Yesterday was Jarrah's 14-month birthday but we forgot all about that because it was such a hard day. She did a lot of screaming and fretting (and last night we were back to some unexplained nocturnal wailing, too) and by the end of the day David and I were yelling at each other. It didn't help that I was becoming increasingly livid about the treatment we've received from our insurance company--no one returns our calls and every time we try to schedule an appointment or call in a prescription for a sweet little baby who just arrived from many time zones away, we hear "That coverage has been cancelled, ma'am." Cancelled? We had been told before we left that Jarrah's coverage would kick in the day we met her, but other versions of the story say not until we provide proof of adoption, not until March and then 30 more days of processing, or not until she's our biological child. Hello! I think it might be worked out now, but it's too late: I'm a ball of righteous indignation.
It rained most of the day and the three of us fulminated inside, getting on each other's nerves. It was a relief when the sun poked out and it turned into a glorious afternoon. Working on the mistaken assumption that the Balboa Park museums are free on Tuesdays (it's only one Tuesday, and only some museums) we packed up our gear and headed to the old 'hood. Jarrah was serene in her stroller, particularly with her new Snack Trap (Thanks, Jen!) lashed to the side with Link-a-doos. We had a long, bracing walk in the clean air, admiring the reflection pond and the just-budding roses, and enjoying a smidge of adult conversation for the first time in days. Feeling daring, we capped off the evening with dinner at the Outback Steakhouse (I know, I know, it's cheesy for David to go there, but what can you do? The steaks are great, and the house salad is like crack!) I had done a little sleuthing prior to our trip to China, which revealed that a) Outback is noisy and b) Outback is full of toddlers. We made an even more happy discovery, which is c) Outback is a great place for a toddler to have a balanced meal! Jarrah had lots of steamed veggies and baked potato and grilled chicken and when you add the sucked-crayon chaser, she was content as a clam.
Today was one of those scary days when David went to work, and I was on my own with the frightening child. But the morning was almost eerily easy; we played a little, we danced to "Kid Songs for Grown-Ups" (Thanks, Bryan!) and when it seemed like nap time, I laid her down in the crib and said "Go to sleep now" and for reasons I cannot fathom, she did! She snoozed soundly for two hours, during which time you'd have thought from my smug satisfaction that I'd accomplished more than the amazings feats of showering AND eating a peaceful lunch. I even had time for a long catch-up chat with my friend Teresa in Alabama (Hi, T!) before the princess awoke, ready to be conveyed to her booster and plied with sweetmeats (or rather, organic spaghetti loops and soy meatballs, yum! Makes the face all orange-y!)
Although the basics were going well, I was feeling a little bit down and blah when Mary called and suggested we meet in La Jolla after her dentist appointment for a seaside stroll. For some reason, this sounded like madness to me, and I was just reckless enough to take her up on it. I strapped J. into her car seat and zoomed down the freeway, finding myself cresting the hill and gazing down on the navy blue Pacific before I knew it. Ahhhhh. That's what I needed. We had a nice visit with Mary's MIL and then wheeled the girls towards the beach. On the way, I turned to Mary and said, "I guess we're moms now. Look at us. We seem to be pushing strollers." Tres bizaare.
Not only was the day stunning, the kind of day that makes you want to kiss the sand with gratitude that you live in San Diego, but the company was delightful. We had a walk, a swing, a few slides, and then a burst of bubble-blowing on the great, green lawn. And, my friends, Jarrah touched the grass! She even crawled on it a little! She looked disapprovingly at the little lines it left on her palm, but she didn't squawk. In fact, she was a wee bit kittenish all afternoon. She often leaned into me or asked to be picked up, and in orphanage language this is a bit like hugging and kissing. I actually felt like the two of us were on a date. It was a double-date, with Mary and Joy. Two couples. For the first time.
And, friends, we had a bit of a milestone today: Jarrah stood by herself! Please don't be confused--she has been standing and walking with support for quite some time. But today, she did Downward Dog in the middle of the room, and then pushed herself up to standing from the floor. There she stood, grinning, for about 10 seconds! It was thrilling! She and I both cheered and did her special "touchdown!" wave. Oh, and another new thing: she claps her hands when we put her in her booster seat and start strapping her in. Mind you, she hates the booster seat, but she loves what it means: food is on the way. I love this because most of the time I also want to applaud when I know the food is coming.