Saturday, June 30, 2007

Making a Getaway (with a TRA)

Dh and Little Bun were going to go see Ratatouille tonight, and since Miss I can sit through whole princess movies we thought maybe we'd all go, and I'd just plan to spend a good amount of time in the hallway if I had to (Very favorable review with two caveats coming).

She was absorbed in the first half, in both the movie and the popcorn. In the second have she was a bit antsy, so I took her out in the hall, where she proceeded to scream "I BE QUIET!!!!" over and over. I finally held her away from me a bit so she could see my face as I admonished her quietly, but instead she yelled "I need my Daddy, Momma" over and over.

From a child with a same-race parent, a hearer would hear the comma, and understand it as "I need my Daddy, (addressed to) Momma." But if a black child screams "I need my Daddy, Momma" at a white woman in public, did you know that people would hear "I need my Daddy AND Momma"?

Indeed they do.

With many eyes on us, no matter how many times I said "Listen to MOMMA" and "We'll go back in when you settle down" it was clear that we both needed Daddy.
I took her back in, and she behaved for a bit before she decided to bounce on her chair (really pretty good but still disruptive). Daddy took her out this time, having had no communication with me. When they got into the hallway, of course she screamed "I need my Momma, Daddy!" And this time, it was received in the same manner.

After the movie, we shared our horrifying experiences (Dh was less horrified as he always keeps her ID in his pocket when they're out together for just such events). We got into our car, laughing with Little Bun about how crazy his sister is when police cars pulled into the theatre parking lot from different directions.

"I think they're here for us," I said. Dh laughed and pulled out of the parking lot. But then he got to wondering too.
"Can we just stay in the area? I'd rather not have eight police cars pull up in front of our new house."

You'll remember that the first time our new neighbors saw us I was dirty and the kids snotty and sobbing and we were looking for our missing dog, and that the second time I had run onto the porch without my pants completely up terrified that Miss I was in the street (if I didn't blog about that, don't ask. Let's just say it relates to Little Bun's grounding episode).

Dh agreed, and we pulled up to a drivethrough (is it drivethru?) for milkshakes. As dh rolled down his window and "Charlie" greeted us through the speaker, Little Bun said "I get why we're going through the drivethrough instead of going in. So the police don't catch us." Miss I, overtired but for no reason otherwise, began sobbing.

We pulled up to the window with a sobbing black child and the possibility that we were trying to make sure "the police don't catch us." Charlie handed us our shakes and change, and we pulled out, looking behind us.

I'm still waiting for a knock on the door, IR4 and Adoption Decree in hand.

Friday, June 29, 2007

S*x Ed for Insanely Smart Children

Little Bun came to a realization. He knows he grew from an egg into a baby in my uterus. But it just occurred to him today that 1.My egg would only contain my DNA and 2.If he only had my DNA he would be my clone and 3. He is not my clone. He therefore came to the conclusion that dh's DNA must be pretty important to the process. But he didn't ask any questions. He said he may ask his friend, whose parent is a geneticist. He's sure a geneticist's kid would have the answer to that mystery. I recommended that he talk to his Daddy instead, as I was pretty sure Daddy had a handle on the mystery too.

Scenes from an Ice Cream Parlor

We went out for ice cream to celebrate the conclusion of dh's negotiations. Little bun and Miss I could not have been more fun. Little Bun ordered Birthday Cake Ice Cream, so Miss I announced "Hey, I know Happy Birthday!" and sang it about a hundred times, ending in "Family Huuuuuggggggg," which we all gladly but awkwardly participated in across the round table. A little girl came in awhile later on a tricycle with a handle and a Disney helmet. Miss I declared on the way home, "I gotta get me a red bicycle and a princess movie helmet." Remember that she's only two and a half and that in December we were having her hearing and speech evaluated.
Little bun and Miss I then retold the story of this afternoon -- how she had found a moth but thought it was a "scary spider" (her words) and that Little Bun laughed that she thought it was a spider, though it did have "eyes of fury" (his words).
I said to dh that I could see on a day like this why someone would want more children, because of the surprise that each one is and the unexpectedness that each child injects into his or her family. I mean like three or four, I said. Not a bazillion. "Not FOUR!" Little Bun yelled. "I heard of someone who had four and . . . the baby died because four is too many to care for." (He left room open for three, as he recently "decided" that he needs a sibling from China so he can learn Chinese . . . I assured him that there are far better ways).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Everybody Needs A Little Time Away

