Monday, November 30, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

Boy, wouldn't it be great to wake up in this kind of mood every morning?


Who said "Youth is wasted on the young" again? He wasn't kidding. Charlie wakes up in a fabulous mood 99% of the time. I thought I'd try and capture it, because it's so cute. And I'm jealous because I wish I woke up like this instead of waking up grumbling. My dogs also wake up exuberant. They are definitely on to something.

Again, once the video camera comes out she gets inhibited, but you can still get the gist. I love her smile and rosy cheeks when she wakes up.


video

Friday, November 27, 2009

What is Your Faith?


I have long been confused, "agnostic", uncertain, and a mind changer when it comes to religion and faith.

I know what I don't believe in. That's easy.

Not so sure what I do believe in though, if anything.

I found this website that asks 20 or so questions and then analyzes your beliefs and aligns your beliefs with the closest religion to your beliefs. It was interesting!

I was raised Catholic. However, according to this quiz, Roman Catholic is at the bottom of my belief system. Here are my results for anyone who is interested:

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (99%)
3. Neo-Pagan (91%)
4. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (90%)
5. Secular Humanism (88%)
6. New Age (84%)
7. Mahayana Buddhism (80%)
8. Theravada Buddhism (73%)
9. Reform Judaism (72%)
10. Taoism (71%)
11. Baha'i Faith (60%)
12. Orthodox Quaker (57%)
13. Scientology (57%)
14. Jainism (56%)
15. New Thought (56%)
16. Nontheist (56%)
17. Sikhism (54%)
18. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (41%)
19. Orthodox Judaism (40%)
20. Hinduism (40%)
21. Islam (35%)
22. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (27%)
23. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (27%)
24. Seventh Day Adventist (26%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (24%)
26. Roman Catholic (24%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (14%)

I'm not even sure what Unitarian Universalism is.... I'll have to look it up.

What are your results? Go to this website and take the quiz, then come back and let me know. I know a lot of adoptive families are Christian, and adopt due to the whole "caring for widows and orphans" passage in the Bible. I'm definitely not one of them. I adopted because I wanted to be a parent and I was single. Also because I grew up in developing countries and that left an indelible mark on me as far as helping out those less fortunate, as well as being highly aware of other world cultures. Plus I'm drawn to the Ethiopian people. I find them an attractive people so in thinking about which country to adopt from, that part was easy enough for me.

I will most likely raise Charlie in my own unsure beliefs. In a way, I would hope that she had a stronger faith, as I think that can help one get through life. But I can't teach her something I don't know myself. I will allow her to discover her own heart in this matter. Whatever she wants to pursue, if anything, I will back her up. As long as it's not Sun Young-Moon or David Koresh, etc!

So... what are your beliefs? Did the quiz get it right?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful....










Happy Thanksgiving Readers!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ethiopian Eating Gene? Moms, can you weigh in here?


Here is my question for those of you who have Ethiopian kids: Do they eat absolutely everything?

I ask because Charlie, at 14 months, has eaten (and seems to like) the following foods (which I never imagined a child would like):

- broccoli
- Brussels sprouts
- salmon, tilapia and shrimp
- Indian food
- Thai food
- Ethiopian food
- green beans
- cucumbers
- lettuce
- zucchini

Basically, anything I put in front of her. She has only ever rejected one food: pecan pie.

It's great because whenever we go to restaurants, I just order what I want, knowing she will eat half of it. I have never bought her a seperate "kid's meal" or menu item.

She will eat many items that are bitter, sour, etc. Not kiddie type tastes. Some things I don't like yet and she already does. Sometimes I will cook her something I don't like, because it' s healthy for her and I know she will eat it. She also likes the regular kiddie food like Cheerios, oatmeal, bananas, squash, etc.

The question is do your Ethiopian kids eat like this???

My dad has a theory that eating might be in the Ethiopian gene pool as a "strength". Meaning that due to years of starvation and droughts, the Ethiopian people who have survived (survival of the fittest) are the ones who are the least picky. If there is food around, it got eaten.

Or are we extrapolating a country encompassing theory based on the eating habits of one child?

Well?

That's why I'm asking other mothers of Ethiopian kids what are your childrens' eating habits like? Do they like a wide variety of "adult" tastes?

PS. There is one other food I had forgotten about that she rejected: Sweet Tarts. Watch this, I think it's hilarious. Little kids tasting lemons and whatnot totally crack me up. Am I a terrible mother for that? Don't call DSS on me! (In my defense, she's not forced to keep eating it....)

video


Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

PPSS Charlie said "Bye!" very clearly to the car this morning, and said "ouch" when she got her finger stuck in the wipes box. I have a feeling talking is going to be coming fast and furious now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Transracial Bill of Rights for Adopted Kids

The other day when I was shopping at Sam's Club with Charlie, I saw a black man with a white toddler in his cart. We locked eyes and I started cracking up. We were the photo negative of each other. We said "hi". I asked if he got a lot of stares. He laughed and said he did sometimes but it doesn't bother him. We talked a little while about the whole trans racial "surprise" people seem to get at times and then said goodbye.

