|Came home to this fabulous sign in our yard! Still don't know who planted it. 'Fess up!|
As I swim in my ephemeral bliss, my son whimpers and moans. The plane bounces and shakes through the air and his stomach begins to turn. Still crying, I hold a white barf bag up to his mouth, stroking his hair and whispering It's okay. It's okay. It's not okay though and he pukes up all the peach yogurt melts he downed an hour ago. I catch every drop of his sweet smelling puke and cry harder because I'm so damn happy he didn't puke on the seat. Or me. John reaches out to grab the puke bag and give each other a mental high five.
Since I'm still crying and people are about to get up and notice me, I grab the napkin beside me to wipe away my tears. The blessed reality of parenting begins as I realize I'm wiping my tears with the napkin I just used to wipe Arie's mouth. Thank you nose for reminding me of this fact before my beautiful tears are replaced with regurgitated peach. Thank you universe for welcoming me so gracefully into motherhood.
My simultaneous joy-cry and puke-catch describes our journey home so well. It was a surreal concoction of elation and exhaustion. It was the pleasure of a little boy's delight in opening the plane's window shade and then the pain of getting wailed in the face when asking him to stop. Right in the glasses. It was wonderment at his good behavior while traveling and then worry about him being just plain overwhelmed.
Arie was amazing for our trip. He was an angel in the Moscow airport- waiting patiently in all the lines, listening perfectly though security and sitting pretty with a snack at the gate. On the first 10-hour plane ride he only slept 1.5 hours and cried for about a total of 10 minutes. I think I told him you're doing so good buddy! once every 15 minutes.
When we got to JFK he was angelic again through customs and through a very long wait for our luggage. He literally sat in his stroller with his hands folded on his lap for an entire hour. By the time we got him some "lunch" it was 2am for him and he was exhausted. A blank expression had taken over his face only broken now and then with a bit of worry which made my heart just want to wilt. Sweet baby. After he ate a banana we lay him down on a padded bench while we ate and he fell right to sleep.
He slept right through the next plane ride and three hour car trip home. I carried his sweet little body upstairs right away when we came home and he didn't wake up until 5am this morning.
He's napping right on schedule today. Basically I think we side-stepped jet-lag for him all together. Amazing. Though I was wishing for more sleep on that first 10 hour flight it seems his wakefulness was something of a divine intervention, which will allow us sleep recovery after the rough sleepless week we had in Moscow. Thank you, Lord.
Since John and I got to bed at 1am last night Arie's 5am wake up was definitely met with groaning on both our behalves, but even just 4 hours sleep in our own bed and in-sync with our internal rhythms has us feeling like new people. Last week was about surviving. Today we move to thriving.
After snuggling our little man in bed for half and hour (and praying helplessly that he might go back to sleep), we traveled downstairs to do something we'd long looked forward to: introduce Arie to our cat Jasper.
I wish I would have videoed it. Arie looked at Jasper and with giant saucer eyes and exclaimed (in Russian), "TIGER!!! RAWR!!"
Arie's been following Jasper around all morning and we've been trying to convince him that Jasper is a cat, not a tiger, but Arie won't have it. Whenever Jasper walks by he points and whispers to us, "Tee-ga!" Welcome to America, Arie. The land of exotic household pets.
As we recovered from our laughter I ran a bath for Arie and washed all yesterday's travel off him with my all-time favorite baby products: Burt's Bees. I've been sniffing Arie's sweet smelling skin and hair all day.
It is so good to home. Last week was one of the top 5 hardest things I have ever done. One of my favorite authors Anne Lamott says the two best prayers she knows are "Help me. Help me. Help me." and "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you." Last week I just prayed for help. It was wonderful, emotional, exhausting, and hard. There were times when I just wanted to break down and cry because John and I felt like we spent 80% of our time telling Arie, "No" and stopping him from hurting himself. Don't put your fingers in the socket. Toys do not go in the oven. No no, you may not play with the cleaning supplies. Parenting a toddler in a completely non baby-proofed apartment is awful.
Now we are home and I am moving to, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you." In our safe home we are open to a world of yeses for our little man. He can touch and explore to his heart's content. He can choose from a room full of toys, come and go freely from place to place, and chase our pet tiger around to his heart's content. We are free to spend our time delighting in him and not worrying about what hazard he's getting into! We are also free to try every new food we can think of and expand his diet to include maybe one or two new items in addition to bananas, cheese, and milk. He's already downed three clementines today!
Help me to thank you and surviving to thriving. That's our journey this week and if today has been any indication of the week to come, there will abundant life to revel in this week. And I'm going to suck the marrow out of it.