and this is the first time I have switched on my computer.
I'm guessing that probably tells you all you need to know about how upside-down things are here right now. (That, and I originally typed 'need' as 'kneed').
One of the things I was most looking forward to when I got home was catching up on everyone's blogs, saying hi, and finally leaving some comments - it's been driving me crazy not to be able to say things like - wow! You're travelling this week! (That's for you, T) Hi! Great to meet you! (for you, Amanda) Two of your recent posts made me cry! (for you, Emaye) and so on and so on. I think I planned to do this, ummmm, Saturday afternoon. Not so much, as it turns out - I spent at least 20 hours of Saturday in my pyjamas, taking it in turns with the other grownups to catch up on sleep and trying to convince the babies that they should take their turn too. I feel terrible about this, especially since you've all been so incredibly supportive while I've been away, but I'm going to have to crave your indulgence and ask you to accept my heartfelt apologies for my silence. I haven't stopped caring, I promise! Now, by day four, I've given up any idea that the babies will ever sleep so am trying to unpack a month's worth of detritus around them, (and just gave up resisting and switched the computer on too). I said that we didn't bring enough of some stuff (notably bottles, also formula) but we WAY overestimated on other things, which is why I have twelve packs of leftover antibacterial handwipes. I've spent a lot of the last few days just looking wildly around the house trying to find places to PUT all these things. Is there much of an ebay market for secondhand antibacterial handwipes? No, didn't think so.
I knew things wouldn't suddenly be easy when we got home, and they're not. The babies are hugely disoriented, again, which is perfectly reasonable. They are waking up 8 - 10 times at night and we are finding it tough. I know this won't last forever, and we are doing the things we've been advised to (eg no switching the light on, no talking at night, sleeping in our room etc etc) but this is probably going to take some serious time to settle down. They are still jetlagged, I'm sure, and the cold and the new smells and change in air pressure has got to be difficult for them. At the moment we are trying to make things as easy as possible for them, with lots of cuddles and all the milk they can imagine, whenever they want, even if that means waking at 4, again at 4.30 and again at 5. Which it does, every day. And we are tired.
Like every new adoptive mother, (and probably every mother, I guess) I'm struggling with the transition between wanting this thing and getting it. I knew that things would be hard, and they are, but knowing and experiencing are always two very different things. At the moment they feel more hard than rewarding, and I'm doing my best to let myself just be in that place without going into meltdown. I'm really glad that I read some books (like 'The Post-Adoption Blues') and some blogs (hi Julie, hi Julia!) that warned me that this might be the case. Knowing that this is somehow normal helps me to deal with it. I can deal with things being hard - I cannot deal with adding a layer of guilt about wishing things didn't feel so hard when I wanted them so much. Clearly, another thing I cannot do at the moment is construct a coherent sentence, but I'm just going to have to learn to live with that too.
And believe it or not, despite what I've written above, I know how blessed I am and I am so grateful. We put the babies in their bear suits today and took them for a walk - one in the sling, and one in the pram. They slept and smiled and none of us walked into a pole or fell in the river, despite our sleep deprivation, and it was so good to all be together, our family of four, in our little town. Now they are downstairs with J feeding them while I go through all the clothes that need unpacking (and type this).
It's going to be a while before things feel like they are anywhere near normal again, I think. But am I allowed to be really, really cheesy for a moment here? A month or so ago, while I was crying a lot and waiting for our court date, I went to an afternoon showing of the new version of Fame. I'll be frank - it's a pretty bad film. I don't want to ruin the plot for you, but basically, they want to live forever, they want to learn how to fly. (So you're not disappointed, I should probably let you know that none of them actually do learn to fly during the course of the film, which is a shame, I thought). But there's a really nice song near the beginning that Marco sings for his audition, and it's been stuck in my head for a month now. I would hate to think that I've sunk to the point where I'm getting philosophical input from a Disney film, but I keep looking at those babies and thinking - we're just ordinary people, kiddos. Maybe we should take it slow.
For now, I think slow is okay.