|Playing with his papa's and auntie's childhood train set!|
I thought it would be surreal to watch my son eat his breakfast in our kitchen, to hear his little feet scampering on our floors and to watch him splash around in the bath water at night.
It doesn't feel surreal.
It feels natural.
Our friends seem to be in more disbelief than we are! They're always asking me, "Can you believe it!?" And while I always pictured myself saying, "NO!" I'm actually answering, "Yes!"
I can believe it. I can believe that God answers prayers. I can believe that long, painful journeys end. I can believe in new beginnings. I can believe in life that grows and evolves from the seed of a dream to an oak of reality, old and worn from many winters yet beautiful and majestic the same.
Arie is sleeping upstairs. His little blue boots are sitting on the floor not five feet away from me. The left one is on the right side, standing up and the right boot is on the left side, laying on its side. They are supposed to be in our shoe basket but John and Arie entered the house in a hurry 3 hours ago after a last minute run to the grocery store. We were having breakfast for dinner and we were fresh out of maple syrup. When they came home John pulled off Arie's boots as he struggled to get to me. "Mama! Mama!" he calls, lugging a 32 ounce jug of maple syrup toward me with all his might. (We go through a lot of maple syrup in our house.)
The look of pride on his face as he handed me the jug made me want to get on my knees in worship. This gift of motherhood is not surreal to me; it is the sweetest dose of reality I have ever tasted.
Our reality doses this week:
We had our first doctor's appointment. Our little man is in the 25th percentile for height and the 90th for weight. Short and stout!
He impressed the pediatrician with how quickly he is catching on to English and it is even amazing us. In two weeks he is able to understand pretty much any simple question or command like "Are you hungry?" or "Do you need a new diaper?" or "Can you say ______?" He is able to repeat many words after us and he can name all the parts on his head (eyes, nose, etc) as well as hands, feet, and belly-button. He is hungry for new words and I'm sure he'll be caught up to speed language-wise in no time! Toddlers are sponges they always say. True.
At home Arie babbles away almost unceasingly. When he wants something that he can't express he takes my fingers in his little hand and leads me to show me what he wants. Usually, he takes me to the kitchen to ask for goldfish crackers, his favorite.
After a week of living mostly on milk and bananas in Moscow, we are making slow gains in the food department. He'll eat almost any fresh fruit. He loves blackberries but won't touch raspberries for some reason. He also loves cheese, yogurt, and those really expensive fruit puree pouches which we buy because they contain vegetables and that's the only way we can get veggies in him! Something about being able to suck on the pouch makes him so happy. Dry cereal is a hit too. He won't eat meat, rice, pancakes, eggs, or even jello yet. Or bread. We keep offering and I know someday he'll come around to it.
Perhaps my favorite gift is his sleeping habits. He basically sleeps through the night. 7:30pm to 6:30am. Once every other night or so he wakes up at 2am, just wailing. We are not seeing grief-related tantrums or anything during the day so I think this is how his sadness is expressing itself. It is quite the startling way to wake up, but the blessing is that it usually only takes 15 minutes to calm him down and get him asleep again.
Arie is in a toddler bed in our room right now. I have been sleeping soundly but John is still sleeping lightly, waking up with most every sniffle from Arie's little bed. One of the first nights we were home, Arie actually got out of bed silently in the middle of the night and woke us up by opening our squeaky bedroom door. John hilariously bolted awake and shouted, "HE'S ON THE MOVE!!" I can still hardly stop laughing as I type this. Not, "He's out of bed!" or even a groggy, "Arie- awake- door!" But a full on descriptive sentence. My husband, such a gifted communicator.
Over the last week I my facebook inbox has been flooded with encouragement. If anything feels surreal it is how much you all care for our family and love reading our story. The best part about writing this blog is getting to hear from women who tell me that they and their families are starting an adoption journey of their own! I am always thrilled beyond words to know that soon another child will have a family and a family will be blessed with another child. Thank you for encouraging me and for sharing your own stories with me. For the many of you who have asked me if I will keep writing now that the adoption part of our journey is coming to a close and the parenting begins- I always say I will keep writing if you keep reading! My goal is to share our story to serve as an encouragement to others and as long as I am meeting that goal I am happy to continue.
Finally, apologies for the lack of pictures in this post! I just recently located my camera battery charger! However, my parents- newly Omi and Grampy- will be visiting this weekend for my birthday and to meet their new (first) grandchild! You can bet I will be capturing this weekend with my camera. :-)