Thursday, May 31, 2007

No Rants This Week (Sorry?)

I tried to post a rant, but I just don't have the energy. A few days of returning fever and fatigue and insomnia and moving-induced insanity, and I'm just not up to generating new content (look at me and my mystifications . . .) I hope I don't lose you, meanwhile.

But I was recently introduced to the topic of irritainment. I think it explains why I read half of what I read, why I watch at least half of what I watch . . . and has produced "we should go there!" impulses at recent mentions of the Mall of America and the Creation Museum.* That's irritainment.

I like my rants. Apparently, I love irritainment.**

More interesting content coming soon. For now, please read the comments to the post below: Michelle (I hope you don't mind me pointing this out) should be heard here.


*I do not object to the mission of the Creation Museum, but I believe that truth does not have to be literal, and I'm leary of the rhetoric.

** It isn't just me. Dh says "We're going," though we both wonder what our wunderkind will say . . . outloud . . .

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Adoption and Second Chances (repeat)

Don't you hate summer reruns?

Recent visitors have been looking for these posts, so I've copied them here for ease. I should put the frequently searched posts in the sidebar, but I'm not as good at that as the rest of you smarties:

March, 2007:

When I went into preterm labor at 23 weeks, people actually told me that “it’s God’s will” and that “God’s will will be done.” Supposedly these things were meant to be reassuring, but they were horrifying. Why on earth or in heaven would Anyone will preterm labor/preterm birth? Wasn’t it, rather, a condition of a broken world that some wombs are broken? (I’ve written about this before).

But if I'm completely honest I do like the idea that it's "meant to be" when it’s convenient. Had I been perfectly healthy I wouldn’t have planned a pregnancy while dh and I were in school. But because I wasn’t, I did -- and I cannot imagine my life without my son. In that sense, then, it feels “meant to be,” even as I am aware that I choose to believe that it was meant to be in order to protect myself (however unsuccessfully) from the painful realization that it might have been otherwise.

Adoption makes us (re)consider the already problematic use of the phrase “meant to be.” Why was it meant to be that my daughter would tragically lose her first mother? Why is it meant to be that African women die at an unimaginable rate from preventable infectious diseases, during childbirth, from AIDS? How could she have possibly been “meant to” lose her mother in order for me to parent her?

That she suffered so much loss, that Africa suffered so much loss, is a product of the sin built in the system, not by preordination. But that once she incurred those losses she came to be mine? If I accept that THIS was “meant to be” then it covers over all the anxious “what ifs?!” like what if my social worker had turned her paperwork in on time? What if it had been later? What if we had chosen a different agency? or What if her family had chosen a different care center?

But why is it meant to be for a young woman to be discouraged from parenting her child alone? Why is a young woman meant to give birth to a child she can’t (or thinks she can’t) parent? How could she possibly have been “meant to” lose her child? Yet once it’s happened, it’s no wonder why adoptive parents would choose to assert that their child’s placement in their family was “meant to be” – it makes it liveable, and it prevents us from imagining the unimaginable -- that it could have been another way, that we could have lived our lives without this child that seems so necessary for the family to live and breathe. But it also makes a place for the child; it makes shape out of the chaos.

Once an adult, their child (my child) will rightly realize the flaws in this assertion, the emptiness of its promise that everything that happens to her will be okay, that every occurrence is providential rather than accidental . . .

I’ve been prompted to write recently about my ranking as the fifth best parenting option for my child (in theory) in response to posts by Sster and Thirdmom, but in those postings I’ve tried to make it clear that my daughter was never and would never be second choice. I’ve done so because all along I’ve wondered if she’d feel this way, on some level (particularly if I can accept that I wasn't the first choice for her).
Paula O., brilliant adoptee and adoptive mom and beautiful soul, says this is so, and you must read this post.

One defense against my daughter's potential hypothetical assertion that she was “second best,” is that I did have another viable option. I could have had another high risk pregnancy. Would having a healthy pregnancy have been my first choice? I honestly don't know. It just wasn't a live option. Adoption was our first choice for our second child.

There are several problems with this defense. The first is that it does nothing to change how a child will perceive things, how that child-perception will remain in the adult as an unnamed insecurity.

