Saturday, May 29, 2010

In The Swim of Things

Imagine here a photo of Israel, cute as a button in his one piece zip up the back swimsuit that covers his whole body like a onesie (shorts/tshirt in one), and he arrives at the pool where we are members for the summer season for the very first time, and he is like, let me at it! 

I barely have time to get ready before he is in the water trying to blow bubbles, choking, and trying again.  Let's not compare children and remember that it took some other child years to put his face that close to the water.  So I have a swimmer now.  He starts swim lessons in two weeks -- I sure can't teach him!  (As a Leo, I have always hated the water.)

When people find out Israel has only been here three weeks, they are amazed.  He seems very comfortable in the world.  He projects a lot of confidence.  He terrifies his older brother who is sure that Izzy will outgrow and out-everything him in the next month or so.  You would think this would make Eddie nicer to him, but it doesn't seem to work that way.   

Click:  Izzy sitting on his beach chair eating pistachio nuts -- he can shell them himself.
Click:  Izzy running in the grass with the enormous beach ball he got from our neighbor Jackie -- the running is underscored by the music of his constant laughter, almost hysteria.  I have never known a happier guy.
Click:  Izzy tackling the laughing Eddie who has the ball now. 
Click:  Izzy trusting me to support him in the water, on his back, kicking his legs and smiling up at me. 
Click:  Izzy jumping into the water -- and I catch him!

Yes, it is hard for Edward to watch his mother fall in love with someone else.  I do try to show Edward as much love as I can these days, but it is hard to be loving toward someone who keeps taunting, hitting and pinching my new baby, even if my new babe is very able to defend himself.  Izzy's newest word, practiced repeatedly in the car on the way to the pool: STOP! 

Izzy is so quick to copy Eddie, it shocks Eddie, but it hasn't yet made him think twice.  I now have two boys who open their mouths to show me their chewed food (pistachios are amazingly green, the same color as my brand-new -- thanks honey -- pedicure), two boys who try to stick their tongues up their own noses, two boys who come into the kitchen only to bless me with their farts!  (That last one isn't really Eddie's fault -- I think boys just do this automatically on their own without having to be trained.)

And that is the news -- tomorrow will be Izzy's first day at the beach!!!! 

Big Hellos to Donna who is following this now.  Hope all is well in California! xoxoxo Emma

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Lead Report

That's not lead as in "into temptation" but lead as in pencil, only pencils don't have real lead in them anymore, because children suck on them, and lead is dangerous to children and other living beings. 

So Israel has lead poisoning, but he's fine -- smart as a whip actually, very super-curious and happy.  And yet the Department of Health takes an interest in children with venous lead levels over zero (translation: blood tests, not pinprick tests, that come back with any level over zero, and Israel is at 19 -- hospitalization starts at 45 with emergency chelation as a remedy).  I will let you know what the treatment is for 19 when I get to that appointment, sometime next week. I have heard that eggs are good for taking lead out of the body, as in eating eggs, which might explain why Israel eats 6-10 eggs a day lately.

So J. from the Dept of Health (the DOH) returned this morning for a three hour tour (cue the Gilligan's Island music please) of my apartment, the same apartment I have lived in since just after 9/11, the apartment I have neglected to clean since my first son was about four (2007) when I decided it was better to just have fun with him than to stress about cleanliness.  This has done wonders for our relationship, and we've also seen record growth in terms of our dust levels. 

J. was very nice, and I had the feeling he would have rather hung out and watched Sesame Street's "Do the Alphabet with Baby Bear" on dvd than interview me on his laptop about Israel's medical history (of which I know basically nothing), but we got through the interview. 

"I am so sorry I have to ask you this, but do you know where his mother was born?"

I was so relieved to have such a simple question to answer.  "No," I told him. 

"Well, I guess I will just put you down as his mother, and add a little note at the end explaining the situation." 

His computer allowed for such things as Israel being born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- it was part of a pull down list for answer 17a on his form.  J. told me that most of the lead cases seen in New York come from Bangladesh.  (I am making up the part about 17a -- I didn't track his work that well, but it's important to be specific when writing, and it was a pull-down list anyway, and didn't it sound good?)

