or put laundry in. I have a naturally sharp tongue and I'm training myself to say, "Methinks the baby doth protest too much" instead of nastier remarks. I'm not perfect in every way. Sometimes I'm afraid I'll spoil his joie de vivre, dampen his potential, maybe damage him for life, but then I realize it's probably physically impossible to drag this kid down. He's got it all under control.

We are astonishingly lucky to have him. He's going to bring this family in all new directions. Exciting directions. I'm astonished, at least. How do I empower a kid like him? It'll have to become my life obsession. That's good, though. I was looking for a life obsession.

There is bad and good medical news. The bad news is Trixie's. I brought her to the vet on Friday, suspecting a UTI. She's weak and lethargic, especially in her back end, and she's been spotting in her litter boxes. The vet thought she had more than just a UTI, however. Diabetes and arthritis were her top two guesses. She got an antibiotic for the UTI and we'll hear the results of the barrage of "senior cat" tests on Tuesday. I'm nervous. She's only 10 years old. I'm not ready for her to have diabetes.

The good news is AwesomeCloud's. He gained 2 lbs in the 3 weeks he's been home. He is now in the 'normal' range for weight! And almost there for height. It's amazing to think he was of below normal size, but his developmental delays are more pronounced than his physical delays, so he seems like a large baby rather than a small toddler. He's on the fast track to learning how to walk, though. He'll catch up in no time.

Today we saw the specialist, and it looks like his surgery will be a breeze... well... all things considered, I mean. Surgery is still surgery. But his condition comes with few to no complications. We're getting some tests on Thursday to look for hidden complications in his internal organs, but even if he has a hidden problem or two, the surgery will still go forward. The upcoming tests are noninvasive - ultrasounds and stuff. Today my sister-in-law came with me; she's a nurse and she helped with the infodump by knowing how to listen to medical professionals. And it was a joy to see two of his cousins on the way home.

This is going to be all right.

By the way, the open invitation to invite yourself over still stands. Just call first if you can come visit, because our schedule is starting to have a few things on it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mama uses her alone time to clean

This will be a short entry. I have 1 hour to clean the kitchen before Daddy and the Cloud come home from driving around aimlessly. I meant to clean the kitchen last night after he fell asleep, but guess what - I fell asleep too. And melted a pot of bottle nipples that were being sterilized in boiling water. Fortunately Rick found them before the house burned down. Also fortunately, not every nipple was in the pot.

Today we spent a lot of time outdoors. It was a beautiful day. If I were able to spend hours per day doing yardwork, I'd have plenty to keep me busy. Forgive us for having a neglected-looking yard.

Hey, if anyone has some time free on a weekday and wants to drop in, please invite yourself over. Please please! I'll make lunch! Lunch might be cream of wheat... but I'll make it!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Yesterday AwesomeCloud went to his first street fair. He had clam chowder for the first time and loved it, although he had trouble with the soupyness of soup.

Then he went to his first rock concert. It was at the Forestdale Baptist church. Our friends, the minister's wife and family, invited us. The first band was made of teenagers, including the son of the minister and his wife. They were very good; we were impressed! The second was a Christian blues band. (Hey, we like music of all kinds.) AwesomeCloud had an awesome time, rocking from side to side and joining in with his rattle.

Today he started using the "d" sound regularly for the first time. He said "da dee" to the contractor. Then later, he said "da da" to his dad.

He also reached up to signal he wanted to be picked up for the first time.

That one moves me the most. He's making gestures to us to communicate what he wants us to do. He's not just bursting into tears at the realization that he lacks something. In fact, he doesn't shed tears at all. He just looks at his parent and raises his arms, all calm-like. It's the most amazing thing.

Now if only he could get control of himself at mealtime when the food appears... I mean, we're not waving food around to torment him or anything. He will get to eat it. He calms down as soon as the first few spoonfuls go in. It's just the beginning part that makes him go crazy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Regression day is over!