What if a parent had preferred adoption, if a bio child or an attemt at a bio child had not preceeded the adoption? Would this help? Saying "Adoption was our first choice” (as I wrote below, I read this frequently now in adoption postings, and I'm not sure if it is a disclaimer, as in "I can't speak to infertility and adoption," or if it is the parents' belief that their child will experience adoption differently as a result) puts a child in a lonely place and in the position of having to accept the parents’ ethic that led them first to adoption as best in order to legitimate their choice (whether this is a progressive politic or an evangelical Christian ethic) or having to allow it to ring hollow. It also functions as an unintended criticism of parents who adopted after infertility, some of whom are the most introspective, articulate and authoritative adoptive parents for reform.

But the other problem is more confounding and far more important:

No matter what I do, or what we assert, it may well be that my daughter will feel (someday, sometimes, but I hope not most days or most times) that she was second choice for our family. (She has the good fortune of having enough information to know definitively that her first parents had no choice -- if only all adoptees had so much information). But perhaps she’ll return, consciously or unconsciously, to that moment when we went for a consultation about a pregnancy, or to the fact that we did have a biological child first.

Maybe I’m hoping that by focusing on adoption’s wrongs, by laying its weaknesses bare, I’ll be saving her some of that effort, and some of that pain. Maybe I'm hoping it'll just help me support her effort.

For being the family we’ve always wanted to be, adoption was our best chance. And for having the family she needs, it was hers, too.

Ranking, for file (or In a Perfect World?)

I commented on ThirdMom 's "Unranked" that I'd post my response here:

I thought that I posted in a more complete way about the notion of transracial/transcultural adoption as fifth-best already, but a search of my archives proves otherwise -- there's only the briefest reference in reaction to Madonna's adoption of David from Malawi (To be honest I'd almost forgotten about Madonna, until someone asked for the first time if my daughter was from "Madonna's son's country" rather than "Angelina's daughter's").

The idea isn't my own. I tried googling the original author, but I haven't been able to find her. Someone might know of her, or might find her with the following information: she's a therapist who tours (toured) with a show geared toward helping transracial/transcultural adoptees access feelings about difference at their young age. She's also an adoptive mom.

I read of her notion that transracial/transcultural adoptions were the fifth best option for children in the abstract when we had just begun our process of transracial (but not yet international) adoption. To be honest, I was offended, and I was defensive. We'd read the books! We lived in a diverse neighborhood! We knew other multiracial families (via adoption). We were academics! And already excellent parents! Surely we weren't the fifth best option. And adoption creates beautiful, and beautifully diverse, families. How could that even be second best?

When I was less defensive, and really ready to hear what she meant, I was also ready to understand what might matter to my child -- that each of these moves among the "ranks" indicates a profound loss, that each loss should be imagined as preventable when we make personal and national decisions regarding adoption ethics and reform. (The Hague attempts to address some of this, though the success of this -- and not merely increased delays in attachment -- will take time and smarter people than me to examine).

I can say definitively that my daughter isn't second-best to me. That we are a multiracial family isn't second choice to me in anyway.* But the key here is that I had a choice, and she didn't, her first parents didn't, Ethiopia didn't. So someday if she feels that in the abstract transracial/transcultural adoption is not preferable to other choices, I'll get it. I hope that she's equipped through her childhood to feel that our family is at least as good as traditional families -- but that's less a matter of argument than it is parenting.

The theoretical "rank" list, then, is as follows:

1st Natural families
2nd Kinship care
3rd Same race, same country adoption
4th Different race, same country adoption
5th Different race, different country

I can say to her that I can see why, but that I still think in the specificity of each family, we see first-rank beauty and profound joy. (But I won't go so far as to say that that's all that matters, because it isn't).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Post-placement services has just requested a letter from us for translation and delivery to Miss I's family in Ethiopia. It can only be one page. It may be a first contact, it may be our only contact. Too much to say!!! Too much to ask!!! I'm sending a coversheet as well for the social worker to consider asking some more sensitive questions that would be awkward but could mean the world to our daughter someday (who was there when she was born, who held her, and some other things that are too personal to share here). But in the space I've been granted, I've been torn between sharing our daughter with them, and begging them to share bits of themselves with her. It is alienating to Ethiopians to ask very direct questions that don't allow for flexible answers. So there's that. But there's also this: How to know now what she is going to want to know someday?! One letter can't fill in the empty spaces for her -- but perhaps it could for them. Which is why, ultimately, I share her with them in the hopes that they'll share freely in response.

