Tuesday, January 03, 2006

You Oughta Be In Pictures

I opened my e-mail this morning to discover a surprise: a message from the CCAI Match Department! I was thrilled because I assumed it had something to do with our Travel Notices. But it was more information about Ruo-Ruo!

Eek! First it gave some new numbers, taken in mid-December (our last info was from September 27) including her new height and weight--she is an inch taller but five pounds heavier than she was three months ago! She is a major butterball now. It said she is standing and talking (!) and walking if you hold her hand. She had chicken pox six weeks ago "but is fine now." She has eight teeth!

I was showing David these stats when we realized there were two digital photos attached to the bottom and we yelped and started scrolling down. And there she was, on her hobby horse, in all her puffy-suited glory!

Her hair is growing in and now forms a pointy mohawk on top of her head. The mark on her forehead (Dr. Dern called it!) was obviously just a bruise because it's gone now. She's still not smiling, and once again she seems to be reaching for the camera with a gesture like, "All right, hand that over. I'm going to have scads of these things where I'm going so I might as well start practicing now."

And she's still totally, utterly gorgeous.

It's a trifle upsetting to see these photos. I'm having trouble articulating my distress. I guess because we've had such incredibly limited parameters for bonding with her--one mug shot and two crawling shots from the same day--I've spent a lot of time visualizing myself with her at a particular age that had passed even when I was seeing it for the first time. In those first photos, she is nearly bald and on her knees, and though the information at the time did indicate that she was already standing with help and the baldness wasn't natural, I could imagine her as a "baby-baby," one who would snuggle in my lap and be carted around on my hip. I would cradle her at bottle time and feed her mashed bananas with a tiny spoon. But that was actually a fantasy for which I've missed the train again. This baby will be pressing buttons and opening drawers and devising various ways to kill herself in the spots we've somehow dropped the ball on babyproofing. She'll be galloping from room to room with me in hot pursuit. She'll be gnawing on bagels and eating those teeny-tiny squares of meat and veg I've cut up on her high chair tray. She'll be telling me things in Mandarin and I'll say, "Sorry? Could you repeat that? I didn't quite catch it the first time."

I know she will be adorable and fun at this stage, and no doubt at many stages to come. But I was having trouble accepting I'd already missed so many stages in her life, and now I have to work on accepting another one that I actually imagined I'd be there for. Everything she's done so far is like "The Legend of Jarrah," recorded for posterity but unseen by the naked human Sam and David eye. The next time I proudly tell someone about her measurements, her accomplishments and her vast array of teeth, I want to speak from experience.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very sympathetic here. but i promise you, jarrah will still be a "baby-baby" when you get to her, even if it's not, god forbid, in mid-february. nina was 20 months when we got her, and she was still very baby-ish for awhile. i think jarrah will respond just fine to a very hot bottle of very sweet milk, thank you very much ;-) best wishes for fast travel. if nothing else, you and david could just go over now and see the country while waiting for the rest of your group to arrive! much love, jalan