Liliana wakes up at 5 am Central Standard Time, which is quite all right, because we’re all suffering from jet lag.
Since we’ve been warned that any soaps might hinder the healing of the rash, we take a shower with her–holding her under the water, watching so she doesn’t get water in her ears. Thankfully, her face and ears are much better, which goes to show you what good medical care can accomplish. We cake her up with hydrocortisone and Vani-Cream (horrible name, if you ask me, but it’s an emolient lotion without dyes or fragrances that is recommended for sensitive-skinned children).
She’s unbelievably happy today. She wants to go through the house–to explore. She points at things, and I name them. She sees Papa’s carved bear that he bought in Hawaii, and I say, “Rowr. Bear.” She likes this, and when Papa comes home, she takes him to the bear and says, “Rowr.” She even has the hand gesture of paws clawing through the air. We find this hilarious. [You know your life has changed when these moments crack you up. Before, it was Jay Leno or David Letterman. Now, it’s a little pea named Liliana. Sorry, Jay and David!]
She clings to Bella Bunny (Oh, heart, be still! See the previous post if you’re confused about this), adjusts Bella’s full skirt, and sets her up against a cereal box, so she can look at Bella while she’s eating.
I decide that the only way I can unpack is to have her in my room with me. So we have a conversation that lasts the whole morning. She lines things up on the bathroom floor. She puts her hands on her hips and acts like Miss Boss Woman. I have the CD of my sister Amy’s Kids’ Mix upstairs where we are in the master bedroom/bath, so I pop it in. She does another one of her gasps, then puts her hands on the speakers. She is mesmerized that she can feel the music–the beat of it. We dance together–to “Hello, Hello” and “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” and “On the Road Again.” Every once in a while, she holds her hands up to me. She just wants to be held.
Nap time is another story. She doesn’t want to leave this fascinating world upstairs (her bedroom is on the lower level), so she gets out of bed four times, sobbing, until I actually have to close the door (which she can’t open). [OK, go ahead, print a picture of me, and practice your dart-throwing skills!] She falls asleep by the door. Dan’s home from work by then, and he takes this dear child’s pathetic photograph, so she can show it on Oprah (if Oprah is still around when Liliana finally comes to grip with everything we’ve done wrong in her lifetime).
When she wakes, we go to the government center in town to apply for her U.S. Passport. This takes about an hour and a half. We hit up Dos Amigos on the way home (our favorite Mexican food restaurant in town), and then head home. We vow to hunker down at home on Saturday and Sunday, so Liliana doesn’t have to move anymore. She craves stability, which is understandable.
I have to dash off a couple of e-mails when we get home, so we’re all in my study. Suddenly, Dan is whooshing Liliana up. “Shhh,” he whispers. There, 10 feet from my window, stands the most beautiful doe, and for some reason, she can’t see us in the window, so it’s the perfect, up-close moment. Three more join her. Liliana is hypnotized. We all stand there, looking out my window into the orange sunset sky coming through the trees, and I think, “How perfect this is.”
Last two stories for today. We introduce her to Papa’s movie theater, one splurge we invested in when we built the house. We’re aware that a large screen can be overwhelming for a child (especially that shark scene in Finding Nemo!), but we also know that we can bridge the gap by playing U2’s Vertigo DVD, since she adores music.
We play “Pride In the Name of Love” and “Beautiful Day” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.” We discover that maybe, possibly, she uses music as a drug–to forget her surroundings. Hmmm. Sometimes, it’s a happy, dancing thing. Tonight, for the first song, she taps out the beat on my shoulder, but for the second song, she lays her head on my shoulder, and she’s content to watch. All that loud music relaxes her!
Afterwards, we turn the jets on in our tub upstairs. Since we can’t use the bubble bath we’ve been using with her, we figure that we’ll need to do something novel for her to enjoy a bath with us. Her reaction astonishes us. I cradle her little bottom, and she immediately lays her head back on my chest, and lets her arms and legs float in the jets. We’re both shocked. What kid does this–lies back and soaks it up? She gets this drugged, sleepy look, so we massage the muscles in her legs and arms and talk soothing words to her. She’s relaxed, and we think that this might be one of the best bonding experiences ever.
I rock her to sleep, humming songs that my mother used to sing to the “little ones” in our family (how we older siblings referred to the last three of seven children). I lay her in her bed with Bella the Bunny (whom she’s holding) and Maggie the Goose (I bought a large stuffed goose from Ataz in Edina’s Galleria. It has a zipper, and when you take out the stuffing inside and place it in the microwave for a short period, it acts like a hot water bottle). She particularly likes Maggie because we fed ducks in Simferopol, and Maggie reminds her of them. Liliana says, “Quack, quack,” every time she picks Maggie up.
My heart is full at the moment. I’m sure you’re getting the idea that there’s so much more to tell, but I don’t have the exact words quite yet.