After the interview he used a hand-held machine pressed against my walls, door, mouldings, frames etc, to measure lead.  He had a control to check that his machine was working -- a four inch by six inch lead paint sample on a piece of wood, and he regularly made sure his machine was working, moving from the wall to the lead paint sample and back again.  After each area was measured, he would enter the data in his laptop.  He told me how I was doing as he went along. 

My apartment was built in 1926.  Lead paint was outlawed in 1978.  I know my place was painted in 2001, and because I have small children, I wasn't intending to repaint until I can trust that these children won't Sharpie the walls (again), so I was anticipating the college years as a good time to repaint.  The DOH threw my plans into a whirlpool of worry that my mind used to spin out all sorts of scenarios where I would have to move out of my home with my boys and live in a hotel off a highway surrounded by blinking neon all night surviving on popcorn and take-out pizza (impossible being gluten/dairy and soy free in this nightmare vision), so I would slowly suffer and then die from all my currently barely-under-control digestive issues and simultaneously go broke from renovation and medical bills!

In reality, my apartment is lead-free.  It is full of toothpaste masquerading as caulk, but toothpaste is also lead-free.  My windowsills are peeling -- J. recommended contact paper since it is waterproof, and I have plants.  I can't wait to go out and find fabulous contact paper!  Lest I celebrate too soon, my door and the doorframe in the hallway (outside my apartment) is full of lead and received the very official red LEAD stamp that the DOH uses to designate places where there is lead -- barely discernible on the mauve doorframe.  I do not feel even a bit like Hester Prynne, well, maybe a teensy bit, but in a good way, like I've always wanted to be a bit like a famous character in a book that everyone is supposed to have read. 

I have no idea what I am supposed to do about my door and doorframe, but J. said the DOH will let me know.  In the meantime, Israel went to the playground today, loved the slide and learned to climb the castle-like structures, actually accepted that it was too cool to play in the sprinkler even though it was on and looked like fun, attended violin class with Eddie, worked on tying and untying his sneakers, ate his sandwich without fuss, enjoyed carrots dipped in mwamba (peanut butter in Lingala, and doesn't it taste more like mwamba than peanut butter?), and fell asleep a happy boy in the trundle beside his big brother. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Letting Go of Expectations, Loving What Is

So I thought that we would have a Welcome Home Party for Israel around the end of June.  A medium sized gathering (for us that means about 50-75 people) in the park with soccer balls, our soccer goal and cones, and a soccer ball full of candy to hang from a tree and beat with a stick til all the candy falls out and the children swarm.  Israel is into soccer, only he calls it football.  I imagined we would also surprise my husband with a 50th Birthday Cake since he turned 50 in the Congo and we never got to celebrate.  To make this happen I would need to send in my parks department request immediately, and I just can't do it. 

Sorry to everyone who is waiting for the invite to this event.  It isn't coming right now.  I feel totally overwhelmed with our life right now.  I cannot plan this event until I am no longer overwhelmed.  I know that by the end of June, I will feel much much better.  I will be spending five days a week at our pool, one day a week at the beach, and one day a week at home.  No more downtown, no more subways, no more walking everywhere carrying enough water and food for the entire day for three people, no more desperately trying to stay connected to my four year old on a busy sidewalk when he is frightened by each passing dog, every homeless person, and many other sights, sounds, sirens and random grown-ups. 

The adoption books talk about his anxiety as pervasive, and maybe it is -- supposedly he is constantly worried if he is safe, if he is where he will stay, if I will leave him, if Papa will leave him, if he will be okay, loved, fed, housed, clothed, and on and on.  A lot of the time I actually see these thoughts move round in his busy brain, and then, thankfully, he gets interested in something (a friend's electronic piano, his drums, the computer, the printer, how a door works, how a lightswitch works, the stepstool and how to reach what he can't reach, music, his tricycle...) and he is totally absorbed with that thing and the worries go away. 

I think life at the pool will be calmer and simpler.  I imagine him exploring the grass, the concrete, the water, the shade, the sun, the mushroom-shaped fountain in the toddler area, kickboards and swim-noodles. He loves to splash water into his own face, so I am hoping he will love the pool.

