Category Archives: Diapers

Calgon, take me away…

So I shut my eyes for just a quick minute last evening as Thomas put Maeve to bed … and then I woke up this morning.

Arg.

This means there’s a blip in my NaBloPoMo effort. Double-arg.

Clearly this also means I was more tired than I realized, but really? Twelve (blissful) hours went by and I didn’t have a clue.

Funny thing is, this morning Maeve woke up on the Wrong Side of the Crib. So any extra energy I may have gotten from all that delicious, NaBloPoMo-killing sleep?

Well, it’s already gone. In the first 20 minutes of my morning:

  • Maeve refused to wear a diaper. Or anything at all. (She lost the diaper battle.)
  • She didn’t want her yogurt stirred — a fact I learned just a few seconds too late. (Evidently, stirred yogurt is devastating, dontchyaknow.)
  • She pushes stirred yogurt away, then reaches out for it — desperately, like in the movies when someone above the cliff is reaching down, hand trembling, trying to save someone from falling to their death.
  • “No stir yogurt, mah-mee! No yogurt, mah-mee!” (So I remove the offending yogurt from the table, saving her from having to look at the atrocity.)
  • “Yogurt, mah-mee! Yo-gurt!”  
  • When a drop of yogurt fell onto her bare leg, she burst into tears all over again.
  • And yogurt on her fingers? (Can you say ‘apoplectic’?)
  • No milk, mah-mee! No orange juice, mahmee! (I head back to fridge to put aforementioned drinks away and she bursts into tears: Want miiiiilk, mah-mee!)
  • She wanted to tuck the paper towel into her shirt collar like usual, but given that I didn’t push clothing after winning the diaper battle, there’s no shirt to tuck into.
  • “Want shirt, mah-meeee!” she wailed, bursting into tears again.
  • And then, splat! Another drop of yogurt on her leg.
  • In the meantime, I’d burned several (an embarrassing amount, actually) pieces of raisin toast I was making as part of her breakfast.
  • When I finally got one right, I placed it in front of The Child and began to cut it in half — like always.
  • “No cutting … Mah-mee!!” (Tears all over again.)

Oh, for goddess’ sake. Do they still make Calgon … and does it come in I.V. form?

I’ll take a double.

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Diapers, Maeve, NaBloPoMo, Parenting

Marketing childhood happiness? No, thanks.

As Jenna noted, seems the Christmas Advertising Snow Job has begun. Today, I, too, found myself trying to shut out have-a-holly-jolly-Christmas jingles while perusing store aisles for very non-Christmas things.

Now, let me be clear. I’m not against Christmas jingles. Or Christmas shopping. And I certainly don’t mean to sound bah-humbug. It’s just that it all seems to have gotten, well … outta hand.

The holiday sale flyer for WalMart made its way through my mail slot earlier this week and, most unfortunately, didn’t make its way to the trash before Maeve noticed its enticing colors and images. Images and design geared for little ones just like her. (And those younger. And older.)

She wanted to flip through Every. Single. Darn. Page. Eyes wide with interest, she scanned up, down and across the ad, her little fingers struggling to keep the wide pages from spilling.

The look on her face got me thinking (and swearing I’d be more diligent in trashing the junk mail).

It’s seemingly quite a fierce marketing push to entice children these days. (Ouch. When someone says “these days,” they are about to make themselves sound very old. But I digress.)

Don’t get me wrong. I remember those early Saturday mornings, my sister and I still pajama-clad, balancing a bowl of cereal in our laps, seeking out the cartoon of the moment. And with that dose of Road Runner came commercials every 10 minutes.  Commercials stacked onto commercials, hocking toys, dolls, games and light-up-thingies that with a simple twist here and a tug there would become something else altogether.

And I loved it, coveting the Easy Bake Oven, a Lite-Brite and a Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine (oh, the quarters I knew I would make from selling the icy rainbow goodness in the neighborhood on hot, summer days) from right there on my parents’ couch.

So, I ask you: Is this an age-old issue and becoming a mama has simply heightened my sensitivity to it — or has wooing children through endless television commercials; “charactered” diapers, plates, cups, clothes and shoes (ever try to find a non-television character coloring book?); and toys with meals — actually gotten worse?