So when I saw this, I wanted to post it. Blatently stolen from Elizabeth's website
(which I'm reading from cover to cover and suggest you do too..)

I was sent this yesterday by a friend and I found it so profound. It’s everything I have been working towards but have not yet put into words. This should be required reading and believing for all adoptive families.

Copy it, print it off, link to this post, please just pass it along.

A Transracially-Adopted Child’s Bill of Rights Adapted by Liza Steinberg Triggs from “A Bill of Rights for Mixed Folks,” by Marilyn Dramé

Every child is entitled to:

Love and full membership in her family.

Have his culture embraced and valued.

Parents who know that this is a race conscious society.

Parents who know that she will experience life differently than they do.

Parents who are not looking to “save” him or to improve the world.

Parents who know that being in a family doesn’t depend on “matching.”

Parents who know that trans racial adoption changes the family forever.

Be accepted by extended family members.

Parents who know that, if they are white, they benefit from racism.

Parents who know that they can’t transmit the child’s birth culture if it is not their own.

Have items at home that are made for and by people of his race.

Opportunities to make friends with people of her race or ethnicity.

Daily opportunities of positive experiences with his birth culture.

Build racial pride within her own home, school, and neighborhood.

Have many opportunities to connect with adults of the child’s race.

Parents who accept, understand and empathize with her culture.

Learn survival, problem-solving, and coping skills in a context of racial pride.

Take pride in the development of a dual identity and a multicultural/multiracial perspective on life.

Find his multiculturalism to be an asset and to conclude, “I’ve got the best of both worlds.”

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Did she or didn't she? (New Poll)

Please watch this and tell me at the end if Charlie said "ba-ba".

Then vote in the new poll on the right.

This is just for fun.... I haven't had a poll since posting her possible names way back when.

Please excuse the snotty nose. It's cleaned every 5 seconds and still, it's never enough. And yes, she's drinking out of a shoe. Good thing Christmas is coming, coz this kid needs some toys! Ok, so she's so bored she's figured out how to drink out of a shoe. Not just any shoe, this is the new Shape-Ups by Sketchers. It's gonna make my butt all sek-si and stuff.


video

Precursors to Post Adoption Depression - Conclusion

Last week I listed a few precursors to PAD, check them out here.

Today, I'd like to finish the list. Remember this is from Internet research that is scarce, they may be more precursors.
Please excuse the various fonts, which come from copying and pasting. I was going to re-type it all because I know it's harder to read this way, but Charlie is needing attention this morning, so here it is with apologies.

June Bond coined the term, post adoption depression, in a 1995 article for Roots and Wings Magazine. It refers to a combination of symptoms that may include: depressed mood, irritability, diminished interest in most activities, significant weight loss or gain, insomnia, or sleeping too much, feeling worthless or excessively guilty, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal thoughts. The severity of PAD may vary and should be taken seriously if you have five or more of these symptoms during a two-week period. Whether an incapacitating depression that requires treatment, or simply "the blues," PAD is a very real phenomenon.

It is suspected that having a history of certain issues can increase the likely hood that PAD will surface.





BEING A "CAREER WOMAN":

Doctors often attribute post-partum blues to dramatic hormonal changes that occur after the birth of a baby. However, psychologists often link new mother's depression to the sudden overwhelming demands of an infant and new financial responsibility, as well her loss of professional identity, social networks, and personal freedom. Sometimes depression is simply about not getting enough sleep or time to oneself.

Many adoptive mothers are older and wealthier than typical first moms. They often have established careers and have enjoyed years of freedom from the demands of children. They feel depressed and anxious if they do not "fall in love" with their children immediately.

I know when I went on maternity leave for 3 months, part of me was lost. I had no idea how to spend my time, other than rushing around picking up after Charlie. On the other hand, I was loathe to go back to work! A few months later, I'm happier at home and happier at work. Getting 40 hours a week "off" from childcare is actually too much. I feel like I don't get to see Charlie very much and other people are raising her. That's probably a sign of recovery.

HIGH EXPECTATIONS AND A VIVID IMAGINATION:

June Bond, a writer for Roots and Wings magazine and the first person to recognize PADS, says that adoptive parents experience a huge letdown within a few weeks after their new child comes home. It is similar to what happens after a wedding, completing a college degree or achieving any other big life goal. "The emotional rush from the attainment of this long-desired goal is exhilarating," she writes. ". Feelings of being 'let down' are common after reaching any major life milestone."

Many adoptive parents have preconceived notions about the initial adjustment period with their new child. Remember this is a transitional time for all members of the family, not just the child. Bonding takes time and you may be overwhelmed by fatigue, sickness, stress, and the new challenges of parenthood.