Today was much better. Not perfect, not even great, but it did rain practically all day so we were both a little moody.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Total regression day

Today is total regression day. When AwesomeCloud is not asleep, he's crying violently. Sometimes super-violently. He even cries when he eats, which, these days, is pretty unusual. He refuses to do anything - his only action is to flop over.

Mama needs a break something terrible. Terrible, I say.

Tomorrow needs to be better because I need to take him to my boss's house and keep him quiet for 2 or 3 hours. I think this plan is ill-conceived and I wish my boss would volunteer to do the filing himself. But he has not.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Adoption clinic

Whew! What a day. We went up to the Adoption Clinic in Boston.

All in all, it went well. Dr. Miller and her assistant were very gentle and kind and I was pleased to spend the afternoon with them. AwesomeCloud was as tolerant as one could hope, even during the unpleasant parts. Except the blood drawing, but the blood drawing was brutal. We held him down and stuck a needle in him and drew enough vials of blood to make Mama cringe. Who could be in a good mood after that?

I also think I was starting to feel over-advised. The MDs gave me lots and lots of advice, and I kept getting the unhelpful urge to argue with them. That suggestion is not in my comfort zone! I haven't been doing too badly in that area so far! But he likes that food! Everybody feels defensive sometimes. I'm well aware that I need advice, lots of it. But maybe I hit a threshold today, and/or it was rainy and stressful. I successfully reminded myself that Dr. Miller is an expert, one of the finest, and she's telling me all this stuff to help the kiddo, not to criticize me.

Now that it's over and the advice belongs to me, I'm cool with it all. It's just hard to spend weeks and weeks getting inundated with advice, some you asked for and some you didn't, some from medical pros and some from other parents. Even if the advice is largely good, even if it contains some gems that help you through your day and solve daunting problems, it can be hard on the ol' ego to be the advice-getter all the time.

It's enough to make me vow even harder not to dole out unsolicited advice. Although I love to share my wisdom out of the goodness of my heart. But, y'know, everyone loves that. The recipient's feelings are more important. The baby's well-being is most important of all, of course. But I think Dr. Miller gave me some great guidance, and I'm confident that we're doing all right.

Her diet advice was complicated, so AwesomeCloud mealtimes are going to change in multiple ways. Canola oil will be my new favorite ingredient. I actually don't use canola oil much for us grown-ups because I love olive oil so much. It's really a small change that feels like a big one.

There are a bunch of other food-related things that I've been doing almost right. Small changes, all of them. They just feel big.

His mealtime schedule got badly disrupted today, due to the 11:00 appointment that went on till 3:00. Tomorrow will be better!

Gah, I'm tired.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The cousins

Yesterday we paid a visit to my BiL and SiL and their four boys. The boys have been very excited to meet their new cousin from China. They were very, very good with him, especially the two middle boys, who were falling all over each other vying for AwesomeCloud's attention. AwesomeCloud himself did very well, all things considered. I think the boys were a bit disappointed that he doesn't speak and isn't more interactive... but... well. We all get used to reality after a while.

We then ordered Chinese food and discovered that AwesomeCloud's cousins need more exposure to Chinese food before they can enjoy it properly. BiL remarked that children without a lot of siblings seem to have a wider range of tastes, while members of large sibling groups tend to be pickier. He thinks it's due to the amount of attention a child gets in regards to meals. Can anybody out there support or refute this claim? Every child is an individual, certainly, but it would be interesting to learn more about that trend.

AwesomeCloud ate his Chinese food like a pro! Sort of. One cousin observed that, being Chinese, he was probably used to Chinese food already. Gotta agree. He stole a string bean off my plate and chowed down on it as we all cooed and giggled at him. When he stole my hot pepper, however, it wasn't as funny. Fortunately the pepper never met his mouth.

I like boys. I have no nieces to compare AwesomeCloud with, only my 6 nephews, but I really love my nephews. They're just great little people.

