Last weekend, we celebrated the day we brought Teddy home. We didn’t do anything on the day, November 7, because it was a week day. But we planned a couple activities for the weekend to commemorate Teddy’s Gotcha Day.
Saturday, we took the train to Baltimore, the city where Teddy was born, for a day-trip to visit the Baltimore National Aquarium, which I’ve been wanting to visit ever since we moved to DC. It’s pretty amazing: five levels of animals that live in or near the water. It is also quite 13-month-old friendly. It’s obviously intended for kids, but it has several exhibits at 13-month-old eye level. Well, Teddy’s eye level—he is taller than most…
But before we got to the aquarium, we looked for a place to eat lunch. We were walking from the train station to the aquarium, so we didn’t research a place to eat ahead of time, figuring we’d see something on the way. A few blocks into our walk, I thought aloud how cool it would be if we could find a bbq place, since we’d eaten bbq for lunch the day we brought Teddy home. Lo and behold, half a block down a cross street was Midtown BBQ and Brew. We weren’t too impressed with the beers on tap, but the bbq was delicious. And Teddy loved the made-to-order mac and cheese. We got him an adult side, and he ate the entire serving.
While we were chowing down, a fellow diner came by and gushed about the wonders of adoption, even tearing up a bit as she shared her own desire to adopt. And when the chef/owner stopped by to check in on us, he shared some of his experiences as a multi-racial family. So we had a natural opportunity to share the reason we were in Baltimore, eating bbq. We’ve decided bbq will always be a part of our Gotcha Day celebration.
On to the aquarium. Teddy loved the Wings in the Water exhibit, which was right at his level. Mike and I were mesmerized by the stingrays; Teddy just liked any fish that swam right by him.
He was a bit freaked out by the dolphin show, clinging to Mike when the dolphins shot out of the water. But he was enthralled with the shark tank. We stood him right up at the glass on the convenient ledge and he just stared as the sharks swam past. He never recoiled, even though I did a few times. (The glass is divided into sections by pillars so you can’t see the sharks coming if they’re swimming close.) In fact, several times I heard him appreciate the sandbar and nurse sharks with an “ooohhh.”
Sunday, we attended Hunter Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church with a former colleague of mine. We were excited to give Teddy a taste of his black heritage. The service lasted about two hours, which was about 45 minutes longer than we were used to, but I barely noticed. I had asked my friend if there was a nursery for Teddy, and she replied that if necessary, her teenage daughter could look after him. So not necessary. The service was so lively, even if Teddy had been a chatterbox, he would’ve been drowned out. Even the sermon was interactive (as we had expected—I love it when the congregation is expected to respond!).
As it happened, Teddy was not his usual chatterbox self, no doubt because of unfamiliar surroundings. But he did get into the singing!