I'm taking a break for a little while.
Between people who are offended that I don't think adoption in the abstract is among the best options for a child and people who think I don't love my daughter as much as I love my son and think aparents are wrong for pretending it's the same but also wrong for admitting that it's work (like any commitment and adoption is -- or should be -- first and foremost a promise), and knowing that this is public writing and the way it circulates is entirely out of my control . . . (I always tell my students that all quotations are quotations out of context. If they weren't, they'd be recitations instead . . . .) I don't really feel like saying much. I'm sure you can see why.
Friends, I'm taking my toys and going home for a little while. But like that nasty kid, I'll also be back eventually.
(I am still honored that in other circumstances Judy would marry me :) )
Can you help her?

Passing it on from Theresa, and adding my good wishes for her search with so little to go on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm going to ask:

Does anyone really think that it's all pretense, and that my daughter would be better off if I said, "Hi, Miss I, I'm Abebech. This is Dr.Bloom. Call us that. See, we aren't your parents, and we never will be. Your parents are gone, but you can stay with us for as long as you like, forever even (if you want), or until your first extended family is capable of taking you back. Even if that means a second cultural displacement so many years hence. Don't worry. We know genetics is the most important thing, and we're just not it"?

Really? Does anyone who thinks this know any children?

Maybe closed adoption was a failed social experiment. But can you imagine this experiment: raising children with no sense of permanence (except which they elect -- and have you met a two year old? a five year old? a thirteen year old?!), no sense of authority, no sense of family? Explaining that their current family is a poor substitute -- and living like a poor substitute -- will NOT teach them how to parent when the time comes.

What bothers me most about this is that no one said, "You know, now that I think about it, that could be psychologically damaging in its own way."

I'm pro-reform, particularly of domestic infant adoption (the need for which is far exaggerated by adoption agencies and paparent desires). But this?

For balance, though, I should add that this morning on the radio the humane society was announcing a dog who was looking for a new home only because his former family couldn't afford a $1000 heartworm treatment he required. The humane society was providing the treatment and seeking a new family, and I wondered why they wouldn't treat him at a discount and return him to his family.
If only everyone worried as much about children being displaced for similar reasons . . .

Friday, June 15, 2007

Yesterday, All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away

Keep up the votes. For awhile, dh was in a cold sweat.

Today was worse, in its own way. I'll just give you the beginning and the end, and you can fill it in with six year old and toddler mayhem, and someone other than the dog deciding to head out into traffic.
Beginning -- Dh rises cheerfully but lazily. I tell him I'm exhausted as I've been sleepless since two. He says "sorry," and heads to the shower, waking two children who jump on my head for about the next half hour while calling for "Daddy!"
End -- Little Bun declares it the worst day ever. His two day grounding has him feeling sadder than I can imagine. "Oh really?" I ask. And here comes the most mature thing I've ever said: "But do you feel like happiness died today?"
Dh says he's going to work a few minutes, and then we'll relax.
"You don't remember how today started then," I say.
"I do. That's why I'm going to get you drunk. I don't want you to remember how today started . . ."

On a happier note, I just watched last night's Colbert Report. One of 58! Arabic translators discharged from the army for homosexuality says that apparently "the only thing worse than an Al Qaeda attack is a gay man stopping it." And Colbert's vacation report recommends buying gold, purchasing ivory from Zimbabwe (or Zimbabwe) and investing profit in . . . Ethiopian babies. But, he warns, cuteness depreciates rapidly.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Vote early, vote often

I couldn't decide who made me angrier today, so I've decided to let you decide. It's easy. Even if you normally just lurk, please delurk and vote so I can mete out justice.

Today we were preparing to turn the keys of the old house over to our tenants, a wonderful young couple who will love the place and take good care of it. Despite having a month between our closing on the new house and their tenancy of the old one, it came down to the last minute and to many hands, including a national chain cleaning service to clean out the refrigerator, and a handyman to clean out our gutters and prune our trees. I worked outside with little bun the entire day ("If this is homeschooling," he says, after just two days out of kindergarten, "sign me up." It is most assuredly not, though he did learn quite a bit for better or worse).