Today Daddy took the kiddo back for another visit, just the two of them, while I cleaned house and hauled boxes upstairs. Then the social worker came by for her post-adoption visit. AwesomeCloud was a perfect, giggly, playful little angel the whole time she was here. He showed off his best moves - blowing kisses, rolling a ball across the floor, eating his rice and sweet potatoes without spilling a drop. It was an extraordinarily positive visit - but he really is a little sweetie, and he's pretty good with strangers in general, and his attachment to us and joie de vivre are genuine.

Right after the social worker left, we had a spectacularly bad diaper issue. The kind that sends Mama running for the shower first chance she gets. No details need repeating. Just trust me when I say it's a good thing he didn't start the mess sooner.

After that, I intended to take him to the mall, but he screamed when I took him out of the car seat. Okay! No mall for us! Instead, I drove to Dennis and back. Then I let him crawl around the living room, which turned into him crawling around the house.

You know, four days ago he couldn't stand on all fours and was mortally terrified of the floor.

Now he's like a real baby, the kind you hear about from other mommies, zooming around underfoot and touching everything he shouldn't. Kinda weird. We're starting to be... dare I say it... typical.

(Now if only I can get him to say 'drosophila' as his first word, we can break that trend. Unfortunately for me, I suspect his first word will be 'cat'. He made the 'k' sound today, and he's eternally fascinated by the cats walking up and down and all around.)

Tomorrow we get his titers tested by the adoption specialist. Hope for titers! Lots of them! The more titers he has, the fewer vaccination redos he'll need. He got lots of shots in China, but I was informed that the Chinese don't always do it right and they have to be redone.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Daddy, baby, cat

Daddy enjoys reading to AwesomeCloud at night before bed. Trixie enjoys being the center of everyone's attention, especially when there's a lap to be had. Mama took a momentary break from cleaning the house to dig out the camera and snap this picture.

This morning AwesomeCloud was in the mood for cat toys on the living room floor. As long as there are cat toys to play with, he's happy to be on the floor. It's a miracle! Trixie, again, had to be in the middle of things. Although she didn't bat around any cat toys, she insisted on sitting in the middle of the floor and make the rest of us play around her. Silly cat.

There was also much dancing and giggling, and I think the kiddo's legs are getting stronger every day. Pretty soon I'll be able to announce his first steps.

The real AwesomeCloud is starting to come out, I think. And he's a delightful little guy.

(Now if only I could kick the new-mommy fatigue, which is entirely separate from whether or not the Cloud is an awesome kid.)

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I just spent $180 on cloth diapers, plus a hanging cloth diaper bin so that we won't have yet another bulky plastic bin getting in the way of everything.

Babies use soooo many diapers, and I use cloth, um, accessories for me and love them, and 'disposable' does not mean 'biodegradable', so it seemed like the obvious choice. In a week I'll tell you how it goes.

I was looking at little glass baby food jars marked 'bananas' and 'apples' and thinking that they use an awful lot of jar per unit of food. He's on a soft-food diet at the moment, and baby food is the obvious way to go, but it occurred to me that those little glass jars accumulate quickly.

So I bought a great big jar of regular store-brand applesauce. And fresh bananas go for $0.29 at Trader Joe's. Next on the list: boil and mash my own sweet potato.

I wonder how to do my own corn. I'll need the blender, huh?

Today we learned to kick a tree. I'd push the stroller up to the trunk of a tree and say, "Kick a tree!" He'd give it a little *kick* with his little foot and giggle.

He also crawled for the first time. I put him on the floor, again, even though he hates it there. As usual, he devolved into an ocean of tears and drool. (Mostly drool.) I tried several things to distract him, but nothing worked - he kept screaming and screaming and soaking the rug. And then Melody showed up. So I rolled a jingle ball cat toy over to her. Hey, if I can't play with the kiddo, I can try to play with the cat.

Suddenly I had AwesomeCloud's attention.

Melody plays a mean game of jingle ball. She gets really into it. I guess fun begets fun, because pretty soon the kiddo had forgotten his crying jag and just had to have a jingle ball of his own.