According to Campaign For a Commercial-Free Childhood, marketing to children “encourages eating disorders, precocious sexuality, youth violence, family stress, and contributes to children’s diminished capability to play creatively.”

A New York Times article in November 2004, according to CCFC, notes that “from 1992 to 1997, the amount spent marketing to children shot from $6.2 billion to $12 billion.” That’s double in five years. And that number? That’s 10 years ago.

It also notes that “almost every major media program for children has a line of licensed merchandise used to sell fast-food, breakfast cereals, snacks and candy.”

I started asking myself all sorts of questions, like why is none of this surprising to me? And, most important, what can I do to protect Maeve from it all? To keep from falling into the trap of it all?

But before panic sets in, I remember.

I remember jumping in puddles — in the rain — with my mom. And later attaching string to sticks and “fishing” in those very same puddles with my friends.

Or when a tornado twisted my new swingset into a pretzel and I thought the world as I knew it was over. The day after the storm, it was my mom who showed me how to use my imagination. After all, the tornado had uprooted a tree — and she couldn’ understand why I was sitting sad inside the house. I didn’t “get” the fun of finding the jungle gym nature had provided, until I saw my mom in the backyard climbing it herself, finding a perch and waving me over.

Or when my dad, a professional photographer, walked all around the neighborhood, teaching me about taking photos, him letting me use his grown-up cameras. And later he taught me how to develop our photos right in the bathtub.

Or the time two neighborhood boys decided I couldn’t play with them anymore — and my mom consoled me and told me to pick myself up and play on my own. She set up a little table outside, emptied a box of old fabric scraps and other “mom tricks,” and she and I had the Mother of All Craft/Play Sessions. Right there in our yard. Wasn’t too long before those boys were inching their way closer, wanting in on the fun.

Or getting up before the sun rose to go fishing with my dad at the lake, where we’d spend a few hours in the quiet of the just-waking morning.

Or the times my family would pile into the car and we’d head to the wildlife refuge near the university where my folks worked. We’d park and sit, and wait for a family of deer to make an appearance.

Funny. Ya know what?

I haven’t a clue if I ever got the Sno-Cone machine.

NaBloPoMo Stats: 4 down, 26 to go.

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Filed under Children, Diapers, Family, Growing up, Maeve, NaBloPoMo, Parenting, Products

Outer Banks … Inner Jab

There’s that line in a Jewel song about being sensitive and wanting to stay that way. I remind myself of that chorus if ever I feel like someone has intentionally poked and twisted sharp and hurtful words into me, my heart, my soul. As difficult as it can be when this happens — for me, it’s especially so in the moment when my response is lost, mired somewhere in disbelief — I remind myself of that song. My skin is most definitely not thick. But really, I’d not want it any other way. I’d rather be sensitive — the opposite just isn’t an attractive option.

Where am I going with this? Well, having just returned from a fabulous extended-family vacation in the warm and sunny Outer Banks, I’d like to get one less-than-fabulous thing off my chest before returning to my regularly scheduled programming — which, by the way, includes some recollections of a terrific time in Nags Head with Maevey Gravy and family.

But first, bear with me a bit about a funny comment directed to me during the vacation. Definitely not of the ha-ha variety, this comment was said to me by a child. An innocent-enough comment from a child’s mouth.

So this isn’t about anger or how I should have or could have responded. It’s more about how, as an adoptive mom, sometimes everyday situations are not so everyday. How this little one’s comment really got me thinking. Me. You know, as an adoptive mother.

One evening Maeve had a meltdown. During dinner she didn’t want to sit correctly in her chair. After kneeling a while, she began to try to stand and eat. Thomas and I repeatedly corrected her and she broke into tears. Hysterical tears. We brought her to our room so as not to disrupt the others finishing their meal and tried to calm her. It was a most unusual breakdown on her part — clearly something specific was bothering her. (Turns out the reason behind her suffering actually was directly related to her not being able to sit. Oh, just read on.)

