Monday, April 28, 2008

Great $%&#ing Weekend

Winter returned over the weekend, so we didn't do much. I painted one of our bathrooms on Saturday. I thought that my other half would spend quality time with his child while I painted, but instead left her to watch Noggin while he attempted to watch the NFL draft and play online poker simultaneously. We had a friendly conversation about that later in the evening after the kid went to bed.

On Saturday we had A's three-year photos taken. It went pretty well. I attempted to change her clothes and re-style her hair halfway through, but I mucked up her hair somehow. Curly hair can go from adorable ringlets to crazy poufy cotton candy in a matter of seconds. We did purchase some good shots from the first half of the photo session. She has a ding on her forehead in all of the shots. ("How did you get this owie?" "I don't know.") I did select an outfit that covered up the bruises on her legs. She also has a fairly nasty scrape on one calf, which happened at daycare. I asked her how it happened and got a long story about a swing and how her friend never lets her take a turn and on and on. Such is life, I guess.

This weekend the kid:
  • Said her first cuss word. Tres adorable, ne c'est pas? I called my mom to tell her about it and to inform her that it is actually her fault. She's been known to cuss (she claims my dad cusses, too, but I maintain that she's the one with the potty mouth). So then she passed this dubious legacy to me and I passed it to my daughter. Do I kiss my mother with that mouth? You bet I do. My mother says that she got it from her parents. So essentially my daughter can blame her little vice on people who died decades before she was born. I do need to be more careful, though. I don't cuss at her, of course, but when you find a pile of dog poop on the carpet, it's really hard to limit your response to, "Well, darn!" "%$(&#%$!" is much more satisfying.
  • Poured hot wax on her pajamas, the carpet, and my dresser. I had blown out a lit pillar candle and didn't think anything of it. As soon as I stepped out of the room, I guess she hopped on her blue chair and investigated. If anyone has any tips for getting copious amounts of wax out of the carpeting, I'm all ears.
  • Cheated at Candyland. We were playing the game yesterday when suddenly she pushed her little pawn about a hundred spaces ahead, reached King Kandy's Castle, and proclaimed herself the winner. Also, when we play she always gets to be Princess Frostine and I get stuck being Mr. Mint. (We have the Deluxe edition of Candyland where the playing pieces are 3D characters and not just cardboard cut-outs. Cuz that's how we roll.) Mr. Mint is tall and skinny and falls over a lot. I kept forgetting where I was supposed to be because I was always face-down on the Gumdrop Pass.
  • Ate a chocolate sundae at DQ. It took an eternity because after every bite, she rubbed her belly and proclaimed the ice cream to be "deeeeeeee-licious." Seriously, three Christmases passed while she was exclaiming over her dessert.

That's all the news from here. Get out there and make it a great %$#&ing week!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Just in case the minivan wasn't enough of a clue . . .

I purchased this item last week:

Oh yes, I sure did. I now own a cupcake caddy. Say it loud and say it proud. The kid and I will be making cupcakes for her to take to daycare for her birthday next week, so I figured this would be the safest way to send them. Plus, I'm sure this will be the first of a thousand times I will need to bake cupcakes for one event or another. My mom warned me that most such requests will be submitted to me, by my daughter, at 9:30 p.m., the night before said cupcakes are needed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tap and Ballet and All That Jazz

The kid has her first dance class tonight. She is mucho excited about wearing her tap and ballet shoes. She pronounces "ballet" like this: buh-lay, with the accent on the second syllable. No doubt that's how the dancers at the Bolshoi pronounce it, too. No amount of correcting her seemed to work, so we just let it go. She says a lot of things that are almost right, so you pick your battles, eh? The other night she told me she was a "little bit very hungry." When she wants to watch something on TV that is different from what she is already watching, she says, "I wanna watch something more else." Again, not exactly right, but not so incorrect that I don't know what she means.

Now, I don't know how this dance class stuff is going to play out. My daughter has been walking for nearly two years but still sometimes falls down for no particular reason. She likes to run in one direction with her head turned in another, which always leads to yet another bruise. She collect bruises like my grandma collects Hummels. I think it is only a matter of time until CPS comes and takes us away.

