Monthly Archives: September 2007

Picturesque, indeed!

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On our way to Arizona (and peacefully ‘enough’ — thanks for all those tips!)

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First lollipop, happy airborne ears!

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Arrival landscape

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Finally! There he is! There he is! My dear nephew Dashiell!

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 Playground in the abstract

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From funky metal flowers …
to real and funky fauna:

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Impressive turquoise hardscape …

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Reunited cousin heartscape!

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Caught in the act: Butterfly awe

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A girl and her giraffe

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Happy hummingbird, elated photographer

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So, who blinked first?

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Maeve makes some new friends

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Headed into Tucson for dinner; met this sunset when we left the Taquiero

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A Taquerio dessert to go: mango, coconut, watermelon, pineapple and papaya drizzled with lemon juice, sprinkled with chili powder and ready for dipping into hot sauce

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The heat in Arizona ain’t so ‘prickly’ after all

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Watching S’mores do their thing

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First time brushing out those curls: ‘How high can they go?’

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Groovy thatch texture

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Critter ‘capture’

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There’s more nosin’ around to do — see ya’ll back on the East Coast!

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Family, For fun, Love, Maeve, Relationships, Vacation

Open adoption … and hope!

Did ya hear that big sigh of relief yesterday? Yeah? Well it was me.

It seems things are moving in the right direction again as Maeve’s first mom has made contact, explained some absolutely valid and quite personal reasons for not being touch, and more communication seems to be in our near future.

Of course the details of this seemingly temporary break in contact aren’t mine to share, but suffice it to say I am so very thrilled at her commitment to being in Maeve’s life. For her. For Maeve. For their future.

But! I won’t forget the dark — and sometimes suffocating in their power over me — worries that have bubbled to the surface as I watch Maeve in awe and wonder, through my lens of love, adoration and humility that she is even part of my life, and begin to wonder how I would help her embrace all of life’s happiness and find the self-fulfillment she deserves … when a piece of her own life puzzle might be missing forever.

Having known how that feels, having feared how it would be for Maeve in the coming years, those are thoughts that have further solidified (not that I was wavering) the importance of openness in adoption.

There’s also another lesson for me in this. A dose of perspective, considering the varied levels of openness and first parent involvement (and availability, of course)  in adoptions everywhere.

It’s my reminder to embrace every moment B. is in our lives, embrace not in the thankful way — because that has always been the case — but embrace in not being afraid to say or ask what I’m feeling/hoping/looking for. That’s something I regretted (as I’ve discussed very recently) when it came to thoroughly discussing a “plan” for the future. I naively thought there would be time for that. Now, though, I can’t let that happen. I want to be sure we talk about talking, about acknowledging the need for a break, about discussing when something needs tweaking, or when something is or isn’t working. I need to be sure we’re all not afraid to talk it out, that we’re committed to each other enough to listen to the hard parts and not throw in the towel. Certainly lessons I learn over and over when I read those who write with the authority of experience, Jenna chief among them.

Oh, I hear what you’re thinking. Cool your Communication Jets, mamagigi, there’s another side to this open-adoption coin. I know. As much as I want to say everything while I can, I know I must temper things and be sure to continue to let B. know that as we move forward, we always are willing to go at her pace. She controls that, and that’s okay with me.

I’m trying not to spew doublethink here, because it’s not. It’s just a multi-dimensional thing, adoption. (As if most of you didn’t already know that. Preachin’ to the choir.)

I know the future is unknown and surely full of hard work and a focused commitment from us all, but I’ll take it.  Because I’d had the comfort of the notion of a future for a year-plus, and then for a while I feared it might have been lost forever.

I’m happy to know those out here in blogville with experience far more established than mine. Because there’s always learning to do.

Just knowing (again) that B. wants to be involved in a future at all — and that this was hopefully just a winding curve in a long road we all will travel together — gives me hope.

And hope? Hope is bright and beautiful.

Just like the daughter we share.

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Filed under Adoption, Beauty, Birth parents, Children, Discussing Adoption, Family, Love, Maeve, Open Adoption, Parenting, Promises, Relationships, Still learning

(Not) Ready for takeoff

Maeve and I leave the East Coast in two days to visit my sister (her beloved Aunt Kiki) and family, including my beloved nephew Dashiell.