Here's the draft of one of the two letters:


We are the American family fortunate to call your ---- our daughter. More than one year ago, in March by our calendar, your family had to part with your precious child. Almost one year ago (June 12, 2006), DH traveled to Addis Ababa to bring ---- home to us, and she became our precious child as well.

We think of you always, and we have many questions for you about yourselves and about her life with you. We believe that it is important for her to have information and understanding and, if possible, comnunication with her family in Ethiopia as she grows. We also want to share about our life with her with you:

Miss I. is a strikingly beautiful girl, with big brown eyes, long eyelashes and darling dimples, as you can see from the pictures. We wonder whether she looks like her mother, or her father, perhaps her grandmother or aunts, and we think she’ll wonder too. At 2.5 years old, she weighs -- pounds and is tall for her age. So far she is very healthy.

She is a happy little girl, who loves her American brother Little Bun(6) very much. She is full of life and personality and good humor, with a bright sparkle in her eyes. She is also very smart: her doctor declares her to be one of the brightest little girls he knows, and we’re sure that this is true. She learns new words every day, and is learning to count and recite the English alphabet already. She sings often, either to us or to herself, able to repeat perfectly bits of music she’s only heard once. We wonder if someone else in her family has such musical talent.

She knows she was born in ---- in Ethiopia (though she pronounces it either Easy Opia or Easter-Opia, after her favorite holiday), and she knows that in Ethiopia she was much loved, and is still much loved by her family there. She likes to look at pictures of herself in Addis Ababa, and to look at pictures of the land near H---- given to us by a friend. However, we would like to give her more. We understand that you were taking very good care of her but that ----. Do you have memories or thoughts about your time with her that you can share with her?

We'd also like her to have pictures of you. We’d like her to know if you are well. We'd like her to know how you spend your days, how S. and A. spend theirs. We would like to be able to answer her questions, or to help her find answers to questions she may have someday. We hope to meet you on a return trip.

Most of all we want to reassure you: Your ---- is one of our greatest joys and we are thankful for having her in our lives.

Most sincerely,
The Blooms

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I made a meez of my hubby and I keep it open in another window. Every once in awhile I shrink the open window to see him dancing, or ranting, or sneezing.

Rantotheweek Help!!!!

Did anyone see or TiVo the finale of King of Queens? I hear it's rant worthy. Forget that on tv adoption takes a minute, I hear that it involves "pregnancy after referral" and a statement like "that always happens" as well as concerns about "what to do with the China baby" and happy news that they decided to keep them both. Is this rumor true?! If so, who's going to write the rant? I missed it . . . So much for my media-watch-dog-wannabe status.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

We attended my parents' church with them this morning, and in the bulletin was a long dedication to mothers, which included "To mothers who give birth to babies they will never see, and the mothers who raise them." I cried through about half the service.

I stopped when we began singing "It is well (it is well) with my soul (with my soul)" and my daughter exclaimed "No your soul, MY soul. [I]'s soul!"

Happy Mothers' Day. I'm thinking of all of you.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My kids are aging me (and I'm embarrassing them)

"Momma, do you get wrinklier all the time?"
"Yes, I suppose."
"I don't want you to. I want you to get the shot."
"The shot?"
"So you don't get wrinkly. It's embarrassing."
"Embarrassing? Everybody gets wrinkly. You'll get wrinkly someday, too."
"No I won't. I'm getting the shot."

Very Pretty . . . But took four weeks off

I don't normally blog about my other life. It wouldn't be fair to my students, and it's far from the focus of my blog. But they weren't fair to me, and I can't focus on much anything else.

If you think it's bad to get nasty comments here, try getting them on course evaluations.

I've only alluded to this in earlier posts.
As you know, I didn't travel, in part because I couldn't at that time get the required shots due to immunosuppression. I accepted that fate and hope(d) to travel next time.
You'll need to remember that in a minute.

In January I became very sick very fast. An unexplained high fever brought me to the emergency room (never tell your kids "It's okay, I'll be right back" if you're not sure. I was gone for two weeks). My wbcs, rbcs and platelettes were falling, and no one could figure out why.

By the time the bone marrow biopsy results came back three days after I was admitted, we were sure the news would be an aggressive form of leukemia. So were my doctors. But it showed healthy baby blood cells, even if there weren't many.

