Being a part time single working parent, I have cultivated and encouraged H playing in the bathroom so I could get a shower and get ready in the morning in some timely fashion. For four years, I had to get up and get H fed first thing before I could even think about my morning readiness routine.
Early days we had a quite large bathroom with a clear glass shower door. I could entertain him if he was not in the shower with me. As he began playing with things, we had blocks and balls to bat around and stack. Our move resulted in a much smaller bathroom with a typical fabric curtain. The toys got larger and more numerous until there was hardly space to walk with buckets and boxes and blankets and stuffed friends. Then, they began to flow into the walk through where the extra sink and closet door were located. A little cubby made a great garage or what not to park vehicles of all kinds. The porta potty, no longer needed for original use, became another garage or launching pad, or parking area. The trucks started to become more sophisticated and the smaller cars became more and more numerous with assorted items representing whatever the imagination thought of for the day.
The porta potty began to double as a stool to reach the sink. He began to take up more room in the shower when he opted to join me. The toothbrushes began to multiply almost daily. Finally, one day, four and a half years later, I became able to get back to MY routine of getting up and taking a shower first (after cuddle time of course when mornings were spent being some animal of the moment or listening to some truly awesome story or moment in time.) and then getting breakfast. Some days he wants to get breakfast on his own. I will come down and he will be through with his preparations for the day. Now, the toys are becoming less and less. They are less in number and less in imagination as to what is being represented. For a while, there were cars some days, or ships, or fire trucks, or car haulers, helicopters, airplanes. Other days we had an assortment of dinosaurs big and small. But, more often these days I find little blocks and all the assorted tiny things that go with the blocks on my counter in one small area on my counter. No big piles of jumble or buckets of things. Nothing for Daddy to grumble about on the weekends because so much is underfoot. No, just neat little blocks often self contained within the object du jour. The little blocks are wonderfully imaginative things - fire stations, restaurants, houses, bridges, jails, docks, buildings of every shape and size all in miniature. The amount of space needed is much less. The step on little pieces factor has grown exponentially but I have to admit....I kind of miss those "hardly room to walk around" days when my little guy would happily babble away about whatever was occurring in his head at the time - nonsensical as it may have seemed.
We have conversations still but not so many silly songs. Discussions of things about the day to come or the day before. I love seeing and hearing and experiencing the changes in him. But...still....I know the day will come when he will not bother to bring his toys into the room or even want to be with me in the morning sitting on a stool concocting his latest architectural design in miniature complete with parking spaces and moving doors asking me about my every move and saying "Mom, look....what do you think of this?" So, I relish and rue the return to "my" world.
When children are little, they invariably latch onto something and hold tight. Sometimes these items make sense, stuffed animal, small toy. Sometimes they do not - an oversized chewed on football that gets lost somewhere in a botanical garden on a small Caribbean island and cannot be found despite nearly an hour searching for something so out of ordinary in the surroundings it has to be easily seen, while on vacation for example.
As parents of kids from orphanages know, children do not have their own things so the attachment phase can be delayed if it is achieved at all. H did not have a particular attachment to any one thing for quite a while. I had purchased some stuffed animals that I had hoped he would want to sleep and cuddle with but nothing really stuck with him as the ONE. In fact his first toy he actually wanted to sleep with came from his first day care. I think they thought I was a heartless mom because my child didn't bring his favorite toy for nap everyday. It was because he didn't have the ONE. So they gave him one. He did have a things for balls for a while. We have a picture of him in his crib (before he was 2) when everything was a "ball" and the world revolved around balls including pajamas and whatever he could throw into his crib - soft soccer ball, small bouncy balls (the special 3 for the price of two kind found at the local discount store bought while needing toys on a long road trip), larger bouncy ball, and the full size 15 year old basketball.
What? Your kid didn't sleep surrounded by 12 balls including a used full sized basketball? Huh.
Throughout our adoption journey, which was longer than some and shorter than others but not without many crises both big and small, one family friend really followed and supported us. When we first began the trip no one knew - not even close family and friends as it was/is not in my nature to be freely open with my personal life. However, we needed SOMEONE who knew BOTH of us to vouch for us as human beings and possible parents - just one of those paperwork requirements adoptive parents are too familiar with and become part of the packet you carry around religiously until one day the realization sets in - after you arrive home - that the reason you feel like you are missing something is your dossier is no longer needed at any second for updating, copying, redoing, managing, reminding.
