Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hello Hello Happiness

Isn't that line from a song? It has been running through my head ever since I thought about this particular blog entry. If I had just a hair more skill at this I could embed the song somewhere to start playing when it is opened. Not yet but maybe in my lifetime.
No, this is about the differences in my 2 daughters. I am well aware that a parent is not supposed to compare their children. Sue me.
When Teena was a baby, people used to comment how happy she was. She would smile all the time and at everyone. "What a happy little girl she is" people would say and I would think to myself, she doesn't get that happy people-liking shit from me! Must have been all the Zoloft when I was pregnant (JK). She came by it naturally, and it must have been her fathers genetics because on my side "caustic" is used more often than "happy". When she was in day care, no matter what room she was in or what teacher she had, she was always the favorite.
Now, at 3 1/2, she is about the same. She laughs a lot, easily and loudly. It takes so little to get her going. A smidge of a tickle, a quick stick out of the tongue, or a funky sound. Happiness floats off of Teena.
I guess adoptive mothers all go through this, especially when the adoption is of an older child. I wish I wish I wish I could have had just a small window into Genea's babyhood. Because even though it has gotten much better, sadness is what I see most often in her. The first fifteen months of her life may as well have not happened. Did anyone care when she first smiled? Did an orphange worker stop what they were doing to respond and interact with her first smile? Did anyone notice? Did happy get her anything? If Genea smiled at someone did she get fed? Or did only crying work? What was more important, the interaction or the relief of a discomfort? She craves gentle touch and when she is most relaxed she will pick up my hand and lightly stroke her face with it and then I will continue. I think this is when she is most happy and content. But it is only on her terms. If I try to initiate it, mostly she will pull away or ask me to stop.
The day Teena finally pulled off a crawl she was so excited! I was coming in from work and she saw me. She started that hilarious rocking motion and all of a sudden *poof! she was moving! She giggled and smiled and we all cheered. We called grandma's all over the country and they cheered!
I watch Genea crawl when she is playing sometimes, and it is a clunky distorted movement, strictly functional. What happened in Genea's orphanage the day she learned to crawl?

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