I took a dance class when I was around seven. I truly, truly hated it. I thought I would love it, because what little girl doesn't want to wear a tutu? But, it turns out I am free from any of that pesky talent that plagues others. I kept telling my mom that I was terrible at it, and she blew me off. Finally, one day she watched the class through the window in the door. "Oh, okay," she said and, mercifully, pulled me out of the class.

Because my daughter is not saddled with my DNA, I have high hopes for her having lots of skills and talents that she could never have gotten from me. (Or from my other half, for that matter.) Dancing, singing, sports - who knows, maybe she will rock at all of them. All she could have gotten from me would have been sub-standard hair, hideous handwriting, and a big bucket of social awkwardness. The jury's out on her handwriting (although I will say that she can make some stellar capital W's and H's), but she definitely doesn't have the others.

So, we'll see how it goes. Maybe her limbs will work together better than I am predicting. If not, we'll chalk it up to "character building" and try something else (pottery? yoga?) next time around.

**********************************************

After class . . .

Well, the whole affair was predictably adorable. There were only three little girls in the class. We sat outside and watched through a window. The girls were instructed to stand, in their tap shoes, on little rubber circles on the floor. All three little girls did as requested. As we watched, A and another little girl did their darnedest to follow the dance steps. The third little girl bawled her eyes out. She never moved from the circle at all. The instructor tried to comfort her, to no avail. Halfway through the class, the girls were asked to switch to their ballet shoes. Here is the part where I assumed my kid would need help. But no, she ran to her pink ballet bag and changed her shoes by herself. Didn't we just bring her home from the hospital? I just don't understand this at all. She barely even glanced over at the window where we were standing. She just followed along and, for once, listened. She was completely independent, which jarred me in some way. For half a second, I wanted to stand on a rubber circle and cry myself.




Saturday, April 19, 2008

Chloe

I got a new foster dog today. Chloe is a one-year-old deaf Boxer girl. She has the dirtiest ears I've seen in eight years of fostering, but seems to be in good shape otherwise. She's a sweet little kissy girl. In this photo you can tell that she is very tired. White Boxers tend to turn pink around the eyes, ears, and mouth when they get tired. Just this morning she was still in a shelter so it's been a long day for her. Explaining to the kid that Chloe's ears don't work is proving to be a challenge. (Chloe came from a home with small children, so I knew she would be safe to foster.) Oh, and the reason for surrender? Well, the former owners didn't have a fenced yard and Chloe ignored the shock collar they put on her.

So, all she needs is a fenced yard, a little love, and another dog to play with. She and Giddy have been playing all day. I think he is in loooooove.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Birth Story


Dear Baby Girl,

I've been saying for some time now that I would write down your birth story. I still remember every moment like it just happened, but no doubt my memory will become less sharp over time.

You were due on April 26, 2005. We first met your birthmother, J, in early February, which meant that we only had three months to prepare for your arrival. There was quite a flurry of painting and shopping and planning. During those three months, I talked with J regularly, and we had a couple of lunch dates. I got to know her and her son, who was four years old at that time. Your dad and I were so excited - we could not wait to meet you!

April 26th came and went. J and I stayed in touch regularly. She had been one centimeter dilated for quite some time and wasn't progressing beyond that. Her doctor decided that he would admit her to the hospital and induce labor on Tuesday, May 3rd. We asked J if it would be okay if your dad and I went to the hospital that day and she said that we were welcome to come. During that week between the 26th and the 3rd I kept my cell phone in my hand at all times just in case you decided to come before the induction date. But, you were in no hurry. Come to think of it, you're just really not the type to hurry - ever. In the mornings you stroll into my bathroom and announce that you have to put your "lips" (chapstick) on. Even when your dad is standing there with your jacket in hand, telling you that you and he are already running late and that you have to GO RIGHT NOW, you still stand there, applying coat after coat of chapstick. I mean, you don't speed up even the tiniest iota.

My last day at work was on Monday the 2nd. I was so excited about the next day that I could hardly do my job. The next morning, we got up early and headed to the hospital. We weren't sure exactly what to do once we got there. We went to the labor and delivery wing and asked a nurse to tell your birthmother that we were there. We had brought along some books and stuff and planned to wait in the lobby. However, J invited us into her room so we were happy to go in and hang out with her. Her mom was there, too.