The fevers continued. So did the falling counts. I kept an 8x10 of my kids taped to the wall, and I pointed them out to every nurse, doctor, medical student, and aide who came into my room. "Make me better for them," I said at times. At others I pleaded: "She's already lost one mother. Please don't let her lose another." And I obsessed about what it would mean for our attachment. She hadn't been cared for by anyone else for the first six months. I told her I'd be back, and I disappeared . .

The next day, a preliminary answer for part of the problem. Gigantic splenomegaly. If I'd been to Africa, the ID doc said, he would have thought malaria. But I hadn't gone, because I didn't want to get sick. He said I was lucky I hadn't gone then. I said I'd almost died in Bloomsburg, and I should be glad I missed the trip of a lifetime?!

But at least then we had a direction. The CMV PCR came back elevated. CMV isn't usually a problem for healthy people, but I got really unlucky, and it suppressed my bone marrow. A few days later, I had EBV mono too, probably because the CMV had caused immunosuppression significant enough to allow our old college friend to return (more likely than a primary infection in someone my age, though I'd never been noticeably sick with mono before). By that time I was neutropenic and had to be isolated, because of the perfect storm of viruses that don't do much to most people (and don't usually happen at the same time). I had a PIC line put in (far less painful than daily sticks, also allowing emergency access, but still no fun) and we waited it out. Eventually I was discharged with home fluids through the PIC, then readmitted, then discharged again.

For a total of four weeks, then, I was on leave from life and from work. I came back to both too soon, but I wanted to return to normal as soon as I could pretend to, and I wanted to return to my students. Throughout the time I was on homecare, I stayed in email contact with my students and their very able sub.

I considered starting a blog exclusively about mono. I wanted to call it monospot.blogspot. But then I realized that there isn't much to say about malaise.

So all this is to explain why I'm so frustrated by this: After the end of the term, I get this as a student evaluation: Instructor strength: Very pretty. Weakness: Took four weeks off. The former was only one student's opinion, but several mentioned the latter. And also "Takes [her subject] too seriously."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My friend's daughter (blogged about briefly in a few posts, Nov 2006 -- also a good time for stuff really pertinent to this discussion for anyone so inclined to read it . . .) faught many hard battles in her first few months in Ethiopia, and won them all. If you are inclined to pray, I ask you to pray for her again, and for her Momma and Daddy, two of the kindest people I have met on this journey. They face new challenges in the coming week (but even in their message describing them, they counted their blessings. It was clear to see that they are indeed blessed beyond measure, blessings to their daughter, and blessings to those who know them).

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

You Know I'm Normally About Nuance

But you're not going to find nuance in this post. Maybe it's because "adoption versus institutionalization" is too often a hypothetical argument, and I'm not holding a hypothetical child. She wasn't hypothetically failing to thrive, isn't hypothetically catching up in growth. She didn't have a hypothetically bloated belly, she doesn't carry with her hypothetical grief, and she hasn't hypothetically blossomed before my hypothetical eyes.

Margie is hosting one hella challenging conversation over at ThirdMom. I encourage you to go back and read a few days' worth of posts to catch up. In just a short time, all of the old concerns of international adoption (stealing versus salvation, both equally problematic, both also ugly notions) re-emerged, and Margie managed to manage many points of view.

In her most recent post, she acknowledges a (hopefully) transient need for adoption in some current contexts. She provides the example of the origins of Korean adoption to the United States, and indicates that the need that drove those adoptions is no more. We might consider the conditions of contemporary Ethiopia similarly: temporarily adoption from Ethiopia to the United States (and to the few other nations with significant numbers of Ethiopian adoptions and to ex-pat families) can be lifesaving. But we'd need to intervene in the causes (in this case, the top immediate causes include AIDS, malaria, and high maternal mortality rates) and re-evaluate the need, something that has only been done recently with respect to Korean adoption, much on the initiative of KADs.

But then, Margie wonders, is it possible that life in an orphanage is preferrable, given that it preserves culture? "Not being an adoptee, I can't answer that," she says.

But I'll venture an answer because I'm not so sure that any identity guarantees a better answer to a question like this. Those who were adopted can and do tell us the problems with adoption, but what of their experience with an orphanage? Of real poverty?

