Thursday, May 27, 2010

Someone's going in timeout!

Well, a great big THANK YOU to everyone who so generously gave to the Kyrgyzstan food drive. I am still collecting some local funds and then off it goes to Adoption Options and on the Kyrgyzstan.

Now, I have a little something to say about the oil spill. I am so tired of all these executives and politicians passing blame around to the next person. Nobody wants to take responsibility for this thing. Not even my fearless leader! Where is my President? These oil guys need a smack-down, and you are the man to give it to them. If you won't, I'm sure Michelle would be happy to. Step aside and let a mother dole out some discipline for crying out loud. 'Cause from where I sit, EVERYONE needs to go in time out.

It is so hard to teach kids to take responsibility for their actions when all around them, the people with power are shirking their duty. But of course, I have to take responsibility for my part in the disaster. I drive an SUV. I like to justify it my explaining that I live in Vermont and need 4wd and a third row because we have 3 kids. BUT, I am sure we could figure out a way to have a smaller car. I love to travel and they have not yet figured out a hybrid airplane, to my knowledge. I could be so much more vigilant in reducing my consumer footprint, but I forget, I get busy and then giant oil companies get greedy and lazy, and the next thing you know, brown pelicans will be BACK on the endangered species list. It can happen devastatingly fast.

What I am saying, is that we have a lot of power here and we need to learn to use it. To teach our children responsibility to the planet and their neighbors by showing them a gentler way to live. We have the power to make our government push the oil companies aside and get this mess cleaned up. I would much rater see our navy deployed for this purpose than for a war. We have the power to put giant, multi-national companies in their place by being conscientious and careful consumers. They should be worshipping at OUR altars, not the other way around. All it takes is an agreement that WE, the people of the earth, matter and we aren't taking this shit anymore. Realizing that you don't need that thing being advertised on TV, that you can use your money elsewhere, or even save it. Realize that our decisions and our dollars have infinite power, and thereby we have a voice, and loud one, to speak for those who can't speak for themselves. I don't have a responsibility to any stockholders, I have a responsibility to my children and to you, yes YOU, my fellow human being, who are worthy of a planet that isn't destroyed by greed. There are more of us than them. Let's link arms and get something DONE.

I would like my kids to be able to see the Louisiana marshland someday, if they want. I think it is their right to have a planet as unharmed as possible. Even if it means giving up my SUV.

And thus endeth my wishful rant.......

Thursday, May 13, 2010

They are going HUNGRY, for Pete's sake!!

OK, I know we are all pinched for cash right now. But we got an e-mail from our adoption agency, the one we used for Noah, saying that in the midst of the political crises in Kyrgyzstan, the kids in the orphanages are being forgotten. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH FOOD!!! As often happens in times of political and social upheaval, the most vulnerable citizens are being left behind. THEY ARE GOING HUNGRY!

Sorry for the yelling, but these are Noah's former roommates we are talking about here. We knew there was often no electricity, or running water (a truck delivers it when the pipes don't work) but at least we thought they got enough money from the government to feed the babes. NOT SO NOW!

So, I am asking everybody I know for a $10 dollar donation. If you can do $10 per household member, or more, fantastic, but $10 is what I am asking. The idea is along the lines of "many hands make light work," or "even the smallest person can make a big difference." Believe me, every little bit helps. Ten dollars can go a long, long way food-wise.

And yes, I know, this will not fix the problem, but I don't care. It will help get some food to some people who need it NOW, while we try to come up with some better solutions. And when I say "we" I mean the global community, because we are all beholden to each other, I don't care what anyone else says. This is every one's problem.

Our agency, Adoption Options will make sure the money gets to the kids and is not intercepted by "helpers" or middlemen along the way. They are enlisting the help of the State Department and they have good contacts over there. Also, my darling husband has volunteered to be a courier if necessary.

So, if you feel like spending $10 that will REALLY make a difference, please help us. Send me a private message for either my address or our agency's address and if anyone would like to see the actual appeal message, I am happy to share it with you.

Thanks readers!

Now back to our regularly scheduled nonsense.....

Saturday, May 8, 2010

We all have our days

I have been feeling icky the last few days. Just sad, and frustrated and like I am not productive or doing anything of value. I know I am, according to many, doing "the most important job in the world!" but I am having a week where I feel like I am doing the bare minimum. It doesn't feel important, it feels monotonous. It feels like all I do is yell at them to stop fighting, a tactic which, I assure you, does not work. Yelling at people to stop yelling at each other, not a good strategy. A parenting tip from me to you. You're welcome

I got bored like this, only more so, when I was in the working world too. My old job had many days that sucked. It's unavoidable. Life gets boring. But we live in a world where the media doesn't want to let us get bored. If we feel stagnant, there must be something wrong with us. Take a pill! See a shrink! Take more pills. Take a pill for that syndrome we call "LIFE." I took the pills, but I don't want to be numb anymore. I want to learn how to deal with and accept the "ick" feeling. I think there may be value in it.

