Monday, November 18, 2013

Dads and daughters

Ben and Mari when they were just getting to know each other.

When we were considering another adoption, I was fine with getting another boy or girl.  But Ben said we already had two great boys and it was only worth the wait, the paperwork and the cost if we were aiming for a girl.  That made me smile. I have ALWAYS wanted to see Ben have a baby girl.  He is a huge sucker for a little girl.  Being as Ben rarely plays the sucker to anyone it has always warmed my heart when a niece or a friend's little girl have gotten him to do crazy things just by smiling at him.

But here is the problem, Ben wasn't able to come with me for the court date when I got to meet Mari and play with her for hours on end.  He missed the chance to hold her sweet hand, rock her to sleep, watch her shy smile light up her face.  Basically I got to fall in love back in July.  Truth be told I was already half in love before that.  But stoic Ben was not going to fall in love before that little girl was in our lives forever.  Then he wasn't able to come with me when I picked her up.  Again I had hours of feeding, rocking, playing, laughing and bonding.  Ben did not.  When we got home, poor Mari was overwhelmed with all that she had been through and she clung to me as her rock and scowled at strangers, including Ben.  Again Ben missed out on getting to see her real personality.  Just when she was beginning to warm up he had to leave for a trip.  So finally last week he was able to take a week off and spend large amounts of time with her.

I know this was challenging for him as she is a baby and there aren't a ton of adventures you can have with a small baby that doesn't know you.  He faithfully strapped her on his chest or back in the baby carrier and went out and about. They ran errands, they rode bikes, and they walked to the park.  He put her to bed, he bathed her, he fed her and he sat with her.   She slowly began to warm up to him.  And before my eyes I watched him fall in love with her.  He couldn't even see it himself but I saw him go out of his way to make her smile.  I listened to him sing made up lullabies.  I watched him laugh as she showed him her silly side.  She loves to play "getcha" with Daddy.  She'll sneak over and tag him with her hand and he jumps and yelps.  This makes her giggle.   I have waited a long time to see my Ben fall for his little girl and it was SO worth the wait.  It is bringing out the softer side that often only I get to see.  I see him softening more with the boys too.  It is a wonderful thing.  He is back to work now but he told me that this week he was so excited to come home from work and see her again.  He always tells us that the best part of his day is coming home to all of us and now that includes our sweet little honey too.

And how is Mari doing?  Really well.  It has been 6 weeks and three days that she has been home with us.  Somedays if feels like six days and sometimes it feels like it has been forever.  She is growing and learning so much.  She is walking all over the place now.  The boys continue to marvel at her walking and cheer for her even though she has been at it for awhile now.  She is trying to learn words.  Sadly the clearest word is "caca" for the cat.  She calls the boys "ayayaya"  I think it is "hi" just said over and over.  She has learned to give kisses and hugs.  Her kisses are open mouthed slobbers all over your face but I love them.  If I tell her "no" she'll come lay her head on me.  She has learned to sleep through the night without a bottle.  Some nights are great where she'll only wake up once and others she fuss in her sleep every few hours but it is much better than before we took the bottle away.  We almost had to take the bottle as she caught a wicked cold and couldn't feed and breath at the same time so she was basically waking up all night long.  She waves all the time at everything.  She does a backwards wave to be picked up.  She waves to have you bring her something.  She waves to say hi.  She waves to say bye.  I am a sucker for this little wave.  It makes me laugh every time.  I can be frustrated with her for not sleeping and then whining to be picked up, but if she waves at me I scoop her up for a cuddle.  I think she knows this as the wave is happening more and more every day:).

The boys are continuing to adjust and love to play with her.  They sometimes get carried away by dressing her up or pushing her around in a laundry basket or making her "run".  But for the most part they are attentive, loving and amazingly patient with her.  They still fight over who gets to sit by her in the van and car so that is a good sign.  We are getting some sort of schedule down for school.  But I will not tell you it is easy. I find myself tired by 10:30 in the morning:).  Yet after they have all been in bed an hour I am ready to go peek at their sweet little faces and kiss all three of my amazing kids.

I started this blog with Ben so I will end with him too.  It was his birthday last week when he had the days off.  He is not into birthdays at all.  I, on the other hand, am a HUGE birthday fan.  I have corrupted the kids to my way of thinking so we all love birthdays.  I took Ben aside and told him to act very excited about the boys presents as sometimes his lack of enthusiasm steals our joy of his birthday:).  The funny thing was, that in doing so he actually enjoyed his Birthday more.  Yared bought him his favorite candy and Nati made him his favorite cookies.  I got him a GoPro camera which I knew he wanted but would never buy himself.  He acted, or actually was genuinely thrilled with all three presents and so the three birthday lovers in the family were suitably happy with the day:).

PS - my dad said there were spelling error in the last blog entry.  I have two excuses.  First, I grew up in the whole language phase(no phonics)and I am a terrible, horrible, very bad speller.  Luckily I am better at teaching it than learning it and Yared is a GREAT speller.  Secondly, I have almost no free time so getting a blog up is a feat in itself and proof reading is a luxury of the past.  Maybe in three years you can expect better editing but until then enjoy the content and please overlook the errors:)

Here are what you are waiting for…pictures.
Ben with Mari on her first hike.
 Look at the joy of those boys giving presents.
 Good excitement dad!!
 Best Daddy ever.
 Cake time.  Nati requests that NO coconut goes into his cake ever.
My new favorite picture.  I am so blessed.


airdave said...

First, I agree with coconut, ever! Hi five, Nati!
Second, your blogs almost make me cry - really! - in that your love of life, for family never ends - and that's super great! It shows in your letters and posts as well as in person.
Thanks so much for taking the time to post this blog. We can't wait to see ALL of you again soon.
Love, Dj

Anonymous said...

I love seeing you with all three kids, they are beautiful. Happy birthday Ben! Blessings, Angela