I do chase stray jingle balls, but when I'm up against a cat and a baby, there's only so much I can do. AwesomeCloud started to have to chase his own jingle balls. Voila! Crawling!

He's really bad at it. But you have to start somewhere. He has to start by getting over his detestation of the floor. Can't crawl very far in a playpen, after all!

So, maybe it will get easier from here. At the moment, being on the floor makes him fall apart so utterly and thoroughly that it's very hard to steel myself and put him down anyway. It really is like death throes, at least to the observer. I have no idea why he reacts so strongly, or the best way to go about ridding him of his floor-terror. Did a floor bite him once when he was younger? Maybe his nightmares involve floors chasing him with big gaping maws and flashing teeth.

Dogs, those are fine. Huge roaring trucks - eh. The builder's power tools? *yawn*

But floors.... eeek!

Baby pics

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sweet, wonderful tap water!

Look! I'm drinking tap water! Bwahahaha! And so is my baby! BWAAA-hahaha!

Barnstable tap water is delicious - among the top 5 municipal waters in the state. Having to avoid the water in China was a real blow. I'm so happy to have my cool, clean, perfectly potable water back.

AwesomeCloud is having a tough day. I'm trying to bang out a significant amount of my work, so he's getting far more crib time than he desires. Our friend Maryellen lent us a playpen, which is a huge help, but the crib is closer to my workstation while the playpen is too close to the construction workers. Soon things will change. When the renovations are done, my work computer and the playpen will go upstairs.

I think he fell asleep. OMG I'm so tired... but I should work more.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Little bits of good news

The pediatrician told us we can expect AwesomeCloud to take 2 or 3 weeks to get over his jet lag, and in the meantime we can just cope. "You'll survive. A soldier finds a way to get up and march some more. You can too."

Good line! Compared to combat soldiers, we have it real easy.

Guess what happened then: he slept practically the whole night. So did we.

(I must confess to some cheating. His daily routine said he gets a bottle before bed, and I've discovered that a bottle calms him much better than rocking and singing. We still try rocking and singing, but the bottle's the thing. I gave him one before bed last night and another when he woke up in the middle of the night. With maybe not as much rocking and singing as was physically possible.)

Small improvements:

This morning he was singing along to the musical toy. It wasn't real babble; just "Ah ah ah ah" still, but he was doing it at the same time as the toy was beeping. That counts as singing along to me.

He looked at Trixie and said, "Dat." Okay, still not quite astrophysics, and it might just be wishful thinking on my part, but when I write it out, it sounds like he was beginning to identify objects by their names. I will leave you with that highly optimistic assumption.

He held onto my shoulder when I picked him up. The elbow in my chest is still not a thing of the past, however. Geez, I wish he'd learned the shoulder grabbing trick when we were rushing about in the airports.

Lack of improvement:

I thought I had a good way for him to hang out with me while I work today. Alas, he was not into it. As he was screaming equally loudly whether I had him alone in the crib or next to me, I stuck him in the crib again. Sorry, Cloud. I'd like to stop doing that and turn worktime into Mama-baby hangout time, but the crib is the safer place for you to be when I have my hands full if you must be uncooperative.

My friend Lori brought a delicious hot dinner of mac&cheese, caesar salad, and berry cobbler over last night. The cobbler has become my #1 comfort food and is already 1/3 gone. *blush* She knows how ubiquitous those post-baby moments are:

Husband: "What are we eating tonight?"

Wife: "Umm... I guess I should cook something..." *collapse*

AwesomeCloud and I just had a nature lesson. We sat in the sun on the front stoop and crushed some dead leaves.

I'm tired, and still a little blue, and though AwesomeCloud won't willingly take a nap, I have laundry to do and dishes to wash. I'm slowly getting the house back in order. I scrubbed the cats' food corner clean; it gets so filthy when anyone but me feeds them, and after 3 weeks' absence, it was quite a mess. The trick is to not give them too much food at once. If they have too much, they happily splatter it all over and then it dries and turns disgusting. If there's just enough, they're careful not to lose a single crumb. Cats aren't completely dumb.

