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May 2016


Totally banjaxed and a bit at sea of course, (because there was no baby in this house before and now there is a baby, and where does the baby go now?) but oh, everyone! I am so happy!

Thanks for seeing me home, folks. More soon, of course. There's always more.


Quick update as I wait for Jay to wake up so we can pack his cradle: Our passport date was moved to this morning by The Powers That Be, This involved a moving our flights to later tonight, prolonged gnashing of teeth/ listening to hold music to so do, because The Things They Are Never Simple. So! That's where we are: hoping all goes smoothly with the passport and we get our cab to the airport in useful time.

Fingers crossed, still. Of course! Always always crossed. Permanently, really.

More later, if I can get connected.


We have our date. That is, we have a barring things going wrong type date which is as good as it'll get, I reckon. Our court order is to come on Friday or Monday and our passport appointment on Tuesday, which means we can travel next Wednesday 25th.


So, so thrilled. 

Thank you again, lovely people, for sticking with me during this painful/wonderful time of transition. Of course, this story is only beginning, so don't go away! Unless you absolutely have to, for a brief comfort break, or for sustenance. I'm not clingy, or anything. I can let go of your trouser leg anytime! Anytime at all!


Brief parenting type question: Jay has not been much of a napper until this week, but now he drops off into a deep sleep in the morning, like now, from which you can hardly rouse him. He's jolly when he's awake, mostly, apart from the odd gas-related/constipation meltdown. Last night, after his mega 3 hour nap of yesterday, (remaining quite sleepy through walks and cuddles and everything), he woke up at 6 and was all bright-eyed and lively, and wanted to play! play! play! at his designated sleep-time of 8. So I let him lie on his front (because that is tiring for him), and swat at his toys in the semi-dark, and then, finally, at about 9, after me doing the time-honoured "And Jay, all the bus-drivers are going to sleep, and all the squirrels are going to sleep, and all the shop-keepers are going to sleep, and all the babies are going to sleep, because it's time to go to sleep" for quite a bit, he did drift off and sleep well all night. So what to do? I reckon we'll keep him moving, even if he's sleepy, during the day, to avoid the deep deep sleep? If thoughts occur, they are welcome. Not to worry if not. Not a real problem, just curious if others have noticed changes in sleep patterns like this. 

Yours, in great excitement


watched pot

The Bionic Family came to visit us! This was wonderful. They were Ambassadors of Cheer and Normality in this strange time, visitors from a reasonable, well-adjusted, calm place. Harbingers of hope.

Also: look at the pile of clothes they brought for Jay. I am very enamoured of ears on clothes - I'd like to see them at Paris Fashion Week. Also this elephant pattern, so attractive:

IMAG1848That was a sweet interlude. I have been feeling much better, until this morning where I find myself on insufficient sleep (Jay wanted to get up at 5 to play, which is sweet but, sigh. He's playing more and more every day. Eat for a half hour, cuddle for half hour, play for half hour, meltdown for a half hour, walk for a hour, repeat) and full of yearning for home. I keep checking my email for news of our court order, which feasibly could come today, since a week has passed and it should be a week to ten days . Oh please come court order.. But as perhaps you'll have noticed, a watched pot never boils. Never, never

I have to occupy myself, in the manner of someone lighting a cigarette so the bus will come. So, I dunno, we'll go to town and look at some books or something. 

I hope all is well with you lovely people. Update your blogs - I'd love to know. 

nearly 9 weeks old

[The 8th is the week of patterns, according to Wonder Weeks, so I improvised.]

Whoa! Black.. and.. white! Black and white! Whoa, whoa. Trippy. I! See!

Yikes, big face! Big Face! Two Big Face! Ag, falling! Falling! No. Flying! Flying! Oh, hi! Hi. Hi, Big Face. Food? Oh, good. 

[Holds out hands in the air while drinking, as if embracing a tree.]

Agg! No, no. [Wails piteously]. How could you, Big Face? You starve me! [Burps]. Okay food. Big Face, yes.

[Makes very realistic dolphin noises]. 

I close my eyes for a minute. Just a minute. Okay. [...] Guh. I'm sad! I'm confused. Oh hello! Swipe toys! Swipe! Swipe!
There they go, got them. Ah, sounds. Let me hear.. let me see now. I see sounds. Ooh, black and white! Black! And! White!

[Whinnys like a pony].

