Thursday, August 31, 2006

How's this for emotional unintelligence?

When I've grieved as many things as I have, some blogged and some unblogged, some shared and some forever secret, you'd think I'd get better at the process of grieving. But I've lost something very important to me, and I can't get it back and the hardest part of it is that I can say that I've learned nothing transferable between my losses. Maybe the hardest part is actually realizing that I thought I would have.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

We're All Black

The "I am African" ad campaign has some people (lots of people, really) fired up. Maybe I just can't get fired up about anything right now -- afterall, my only response to the racially segregated Survivor season is that our family won't participate in anything where we can't be on the same team (which in the end has more radical consequences than any complaint I could make - the networks have stopped reading my hate mail).

Maybe it's just ineffective, too close to the ONE campaign, or just downright patronizing as all uses of celebrity utimately are or seem. Maybe they are really racist, suggesting that Africa should matter because of our (whites') primal origins, and not on its own terms.

Maybe it is confounding and confusing, just as we are in our household: when ds had to mix his skin color and name it in school yesterday as part of a unit on self-awareness and family, he painted a warm shade, tested the patch on his skin (a close match, if a little darker) and named it (and himself) "chocolate chip," despite having shared at home that he thinks Miss I. is chocolate and he's cinammon ice cream.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Goodbye to Youth (again)

Ah, vanity.

I hadn't had, or hadn't made, really, time to get my hair cut in a very long time. By the time I was ready to, I had almost enough hair to donate to Locks of Love. So I waited, and tonight I finally got my hair cut.

First it had to be gathered into two ponytails - one ponytail is enough for one wig, and I have a whole lot of hair. Ten inches had to be cut off, just above the elastic. This resulted in a need for layers. He did a great job, but it's going to take me a long time to get used to it, and by then it'll be long again. It's only hair. Still . . .

This morning my very pregnant gynecologist said this is even early for premature perimenopause (which could take ten-fifteen years to be overwith) and that we should consider premature ovarian failure. Since we aren't trying to have another pregnancy . . . she said this as if it wasn't at all startling or upsetting, just a functional issue, so I'm left thinking that it shouldn't be at all startling or upsetting. It's only ovaries . . .

Now that I think about it, maybe I shouldn't have done these two things in one day, my first baby's first day of kindergarten.

(Kindergarten is "wonderful!" "Better than preschool!" And at the end of the day, he wasn't ready to leave).

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Good, Hard Read

I haven't posted specifically about the recent (now just recent-ish) conflict in adoption blogland. Because I know where I'm coming from -- I know where my family comes from and I really think adoption demands that but right now I'm very busily in the throes of parenting a toddler who's throwing tantrums and throwing kisses and lighting us all up (says dh, "I love having two of us," just before trying to agitate her to death) and lighting our world on fire.
But this is a good, hard read.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Okay, I'll bite

We were at an amusement park tonight.

Miss I. gets "nippy" when she gets tired. She looks up into my eyes with the dearest of smiles and what dh calls "glimmering," right before she sinks those big beautiful teeth into some part of my chest. Tonight she LATCHED ON. Sure we could analyze this, but I thought I was going to die.

Later in the evening, Miss I. flashed a smile at a stranger, and those gorgeous dimples appeared. The stranger asked not-innocently (because a.I was smiling and I have no dimples and b.I'm pasty and dh is pastier):
"Did she get those dimples from her mother?"
"Yes," I said. "But not from this one. From her other."
Then I wondered if I shouldn't have taken the bait or given so much up -- if Miss I., when she is older, would rather that I answered differently (a simple "Nope, not me" would have sufficed, I'm sure), in a way that somehow better protects her privacy. And on another night I probably will.
Someday she can answer however she wants. For now I am entrusted with her and with her mothers' claim to her, both valid, both forever.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Oh no they didn't.