In Arizona.

I’m uber-excited since I’ve never been there and haven’t seen them since they moved earlier this summer.

But I’m also afraid. Very afraid. This is Maeve’s first plane ride and since Thomas is staying back at home, I’m doing this on my own. The flight is 5 hours, 45 minutes, and that’s not accounting for any thumb-twiddling on the famously belated-in-its-takeoffs-Newark-airport tarmac.

Anyone who’s learned she and I are flying this week has said something akin to, “Well, of course you’re flying at night, right? So she’ll sleep?”

Well, um … no.

When I booked the jaunt, I just wanted to be sure we arrived in enough time that we still had the better part of a day there. Didn’t even consider the fact that our morning flight will find Maeve rested and raring to go for the day. Rookie mistake, indeed.

I’m trying to think of every trick in the book (where can I get my hands on that book, anyway?) to keep Maeve entertained, but I’m worried that the number of hours on the plane, the number of feet within which we are required to remain, and the number of years in her age just don’t make for a pretty equation. Granted, I was an English major, but that’s some math I think I can figure out.

Here’s what I am doing so far, though:

  • Bringing the umbrella stroller for easy maneuvering through the huge airport, to be left right outside the plane door for the flight attendants to stow away and then retrieve when we arrive; (especially since I’m also lugging along the carseat — but checking it — so we have one in Arizona).
  • I booked, at someone’s suggestion, the aisle seat and the window seat, with the chance that someone might not purchase the middle seat. If it remains open, we’ve got some more elbow room. Yay! If a solo flyer does snatch it up, obviously we’ll shift around and let him or her (good luck to them, whoever they are!) sit where they want in our row.
  • Bringing my laptop on board with a handful of newly purchased DVDs — Laurie Berkner Band, Elmo, Animal Adventures at the San Diego Zoo — for Maevey Gravy to watch. I can hear the gasps now, I know, I know. Our strict telly-watching rules. Well, they’re bending for the half-dozen hours we’re up in the air, kind of a “After 10,000 feet altitude, all screen-time maximums are, well, ignored, for the sanity of the flying-solo mama, the baby and everyone else.” (Mind you, I’m going to wait as long as possible before cracking open the laptop and sticking a DVD inside. Really. Seriously, I am!)
  • I’ve purchased a couple new children’s books and haven’t shown them to Maeve so they’ll be new for the plane.
  • Bringing crayons and coloring book
  • Snacks (Except for drinks, since I can’t bring anything from home, although I’m told I can buy them after security checkpoints. Right. Me, Maeve, stroller, laptop, carry-on bag of tricks — shopping and paying extraordinarily high prices in the airport shops from a limited selection of more than likely high-sugar drinks is no big deal. Arg.)
  • Someone told me not to get on the plane when they call for passengers with children first since it only extends the time they’re cramped on board. But the idea of banging my way through the aisles, with a toddler, carry-on bag and laptop in tow, all while scores of people worry it’s the seat next to them that I’m coming toward, just doesn’t appeal to me.

And …. that’s all I’ve got. So, help a nervous mama, would ya? Throw me some suggestions, ideas, words of wisdom, tricks of the parenting trade. And no, please don’t suggest flying at night. I’ve heard that one 17 times already.

And if you’re scheduled on my flight, please be nice. And patient. Maeve and I are good people, really. Really, we are.

(Oh no! I just thought about the ear-popping. What if that freaks her out? How do I explain that?)

Ack.

Who knows, maybe I’m worrying for nothing. I mean, why wouldn’t a two year old want to sit still for almost six hours in a confined space with tons of strangers surrounding us?

Silly me.

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Children's books, Family, Firsts, Maeve, Parenting, Still learning

I see Paris, I see France …

Returned to the scene of the crime the other night, and actually had a wonderful dinner out with Thomas and Maeve. She was a delight, and since she’s recently had another verbal spurt, we were delighted to sit back and soak in her adorableness.

