Some of my favorite, most therapeutic writing is writing about the kids themselves. I know part of it is because I have to keep so much confidentiality that I feel like I'm bursting to talk about them. Part of it is that I feel lonely in my deep love for them that doesn't go away, when it seems to me that they can be invisible to some of my family and friends. Some of it is just because it's amazing to watch them grow.
So, something made me think of the moment I met each little one, and I was itching to write them out, stories I may never get to tell the children myself.
Pterodactyl. You were in your bassinet, being checked by a nurse, and howling mad. I was trying to talk to your mother, who had asked to meet me, but now was crying and had nothing to say. I left the room and you were still crying. Later, you were wheeled into the conference room where I waited with the social worker, sleeping in your bassinet. I held you and we took pictures, though it was such a strange moment to take pictures. You had straight dark hair on your little forehead and looked so brand new.
Beetle. You were sleeping in your Mamaroo in your room in the NICU, a pacifier propped against your mouth. You weren't officially in our care yet, but I was allowed to visit. I remember being shocked at how tiny you looked, but actually you were a pretty average weight, just a tiny-looking guy. I think part of it was your huge eyes, still big and round in pictures I've seen of you as a toddler. I gave you a bottle and relearned bottle feeding to help you, trying to get as much in as I could. You definitely did not like having your diaper changed. The nurses helped me with your care and I said goodnight to you, leaving you in your room to see you another day.
Caterpillar. You were asleep in your infant car seat, little head of curls resting against the back. I remember my biggest concerns were some medical issues and getting information that was not being given to us, so my impression of you was fragility. This didn't last for long, as you were quite a content baby once you settled in a few days. But that first night, you woke up soon after CPS left and ate, but you looked tired and a little lost. It had been a long day.
Cricket. I picked you up, and when the door was answered, the person answering said, "this is her." You'd run up to the door, too, to greet me. You were busy, busy, busy while we got paperwork together. We unplugged a phone so you could pretend to call people. You had a toothbrush that played music, and you wanted to show me how you brushed your teeth right then, even though I didn't really know where to get a glass of water to help you. I didn't really know what to do and hadn't prepared myself for filling this time, but I followed your lead and you ran your little show for me. You were a driven little girl, right from the start. You fell asleep about two minutes after we drove away, exhausted from the night before, and I realized later a lot of the busy busy busy mode was really overtiredness.
Crocodile. You were terrified. I think about it and it still breaks my heart. You literally backed into a corner by the door, and then tried to leave with the social worker when she tried to leave. Your big brown eyes stared at us, chin lowered. We brought out some goldfish and fruit snacks, started up Daniel Tiger. You shook your little head no. We gently kept trying and finally you sat with me on the couch, kind of watching the show. Then you took the snack and relaxed a tiny bit, and the worker left. You wore a shirt with a saying on it that you still wear as much as possible, and though I can't stand the saying on it, I can't help but let you wear it. You slept only five hours that night, just quietly awake for long periods. With these first moments, I thought you would have a very hard time adjusting to our home, but you actually settled in quite well within a few days.
Every time, it was the start of a remaking of our family.