I lost a pencil and my iPod broke.  And, oh yeah, I became a mom

So today was a pretty normal day. It started off bad because either my iPod charger or my iPod charger cord is no longer working and now I can’t charge my iPod so that means no music on the long trip home.  Ugh.  Then I made some breakfast – the Kazakh corn flakes leave a lot to be desired.  And then I lost a pencil that I had been using to mark distances on the tongue depressor Eiffel tower project and that bummed me out.  I looked everywhere for it – how can I lose one lousy pencil in a teeny apartment. And then I went for a walk this evening since it’s a lovely day……


Sorry, what’s that? You want to hear about something else?  Like what?  Oh yeah, that’s right, I did have something else happen today that was slightly noteworthy. In between the pencil loss and the evening walk, betwixt dawn and dusk, somewhere along the way, I became the official mother of Aida Kaparova to be renamed Annabelle Margaret Mericle.


8pm – All is quiet, and I’m sitting on my couch, drinking the airplane sized bottle of 18 year old Macallan scotch that my friends Lisa and Stewart gave me to celebrate my adoption.  Of course, I’m drinking it out of a monkey coffee mug. It adds a bit of class. 



Annabelle fell asleep about 10 minutes ago.  What a trooper she has been. 


Court was much rougher and more intense than anyone had prepared me for.  My speech was straightforward and I actually remembered it. With a little help. Gives a new meaning to “read the hand.” 

I felt like I was back in elementary school, cheating on a test, but apparently writing on one’s hand is de rigueur in these situations as no paper notes are allowed. 


After my speech came the questions.  But instead of the usual 2-3 questions, I got 15-20 questions and they were not softballs!  “If you want to be a mother so much, why don’t you have your own child?”, “would you say you are doing this more out of wanting to be a mother or wanting to help?”, “why don’t you get married so you have some security”, “why don’t you adopt from the US” and the followup: “If you don’t like open adoptions, why don’t you look for a kid in the us whose mother has died?” “don’t you think you’d feel more like a mother with a baby that you birthed?”  plus the ones I was expecting “who will take care of the baby while you’re working”, “tell us about your financial situation”, etc.


afterwards, Inna and Dr. Victoria both agreed they had not seen a court session that hard, ever! 


It seems that my foul luck continues. Just today, for the first time ever, they decided to put two prosecutors in the court, instead of just one.  And these two were definitely involved in some sort of testosterone-y dance of one-upmanship.  And, no one warned me that I would be particularly under fire due to the fact that I didn’t present any medical diagnosis that showed I couldn’t have children. Apparently, most people, even the single moms, have paperwork showing they cannot have their own children and that’s why they are adopting.  Well, I’ve got no problems in that area that I know of, I just have always wanted to adopt. And they could not let go of that fact.  Finally, I ended that line of questioning with an irritated and very direct comeback, which I will not quote here (since my parents are reading and you don’t want your parents to read the word “sex” since they’ve never had it. *I stick to that fantasy*) but you can write me if you’re interested.   Apparently, they were looking for something along those lines since they then moved on to the whole “why don’t you adopt from the US” line of questioning. 


It lasted almost an hour and a half (normally it lasts less than half an hour) and I stood most of the time answering questions.  I went into the court pretty upset already.  I had hoped to ask for an (unlikely to be granted) immediate execution due to Margaret’s death and my parents struggling at home to deal with her estate.  The immediate execution would have allowed me to waive the waiting period (another 15 days starting now) and get home early. I knew it was a long shot but I was hoping for a little compassion – and I at least wanted to ask.   Anyway, the coordinator here had told me I could ask – until today when she said that I couldn’t even bring it up.  Now, I understand why – she’d probably gotten wind of the Buzz Saw Boys and knew it would only raise more questions. But anyway, I didn’t get a lot of information about why I couldn’t ask, just that I couldn’t. So I was quite upset even walking into court.  And then to run into these jerks was too much. I stumbled out feeling almost physically bruised.  But in the end it turned out okay.


I was thinking, Okay now we go for a beer, maybe some din-din, celebrate in style.  But no, it was straight off to the children’s hospital to spring Annabelle and to distribute the gifts (It’s traditional to put together gift bags (click for photo of my gift stash) for the caregivers and doctors and anyone else who has helped you or the child.  Thank you Target One Spot, best place to buy gift items ever!).  Annabelle smiled and laughed when I walked in. Then when all the other people walked in she got wary. She’s not stupid, my kid. She knew something was up.  When I picked her up she clung to me in a serious “what the hell” kind of way.  In the car Annabelle was fine, but a little frozen. I couldn’t get a smile from her no matter what tricks I pulled out.  The next stop was the maternity hospital to drop off gifts there too.   All I wanted to do was get home but we were dropping 5 folks off on the way so it took awhile.


All at once, we were home. And I was alone with Annabelle in my apartment.  I stuck her in this round circle thingy, not sure what they are called, that someone had left at the apartment.


Day 22_files\court day026.MOV


I figured she was probably ready for a bottle and so I made my first bottle. It was a disaster. Not the formula concoction itself, but the whole bottle top thing. At first, I tried to give her the avent bottle with the silicone top. She cannot figure out how to work those silicone tops. So then I grabbed the rubber top that Allison had given me.  And I tried to fit that in the avent bottle.  It seemed to sort of work, not great, but serviceable until I realized about 5 minutes in, that the other side of the bottle (the side I couldn’t see) was totally leaking and coating Annabelle with formula. So then I tried vainly to fix the top before giving up in disgust and going and washing/sterilizing the dirty platex bottle. The top fits that bottle. So it now looks like I have to get through the rest of this trip with one bottle and one bottle top.  How’s that for expert logistical planning on my part?  Oh, and I also tried to feed her a couple of spoonfuls of baby food carrots.  That worked well.


Since she was filthy from the bottle and the carrots it was time to traumatize her further and give her a bath, the first one ever for her.  Well, I set up the video camera and everything because I have heard first baths are usually full of screams and cries. So I was prepared to document. But damn if the kid wasn’t cool as a cucumber. She sort of looked around, tried to grab the water with her baby fingers and then just looked up at me and said (quite clearly) “this is it?”  Anyway, I washed her with some baby wash. I had forgotten to bring or buy baby shampoo so Bumble&Bumble it was, and it worked fine.   I pulled her out of the bath and dried her in a yellow ducky towel that her “Uncle” marcus gave her, and she was happy as could be.  New diaper, a onesie and she was set. She played in the living room for about a half hour, while I puttered around getting her bed ready.  Then, at about 8pm, she yawned a few times and zonked out.


And that brings me to the end of my story. Hopefully there won’t be an addendum to the story that I write at midnight as I try to comfort a hysterical child.  So far so good.


Quick question: If she falls asleep at 8pm, should I wake her and give her a bottle at 10 or 11 or let her sleep until she wakes?  Which method is most likely to make her sleep the night?  Advice sought!


Wow, I’m a mom. Absorb that. 



PS – next day 7am addendum – she did indeed sleep through the night.  Foul luck everywhere but in the kid I got! Amazing.