Saturday, February 2, 2013

Batman Parenting

Have you ever felt like Batman when you are a parent?  Batman has all the cool gadgets that let him thwart any difficulty that comes his way.  So I have been thinking about what my own child raising/adoption trip must haves are.  Here are some (in no particular order)

Our last day in Shanxi province.  This was in the Wanda Vista hotel lobby.
*  Earplugs - Yup.  I'm going out on a limb here and admitting that I have shoved some earplugs in on more than one occasion on this adoption trip.  I can still hear the screaming, but it sure does take the edge off the high pitched shriek that makes my ears ring.  Every parent out there knows that exact pitch and decibel that kills off the cilia in whichever ear is closer to the screaming child.

I've posted here before that Levi has been grieving hard.  He still has his sad times (especially around nap time) but he's getting more comfortable.  Now, instead of just struggling and wanting to push me away, he is seeking me out for comfort most times.  When he is simultaneously crying so close to my ear I get drool drops in it and still reaching out for comfort, earplugs are like the performance enhancing drug of endurance parenting.

*  Baby Carrier - With a distinctive lack of seat belts in China, I delude myself into thinking having Levi semi-securely attached to my side will keep him safe from the indecipherable traffic. 

Most importantly, the close proximity is one of the top ways to foster attachment.  The more I think about it, the more it feels a bit like enforced Stockholm syndrome.  You know, where the kidnap victims start to empathize with their captors?

Seriously, though, all of the forced physical togetherness is leading to more emotional togetherness, both for Levi and me.  It isn't a popular sentiment to admit, but sometimes the beginning days of adoption feel more like babysitting than regular family time.  Until you develop that parent-child language that is unique to just you and your child, things just aren't always that easy.  I love Levi, just like I love all my children.  But I don't really "know" him yet.

I love the idea of him, the potential of him, what I know of him already.  But we don't have an easy kind of relationship yet - the kind where I know what will set him off and what he will love.  We are both still trying to figure each other out.  He is alternately sweet, silly and seeking out affection and wary, cautious, and belligerent.  He is still figuring out if he can trust me.  He is still trying to decide if it is okay to love this new Mom.  He is still standing with one foot firmly with his past family and one tentatively tiptoeing into his new life with his new family.  Ambiguity is a difficult place to be.

*  A Great Husband - You've all heard me say it before, and I'll say it again.  I could never be the mother to six children without an amazing husband who doesn't just "help out" but is a truly equal co-parent.  He is the reason, at the difficult adoption/parenting moments I can laugh instead of cry.  Maybe he should be upgraded from nifty Batman gadget to my Robin.  He doesn't wear tights, though.

At Levi's immigration medical appointment.  A sweet woman (bless her heart) said that Levi looked like me. 

*  Diaper bags - When you live in a hotel room for weeks, you need scented diaper bags to wrap up the nastiness till housekeeping comes - especially when we forget to remove the "Do Not Disturb" sign and our room isn't cleaned for days. 

*  A Good Camera - All this time, I assumed I was a bad photographer.  We recently got a good Canon camera, and even I can't mess up the pictures.  To finally be able to capture some of these great moments is a wonderful feeling. 

*  God - Last but certainly not least, there is no way I could do any of this crazy parenting stuff without knowing God's got my back.  How in the world could make it through the tough parts, the tiring parts, the heartbreaking parts, without God to see me through it?

Drooling up a storm in the Victory hotel play area.

At the outside patio of the Victory hotel.

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