Yup, I've officially gone over the edge. For the past few days, I've been unable to think about anything but QiuQiu in her orphanage. I feel like if I think hard enough, I'll actually be able to see her... rolling around in her crib, playing with her feet, smiling at a caretaker.
Yesterday, in a moment of extreme weakness, I spent 45 minutes looking through the photos of her orphanage that other parents have taken and posted in the files on our SWI group. The thing is, I have already looked at each and every one of these photos, several times over. But somehow I was convinced that if I looked one more time - looked really hard - I'd be able to see her in one of the photos.
Of course, that's ridiculous. I recognize that I'm not thinking clearly. So instead I decided to channel all my hormonal energy into more useful venues. I started searching the cleft group, and the blogs of parents who have brought home cleft-affected children, to see what I was missing. For one thing, I didn't have a clear idea of how one feeds a cleft baby. I mean, I had plenty of examples, but it seemed as if, in each journal that I read, each child had a different feeding implement that worked, and wanted nothing to do with the rest. A certain type of bottle, a small spoon, a sippy cup with a wide nozzle, a feeding syringe.... So I asked around.
In a nutshell, the advice I got from many quarters was that it's a process of elimination: bring everything, and discard what she won't use. With that in mind, I began to research BPA-free brands of bottles and sippy-cups that might be suitable to a baby with a large cleft palate (BPA being the "bad" ingredient that leaches out of most plastics and is toxic to children. Oh, and adults too). I discovered that I could find BPA-free sippy cups, with the kind of wide, soft nozzle that cleft kids often need, at W@alm@rt, of all places! I never shop at that particular Big Box, but this seemed like an occasion for a special trip. Meantime, I had received a few other tips from been-there-done-that moms, among which were that cleft babies in particular (and orphanage children in general, tend to be very small for their age, and that I should even have some 6-9 mos sized items for China, just in case. I knew that she was likely to be small, but I had only gone as small as 9-12 month sizes. I also learned that cleft babies are very messy eaters, and that I would need up to 8 bibs per day, and that girlie socks for toddlers tend to fall off constantly, and I was better off with mini athletic socks.
So off I went to Wally World, and back I came with some practical loot: Nuby sippy cups (two different types), tiny athletic socks, and a small-sized cotton onesy. The one thing I did not come back with is bibs, since I was told to find the most absorbent bibs possible, and the ones at Wally World felt thin and not very absorbent. So...I am on a mission for bibs, good, hefty, cotton, super-absorbent bibs.
And as a bonus, I'm starting to feel like a real mom (not just a mom making a pretty nursery). As long as I can find practical ways to channel my hormonal energy for the next few months, I think I'll be OK!
Oh, and outdoors today it feels like full-on summer for the first time this year! I will be over the heat very quickly, I know, and I will miss the cooler temps of spring, but right now it feels great, and I'm soaking it up!