Saturday, August 30, 2014

Average Saturday at the Park

We're slowly recovering from jet lag and colds and it feels like the fog of what-will-it-be-like's is starting to lift away. The shape of our new family is starting to peek out from beneath it all.

I convinced Ms. Primrose FangFang to sleep through the night last night from about 8:30pm. She was up at 1:30am but with a new diaper and a location change from her crib to my bed, she eventually went back to deeply sleeping without playing or sitting up. In fact, I had to get her up around 10:30am this morning. It would be so lovely if that's the end of her main adjustments to our time zone. I daren't hope...
She's a sprawler, all right.
In the middle of the night, I get these glimpses of what it will feel like to be settled in as mother and daughter. In the dark, she sometimes caresses my face. She sighs in a long ragged exhale while turning her head to me. She's calmed by my voice and likes to hear me humming, have her little legs rubbed and back patted. I soak it all up, try to memorize every preference. I don't really expect her to feel perfectly attached and part of me all at once, and I resist pushing her. It seems like that would be presumptuous and even selfish of me. But each bit she gives in my direction thrills me, I can't lie about that.

When she's tired she is still insecure and wants nothing to do with anyone but me, and I think even I am just a concession because she has a strong pragmatic streak and no better choice. That can be hard when I am also tired and J is tired, everybody has a cold and I have a lot of nighttime gigs staring us down in September's schedule. We're figuring it out as we complete our second week with her, and truthfully we are grateful she's faster than some at this transition. Her crying is short-lived. I try to grab at gratitude, to prop it up and fill it out. Like all my imperfect parenting, it takes a certain amount of intention not to turn to self-centered frustration. It helps that she is so little that logic itself is on my side. It also helps that I know I have been given grace and this chance to show it in return is also a gift. Is it grace I'm giving a child who has every reason to cry? I've asked myself all of these petty things about the kids I gave birth to as well.

My daughter played with her brothers today. Six year old Isaac in particular wants to play with her at every opportunity. He and she have similar personalities, it seems. I worried before we brought her home that he would miss being able to take the spotlight and that he would get less of the personal interaction he craves. He has always done that by being both the sweetest, most engaging child and by misbehaving in complicated drawn-out ways. But the past 48 hours have given me a view of a third option I hadn't anticipated: Isaac craves company and a similarly wired one year old loves to be entertained. He has been a truly outstanding big brother.

He brings her toys, plays with her, doesn't mind repeating the same joke 37 times in a row to get her to giggle. She wants to follow him everywhere. Before our trip we had asked the boys to donate stuffed animals, and it was as if we wanted to remove a limb. Today I had to cut Isaac off from adding his toys to her crib, and he is the one who has her giggling longer and louder than anyone yet, though Toby is doing a good job in this video, too.

Toby is enthralled with her. He wants to pick her up constantly and he is happy to make silly loud noises until his dad and I are driven to irritated distraction and she is delighted. I think he will be even more intrigued when they can chat about his interests and she has her own deck of Pokemon cards. He doesn't like when she cries, and I have seen him tear up in sympathy. He is going to be such a good father himself (in like 40,000 years when I'm ready for it).

There are things that will cover our shortcomings as parents, and one that I bank on most is their relationships as siblings. They were already a very strong pair, but as a trio I see their strengths magnified. I'm looking forward to watching that develop.

She'll go anywhere with them.

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