After dinner last night we headed upstairs to look at the DVDs from our trip to China. It was a well meaning attempt on our part to snuggle close with SS and enjoy reliving such an amazing day. I'm sure the post title gives a good idea of what's coming.
But first, the good:
* There is so much about meeting SS that I missed or plain forgot. This is weird because 27 years later I recall labor and delivery very well. However, I was not giving birth next to five other mothers, their spouses, a notary public, two SWI directors, several nannies, a guide, and two-three males that to this day I have no idea why they were there.
* I choked up when I heard P's voice, because I must have been having an out of body experience because I did not recall much of what he said. P taped and I had the D60. The minute we stepped out of the bus he began filming and narrating as we walked to the civil affairs office. His voice was filled with so much emotion, it truly blows me away.
*Given how emotional P was I am surprised how long he waited to hold SS. It embarrasses me that he waited as long and loved our child as much, but he allowed me to hold SS first. You can see by the time P holds SS all the other fathers had held their child. P did that for me, and I am sometimes dense about acknowledging his sacrifices. I do recall one of the dads was pretty miffed at his wife. He waited about 5 minutes then snapped "Hey do you mind if I hold MY daughter? She is mine too." Is not what he said, but how he said it. Yuck.
* I was surprised at how many times we apologized to SS for waiting so long to be with her. It was our mantra for the first few hours, we were both still very raw and torn about the wait.
* As we entered the office, I am behind P and said "I'm not going to cry, I can't cry, it'll scare the baby." Hah! That resolve quickly dissolved.
*It's there, both video and audio of my world class blunder. I looked at a child dressed in yellow (I did not know then that it was a boy who sadly was wearing girl's clothes). I noticed a huge forehead and thought it was SS. Also, knowing SS's age I would have never thought she was the tiny one. P redirected my attention and pointed at our daughter. Before I had SS in my arms I had a running lists of appointments to make once we arrived home, and was agonizing about possible oral aversion and other issues. She looked sick to me and I worried.
* SS actually laughed for us at the CAO, although her first belly laugh occurred when P opened the can of formula at the hotel, and got powder all over himself and adjacent area. At the office, I lifted her over my head and kissed her belly. I was rewarded with her beautiful laughter, and what an amazing sound it was. P did the same many times, with the same results.
* About six months after we came home I received an e-mail from one of the mothers in our group. She and her husband taped most of the other families, but no one taped them. They do not have that moment. It saddened us because you can clearly see her husband in our pictures taping away. We looked at our DVD then but did not see their meeting moment. We were both pleasantly surprised that P had a few shots of them after meeting. I am so grateful that P filmed as much as he did, and hope SS cherishes those moments in the future. Even when she realizes I messed up and thought Baby J was her.
And the not so good:
Among the pictures from China that SS sees frequently is the one when her nanny is holding her and the director is next to her. Neither P nor I are in that shot, and she has never reacted negatively to this picture.
But when she saw herself on video in her nanny's arms she flipped. P and I were on the bed, blissfully ignorant, and SS was on the floor. When she saw herself in her nanny's arms SS wailed, we could tell she was terrified and climbed on me in record time. We explained that she was seeing Baby S, but that SS is never going to live in China again or be held by her former nanny. After that point, whenever she was not on camera SS flipped. We decided to cut the trip down memory lane short, and will be more careful next time we watch the DVDs. One of SS's favorite activities is watching herself on video. She has seen herself cry or afraid of something new, but had never reacted with such fear. Sorry SS :(
Yeah I know, that picture again. But bear with me, there is a reason for reposting. Look at SS's skin color, she was as pale as her Baba the day we met. SS is a Southern China baby, and that usually equates a brown baby. We wondered then if SS was actually born in Northern China, or (most likely) how often was our child exposed to sunlight.
Last night before the freak out. Two years later we a have a bronzed beauty, no longer a matching set with her Baba. And yes we apply sunscreen liberally on SS, she would be a heck of a lot darker without her SPF 50. SS is wearing her golden mouse ears that were made to celebrate Disneyland's 5oth anniversary. That was back in 2005, the last time we visited the park, and two years before SS was born. The ears have always been where we could see them, and sometimes it hurt so much to see our daughter's nickname on the back of the ears, while we wondered if she would ever wear them, if she would really come home. Patience indeed.