Not a, Baby

Adopting a three-year-old is not very much like having a baby, except in the level of shock to the system. One does not, for example, have to nurse, or wake up every three hours, or carry the baby around for hours on end in the hope that it will somehow stop crying. But the wow factor–the shock and awe and the what have we done–that’s there, in spades.

Tonight was a wall-punching night for me. I was congratulating myself on a good day; Wyatt and Rory were asleep–and then they weren’t, both at the same time, and I was the only one home. If I comforted one, the other wailed. If I went to the wailer the conforted ceased to be conforted and became the wailer. You can see how neither wailer was likely to go back to sleep under these circumstances. The feeling was Sisyphian, the results never good, and much of the good of the day evaporated for a while. Eventually Rob saved me, and routine was resurrected, and things were ok, but I am still reeling (plus my hand hurts). We are still reeling, all of us, reeling. Our routines are shattered, our expectations nil, our ability to cope limited. Sometimes things are good, sometimes not, and there is a general air of enabling and living with an abuser surrounding us all.
A few friends–those who’ve really seen me in action–have backed off. I suspect my attitude, particularly midday, is poison, that I am like the work colleague who bitches so much that to be around her is to cease to enjoy anything about your own job and to have all of the oxygen gradually sucked out of you. It’s not that I’m that bad with the kids, it’s that I can’t be a good sport about anything. Why is our pool so crappy? Why, on top of being generally crappy and having no little kid friendly facilities, must it also close both bathrooms AND the in-pool-fence entrance to the snack window, forcing one (after one’s eighth trip to the port-a-potty and I am so not exaggerating) to leave the pool and march all the way around it, only to end up pretty much where you started, only on the other side of the fence.

Whine, whine, whine. You can see why no one wants to talk to me…I can see why no one wants to talk to me. I don’t want to talk to me. But I can’t help it. I really can’t. And that’s what’s like having tha first baby about this, it’s so unfair, all of a sudden your friends can do things that you can’t, and you are at someone else’s beck and call, and you can’t think about anything else, or go get a coffee, or just go to the bathroom by yourself and maybe get in a shower. And it makes everything, all of life, feel just so much like it’s all out to get you, because the minute that baby goes down for a nap the Fedex guy shows and the dog goes bonkers.
It’s like that emotionally.
And now, one more whine-fest–next weekend is the barbeque festival. We love the BBQ festival. There is music. There are festive crowds, and most importantly, there is award-winning smoked meat, and lots of it. Also, beer. Mmm, beer.
We always go. We take the kids, and never have as much fun as we thought we might, but we still go.
But in a 2-hour-long span of time today, I took Rory to the port-a-potty at least eight times. I think it was probably more. And the port-a-potties at the BBQ festival have lines. It could very easily be that every time we came out, we would just need to get right back on line.

9 Responses to “Not a, Baby”

  1. Cindy says:

    I don’t have any words of wisdom here but wanted to let you know that I am thinking of all of you and hoping that this transition period will be a speedy one. You’re right, it’s not like having a new born but its not to say it isn’t as challenging. Cut yourself some slack. You’re not whining, your venting. If it feels like its too whiney when you tell friends then continue to pour your heart out in these cathartic posts. Hopefully, it will make you feel a little better and who better to whine to then the adoption community… of which I hope to eventually one day join. Then maybe you’ll offer words of wisdom to me 🙂 Stay strong, Cindy

  2. Paige Riegel says:

    I have been following your blog since you were quarantined in China and I have to tell you I love your honesty. We got back with our two year old in June and your blog could be my blog… exact same issues, exact same feelings, exact same issues with the bio siblings! I am so glad I am not alone in all this and other people are going through the same things, most blogs make it all look wonderful and rosy, no one talks about the hard stuff. I know it will get better… eventually, maybe in September when the kids are back in school…

  3. Wuxi Mommy says:

    We just came home in April with our 3 year old daughter from China, and went through a lot of what you’re experiencing, too! What a relief that this “stuff” is normal:) There is nothing quite like the shock of having an instant 3 year old arrive into the family. In some ways, I think it was easier adding a baby. More natural, maybe? It does get better in time, and things improved dramatically just in the last month or so. We all had to test each other out for awhile and find our way to a new normal. We’re still adjusting to the new normal, but things DO get better. In the meanwhile, I’m enjoying reading your posts and hearing your honesty!

  4. Kate says:

    I would put a pull-up on her and go get some great BBQ. But that’s just me. LOVE your honesty. I swear it will open the eyes of a lot of waiting parents, and that is wonderful!

  5. shirley says:

    I brought home a 30 month old and went back to pullups because it was almost like she needed permission to slack – she also went to the bathroom tons of times in an hour with little to no result and I really think she had a total FEAR of making a mess in her pants. I have no idea what the repercussions were in the orphan house, but she went to potty to stay in the clear, not really because she might need to go right then. The biggest check for her was if she could hold it at night and be dry, she could hold it in the day when we were out and about. When we talked about it (pantymine really), I had to explain to her that she had control and didn’t have to panic.
    Try to remember potty training there in split pants is squat when you need to go no matter where. She is trying to figure that out with the restrictions we have here of using a toilet….
    It will get better. Out of diapers means knowing where every bathroom is in every establishment you will ever visit because they gotta go potty.

  6. Misty says:

    I know I do not have any words to make you feel better. All I can say is with each new day remember that EVERYTHING about life has changed. Cut yourself and everyone in your family some slack. You will get through this. It is going to take everyone some time to adjust to a new member of the family. Remember she is struggling as well. Continue to comfort her. Help her feel secure. Remember they pick up on our emotions. It will get better.

  7. ruth in NZ says:

    I love it!
    It is so true and all 3 of mine are adopted!
    I just laughed with you really!
    It is such a hard transition at the best of times.
    Hang in there it will get better eventually! When they leave home 🙂

  8. ellen says:

    Did you know there is an iphone app to find restrooms? Might come in handy!
    (And no I don’t work for them, or for apple, just trying to be helpful.)

  9. Snick :) says:

    Your honesty is a shining example to others.

    Thank you.

    Snick 🙂

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