All that stuff they say about the transition from one to two kids? It's true. It's a kick-in-the-pants. We've been in survival mode for the last week.
We've been home exactly 8 days.
Every day gets a little better. Except when the nights get progressively worse because one kid wakes up early and the other sleeps in, and then the early kid is waking up during the night and then going to wake her brother and hang out with Dad for a couple of hours.
It's like having a newborn at home.
I get to sleep through it because Ted is father-of-the-decade and knows that Mama doesn't handle sleep deprivation well.
On that note, after traveling 37 hours to get home after not having slept so well before the journey and then waking up at 6 am your first morning home, it's advisable not to drink a second cup of coffee because after a few hours, while doing laundry, you will get so sick, sick, sick, that you find yourself sitting beside the toilet begging God to please let you throw up, please, just throw up, to puke, to vomit, to rid your body of that coffee.
Then your blessed husband lets you go to sleep at 8:30 and sleep for 11 hours, and you don't drink coffee for the next 8 days.
Those were my first two days back. It wasn't fun. A flood of neighbors, family, and friends came through to say hello, bring gifts, meet our daughter. But I hardly remember. I sat on our front steps in a stupor for two days.
Our first day home, our daughter sat next to our son and went together through her photo album, naming as many names as she could. As she did this, our son whispered my direction, "Mom, I'm so glad I have a sister."
They napped together the second day home. They giggled and liked each other.
Then that stopped. Beti finds Abe to be funny when he's not intending to be funny, like when he's walking around with his thumb stuck in his mouth or when his face is pulled into a forced anguish about something nonsensical (i.e. whining). She would giggle and point at him. She started calling him the "baby." Well, that did it for Abe. The newness has worn off. Abe is done with having a sister. Done. He wants us to take her back.
This changing family dynamic has been...challenging.
I could spend the rest of this post gushing about our daughter. Really. She's that great. Her smile will make this rainy city much brighter this winter.
Watching the world through her eyes is a trip. The look on her face when she discovered the vacuum cleaner and what it does? Worth every bit of pain and angst of the adoption.
Then she discovered the ice maker. Holy moly.
She already teases Abe. And tattles. But she also feeds him injera and doro wot from her hand to his mouth, then gives him his cup of milk and napkin since it was pretty spicy.
This weekend, she said the sentence, "Mom, Abe is running and fall down" with a look of worry on her face.
She's a linguistic genius. She's already pretty much memorized Hop on Pop.
I can't wait to introduce Go Dog, Go! to her.
She giggles uncontrollably when I wash her feet in the bath.
She answers the video narrator of Tsehai Loves Learning as she watches.
"Do you want to sing along with me this next song?"
Then a loud "Oaw..." from Beti.
She always remembers her bike helmet and if she gets ahead of me by two houses, she looks back and asks, "Go, Mom?"
She made sure Abe remembered his cape that he wore to the park this weekend.
She played tennis with Ted's best friend for the first time and is a natural.
She already knows the names of all the kids on our block and just today has started to greet them when she sees them with a loud "Hi!"
Last night, she started saying "see you later!" and then giggling.
She eats everything we offer her except for certain raw vegetables, which she'll still chew up and swallow if she's been promised leftover injera from the night before.
She is much more athletic and rambunctious than we thought she'd be. She wrestles Dad with the best of the boys. Yet she still likes to color and wash her doll's hair and paint fingernails.
She makes excellent silly faces, even as good as Abe's (don't tell him).
Her eyelashes are the longest I've ever seen.
I should go to bed. Life is intense these days. Good, but intense.