Our server’s phrase o’ the evening was “No problem.” So by the end of the meal, Maeve was declaring “No problem!” every few minutes. When other diners passed by headed to their table, she would sweetly say, “Hi!Howareyou?” (It sounds just like that, all one word, smooshed together.)

Maeve watched ever-so-closely as our plates were cleared and I could see the wheels turning. She looked confused, and as our server walked away with the remnants of a nice meal out as a family, Maeve called out to her, in a singsong voice: “Whereyagoing? Plate? Plate? Whereyagoing?”

The best part of the night– and by far the most memorable — was when we were leaving. Thomas had one hand of Maeve’s and I followed close behind, after gathering our belongings from the booth.

There was a crowd of folks coming into the lobby as we were trying to make our way through, which slowed our departure. But what really hindered our exit was the way Maeve was walking. She seemed to be struggling, as if her shoe were coming off, or her foot was caught on something. Since I was behind her, I couldn’t see what the hold up actually was, but I could tell she was reaching down in front of her with her free hand — but to do what, I had no idea.

Due to the bottleneck of comers-and-goers, I encouraged Maeve to move along faster, figuring once we made it throught the crowd, we’d stop and look at her shoe situation. So, like any good mama, I took her remaining free hand to help lead her through the crowd.

That’s when I realized the problem wasn’t about her shoe.

Ya see, she was wearing a dress. And suddenly — after I took her hand — she wasn’t wearing a diaper.

No, that now lay on the floor between her legs. In the restaurant. On the checkered floor. For all the world to see. I could see her pink Crocs amid all the white cotton cushioning and velcro.

Thank goodness my husband can act quickly in such bizarre public situations (Ask him about the time his shoelace got caught in the escalator at FAO Schwartz and his foot was pulled tightly to the floor, he was holding himself up from falling, and other escalator-goers behind him began to stack up. I panicked and took off, found a security guard and said “some man over there needs help.” I couldn’t “claim” him, then my boyfriend. I just couldn’t. Not until his foot was freed and the crowd disbursed. I know, I know. Terrible. I just don’t do well in these paralyzing moments. And yes, he married me anyway, folks.).

Fast-thinking Thomas  gathered the diaper, the child and bee-lined it to the car. I followed, laughing so hard I had tears running down my face.

A few minutes later, when I’d calmed myself while Maeve was re-diapered by Daddy-Oh-So-Calm, and the car was finally on the move and headed home, a sweet, little voice emerged from the backseat:

Mom-may?
Yes, Maeve?
(And in a most-inquisitive and surprised tone …)

What?! Happen?! Diaper?!

So, I ask you, what is it about me and this restaurant?

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Family, For fun, Husbands, Maeve, Parenting

Monday Morning Maeve

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My friend’s end-of-summer party:
Food, friends, pony rides, magic, bounce house, face painting …
and an ice cream truck.  In the driveway.  Just for her guests.
And Maeve’s first kiddy tattoo.
(She keeps checking that her “fu-her-fly” is still there.)
Good times.

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Firsts, For fun, Friends, Maeve

Adoption talk, spot on

Here’s a well-reasoned, inspirational, informative, thought-provoking post that is perfectly matter-of-fact in its approach to explaining important transracial and adoption issues to one’s child. Something to aspire to. I’m so glad this woman’s work — literally — is on my blogroll.

In the next couple years, Maeve will likely find herself tackling similar questions. When she verbalizes these types of thoughts, feelings and concerns, may Thomas and I be this well-prepared and balanced in our approach. May we not always explain away her fears and sadness — a knee-jerk parental reaction to ease pain, of course — and instead know when to let her sit with them awhile and make sure she knows it’s alright to feel whatever she’s feeling. And that no matter what, we’re there.

We’re here, Maeve. We’re here for you and we love you just as you are. For who you are.

(As I’ve said before, if Maeve were biologically my child, she wouldn’t be the same little girl I adore so completely.)

And for those times when Maeve does need just the right answer to soothe her soul? May we have it, or be smart enough to know when we don’t. And in that case, may we do our damndest to find it.

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Filed under Adoption, Beauty, Birth parents, Body image, Children, Discussing Adoption, Family, Growing up, Love, Maeve, Open Adoption, Parenting, Relationships, Still learning