I have found one of those rare moments when all is silent. Everyone sleeps. The rain falls hard outside the window and I sit in the pre-dawn quiet, sipping tea and listening to the celtic Christmas music I found in Tim and Suzanne's cd stack. I want to find the right words, I want to be witty and profound but at 4:38am Congo-time I am content to send a word of greeting to everyone and to say I am thinking of you and wishing that you were all coming over in awhile, casseroles in hand, eager to pick up a baby and talk to me about life. Yesterday was challenging - our first day without Grandpa Tim, just the four of us (2 vs. 2- adult to baby)- we consternated over Amari's diaper rash (what does diaper rash look like anyway?!) and despaired over how much Desmond is spitting up (way more than any person should). But how do I know? At just 72 hours of life together, I find myself asserting "this just isn't like him" and I have to chuckle because really 72 hours is too short of an amount of time to be the expert on anything/body much less six week old babies.
Early, early this morning (right around 3am, when my shift starts) I had a rare 45 minutes after David went up to bed and Likabo was sleeping, to just hang out with Amari. I fed and changed her, then stretched out on the coach with her, our faces looking at each other, only inches apart. I smile and she smiles. We do this for awhile, sharing this secret smiling game. Her eyes, alert and playful, seemed to offer me some kind of mom approval- like she was telling me she had decided to keep me. It was one of the best moments. Ever.
David is in schedule-and-chart mode. We are collecting data around the clock now, we color code sleeping, feeding and bowel movements (among other unsavory excretions) on excel spreadsheets on his macbook. This is way too much fun. Each shift change we study the patterns and marvel at what we imagine we have learned from this exercise in careful participant observation. No wonder social scientists make such great parents, right? Ha. And the joke really is on us because more often then not, we end up throwing our hands in the air and laughing at ourselves, at the circumstances that brought us to this latest adventure. Here we are in Kinshasa. At Christmas-time. Hanging with our six week old kids. Creating spreadsheets of their burps and giggles. Don't know much French. Don't know much about babies (as I am quickly finding out). Hanging out at Tim and Suzanne's home (without Tim & Suzanne) in the DRC. Skyping people several continents away for baby advice. Negotiating the culturally variable advice of Mama Josephine and Mama Sharon (to use powder or not to use powder??). Sleeping in shifts. Twins. How utterly, wonderfully absurdly, good.
6:45am Des & Amari are both down again. I have a weak cup of coffee and am listening to the chatter of morning birds. The rain has passed for now. The sky is hazy. I open the curtain a crack to check on the mango tree outside the gate. The tree is heavy with fruit. Life is good this Monday morning. I laugh. David sleeps. Amari cries. Desmond grunts. And off I go....