By the end of June, I will be able to begin to plan this event.  Since no one is around in August, I can get a date from the parks department for early September.  This is my current plan.  At this party, I want to honor all the people who helped bring Israel home -- the ones who wrote letters to recommend Scott and I as parents; the ones who helped us get things done, because there was so much to get done; and all of you who offered us so much support.  It has been a long, strange trip, (a la J. Garcia) and we will look back on this and it will all seem funny (a la Bruce), 

Right now Israel would be overwhelmed by it all.  Especially since we have birthday parties galore to attend in the upcoming six weeks.  I am looking forward to teaching Israel that we honor each person on their birthday with wishes and gifts and sugar.  But until he sees a few other parties, he won't be interested in his own. 
What is happening here that is wonderful is that today Israel learned how to pedal his tricycle (thanks again Kate!).  This was no small feat with his muscles being very low in tone -- he never got a chance to use his leg muscles in the Congo.  His feet roll in and splay out, and the orthopedic doctor said he just needs to wear his new sneakers with support inside, and use his feet, and he is, and he is loving it.  After learning to cycle on his own, Papa showed up to watch.  Israel beamed with pride. 

Every time he sees an airplane, he gets very excited, smiles wide and says, "avion!  Papa!"  and he waves, as if Papa is still on the plane.  (Avion is French for airplane.)  He loves that he was on a plane with Papa.  Me too.  Papa too.  Even Eddie is starting to love it. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Department of Health

Bringing a new child into my home is not the easiest thing I've ever tried to do.  Certainly it rates with finally quitting smoking (eleven years ago this summer, yay!) and having a baby.  Bringing a sick child home is even harder.  My beautiful little four year old doesn't seem to feel sick or act sick, but according to all the tests, he is sick.  Quite sick.  Israel has TB and lead poisoning.  So the Department of Health has become quite involved in my life.   TB and lead poisoning are "public health issues" and the DOH takes them (as they should) very seriously.  So on top of adjusting to life with a new child, my family and I are also adjusting to life with the DOH. 

I have to prove to the DOH that we are giving Israel his medicine.  For TB, he takes four different anti-biotics that I have to crush and mix with maple syrup and rice milk and administer through a syringe into the back of his mouth, making sure he swallows every drop.  (If a child doesn't swallow, the DOH recommends holding his nostrils closed to force him to swallow in order to open his mouth to breathe.  I can tell you that this is quite an effective method.)  To prove I am doing this, I can either wait all day until my recently assigned caseworker arrives or go to the DOH with my two boys and administer the medicine there in front of the nurse. 

Friday I spent the entire day waiting for my caseworker to arrive.  At eleven am the door buzzed, and a voice said they were from the DOH.  I was thrilled to be able to get this out of the way.  I flung open the door and welcomed a man I'd never seen before. 

"Is that peeling paint?"  he said, staring at my steel-exposed door. 

J.  is from the DOH, lead division.  He had come because I didn't answer my phone yesterday.  Israel has lead in his blood, and my home needs an assessment.  He scheduled a three hour tour for this coming Thursday.  He inspected my window guards.  He shook his head at what he seemed to assume was lead dust everywhere.  He lectured me on children eating paint chips from off the floor.  While J. lectured, Israel ran hysterically through the house with different plastic objects in his mouth. 

"You know you shouldn't let him put anything but food in his mouth," J. told me. 
 I nodded and agreed with J. 
 "You own this place, right?"
 I could only nod again.
 "You know that you will have to do whatever we recommend," J. said shaking his head sadly.
 I could feel my heart pounding in my chest.  As soon as he left, I got out my HEPA vacuum. 

My TB caseworker was kind enough to call me at noon and remind me that yesterday she had mentioned that she wasn't coming til the afternoon, but I had been flushing syringes into Israel's mouth and forcing him to swallow while holding down his arms and nose and responding to my seven year old head-butting me and whining to be allowed to use my ipod in a room the size of my bathroom with two nurses from the DOH watching, so I never did realize (until that moment) I could have taken the boys to the park all morning.  But then I would have missed the lead guy!  She then explained that her car had broken down on 100th Street so she would be a while longer.

Israel is supposed to take his medicine about an hour after eating.  At home on my own, I feed him breakfast and give him his meds an hour later.  But I had held his lunch, hoping to feed him after his meds.  I fed him as soon as I got her call thinking she would be late.  Israel eats a lot when he eats, so he sat down at quarter after twelve to dine, and he spent about an hour at the table.  He ate salmon salad with crackers (his first request).  He ate a turkey sandwich with salad and honey mustard (because he saw his brother eat one).  He waits patiently in between courses preferring to watch me cook from a chair he likes to stand on beside the counter.  He ate a bowl of rice and beans (because he said he was still hungry).

