Posted by: ourwildride | July 27, 2008

Freebird

This past week was a pretty monumental one. Sandwiched between T starting the week with Roseola ( I think anyway – never took him to the doctor and now he is all better) and ending the week with a family camping trip, we celebrated T’s 3rd month with our family and I went back to work (part-time). Yes, work.  It wasn’t terrible. In some ways it was actually a relief. (Seriously, the bickering does get old some days). But things around the office are a little tense. Did I mention that the front page of yesterday’s local newspaper carried an article in which the head of the company I work for denied the company is seeking bankruptcy protection? Hmmm…. One more piece to the puzzle. We will see how that all plays out over the next few weeks.

Back to camping. A&W had fun. And that was what we were after. But goodness, to say it was not the best camping experience in my life would be putting it nicely. On the way home I was feeling pretty badly about it all. Feeling badly about dragging T out when we clearly have so many sleep related issues and it was probably (well, definitely) not what he needed to be doing. Feeling badly about being so grouchy. Just feeling badly. S rather nicely reminded me that the first time we went camping with one year old A we didn’t even last 8 hours. How could I have forgotten that? Another time there were the hours upon hours of Lynyrd Skynyrd to which we were forcibly subjected. Ugh. So it could have been worse.

I thought I’d share the camping highlights:

  • The people across from us with the NY plates who could not open or close their van door without the car alarm going off. Hello.
  • The people next to us who pulled in around 11:30 pm and then shone their headlights directly on our tent while they were setting up their tent for a full 45 minutes. Hello.
  • T waking up at 5:15 am. And shouting his ‘Hey! I’m up! You should be up too! Hey! Hey!’ shout. That was payback for our neighbors.  HELLO!
  • Pushing T in a stroller for over an hour while he hit himself on the head, pulled his hair, and body slammed his back into the back of the stroller to keep himself awake. This type of behavior in him makes me insane. Hello.

 

But it wasn’t all bad either.  

The Joy of Camping!

The Joy of Camping!

OK crack me up! The van behind W’s head in the first shot is the people from NY who couldn’t go 5 minutes without setting off the alarm. They pulled up when T was napping and W and I were playing Guess Who. Forever memorialized. Freebird!

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Posted by: ourwildride | July 10, 2008

Critter Invasion

This is the wallpaper border I had picked out for W & T’s room. The room is tree frog theme with blue paint. The paint is darker on the bottom and lighter on top and the border was supposed to be in the middle. Cute isn’t it? I suppose I should say it is from the Candice Olson Kids book page 20.

Yeah, only here is the thing. I ordered it in mid-March from an online company called ‘USA Wallpaper’ and it still hasn’t arrived. Never mind that they charged my credit card way back in March before notifying me that they didn’t actually have the stuff. Never mind that the web site still lists (and has all along) the border as being in stock.   

So today (after forgetting a gazillion other days) I finally called to cancel the order. Margarita (seriously, you expect me to believe that is your real name) told me they would cancel the order and refund my money in one to two billing cycles. When I asked why will it take you 1-2 months to refund my money that you charged me the instant the order was placed in spite of never having had the product in stock she said ‘that is our policy’. Needless to say I was somewhat irritated by that policy and called my credit card company to have them resolve it as a dispute (which only took about 25 minutes and getting hung up on 2 times).

So, if you are thinking of using USA Wallpaper to order wallpaper or wallpaper border you may want to think again. In my opinion, their customer service leaves quite a bit to be desired. And even if the web site lists something as being in stock – in my experience that has been meaningless.

Just another day in my life…

Posted by: ourwildride | July 3, 2008

There are Moments

…moments when I am acutely aware that I grew up on a farm. I had one of those tonight. Sitting on the porch with Princess kitty. The 3 babes safely tucked into bed. I watched the rain move across the corn field behind our house. And I felt relief. Not just a ‘whew, don’t have to water the garden tonight’. But actual relief. Odd because while I wouldn’t have said I felt stressed about the lack of rain – the relief I felt upon seeing the rain would beg to differ. Unfortunately, I think it was just a passing shower.

