Parenthood: A Week in Review
Seven days. Today makes seven days that Becky and I have been parents. I know that several of you have been asking about us and there’s been a lot of radio silence on this end but I felt like it was important to jump into the wonderful insanity with both feet and focus on the three of us. I’m sure you’ll understand.
What’s it been like? Wonderful. Stressful. Confusing. Amusing. Tiring. Basically, insert the full range of emotions. We have been learning who PK is and she has been learning us. We’ve also been learning our apartment and Poland. It’s been a lot to take in but it is an experience I wouldn’t trade anything for.
Below is an overview of our lives from the past week. We’ve gotten several questions from folks about different aspects of life and I think it’s only fair to tackle those first.
Is PK feeling better? PK is back to her spunky self. It took a couple of days to completely get over her stomach bug but she’s back in fighting form. We had an appointment with the orphanage doctor on Monday night. We bundled her up, hopped in a cab (I think the cabbie thought we were dropping her off at the orphanage under the dark of night), went to the orphanage and found out that the doctor was unaware of this appointment. We eventually found Sister Director who made the doctor look at PK. Diagnosis: She looks tired. No milk for a week. Sister Director then commandeered an orphanage volunteer who spoke English for one last round of motherly/nunly advice and sent us back to the waiting cabbie. I won’t forget the sweet, bittersweet smile of Sister Director as she closed the door (literally) on this chapter of PK’s life; nor will I forget the look of confusion and relief on the cabbie’s face when we brought PK back with us. I can only imagine the story he told his family that night.
How’s PK sleeping? She’s sleeping pretty well, over all. The first night was rough but what first night as parents goes smoothly? We’ve been learning what sort of bedtime routine works the best both for nights and for naps. We have figured out that she NEEDS a specific pacifier to go down, as well as a drink. When she goes down for her nap in the afternoon, she typically sleeps for two hours. At night, she will tend to wake up in the middle of the night once and want to come lay with us. Last night, we might have gotten away with a full night in the crib if we had noticed, bleary-eyed, at 4:30 in the morning that part of her crying might have come from the fact that in the middle of the night she managed to somehow slip both legs into the same leg hole (It was quite a surprise this morning to find our “mermaid girl” as Becky called her.) Still, she didn’t put up a fuss when she was with Mom and Dad. Current lullaby: La Vie en Rose.
How is PK eating? Constantly. PK is a little wisp of a thing but she seems to have the eating power of a 14-year-old boy. I’m considering taking out a second mortgage in order to keep her fed. When she first came to us, her favorite things were those corn puffs that I shared a picture of in the previous post. Becky and I call them corn swords. While she still likes them, she doesn’t eat them as much now that she has other snacking options, especially the Polish form of Cheetos puffs. Still, there’s only one thing that we have found that she doesn’t seem to like – Gerber’s Turkey Risotto. Three bites, a quick regurgitation and she was happily munching on anything else she could get her hands on. She feels like she’s won the lottery when she eats what we eat, whether that is penne, carrots, or pickles. Our challenges are getting her to slow down enough to eat (she prefers to graze when she can) and to drink. She drinks well when she’s tired but that’s about it.
Is everyone communicating well? Oh, yes. PK is picking up more English everyday. She seems to understand most everything we say. Sometimes that is shown through her coming to Momma when called, sometimes through her locking eyes and running in the other direction. She may be more than a little stubborn. There’s a few Polish sentences and phrases we use and will probably still use when we get back to the States. I remember my Da summoning my sister and I from a crowded room after church by calling out, “Vamonos!” I foresee myself calling out, “Chodz!” Her baby babble has also started taking on a different sound on occasion. Sometimes it’s pre-Polish, sometimes it’s pre-English, and sometimes it’s what I think of as Ponglish. She’s picked up a few English words here and there. Half the time we get “Tanks” and the other “Dzieki” for “Thank you.” Her Polish “Pa pa!” has turned into “Bye-bye,” though she delivers it in the manner of the horrible flight attendants from an old SNL sketch. She loves looking at books, and flap books in particular. We open the flaps and name the animal, make the sound (difficult for giraffes and camels. Giraffes remain silent. Camels spit), and do the sign for each animal. She’s picked up on a few of these and it’s cute to see her looking through the book on her own and hiss and sign snake…though about half the time, she will also do this for the frog. At least they’re both cold-blooded.
How are the proud parents? Good but tired, as to be expected. I find myself asking questions that I have never asked before, like: “There is a booger on my cheek…is it mine?” The pack-and-play for PK is in our room. This means that Becky and I sneak in like a Delta force strike team when it’s time for bed and also that, when I’m about half asleep, I have to remind myself that the clicking sound I hear is PK sucking on her pacy and not a Predator on the hunt.
PK is more of a momma’s girl right now, though she warms up a little bit more to me each day. Becky has her hands full constantly with the little one and so I field more of the support work for now. Still, there was one day and PK insisted that all three of us be together before she went down for her nap and she will occasionally want me to take her to the window or look through her flap books (I’m particularly proud of my monkey sounds and I think she approves).
Yesterday, we had a visit from PK’s court-appointed guardian, one of the members of the adoption center, and the adoption center psychologist all stopped by as well (with our facilitator/translator, thank goodness) to assess how things were going. Everyone was very happy. We passed with flying colors and were told that parents who enjoy history, literature and culture are good parents for kids like PK because we’re more sensitive and gentle (we’re still not entirely sure what that means, but it’s a compliment so we’ll take it). While PK was shy with all of the new people in the room, she knew they were there for her and talking about her. Her guardian even brought her a cookie that her son made. After the crowd left, PK switched on full DIVA mode and was nearly unbearable for the rest of the day. It’s weird to think that now we are done with appointments until January. We get to just be a family.
Today, she’s been back to the PK we know and love. After she gets up from her nap, we’re heading out to the town’s Christmas market. We can’t wait to see her reaction. She’s handled new situations (like the city square with all it’s blinking lights and people) like a champ. Thank you all for your sweet messages of support and encouragement. We can’t wait to be able to show you her face in the new year and to bring her home with us for you all to meet!