Thursday, November 23, 2006


The turkey is history, the pie scrumptious, stuffing was well - stuffed! We went, we ate, we relished! Our little bundle of our gratitude was sufficiently impressed with the spread to eat quite a bit and as a result has three new favorites to add to the growing list: cranberry sauce (whole Berry), lemon meringue pie and pumpkin pie!! She loved them all. It was a nice relaxing evening until it wasn't and we beat a hasty retreat and our Empress is sound asleep. That is more important than it might sound. Since the beginning of this whole daycare business our little one's sleep has become more and more disturbed, as a result Mommy's sleep and Daddy's sleep has become well, lacking frankly! Last night was a real mess... as a result our evening was cut a little short due to a sleep-deprived, major league tantrum of epic proportions. At grandmas to boot! Yuck! hence my early post and earlier arrival home! Well - she needed to get to bed anyway - but oh my was she loud and not at all understanding of my loving attempts to inhibit her climbing (on a chair next to an unstable table with a glass water pitcher on it). Oh well. It couldn't be helped. So we beat it out of there and here we are.

I think for the past few years I have taken the time to write the obligatory list of things I am grateful for. I am going to do something - but not quite what I usually write. Of course I AM still grateful for all those usual things.. health, hubby, family, friends, work and love and all that.

Don't think I won't mention that which I am MOST grateful for - of course, my daughter. You saw that coming right? I am quite grateful for the gift of her care. The amazing and humbling opportunity to love and nurture this child. I can't really explain how much a part of me she is now, I know she did not grow inside me but I can barely think that. She is so a part of the fabric of my life - all that I am and all I hope to be. She is the making of me truth be told. I know I had some accomplishments before she came along but they pale in comparison to any of the things I have accomplished since then. LOL. It is a hard job and no one can adequately prepare you for the sacrifices (which do not feel like sacrifices) or the ache you carry when you worry about how that child is doing when you are forced to leave them in someone Else's care. Or how you can look into that face that you love so much and see all the amazing possibilities and know in no uncertain terms the future is theirs in all its glory.

I am truly grateful for her. And of course for all the other blessings I hold in my hand. My DH - the ever patient and best daddy ever. My family - who although disappointed this weekend in our inability to join them on our annual Philly excursion - understand that I am just doing what good mommy does and I know they love me for it in spite of their disappointment. My friends - an eclectic group of the smartest, strongest, kindest and most beautiful women imaginable. Near or far - they are the true jewels of the earth.

No - I have a different gratitude this year. Every year actually. This year I have decided to be grateful for adversity. Mine, my daughter's and, well, everyone's. How would we know exactly what we are capable of if we are never tested? Truly, I have been tested. I will be again - but I think I finally understand that this is all part of gaining wisdom. There is no wisdom in a clear and straightm unhampered path. It is exactly those twists and turns, bumps and ditches that are integral in helping us to learn and achieve more than we dream we are capable. Certainly I had plenty of those and some more than once. I don't think I have ever been so convinced that they were necesary evils. Sure, there are some parts of the story I wish could have been left out - but then I wouldn't be who I am or how I am for that matter. Certainly - I think this will make me a more understanding mom, wife, sister, aunt, daughter in law, friend etc. I am more forgiving than I was formerly and I am also more honest with myself about the limitations of the human heart. There are also hidden benefits to having a so-called past - I always have something I can choose to talk about or not. Much of it I do not - which may surprise some of you that there could be anything left I have not said.. beleive me there is a lot!! Also - I have left behind some of the fear and shame that seemed to dog my every step. Perhaps in this there will be more than the healing I have been so thankful for. I feel ready to start things over somehow - perhaps a move is exactly what I need. I know I am ready for change = I thought it would be in the form of another child (I am still holding on to some hope that will be true) but I am thinking now that I am due for a sea change. That is a profound feeling - not exactly cut and run and not exactly stay and mold! I guess rolled up in all this a new level of understanding of all the forces that have led me to this place... all the ancestors and wrong turns that have culminated in the precise combination that mean me, my sister and my brother were born and lived to tell about it. For all those things I am profoundly grateful. That I have lived to tell the tale I am also grateful.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ring around the rosies...............

We all fall down! This is not the post I had planned but stuff has come up that while not entirely unexpected could not have happened at a worse time. Also - I need to clarify the the "first in a series" is part of a series - but the posts are related to events that happened on specific dates... and I assure you will be forthcoming!