A few of the children (there were seven of Maeve’s cousins at the vacation house) followed us into our room as we cared for a very upset Maeve. During the crying, I had her lay on the bed so I could check her diaper. She wanted none of it, pushing me away from the waistband of her shorts, bawling until her face was inflamed and nose was running uncontrollably. As Tom and I each tried to calm her, one of the cousins who had followed to see what was wrong with Maeve, touched my arm to get my attention and, after asking why Maeve was upset, flatly stated — and I can still hear the voice in my mind —  “You never should have adopted her.”

In the middle of all that screaming I’m sure I actually heard silence.

Pure silence.

I was stunned. Where was that coming from? Why would they say that? My thoughts ran the gamut from it being a personal attack on my parenting ability to one on my daughter herself:

Was it meant to say that because I couldn’t tame this two-year-old’s tantrum I wasn’t fit as a mom? I ran it through my head again.

You never should have adopted her.

Was it because Maeve was so upset and acting out so loudly with tears, sobs and anger that somehow she wasn’t fit to be here, to be part of the family? Again, it ran through my head.

You never should have adopted her.

No matter where I placed the emphasis, the sentence didn’t — still doesn’t — get any better. Despite it not improving with varied intonation and pronounciation, I reminded my wounded self the comment has come from a child.

No I wasn’t angry. Hurt, sure. But the more I thought about that exchange — my response, by the way, was “Why would you say that?” — I realized my feelings weren’t ultimately about the child commentor and their stinging words. Most of that sting is frustration that sometimes, for an adoptive parent, the very act of parenting can be different than others’.

What biological parent on that same vacation would ever be told, while their child cries, “You never should have had her.”

It just wouldn’t happen. Ever.

I hope that as time passes, as the kids in both of our extended families grow alongside Maeve, they learn that she’s just like any of them. Nothing more, nothing less. She’s just another cousin. Her adoption isn’t something that should surround her, envelop her, making her a present-tense case of “She is adopted.”

Of course, this two-year-old’s meltdown had nothing to do with her being adopted or with us adopting her. It’s just something a two-year-old girl (who happens to have been adopted) did. Period.

As much as I hope in my travels, writings, relationships and conversations, to help others — including our families — better understand adoption, open adoption especially, and the importance of embracing Maeve’s story and history, I hope they simultaneously realize that while she has a special story that must be respected, she is also, quite simply, just one of them. Another child in the family acting like any other child in the family has acted. In this case, her adoption backstory isn’t necessary.

This isn’t to say that during the vacation I didn’t welcome adoption topics, adoption questions, should they come my way. (Anyone visiting me here for anytime at all knows that talking about adoption is of the utmost importance to me.) Several other cousins of Maeve’s asked adoption-related questions. One asked if her “real mom had named her.” (Ouch on the use of “real,” but still, a question I gladly answered.) Another not present for this last question asked, on an entirely different day, why we didn’t name her. I wasn’t sure what they meant until I realized they thought Maeve was the name given her by her birth mother. In both cases, I used the random questions while splashing about in the pool or digging in the sand to explain. I explained that her birth mother hadn’t given her a name because she told us she specifically wanted us to choose it. I also explained that her birth mother also liked the first and middle names we ultimately chose and their meanings, all very intentional on our part.

Through the conversations I tried to share, to enlighten, to explain while not using the exchanges as a pulpit. I simply answered nonchalantly and honestly. Matter-of-factly. After all these are just the facts surrounding Maeve’s adoption and in sharing them that way with the children, I hope they come to see her adoption as just that. Just another fact about Maeve.

But it’s not a context for which all things Maeve must be defined or a filter through which all things Maeve must be viewed. After all, she’s just one of the kids. She’s … simply … family.

When we finally did calm her and wrestle that diaper off of Maeve, we found a particularly nasty rash — one brought on, we figure, by the frequent use of swim diapers, the sand, the ocean saltwater and the pool chlorine. When I saw her skin broken open and oozing, my heart felt a twinge of guilt as I recalled the moments before when Thomas and I told her she must sit at the table.

Seems sitting was simply too painful. When we immediately put her in a bath in the hopes of soothing her skin — she would only bathe on all fours. That’s how raw her tush was.

Hmpf. Raw. Much like the comment that bruised my heart.

Sure, both will heal. But neither were necessary.

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Filed under Adoption, Birth parents, Children, Diapers, Discussing Adoption, Family, Growing up, Maeve, Open Adoption, Parenting, Someone else said

Good morning! Where are your pants?

