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Archive for December, 2009

Milestones – The Car Seat

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

So we’ve had Benjamin here for a little over a month. He’s almost two and a half. There are so many people that I want to share his stories with, but there’s not enough time in the day!  For now, blogs will have to do.  The first milestone I’d like to share is regarding the car seat. Specifically, the 5 point harness we’ve all come to loathe and love.

On the long flight home from Addis Ababa, the mandatory seatbelts repeatedly traumatized my son.  We are talking Defcon 9, Code Magma, duck and cover meltdowns every time an attendant insisted that we make it click. Many times my dad and I covered Benjamin’s lap with a blanket – but some crafty airline veterans were wise to our wily ways.  During our final flight from Charlotte to Nashville, the first attendant said that USAir didn’t care about the screaming, only that we comply with FAA regulations.  Mercifully, a second attendant stepped over about 5 minutes into the flight and told me I could hold him in my lap.  Either she was an angel, or her ears were bleeding from the ring-wraith style screams reverberating through the tiny plane.  I really can’t overstate how much the little guy did not like seatbelts.

After the incredibly awesome uniting-family moment that Sunday night (which I’ll try to write about later), we made it to the mini-van and did not attempt a car seat.  Ben rode contentedly in my lap. On Tuesday, we took him to the doctor and he sat in my lap, but I slipped one bit of the belt over one of his feet – just to get him thinking about it. He knew what I was up to and hollered most of the way there, though a lollipop seemed to curb his enthusiasm for volume.  I did the same thing on the drive home, but the hollering only lasted for a few minutes.  Sooner than we expected, he was distracted by the traffic and trees zooming by and Amy and I rejoiced in pantomime over his progress.

The next day I brought the car seat into the house, and with it introduced the mind-melding elixir know as the DVD player. Baby Einstein brought the mojo, and by Thursday he was asking to be strapped in the car seat so he could get his 30 minute fix for the day! In the interest of full disclosure we do have a 60 inch wide-screen TV (it was a gift). Smaller screens may not have the same rate of hypnosis. Side effects very.

Drum roll please… by Friday, in less than one week, Ben rode to the doctor in the mini-van, happily strapped in to the 5 point harness!! It really did seem like a miracle.  And I would be remiss if I did not brag about our recent trip to visit Amy’s mom in Tuscaloosa (roll tide).  That’s 4 hours of harness each way, and with only one meltdown to speak of, I’d say Benjamin has already come a long way in more ways than one.

Thanks for scrolling by.  I think for the next milestone I’ll try to list all the English words he’s learned in the first 5 weeks.  It’s incredible!  See ya later.

It’s A Boy!

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Well, we knew it would be, but it’s still fun to say.

On November 21st, 2009 I flew to Ethiopia with my father, Tom Goodgame.  He slept or watched Julie and Julia with the new ear buds I got him while I wrote in my journal and read What is the What by Dave Eggers or listened to Don Miller’s new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Days.  After 20 hours of travel, we landed in Addis Ababa, found our guide (it was like a scavenger hunt) and wound our way through dusty streets to The Guest House.

Just inside, were greeted by other adopting families, most of whom had been there for a few days already.   Our bags were heavy laden with the maximum allowable weight of baby wipes (for the orphanage), so we were thankful for the porters who carried them up the four flights of stairs to our suite.

The next day was Monday.  Adopting parents call it “meetcha day” because it’s the day we first meet our new kids.  The following day is “gotcha day,” because then we’ve got them for good.  Wednesday we made everything official at the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, Thursday we hung out, played with ballons, and and got to know the kids a little more (for us, that was Thanksgiving day, made more potent than usual), and then Friday we left Addis for a gas-up in Rome and then it was on to D.C. and the good old U.S. of A.  That return trip with my dad and Ben was maybe the most difficult 30 hours of my life so far, but I’ll be telling the stories for as long as I live.

My son is Benjamin Tesfahun Goodgame.  He is about 2 and a half, and he is adjusting incredibly well.  That is to say, it has been really, really hard – but not near as hard as it could be. Ben is an amazing kid, but what kid isn’t, really? We are just so thankful to have him.

The last time I took a trip to Africa, I chronicled the events in a blog as I remembered them happening.  This time around, I’m just going to try to write something new every few days or so – either about what is happening now or stories I remember from the trip.  The daily happenings are plentiful enough, with one toddler getting used to a whole new planet, two older kids getting used to a new little brother, and a married couple steering blindly through the night on a song and a prayer.