In the meantime - we are going through daycare h*ll. Our old center we will refer to as Smell Wanders... has been in serious trouble lo these last few weeks. At first I thought it was merely a temporary problem - often faced by centers... staff turnover and all that. More recently it has become increasingly obvious that there were systemic problems that though they do not directly effect my child - have caused enough sturm and drang as to begin to have serious ramifications for our family. EFP has recently begun to show the signs of living with unpredictability and stress. Aside from the waking at all hours and not wanting to go back to sleep, she has become downright incorrigible in getting ready in the morning. EFP all of a sudden doesn't want to get dressed, get in the van, or GO TO THE CENTER! While she does seem to look forward to seeing her little friends when I say their names, but she flatly refuses to cooperate in getting out of the house. Given this is not her usual MO and that this only started when all H*ll broke loose at the center - I gotta say - I am thinking it's the daycare's problems causing all this in conjunction with the toddler antics.

As a result we are in the process of changing her daycare (we'll call it Creamy Clouds) and we have cancelled our annual trek to Philly for the Oireachtas to the absolute horror and disappointment of Miss T. I have received no less than 3 pleading emails and while I am sorrier than I can say about having to cancel at the last minute - I just can't imagine that sleeping (or not) in a hotel for a few days then switching the daycare upon our return is in EFP's best interest. Not to mention that of course the new daycare is more pricey than the old day care. It is just to hard to even get my head around all this, but I can't continue her in a situation that I know to be wrong and to be fair - there have been a few inklings that there was a problem, but as long as she was happy Momma was happy. These days NO ONE is happy around here. Mommy and Daddy are decidedly sleepy and irritable and baby is not her usual cheery self.

On a side note - when is a Pediatrician's visit not a Pediatrician's Visit? HA! When someone forgets to note that there was in fact a Visit!! We have to have a last minute visit because her MD's office did not record any of the last 5 visits as a 18month check up!!!! I am (of course!) furious. Still waiting for the office manager to contact me. I wonder what is a parent supposed to do - when the MD says he doesn't need to see her till she is 24 months? AND she has been in no less than 5 times for various reasons - none of which were so serious that she couldn't have been given a check up and a couple of shots. In fact the last time I took her - in August she did get 4 shots.. so what was that? DH has taken her for the last few visits but I don't think that has anything to do with it frankly!

So onward and upward I guess. I don't think this is in any of the parenting books - how to manage the worry and anxiety that accompany you when the day care situation is not right. How do work efficiently and competently when your heart is in your throat all day worrying about that little bundle who holds the key to your life? I know worrying never solved anything and I need to be able to concentrate on my job and the other important things that are going on in my life, but when I look at her face and know that she has placed all her trust in me as her mother I do not want to do anything to disturb that trust. I may not be the perfect mother - but I AM HER mother and I am the only mom she has at this point. It's more disgusting to me at this point (and I won't elaborate at this time) that any parent should find themselves in this bind with daycare - in this day and age and in what is SUPPOSED to be the greatest nation on the planet!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

One Year Ago Today.... (Part 1 of a Multipart Series)

Maybe the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about!!

..............I was beside myself with grief as yet another birthday (yet another milestone) had passed with no baby, no news of our baby and no idea when/if there would ever be a baby. I was anxious, scared, embarrassed, grieving and trying desperately to hold onto whatever hope I could find. I would fall apart at the slightest provocation and dissolve into tears if someone as much as looked like they MIGHT ask when we were expecting our referral. The entire landscape of adoption from China changed while we were in process.... all of a sudden mere days worth, rather than the month's worth, of referrals would be sent causing the wait to lengthen inexplicably and for the uncertainty to reach a fever pitch. We were in the thick of it for sure! I have already written at length of how much my different circles of friends helped me get through the wait - so I won't go there again but honestly I am still grateful for all the support I received during the crazy wait.

I had no faith then - last year. No faith that either of the two jurisdictions would actually provide what they promised. I was still so convinced that I was undeserving of that which I most desperately wanted. In spite of the mountain of evidence that a range of people had examined every single aspect of my life as well as DH's and promised us that we would be parents. I still harbored the result of years of bitter disappointment, unfulfilled promises and working towards things that would never be forthcoming. I am still under the impression that I will usually not get what I want.. but every so often the universe throws me a curve ball. Just to see if I am paying attention or something. Oh what a curve ball!

Most of the parents we waited with have put all this behind them and many are embarking on new journeys toward other children. I have put it behind in the sense that I don't dwell on it any longer but I don't think I have made peace with it yet. I do know I don't feel the same angst, obviously I don't have a heck of a lot of time for that these days anyway! I have yet to write the LONG letter I owe the agency for their part in this. I have since come to learn to that there must be a written policy some where that says if a client starts to complain or gets to questioning the service aspect they respond with condescension and imply that the complainer is in fact high strung, inflexible, unable to handle the trip and they throw in, for good measure, the mention of a sick or absent child. Just to prey on a new parent's worst fear. We get all the way to China and something is wrong with the child... can you imagine anyone writing that policy? As if waiting and everything else is a walk in the park and when they are less than forthcoming in information etc. and you react as most people would - they try to make you seem crazy for advocating for yourself! Yea, that letter is most over due.. do know we will not be using that agency again!

