Thursday, January 31, 2013

New pictures

Dear Eli,

Last week we got new pictures of you from a visiting family. These pictures are my lifeline-- they're the only glimpse into your life. So when I got these pictures, I noticed three things-- first, that you were crying your eyes out, second, that they had moved to the new building, and third, that you were back in your crib in the middle of the day.

Sometimes, getting pictures of you is harder than not getting pictures at all. As a mom of (almost) six, I can explain away the crying-- maybe you'd been taking a nap, maybe the room was too cold, maybe you were sick. But when I only get updates of your sweet face once a month (or less) and you're crying in those pictures, I'm not gonna lie-- it does something to me.

It's great that you've moved to the new building. Last year when we visited, we were really excited to see all of the babies and the rooms in the old orphanage, and the orphanage director was really excited to guide us through the mud to the building site of the new orphanage. I know it's been a huge project, and the space looks fantastic. You have a new crib and new bedding and there are murals on the walls and the ceiling. It's institutional, to be sure, but it looks like a nice children's hospital might in the United States, not a crumbling building with dangerous heaters at baby level.

But back in the old orphanage, there was a room for the toddlers to sleep and a room for the toddlers to play. You spend nighttime and naptime in your crib, but for most of the day, you were on the floor (great) or in a walker (less great, but still better than the crib). When I talked to one of the other waiting moms, she said that it was her impression that you were now spending lots and lots of time in your crib.

And that depresses me. I have pictures of you crawling. Pictures of you standing (holding onto something, but still standing). Pictures of you in a little huddle of a dozen babies in matching outfits. Getting you out of bed and on the floor gave you the chance to build your muscles and your brain, to explore, and to have relationships with your little guys. But if you're in your crib all day...

The good news is that it won't be much longer. But when I was thinking of you crawling around, learning to stand, maybe even learning to walk, that made the wait so much less anxious for me. Now, I'm just eager to get on the plane and get to you. It will come soon, but it can't come soon enough.



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