I was grimey, in Dr.Bloom's old scrubs, covered in paint splatters, dirt and even blood from a pruning mishap from earlier in the day. Little bun was equally grimey. We were exhausted.

When we were nearly finished, we came back to the new house. Dh asked Little Bun to let the dog out. He obliged. Dh returned to the old house; we set about unpacking in the "art room" (you know, where you can make messes).

An hour later, it occurred to me, and to Little Bun, that the dog (hereafter known as "the damned dog") was missing. Into our new street Little Bun, Miss I and I ran, screaming [Dog's Name] over and over. We realized none of us were wearing shoes, and ran back into the house for shoes and dog biscuits, before setting off again. Tears streaked all of our grimey faces (did I mention that Miss I was in a fancy dress, or "fashion" as she calls it, with chocolate dripped down the front?! To that was added snot) as we called out over and over, and begged neighbors we'd never met to let us know if they found a thirty pound blonde dog having an anxiety attack. Each time I also offered that we're not always grimey, and had hoped to meet them under better circumstances.

Little Bun: We'll never get her back. This is the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone.
Me: This happens lots of times, and people get their dogs back.
Little Bun: This is different. We LOVE her. And she's going to die. And we're going to find a pile of her bones in the road.
Me: Someone will find her and take care of her until we can get there.
Little Bun: What if they decide to keep her?!
Me: They know we want her back. Her tag says "Reward."
Little Bun: Maybe they think she's the reward.
Me: Trust me. She's no prize.

Some blocks later, a man approached us. "Did you hear someone shouting out?" "That was me," I said. "We've lost our dog. Thirty pounds. Blonde. Very anxious." "We have her. Somehow she's gotten into our yard and she can't get out." They'd been on vacation in Europe for a week, only to return to a cowering, growling Damned Dog in the high corner of their yard, and had assumed she'd been trapped there for the better part of their vacation. They'd called animal control, who appeared just after we did, tranquilizer gun drawn. I still had her new rabies tag in my purse, which was not on me. I explained that she was mine, that she was vaccinated, that she'd only been on the loose for an hour and that she was terrified and just needed to go home. I scooped her up, thanked the family, apologized to animal control, and headed home, little bun and Miss I behind me, still a pathetic parade but no longer dejected.

Dh appears. Apologizes for having left the gate open. For not having introduced the Damned Dog to her neighborhood, allowing her to leave a scent trail home so she could find it again in a pinch. We all go to old house to walk through and transfer keys. I cry to part with the happy little home we had made of that house. I loved it there, far more, I decide, than I COULD EVER love it here (five minutes away).

We go to dinner to celebrate/regroup. We are seated by a large African American family, whose attention Miss I is desperate to attract. But when she does gain their attention all she can do repeatedly is point to me and say "That's . . . Mommy. My Mommy," and they say "Oh, okay." But they hesitate, so she does it again. Vying with Little Bun for attention from her own table, she says this to her daddy "Don't say another word, Poopy Daddy" and sings (loudly) lovely songs like "Na na na Tushie, na na na butts."

Little Bun, in rare form after a long day, asks loudly "Is this YOUR African baby?" and then proceeds to offer her to them: "This is an African baby. Who wants an African baby?" with a teasing smile. But I want to die.

Who to hold most responsible for my crummy day?

a. Dh, who insisted on this move, promised it wouldn't be too hard, and, well, left the gate open.

b. Little Bun, who tried to give his sister away (did I mention that he also -- for no apparent reason -- scooped some of dh's salad on to dh's lap while the server refilled dh's drink? (that might sway you).

c. Miss I, who demanded attention (good or bad, didn't matter) using potty words learned, admittedly (he's proud even) from Little Bun and had our aa neighbors convinced that our family just wasn't cutting it. (Nah.)

d. The Damned Dog. (Come on people, that's too easy).

e. Me, because I should have seen this all coming way back in, oh, February, when we started looking at houses despite my protracted recovery from mono.

Great chance to delurk. Low stakes for you, high stakes for the winner/loser.

. . . Should I tell you how I voted?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Awareness training just isn't going to cut it.

Thanks to The Voyage.

My students have said, even recently, that "race doesn't matter," that it is "a thing of the past," as I'm sure anyone born after the Civil Rights Movement might like to pretend. So then I show them Bamboozled. But that could never really happen! Not now! So then I point them to Texas schools who held Minstrel shows rather than High School Musicals, not so very long ago. Now we don't have to go back so far.

