When I say, “I will be organized”, I don’t mean that I’m going to pull up my socks on the subject or that I’m anticipating my 2015 New Years resolution or anything of the sort. It’s much more that I expect to BE organized – by certain types of people in our household who now reign as a majority.
You may remember my blog entry from a couple of posts ago, that the foundation of the irony that Brita had lost her passport was that she’s usually more than a little particular that all things must go into their designated spots. I’m afraid to say that our new daughter may exceed Brita’s lofty standards and that all who may stand in her way with a more easy-going, devil-may-care attitude (ie. me) when it comes to things like clothes and toys being returned to their designated spots, are going to simply be run over. I’m already starting to find myself doing the head-shaking, rolling of eyes, and sighing that my father-in-law, Pete, has been forced to resort to for the past 50 years of parent-hood. I, however, have two of them!
A few symptoms for your perusal:
- All crayons must at all times live either in their box or be being used for the purpose for which they were designed. Any time spent between those two things must be minimized to the extent possible;
- When conducting activities such as using the toilet or washing one’s hands (hooray that these are both happening!), all things must happen with military precision and always in the same order. In particular, in no circumstances must one allow any parts of the toilet paper roll to hang more than 4.5 cm below the rest of the roll.
- When one is focussed on eating one’s food, it is critical that all third parties should keep their hands off one’s cutlery and allow one to chase that wayward pea around the plate for as long as necessary. That pea needs to be delivered to its designated spot (ie. one’s mouth) as an entirely solo activity and, in the meantime, cannot be allowed to spend any more time than is absolutely necessary galloping around the plate.
- When one is playing “Angry Birds” on the iPad, it is irrelevant that your bird is being catapulted in entirely the wrong direction, assistance is not requested nor accepted. It’s a bit of a quandary as to whether keeping the birds neatly lined up on the firing line and ignoring the pigs entirely (they’re neatly organized on their own perches) is preferable to hearing the sounds of success generated when those mocking and green piggy-wiggy-woos are knocked off their high horses.
All kidding aside, she’s been fantastic over the 5 days we’ve now had her to ourselves. It makes me slightly nervous that she’s been so easy with none of the “attachment” issues that are so common with adopted children. Long may it continue!
Her only, slightly odd, quirk is that she absolutely hates having a shower but seems not to mind either the rain or leaping into a swimming pool. Stick her in the shower (irrelevant as to whether it’s a glorious rain-shower or the hand-held version – we have both in the hotel), and you’d think the world was imminently coming to an end and that she was weeping tears for the entire planet at once! I suspect all this is because she’s used to the traditional Indian-style of filling up a bucket with water and using a mug to pour it over yourself. I will find out whether my suspicions are right this evening – here’s hoping! She also eats like a fiend (I mean really quickly, and a lot, as if she’s worried there won’t be another meal) so we’re actively trying to slow her down and serve her meals in courses.
On the language front she’s doing rather well. We’ve come to a negotiated settlement where we learn some basic Oriya (pronounced Uriya) words such as Voka (hungry), Khai-bu (do you want to eat?), Soy-bu (do you want to sleep?), Jhaddha (toilet), Tiké-ruho (wait), etc… In exchange, her most used English words are “elephant”, “pool”, “please”, “yay”, “hey”, “one-two-three”, and “what a good idea!”. I’m not kidding about the last one….
Oh yeah – the passport booklets have, apparently, arrived at the local passport office so we’re now hoping we can get Rani’s in the next day or so. We’re scheduled to head back to Delhi on Saturday and get her medical checkup for Canadian Immigration done on Monday, so am really hoping the passport arrives before then! What a good idea!
A few photos from the last few days (all you Facebook types will already have seen most of them).
Early marathon training
Loving her first day in a swimming pool with Mum
There’s something going on in that wee noggin
Poolside cabanas are worth getting excited about!
Last evening I used all the skills and mental capacities I’ve developed over the course of my legal and business career to negotiate the cost of dry cleaning one stuffed elephant – who goes by the name of Horton.
This occurred in the reception area of the rather lovely Mayfair Lagoon Hotel in Bhubaneswar, India and came about because Horton had spent the previous 24 hours at a local orphanage. Various important issues had to be canvassed before resolution was at hand: was this a mere “hathi” (elephant) or actually a Ganesha; if not a deity (I argued that he was a Canadian elephant so more prone to lumberjacking than being the object of worship), then was laundering better than dry-cleaning; what category should he occupy on the long list of the hotel’s laundering options. It turned out that he’s the equivalent of a little girl’s dress (ie. Rs. 200 or $3.55) – that seemed like a decent win-win resolution for all concerned. Horton, in the meantime, sat observing all this from his perch on the counter, while one fellow checking-in inquired as to whether the hotel was handing out these fine specimens for free.