We spent the morning chatting with J and her mom. I was happy to get a chance to get to know her mom, who is a very nice lady. Each time a doctor would come in to perform an exam, your dad and I would step out into the hallway in order to give J some privacy. We just weren't sure of the protocol for these things. Then we would return and chat some more. Your dad asked, "So, did you have any cravings during your pregnancy?" Later, when he was out of the room, I told J that your dad isn't very chatty and that he had probably worked on that question for two days. We all got a good laugh out of that.

Throughout the day, we got to hear your heartbeat through the monitor. Everything progressed as normal, which was reassuring. At lunchtime we went down to the lobby and got some sandwiches and hung out there for a while. Throughout the rest of the afternoon we continued to drift in and out of J's room.

At around 5:00 p.m. I asked a nurse if she was taking bets on how soon you would arrive. "I have a twenty in my pocket," I told her. She laughed and said it would be quite a while. She made it sound like we would be there all night, so your dad and I headed downstairs to grab some dinner at the hospital cafeteria. About 15 minutes later, we were sitting at a table poking at our unremarkable cafeteria food. Just then, J's mom came running in. She said that J was ready to push and that we should hurry back upstairs. It seemed the nurse had been way off in her prediction. Ack! I think we all felt like the Three Stooges for a minute there. As we rode up in the elevator, I told J's mom that we would wait outside in the hallway. "No," she said. "She wants you in the room."

I cannot begin to tell you what an amazing and unexpected gift this was. To be in the room! We entered the hospital room to find that it was abuzz with activity. The ordinary hospital bed had morphed into something completely different - I kept thinking of those old Transformers toys from the 80s. There were nurses, a doctor, and a student of some sort who was there to observe.

Your dad and I stood near J's head. We were trying to be respectful and didn't know what to do with ourselves. Tearfully, I leaned down and gave her a kiss on the cheek and thanked her for allowing us to be there. Your dad did the same. The doctor was in position at the foot of the bed and you were on your way. We could see your dark hair! Two pushes later, there you were. And you were a girl! For some reason, we had guessed beforehand that you might be a boy.

You were born at 5:56 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3rd. You weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces and were 19 3/4 inches long.

The doctor handed your dad a pair of scissors so that he could cut the umbilical cord. Another unexpected, but thrilling invitation! Well, I guess the cord was thicker and more sinewy than he thought it would be. It took a little more effort than he had anticipated.

Moments later, you were in a clear plastic bassinet on wheels and a nurse was checking you over to make sure you had all the right parts and that everything was in working order. She turned to me and asked if we had chosen a name. I looked over at J and her mom. "We have two names in mind," I told them. "A_______ and Estelle."

J's mom replied, "I think both names are very pretty."

So, we gave you a first name and then used my sister's first name as your middle name. Since we were honoring one sister by using her name, we knew we would honor my youngest sister (the one you call Aunt Craggy, even though that's nowhere close to her actual name) by making her your Godmother.

Apparently still reeling from the umbilical cord adventure, your dad announced that he felt woozy and that he needed to go and sit down. He went into the bathroom that was attached to the hospital and sat down in there. As you are growing up . . . if you ever break a bone or split your chin open or something . . . be sure to call me first.

Soon, you were wheeled off to the nursery. Eventually we went to the nursery and a nurse showed us how to give you a bath. We thought you were the most beautiful child we had ever seen. You had lots of hair, blue eyes and - your most distinctive feature - a pouty lip that jutted right out.

Cell phones weren't allowed in that part of the hospital, so I had to go downstairs to make some calls. First, I called your Meemaw. She was so happy she could barely speak. Next, I called both of my sisters. And finally, I called my friend B, whose son was born exactly three weeks before you were.

Before long, it was time to go home and let everyone get some rest. That night I was so excited I could barely sleep. The next morning we were up early so that we could head back to the hospital, which is about 30 miles away from our home. We spent the morning going back and forth between visiting you in the nursery and visiting J in her hospital room. She seemed to doing pretty well. She was nervous about seeing you, but the social worker and nurses were gently suggesting to her that she should spend some time with you. I took a little time out and drove to a Carter's store to buy a "coming home" outfit for you. I had been hesitant to buy it ahead of time because we didn't know if you would be a girl or a boy. I chose a pink outfit with a matching hat.
The day flew by quickly. Your dad and I felt giddy. We held you and took pictures. A feeding nurse came to the nursery and helped me with all the ins and outs of bottle feeding. Finally, it was time to go home again. You needed to spend one more night at the hospital and then you would be released.