--http://www.adoptionissues.org/post-adoption-depression.html

In understanding post-adoptive emotions, we examine expectations along several dimensions: our expectations of ourselves, of our child, of our family and friends, of our child’s birthparents, and of others (including our adoption professionals and society). Part of the wholeness of family lies beyond the primary family unit, reaching to extended family and close friends. The joy that we feel as parents is often contagious and includes the exquisite anticipation of sharing the fact a child will be added to the family. But adoptive parents may be surprised and ill-prepared for their families’ reactions. – Foli and Thompson

Remember my hurt over my baby shower? That was probably an expectation of mine, a dream of what it would look like, and when the RSVPs came in, it was shattered. My family IS in love with Charlie, and they ARE very supportive, but I’ll never forget the sheer volume of comments that post got…. Obviously not all families are. I hope yours is as wonderful as mine, but if they are not, find some supportive friends.

A HISTORY OF DEPRESSION, POST-PARTUM DEPRESSION (OR BI-POLAR, SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER OR ANY AFFECTIVE DISORDER):

If you have a tendency to any of the above mental health diagnoses, you are more likely to experience PAD. Personally I have battled depression for most of my adult life. This should not have taken me by surprise… After all, it’s such a joyful and happy time.

INTERNATIONAL AND SPECIAL NEEDS ADOPTION:

Science is just beginning to define "Post-Adoption Depression Syndrome" (PADS), which is not yet a distinct illness recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. PADS can range from a full-blown episode of severe depression that requires hospitalization or just a simple case of the blues that lasts a month or two. The few scientific studies of PADS indicate that over half of adoptive mothers experience it. For example, in 1999 Harriet McCarthy, manager of the Eastern European Adoption Coalition Parent Education and Preparedness, surveyed 165 mothers who had adopted children from Eastern Europe and found that 65% reported post-adoption depression. Other researchers have determined that you are more likely to experience PADS if you adopt from overseas or if your child has special needs.

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:

. Monitor your symptoms of depression and seek counseling and/or medical treatment if they persist and seriously impact day-to-day functioning.

Don't become isolated in your community. Enlist friends, family and neighbors to help with errands or domestic chores so that you can focus on bonding with your child.

· Try to get out with your child every day. Especially in the winter, cabin fever can exacerbate feelings of depression.

· If you have a predisposition to depression, you are at greater risk. Contact your mental health provider, counselor, and other support network to be on "standby."

· If the loss of career (whether temporary or permanent) triggers an identity crisis, find new areas of competence and seek out opportunities for adult contact.

· Don't expect perfection from yourself. Just do your best and don't feel guilty.

· Establish time with your spouse/partner to nurture your relationship.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Post Adoption Depressions Syndrome by Judy Bond; Roots and Wings, Spring 1995, www.adopting.org/pads.html

Baby Shock by Jean MacLeod; Adoptive Families, Sept/October 2001

Post Adoption Depression: The Unacknowledged Hazard, http://www.eeadopt.org/home/services/research/pad_survey/index. html


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Putting Stuff Away (and Charlie's first word!)

Is this kid loved or what????

She has her own cheering section.

Boy do we fawn over her!

But how could you not?

video

PS Charlie said her first word on Thursday! Well, her first really clearly pronounced word. It was "ba-ba". She said it very well :-) and totally on purpose. She wouldn't say it again, perhaps due to being startled by my impromptu kitchen dance.... but still, big step!! My baby's growing up!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Super Secret Diaper Rash Help


Recently I read about a diaper rash treatment in one of the parenting magazines. Charlie had a persistent rash and so I decided to try it.

Apparently many diaper rashes have a yeast component (especially the rashes with small bumps) and so buying over-the-counter yeast infection ointment (you know, the kind for female yeast infections) and applying it to the child's bum seems to work.

I tried it, and in 2 days Charlie's rash was gone, and it has not come back. That was a couple of months ago. This solution seems to have some staying power. Much longer than zinc, which works slowly (if at all) and the rash comes back as soon as one stops using it). We have not had to use zinc or anything since using the yeast infection stuff, and her bottom is clear and gorgeous. And squeezable. I'm just sayin'.

I thought I'd share, since to me this was a God sent super secret solution!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Proof of Charlie's Innocence! Evidence, CSI-like...




Here is the evidence that Charlie's lip was hurt. These pictures were found in my mother's camera, taken on the morning of the great "tongue time out".

Thanks for all the input, there were some very wise comments.

And here's what I did about it (see two posts down for backup story):

Yesterday morning, her teacher was not there so I did nothing. By the afternoon I was completely calm and "over it".

I did bring it up after we had chatted about other things for awhile. I said "Her grandfather told me she was naughty yesterday.... what happened?" and the teacher replied that Charlie had stuck out her tongue, but she didn't think it was malicious. She wasn't sure where she had picked it up from, but there was a book they look at everyday of children from around the world (she showed it to me) and the child they call the "Charlie baby" (the one from Africa)is sticking out his tongue.