Enough about me. We’ve had a big couple of weeks. And here are some photos to prove it.

First Haircut. Well, actually second. But I sort of chickened out on the first one and cut his ear and then decided someone else would have to help me out. He was loving all the ladies at the hair salon. And he was a slobbery mess of drool from that lolly-pop. But could he be more handsome?

mira que guapo

Later that same day he started walking! Not the greatest photo because I cut it out of the video. But can you see how excited he is!

On the Move

We also received notice from our local courthouse that the adoption was registered/finalized here. Not quite sure how to say that. But we filed the paperwork and it was approved. So now we just have to wait for his foreign born birth certificate to be issued by the state and then apply for his social security number and US passport. And then, I think, but could be wrong, we are done with the paperwork.

In other kid news… W got his kindergarten assignment for the fall. He’ll be in a morning section. I can hardly believe it is here. Sigh. And A jumped off the diving board and swam to the side of the pool without a life jacket for the first time today! And then went on to do it about 100 more times. Do you remember that feeling?

Posted by: ourwildride | June 20, 2008

First Things First

My head is swimming a bit tonight. As I’ve been thinking about racial issues I’ve found myself hyper alert as to the ethnicity of people around me. Yesterday I took all 3 of the kids to the farmer’s market with me. (I was desperate to get my fix of kalamata olives). In the parking lot there were 3 women loading up kids and stuff into a minivan speaking Spanish. W got all excited and he was loudly (he doesn’t have a quiet) saying ‘Mom, Mom they’re speaking Spanish! Mom, listen!’ I’m, somewhat embarrassed, trying to quiet him down and saying ‘Umm hmm. That’s right. They’re speaking Spanish.’ And he continues on, ‘I bet they are visiting. Do you think they are here on vacation?’

Hmmmm. Well, no dear I don’t think they are here on vacation. And double hmmmm. What does it say about me as a parent that your first assumption would be that they were here on vacation? But his response when I told him that nearly half the population in Reading was Latino made me want to crack up, kiss him and cry at the same time. He said, ‘Really? Wicked Awesome!’.

So I was curious and looked up the actual demographics. I exaggerated a bit (first time, honest…). The Latino population in Reading according to the 2000 census was actually about 37%. However, the Latino population in the zip code in which we live (outside the city) was less than 1%.

So first things first. I decided we could start grocery shopping at grocery stores (or the farmer’s market) in the city even if it is a little further to drive. It does enable us to see an array of ethnic groups in an everyday type of setting. I also found out that there is a preschool bilingual story hour at the main library downtown. There is also a library branch that has a bilingual family night on Wednesday nights. But I think I better attempt story hour first. Quite honestly, even that feels a bit intimidating to me at this point. So I’m typing this for my own accountability.

And a couple of things I read/heard this week and found thought provoking:

Peace!

 

Posted by: ourwildride | June 17, 2008

My (somewhat) Belated Father’s Day Post

Happy Father\'s DayIt started out innocently enough. We were going to make mosaic stepping stones for S for Father’s Day. When we got to the craft store they were all out of stepping stone supplies. But, oh man, was that tie dye display exciting! The craft store is located next door to the Goodwill store. Very handy. I’m thinking, if I’m teaching them how to tie dye it must begin with a thrift store. And I say, OK if we can find shirts for everyone at Goodwill we’ll do it. What a mess! What fun! What a lesson in delayed gratification for the kids! But in the end – I think S appreciated the groovy T a whole bunch more than a silly old mosaic stepping stone.

