Tomorrow, we celebrate the fourth month of having Caleb home. At this time four months ago, Kevin, Caleb and I were sleeping, awaiting the buzz of an alarm clock in the wee hours of the morning that meant it was time to leave Guangzhou. I remember the relief I felt when the alarm went off. Even though we had 24+ hours of travel ahead of us, we were going home. Home to our babies, our families, our pets, our schedules, our food…all of the familiar things to us. And at the same time, we were taking all the familiar comforts away from Caleb. I rushed down to the lobby with drippy, just-showered hair to hug Danielle, Josh, and Benny one last time before their van left for the airport. While we all were so anxious to get back to the US, I regret that I wished away our days in China. I couldn’t have known that just a few short months later, I would openly weep when reading others’ Facebook posts about traveling to China for their adoptions. I see their pictures of Beijing, Nanjing, and Guangzhou, and I feel a wave of sadness, almost like being homesick. Hendersonian is currently wrecking my mascara and eyeliner. Double whammy: their newly adopted son is named Caleb. I die. I want to be back there with the unfamiliar foods, the strange smells, a language I don’t know…all of it.
Caleb did really well overall with the trip. He had his moments of car seat hatred, but we really can’t complain. (Although, there was a brief time that I was also crying and questioning our decision to make the trip. Mama can’t take a crying baby.) He met lots of people who have followed his story from the beginning, and he was his usual happy self, smiling shyly and entertaining us all. Like his siblings, he was glad to be back home in his territory with his stuff and his predictable schedule.
Now onto his newest accomplishments! Caleb talks all the time. He strings together lots of consonant sounds, telling us a story, with a few discernible words interspersed here and there. He sometimes holds his hands up and asks, “Where’s Waverly?” He has a new found love of reading. His favorites are the Llama, Llama books and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? He requests these over and over and over. I’m so glad we have another lap baby that loves a good book! Caleb is thrilled with the fact that he is an independent walker. Wait, make that runner. He is everywhere now! He teases us by running into our bedroom and peeking around the corner. We playfully ask, “What do you think you’re doing?!” and he runs off hysterically laughing.
He has really developed a sense of humor. One of his latest antics is eyeing us slyly and putting his foot up on the table. We jokingly “scold” him and tell him to get his foot off the table, and he thinks it is the funniest thing ever. Then he repeats this 20 times. It’s a party here!
In a previous post, I told you that Waverly was initially our biggest champion for bringing Caleb home. She prayed multiple times per day that he would be safe and that Mommy and Daddy would travel soon to get him. Once he was home, reality hit, and she wasn’t quite so sure that she wanted to be displaced as the baby of the family. However, in the grand scheme of things, it hasn’t taken her very long at all to fall in love with Caleb again. She is constantly proclaiming, “I just love him SO much!” One of her favorite times now is getting in the Pack N Play with Caleb to watch Mickey Mouse while I’m in the shower. Sweetest. Thing. Ever.
Caleb’s little jealous streak has passed. He now just joins in the pile of siblings on the couch with me without protest. Of course, it’s just in time for school to start back in a couple of weeks! I’m sure he’s going to miss the busy house when his brother and sisters are in school all day.
This morning, we spent quite a bit of time reading through the kids’ baby books. (I think this counts as one of my favorite days ever, just sitting on the couch reminiscing with the kids.) We already know that Caleb is a little peanut, but we were all shocked to see that Braden at SIX months was the size of Caleb now at SIXTEEN months. He still fits in mostly 9-12 month clothes, and his foot is barely bigger now than Braden’s was at birth. Not even kidding. We have polar opposites on the growth chart.
Another funny thing to note: As we were going through the kids’ baby books, each of them had fortunes from fortune cookies glued to pages. (Did we really eat that much Chinese food?) It was a sweet little realization that in a miniscule way, there had always been a little bit of China woven into our kids’ stories. And with that, I’m getting a little teary eyed again, so I will go hug my babies and search Pinterest for a good noodle recipe. I’m sure it just won’t be the same without these guys though.