I've always had strong feelings of tenderness for Jay but now, at last, I'm enjoying him more and more; just like you think you will when you long for a baby. He comes up to my chest now when I feed him on my lap, so I don't have to hunch over him anymore; he's bigger, a proper baby baby (as they called them in the hospital. Technical term.) and a bit easier to understand. Sometimes I can see what he might be thinking. I can actually soothe him before sleep with my rambling accounts of the activities of the day; I (mostly) know how to hold him to calm him, he smiles at odd moments when he hears my voice, and he looks up at me, trustingly. He's interested in things, even the inevitable soft-focus orchid photo, (Guaranteed not to Cause Offence to Anyone), on the bedroom wall, or that tree on a hill one, which is actually a stock photo you can buy on the web. It's more fun, it's not so stressful. Now we're getting to the long-imagined somewhere.

Thank goodness.

The petition for the court order has been submitted. Another week or so for that - funny enough, I am almost beginning to settle here, maybe because the end is in sight. This always happens; I resist and then I give in, and then I'm sad to leave. Pfft, self. You are ridiculous. Anyway, still. It hasn't been an easy transition, (and is on-going of course), but when was anything worthwhile? It has been a useful time for bonding, the three of us. A time of getting to know you, as hotel hostages. [I had to come back to add that I still have anxiety about our final bit of paperwork, even though the hard part is done. Were it not for this, I would be able to appreciate more fully the many good things about this place. Excellent thrift store for one. Excellent vegetarian restaurants. Excellent US netflix. (Yeah, well. At least I'm honest.) Big king size fluffy bed. Nice chambermaids. Lovely walks in the parks and leafy burbs around here. Many, many good things.]

Thanks for your comments on the colic. So encouraging. Having read more about it, I think what he has is only mild colic a couple of times a day - there's none of the hours of crying that you read about. Poor, poor parents and babies of colic. You know, this experience is helping me appreciate the human race more. Our babies are so much more vulnerable than most mammals. They take so much care. What those parents routinely go through for their offspring is amazing; it's true evidence of unconditional love. Parents of colicky babies, I salute you.

Have nice weekends, everyone. 

The Authority has spoken

And It has said YES. We have received the document from home that confirms the match, and permits Jay to enter Ireland. So now we must wait another (up to) 10 days for our court order, which we will then bring to our passport office appointment, up to 10 days after that. SO THRILLED, we (the adults of the Pearl family) both cried. The end is in sight! There is light at the end of the tunnel! Also, to be frank, after quite so many years of the Authority's shenanigans, I have more faith in the USA system. It is less nannyish, less half-arsed, more efficient, has more the courage of its convictions. 

In the meantime, poor Jay has been having some discomfort-style fussing during some of his day feeds (not at night). So while we were up in the clinic today getting his remaining vaccine (Prevnar, for my records) we asked the nurse about it, and she weighed him (still gaining a little under a pound a week. Kid is catching up. [So proud]), and the doctor came in and saw him and advised us and oh my word, it was good to hear that there are things we can do, and there's a reason for it, and we can help it, and it is temporary. (It's easy, I've found, to plunge down the putrid sinkhole of self-blame, and it's my fault and why did I ever think, etc etc. This was a powerful antidote to that.) If the witching hour crying he does qualifies him as colicky (which they define as crying a lot, rather than belly pain. Not like horses twisting their guts rolling, then.)  he will also grow out of that. HURRAY. [Stories of colicky babies who Turned Out Lovely are most welcome.]

So. A large phew on those counts.  
(I might as well have italicised this entire post.)
Must go and email people with the good tidings. 

More later, companions. Thanks for being there. 

I was able to have a go at drawing him again. (This is a good sign; the depresso Twangy couldn't find the energy.) Babies are hard to draw - he looks like a zoned out Elvis in his racing car. Still, got to try.

free advice

So. Wearing a baby (he likes it! I got the ergo in the end, because it was what they had it in the shop I was in, and I had no further energy for looking around. Still traumatised from previous journey to Babies "R" Us) attracts all kinds of commentary, as you'll have noticed.

I was in the Hotel Office, where you can surf awkwardly on Internet Explorer for ten minute intervals.

Blond Curly Woman in her fifties (?) enters, singing some line from one of the middle-of-the-road Dad rock songs piped around the hotel. 

Jay wakes and starts whining a little. I reassure him, then I agree with him it's time to move.

BCW: Oh! It's okay, if he makes a little noise. 
Me: Ah. It's fine, he likes to keep moving.
BCW: You know what it is? They don't like to be strapped in. You know what they like? Just put them on a sheet naked, rub a little oil between their toes and they'll be like.. [She makes a gesture intended to indicate bliss, presumably.]
Me, making to escape: Errr. I think he's just hungry.. 
BCW: Oh, go ahead! Booby time! I hope you're breastfeeding? 
Me, flatly: He's adopted.
BCW: Oh. They have breast milk at the hospital, you know?
Me, mildly (relieved, I thought she was going to recommend some course of hormone treatment to induce lactation or something): He's doing really well.
I leave.
Then, I met her again at the entrance and she had to fit in a loud parting shot: Aw! Enjoy him! They grow up so quick! Smell that hair!

