Our Daughter, newly adopted from China, is a most puzzling and entertaining creature. She is sure of herself and fearless! She is alert and smart. She is surely attached to Cora by now. She DOES NOT like to sleep by herself.
We made her cry it out a couple nights in China. We were getting into a good rhythm and routine, until we had to go to the last hotel and then home. Last night was our first night back. We tried to put her in her crib, but gave in easily, partly due to our own softness, our insecurities, her stubbornness,and the fact that we were both exhausted from the 27 day flight from Hong Kong, during which Chloe tried to wake every passenger at least three times. For the first flight leg, she slept easily, but apparently 747s are much more comfy than Airbus 330s.
Basically, she lulled us into a false sense of security and hope. Ha! What foolish people we are! She boarded the flight nicely. She managed to coo and con herself into the hearts of the flight attendants. They failed to see her fiendish side. She hides that from strangers. She is a genius. An evil genius.
She was beautiful and quiet for the part where the lights are on, bu-ut once they turned down the lights so everyone could sleep away and forget the exceptionally long flight, she began her routine. She is inexplicably adorable around strangers. She coos and clicks and chirps and giggles. She also baby talks. And laughs. Loudly. As slightly seasoned travelers, we have experienced babies before and, I, for one, have been mildly annoyed by their antics. As new parents, we knew she would wake everyone on the plane, annoy them, anger them, and basically keep them from sleeping, and, by the end of the trip, they would be throwing their beef-with-oyster-sauce in-flight dinners at us. we would walk onto US soil dripping oyster sauce. That is not a vision ANYONE wants!
We walked her. We rocked her. We bounced her on our knee. We tickled her. We patted her. We brushed her cheek. We rocked her some more. We cuddled her. We caressed her. We fed her (In fact, I fed her so many times, the flight attendants and I had a very close relationship by the end of the flight, each one was aware of her specific needs, our history, and our general family dynamic). We cooed sweet nothings in her ear. We rocked her. We bounced her...we EVEN let her watch CAR-TOONS! We sat with her, through out the flight. Finally, somewhere near Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CANADA, she fell asleep.
We had hoped, wrongly, obviously, that she might sleep the entire flight, thereby, converting her to our time (PST) and leaving the "jet-lag" demon behind...not so our lovely Chloe. She delved deep into her soul and she found will power the likes that the people at the Alamo never knew! She managed to stay awake! Until the last two hours of flight, which seemed to me, nothing more than thumbing her nose at us. WE EVEN SPIKED HER BOTTLE with Benadryl (We tried it before and she flopped out of consciousness like a little fish out of an open-topped aquarium). She has the will of a mule!
She slipped off to la-la land near Vancouver, like I said, as if to thumb her nose at us. She finally slept and we made it through touch down before she awoke. We walked into the airport, happy to be home, and began the check-in process and dealt with customs and immigration. Our sweet Chloe awoke bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to meet a new populace...and bewitch them, take away their will, and enslave them. She was adorable while we waited for the guys in immigration to approve our paperwork and make her a citizen. She was alert while we searched for our luggage. She was interested to meet her maternal grandparents when they came to take us home. She was NOT amused by the car-seat and made her disapproval known...loudly. Perhaps it was exhaustion that had me visualizing her plan of world domination, perhaps just insight into her little personality so far...
We got home and she met her new family with dignity befitting a royal heir. She allowed us to take a nap and herself to be entertained by her aunts and cousin, until she finally deigned to take a nap herself. After that, she had a meltdown, and yet, others (people who don't know her) judged her to be sweet, but tired.
We entertained her for the next few hours, until Cora felt sick and tired and some combination of the two, plus some nausea to top it off. I sent her to bed to sleep it off, promising to take care of and entertain Chloe. She and I had a great time. I let her crawl to a certain point until she was almost out of sight, then I would retrieve her and place her back on the stuffed (NOT REAL) tiger we bought her months ago at Costco. I read her stories and played with her animals to keep her occupied. Cora got lots of precious sleep. I fed her a bottle of lava. Finally, she began to get that glazed over look that signifies her eventual succumbing to sleep.
I picked her up gently. I swept her into her bedroom and let her down gently into the crib. She looked at me with that beautiful gaze, she blinked gently, and let out a raucous cry. KAY-RAP!
Cora awoke and we tried to let her cry it out. No dice. So, Cora picked her up and then she quieted down. By this time, I was tired and having difficulty stringing three words together for a sentence. Cora told me to go to bed. I did, and slept soundly. I was only dimly aware of the two of them entering the bed sometime later.
I awoke to Cora telling me not to let the baby roll off the bed, and that she had left a pillow in the way, just in case Chloe tried. I awoke to something moving next to me, I was about to tell Toby to lay down when it dawned on me that my daughter was next to me smiling into my face. I rolled over and put on my glasses, she has the most adorable smile. I melted and picked her up and we went in to find Mom.