Posted by: ourwildride | June 7, 2008

Bamboo Eradication

Otherwise known as the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

This will be the third summer we’ve lived in this house. This will be the third summer we’ve been battling the bamboo. I’ve no doubt it was planted with good intentions – it strategically blocked the view of the farmer’s ag-bags (for the uninitiated – they are giant bright white tubes kind of like a silo laid over on it’s side) across the field from the back yard. That is what I stare at most of the year (except when the corn is tall enough to block it) when I’m at the kitchen sink. But seriously – there should have been some sort of clause in the sales agreement that forced them to clean it up because it is some nasty stuff. The good news is that we are finally making progress. (I can hear the bamboo laughing even as I type that).

The manual labor in the bamboo has given me time to think. (That plus A&W are at Grammy’s for a sleepover this weekend. Thanks Grammy! Oh man, is having one child a breeze!) There is a new study out by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute about transracial adoption. The report focused on foster placements in the US foster system and not transcultural adoptions but I believe some of the issues related to a child’s ability to develop a cultural identity are similar. The research is here is you are interested.

What I’ve been pondering is how in the world I can help T develop a positive racial and cultural identity. Most sad to me in this research was the appearance discomfort many children in transracial adoptions face and the finding that transracially adopted children living in heavily white communities were more than twice as likely to experience discomfort about their appearance than those living in ethnically mixed areas. It is sad to me not because it is unexpected but because it is pretty much what T will be facing if we continue to live in this community. And I know it is my responsibility as a parent to start building cultural bridges with him.

Way back when we made the decision to adopt, we decided to pursue adoption from Guatemala partly because the larger area (but not our school district) in which we live is nearly 50% Latino. That whole ‘decision to adopt’ is really a topic for a much broader discussion which I’m not going into right now. Right now the reality is what it is. We are a Guatemalan-American family living in a predominately white community and school district. And in spite of any good intentions about making connections with the broader Latino community in the area, it simply hasn’t happened. Now I am struggling with how to facilitate that. Could I really walk into a nearby Latino food market or Hispanic Center and ask to be their friend? That sounds ridiculous, I know. As I type this I’m thinking maybe a better start would just be to go to go shopping at the Latino market on a regular basis. Even though it is a little out of the way and I sometimes feel a little uncomfortable when I’m there.

It is kind of interesting because I know that if T had ‘special needs’ in a more traditional sense (like physical developmental delays) I would be working my tail off to help him achieve his highest potential. I would learn my way through the early intervention bureaucracy. I know it is is there and I would at least know where to start. This is different and isn’t really even a ‘special need’ except that given our family and our community it is. And I don’t even know how to begin.

But I do know this. Like the bamboo eradication it is going to take time. And there may be moments of discomfort. It feels overwhelming. And like we’ll never get anywhere. But not doing anything really doesn’t seem like much of an option either. Any insights or suggestions are appreciated.

Posted by: ourwildride | May 31, 2008

For the First Time

in what felt like weeks (I’m embarrassed to admit it probably actually has been weeks) I listened to the real news Friday morning. Oddly enough the news was still about the Obama-Clinton thing… Has nothing else happened in the past month? And honestly, Hillary I think you are smart and have a plan and would probably do as good a job as anybody else. Charisma? Well, we just won’t go down that path. But (and it is a big but), don’t you think it is time to *gracefully* bow out? And what is all this about a ‘unity’ dinner Saturday night in NYC… If only unity were as simple as a $28k a plate ‘dinner’. Seriously, when you are being united over a $28k per plate meal it seems to leave a few people out of the conversation. Oh right – you didn’t mean the real issue of unity – it is just the throwing around of a buzzword. Sigh.

But I didn’t mention what facilitated me being able to listen to the news uninterruped – if only for a few brief moments. I was actually driving in the car by myself! Ahhhhh!

Posted by: ourwildride | May 20, 2008

Checked Out

Against my better judgement I started Ken Follett’s, World Without End,last week. I’ve had it on reserve at the library since it was released last fall. I almost didn’t check it out. And then once I got it home I didn’t start it for a week. Then, with 2 weeks left to read it I decided I couldn’t not read it. It’s 1000 pages. Needless to say it has been consuming most of my (very limited) free time. But it is nice to have a mental break from the attachment related stuff I’ve been studying. Unfortunately (or really fortunately) I can no longer blame my sleep deprivation on T. It can only be blamed my inability to put down the book. And further complicated by the fact that once I do put it down I still can’t fall asleep because I’m thinking about the book.  What a good problem to have!

