Being a Mommy

Being a mommy doesn’t start when they let you take the baby home from the hospital, even for biological mothers. For the first several days of Jack’s life, I was afraid to be his mommy, lest I upset his birthmom. When we took him to the hotel from the hospital, he was 3 days old. Very tiny. Very new. Very fragile. By comparison, his 7 week old body seems made of rubber and Velcro. It’s only when I see him next to my hand, fitting in Max’s arms, curling up on my shoulder, that I realize, hey, this is one tiny baby.
The weeks in the hotel felt like a movie, in that I was playing the role of “adoptive mother.” Landing in Oakland, I could relax more. Soon, we would be with friends and family who cared.
After being here for about a week, I realized that, while I felt like a mommy in the caregiver sense, I did not know if Jack knew I was his mommy. And when I thought of that, I felt, well, more like a baby-sitter. A close, personal friend of the family type baby-sitter, but not exactly a mother.
I don’t know if this feeling is “normal” or “average” or something peculiar to adoptive parents. Somehow, I just felt slightly less than mommy. Once Max and I worked out a schedule in which I put Jack to bed, I felt far more mommy-like. Although, as a baby-sitter, I sang a lot of little ones to bed, the experience of carrying my own little guy to bed was an instant connection.
This past week, Jack started smiling. The books say that he’s smiling because he’s content, and that social smiling (smiling back at people, or smiling to elicit a smile) doesn’t start until 2 months. Fine. Jack is smiling because HE is happy. That makes me happy! He smiles and coos, and we’ve had a few conversations which, if they were overheard, would probably cause the education police to come and take my diploma away:
Me: Ah goo.
Jack: Ah goo.
Me: smiling
Jack: open mouth smile, then Oh
Me: Oh
Jack: Ah goo
Me: Ah
Jack: (I wasn’t done yet!) Ge
Me: So sorry. Ge.
Jack: nothing
Me: Ah goo?
Jack: nothing
Me: (maybe he’s mad because I interrupted him) Oh?
Jack: Ah goo
Jack actually laughed today. I’m not sure he knew why I thought it was so cool, and he didn’t do it again. But he did laugh. He was in his bassinet, and I was playing with him by getting my face really close to his, holding his hands and saying, “Bugaboo!” After awhile, he laughed. I tried doing the same thing again, and, while he seemed to enjoy it, he didn’t laugh. Indeed, he eventually gave me the 80 year old man I’m gonna fuss face, so I took him out of the bassinet.
At this point, I am fairly secure in my mommy-ness. Max, of course, never had the feeling that Jack didn’t know he was daddy, so he is continuing to be secure in his daddy-ness.
In other news: Tuesday, we took Jack to Berkeley to see my cousin Jessica. Jessica plays Division I lacrosse for Vanderbilt in TN, and her team played Berkeley (and won). We met up with her after the game for dinner and socializing. Jack, of course, was a big hit, even with perfect strangers. My grandmother came with us, and just held him practically the entire night. When he got fussy in the restaurant, Max took him out. He has a story about improvising a changing table in the mens’ room.
Wednesday, Max and I both felt like we had colds, so most of that day I spent napping with and without Jack, and Max did the same. Our goal was to keep the three of us alive, and we did, so I call it a good day.
Yesterday, our real estate agent came by and took Jack and me to lunch. Jack does not like Pick Up Stix. Poor Max handled a fussy Jack all day, while I did laundry and got around to some of the piles of stuff that have been sitting here for a month.
I have to go see if Jack’s breathing now. Good night!

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