Category Archives: Writing

NaBloPoMo 2007

This month marks one year since I began this little blogging spot for myself, with all sorts of goals and fresh-faced optimism at making her a living, breathing entity that would loosely chronicle my experiences as a first-time parent and as a mother and a wife touched by adoption, as well as serving as a place to go after all the mothering and wifering and employee-ing is done. A home for me to focus on clearing the cobwebs from my own mind and resuscitating the writing bug within.

As if all those expectations weren’t enough, it also was a way for me to ensure a written record for Maeve of our life together.

Since sticking my flag in cyberground last year, I’ve found myself continuing to question attitudes about adoption — including my own — and working to strengthen my own approach and confidence in advocating, on a daily basis, for openness in adoption, for ethics in adoption and for proper consideration of all those involved.

During that time I’ve taken on new projects and focuses like my quarterly column and other writing assignments, expanding my involvement in my local adoption group, tracking paid-family leave legislation in the Garden State and even the small-but-very-fun task of continuing to search out good adoption-related children’s books and share them here.

Surely some days, weeks and months at musings:mamahood&more have been more loquacious than others — and I do enjoy the more rather than the less — but here she is still humming one year later and here I am still perched at the keyboard at a very ridiculous hour in the dark of night, and so I figure the best way to celebrate that is by inflicting stringent demands on myself and my time.

That’s right, I’m hopping on the NaBloPoMo bandwagon. Even made myself a little geographic logo-link — a NaBloPoMo shingle, if you will — and hung it in my sidebar. (Don’t know NaBloPoMo? Click and ride.)

While the very idea of committing to write for 30 straight days is uber-exciting, I must admit that the very idea of committing to write for 30 straight days is uber-nerve-wracking.

While I don’t have a plan or theme (although now, as the very-long looking month looms before me it’s sounding like quite a useful idea), I’ll muddle my way through.

And hopefully you’ll continue to muddle along with me. And who knows — we might even find ourselves moving beyond muddling to … amusement! Forging further friendships! Continuing to work toward all our adoption- (and non-adoption) related goals!

And … gasp. Even partaking in some thought-provoking discourse!

Rrrright, I hear ya. Easy mamagigi, easy.

One cyberstep at a time.

NaBloPoMo Stats: 1 down, 29 to go.

5 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Adoption Books, Adoption Ethics, Adoption leave, Children, Closed Adoption, Discussing Adoption, Family Leave, Legislation, NaBloPoMo, Open Adoption, Paid Adoption Leave, Writing

OK, already! (And a photo op)

lakegirls.jpg
Two girlfriends chillin’ lakeside.
(Taylor, left, and Maeve)

I’ve been hearing it lately from folks in my life (in a snarky tone): “What, no new blog entry?” And those of you that e-mailed to see if I’d fallen off my computer chair and just couldn’t get up? Thanks for checking in. Makes a mama feel loved.

It’s true, I fell off the radar for awhile, ever since I returned from my jaunt to Arizona with Maeve. So, why so quiet ’round here? I could say the flight home was really, really, really delayed (hey, Newark’s got a reputation for that!), but the truth of the matter is when we returned home, I had to hit the ground running.

We weren’t home but 12 hours when I was at our local reservation/park setting up for my local adoption group’s fall fun picnic — from storytime to pinatas to painting pumpkins, the kids (and adults!) had a really nice time. It was especially nice to see all the children touched by adopton — in vastly different ways — all playing together and hopefully beginning to form friendships for the future.

Around the same time, I had some writing assignments that required me buckling down and getting them done and filed.

And the last two-plus weeks I’ve been filling in for another editor at the newspaper, trying to cover my work and hers, and the hours and schedule have been well, rather unscheduled. And when I get home, if Maeve was still awake, the first thing I wanted to be doing was being with her, not logging back onto a computer. Kinda defeats the purpose of blogging on first-time parenting and adoption if I’m not spending time with my daughter, isn’t it? Of course, she’s the priority.

This week alone there’s been a couple adoption programs to attend: my local group’s monthly meeting and an agency program, for which Thomas and I were panelists. The topic of both meetings? Openness in adoption. And y’all know I’ve got some opinions on that.