Which led me to want to ask "Well, why was she put in time out for that????" but I decided to let it go. After all, it's not a huge deal and as long as the teacher admitted it wasn't malicious (she's just too young for malicious!) that's all I care about.

Actually, funnily enough, M and M in the comments yesterday mentioned having that same book! And noticing the African baby sticking out her tongue. Weird coincidence, huh?

Boy.... put together an Aries personality and burgeoning mama bear protective feelings and wowsa! Explosions in the brain happen!

I'm nowhere near about to pull her out of this daycare. It has too many good things going for it, and I think that's a bit knee-jerk of a reaction. Here are the great things:

1) It's 1 mile from my house
2) They serve breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack saving me money and more importantly, time
3) The entire school is extremely diverse. Every third family walking down the hall is a trans-racial family. I love that and can't get that anywhere else around here.
4) It's the cheapest daycare in the area.
5) Usually I think the teachers are really caring and warm.

So, until something else happens, something worse, Charlie will be staying in this daycare. It's hard to know just from reading a blog post, especially a post that was written in anger. But generally, these are compassionate teachers.

The teacher knows I am behind her most of the time with discipline, and we discuss Charlie's behaviors with the common goal to have a well behaved child. So I'm glad she can tell me this stuff. In this case, there's no doubt in my mind Charlie has no idea what sticking her tongue out means. But certainly she is a strong willed child and will need to understand that what her teacher and mama say needs to be adhered to. So far she is very well behaved, and I'm amazed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Precursors to Post Adoption Depression


I'm sick right now, so I'm posting something I already wrote and was saving. I'll get back to you on the "sticking out tongue" debacle later....

I’ve been doing a little Internet research on PAD, along with reading one of the only books available out there “The Post-Adoption Blues” by Foli and Johnson. Here’s what I’ve found so far regarding precursors to Post Adoption Depression. If you have any of these, you may be at risk. Note the ‘may’ be at risk… there has been very little research on the topic that I can find.



BOTTOM of THE BARREL:

“When a family decides to adopt a child, considerable energy is put forth during the pre-placement time. Seemingly endless and intrusive paperwork, government agency requirements, advertisements to birth parents, and so forth, drain adoptive parents’ financial and emotional resources. There isn’t much left when the child actually arrives. Instead of understanding that the journey has only begun, some adoptive parents feel that the goal has been accomplished. Because the pre-adoption process can be all consuming, the precious time that needs to be used to prepare for parenting is stolen because so much energy has been put into the process itself." --Foli and Thompson


I’d like to add international travel and jet lag to that list. Preparing for travel across the world, packing, bringing donations, more paperwork in the form of visas and passports, waiting for court and the powerlessness feelings that brings up, traveling somewhere foreign and the culture shock… it all adds up to depleted reserves of strength for once the child arrives.


Personally, I remember blogging about feeling “in denial” that a child was arriving, questioning how some parents could “fall in love with a picture” before ever meeting the child, etc. Looking back, I was immersed in the preparation and not able to concentrate on the reality of what having a child in my daily life would look like.



IGNORANCE:

Nobody told me about PAD before the adoption. Luckily, I read a LOT on adoption and learned about it through blogs. I was in denial that it would affect me though.

Not much research has been done on the problem. But in a 1999 survey sent out by Harriet McCarthy to subscribers to an online list serve for parents in the Eastern European Adoption Coalition, 77 percent of those who reported post-adoption depression said their symptoms lasted from two months to more than a year. Seventy percent felt that the depression had interfered with the transition and bonding with their new children. Only 8 of the 94 people who reported post-adoption depression said they had been advised by their agencies that the syndrome even existed.

- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/25/health/25adop.html


BEING A FIRST TIME PARENT:


According to psychologists who work with adoptive parents, the stress of being a new parent, sleep deprivation and a lack of support may put women at risk. And some adoptive mothers may be saddened if they do not "feel love at first sight" or immediately bond with a child.

-http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/25/health/25adop.html


ISOLATION:

If you lack support in your family or community, you are at a higher risk for PAD. This is true of any mental illness, really.



PAST INFERTILITY ISSUES:


If infertility or
miscarriages preceded the adoption, a woman may still dwell on her lost pregnancy or inability to have a biological child. And some parents endure a long process to adopt a child, filled with anxiety, delays and other obstacles.

- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/25/health/25adop.html



Four more precursors
coming up include being a "Career Woman". Tune in....

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tongue in Cheek. Or not, as the case may be.

Charlie finds out life is unfair!
Today, Charlie got put in time out when she allegedly stuck her tongue out twice at her day care teacher. Her grandfather picked her up and got the full tale from the teacher. On the ride home, Charlie stuck her tongue out continuously.

