Just after 6 on a Sunday night, the Boy squawks his half-hearted disagreement at having been put to bed. For just shy of four months now we have been living with and learning, moment to moment about him. Sometimes it seems he exhibits a new behavior daily.
In the past month we have all – more or less – settled into a routine. Alas, we are both back to work, me (Christopher) with a brand new job; so, he is off to day care each day. This, admittedly, gives me certain anxiety. Not just that we are entrusting the well-being of our son (by the way, the fact that I can say “our son” still fills me with wonder…), but also that most days I really would prefer to hang out with him. Such it is I guess, living the American Dream.
It is a marvel, as I had sincerely hoped, to watch him grow and explore the world around him. Case in point, he recently gained a certain awareness/appreciation for the fact that he has hands. Mostly, he just balls them into fists and tries to stuff them in their entirety in his mouth, all the while making slobbery, suck/smacking noises, which threatens to drive his mamma a bit crazy. In the past few days, though, I have been watching him explore his ability to interact with other things. Rather than the previous wild flailing about, which would cause random reactions with the various toys within striking distance, he now has started to intentionally reach out and touch things.
He has also started smiling and laughing a whole lot more, which, you know, is just the greatest. While he is not wholly convinced, he is learning to enjoy the jumper chair thing that we have been loaned (among an amazing assortment of other things) from our wonderful new friends here that have a 1 year old daughter.
His neck is also getting much, much stronger, which allows for a whole new range of activities. A few weeks ago we took him on his first snowshoe outings in a pack style carrier that his birth parents gifted us. It worked well, but is also a bit awkward to manage. It is generally fine once he is in it and it is on, but the mounting and dismounting, as it were, is a bit awkward.
However, early on in the purchasing/gift receiving frenzy of his “younger” days we acquired a more elaborate carrier, but we felt we needed to wait until he was a bit stronger to use it. Last weekend we took him on a ~3 mile hike in Petrified Forest NP, one of our favorite nearby places. The day was grand for sure!
Soon, he will be big enough to ride, without his carseat, in the fancy jogging stroller his grandparents got me… I mean us.
But, to dial the clock back a bit to where we left off here last time…
Figuring out the sleeping/feeding/existing schedule took some time. Point of fact, we are still working on the “schedule” though it is getting better. At first we operated in shifts. Since I can, more or less, get to sleep soon after becoming prone, the Wife took the first shift of getting up with him as needed. At some point midway through the night morning, she would then wake and hand the reins, as it were, over to me and I would carry on the rest of the night morning. I have become even more familiar with “four in the morning” than I already had been. The “shift work”routine occurred before we had to go back to our office jobs. At some point we switched to each taking a full night and alternating nights. I am not sure that we always get more sleep with this option than with the other, but on the positive side, he is waking up less frequently than before, so that is something.
Then there is the stuff. The bottles. The clothes. The diapers. The five different new “furniture” items where the Boy can sleep that we now have to navigate, in our ever shrinking domicile. The diapers. The bottles. Granted, we are both, more or less, “systems” type of people, which helps our ability to create routines… but still.
I wouldn’t exchange our new life for any other.
The above description of our new life is likely somewhat similar to the lives of other new parents. Because we initially started this blog to discuss our adoption journey, we wanted to close the loop on the legal quirk of how we officially became new parents. Once we completed all of the initial paperwork…and received results of the paternity/DNA test (I could go on for a long time about the incompetence of the company we selected, but I’ll refrain), we took the next step: making our family official by going to court.
So, after making arrangements and filling out yet more paperwork and scheduling a hearing, we dressed him in an appropriately themed, black and white striped jumper and hat (his jailbird outfit), drove on up to the county seat, found the courthouse, and had, what turned out to be, a rather pleasant experience of making us all official — mostly official.
Once that was accomplished and we had that paperwork in hand, we could then (after waiting an appropriate amount of time for final processing) apply for a new birth certificate. Once that was in hand, which really made everything seem fully official… it had long been very real…we drove to yet a different town to get his Social Security card, the final bit of paperwork in this long and labyrinthine process.
(As a side note — this is the Wife speaking, we discovered several other people at the Social Security office had their own adoption journeys. In fact, one lady was a birthmom – she placed a child with another family 20 years ago. The more we share our story, the more others share theirs with us.)
So here we are, living life as a new family. Wondering all the while at the mystery of it all… and more in love than I ever thought we could be; the Wife, the Boy, the dogs, and me.