Lest anyone think it’s been all business ’round here, there’s been some kid-fun things squeezed in, too. From getting Maeve’s Halloween costume ready (oh, just wait for the photos, just wait!) and pumpkin-picking, weekly swim classes (just don’t make her float on her back!) to a recent getaway weekend at the lakeside cottage in the country with our dear friends we met through adoption (whose daughter is just a few weeks younger than Maeve and was placed through the same program we were). Between both girls at the house, the petting farm we visited, and time spent tossing stones into the lake, there’s pah-lenty of photos to sort.

Bottom line? It’s been a whirlwind, but overall a welcome change, because being super-busy always makes me appreciate the norm that much more, once we return to it.

There’s lots to talk about, including some of the events I’ve mentioned, plus some other asides, including the question of NaBloPoMo (super-wary that I’m able to successfully complete the task), plus a very interesting link to a site about commercialism for children that’s got me thinking. And there’s a book review scheduled, too, as I’m now affiliated with MotherTalk, a book review site for blogging mothers, and Harper Collins just sent to my doorstep my first book to review.

So, thanks for coming back — and stick around. Listen closely and you’ll hear me cranking up the gears, as I’m getting this girl back to a nice, happy internet hum.

3 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Children, Maeve, Open Adoption, Parenting, Work, Writing

Hot off the press

It seems folks over at my agency haven’t tired of me yet as they’ve just published my latest column on open-adoption parenting in their newsletter and on their website.

If a look-see strikes your fancy, ride the fresh link that’s nestled nicely in my sidebar and head to Page 10 and 11. And if I’ve got a faithful reader among you, someone might notice I’ve touched on the topic before here. It’s such an interesting one I think another tickle is worth it. After all, how often do you become a mom and meet one of the most important people who will ever enter your life — all in the same week? Not very often. I’m just sayin’.

And — even though I may regret this — on your way pause at Page 5 for a photo of Maeve and Moi during the agency’s recent adoption picnic. We were trying so hard to make the pinwheel whirl I never noticed the photographer noticing us. (The regret part is I rarely love the photographed me. But the moment captured with Maeve was so pure that I’m willing to close my eyes and hold my nose. Ya know, take one for the team.)

Just because you’re already following direction so well, I’ve got one more task for you. For those of you situated somewhere in Joisey, look here for details about an upcoming fun family event for all members of the adoption triad being held by CHATS, my local adoption group. (I’d asked for a bit of publicity in my agency’s newsletter, and darned if they didn’t oblige.) Hope to see you there!

Happy reading — and come on back if you’ve got something to say!

4 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Adoption Websites, Birth parents, Children, Community, Family, For fun, Latest AFTH column, Maeve, mamagigi, Open Adoption, Parental surrenders, Parenting, The Call, Writing

Ready? Set. Go!

As not-so-slyly mentioned in a previous post, things have been changin’ here in mamagigi-land in big ways and today’s the first official start of it all.

In an effort to spend more time with my beloved Maeve (sappy, I know) and devote more of me to my writing — on that note, I’ve just filed my next column with AFTH, once it’s published I’ll be sure to link to it here and in my sidebar — I’ve decided to go to part-time status at the newspaper.

After 12 years spent full-time with 25 or so colleagues in getting out the weekly legal newspaper and its 24 or so magazines each year, it’s beyond strange to wake this morning and not be juggling Maeve, my clothes that still need ironing for the day, feeding and dressing her, and getting us out the door remotely close to on schedule.

Instead, we spent the morning playing together as I set up shop in our new playroom and our new “activities room,” as Thomas likes to call it. It’s essentially my art studio pared down and blended with a crafts/puzzle/game space for Maeve. As he describes it, it’s the room for anything that requires a table. It’s colorful and fun, with cool storage and lots of bucket-drawers for supplies, and I’ve framed some of her artwork from her little school to adorn its walls. Her trestle table and mini-Windsor chairs are set up for her to play, and there’s a bright striped area rug and an easel awaiting many creative adventures.

The playroom has a beautiful, dark storage unit with baskets separating her toys by genre. We’ll see how long the organization lasts, but since she’s good at putting things away before opening anew, I’m hoping it might last longer than I expect.

