Looks like I was in touch with my adoption pain yesterday! I hadn’t realized that my holiday OART would turn into such a downer. =/ The visit on Tuesday was actually pretty good, as I will detail below.
Whenever we visit at their home, I bring a bunch of food. I grew up with the belief that when people have babies, you bring them food—since Ruth and Nora are hoping to go back into the pool a year from now, this means that I’m going to be trying to feed them for at least the next three years. This time, I brought garlic mashed potatoes, stuffed grape leaves, and cranberry relish, and that’s what we had for lunch. On the advice of basically everyone, I was debuting a new “be more emotionally open” policy at this visit, and it definitely made things harder. Mr. Book says that I spent much of the visit not interacting with Cricket and looking sad. My husband, on the other hand, was a champ—now that Cricket is old enough to play with, Mr. Book is a big hit. My favorite example is an extended bit of imitative tongue-sticking-out play that culminated in Mr. Book teaching Cricket to stick his tongue out pointed up, toward his nose. An hour or so after lunch, Cricket went down for a nap and Mr. Book and I excused ourselves for a walk to Starbucks.
This coffee break was one of my better ideas. We were both feeling shell shocked and overwhelmed, and so we sat in Starbucks for an hour, drinking coffee and talking about Cricket. Then we went back and I chatted with Ruth while Mr. Book sat patiently with us (Nora was at work until 5). Cricket woke up just after four, and when Nora got home we all went out for vegetarian Thai food. On the way to the restaurant, Ruth and I sat in the back seat on either side of Cricket, who now barely fits into his infant car seat. She gave him a bottle and he grabbed my hand and held it, staring into my eyes, while he drank it.
The ladies at the restaurant loved Cricket, and he was very polite with them. It was so funny—they would tousle his hair or tickle him, and he would give them this very patient smile in return. With some help from Ruth, he opened his birthday present; his moms loved it, and he seemed interested. The food was great. On the way back, Cricket was bored and a bit fussy, so I pretended to eat his food. He loved that—he kept pulling his foot away, and then sticking it into my face again, cracking up when I noshed on it. We did this for better than fifteen minutes, and he seemed so pleased. Once we were all home, he helped open his Christmas gift and then played with us a bit while his parents cleaned up a bit. I sat on the floor with him this time, and he kept crawling back and forth between me and Mr. Book and climbing into our laps. At one point, sitting with me, he waved at Mr. Book and said “He yo.” I almost started to cry, but got it together. As we were leaving, Cricket was about to go into the bath. He was in Nora’s arms, and we said goodbye, and then he just leaned into me—I took him for a hug, and then we both kissed him goodbye, and then we left.
Ruth and I sent each other post-visit emails today, and she said “I wanted to let you know that when Cricket leaned forward and laid his head against your chest, this was something I have not seen him do before. I also wanted to tell you that after his bath, when Nora brought him out to say good night to me and the dog, he was looking around the room very vigorously. Then Nora said, “You’re looking for Mama Susie and Papa Book? They’re not here anymore.” And then he said, ‘Ba! Ba! Ba!’ meaning that you said bye-bye. I think that is the first time I have heard him try to describe something that has already happened.” So we had a couple of firsts, and while it was hard, it felt very precious.
On the way home, we talked for awhile and then listened to the radio. Then the Beach Boys came on, and I pressed my face against my husband’s shoulder and cried.