Maybe I already blogged about this, but if I did, it's appropriate, since it's about a rerun.
Tonight NBC actually reran the Law and Order SVU episode in which a white couple adopts a black child in order to have him killed for the insurance money.
Oh yes they did.

Now the Big Baby Blues

My big baby begins kindergarten in less than a week, and I am emotionally unprepared for that event. I cried the whole way through parent orientation, I will cry through the brunch, and I will cry uncontrollably next Monday. But hopefully in the car after drop-off.
Off to cry.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Flooding in Ethiopia

You can find news on the flooding in the south of Ethiopia,along with comments from those in the affected areas, here.
Ds said "I'm glad we were able to save our baby." As always, I'm thinking about the families there, hers and otherwise.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


My sister injured her knee very badly during an exercise class. One of my best friends and I are in agreement that this is a very good reason not to exercise.

A breast self-exam is kind of the same thing.

Right around the time of Miss I.'s arrival, I noticed something. I didn't think that something could be really something (or if it was, I thought it was a swollen gland) -- after all, what were the odds? With everything else I already have? Just after the baby finally came home?! But since I'd found it, I decided to ask my doctor. We followed it through my cycles for two months, and it didn't change. And she found another.

Dh had a dream that night. Dh, who never dreams (or never remembers dreaming, which is more likely), dreamt that I left him, and left a message asking when he wanted to meet me to get the kids. I was leaving them too. Since I'm in the middle of reading The Interpretation of Dreams, I was trying to figure out how that could possibly be wishfulfillment and not an anxiety dream (but Wittgenstein argues that Freud's work suffers for his urphanomen, and I can't argue with that). Dh couldn't decide if it was a dream about breast cancer or about my supreme frustration of late, but either way, he was mad at me. Even after he woke up.

Radiology at our women's hospital also takes the possibility of breast cancer in a young (not that I feel young) woman seriously, and they squeezed me in right away to squeeze me. The radiologist did the exam himself. He asked if I'd found the lump myself: "During a self-exam? No one does those things."

I did, and I found something, and I'm fine.

On the one hand, the possibility of false alarm - or, if you're avoidant like me, of a real alarm - seems like a good reason not to do a breast self-exam. On the other hand, it isn't better not to know.

I'm Back - Sort of.

Our computer overheated. So we let it rest for awhile. When we tried to restart it, it sparked. So we have a new one on the way, and have finally managed to get my laptop to stay connected to the web. I'll catch up soon, both on your lives and mine.

While I was away, I learned/really learned a couple of things.

I adore my children, and now that I've accepted that they are driving me crazy I can see my way to becoming sane again. So thank you for all of your support, encouragement and love.
Here are three parts to my plan:
- housecleaner (two candidates sound like good possibilities, one afternoon per week, very reasonable)
- yoga
- cutting back on caffeine (again)
but here's the thing: heavy drinking might be safer for you.

I also discovered something else: my children behave perfectly (no screaming in the car! no tantrums at bedtime!) when we stay at their grandparents. So from now on, perhaps we'll spend every weekend with their grandparents.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Decisions, decisions

.0There's a guy on the internet who is allowing his entire life (which shirt? Iced tea or lemonade?) to be made by his readership for an entire year. His reasoning? It can't be any worse than the choices he's made.

So now that I've really realized that I really can't do it all, and that it doesn't make sense for my husband to give up a physician's earning potential to do the kid's laundry or grocery shop with me, I'm faced with a decision:

Hire someone to clean the house or hire a mother's helper for 4-6 hours per week. (The latter would not mean handing over caregiving responsibilities for Miss I. in any way.)

What the heck, I'll let you decide. This week only. I'll count votes from those of you who email me rather than commenting too. I just need to get motivated to get it done.

*Thanks, ladies. Right now, votes are nearly all for someone to clean, though I like Gawdessness's fantasy - I saw a "personal concierge" advertising for work - she said she'd do anything I hate to do/don't have time to do . . .