When Opa told me this, my anger FLARED. Charlie had bit her lip before school and I showed her teacher how it was bleeding. How DARE she punish her for licking her hurt lips???

And I mean.... really. This was NOT a stiff "F" you defiant protruding tongue; it was a soft, wandering, "what is this weird blood taste" type of sticking out tongue. Sheesh. Who can't tell the difference with that??

So I got all prepared to stomp in there tomorrow and remind them that Charlie bit her lip and was not sticking out her tongue, but my mom thinks that might scare the teacher and prevent her in the future from telling me anything.

Another option, since I can't let it go totally and let them think she's so naughty, is to go in there tomorrow and pretend my parents didn't tell me the time out story and mention"Charlie's lip is all better today. Remember how she bit it yesterday and it was bleeding?" and innocently.... remind them.... guilt trip them so to speak.... that my girl is awesome and they were WRONG about her!!!!

What thinkist thou, oh wise blog readers?

Let it go and say nothing?

Let them have it firmly, yet politely?

Innocently remind them about her tongue and let them draw their own conclusions?

Or what would you do?

Yes, I need answers. It's not the end of the world. But I'm still curious what you would do.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Is Charlie the lucky one? Really?

Many adoptive parents have blogged about this, so why not me too.

I wanna put my 2 cents in!

But then I read Hijas Americanas' post on the topic and realized I could never be as eloquent. She is a PUBLISHED AUTHOR (something I would LOVE to be, one day) I asked her if I could borrow it and she said 'sure' and so here you are.


as luck would have it


2009_09_21  Daddy is home

“He’s such a lucky boy.”

Baby and I have been stopped by a well meaning town resident who I vaguely know. He’s not the first to say this to us.

“We think we’re the lucky ones,” I say. This is not the first time I’ve answered this way.

For now, I can hate that phrase– He’s such a lucky boy- but it doesn’t yet do any damage to baby’s psyche. One day, though, it will.

The truth is that I don’t see baby’s life as lucky. Being born in a country that is so disproportionately poor and resource-starved to parents who were so poor and resource-starved themselves that they could not raise him (we know a little more about baby’s story than I am implying in the previous sentence but out of respect for baby being the keeper of his story, we are holding that private until we are able to share it with him, and he is able to decide if he’d like to share it and with whom) actually feels to me like anything but luck.

Baby’s life, to me, though, shows me what faith is– faith in something greater than ourselves and faith in other people. Think of a mother who has given birth to this beautiful boy who she, of course, loves with all her heart. Think of the challenge you must be facing in your life to make the decision she makes. Think of the wisdom she has to know that love, sometimes, means not physically holding on– a wisdom I, the girl who holds on too long, could never have. Think of the faith she has to know that the right family will be waiting for him. No, sir, how our baby’s life has evolved is not borne of luck. It came alive when a woman that I admire to my core made a decision based on faith, based on a knowing deep within her, based on a stark assessment of her life and the injustice of this world, based on what might look like hopelessness to some but what I believe is really hopefulness. I don’t know how to dramatically reconcile the poverty of this world; it is what I most wish I were able to do. It wasn’t luck that brought us together. I know that for sure. And though I can’t yet articulate all of it in the way that I wish: I know that baby coming into our lives, our coming into baby’s life is part of something bigger than all three of us.

The other day, I was typing at my computer during BF’s time with baby, and I turned towards the chirping that was going on behind me. On the floor about ten feet away was our baby boy, concentrating hard on a soft car that he was given by one of my dearest friends for his birthday. The moment, it’s smallness and hugeness all in one, stole my breath, and there I was suddenly weeping. He does this to me, this boy. He breaks my heart, opens it up, and warms it all at the same time. Even as I type these words, remembering the scene, the unremarkableness of the moment wrapped in the remarkableness of our union, I am weeping again. There are times when the only prayer that I can say, the only words that I can muster are ”please, let me do enough.” Not my best, because I am terrified that I will somehow justify less than enough. And this baby boy, his biological parents, they have put so much faith in us, they have given us their trust, they have blessed our lives with this beautiful, beautiful boy. When I was weeping the other day, BF came to me and asked me if I was okay. The feeling inside of me was so big, I couldn’t give it words, I can’t really right now. I just shook my head at him, nodded towards the baby, and, thus, choked him up, too.

Remember that feeling you had the very first time you fell in love? It was so enormous that it almost didn’t fit inside of you. It felt like you would burst at any moment and that if this love somehow didn’t make it, you would die because there would be nothing else worth doing as much as loving this person. I remember thinking sometime in my twenties that love like that, that ferocity, that intensity, that joy laced with fear, doesn’t come back after first love. That the physical, visceral sensation of that only happens once. Weeping out of the blue as my child gummed on his car that day, I realized it comes back. As luck would have it, it comes back with a ferocity that swallows you.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Hijas, for letting me borrow your beautifully written piece. Go check out her website for other thought provoking posts.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Putting the dog.... should I say it? ...putting the dog "to sleep".