We do think we want another child... I am not interested in the uncertainty of waiting for another baby though. I think we will take a chance and try a child. One year ago I wasn't sure we would have one child and now very often I can see 2 or 3 before we hang up this particular towel! LOL. So much has happened in the intervening year that I hardly know how to catalog all the events. I do know I have made so much peace with those things that have plagued me and held back my vision of who I could be. I have been writing quite a bit and I believe I may work up the courage to submit a few things here and there. I also have some small plan for my career that may mean things happening in a good way for a change. Not sure exactly what will happen - but we'll see. We still have a few classes to complete to get certified as foster parents - its been a real exercise in catharsis for me. I don't dwell on the fact that I was a foster child once upon a time - but I was and it gives me a perspective that most of the people in our class do not have. I don't talk about it all that much in class - so far only once. I don't purport to have all the answers but I know what would not have worked well enough. I also know that the shame of appearing on some one's doorstep is not something erased over night or, honestly, ever. It has been good though for me to be there and in some measure for my DH (child of privilege though he be) to hear what foster care really is and, perhaps even more important, what it is not. Our foster child(ren) - when he/she/they get here - will have some comfort in knowing that I understand all too well how it feels and that I am more than willing to do whatever it will take to advocate for him/her. They may be too young to know what that all means, but I think they will feel it and I will do my best to be some comfort.

In the meantime - and just to add to the craziness - we are seriously considering a waiting child. I have made some inquiries about her medical situation and I am waiting for more information before we complete the petition but I can't get her little face out of my heart and although I have some concerns about my ability to deal with her medicals.. there is something about her that is so sweet it just tugs at me. Of course I have also decided that there is practically NO child I can not love. I just love children and there is no end to it. I don't think I ever saw myself as one of those earth mother types who has a house full of children etc. but sometimes I feel like whatever we can do either domestically or internationally for children is still not quite enough. 1 child or 10 I would try to be a good mom deserving of the children.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

You say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too--yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time

Today was my birthday. Not a particularly special one - though it is my first as a Mom! I must say that having a daughter and an attentive DH is more than reward! EFP had a card and DH a dozen pink roses - my fav! We had dinner at the palace! (ha ha The Palace Diner!) and it was nice - quiet and quick. We took EFP to vote - I hope to be able to do this for many years. I like seeing kids in the polling place. My Mom never voted and so I didn't learn how to work the machines till it was my turn to vote. I was so nervous- I couldn't really enjoy my first experience with democratic process...

We have had a nice few days - though Miss EFP was a bit feverish yesterday (I am thinking its her eye teeth - the drool factor is way up there as are the fingers in the mouth!) so we had a Mommy and EFP Day... where she finally met the Booooooooo Baaaaaaahs! YIKES!! Now she says that all the time - with a perfect English accent!!

We attended the Christening Celebration for one of our dear friends... we had so much fun! I have been trying to post some pics but blogger is not communicating at all. Finally! Got some pics posted. EFP had a great time at the party. The kid is a party animal! The left top pic is her playing "Simon Says" with the other kids. She also danced the Hokey Pokey and really tore up the dance floor with Mommy and Daddy in tow. We just love these people so... every event is a real celebration seeing all the kids and how well they grow. Even the recently home were doing fabulously. Of course seeing all the kids makes me... well, I will save that for another Birthday Wish Reveal!

OH! Big news!!! Who do you think can say the alphabet up to letter J??? Who Who Who!? RIGHT! EFP! Just starting saying them tonight as we were driving back from the Diner!!! She said A-J perfectly! I have been really anxious about her lack of real speech and was considering calling the EI people for a re-eval, but since she is saying things so much more clearly and with purpose that I think it will be unnecessary. She has invented some more games... all on her own! Including the lumpy couch game... she hides behind my back on the couch, I say "Wow, this couch sure is lumpy" and she tries to hide but I twist and see her and she laughs hysterically! She has also decided that Mommy with a pacey in her mouth is a hoot.. oddly enough Mommy does not find this at all amusing.... except to hear her baby-laugh. I do love that baby laugh. She has also started becoming interested in the Potty and will indicate (as if we needed any more indication than our nose!) when she has a poopy diaper! I think the Royal Throne will be installed in the throne room shortly! She has really started following me and is very handy with the paper... LOL

EFP has really brightened up our lives. When we were all laughing up in the nursery this evening I remarked to DH that I really had every present possible right there on the changing table. She is so precious. I am going to have her at work tomorrow for a little bit as DH is going to bring her and attend a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration Closing Dinner as a family.

Here is the Empress in her Imperial Coach (the Odyssey) on the way to her daily Empress Training.. do not let the bunny ears fool you - that is a crown in disguise and boy does she work it! I will post about the royal melt-downs that mark her firm placement in the terrible-twos!

But I love this little face!

Empress Fussy Pants

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Emperor Big Brother

Lilypie Next Birthday Ticker