As we had few friends that knew BOTH of us, we asked this couple to vouch for us. They were brought into our world, followed us through the years of ups and downs, a major move which they ultimately shared in, and were thus able to rejoice in person with us when H finally came home. They were present at home cooked dinners with a baby (oddly that was not a highly sought after invitation in our older parent world and without family close by we had few opportunities to relate to adults and share our family life, too,) and were last seen in person at the farewell/second birthday party before our last major move - they had their own not long after - but H asks about "those people" in the pictures and sometimes even mimics the smack Uncle Bill makes upon finishing his drink not realizing who taught him.
Anyway, H went through phases but he did not really latched onto the ONE thing until he received a gift one Christmas after we moved to NETX. A package arrived and H was ecstatic. Paper was removed and several items were revealed but the one of most importance was a blanket. That really did it. H had baby blankets but he could take or leave them for the most part and they were quite small. This was a bright blue Elm*o and Friends throw sized blanket which he became enthralled with for its softness. From that day, we did not go without E.
The blanket has been slept on, dragged around, stuffed into all kinds of places, chewed on, sneezed on, cried on, washed innumerable times and has more road trips and frequent flier miles than most people I know. Tragedy was averted when one of the dad's from pre-school accidentally took it home for three days! It was returned and all was right with the world. It has been the supportive member through a journey in life just as the giver had been at the beginning of our quest to become a family.
We have moved far away and the blanket is sometimes left behind for a different blanket as the recipient grows up. However, tonight I pay homage for the giver of the blanket - figurative blankets of support, friendship, laughter, mothering advice, and caring - as well as the literal. Thank yous, although previously given, are never adequate to acknowledge the immense importance of the contributions. Our family would indeed be very different without them.
Thank you Aunt Joyce, rest in peace, from all of us.
Diney sleeps above me in the attic. He has a glass window to see me. He gets up at 1:30 in the morning to go to the donut store. He gets one sausage and 2,000 donuts. Diney watches me when I sleep. Did you know when I wanted to go away from my Kazistan mommy and daddy Diney came with me?
He went with you to the baby house?
I didn't know Diney came home with us from the baby house.
He's silent. Do you know how he spells his name? "D i s i e s" Diney. He's a rainbow dinosaur. He's brown and black and white and well other colors. Did you know B has a stegosaurus?
What kind of dinosaur is Diney?
He's a T Rex. He's make believe you know but it's ok to have an invisible friend
A while ago, H decided he wanted a My a Little Pony. He had been given some money so I said we would go shopping together. We had to go to his "favorite" store...T aka "the red store." Well, they only had bigger ones that were more than what he had to spend. We went to W and we had a few more choices. He hemmed and hawed and made a choice. Then we walked around another aisle and voila! Clearance! I explained he could buy two slightly smaller ponies for the cost of one. He decided that was an okay deal. He had difficulty (surprisingly) on choosing the second one but finally the ponies were chosen and off to home we went. The first conversation had between the ponies went like this...
There sleeping on Big Zebra, half wrapped in the Elmo blanket lies my little sleeping man, sans pajamas, slightly snoring on the floor littered with blankets, cars, boxes, animals of all shapes and sizes.
The fish tank with Fish and Frog glows in the dark. In the shadows a top the lego table next to the bed and under the "art wall" that holds art and hats a kite, and various other items, sits the newly well decorated Christmas tree with Goodwill found village and "present" under the tree alongside a half train track from a garage sale.
Then I see, as I look in noting how tall he is getting and how strong he is these days with his moments of sheer chaos and constant movement and endearing "Mommy, you're the sweetest mama I could ever live with" and childhood wonder and innocent anticipation of Christmas because he can hear Santa Claus - right now - about 90 miles away - having dreams about helping Santa make toys and being brothers with his best friend...
At that moment I notice, his angelic presence (not easily ascertained when he is tired at the end of the day in non-stop nonsensical ridiculous can't sit still won't pay attention mode) is enhanced by...
Purple glittered fairy/butterfly wings. He is sleeping in his wings which are gently folded to the side.
No photo can do justice to the mom's eye. I wish to hold that picture in my mind forever.
Was he a butterfly? a fairy? a reindeer who wanted to fly and guide the sleigh? a pterodactyl?
I don't know. All things are possible to him at this time of his life.
I reach over and gently move his arm to unwrap one wing. I roll him over and he wakes up slightly so I can pull his arm out of the other side....he smiles sweetly - a smile which he flashes every so often in a purposeful show that he is thinking about me or him and me...and says