There is also the guilt factor. The thing with adoption is that there are always parents-to-be out there who have been waiting YEARS to have kids, gone through many IVF's, been through failed adoptions or have simply run into the endless adoption waiting period. In light of all these people who are waiting and yearning, it feels wrong to have "days." I feel like I should just be walking around in a constant haze of gratitude all the time, and I am grateful, but that doesn't stop me from feeling like shit about myself sometimes. It's different than post-adoption depression, which is a kind of natural chemical letdown after the process of adoption. That is to be expected. I mean the body can only function on that kind of panic/boredom/excitement/thrill cycle adoption requires for so long before it seriously crashes. Adoption defines the whole idea of "hurry up and wait!" This funk I'm in is, well, a different funk.

Have any of you seen that movie "Return to Me" with Minnie Driver? She is a heart transplant recipient and she gets a whole new lease on life. She is also fairly depressed and feels guilty because she thinks she should be happier, especially in light of the fact that the only reason she has the heart is because someone her age died and was an organ donor. She talks to her doctor about how she is feeling and he says "We all have our days." To which she replies "Yeah, but I don't feel like I should have 'days.'" That's how being an adoptive mother can feel sometimes. It feels like I am not supposed to have days. Especially since in my heart of hearts, I would love another child. I feel like, in order to prove I am worthy of the kids I have and the one I still want, I should never have "days". Compounded by the fact that everyone is, in fact, healthy, we have enough food and a good roof over our heads, I have a loving relationship with my husband and my family is close by, and it all starts to feel a little self-indulgent.

But what happens if you don't indulge the self's need for sadness? Does it just build up like a stockpile of fireworks, which can be set off by the smallest spark? I remember reading somewhere that it is important to let kids be bored at times, because through boredom come the really big, imaginative ideas. The greatest games, the most inspiring art, the best scientific discoveries. Isn't a fair amount of dissatisfaction necessary to force the self to keep improving, or if not improving, at least moving along the road of learning? But at what point do we just become an annoying whiner? A grumpy bitch (which is, unfortunately how my frustration manifests itself)? That person no one wants to hang out with because they only gripe about their problems, which compared to real problems are not actually problems at all. I am a bit worried I have become that girl to my real life friends. Have you ever felt like you're not connecting with the people in your life? Yeah, that's me right now. And because we never really leave high school, that has me thinking that nobody likes me and they are all laughing at my outfits behind my back.

Parenting is really freaking hard! You are surrounded by people, but not by your peers. The people you work for's idea of a performance review is a screaming fit on the kitchen floor. There is so much second guessing, and while I do in fact read, write, create and participate in the outside world, I don't get paid for it, so I am unsure of my own work's value. I, therefore, do start to wonder if I am doing a decent job when there is just one time-out after another and not 5 minutes in a row without someone ending up in tears.

This, my friends, is a bout of existential angst. Am I only "Mom" or am I more, and wherein lies my worth. If you thought you were over this kind of crap in your early 20's when it was cool to be conflicted, I am here to tell you, you will struggle with it again and again. Unless you are an unnaturally healthy person emotionally speaking, in which case I can't talk to you right now. I'm too busy feeling sorry for myself.

p.s. Thanks for being my therapists, dear readers. The check's in the mail, I swear.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I make things.

One thing I make is spelling mistakes. I can't believe not one of you admonished me about my spelling of the word "traveler"over in the "About Me" column. No need to look now. I fixed it. It had an excess of l's. One of the many perils of living with spell-check, if not used properly, it makes you look like a moron.

Other things I make include this charming little ensemble for my brand new baby niece Alia.

That right there, my friends, is buttery soft baby alpaca wool in what may turn out to be the unfortunate color of "Mango." I am having reservations about the color on new-born Caucasian skin. New-born Gracie skin, hell yes! New-born AA skin, double hell yes! But white kids can be awfully jaundiced in the beginning and I'm not sure that will be enhanced by a golden yellow baby bag. Also, alpaca is very, very warm. Possibly too warm for Brooklyn in May, but her lovely mother is too kind to ever say anything. Also, the thing is finished and therefore none of my reservations matter at all as tomorrow, it is going into the mail.

Also, I wanted to make sure all my friends who love books, (and by that I mean the feel, the heft, the paper, the look, not merely the words) know about Persephone Books. I gave myself a little treat last year (OK, a big treat) and enrolled in their "1 book a month," program. Oh my goodness, I look forward to the end of each month! For then, in my black mailbox, there lies a white package with British stamps on it, and inside is a treat for the eyes, the mind, the hands, everything. I love their titles, I love their mission, and I sincerely love the care with which they republish these treasures of 20th century writing. The lovely grayish-blue covers, the carefully chosen end-paper with matching bookmark, all of it suggests publishing at its absolute finest. I highly recommend it. I read them and send them on to my mother-in-law, who, in theory, hands them on to her daughter and so on. They will make it back to me someday and I will get to re-read them, curled up in front of the fire with a cup of tea, a child nearby and the dog at my feet. I can hardly wait. Head over to the site and browse around. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I want another child. Specifically, I want a little girl. I want Grace to have a sister. As infuriating, or annoying a sister can be, NOBODY has your back, or will understand you like a sister. I have one. She is awesome, and we drive each other bananas. She is 8 years older than I am, and while that seems like nothing now, we barely grew up together. I would want Grace to have a sister she can grow up with.