Charlie and her Opa (grandfather) have a blast together. She ADORES him. They play together every day, ALL DAY, when her grandparents visit, and Opa has a great imagination. He comes up with all kinds of games that are exactly age appropriate for her, and help her learn a few skills beyond her level. But they are also tons of fun for her.

Here she is "putting the dog to sleep".

Notice the cuteness of the way she "shakes out the blanket" before laying it on the dog. Opa says Charlie came up with that detail on her own.

So this is a video of that game. Of course, as soon as the video appears, everything stops, or becomes hesitant, or distracted, even after she just did the whole thing 5 times in a row. But I still think I was able to capture most of this game.

Enjoy!
video

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Don't Call Me Mother"


Excerpted from Elizabeth Elias' book: "Don't Call Me Mother" available here, and also on Amazon.

It's on my wish list for Christmas.

(HINT.

HINT.)


(I'd prefer the real life book, not the ebook, thanks, because then I can dog ear it and feel it and put it down and pick it up, etc. ;-)

What the hell had I signed up for? I had heard with my ears that my life would completely change and that I would not get much sleep. But I had not actualized the information and now I was living it– not very gracefully.

After the first few nights of sleeping for two or three hours here and there, I was over it. Darkness descended upon the land. My mother reached out to help me with advice. I became allergic to it and pushed her away. I did not want anyone’s advice, especially not hers. She had managed it somehow, to be the loving mother, while I was flapping my wings and flailing. I wanted to claim this new role as my own. But I was not the image of mother that I thought I would be, nothing was as I thought it would be.

Our new son wanted to eat every three hours around the clock and it took an hour to feed him each time. There was no space left to sleep, eat or bathe myself and this depleted me. I turned on my baby. In my mind I put him out in the garage at night where I could not hear him and I fantasized about sleeping uninterrupted again. I daydreamed of calling the adoption agency up and asking them for a refund. Adrian worked twelve hour shifts and I envied him for it.

One evening while he was away, I could not sooth my baby. I had fed him and changed him and still he cried. I swaddled him and rocked him and sang to him, but he did not hear me through his wails. My hands began to tremble and my face changed to mirror his grim one. Carefully, I carried him to his beautiful room and lay him down in the crib. He laid there, bundled, eyes shut, mouth open, noisy. I backed out quietly and shut his door. Listening to him I walked to my bedroom and shut that door too. What a terrible mother, unable to sooth her baby, leaving him all alone. Surely if the agency could see, they would take him back. I retreated further into the en-suite bathroom and closed that door too. I could still hear him though three sets of doors separated us. I turned on the shower and stripped off my clothes. I climbed in and sat on the cool bottom of the tub and turned the taps. There, now it was silent. My tears rinsed away before I could taste them. I folded my arms across my chest and pretended the stream of water hitting my skin was pure forgiveness. I needed forgiveness. I needed distance. I needed perspective. This was not the mother I wanted to be. I sucked.

I struggled on and a couple weeks into our new roles as parents Adrian and I were driving in the car. I needed to know if he felt the same way I did. “Do you love him? Does he feel like he’s yours?” I prodded.

He answered without hesitation, “Ya, I do. I think I probably would walk through fire for that little guy.”

I thought about that. I could not relate. I might have felt potent mother love sometimes for a few moments, especially when he was asleep, but mostly I felt tired and frustrated and overwhelmed. And stupid. And guilty.

This was what I had struggled so long for? I felt guilty I didn’t feel closer to him. I felt guilty that I wanted to sleep. I felt guilty that I was entrusted with his care to love him and I just wanted to have my own space back. I felt bad that I was not that mother who gave unconditionally of herself without needing to refill her own cup. I was not her. I now hated that idealized role of mother. It did not fit me. I had to find another way. I had to carve a new version out for myself.




I cringe at Elizabeth's honesty, and then breathe a sigh of relief: it's not just me. She writes about PAD being an illness, not my fault, nothing to be ashamed of. Still, I'm not there yet. I still feel shame and that I should have been strong enough not to succumb to it, that I should keep it a secret and not let anyone know how I feel. Which makes writing about it on this so very private INTERNET scary to me.

Coming up soon, some pre-existing conditions that may be red flags for PAD.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Can I brag for a moment?


Ok, I'm pulling myself out of my snotty haze to brag about my daughter for just a sec.

Tonight, I wondered what would happened if I asked her to say goodnight to her grandparents and go night-night. Just to try something different, something a few steps more advanced than what we had been doing.

Guess what she did?

Yup.

She got up, kissed both her grandparents, and walked herself to her room, waving goodbye all the way. She walked up to her crib and waited for me. I lifted her up, tucked her in, kissed her and wished her sweet dreams, and walked out. I closed the door.

That's it.

She fell asleep without a protest or a peep.

AMAZING!!!!!!!!!

