I’m writing this post as Daniel naps, hoping he’ll stay down long enough for me to finish, oh say, a paragraph. One of the questions we get the most is, “How is he sleeping?” Our honest answer is usually, “Depends on the day.” Sometimes he sleeps through the night, and sometimes he wakes us up four times. Sometimes he rocks a solid three and a half hours between his two naps, and sometimes we are lucky to get 45 minutes out of him. When he is out, though, he is OUT. Anyway, the question often leads me to a few of our favorite moments from Ethiopia.
Day one at the orphanage: We have just met our son after months of gazing longingly at photos, and years of preparation before that. At around 10:00 he gets drowsy, and as I hold him, he falls asleep on my shoulder. Of course, we think this is the most precious thing ever. Our new son has fallen asleep on Mama’s shoulder! However, it quickly becomes clear from the reaction of the nannies that this child is not supposed to nap until it is time for everyone to nap. Understandably, orphanages can’t accommodate multiple individual nap schedules. Daniel may be groggy, but by golly, he needs to be kept awake.
Having been snapped out of the sappy world of, “Awww, that’s so sweet,” Tim took Daniel and tried to wake him up. He gave him a little poke and said his name. Nothing. A little shake. Nada. We lightly tapped his cheeks. Zero. Beginning to laugh, I lifted his arm high above his head and dropped it. It fell back down like a sack of potatoes and the kid didn’t even shift. I did it again to the same effect. Finally, FINALLY, Tim began lifting him up and down like he was on an elevator, and Daniel came to. He was none too happy to be roused from his slumber, but luckily we were able to immediately offer him his favorite distraction: food. Looking back, I can’t even imagine how much the nannies were laughing at us on the inside. “Silly Americans let Dani go to sleep!”
Flash forward a few days to our appointment at the passport office, where each adopted child needed to sit for their passport photo. Along with the other families, we waited a long time in a crowded room lined with the kinds of cubicles you’d see at an American DMV and packed to the gills in the waiting area. Eventually the wait became too long and Daniel fell asleep on Tim’s lap. I knew we were in trouble. When they called his name, we used every trick we knew and got him to open his eyes. Then we sat him in the chair for his photo, something that should take less than a minute, and stepped back. Within a few seconds, while still sitting upright, his head dropped and he was asleep again. We woke him and told the official she might need to make it fast. Before we had finished the sentence, Daniel was asleep again, head hanging, and beginning to topple off the chair sideways. This repeated at least three times before we got a picture and were able to let him resume his nap. Strangers sitting on nearby benches were snickering or outright laughing, and Tim was giggling in the way that only Tim can. Like I said—when that kid is out, he is OUT.
But not now. Now I hear him declaring his awake-ness down the hall. End blog post 🙂