When my caseworker called again at one, because Israel was still eating, I was almost relieved that she still hadn't shown up.  She was calling to tell me that even though I corrected the paperwork at the DOH the day before (in that little room I mentioned with my two boys struggling for my attention), I guess I hadn't been emphatic enough, because she was lost.  Her paperwork still read, "Israel Seaman on Sherman Avenue" instead of Israel Sherman on Seaman. 

When she did show-up, I had to give Israel his medicine.  I couldn't say, "he just had lunch", so I gave him his medicine, and he ran to the toilet and made retching sounds.  I told him he wasn't allowed to throw up and rushed him to the kitchen where I handed him ice cubes to suck on.  He didn't get any ice in the Congo, so the novelty and the coolness helped to keep him from puking his meds. (Or maybe it was the desperate look on my face.)

I asked the caseworker about the schedule for the following week, but she couldn't promise me anything better than "some time after noon".  I tried to explain that I just couldn't do that, and she asked me if I worked.  I tried to explain that I homeschool, and that we have classes to attend, and she looked at me like a basset hound might look at a rabbit doing a handstand.  I tried to explain that I had to take my other son to French class on Tuesday morning and that on Wednesday morning Israel starts Early Music Classes, plus we have recess and playgroups and violin three times a week plus Hebrew School in the afternoons.

"Well," she told me, sweet little old lady that she is, "you have to do what you have to do." 

It was decided that I would take Israel to the DOH every day according to my own schedule for the next six months.  With the meds and the milk and the maple syrup, the spoon and the dish to crush the meds, and the funnel for the little bottle and the syringe to shoot it down his throat, and maybe a leash to keep him from running in the hall there.  And new ipod programming for my big boy.

J. in the lead department is completely unconcerned with Israel's health, because his lead number is too low to chelate according to the DOH, and yet it is high enough to warrant two visits from a man who I am sure my tax dollars are paying.  I wonder what Israel thinks of all this.   

Israel will probably never even remember that this happened, whether or not we paint the windowsills or have a gut renovation.  He won't recall the little room where we went for six months where Eddie whined while he drank strange stuff shaken up in that tiny bottle with the green lid that made him pee bright orange all day.  He will probably only ever talk about the day he first had ice.   

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day Seven with Izzy (same as FB notes pretty much)

Today Israel spent the morning with his Papa, and after Eddie and I had our private time at the Ice Show, we picked up Israel and took him to School for Strings.  He has already visited and attended Eddie's private violin lesson with the inimitable Mr Lieb on Tuesday.  I explained he had to be quiet, and he immediately requisitioned my notebook and pen and took notes throughout the lesson -- tiny scrawl writing with his left hand from right to left (backwards) reminiscent of the finest doctors or Cy Twombly on acid.  When Mr Lieb harmonized with Eddie, Israel stood up to listen with his entire body. 

When I told Israel we were going to School for Strings to see Eddie's lesson, he packed his "sacky" (Thomas train knapsack) with paper and markers to play with while Eddie attended music theory class.  For group violin Israel sat still for the entire forty-five minutes during which time he listened and watched, and when he was bored he would work on removing or replacing his sneakers and socks, tying and untying the laces.  He has never had sneakers or socks before.  He loved the class, and if you ask him, "Izzy, do you want to learn to play the violin?" he quickly answers, "YES!"

Violin takes place on the fourth floor, and I don't know if Israel has ever dealt with walking up or down steps before, but he is certainly interested in learning how.  Today, after we got to the bottom, he turned around and ran back up all four flights while I chased him (both of us laughing all the way) with the violin on my back and my purse filled with snacks and stainless steel water bottles.  

Israel runs to see his Papa, as soon as he gets home.  Papa asked him, "did you have fun at school?"  and Israel said, "YES!"  He starts an Early Childhood Music class in a week and a half, and he'll interview with the School for Strings to start classes in the fall on the instrument of his choice, but we're pretty sure he'll choose violin.  I feel so blessed to have two children from two different continents moving in the same direction. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day Two

Papa took big brother Eddie out for a new baseball bat, so Israel and I went to the park.  We said good-bye to Papa, and I set about teaching Israel the abstract terms "away" and "back".  He was very anxious as soon as Papa left.  As we got ready to go outside, he insisted on wearing a Thomas Train backpack that we hung by his yellow fireman's raincoat near the front door.  I don't know how he knew it was his, but he knew.  He looked like a little runaway!

