In a perfect world, our first night with Charlie would’ve been perfect. We would’ve surprised the other three by being home early, ate Mac’n’Cheese and watched Frozen with popcorn and cuddled up on the couch.
But this is obviously not a perfect world.
Instead, our first night together was literally filled with blood, sweat and tears.
I could not move without Charlie clinging onto my leg. I could not go to the bathroom without Charlie holding my hand. Have you ever tried to pee single handed? Really? Well, you haven’t lived until you’ve emptied yourself under the watchful eye of a three year old.
I had to draw the line at cooking. I couldn’t hold her, and not burn the apartment down. And since Mac’n’Cheese is the one good thing Mommy makes, I was going to cook it.
Charlie screamed bloody murder as I handed her to Boady. C’mon Charlie, that’s Daddy! But no, she banged her little fists on his back and cried. Poor Boady tried to comfort her, but she wouldn’t let up. Eventually, she was crying so hard, she was gasping for air, and Boady and I switched roles. Charlie immediately calmed down.
Charlie has severe separation anxiety. She was abandoned by her parents, multiple foster parents, and orphanages. She’s three years old. Most three year olds don’t have panic attacks. I promised her that we’d never abandon her, but it doesn’t matter. Anxiety is always there.
The kids came home about ten minutes after Charlie had finally gone to sleep, just as Boady and I were doing Mommy and Daddy things.
The first thing we heard was “EW, STOP KISSING!”
That woke up our personal siren, and we heard “Mommy? Mommy?MOMMY?!”
The kids started freaking out. I don’t think they realized that when I said Charlie was coming home today, I meant that Charlie was coming home today.
Charlie came toddling out of her little bed, and the older kids squealed like she was a puppy.
I admit, she is adorable.
Things finally died down for a bit. We ate dinner without a problem, minus the fact that Charlie will not sit in a chair and switches between my lap and Boady’s lap. Every five minutes.
Ava put Frozen on the TV, and Charlie watched, mesmerized, even though she couldn’t understand it. Which meant she wasn’t focused on whether or not I was in a five foot radius of her.
I had time to pack lunches and iron my clothes, and now Charlie’s. Before I knew it, it was 8:00pm. I had planned to have Charlie asleep by 8:00.
Bathtime was, um, an experience. I think by the time Charlie was finished, we were both equally waterlogged. She cried because I got a bit of soap in her eyes, and flailed her arms around blindly and managed to hit me in the face multiple times.
Bedtime was worse. Charlie cried and cried as Boady tucked her in. She climbed out of bed, wimpering “Daddy, come back!” in Chinese, which Boady doesn’t understand. She climbed into my lap, and it took forever, but she fell asleep.
I tucked her in, and she didn’t even stir. I guess the crying wore her out.
Also, don’t forget! Life didn’t stop because we had another kid. Nope. Ava had a calculus test coming up, which Boady was helping her study for, Kai needed to test and glucose shots for the night, and Natalia is on her girl time and extremely moody.
Everyone finally went to sleep around 11, and about twenty minutes later, guess who woke up? Charlie decided that her bed that Boady spent two hours putting together wasn’t a good place to sleep, and climbed in the bed with us. At this point, I was too tired to even argue, so I moved over and Charlie slept with us.
Not even ten minutes later, my alarm went off to test Kai, and his glucose shot wasn’t the right dose apparently. I woke him up, made him eat a small bag of Sour Patch Kids, and gave him another glucose shot.
I think I was out the second my head hit the pillow.
Charlie woke us up at 5:37 am. Boady reluctantly poured her some cereal, then tried to get fifthteen more minutes of sleep by putting her on her bed to eat. She was quiet for a bit, but when I woke up to test Kai, she followed dutifully.
She cried as I took a shower, and we struggled through the morning. I’ll try not to sound to proud of myself, but the older kids all left for school on time and Boady successfully got Charlie in her car seat.
Charlie is not going to pre-school currently. Our goal for her is mainstream school by fall, and mainstream without an aid by kindergarten. She goes to a “school” at our job where immigrant children learn English and get therapy if needed.
I used every technique I could think of to say goodbye to Charlie. We explained that we’d be back, but she clung tenaciously onto Boady’s leg until a therapist had to pull her off.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy 7 hours of peace. But I worried about how long Charlie could scream, if Natalia needed Advil, if Kai was feeling okay and how Ava did on her test.
7 hours later, Boady brought a watery eyed, lollipop sucking Charlie to my office. She had a really rough day, and the therapist said that she cried most of the day.
I think we have some getting used to, to put things simply.