Saturday, August 12, 2006


I put her in the hip carrier and ignored her til she passed out. This did not make her happy, but it did get her to sleep, without making her feel abandoned.

But my heart is still breaking - or broken.
I should be doing better than this.

Guilt and More Guilt

It's 10:30 pm. Trying and failing to get her to bed for more than two hours. (Dh is working).

Lost my cool. Cried in front of my kids. Freaked one out, amused the other (guess which was which?).

Can't. do. it.

At least not today.

Does that make me ungrateful?

Am I the only one plagued with guilt about not being grateful enough every time I'm (beyond) frustrated with my daughter? Guilty because I should love her without limits (which would look like not getting frustrated). Guilty because this is what I wanted for so long (and I should love every minute of it). Guilty because she's already had a hard enough life (and she shouldn't have a crazy mother). Guilty because I don't remember being this frustrated with my son (but this doesn't mean I wasn't - though in truth, she is objectively more of a button-pusher than he is, for good reasons, I'm sure). Guilty because families are still waiting for their children, and would give anything to be in my position (they think).

Guiltier because prior to the last eight weeks, my son honestly believed I could do anything. Now he knows that I can't, and it scares him.

Guiltiest because I'm sure her first mother would have done anything just for the chance to be frustrated with her, if only for just one long night, two hours past what is ultimately an arbitrary bedtime anyway.

Damn the attachment people for making me feel like only a bad mother would let a toddler cry it out.

Just once.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Potty Words

Miss I. had joined the potty line-up in Ethiopia, but hadn't successfully trained (she was 17 mos!)
But now she's been interested in using her potty chair here. Today she wanted to stay on it pretending to go for what seemed like forever, occassioning the following sentence from ds:
"Miss I., ca-ca or keum [stop] the po-po!"

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My Children the Fish

Today, no bellyaching. Really! We took the kids to a waterpark, enjoyed the sun and the splashing, and felt really normal. I wasn't ready for ds to swim so far out in the wave pool ("You think you can do all these things, Nemo, but you can't!") and I survived Miss I.'s first yellow jacket sting, which gave her no more than a moment's irritation - she was fine by the lazy river - but nearly gave me a heart attack and made me cry ("I promised her I'd never let anything happen to her!" "Well, that's a dumb thing to promise").

I love my amazing, frustrating, brave, crazy, loud, independent, needy children. I really do. Back to nearly-regularly scheduled bellyaching tomorrow, I'm sure.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Something Blue?

So I just read (as many of you probably have too) that there's a new wedding fashion - post-wedding blues. Apparently, more and more brides who've spent a whole year as the center of attention/the universe are suffering from the let-down that is the reality of the marriage, post-party.

I am a little ashamed to say that I laughed.

Ashamed because I should recognize this as a legitimate adjustment disorder. But I laughed because I did plan less for the day (though it was lovely and just as I'd want it to be) than I did for the day after, and the day after that. Even then, it just seemed sensible to worry more about the marriage than the wedding.

But I have experienced the parenting parallel, twice. After the drama/trauma of my pregnancy and delivery, I was physically too tired to parent, ready to slip away. My son was safe. I had done my job. Hadn't I? But then the real work began.

Now, after the heroic efforts it took to become parents to a second child, I'm emotionally exhausted. I'm physically exhausted, too - it'll be a long time before we no longer feel sleep-deprived. But more than anything, I feel like we did the hard work, and now we need a break. But wait: Our 18 month old is behaving developmentally appropriately! She's trying to become independent! She's challenging me! Waiting for a baby was all about ME! But now it's all about Miss I.! And I don't have the emotional reserves I'd like to have. I find myself, at the center of the drama of my own making, saying things like "Well, but I asked for this," after every expression of frustration (which other parents can make with impunity).

This is all just a matter of adjustment for me and thankfully not Post-adoption depression. But maybe I should be more generous towards Bridezillas with the blues.