She's only 14 months old!!!!! She's only been home 5 months!!!!

Now, if she had done this from the start, I would be concerned about attachment issues, but this has been a process. First she slept with me in bed, then in the Graco in my room, then in her room after rocking to sleep in my arms, then in her room without rocking, and now this.

I wouldn't have believed it if someone else told me their child did this, so I'm glad I had two witnesses. She is just getting better and better every day. She amazes me. I'm soooo lucky. God really knew what He was doing when He gave me this kid. A good eater, a good sleeper, a healthy, happy child. A beautiful, gorgeous, joyful, smiley, funny girl. Lucky me. Because really, I cannot function without sleep. I could never be a doctor because of that reason alone. Sleep is so important to me I get a bit anxious about missing any of it. Phew. Charlie rocks!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kali - Goddess of Destruction!

It's raining and both Charlie and I have the snots.

Ugh.

Nothing much to do, even though the grandparents are visiting.

Here's a old video because I don't feel like writing a new post today. Newer, more fascinating, enthralling posts promised soon. For now, we need to buy more Kleenex.

In the meantime, enjoy Kali, Goddess of Destrux! (typo and it's staying).
Please, try as hard as you can to ignore the baby talk. It's sooo awful! I have GOT to stop that.

video


Happy Veteran's Day all you vets out there! Go get a free meal (Appleby's) or donut (Krispy Kreme) and enjoy your day :-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Birds on a Wire

This is simple, beautiful and neat-o.

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Maple Cheesy Corn Bread


I am not a fan of corn bread. I've always thought it is too gritty and coarse for bread. I prefer my bread soft or chewy. Not gritty. Blech.


Butttttt...... having another rainy day here and too many boxes of STUFF in the pantry, I decided to make some just to get rid of the box, and who knows, maybe Charlie would like it. She seems to like everything. I need to cook some of this stuff and make some room for newer, fresher, healthier stuff.

So I followed the directions on the box, but I also added (in the interest of using up more ingredients) a cup of frozen corn, a half cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and a dollop of maple syrup.

WELL.

Can I tell you.

Corn bread has a new fan.

Try it. It's freaking FABULOUS!

The frozen corn adds nuggets of hot sweetness which explodes between your teeth. The cheese adds some salty sharpness, along with moisture and strands of gooeyness. And the maple syrup... SMELLS..... DIVINE.....

Add a pat of hot buttery goodness....

O.M.G.

Next time, I'm going to add some crumbled cooked bacon, to balance the sweetness with some salt. In the past, I've found that combo is delectable.

Try it sometime, it's delish.

PS HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY COUSIN DANICUZ!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lifting? Finally?


I have a few happy thoughts to share.



They popped into my head spontaneously (as opposed to cognitive re-framing which is what I had been doing to combat the depressive/negative thoughts) (see below) and were very welcome! Maybe the meds are kicking in.



“I’m a good mom because what other mom could come up with such a funny banana song at 7 AM and dance for her daughter enough to make her giggle while doing her hair?” Yes, I was singing this morning, and Charlie was laughing. I thought perhaps I am the proper fit for her, because when I’m not depressed, I’m actually quite funny. I’m also kind of “out there” as far as behavior inside the privacy of my own home, and obviously Charlie is tickled by that. She could have wound up with a straight-laced uptight non-singing non-face-making boring mom. But no, she got me!



Another spontaneous emotion I had was not necessarily one that folks would associate with happiness, but in a way…. Well, it was sadness actually. Sadness at the thought that little Charlie will inevitably grow up, and all the things she does now that I will miss terribly as she gets older. The way she pats my back when I rub hers. The way she waves good-bye to inanimate objects, like the door, when we leave home. Her little smiling face bursting with joy over some small thing. Her fascination with the mobile over her head, that she always tries to reach but can’t quite touch yet. One day that will no longer be magical. So feeling sadness over this is a good thing, because 1) it’s not feeling numb, which is what I feel when I’m depressed and 2) I’m able to appreciate the moment and 3) I’m bonding to her and loving the things she does.



And the last spontaneous emotion I felt, that I’d like to share, is gratitude. I’m so grateful that Charlie is sooooo ‘GOOD’. She is so well behaved. And I don’t mean that she never tantrums (because she does) or whines (oh boy does she) but that in general she is an ‘EASY’ child. Lord knows I needed an ‘easy’ child, being new at this and being single and being so self-involved up until now…. Let me give an example: Charlie has taught herself to go to bed in her crib, every night around 8PM, without my having to rock her or comfort her in any way. Of course, I still like to do those things, and I’m even sad that she no longer needs me to cuddle her to sleep like we did up until this past week. What happened was one night I laid her down in the crib, and I went to get her bottle. Usually if I did something along those lines, she would cry, I’d come rushing back, and we’d have to rock with the bottle some more out on the couch. This time she just lay there, patiently and quietly waiting. I brought her the bottle and kissed her goodnight and left. Holding my breath. Nothing. Silence. I couldn’t believe it. Up until now, any time she woke up, I’d have to rub her back and then SNEAK OUT QUIETLY on TIP TOE lest she awaken and hold me captive! Sometimes she would open her eyes to check if I was still there. She’s check every minute for a long time! My arm would fall asleep from bending over the crib to rub her back.



