I keep getting phony e-card emails insisting that someone has sent me an e-card and then it turns out to be some fishing thing or a virus attempt (Mac User here: haha on YOU virus senders!).
Anyway, it's pretty sad and pathetic to get all excited that someone sent me a card only to find it's a hoax. Kind of feels like being the awkward girl the class put up for homecoming queen as a practical joke.
That would be a stream-of-conciousness post from me. I don't promise that I won't edit it, though.
Two kids means zero time of brain power for blogging, yet lots of thoughts throughout the day that just escape into the ether unappreciated because no one around is of age to discuss them with, or at least to respond intelligently.
Today, Nat was watching Sesame Street and Selina was having a mid-way bottle break (it takes her two or three rounds to finish off a bottle) and I had clean dishes to unload, so I plopped her on a Boppy my mom gave us that has the little toy bar thingys and went to unload the dishes. As expected, Selina liked that for about 45 seconds, after which, she started to cry. I heard Nat move in Selina's direction, so I sneaked a peak through the kitchen door to make sure she didn't smother baby sister, and what did I see? Nat sitting there on her knees, patting Selina gently on the tummy and saying "baby Seena, what wrong? What wrong? What wrong, baba Seena?" very sweetly.
Now that's just darned awesome.
I wasn't slinging Selina, because the chiropractor says I can't for an undetermined period of time. I can't lift Nat at all. And my back is still pretty much in constant pain except for the first hour after David puts this stuff on it called "Bio Freeze" (no link--google it--this is stream-of-consciousness). And now Cole has a cold and David has a cold and Nat's fever is gone, leaving her with a dry cough.
I am using her illness as an excuse to ban the sandbox. Her baby sitters--who do not have to give her baths--just love to let Nat play with other kids in the sandbox at the park. YUCK! And I know Nat. There's no doubt she has been putting random strange children's sandbox tous in her mouth. DOUBLE YUCK. Thence the 104 degree fever (that farenheit folks, just to reassure my European readers that she isn't boiling).
But you know, Nat is almost 2.5 and since her first birthday, she seems to get sick about every six months. This was her first recordable fever, but her thrid illness. If she gets sick every six months for the rest of her life, I figure she's ahead of the game.
Selina has yet to demonstrate her constitution, so we're keeping her out of reach of all contaminated people, which means everyone but me since bad backs aren't communicable. But that's okay, because she gets sweeter and sweeter. She got her first bath today and I am such a parent of a second child, because it went entirely unrecorded except her in print. No cameras still or moving.
But it happened and her cradle cap is now under control. It was threatening to obliterate her eyebrows there for a minute.
If you adopt, pretend you gave birth. In fact, pretend you had a c-section and need to recover and establish nursing and give yourself a break.
I know whereof I speak. I have been trying to comletely keep up the pre-Selina pace of house work, paid work and hobbies all on no sleep. I have tried really hard to just incorporate Selina somehow into the existing routine and guess what? No go.
The house is clean, the laundry is put away and I can't move for the pain in my back. The chiropractor says I injured myself in 3 places. I don't know the moment (or moments) this happened, I just know that after the Chicago court appearance schlepp I woke up the next day and couldn't move. Aunt Nancy who will be an acupuncturist next year says my back is pulled in a zillion directions because I am pulled in a zillion directions and my whole life, not just my back needs adjusting and I need to allow for that to happen.
I guess she's right. I guess I sort of even knew that but I was trying to deny it and now here I am in ouch-land.
Also I have two very big, very exciting secrets and I'm not going to tell you either one of them.
Also today I decided we need three daughters. I decided we should adopt a 2-year old when Selina is four. I announced this to Cole after she dragged her sickly self in the door after a day at work and she said, "get back to me when Selina is four."
I think by then maybe lesbians will be able to openly adopt an HIV+ child in South Africa.
Monday around noon, we went before the judge in Chicago and declared our intent to adopt Selina. It was pretty easy, since there was only one other family there that day and we didn't have to wait at all.
And yet, it was a really hard day. We went up to Chicago on Sunday afternoon and checked into a fabulous hotel across from the courthouse. We had an amazing room with two different views: one of a street full of dazzling lights, including a big theatre sign flashing "CHICAGO", and one a view of the blue lake under a clear sky, full of sailboats. But we slept about 3 hours total. We didn't follow our new rule to always bring the hammock when we travel, thinking, "oh heck, we'll put her in the king-sized bed with us, it's just one night." And Selina didn't sleep unless she was in someone's arms, and that someone had to be sitting upright.