We had a good day. She met her other aunt and seemed to like her. She was an angel. We went for a walk and she fell asleep. She snored. We got home and she awoke.
We made the lasagna that Cora had stashed in the freezer in December. Chloe ate her portion of sweet potatoes. Life was good. Daughter began to nod. We decided she needed to go to bed. We put her gently in her crib. She cried. We did not respond. Then she upped the ante. She began to wail! We checked her every five to ten minutes to make sure she was ok. Each time we gently lay her back down, told her to go to sleep and then left the room after covering her.
Finally, about forty minutes into this trial of patience and will-power, she began to soften her cries, they became muffled. We worried and checked. Cora found her sitting up-right and nodding off. She tried to lower Chloe to a horizontal position, but Chloe has a mercury-switch in her bottom or something and she sensed the change of attitude. She awoke and cried some more. At one point, Cora witnessed from the hallway, an afghan, laid upon the edge of the crib, being slowly pulled to the center of the crib. About ten minutes later, the cries had quieted and there was nothing coming from the room. I slipped in, and by the dim light I saw her sitting up.
As she sat up, just as Cora had described, she wobbled. Each time she came close to falling over, her cat-like reflexes caught her and she staggered vertical again, chin on her chest. She obviously was so close to sleep that she simply had no more fight in her. I gently lay a hand on her shoulder. She noticed the application of pressure, but rather than fighting, let herself be lowered. She lay down. I covered her with the blanket and her lovey. Cora came in, disbelieving that I had just tamed the un-tameable, and stared. I made sure to cover Chloe with her newly acquired afghan blanket, since she was laying atop the others she had begun the night with. Her eyes opened briefly, but, surprising to both of us, no noise came from her lips. Then she tucked the blanket to her and went to sleep.
As I wrote this post, I succumbed to the grasp of sleep. I awoke to a strained neck and several thousand unnecessary letter J's and brackets on the screen, as I floundered out of my chair, Cora came sleepily down the hallway to check on both of us, me in my chair, and Chloe in her room. I followed Cora quickly to bed. I was just on the outer region of sleep when I heard my lovely daughter awake. Not quite being asleep, I leaped up and checked her. I changed her diaper and gave her a bottle, setting her, in good-parent-fashion, upon the stove while I made her bottle. As we have come to expect, she threw some things off to the floor, mostly potholders and the like, but Dad's cat-like reflexes kept things like steel pots and glass lids from finding their way floor-ward.
I managed to produce a bottle in record time, which I attribute to the microwave, and fed her a lava bottle, which she quickly dispatched back in her crib. I let her finish it and covered her up, then retreated to my chair for the rest of this post, only to hear a drumming sound half-way through the last paragraph. I investigated and my baby girl was sideways in her crib checking each bar for tones. I laid her strait, added a heavy blanket and retreated, turning off the night light as I left...I still hear a giggle now and then, but not drumming...perhaps she will sleep!
So this is parenthood...I don't mind it too much. As long as Cora is around for the hard parts!
Speaking of which, my lovely wife conned me today. About 4PM she asked if I wanted to do a diaper change. I said I did not. She noted that I had not changed a diaper since last night some time and that in fairness, I should try to do a few a day to keep up with her. I begrudgingly agreed. She said she thought the Kid needed a change, and handed said kid to me.
Now, please remember I am new to this gig. I have been a parent for about two weeks. Not A LOT of time, parentally speaking. An experienced parent might have smelled the bottom of the child first before accepting his charge. I did not. I, dumbly, at this moment, accepted the child blindly and openly into my arms. I walked down the hall, noting that my wonderful wife was following. Odd. I said, "I can DO this on my own." She said, innocently, that she was just coming along to help. I accepted, since I have learned not to turn down free help.
I buckled the child into the changing table and started to disrobe her. Off came the socks, then the pants, then the tights, then the onesy (Stupid name for a garment, by the way). I readied a diaper and Cora was fumbling with the wipes, a new box, purchased just today. I decided not to wait. I opened up the diaper...
not just pee...as I was expecting. No. Not pee. Well, not JUST pee. This diaper had a more heinous, more toxic substance inside. A substance that defies description. Its color, no, its smell weakened my knees. I looked back at Cora and saw she was fighting hard to keep a grin off her face while she fought with the wipes box. I knew I had been had.
My first diaper happened in China. I was a diaper virgin. I soon learned the ins and outs, whilst managing to avoid the dangerous diapers, thanks much to Cora's experience and luck. This time, however, my lovely wife had detected a dangerous diaper and managed to keep this toxic secret to herself. I had been gotten. Devious.
I dealt with said diaper, while trying not to gag and not to spread the toxic/hazardous substance. I managed fairly well after the initial shock and Cora's guffaws. I will have to be nicer to Cora from here on out, though!