We walked out to the park, hand in hand, passing the parking lot where we park our car.  I pointed out that Papa took the car and went "away" to open the discussion.  I tried to take him to the swings to show him "away" and "back", but he wouldn't get into the swing.  Of course, I thought, he isn't ready for "away" and "back" -- look how anxious he is!  He keeps asking, "ou est Papa?"  The swing was the last thing he needed.  All he really needed from me was "back"!  So I picked him up and held him.  He relaxed slowly in my arms.  I weighed him this morning, and he is twenty five pounds, and then the backpack, so I couldn't walk carrying him all morning.  We had to keep finding quiet places to sit.  He sat facing me so that we could play "away" -- I rock him away from me -- and "back" -- I pull him close to me.  I kept talking about how Papa would come back.  I even pointed to my head and told him that I knew Papa would come back, and then I pointed to my heart and repeated I knew and I could feel that Papa would come back.  He mimicked everything I did, but he thought about it a lot, and he seemed to really take in the idea that Papa would come back. 

Whenever there were people around, he was markedly nervous and shut down.  I took this to mean that he was worried I would hand him over to someone else.  I talked to him about this directly, in both languages.  I said, Mama is Mama and there are no other Mamas and no other Papas for Izzy.  Izzy is home with Mama and Papa and Eddie, and no one else.  (We don't use caregivers, so this sort of talk works for us.  We fully expect never to leave him without one of us with him for at least many months, probably at least a year.  We don't often have caregivers for Eddie.  In our culture, this is far from the norm, but it works for us.  We homeschool, so we really are hands-on parenting most of the time.  I have Monday nights out, but I probably won't take a Monday night for a while right now during this critical bonding period.  Scott has Thursday nights out.  We try to give each other small breaks of a few hours over the weekends.  I go to the gym at a ridiculously early hour in the morning.  Scott works mostly from home.)  When a child has been recently handed over to someone, and then taken to the other side of the globe, that child knows that anything can happen because anything has happened.  I keep trying to reassure him that he is safe with us. 

With my first biological child, I felt intensely mortal all the time.  I couldn't reassure him that I would be around, because I literally felt I could die at any moment.  Now I feel immortal, because it seems to me impossible that after coming all the way around the world, my second son should have to go through any more intense loss (at least for the time being). 

We saw the ducks and the pigeons and the robin redbreasts.  We went to the Inwood Hill Nature Center and saw the mummichogs (fish) and the turtles with long necks and the snake.  We got to pet stuffed (real) ducks.  We saw a man play a dulcimer.  We stopped to watch a lot of the number one pastime in our beautiful park -- baseball!  He learned about the diamond and the bases.  He learned colors in French and English.  And all of this in slow motion, while I carried him, while he worried about Papa, and I kept on repeating the lesson of the day ("away" and "back").  He holds onto me.  He looks into my eyes more and more especially in the mirror, like when we brush our teeth.  He searches me out when we are near the mirror, because it is less threatening to make contact this way.  We were relaxed for a lot of the time.  And then we saw Papa with Eddie playing baseball on the second field, and Izzy learned "back"!  Papa comes back!  Papa helped him hit a line drive.  He is already starting to love baseball. 

He does not love the dog near him while he eats, and he had his first tantrum telling me this.  I put the dog in the bedroom during our meals now.  So far she hasn't complained. 

Later Izzy and I walked Shug while Papa and Eddie went to the basketball courts, and again Papa comes back!  We celebrated Shabbat with candles and blessings.  Food is good.  Sleep is good.  In bed, Izzy chanted "Izzy home, Papa home, Mama home, Eddie home, Meshugunah home."  (Yes, he says the dog's full name!)  He chose me to put him to bed tonight.  Afterwards I played Rummy 600 with Eddie and read three chapters of <> by Kate DiCamillo.  Then we talked about his feelings, and I told him stories about growing up with a little sister (don't worry K) that will not be repeated or blogged about, ever. 