Other than that I’ve been wondering about things like:

  • When can expiration dates be ignored? Nobody in this family seemed to recogize a difference in 2 week expired sour cream (really what is post sour cream?). And the drops for pink eye that expired in 2005? Worked like a charm.
  • If you use a baby wipe to clean up, well, you know… Could you not use them to clean the whole bathroom?
  • Why is ‘friendship bread’ called ‘friendshp bread’. It’s really more like viral marketing.
  • Why does a child, when learning to dress themselves, consistently put stuff on backwards? You’d think they would at least have a 50/50 chance.

 

As I said, mental break. Peace.

Posted by: ourwildride | May 9, 2008

Hallmark Moment?

I’m feeling a little emotional tonight. We took the little T to his first doctor’s visit today where we avoided immunizations (for now), got a prescription for a lead test (is there a pediatric phlebotomist in the house), and essentially walked away with a ‘he looks great’. But I was caught off guard by that sheet of family history and needing to write the words ‘no family history available’. Imagine, for one minute, writing those words down for your child. Imagine writing them down for yourself.

I think the extra zinger is due to Sunday being Mother’s Day. The shadows of his other mothers are here with me. I know Mami T loves him. The evidence of her love is written in his easy smile, his giggle, the way he loves to dance, and maybe his stubbornness too. He will carry her imprint always. But then I look again at his smile, his dimples, his eyelashes, ears and hair and I hear his giggle and I think ‘Is it his mother or his father’. And I wish I knew more. But this I do know – his first mom loves him too. She loved him first.

So this Mother’s Day, while I get to love on 3 wiggly little bodies and rejoice that we are all here together, my heart will go out to T’s other mothers. This Mother’s Day my thoughts are with the natural moms walking among us who wonder about their sons or daughters and the many women who question when it will be their turn for motherhood. And as I look at our new son I may question how he will perceive Mother’s Day in 10 years… 25 years… Not exactly the stuff that sells cards.

Lest I sound ungrateful about the mothers in our lives on this corporately enforced holiday – We love you and you are the best. Thank you for the love, the potty training and forcing us to care for the pets, help with the dishes and have a paper route. With that foundation how bad could we have possibly turned out? 

Posted by: ourwildride | May 6, 2008

Life, This Morning

Life has been very busy as I’m trying to get my groove back with one more child to juggle. Since we’ve been home he has had a fever and we’ve all had colds (or allergies – who knows). He’s cut a tooth on top. And he’s started crawling. I feel like things are going about as well as can be expected. The major issues continue to be sleep related.

Last night he did really well and slept from about 7 pm until 5 am. I gave him a bottle then and rocked him. He was clearly still tired – yawning, rubbing his eyes. However, every time his eyelids started to droop he would start kicking his legs. To me, woman who loves to sleep, this behavior seems so silly. Finally, out of desperation, at 6 I laid him in his crib and laid down on the bed right next to him (the crib is pushed up next to my side of the bed). He sat up, laid down, fussed a minute, kicked, sat up, laid down, fussed a minute… You get the idea. At 6:15 I thought, okay I’ll give him to 6:30 and if he isn’t asleep I’ll get him up and we’ll make pancakes for everyone else in the family. At 6:19 he laid down and cried hard. I reached my hand through the crib slats and rubbed his back. And after all that – he fell asleep! He was snoring by 6:22. What is that??? Now I’m wondering – do I let him sleep as long as he wants and forget the morning nap? Or do I wake him to try to continue to establish the nap schedule we’ve been working on. Ugh.

But my coffe is hot. And I’ve got real cream in it this morning. Life is good.

And the other 2 are awake… Good Morning!

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