God save me from people. 

The Non-Trembler is being quite nice, if you can disregard his being an expert on everything, including the likelihood of Jay's ears hurting on the plane [very likely] and his accumulated wisdom on custody hearings based on what happened to his colleague at work (which has nothing to do with our thing) and the slowness of the court system [very slow]. Does he have to take pleasure from being so negative? Apparently, yes. His wife is very sweet, I must say. I do like her and she liked Jay a lot, I think. The Non-Trembler was like: It's fine, I can see him from here. 

Ah well. First trip to town with carrier today: unqualified success, so mustn't complain. My dear friend R called me today as well, and she helped me rethink our enforced stay. We have between 2.5 and 3 weeks probably (some fecking eejit of a medical consultant in Ireland went on his holidays so there was a bit of a backlog) to wait still. She advised us to think in terms of three weeks, to plan and fill them with as many restorative and enjoyable outings and treats, (rather than mournfully making scratches on the wall to mark off the days of our sentence, yearning, wailing and carrying on). This is helpful. If the date slips further, by the time our planned three weeks is over, we'll have a date at least and be very close to it. If it turns out to be less than the three weeks, great. I've already looked into yoga for tomorrow and a massage early next week, between vaccine appointments and social worker visits. Also, who knows maybe we could hire a car and see a bit of the country. (Though I feel nelly-ish about driving on the other side of the road still.)

Heaven help us, it's the witching hour. Poor Jay. Poor JB. He (Jay) doesn't sleep much during the day - just a half hour or so here and there. It's hard to get him to calm down enough to sleep deeply while it's light. Should I worry about this? He does sleep (FINGERS CROSSED IN THE EXTREMELY CROSSED POSITION) at night and sometimes more than 3 hours pass between feeds (small mercies, people). Thought welcome, if any occur.

Thanks for your company, everyone. 
Have a good weekend, wherever you may be. Mind yourselves.

Heaven help me

..the Non-Trembler* is coming to visit tomorrow, for the weekend. 

My strategy is to use Jay as an escape plan. If he's like what he is today, with the extra fuss fuss this will work a treat. (He just can't relax. Urg. Suggestions?) I have been less double depresso in the last few days but my composure cannot still be guaranteed. 

So hard to type one-handed. upper case might have to go for instance, also punctuation thing of past

better go tremendous fussing


*For new readers this is the JB's pain of a brother who lives in Boston. He has been known to be ..not so bad especially when away from home [thoughts on why home can bring out the worst in people are welcome].



it's that time of the day again

..when I come down to the hotel lobby and gaze at my google calendar, willing it to move. I really need to get more Buddhist about this. I need to embrace this time, don't I? (Come here to me, this time, give me a artificially perfumed hug! This Time would have dodgy aftershave, I feel sure. And be dressed in nylon suits.) Gazing and yearning is making it worse.

In the meantime, things are getting markedly better. Jay is becoming noticeably more human and less Martian every day. I can leave him to play in his Pack and Play for quite a few minutes now; he can start to meltdown and think better of it; he's more playful, more distractible. You can take him for longer walks and not worry so much. 

(Here's an odd thing: this really reminds me of handling my nervous horse. No, really. The way you have to project confidence, use reassuring tones, communicate a powerful vision of all going well. Seriously. Nothing you learn is ever wasted, as my Grandpa used to say.)

Thanks for the suggestions on the carrier. One thing that confuses me: they all say the child must have an inch between her chest and chin. I understand why in theory, but in reality Jay generally has never an inch between his chest and chin, even without his neck being bent. Confusion. Is this just a Health and Safety thing? Obviously I won't let him go to sleep with his neck all bent. I'll be right there, all alert and vigilant, after all. 

We're in a blur of feeds (and sometimes more than 3 hours between them now! Getting to 4 or so - hurray!) and changes and fussing and playing. We have beautiful moments, we have heartbreaking moments (when he fusses, he wrings his hands and his lips wobble. It kills me. I don't know why.) we have moments of despair. Everything is massive, everything is heightened. It's terrifying to love someone so vulnerable so much, I see now. My heart is on the outside. 

More of my late-to-the-game revelations later, people! It's time for hotel salad bar. Then it's usually Melty O'Clock from 6 to 7, but not always these days. 

Let's not melt down, darlings.