Friday, January 23, 2009
After nearly 48 hours as the perfect child, last night Manu began his transition to the dark side. Although he kept his cereal down with minimal spit-ups, the excitement of a new surrounding and new parents were too much for him to fall asleep gracefully. Instead of his usual 9pm bedtime, he held on stubbornly until about 10:30. The hotel here is unequipped with a crib, so he had to sleep between us. This wasn't a problem until about 1am when he decided to become a helicopter and sleepily spin around and around restlessly dreaming. This kept us up, ensuring he didn't spin right off the bed! Trying to keep him on some sort of normal schedule, we finally woke the little sleepyhead up at around 7am to give him a bottle. After that and throughout the morning he smiled less and cried more, a little grumpy from too little sleep. Shortly after his morning bottle we started to smell something. The moment had finally come to change a "dirty" diaper. We decided to tag-team the little guy, but it was apparent we do not yet know what we are doing, at the least we aren't fast enough. Growing irritated with all of this, Manu was flailing around trying to escape. At one point, while I was holding his legs up, he arched his back until he was literally standing on his head! That task finally completed, we played a little more until it was time for his lunch. After his cereal and a little water, he drifted back to sleep, where we joined him a short while later. After a two hour nap he awoke as a new little baby, as fun and friendly as ever.
After we got him changed again and dressed, we all headed out into Bangalore to shop for a few items that we would need for him to see us through the rest of the trip at a baby store. Manu attracted lots of attention from the ladies working in the shop. After that we headed to Cafe Coffee Day, an Indian version of Starbucks. There we lunched on sandwiches and espresso, as Leslie and I are both suffering caffeine withdrawls. We walked around a little more, dodging the traffic, found an ATM and got more rupees, then headed back to the room and got ready to head back to Ashraya for tea and final goodbyes.
Immediately upon entering the facility, Manu was taken from us and passed around by the Aunties. We took this opportunity to say goodbye to some of the children. We had a little gathering with some of the ladies in the office and then headed to the upstairs, outdoor classroom where we were treated to tea, chocolate cake and Samosa with sweet and hot chutneys. We talked about the weather, politics and child rearing, and they gave us some good advice on adapting Manu to our routine. After that was over we headed back downstairs where we and Manu said our final goodbyes. Everyone was very happy to see Manu go, now a part of a loving family. But as we walked away, we both were saddened that Manu would never see his school, or his loving caregivers again; and the visit to the Children's home that had been the focus of our thoughts for almost a year, was now over. It's difficult to explain this mix of emotions, we're more happy than sad, but we're sure that time will see to it that the memory of this moment will be nothing but a joyous one.
Back to the room for dinner, more diapers and packing. We fly out at 7am tomorrow morning for Delhi, and must be on the road by 4:30. We're hoping that the Manu takes the flight in stride. This one is only 2.5 hours, the next flights are brutal.