Zach is not feeling it. Although we have always said we would have 3 OR 4 kids, he is thinks we are done. I mean, he would love Grace to have a sister too, but he is overwhelmed a lot of the time. He also needs a certain amount of quiet and order during each day and this you do not come by easily when you keep adding kids to the pot. But he is my husband, and his needs are as important as my wants. Damn it. I hate this part of marriage. I really want to stomp my feet and hold my breath until I get what I want, but somehow that seems, I don't know, immature. I think that if a child fell out of the sky and landed on our door-step, Zach would be thrilled, but honestly, kids, they don't come that way. Trust me, I have scanned the skies looking for falling babies for many years and you know what? Nary a one have I seen.

I get it, I do. We have 3 beautiful, healthy children who adore each other. We have 3 kids, when there are so very many people who are hoping, praying, dreaming of one. Or have lost one. We are so, so lucky. I know that. In fact, I think that is precisely WHY I want another one. If our kids sucked, I wouldn't be looking to add on.

The adoption process is grueling (although, I do most of the dossier, so he wouldn't have to deal with that. It's the kind of busy work I actually enjoy, but makes him break out in hives,) and the trips are, well, it ain't Provence. They get tedious and God help you if you bring the wrong set of DVDs like we did on Grace's adoption. I'm sorry, but 24 is MORONIC!! Even vodka didn't dull the pain of that show.

I understand not being able to visualize life any busier. I get overwhelmed daily. I have moments when I can't hear myself think, or stand in the kitchen for like, 5 minutes staring at the floor trying to remember what I was doing while being talked at by 3 different people, barked at by the dog when the phone starts ringing. I lose my temper daily. I crave time alone. The sheer number of parenting situations I don't know how to handle should be warning enough that maybe I should quit while I'm ahead.

My family would disapprove. I would get that pinched lipped "uh hunh" my mom does when she disagrees with something but doesn't want to get into a confrontation. She learned it at Al -anon. Supposedly it is intended to convey to the listener something like "yes I hear what you are saying," without giving an actual opinion. But the thing is, the people in my family are INCAPABLE of not giving their opinion, it causes them actual pain. So my darling mother's "Uh hunh" comes out more like a "Boy does that idea suck!" and less like a neutral "isn't that an interesting thought!" It's in her face, and the very physical strain caused by not telling you what she really thinks. She can't help it, none of us can, it's on our DNA.

Anyway, I know they all think I have my hands full. The whole world does. I am going to have to start charging people who say that to me, you know "BOY! You sure have your hands full!" Which is always said in front of my kids like they are some kind of burden to me, not people I dreamt of and wanted and flew half way across the world to find. They weren't accidents. Can you imagine? "Honey, I don't know how to tell you this, but somehow our home-study and I-600 got mailed in and, well, it's a BOY!"

I don't know why people feel it's OK to loudly and sometimes rudely give their opinions on other people's family sizes. "You're NUTS!" is one we heard a lot when we would tell people we were going for number 3. Gee, thanks. There are actually only a few people in my real world (you know, besides the entire Internet,) I even tell that I want another because I am tired of getting a look of horror or pity or revulsion from those who don't approve. People, we wouldn't be asking you to take care of it. WE would be it's parents. You would be in no way inconvenienced.

I know all of the reasons not to have another, and yet I envy people with 4 kids. There is a really cool mom in whose daughter is in Kai's class who is pregnant with her 4th. It wasn't an accident, we chatted about it when they were trying. I think she is so lucky. I see pictures of big families on different blogs, and I feel a pang. Again, they are so lucky! There is an awesome mom who adopted from Kyrgyzstan to add to her 2 boys from Russia and then a year later brought a little boy home from China. Her house is a zoo, but they are having so much fun. I would, a million times, rather have a house full of kids than a house full of nice things. The clutter drives me crazy too, but it doesn't take that long to clear it up. I love the idea of a little clan, a group of us, a team navigating through life with each other to count on. I dream of the kids having loving, fulfilling relationships all throughout their lives. I know they can have that now, but I would be so sad to know that Grace might never have a sister. I know you can't have everything in life, but honestly, this is something we COULD do.

I think about this a lot. I mean A LOT! I am scared to really have the discussion with Zach because I don't want the final answer to be no. He has said the door isn't closed, but I think he might be getting ready to latch it. I don't want to hear that "No." I mean, you can't force someone to have another child with you. Not if you want to stay married to that person, which I very much do. He is my love. Period. So that "No," would be one that I would have to accept and live with, and friends, I am very, very bad at not getting what I want. I suck at it, in fact. Can't I have this life lesson given to me on some other coveted thing, like, I don't know, a trip, or a car (as if I cared about cars,) instead of this thing I so deeply want? Probably not.

I hate life lessons. They so often hurt.