My daughter was at the best care center in Ethiopia, of that I'm sure. My husband saw first hand that she was very well-loved, as were all the children. But it was a care center, with shift workers (a high nanny to child ratio, but even so . . .) There was never enough, and there never could be. No one at the care center or in Ethiopia suggested that they believed children, their most precious resource and greatest gifts, would fare better in an orphanage than in a transcultural family. No research suggests that mental and physical wellbeing are better managed in an orphanage than in a family (it all says otherwise, while agreeing that the healthiest placement is with a healthy family of origin). Did you know, for example, that young children who are institutionalized fall one month farther behind in growth for every two to three months in institutional care, as compared with their same age counterparts raised in families (a friend refers us to Gunnar et al in Development and Psychopathology 12)? That children institutionalized for long periods of time show brain differences on MRI (and she refers us to Chugani et al in Neuroimage 14)? But did you know that most children adopted by toddlerhood/early childhood catch up by preschool?

If the goal is preservation of culture of origin: How can we really preserve a culture in an orphanage? The parts of a culture that really matter? Even those who vehemently opposed Madonna's contested adoption of David advocated for guardianship over orphanage life. Further, my daughter's culture -- a rural minority culture, with a home language other than that of the capital and the care center, local traditions and local religion -- is being lost to her and to others, and it isn't through adoption, but through the original cause of the separation.

If the concern is the "deceit" of adoption: My daughter's records are not closed, there has been no lie, she knows and will know what is known (her language of origin isn't a written one and records are not routinely produced for birth). I feel strongly about open records, so it frustrates me that this might be the basis on which opinions about the value of an orphanage versus an adoptive family might be formed, and I want that to be very clear. And obviously, international adoption -- like domestic adoption -- needs reform. The Hague is one step toward that, but paparent and aparent attitudes toward adoption must be reformed first and foremost (if you're a longtime reader you know my committment to this, and if you're not, you may wish to review my archives).


When we look at this from the perspective of health (mental, physical, developmental) this is really a non-choice.

I'll look forward to other opinions on Margie's blog, but the only one that matters, in the end, is my daughter's. I look to blogging adoptees because they are the closest I have right now to the adult Miss I, to whom I will be accountable for all these choices, and I admire so many so greatly. But on this issue, whether life in an orphanage is preferrable to life with my family, I will defer for now to those who know life in an orphanage, and later, to Miss I.

I may not be able to give my daughter roots, but I can and will give her wings when no one else could. I don't want her to be grateful, I just want her to fly.


An African American woman approached us at the water fountain. "Beautiful little girl," she said. "Thank you," I replied cautiously, hoping not to engage in a conversation about transracial adoption in that particular moment. "Is she yours?" she asked, too much emphasis on "yours" for complete innocence. "Yes," I said flatly.
"That's wonderful."
Here we go, I think. Either it's wonderful or horrible, it never just is what it is. But then she surprised me. "My daughter's white."
She went on to tell me the story of their beginnings as a family and some of the challenges they faced almost thirty years ago. She's now a grandmother (her daughter's family is beautiful!). She knew some of our challenges without my having to say it. But, she reminded me, if it's hard to be the white mother of a black child it was and is far harder to be the black mother of a white child: "Black people approached me to ask 'How dare you raise a white child when there are black children who need families?'" Yet her daughter never thinks of her as a "black mother of a white child," only her mother. She reassured me, too, that "every ounce of love [I] pour into that child will pour out of her someday." I hope so. Not for me, but for others in her life and in her world.
Best water fountain conversation ever.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Thinking Blogger Award

It is my pleasure to bestow the Thinking Blogger award (bestowed upon me by Michelle) to Swerl. Many of my favorite bloggers (whom you can find at left) have already been awarded the Thinking Blogger Award, and some of them are double-awardees (Mia, Margie, Nicole, Theresa et al, you know I'd be nominating you again)!

I offer a single nomination, then, while I mull the other four (leave it to me to corrupt a meme!):

I only recently became acquainted with Swerl, when we both were raging against Urban Outfitters. Once acquainted, I became an admirer, and a second link in just a few post shows as much (I'm usually such a bad linker, though I'm trying to do better). Swerl offers intelligent, insightful and informative posts, as well as links to allow readers to learn, and other links to do something with that knowledge, sometimes with just a click. I appreciate not only his thoughtful posts but also his thorough researching, aggregating, linking. I am impressed by such initiative and organization, both of which are not in the skill set I bring to blogging.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


First, a squirrel is trying to move into our home via our window airconditioner. Fortunately, our siamese mix guards better than our terrier mix. But I can still hear the scritch-scritching in the wee hours.

Mia discusses the untenable assertion of adoptee "assimilation," in direct response to a problematic blog, one I won't address here. But the analogy, while a good one, is also a really provoking one. I had to ask: is my daughter really a squirrel?