We’ve placed her little armchair underneath the giant green leaf from IKEA, and she’s already spent lots of time there this morning sitting, reading and looking up at the leaf’s underside!

For a finished basement, it sure has become quite the colorful, inviting playspace we envisioned. The third room in the basement will become our TV room, as we’re moving it out of the living room altogether. Since Maeve arrived we watch so much less telly, thank goodness, and we DVR anything we really have our hearts set on and just watch it when she’s asleep. We promised each other we won’t have the TV even turned on when she’s awake unless it’s for her to watch a special program we’ve selected and feel comfortable with — and that’s just once a day for 25 minutes, if she asks for it, of course. Nothing too commercial. The Brainy Baby series has programs with kids at the San Diego Zoo and Wildlife Park, and since she loves her giraffes, elephants and monkeys, that’s a fun no-brainer. It’s that, or Jack’s Music Show, which features Laurie Berkner and all sorts of musical-based vignettes. She loves music and since we’re happy to oblige her on that front, that’s often her telly choice for the day.

Maeve still will be attending her wonderful school three days a week while I’m at the newspaper. This morning during breakfast, she began counting her little plastic farm animals in the distance … in Spanish! I couldn’t believe my ears! Spanish, English and back again. We love the school and all she learns, as well as the little friends she’s making and learning to play with. In fact, tomorrow she graduates to her new class, the Friendly Fish and leaves Little Ladybugs behind. I still can watch her from the cameras in her classroom, so that’s a fabulous plus for those days I am in-office.

So far today I’ve managed to do laundry and run a vacuum, play with Maeve, write a while, and think and plan ahead for some events this week. Nothing I’ve been able to do while in the office, reading for the newspaper.

I’m neither a cook nor a cleaner type. (I’m pretty sure that was somewhere in my vows.) I do what needs to get done and am grateful each day that Thomas is as involved as I — between us both we get done what needs to get done. Of course, it helps to have a husband who loves to cook. And since I try to only pass through the kitchen and spend no real time there, that works for me.

In any case, my being home means my house might get a bit more organized and a bit cleaner a bit faster, but what I’m really hoping for is a saner me who can not only better cherish every moment with my daughter and husband, but make better use of time for me and my writing career.

And as for eating my cake and having it too, (yes, that’s the correct way that expression goes, folks) I’m looking forward to arriving at the office not feeling like the whirlwind I usually do when I sit at my desk each morning, my head aclutter with what I’ve forgotten, what I’ve remembered, what I’ve forgotten I remembered and what still needs doing. All that and a day’s worth of work ahead of me.

I’ve had too many times recently of feeling like I’m barely keeping up. With Maeve’s second birthday just weeks away, time’s atickin’ and I want to live life with her, and more for myself, embracing its juicy details, not trotting after it, working up a sweat, or being dragged behind it, exhausted. Make sense?

It’s totally nuts and a huge leap of faith, for sure. Cutting my salary in half is enough to cause me heart palpitations and rapid gasping for air when I think too long about it — and with a second adoption on the horizon, no less! — but I’m really choosing to believe that the quality of life, for me both personally and professionally, will pay off in spades. Isn’t there a bumper sticker about taking such chances? Wish me luck and send those good vibes my way a little while, wouldya?

So, enough about my day thus far as an official part-timer. I promise there won’t be posts outlining which dish was washed or which boo-boo kissed, ’cause I’ve got lots to say and me being home a bit more isn’t going to change that content. Got it? Good.

Since there’s lots to catch up on and I’ve got bits and bobs of pieces in the hopper for you from the last few weeks, including my recent birthday and what my most amazing husband did for me. Let’s just say it involves lots of secrets (the good kind), Karen at chookooloonks’ super-delicious Trinidadian Rum Punch (sort of) and many friends and family members in my backyard (unbeknownst to me). Stay tuned …

I’m excited. Ready? Set. Go!

3 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Family, Life changes, Maeve, Work, Writing

Doubletake!

Imagine my surprise (and sheer delight!) in retrieving from my foyer yesterday the latest copy of Adoptive Families magazine. It had fallen from the mail slot to the floor face up, and peeked out among other much less intriguing mail.