This is apalling.

All, this reminds me that I need to update my blogroll/links/look -- coming soon, as soon as the RL move is completely complete.

What to do? (I don't hate adoption!)

I've only really been nonplussed (as in, left and came back still bothered and unable to respond, rinse, repeat) by three anti-adoption blog comments, and that's pretty good considering that I don't hang with the ponies and pools set (someone who links to me actually described me in that way). As for blog entries, for some reason they just don't get my hackles up in a bad way. I think because posts are more meditative, more ruminative, more rhetorical, and generally even more responsible than comments. And if not, it's the writer's house, and she can write what she wants (and I can leave if I don't like it, and I often do -- one even said to aparents, "leave," so I did.) Still, these three comments really got to me because they shut me up/shut conversation down.
In all three cases I didn't know how to or whether to respond. To start or finish a fight in someone else's "home" doesn't seem acceptable, even if only to state the obvious (like, "that's really unreasonable." To ignore the comment and continue with my own seems awkward. To not leave the comment I'd intended seems unfair, to me and to the author I'd intended to respond to. What to do? I guess just be glad it hasn't happened often, take my toys and go home?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

One we haven't heard before

And we've heard our share of crazy/insulting things.
Dh, ds and dd were on their way to the register at a family restaurant. I wasn't far behind, but I'd wanted to finish my tea in peace (a vain hope) so I dawdled. An aa man at another table said to the woman across from him, "They got the wrong baby." She just responded noncommitally "Mmmmmmm-hmmmmmm."

I lied when I said the move was complete. What I meant was we've painted, and set up our furniture, and we're sleeping here now. But we're bouncing between old house and new house every few hours trying to get the rest of our belongings here (new house) and preparing there for our tenants. A cross country move would have been easier, or at least it wouldn't have deceived me into thinking it easy.

I'm tired.

Friday, June 08, 2007

My Mistake

I've always been the kind of parent who coaxed and convinced rather than imposing my will on my children. I've cheered each small step of independence, encouraged their autonomy. Now I'm starting to realize, when there are thirty minute battles over wearing her outfit backwards to school, that I've made a terrible parenting mistake.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Even More Irritainment

I don't really care about Paris Hilton or her lack of jail time, and am annoyed at the amount of media attention given to a young woman so lacking in -- well, everything but money and nerve. Yet this part is really interesting to me: Sources said Paris Hilton was planning on using her jail time to reflect on what she could do to make this world a better place, taking her inspiration from such celebrity philanthropists as Angelina Jolie (and perhaps Gandhi, even Jesus -- she was carrying a Bible). I wondered what possible conclusions she could come to in 23 days, but now we don't have to wonder.
Either she doesn't really need to think or, and here's where I'd put my money, she can't.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

More Irritainment (or, what happens when you have 170 channels)

Did you know there's something called the "Outdoor Channel?"
It's far less interesting than it sounds, as it's really unironically about huntin' -- I was hoping it simulated my backyard.
I hate the thought of my daughter searching, says an aparent.
I hate the thought that she would have to. So I hope we succeed.

Mia and Theresa bring to our attention the ongoing discussion in CT regarding open recods. This editorial in the Hartford Courant repeats every misguided notion about the relationship between open records and reunion, birthparent desire for privacy and, apparently, adoptee's increased potential for stalking compared with the general population. It also promotes the idea that a voluntary registry will solve the problem, yet there are two problems with this. The first is practical: many people are not informed of the necessity for registering. The second is principle: utilization of a registry does nothing to acknowledge this information as a right.
I haven't posted a comment there yet - adoptees and natural mothers have done a fantastic job presenting the case and critiquing the editorial and I don't want my position as adoptive mother to somehow usurp their rightful roles as complainants or step on anyone's toes in any other way. Yet aparents, our voices are lacking in these debates and discussions, and fair or no (no), we have the potential to be a powerful lobby for our children's and their adult counterparts' rights.

I'm thinking of reading Marianne Novy's Reading Adoption and wondered if anyone had or would like to join me.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Move is Complete

It was hard and I'm very tired.
But I'll be blogging with more regularity now, I think (which could be good or bad).