I also must remark on my amusement at how similar a pediatrician visit is to a vet visit. Some people may disparage the idea of getting a pet as a preparation for parenthood, but there is some wisdom to learning your way around caring for a dog or a cat before you get an actual baby. There are still plenty of new skills to learn that a pet can't help you with!

Also, babies still don't purr. Sometimes they giggle, which is great, but I'm partial to the whole purring thing.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Worst. Night. Ever.

Oh, but he's an angel now. We took a stroll to see the horses and I counted to 100 twice in Chinese for him. He enjoyed his breakfast and didn't even panic when I ate in front of him.

Oops. Now I have to work, and he's having a meltdown just in time. Sorry kiddo, but you're safe in the crib and Mama has some money to earn. I'd been planning to sit him next to the computer in the stroller and occasionally hand toys to him, but he very loudly wanted OUT. So, to the crib he goes.

He's crying, but he'll probably fall asleep soon. Lord knows he didn't sleep last night, even after we tried all day to wear him out. He tried to pull another all-nighter, but neither one of his parents were willing to stay up with him. Daddy had to work today, and could've used the sleep. I fell asleep early, but was so groggy when I woke up at midnight that I could neither fall asleep again nor do anything useful.

Today's mission, again, is to keep him awake all day. I have failed again - he's sound asleep, and I'm stuck working.

He's got to get over his jet lag sometime, right? It seems like the harder I try, the more he slides backwards. Everything has backfired.

I'll post some pics of him later, after I've found the flash drive.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The resemblance is uncanny

We took AwesomeCloud out today. Being pushed in the stroller is still his very favorite activity. He's happy doing it for hours rather than minutes.

Passers-by don't know he's Asian. It's the strangest thing. I think, though, that it's because he somewhat resembles my husband, rather than that he doesn't look Asian. He has big, round, brown eyes like my husband. He has very little hair, but when he does get hair it will be silky and black like his dad's. His complexion is very fair, certainly well within the realm of the complexion of a white person with dark hair.

The manager at Friendly's was surprised to learn he was adopted. We explained to her that his screaming was due to confusion about how restaurants worked - he got upset because he didn't receive food the minute we sat down. Her conclusion was that we were a foreign family. (With perfect New England accents! Oh well.)

We were actually pretty amused by his behavior in Friendly's. The waitresses all gathered around with suggestions and concern, and crayons, and packets of jelly. We told them AwesomeCloud was new to this whole restaurant thing, new to the whole country even, and that he would cry until his potatoes arrived. But we didn't want his potatoes to be delivered early, because then the poor kid would have to watch us eat when he was done, and that's never any fun! Who likes to sit and do nothing in a restaurant? Not I. Not him, either.

He cried when he was done, too, as usual. An empty bowl, no matter how big, is a tragedy. But he stopped as soon as I carried him away from the table. Out of sight, out of mind; and besides, his tummy was full. He ate a lot of mashed potatoes. Plenty of carbs, just as Dr. Gong the Nanjing pediatrician ordered.

We strolled around in Chatham afterwards, and saw some harbor seals. When we got home, I put him for a nap, but he had trouble falling asleep... maybe because the contractor is here, nailing my bamboo floor down with a fancy nailgun that makes house-shaking bursts of noise with every blow. I'm shocked that AwesomeCloud ever fell asleep at all. I hope he's not just lying there in silent terror. He looks genuinely asleep.

I should nap too, but... um... nailgun.

The long night of babytending

So far so good! It's 3:00 AM and we've had three walks in the stroller, two sit-down meals, two internet sessions, and now he's just starting his second nap for the night.

Tomorrow I'm taking him to the mall, or maybe downtown Hyannis or Falmouth where all the tourist shops are, so that he will not sleep the day away.

He's still whimpering in his crib. Hopefully he'll settle down. I'm taking this time to prep some of his medical supplies and fold laundry. Mama's got a house to maintain, kiddo.