Of course, there is a reason for this elephantine lead-up – Horton was about to descend into the bowels of the hotel’s laundry because we’d left him overnight with Rani after our first visit to the orphanage the previous day…and it was highly likely that some of the local lice population may have decided to emigrate.
So, as many of you Facebook-types know, we met our new daughter for the first time on Thursday of this week. I wouldn’t be being honest if I didn’t say we were excited but apprehensive at the same time. It helped hugely to have Abinash (I’ve dubbed him the “Fixer”) come and have a drink with us the previous evening and tell us how great Rani was when he met her six months ago. Abinash has been helping throughout this process on the Indian side – ushering forward movement in government agencies, working with the orphanage, etc… He’s done a brilliant job – so lot’s of thanks are owed to him. Nevertheless, given what we learned about transplanted children during an 8-week course we’d completed at home, our expectations of instant connection and happiness were very low.
Sure enough, a whole bunch of kids were lined up to meet us when we rolled in – and the least excited of them all was Rani. Apparently, this is the opposite of her normal behaviour so we think Mr. Mohanty (the head dude at the orphanage) was slightly embarrassed by this uncharacteristic display. We, on the other hand, were expecting it – so it was all running to script as far as we could tell. Even after the provision of a couple of gifts for her – a fuzzy rubber ball and Horton, we didn’t see much change over the first hour or so. Here she is with Brita around that time.
As with most things (ok, that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration), tickling breaks the ice! I didn’t know that but Brita did! Once the giggles started up, the change was amazing. There was constant smiling, asking to sit on laps, wanting to play, wanting to show us off to her friends – an incredible transformation! Some of these will give you an idea.
We ended up spending half the day with her and left letting her know that we’d be back tomorrow – much excitement ensued. Our relief was palpable on the way home!
You never know what a few hours will bring but when we arrived at the orphanage on Friday, all the previous day’s enthusiasm was still there on Rani’s part. She came running across the courtyard in the pouring rain to meet us and then ran off (beckoning us to follow) so that she could tell her caregiver that her “parents had arrived”. A damn fine start, thought I! She was even visibly miffed when we paid attention to any of the other kids – clearly, the adoption of us had begun…
Abinash and Mr. Mohanty went off to the passport office to check on the status of the missing booklets while we had a nice lunch with Rani and the staff. Al fresco, I might add…
Our intrepid investigators of all matters passport returned with some not so good news. No sign of the new passport booklets – meaning returning to Delhi this Sunday is not going to work (they wouldn’t let Rani onto the plane without photo id of some sort). Apparently, these booklets are already 8 days late – something which hasn’t happened in the 20 years the passport official has been running this office. Not only that – but it looks like all the passport offices around the country have the same problem. Abinash flew back to Delhi to see what’s what via his contacts at the Ministry of External Affairs – but who knows??? We’ve rebooked our flights and are now returning to Delhi 6 days later in the hope that this gets resolved next week. The only consolation is that this is a really nice place in the midst of some amazing warm downpours (which I love) and I can still courier the other documents to the Canadian High Commission. With any luck, this delay won’t change our timing for heading back to Canada.
Back to the matter at hand, and I’m writing this on Saturday evening which is just over 24 hours since we brought Rani home – WOW! I have to take my hat off to the orphanage – they’ve done a splendid job raising this little girl from when they got her at age 1 to almost 4. All those danger signs we were warned to look for in transplanted kids (eg. not making eye contact, acting out, etc…) seem not to be there at all. She’s been amazing! Sleeps through the night completely, loves her cuddles, has learned to eat with a spoon and fork already, asks when she needs to go the bathroom, seems to feel and express happiness & sadness (ie. a range of emotions)…hooray! Fingers crossed but so far she seems incredibly well adjusted, laid back and open to all sorts of new things. Given what we observed, she was certainly well-loved, taught, and prepared for new parents at SMSS. We’re very grateful for the job they did.
Oh yeah – she did have some lice on her when we brought her back so Horton had to suffer dry cleaning activities very early in his life. He’s now curled up with Rani in her cot. We and Rani are lice free after the application of appropriately hellish chemical substances in our hair.
Tomorrow – we find out if she’ll dip a toe into the swimming pool.