While waiting for our adoption to finally happen, I can't begin to tell you how many times I heard parents say that the first couple of days with their new child were really, really tough...but day three seemed to be a turning point. The kids seem to accept their new normal and begin the processes of bonding and attaching.
Let me tell you, when your in the trenches of their grief, the magical Day 3 seems like nothing more than a mean-spirited urban myth, repeated over and over again just to tease you. It's hard to believe that a baby who is grieving that intensly can make that kind of turn around in such a short time.
While day three wasn't a magically cure-all for what ails us, definite progress was obviously being made. Annabelle woke up happy, and after a bottle and some breakfast we decided to visit the hotel playroom where she discovered that going full tilt boogie - backwards - in the exersaucer was much fun indeed. In fact, we got to witness some baby belly laughs, and let me tell you, there is nothing sweeter.
That went so well that after lunch we decided to brave the local Walmart. We were certainly the center of attention in every department we visited, but the staff and other customers were very patient with us and helped us find the girl some new shoes and clothing. Annabelle started to get fussy in her stroller and so I put her in the mei tai and she immediately fell asleep in the cab on the way home. Unfortunately, the cab ride was only about 20 minutes and everything went downhill from there. No afternoon nap = extremely cranky girl and a frazzled momma. After a long protest, she finally went to sleep about 9pm and Greg stood watch while I headed downstairs for a much needed rum and coke and to decompress. Tip # whatever (this one's for the dads): if you are not the one baby is clinging to, do pretty much everything else (lug, wash, pack, etc.) You're wife will consider you a hero and even though I know it is hard to not be able to lavish all your love on this new baby, know that you are enabling your wife to lay the foundation that will make it possible for you both later.
The biggest improvement of the day was the Greg was finally able to look at her (and hold her once while she was asleep!) and I was even allowed to leave her immediate line of sight without bringing out her inner howler monkey.
She's been a good eater and sleeper since the first, and remarkably, has been very brave with her eye contact from the beginning. If all of that continues and the rest continues to improve, we might even have a happy baby on our hands in a few more days. I don't believe for even a second that everything will now be rainbows and kittens, but it does seem we've turned an important corner together.