Tomorrow is Little League!  I think if I can just keep trying to seeing things from Izzy's point of view, I will be able to help him feel safe with us.  And with safety comes relaxation and trust, so that bonding can happen.  Bonding is so nicely built into biological parenting, and yet feels so forced with adoptive parenting in the beginning with an "older" child who has no reason to trust anyone.  Every time I start a new bonding game, it feels strange to me, but when I see him smile, I'm all endorphins.  

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Izzy is in the House!

Eddie and I got up at 6am to meet Scott and Izzy at the airport.  I am not a regular driver, so I white-knuckled it all the way to JFK with the MapQuest directions on the steering wheel the whole time.  Izzy came out of customs riding on the luggage, calm, sitting the way toddlers sit, back straight as if held up by a balloon.  He looked just like his pictures.  He fussed when he saw me, wanting only his Papa.  I have been reading <> by Patty Cogen, (thanks Diane!) so I knew that this behavior was normal and expected and didn't take it personally.  

After greeting all the other new parents with their children and hearing about how they all love my husband (he is an awesome dude, if I say so myself!), I handed out the one-handed bubbles and the placemats, and we went to the car.  I should have told the other new parents that the reason I bought the bubbles was because if your child freaks out about the car seat, the bubbles work well as a distraction.  Boy was I glad we had the bubbles! 

At home, the first thing we did was greet Meshugunah.  Our shih tzu "Shug" is a very sweet black and white fifteen pound mop of love.  She desperately wanted to meet the newest member of our pack.  Izzy was terrified.  We sat with him on the sofa while he stared at this creature on the rug, careful to keep his feet as far away from it as possible, while Edward hugged Shug and petted Shug and showed Izzy how lovable she is.  
After about fifteen long minutes of this, he noticed blocks to stack and then a bin full of plastic superheros and matchbox cars.  Carefully avoiding the dog, but no longer panicked, he took handfuls of toys up to the sofa until he had amassed his own stash which he enjoyed playing with for much of the day, on and off. 

Next stop was the kitchen where Mama (me) had put on a pot of rice and the slow cooker was full of pinto beans.  He ate at the kitchen table with beautiful manners, a napkin on his lap, holding his spoon well -- he was not at all interested in being fed.  Still, all day long, as much as possible, I made eye contact with him whenever I could, especially while eating.  He tried sweet potatoes.  He can count -- I gave him three meatballs, but he asked for four!  He tried a cut up grape tomato.  He tried ketchup and maple syrup, separately.  He ignored cucumber.  He had some of Papa's salad including the red onion, and he seemed to really like the radish.  He poured out the "sauce" from the beans and rice onto another plate with help and encouragement from me.  I don't know how I understood that he wanted to do this, but I did.

Traveling with Papa, he had baggies of gluten free organic cheerio-type cereal, and he would often go into "his" backpack and retrieve a bag of these and carry these around.  I explained several times that he could keep the closed bag in his pocket or he could eat them in the kitchen.  He knows not to eat them in the living room.  He repeated what I said about "dans la cuisine".  (I am speaking in French and English even though he speaks neither - he speaks Lingala and babbles away as if we can understand him.  We nod and try to decipher whatever it is he said.)   

After snacks, I gave him a bath and changed his clothes.  He splashed and was very happy in the tub.  He isn't afraid of getting water in his eyes at all.  Eddie said, "what a great swimmer he will be!"  He put on pants, but realized he was too warm, and he took me over to his closet, opened the pants drawer himself, and I helped him take off his pants and put on shorts.  I taught him that instead of leaning on the furniture to take his pants on and off, he can lean on me.  Later when I helped him into his pajamas, he did lean on me!

We have a few phrases -- ca va (French for "it goes", as in, "how's it going?").  Ca va bien (it goes well), and ca va mieux (it goes better).  He says a few other things that we can understand, a Lingala word for toilet, and the sound "my" which is important and accompanies fidgeting and searching, but I have no idea what it means. 

Outside we took a walk to the soccer field where we met the bird man Jim who has huge parrots on his shoulder and another bird in a cage.  Eddie got to pet and hold the big birds.  Then Izzy climbed into my arms and stayed there, resting his head on my face for long periods of time until we came home again.  He is not light!  Definitely over twenty pounds.  Hopefully almost thirty! 