When I told my colleague that Charlie was already sleeping through the night in her own crib without drama at bedtime, and wasn’t I soooo lucky? She replied that she thought I was lucky but not to discount that I probably had something to do with that too. I thought Charlie did it all on her own, but my colleague said without realizing it I am reinforcing or not reinforcing everything she does. I could have continued to tip toe out of her room every night, walking on egg shells listening to every little mew, but I tried a new way and it worked. Then I reinforced it nightly. Nice to have colleagues who can boost me up like that!



In summary, I think all those thoughts and feelings are positive signs that the depression is lifting. Or maybe it was just a good week. I’m hoping for the former.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A little lighter fare on the same topic....



This is hilarious, but not safe for work. Unless you use headphones or listen quietly. The pictures are all safe.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Post Adoption Depression Thought for the Day 4: Biological attachment vs. adoptive attachment


Post Adoption Depression: Thought For The Day:

"How come other mothers get to bond instantly? What’s wrong with me???This is not fair. I want to feel that amazing "mother love" too. It would make all the work worthwhile."



Post Adoption Depression Recovery Thought For the Day:

"Bio moms get infused with a bonding chemical at birth. That helps them stay engaged during countless sleepless hours. That hormone is nature’s way of ensuring the survival of the species… it probably prevented cave women from tossing their colicky babies over a cliff. With adoption, there is no infusion of nature’s bonding hormone in one instant. It takes time. A day by day approachment. I am moving towards Charlie every day. There's no race."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oh for the love of.....

Ok, it took me 2 hours to find the frig-a-ma-rig remote.


Guess where I found it?



Go on, guess......



I'll wait....



Any ideas?

I looked in all the cupboards...

under the sofas....

inbetween the cushions....

in the toy box....

and EVERYWHERE ELSE in the house except ONE SPOT.



Give up?








That's what I get for writing a blog post and not paying close enough attention to what was going on....

Now how on earth did she manage to open that waste can? It's a butterfly model that opens from the middle panels upwards. I got so the dogs can't open it, and it's tall and not easy to open!

Sheesh! Her daycare worker was right, I've got smart one on my hands.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Post Adoption Depression Thought for the Day 3



Post Adoption Depression: Thought For The Day:

"Everything is piling up. I’m behind. I NEED to do the laundry, clean the house, pick up the dog poo, pay the bills, make the phone calls, pick up the meds, do the shopping, water the plants, do the yard work, cook dinner, make lunch for tomorrow, shower…. And, and, and….

And Charlie is hanging on my leg, so needy, and I can’t do any of the things I HAVE TO DO and I’m drowning. SHE is preventing me from accomplishing ANYTHING."



Post Adoption Depression Recovery Thought For the Day:

"None of that stuff won’t wait until tomorrow. Charlie loves and needs me, and I love and need her. SHE is my main "accomplishment" or "job" right now and compared to the other stuff she is way more important."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ethiopian Garb


Last weekend we went to a gathering of other Ethiopian adoptive families, so of course I had to dress Charlie up in her Ethiopian outfit. When I picked her up in Addis, we bought several outfits for the next few years. Here she is in one of them.



She wasn't in the best mood, as you can see. Sometimes when she tears up I think it's the most pathetically cute thing ever. Especially with that finger in her mouth.

Don't worry, minutes later she was fine. She just needed her ba-ba-joe.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Post Adoption Depression: Thought for the Day 2


Post Adoption Depression: Thought For The Day:


"Other parents and family members are constantly judging my parenting skills. And finding them lacking. When family and friends offer to babysit to give me a break, I feel guilty and suspicious (“They don’t think I can handle this”). If I accept, while I try to take a nap I lie there feeling guilty…. I SHOULD be out there taking care of her, not them. People judge me when I’m not playing with her and they are. They are thinking :” Wow, she’s a bad mother.” People judge me when she gets a boo-boo on her. They are thinking: “Wow, she’s a neglectful mother.” Even the dogs give me accusatory looks when she is crying, like they are thinking I"m doing something to hurt her! Now THAT is ridiculous! I really don't need my dogs getting on my case too!"



Post Adoption Depression Recovery Thought For the Day:

"People may be judging my parenting skills, but probably not as much as I think. And if they are, they don’t see the whole picture, just snap shots in time. Most people don’t care enough about me or Charlie to give us a second thought, and those who do care are not judging us in a negative way or constantly. Maybe even some people might think I'm a good mother. And the dogs are just nervous from the crying, they don't actually think you are torturing her."