I’ve written recently about Maeve’s newfound interest and pride in being able to take off her diaper and try to redress herself. This has led to bare cheeks and wet sheets. Our fix thus far has been putting her diaper on backwards at night. Although she’s still been able to crack the code and shed the diaper, it’s happened much less often.

Well, she recently greeted me with a new one. Diaper on, thank goodness, but pajama shorts … well, rearranged.

After retrieving my camera and re-entering her room, she declared, “Cheese!” (Is this kid used to a camera in her face or what?) I asked her where her pants were, and she looked at me thoughtfully then began looking around, and then outside, of her crib. She seriously didn’t recall what she’d done with them.

After containing my laughter, I pointed out the exact locale of her pants-on-the-lam. She looked down to her neck and chest, thought a moment, and giggled a most-contagious giggle. Ha! The girl in a diaper with pants on her neck cracks herself up. 

foundyourpants.jpg

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Diapers, Family, Growing up, Love, Maeve, Parenting

Diaper Swiper

As Maeve inches closer to turning two, recent months have had her proudly trying to dress herself. Although this means two feet in one pantleg, or her arm out the shirt hole made for her head, it’s exciting to see her so determined.

And when she’s successful? She’s so proud, much like her mama.

So weeks of late, she’s taken to greeting me in her crib in the morning, sans pajama bottoms. She’s sitting up, proudly boasting as I open the door, “Pant off mommeee! Pant off! May pant off!  (She hasn’t yet mastered the “v” part of her name.) She’s so pleased with her herself. Cute, indeed.

At first.

Since she so easily mastered Project Pant Removal, my little overachiever then took to using the 45 minutes or so she sits happily in her crib each morning while I rush to get ready for work to tackle new, more lofty goals.

In addition to perusing the books we leave in the foot of her bed, sing-songing ABCs or Baa, Baa Black Sheep, she’s now graduated to Project Freak Mommy Out, which translates loosely into Hey, What’s This Diaper Thingie Doing Here? Cool! Extracurricular Crib Activity!

After nearly two straight weeks of finding beautiful but bare cheekies, dirty diapers strewn aside and fresh bedding-turned-dirty laundry, Thomas and I were about to dig out the duct tape in desperation. (Trust me when I say that my morning routine already is ugly enough without an appearance by the Diaper Swiper. Just getting her and I out the door, in some presentable and quasi-organized manner, and remotely close to on-time, is a plan that’s seriously paper-thin.) 

But then his brilliant Professor Sister said matter-of-factly, “Just put the diaper on backwards.” (OK, so you don’t have to be a professor to think of that one, it’s just that she actually is a university prof and her idea turned out to be fantabulous. Obvious, yes, but genius nonetheless.)

Not just any old genius, but the I’m-hearing-harps-and-opera-sopranos-kind-of-genius.

For a couple weeks anyway.

Ya see, my little genius has now mastered Removing The Reverse Diaper. She trumped her aunt, the professor. Now, our morning conversations go something more like this:

Me: Good morning, Maeve! How are you? Did you sleep well, love?

Maeve: Mor-nig mommee! May dipah, what happen? (She shrugs, then smiles wide with pride.)

Rrrrrright.

Suggestions, anyone?

Signed,
Diaperless in Jersey

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Diapers, Maeve, Parenting

Raisin Mayhem

“Chew.”
“Choooooo, Maeve, choooooo.”
“Maeve?”
“Chew.”

It’s a word I say and action I mimick more times a day, it seems, than the number of breaths I take. This child o’ mine — although quite a healthy eater and adept enough at feeding herself with spoon, fork or finger-pinch, has yet to recognize what constitutes a reasonable — and chewable — bite.

Her cutoff for The Perfect Bite seems to be when her cheeks are stretched to their limits. Ideally, at this point the little chipmunk will then mash and grind or otherwise pulpify the food until she swallows. Sometimes we are this lucky.

But most often, when she reaches Maximum Cheek Intake Level, a panicked look appears on her face that beckons, “For the love of Legos, how did this insanely huge amount of food get shoehorned into my mouth? This cannot be! I simply must … get … it … out.”