As I bent to pick it up, I immediately recognized the beautiful girl adorning the front cover. I thought to myself, “That looks like Ruby!” Lo and behold, it is. That sweet face belongs to Ruby of Rubysoho in my blogroll. Fantastic, Aaryn! (Ruby’s hysterical, snarky, creative, beautiful mother, for those of you who haven’t clicked your way over there yet.)

Then, I begin to flip through … and I quickly see a subhead I know I’ve read before. And then I look at the photo accompanying the piece and it’s super-talented Dawn of This Woman’s Work, also in my blogroll! I’d immediately recognized the subhead because I’ve read the piece through Dawn’s links to her other writing. Maybe it’s the editor in me who notices heads and subheads and such details — I don’t know. But AF is reprinting her excellent piece.

Brava to both of you! It’s very exciting to see two women (and their daughters) that I “know” and read regularly — front and center in one issue.

Yeah, I’m thinking this means my blogroll rocks.  Clearly I’ve got good taste!

PS: An unrelated note. Although there’s been a lull around here recently, that’s about to end. Oh, I’ve got tons to write about — hence the half-composed drafts in the hopper, but it’s time that has been an issue. Well, things are changing ’round here as I’m about to gain both more writing time and more Maeve time. Couldn’t be happier about that lucky turn of events. Details to follow. But stick around. There’s about to be more of mamagigi than ever. (Yeah, that’s supposed to be a good thing, folks.)

3 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Children, Family, For fun, Maeve, mamagigi, Parenting, Writing

Logo-rific

Some time ago, I wrote here that something exciting was happening in mamagigi-land. I quickly realized I may have set the excitement bar too high as I received a handful of comments and a plethora of personal e-mails in all sorts of e-mailboxes from friends, family and newer online friends wanting to know the scoop. (Even my mother delurked.) One friend thought we’d somehow been placed with another child and quasi-chastised me for not letting her know sooner and personally, if this was, in fact, the news.

In reality, I was eager to share I am now writing a column addressing adoption, open adoption and first-time motherhood for the newsletter of my adoption agency. I just wanted to wait until it hit the newsstands, if you will.

Anyway, my first column is out and I’ve now wedged the column’s logo into my sidebar.

Aside from that, six inches of water have been shop-vac’d and push-broomed out of our finished basement — that recent rainy Nor’Easter was a doozy — and we dealt with a Cold Turned Touch of Croup in Maeve that had me thankful for her birth mother’s medical history.

Turns out I never needed any history as the Battle of the Wicked Cough and Lips Turning Blue-ish were a cold turned something akin to croup, but in those first moments when one’s imagination runs wild after witnessing her child sick with something she’s not seen before, there is relief in knowing there are medical records and ways to reach out if needed. That’s open adoption, for ya.

7 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Children, Discussing Adoption, Family, Friends, Maeve, Open Adoption, Parenting, Writing

If a child lives with…

Today would have been Dorothy Louise Law Nolte’s 83rd birthday. A trained family counselor (who also founded a kindergarten, taught parenting and childbirth classes, and was a published writer), Law in the mid-1950s wrote a poem, “Children Learn What They Live,” as a submission for her family-matters column in California’s The Torrance Herald.

Now, more than 50 years later, her simple words still serve as something of a guidepost:

If a child lives with cricism, he learns to condemn…

If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight…

If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive…

If a child lives with pity, he learns to feel sorry for himself…

If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy…

If a child lives with jealousy, he learns to feel guilt…

But…

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient…

If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident…

If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative…

If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love…

If a child lives with honesty, he learns what truth is…

If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice…

If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and those about him…

If a child lives with friendliness, he learns the world is a nice place in which to live.

With what is your child living?

The piece was translated into 35 languages. Nearly 20 years after she wrote it, Law discovered it was being distributed by a baby food manufacturer. She then copyrighted it, but allowed the company to continue to use her words for free.

In the late 1990s, the piece was published as a book, with each line in the poem serving as the subject of a chapter. In 2005, it became a bestseller when Crown Prince Naruhito likened the book to his guide for raising his daughter, Princess Aiko.

Although Dorothy Louise Law Nolte died in 2005, her sentiment, her wisdom in these simple words, can live on through the lessons and values we teach our children.

9 Comments

Filed under Children, Family, Literature, Parenting, Someone else said, Writing