Original photo credit: The Windgrove Center, Tasmania, AU.
In celebration of the 100th post, part eight in a ten-part series.
[Key: lil’ monkey/ kid #1 = 2.3 yr old daughter; lil’ peanut/ kid #2 = 3 week old son]
As proof that a static state of happiness is a mirage, but then again so is a static state of misery, we oftentimes experience peaks of both in the same day. Sometimes in the same moment. As illustration of the relentless coexistence of misery and joy, behold
Ten high and low points conspiring to fill one day — yesterday — to the brim:
1. Low point: Slept fewer hours the night before than we had in the lil’ peanut’s young life, it seemed. Many of the hours I was awake I spent hacking and coughing up half a lung from the never-ending bronchial scourge that took hold before kid #2’s birth sent us into the Year of Sleep Deprivation. I am resigned to the possibility now that the hack may not leave me ’til the little guy takes his first steps. I wouldn’t be complaining about the sleep deprivation except for it was going to be a big day, as noted in Item #5.
2. Low point: Stepped, half asleep and barefoot, into dog pee in the kiddle’s room. The poor geriatric is on diuretic medication for a heart condition, bless her loyal canine soul. She managed to sneak in and relieve herself on the rug sometime between when I last took her outside, at 3:30am (it’s only fair, what with the diuretics), and when I got my arse out of bed at 7:00am.
3. Low point: The dog managed to foil us yet again when we tried to smuggle one of her twice-daily pills into yet another Trojan Horse delivery mechanism. We have tried: cheese (hard, soft, cream, Camembert, etc.), salami, even potato salad. She is a frickin’ Borg. She figures us out faster than we can come up with alternatives. A given med-smuggling food works for one, maybe two repetitions, after which point she gingerly takes it in her mouth, walks out of the kitchen, and patooi’s it out somewhere in the house, usually on a rug. We are now rotating randomly through leftovers and hope the variety there will work as a suitable cover.
4. High point: Sleep deprivation (see Item #1) had pumped such a fog around the beloved that she managed to think, for a moment, that a squeaking sound she heard (it was from a game the lil’ monkey was playing), coupled with the fluttering of something in her peripheral vision (it was a dried eucalyptus sprig, falling from a nearby shelf), was actually a bat. A BAT, people! Okay, so they are common in the Midwest, whence she came. But never once in her decade of living in these parts has she clapped her eyes on one indoors, hell, even outdoors. It was nothing but a sleep deprivation-induced hallucination, and the shriek she let out, coupled with her swatting away at nothing in particular, provided first me, then a moment later her, a great deal of relief from Items 1 through 3 above.
5. Low point: Late in the morning the lil’ peanut projectile-vomited most of the high-quality mama milk he’d just ingested. All over the beloved’s sweater. Which wouldn’t have been such a problem, except that it was the third time he’d done it that morning (previous targets: first the couch, then the cat, who’ll likely never lounge so close again). Why cry over hurled milk? Because we were all stressed out trying to leave the house TO GO TO COURT FOR MY OFFICIAL ADOPTION HEARING FOR HIS OLDER SISTER.
6. A high and a low and a high point again: At the courthouse, we packed the lobby with a dozen loving family members, blood and chosen and extended, plus a handful of friends (that would be a high point). My dear old friend, who launched the final chapter of our baby journey by suggesting we borrow a cup of her husband’s sperm, held the lil’ quilt-bundled peanut and was getting a contact baby high from sniffing his scalp (another high point).
Then the clerk comes out and asks whether we have forms number 215, 225, and 230. All we knew about was form number 200 (which we’d already sent in, along with several pints of blood and pounds of flesh). We had asked two or three learned sources just what we needed to bring to the court (the person on the phone from the court, plus an attorney friend, plus the person at the adoption agency whom we contracted for the social worker home visit). Not a one mentioned forms number 215, 225, and 230. Where was our lawyer, you might ask? That is another story entirely, but suffice to say the lawyer was more helpful absent than present. For illustration, see visual aid below:
[A nod to K. Vonnegut and his depiction of a certain bodily orifice in Breakfast of Champions. Get yours direct from the artist here (scroll just a bit for the famous *)!]
We finally got the court date on our own, after giving the lawyer the heave-ho. But there, finally in the hallway outside the courtroom, utterly bamboozled by the sudden need for forms 215, 225, and 230, we felt like the whole adoption was going to be sucked down the drain. Until the clerk procured copies of the three forms we could fill out on the spot (which we promptly did, snivelling and whimpering with gratitude).
It boggles my mind how anyone can keep their sanity and patience through an adoption of a kid not already cheering them up by being in their custody, much less in their country. I am certain that the rigamarole we did for a “second parent adoption” was a tenth, at most, of what folks do for regular in-country ones. And a hundredth that for international ones. (Not sure? Check out the To Do list of Adoption Steps in Artificially Sweetened’s right-hand link column.) I bow down to you all, sisters and brothers, and wish you godspeed.
7. High point: The judge, while shuffling through all the papers on his desk, asked (rhetorically) whether the “putative father” has signed away his rights and so forth, to which I was to answer “Yes.” Which I did. But it also happens that said putative personage, whom we lovingly refer to as our Donor Chum, was among the retinue, and seconded my response by dropping his camera from his face for a moment, smiling and waving to the judge and going, “Yep.” Then back he went to the work of documenting the happy event.
8. High point: Being declared by the judge to be my daughter’s lawful parent, which relationship no one can tear asunder. The assembled broke out into applause, and I stifled a tear and hugged the bejezus out of the lil’ monkey, who’d been on my lap the whole time. I referred to her as “Legal Daughter” the whole rest of the day, much like Bette Davis refers to her man as “Groom,” following their marriage, in the last scenes of All About Eve.
9. High point: After we all left the courtroom, most of us who could stay on adjourned to a nearby coffee shop, which was deserted before we came in and had just enough tables to enable us all to encamp there. Not long into the festivities, we broke out into song (to the tune of “For S/he’s a jolly good fellow.” Only the words went, “For she’s now your legal daughter/ for she’s now your legal daughter/ for she’s your now legal daughter…” — and at this point, we all revv up the volume — “which nobody can deny!”
10. High point: Though he slept through the entirety of the day’s proceedings, the lil’ peanut was not going to let the day pass without comment. After we’d gotten home, his big sister “kissey-kissey-kissed” him for the umpteen-gazillionth time. But yesterday evening, for the first time in his life (moved by a person, and not his bowels), after she kissed him, he smiled. A huge, toothless, There may be bad times, but lordy are the good times good kinda smile.