And she does. With tongue-pushing and a gentle sputter, out it tumbles, down her chin and into the abyss of the floor beneath her chair (much to my husband’s chagrin, as the floors are one of his household duties).

This morning it got ugly. And the culprit couldn’t have been worse.

Perhaps it’s my distaste for the dark, wrinkly, chewy little bits of weirdness known as raisins that made such an impression. In fact, as I type, my lips are pursed and face is scrunched at the mere mention of the R word. I so dislike raisins I’m actually quite sure that even raisins injected with milk chocolate, thrice-dipped in white chocolate, embedded in double-chocolate ice cream, then covered with dark chocolate sprinkles would not be granted permission past my lips. (Although, hypothetically, one could fish them out and pile them nearby, partake in the ice cream and sprinkles and, if the coast were absolutely clear, bite down on the darn things to get the chocolate filling inside, finally tucking the empty raisin shells neatly in a napkin as if he or she didn’t have an unhealthy relationship itty-bitty issue with chocolate. Or raisins. Yes, one could do that. I’m just sayin’.)

But, I’ve digressed. This morning, as my husband toiled at the stove making his girls a hot breakfast in what is a most wonderful weekend tradition, I gave Maevey Gravy the kid-sized red box of raisins so a bleary-eyed me could focus on my steeping tea bag.

A mama mistake if ever there was one. She smiled, half-giggled, and began plucking each tightly packed raisin from the box and popping them into her mouth. Pluck. Pop. Pluck. Pop. Pluck. Pop. Once or twice, her hand would get stuck inside the little box and she’d let out a little yelp, but she’d soon unwedge her fingers, return them to safety and continue with her mission. Pluck. Pop. Pluck. Pop.

Sooner than I would have thought possible, her cheeks stretched to their limits. So as any good mama (who was totally paying attention) would do, I quickly pried the box from her clutch until she could finish the mouthful she had.

This, it seems, was not part of her plan.

There she sat, crying for the box, with her little mouth open so very wide, saliva-laden raisins to its brim. Her little pearly whites interspersed between little, wrinkly, brown bits of dried grape. (See? I said raisins were gross.) When she tried to offer a toddleresque appeal for the Red Box of Raisin Bliss (RBRB), a couple of the wet and wrinkly buggers would fall from her disturbingly full mouth into the abyss below. She’d look down in horror, distraught and desperate for the raisins she’d just lost, and cry even harder. As she did, additional raisins hurtled from her mouth to their demise below. A vicious, vicious cycle — the humor of which, by the way, is totally lost on a 20-month-old.

It was Raisin Mayhem, I tell you. Raisin Mayhem.

Husband and I launched into the “chew, Maeve, chew” routine, explaining over all the screaming that she could have more but first she’d have to chew what she had.

Suddenly, before nary a baby jaw moved up or down, her cheeks returned to their normal level of pudge. A single, leftover tear fell from her big brown eyes. Quiet and calm, she reached toward the RBRB, opened her mouth and asked for more.

The blasted raisins were gone. All 4,398 of them — whole — in one single swallow.

Something tells me I haven’t seen the last of them.

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Diapers, Family, Husbands, Maeve, Parenting, Still learning

Love Thursday

So today for Love Thursday I was planning to post a picture of how my dear Maevey Gravy looked as she went to her little school yesterday morning.

But the ‘conversation’ she and I had this morning as I changed her diaper trumped even the most wonderful of images, which I’ll share another time. I’m letting her words speak for themselves, sans photo.

As I changed and dressed her, I began asking her what sounds animals make. Maeve, what does a lion say? From elephants, cheetahs and sheep to bumblebees, monkeys, kitty cats and snakes — she nailed them all, and sometimes with animation so perfect, National Geographic or Animal Kingdom just might have to do a double-take.

(I’ve always said the girl is a genius, thankyouverymuch.)

So then I asked her: Maeve, what sound does mommy make?

She looked me dead in the eye, clutched her little paws together, brought them tight to her body, and said:

“I … wuv … wu!”

‘Nuf said.

Happy Love Thursday!
For more images and expressions of love, visit Love Is All Around and Love Thursday: Love is All Around Us.

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Curls, Diapers, Family, Love, Love Thursday, Maeve, mamagigi, Parenting, Relationships, Someone else said