Fortunately, Nat slept well for 11 hours as usual.
After dragging both kids around town all day on no sleep, Selina over my left shoulder in the sling, a bag full of her bottles and other kid-items over my right, a stroller full of toddler and camera and more kid-items... I seem to have done a pretty serious number on my back. Since yesterday morning, I've been in the worst back pain of my life. I did go to the chiropractor yesterday and have another appointment Friday. But I haven't been able to really lift Nat or reach over my head or bend over and empty the bottom rack of the dishwasher or turn my head more than a couple of degrees in either direction for 48 hours+.
But the real news of the week is meeting Mama Fern on Monday evening. We picked her up at home and drove to a restaurant she had chosen to have dinner. She chose to ride in our cramped backseat between the carseats so she could be with Selina. And judging from my occasional rear-view mirror checks, she didn't take her eyes off of her once in spite of my confused and no doubt motion-sickness-inducing driving. She had not been able to see or touch Selina in the hospital. Selina was in NICU and Fern was in her own room and they wouldn't let either other them go to the other. I'm not sure that a mother who had not relinquished her baby to adoption would have been disallowed to see the baby like that, but I don't know the details. Their supposed excuse was infection risk. Maybe.
But it was good to be able to finally put Selina in Fern's arms. We had a nice visit. But Fern is still quite unwell and on so many medications (eight prescriptions!) that it was hard to discern her real personality under all the drugs and exhaustion and perhaps pain (though she wouldn't admit to it). It is going to take us some time to really get to know her. I do think that she will stick around. We talked a little bit about what kind of adoption she had in mind and how and why she came to her decision. She made it clear that she wanted to stay in touch and be in Selina's life.
And we got some lovely photos of Fern and Selina together, too.
Not sure about her actual weight, but she has developed squeezy baby cheeks, thighs and a butt. She is awake and alert for a good while between 8ish and 9ish pm. Her complexion has smoothed out from newborn splotchy to warm and glowing. She is gobbling down three oz every three hours and asking for more. I'm now filling her bottles to four oz. It took us five months to get Nat to four oz! As of today, Selina is 37 weeks gestation. So that's technically not a preemie anymore.
She seems to be a little reflux-y which we didn't notice before we traveled to Grammy's. We have the Amby Baby Hammock here which is great for reflux and Selina had no problems last week at home, but when we tried to put her to sleep flat in a travel bed, she was urpy and cried a lot. So I got no sleep at Grammy's, holding Selina upright against me in a chair most of the night for four nights. Last night, it was back to the hammock and no problems either keeping down the bottle or sleeping comfortably for Selina or Mama Shannon. Yea, baby hammock!
Nat is still doing pretty well. She has been seeking negative attention a lot more than usual, though. Fortunately, she doesn't do this by being mean or endangering the baby (so far!), but by climbing tables, grabbing people's drinks etc. when she sees you are temporarily handicapped by holding Selina. She has now formally been introduced to the concept of time out and so far it seems to work pretty well. We do a lot of "time-in"--a good deal more of it than time-out, since what she really needs is to be reassured that her place in the family is solid.
She loves Selina herself and tells everyone her baby sister is "See-na Babeena!" She likes to gently pet Selina's soft baby head and coo "so cute!" to her. She does "this litttle piggy" to Selina's toes and comments on how tiny all her parts are--ears, fingers, feet. It's hard for her to watch the baby accosted by adoring strangers in ways that she herself is used to. I try to divert their attention to her by asking her to tell them about her tiny baby. And she's a rock star, so it usually works out okay.
Answering some reader inquiries:
Selina is biracial. Her mother is African American and her mother's ex-boyfriend was white. Selina was very light (pale white and spotchy-red) when we picked her up, with caucasian-baby-blue eyes (the dark blue hazy eyes that are destined to change to brown). She's looking now a bit more like a white baby with a tan or a light-skinned Latina baby, as someone guessed.
We are hoping for as open an adoption as possible at this point. So far, Mama Fern says she wants letters, photos and visits, which is what we want. So we'll see how that goes too. In our first adoption we seemed to want the same thing at first, but it hasn't worked out that way so far. We are also being more cautious with our personal boundaries this time around after learning to take it slowly with Mama Ivy. So for the time being, we are using our obliging agency as an official go-between in communicating and setting up visits. Our first chance to meet Mama Fern will hopefully be Monday, when we're in Chicago for the court date (in Illinois you go to court at the beginning rather than at finalization.).