Archive for May, 2011

May 31, 2011

Gender Bender

This weekend I had the glorious opportunity to sit my bum in a salon chair and read to my heart’s content.  And when I got home, Sprout ooo-ed and aaahh-ed over my pink sparkly toes.   Princess toes, he said.

Naturally, being 4 years old and only at the initial cusp of understanding the enormous burdens our society places on the genders, he asked if he could have painted toes too.  I said yes and let him select his colors.  He now has sandal-ready green and blue toesies.  Proud as punch and showing them off to everyone he encounters – he’s grown up.  pretty much 5.  with painted toes, just like mommy.

Two (bratty) 10-year-old girls at the playground didn’t think it was quite as cool as he did. 

“Why are your toes painted? Are you trying to be a girl? Ewww!”

[thank goodness I was trailing a wild toddler or my inner mama bear would have jumped the railing and clawed her face.  okay, not really. but almost.]

“I’m a boy but my mommy said I could still have pretty toes.”

“That’s weird.”

“That’s your opinion.”

And just like that he turned those painted toes in the opposite direction and marched away, head held high, and found himself a new playmate.

Tears of pride and sadness came to eyes.  When did he get so big? And brave? And confident?  My goodness, I’m such a fan of that kid.

You take my breath away Sprout.  I just couldn’t love you any more.

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May 23, 2011

Monday Prayer

Please give Sprout the strength to have a good day at school today.

I just don’t think I can take another call from preschool.  Every time I feel like I’m the one being called into the principal’s office.  And goodness knows I had enough of that during my own school years.

And also, if he continues to knock down everyone in the room with that big ol’ chip on his shoulder, no one is going to want to come to his birthday party.

Amen.

May 20, 2011

I Will Mother Others

Little miss Rosebud and I spent the past couple days in the local children’s hospital.  She is now officially adenoid-free and breathing easier.

Pictured above watching more TV than she will ever be allowed to watch again in her life.  Can you tell she was watching Super Grover?  Oh yes, she insisted on having her very own “supa [c]ape! supa ape!” 

I feel a bit bad about the TV, but children’s hospital rooms are shockingly not toddler-friendly.  There are tempting buttons to push and cords to pull everywhere.  I’m impressed that she only yanked out her IV once.  And by impressed, I mean relieved – ’cause that one time was pretty messy.  and made mama light-headed.

Rosebud’s next door neighbor was a teeny tiny dark brown smidge of a baby boy.  I convinced her to take as many walks as I could so we could peek in on him.  He always looked so small in that big room by himself.  I overheard the nurses call him a ‘DCF baby’.  Explains the aloneness.  

The little sounds of grunts and fussies started to get to me so I asked the nurse if I might be allowed to hold him or sit with him.  She said no – something about crazy lady, background checks and protocols.  Whatever.  I just couldn’t stop wondering who was going to rock him to sleep at night.

So RB and I beat the system and stood in his doorway and sang to him.  After our fourth time through Twinkle Twinkle, my heart melted to watch his eyes close and he fell asleep.  In case I had missed it, RB said, “shhh, nigh nigh.”  Then she blew him a kiss as we headed on our way.

Two years ago, almost to the day, we started out on our journey to conceive a baby and begin building our family.  Reading that post makes me cringe now.  It was light years ago…who was that person? So naive.  She had no idea what was in store.  

Baby boy J reminded me of how far I’ve come and why I’ve been brought along this path.  He reminded me that I could say good-bye to what I once dreamed of and be at peace.  He reminded me that getting rid of the meds in my fridge doesn’t mean I won’t mother others. 

Two years ago I had such a narrow view of what my family could be.  But now I know.  There is a world of children out there who need mothering and I’m blessed to be a part of it.

May 12, 2011

The Other Side

Thank you for the outpouring of love and support! It is, in many respects, an exciting time for us.  Stability, hope, permanency, future – its incredible.  Though my mind hasn’t fully accepted it yet, I can still tell how incredible it is. 

But it’s not all joy and light and hope and excitement.  Sadly, the upcoming months will be filled with heartbreak and struggle.  The cracks are already beginning to show. 

Sprout, for the first time in his life, is fighting going to visits.  There have been tears and talking back and “I’m not going!”.  His daycare teachers report that he lost it yesterday when his social worker showed up for pick up.  I would have known it even if they didn’t tell me…his SW arrived at our house last night looking war-torn.  From the looks of it, he pulled out his big guns.  The poor thing just shook her head and said, “I’ve never seen him cry before.”  Which hurts my heart in so many ways. 