I've been half-jokingly saying I have post-partum depression. I'm also occasionally having doubts. I suppose it's common for new parents to have doubts.There may be those individuals whose calling for parenthood is so strong that they're still consumed by the joy of it after the sleep dep has worn them down, after countless episodes of the baby crying for no apparent reason. My convictions are not so strong. They allow me to feel periodic doubt. Maybe I wasn't cut out for parenthood. Maybe I don't have enough patience or energy. Maybe I'm prone to neglectful habits, like putting him in his crib at 3:00 AM when I know he's not the least bit tired. He's not doing anything horrible, not rejecting me or starving himself or throwing things at the cats. He just cries frequently, sometimes over nothing I can identify. He just isn't that attached to me yet. Love has conquered greater challenges than this. Yet all I want is for him to be quiet, stop crying so much, be more communicative about what's bothering him, stay on my lap for more than 5 minutes or at least be happier elsewhere if he really must get off me.

I wonder if I'm just better suited for cats.

Speaking of cats, what a huge comfort my cats have been. It's strange to say that my cats are helping me cope with the baby. But I already have relationships with my cats. The hard parts with them ended years ago.

And it's really very simple. I touch the baby, he cries. I touch the cats, they purr.

The baby doesn't know where he wants to be, but after 5 or 10 minutes, he's certain he wants to be somewhere else. The cats jump up on my lap and are genuinely, silently happy to be there.

There's probably nothing very profound going on here, though. I just need to establish the basics. AwesomeCloud needs to grow comfortably familiar with his new surroundings. I have to learn what calms him and become proficient at doing those things. We need a regular routine and I need to know he can sleep through the night so that I may sleep through the night, too.

Someday the renovations will be done and that will make me happier, too.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

We're home

We got home midnight on Thursday. Sorry, I haven't felt like writing much.

There have been a few small milestones. AwesomeCloud has begun to pick up Cheerios with his hands and put them in his mouth. today he played on the floor for 15 whole minutes before crying. I think I'm overdoing floor time, though. He generally hates the floor, and I should have just let it go after that 15 minutes, but there aren't a lot of places to put him. The stroller, but he cries if it's not moving. The high chair, but he cries if he's not eating. The crib, but he cries if he's not asleep. My lap, but he's taken to doubling over and putting his forehead on my knees and wailing like a banshee after several minutes. What do I do then? Put him down, right?

We're all suffering from jet lag. Just as I thought it was getting better, AwesomeCloud switched back to China time. He fell asleep early this morning and did not wake up until 6:30 PM. I was advised to let sleeping babies sleep, and to synchronize with him by sleeping whenever he sleeps. Lately I've hardly been sleeping at all. So I spent all day napping on the futon while my parents, husband, and contractor came and went, and then suddenly it was dusk.

AwesomeCloud seems inclined to pull an all-nighter now that he's slept all day. I slept all day too, but I don't think I can do it. Especially when he tolerates any given activity for 5 minutes or less. I've already taken him for two walks in the stroller in the pitch blackness with a flashlight strapped to the stroller. I'd drive him around in the car, but I'm too bleary-eyed to be a safe driver.

He's in the crib now, wailing again. I feel bad. My husband is trying to sleep in there; he has his own jet lag related troubles to deal with.

None of us are in sync, in fact. And the husband starts work on Monday. I really should, too, but my work requires installing my computer in the upstairs office room, and, well, there is no upstairs office room yet.

The renovations are almost done. Sort of. Mostly. The floor is almost in. The electrician hasn't shown up yet and he's holding everything back.

I told them I wanted the renovations done before we got back from China. No such luck. It's amazing that both AwesomeCloud and I slept through all that noise today. He certainly did! He slept like a rock the whole 12 hours, according to everyone (my parents, husband, and me) who checked in on him throughout the day. I didn't sleep quite so soundly.

He has significant delays and is like a much younger child, but I think it's just due to orphanage living. I don't think he has inherent mental or cognitive delays. So, I have a one-year-old for a while. He'll catch up, surely.