Then Papa decided to have some alone time with Eddie outside, and as soon as he left, Izzy got agitated, stopped eating, went to the book that Papa had probably read to him a million times and threw it on the floor and stomped on it.  I tried to explain in every language imaginable that Papa will come back, but I knew that he needed more reassurance than that.  So we went out again.

We easily found Papa and Eddie playing ball in the park.  Izzy made it clear that he had to join in, and he did.  The baseball game became a soccer game (with Izzy's new soccer ball), and they all had a blast together.  Izzy has a great sense of humor, and sometimes instead of kicking the ball, when he finally got it, he would just sit on it and laugh!

After more beans and rice than I've ever seen anyone eat, he went to play in the family bed, and when Eddie came in, he said, "come on up, Eddie!"  Eddie immediately hopped onto the bed and then did a bellyflop and Izzy copied him exactly.  Eventually Israel went to sleep on Papa's shoulder in the family bed.  It was five thirty.  What a glorious day!  I did four loads of laundry, and Eddie and I have been finding homes for all the amazing artifacts and sculptures and masks that Scott brought home.  Eddie hung up a few things with his own hammer and nails as a surprise - wow!

Time to walk the dog and clean the rest of the kitchen.  I put Eddie to sleep after reading <> by Roald Dahl.  I know Eddie likes his baby brother because he shared his meatballs with him.  And I know that Izzy likes his big brother because Israel shared his cereal with Eddie.  When Izzy went up to Eddie's violin, Eddie played for him, and Izzy started a rhythm on the big new drum Papa brought home for Eddie (we'll get one for Izzy on Saturday for his birthday), and the rhythm was a perfect match for the song!  Then Izzy bowed on the violin and held Eddie's box violin under his chin.  It's the beginning of a beautiful relationship...    

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Night Before Izzy

'Twas the night before Izzy, and all through the house,
not a dust mote was falling, nor fridge-emptying spouse...

I am trying to think of what I still need to do -- put the quilt back over the velvet couch;  prep my husband's coffee for tomorrow to take to the airport at 7am as a surprise;  prep his salad for lunch tomorrow, so I won't have to tear myself away from my new little boy;  comet the bathroom sink.  (I am not a great cleaner, but I have been cleaning in sections all week, so over three days I managed the tub, and then in one day the toilet, and I still haven't done the sink.  So tonight, the sink!)  I'd also like to clean up the dining room table that we use as our schoolroom, but I don't know if that will happen.  If I can't sleep, it will, but I may just go to sleep.  

I have laid out the clothes I will wear to the airport -- forest green linen capri pants with a forest green floral print dress on top.  I can't wear short dresses without pants underneath.  I just feel too naked. 

I will probably make a list of stuff to take with me -- food for the car in case we are stuck forever in traffic, presents for the other new parents (bubble things that you can use with one hand -- you just squeeze and the blow-circle pops up full of bubble juice -- I find these very calming for the parent because of all the deep breathing you get to do, and bubbles are always fascinating for the child).  I also got them alphabet placemats, the wipe-off kind, with Africa as the letter A. 

What else?  Try to remember that I can do this.  I'll be fine.  I am totally terrified.  I can breathe and be okay with my feelings.  My son Eddie is thrilled and excited.  I keep trying not to hyperventilate.  He is sound asleep.  I am going to alphabetize the fridge alphabet letters. 

This is sort of like labor.  I thought he would be here this morning, but he won't be here until tomorrow, and I am once again dreading parenthood.  Lots of blood!  Cramping rather heavily - it's my period, day two.  Sort of just like the second day of labor.  Only easier.  Four years gestation.  No pushing to do at all.  No nerve damage or paralysis.  No emergency c-section. 

I had two hours to myself this afternoon while Eddie went to Hebrew School.  I bought the bubble things I mentioned.  I went to Fairway.  I went to Sephora and bought concealer and lipstick.  The guy at the checkout asked me if I wanted a regular shopper's card, and I said, "no, I know I won't be here for at least another four years."  And I am sure I won't, because it took me until Eddie was seven to go there to buy make-up.  I didn't have time to wear any when he was younger than that.  I was so focused on him, I didn't  even mind.  Hopefully, one look at Israel tomorrow, and it will be years before I mind again.  Because whether or not I mind, I won't have the time or the band-width to deal with make-up, so it's much nicer if I don't mind.  

I think I'm as ready as I'll ever be.