I tried to follow the analogy. Then I tried to bend it. We're different kinds of dogs, she's a different kind of puppy. I'm a (mostly, the Gardeners) Labrador, my husband is a (mostly, the Blooms) Poodle, my son is a Labradoodle (though we tease him that he's a Poopador) and my daughter? Well, we're not quite sure but maybe a Basenji. Can a Labrador parent a Basenji?

But first my adaptation wasn't satisfying, and then it wasn't defensible. There are problems with pursuing the makeup of a transracial family through animal analogies. There's a history. There's the old (but not gone) failure to comprehend (or to recognize) the biological limits of race (someone from a different generation once told me that "cardinals don't raise bluejays," to explain why I oughtn't have black dolls). Baggage with the notion of breeding.

I'll stick with what I never realized before was an analogy: that a new flower blooms.

To be continued . . .

Dear DH

It is not a rant unless I say it is a rant. My letter decrying the seller's behavior and the possibility that our new house will not close despite the fact that we already have tenants for this one is NOT a rant.
(and love).

Mo' 'Gain NuhNight Bears (A Review)

Miss I and ds alike were thrilled when they realized that books had come in the mail. Books in boxes are the favorite parcel of all members of the Bloom household, and without even knowing yet who the package from Brighter Minds Media was for, the two smallest Blooms were diving in.

Miss I immediately recognized that the Care Bears Lullaby Nightlight Book was for her, even though she has no familiarity with the characters (we're a TiVoed PBS-only family, so far as my kids know), characters whom I recognized from my own childhood. But the friendly bears and the embedded nightlight made her eyes light up. She quickly discovered how easily she could turn on the light herself, an added delight. Dh started the cd that comes tucked in the book, and by the end of the book and three minute lullaby Miss I was entranced. "Mo' 'gain," she insisted. I listened as Dh indulged, rereading the few rhyming pages, as she repeated the sound effects: "gulp, gulp, gulp." He did not restart the cd, and she didn't complain (so while the song was very sweet and soothing, it may not have added much to her experience -- perhaps if it repeated, or continued with an instrumental version it might add more value for her). She asked for the book again for bedtime last night.

The embedded nightlight (which stays on for five minutes) is neat, and a vast improvement over books with sound chips (which can drive a mother crazy). The battery can be changed by a grown-up, so the book can stay in long use.

A few things I noticed in her use of the book: She very closely associates it with "Nuh-Night" and hasn't shown an interest in it outside of bedtime, but is very interested in it then (which we can contrast with her Christmas in July! in February! Redeployment of all musical Christmas books at all times) and would love to keep it with her once we've finished reading and tucked her in. But as the mother of two near-insomniacs and insomniac myself, I do wish the light glowed cool blue rather than warm yellow, as cool light promotes night-time sleep, while warm light, even as soft and dim as this, can be rousing.

Still, that a little girl who didn't even know who the Care Bears were before and owns a million books wants the "bear book mo' 'gain," seems a happy endorsement. (I read this outloud and she added, commercial ready, "I Yike It!" I think her aunt - herself a childhood Care Bears fanatic - and her cousin, more apt to recognize the characters, will yike it even more).

Little Bun was not forgotten, and he really enjoyed the The Marvel Heroes Mix & Match Storybook Brighter Minds's Lauren sent along. The book has five independently flipping panels to construct varying sentences with different villains, threats and heroes. An example: Magneto aimed the mutant evolution ray and it froze traffic but it as suddenly destroyed -- because it ran into the invisible woman's force field!" could just has easily been "at the White House" destroyed "by the Hulk's giant green fists!" His appraisal: "It's cool and I don't even watch Teen Titans." His self-directed project: Copying over the sentences he'd created onto blank paper to "keep them." Dh Yiked It! even better than little bun did. Little bun is a committed reader, so he had fun with it, but I imagine its best use would be capturing the imagination of a reluctant reader and encouraging his literacy skills.
Michelle named me a Thinking Blogger. I'm not sure where to go from here: most of my favorite bloggers have already been named, and some named twice. I'll keep thinking, I may choose one, I may repeat. But either way, it sure was sweet of Michelle to think of me!

Update forthcoming.


I'm working on a post about squirrels, but it's really quite complicated and I need more time.
In the meantime, new products: I'm buying one of these for A.