And can you imagine the stress (bio) mom is under?  She’s not pleased (holy understatement) with the department’s goal change.  Its been made clear to anyone who matters that she will be opposing and appealing and fighting as hard as she can.  As I’ve already said to some of you, I’m glad for that.  These children deserve to be fought for.

She seems to be holding it together well enough during visits, but Sprout can see though anyone, especially her.  He’s uncomfortable with the anger and with the feeling of impending change.  He’s starting to crack. 

I’m afraid.  I’m afraid of the bumps and bruises he’ll gather – the ones that may never heal.  I’m afraid that I don’t have the skills, knowledge, neutrality, grace or compassion to best guide him through this. 

Why did I think I was going to be good at this? 

I don’t think its possible to be good at this.

May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

First tooth! uh oh

Big shoes to fill

Away he goes!

 

May 9, 2011

Mothers’ Day

Six months ago I wrote this.  A lifetime ago.  My sweet Daisy baby wasn’t even a glimmer in my eye.  I truly thought I was losing two of the most amazing souls I’ve ever met.  About to be de-mothered.

Today I walked into that same building and sat in the same sterile, windowless room. 

Except this time when they referred to me, it wasn’t as ‘foster mom’, it was ‘pre-adoptive mom’.  Imagine how good the day will be when it’s just ‘mom’? 

TPR is to be filed by the end of this month.  Which means there is a long road with sad days ahead.  But today we celebrate – forever just may be within reach.

May 5, 2011

18 Months Old

18 months old.  18 months old.  18 months old.

I have to say it a few times for it to sink in. 

I still have pictures in my office of the chubby cherub baby with the twinkle in her eye and dimple in her smile.  But outside of the images captured on film, she is gone.  She has been replaced – transformed, really – into a stunning little girl whose intelligence is as striking as her beauty.  Sometimes I slip and still call you my baby, but you quickly correct shaking your head and demanding: big! big!

Oh my Rosebud, you are living zest.  You are spunk and zeal and sass with a dress and a bow (you demand dresses every day.  the twirlier the better thank you very much).  Every moment is used to the max.  When you are loving, you are loving with all your heart.  And when you’re mad, well, you do that with all your heart too.

You wear mommy out with your tantrums and demands, floppy arms and spaghetti legs, picky palate and wild independence.  But then you throw your arms around my neck, squeeze your eyes shut and plant a sloppy kiss on my cheek and I’m back.  Fuller than I ever imagined I could be.  You are my match, my karma, and my pride.  You are the daughter I never imagined I could dream of. 

I joked with your daycare teachers this morning and said that 18 months old was not my favorite age.  It was 8am and I was already exhausted from the 5 different battles we had forged over everything from outfit selection to brushing teeth to walking into the building.  Please tell me, I said to them, how do I raise a daughter who is strong, determined, independent, comfortable with her feelings and voices her opinions, but who also listens and always does what I ask her to?!

They laughed and gave me the answer I knew I would get: you don’t.

Of course they are right.  Everything that’s driving me crazy right now is everything I want to raise you to be.  So keep at it baby (I mean big) girl.  Keep striving and voicing and running against the wind.  One day those “no, no, no”‘s, “dat! dat!”‘s and “me do!”‘s will serve you well.

May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

My new cleaning crew isn't terribly thorough, but they sure are cute.

May 3, 2011

Progress?

There’s a big playscape in the center of our town.  Its walking distance from our house so we go there often.  It’s a symbolic place for me, holding many parenting memories and milestones.  Last summer Rosebud would mostly hang out in the stroller or wrapped to my back as we watched and chased her brother around.  Now she’s trying to keep up with the biggest of them while her sister looks on as she once did. 

This used to be a tough place for Sprout.  I’ve lost count of the number of tantrums he’s thrown when I made the dreaded announcement: “Its time to go.”  It didn’t matter how prepped we were or how many warnings I gave, inevitably a happy energetic Sprout would melt into a flopping, kicking, screaming, hitting mess.  Those days were hard but I understood them.  We were still new to each other and he had no reason to believe that when I said we would come back, we really would – too much of his life experience proved otherwise.  He lived tragically in the moment during those early days.

But now we’ve got our routine down pat.  I give him a 5 minute warning and when its time to go, he happily abides with his new understanding that we will most definitely be back and the easier he makes it on mommy, the quicker the return will be.

Just take yesterday for an example:

When I informed Sprout that it was time to go, he cheerfully and loudly announced to his new friends, “Bye guys! I’m going home now ’cause my mom has to poop! I’ll be back tomorrow!”

And that’s when I was reminded that our job as parents is never done…