When we arrived the next morning, a nurse told me that your birthmom had gotten up very early that morning and held you in the nursery. I was told that she cradled you in her arms and told you that she loves you very, very much. She was worried that you would be angry with her someday. I vowed right then to make sure that you always know and remember that even though she was in a rough period in her life and couldn't take care of you, she will always love you.

The nurses got you ready to be discharged. Your dad and I worked on getting you into the carseat. We had read the manual ahead of time, but it turned out that all the settings and straps were basically . . . wrong. We had to put you in the seat and then take you out again several times. After the first couple of tries, you ran out of patience and got mad. I fed you and then we tried again.

One of the nurses walked downstairs with us, so that she could confirm that we had a proper carseat for you. Your dad lifted you up and attempted to attach your carrier seat to the base that was already installed in the car. However, he was trying to attach the seat so that you would be forward-facing, which is practically a mortal sin (in addition to being highly illegal). The nurse and I gasped simultaneously. For a moment I feared we had failed the first test and that we wouldn't be permitted to take you home.

We headed home with you, our beautiful daughter. Our seven-year journey to become parents was finally over, all the loss and heartache growing less sharp with each passing day. Over the next few weeks, you came to the realization that we had no idea what we were doing and voiced your objections loudly.

And, as you remind us daily, we're still learning . . .

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Report from Headquarters

The birthday preparations are well underway. Don’t you like how I act like it is a national holiday or something?

Yesterday I hopped on Priceline to book a hotel for our big weekend away. I bid a little higher than normal and asked for a three-star room, in hopes of snagging a reservation at a joint that has a pool. I’ve used Priceline a lot and it’s a hit-or-miss affair. Last time we used it, we ended up with a beautiful suite, access to a pool, and a free breakfast – all for around $55.00.

I put in my bid and then voila – I have a room at a Hilton. So, I dig up the website for that location. It turns out that we get to pay an additional $22.00 for parking. Sa-weet! Then I click around some more and find that the hotel has a full-blown water park inside. And everyone is welcome . . . if they have purchased a water park package. Well, there is no way I am going to explain to a three-year-old that there is a water park in the same building but that we can’t go because we don’t have the right type of package. Honestly, I’d rather eat glass.

So, I call the hotel to plead my case. The woman who answers the phone tells me that if I call the day of our arrival, I have a shot at buying water park passes separately (depending on how many people have purchased the magical “package” for that day). The passes are $18.00 each. I will call as instructed on the kid’s birthday and let’s just say that the only answer I’ll be accepting is “Yes, Mrs. M, how soon can you pick them up?”

Let me see here. Between the room fee and the parking and the water park passes, I saved . . . ah, divide by 3, carry the 2 . . . oh yeah: zero dollars using Priceline.

In other news, I also ordered the oft-mentioned pink cake. A few days ago I picked the kid up from daycare and then we stopped at a little bakery called “Bake My Day.” (Get it? Ha ha!) I told the woman that we need a pink cake and she flipped through a binder of cake designs until she found one that is all kinds of pink. Pink pink pink with pink accents. “We’ll take it,” I told her.

Just then the kid announced that she needed to go potty. I asked the nice bakery lady if we could use the bathroom, explaining that the kid is newly potty-trained. Apparently she has walked this road before and was sympathetic to our plight. She directed us into the back room and pointed to the employee bathroom. The shelving in the bathroom was piled high with cookie cutters and other bakery-specific stuff. So here I was, crouched next to the toilet in this claustrophobic little space, waiting for my daughter to empty her bladder. “I gotta wipe my gyna,” she informed me. This was good, because wiping is not that high on her priority list.

On our way out, it dawned on the kid that we were not, in fact, taking a pink cake home with us at that time. “No, it’s for your birthday. We just ORDERED the cake. The lady has to make it.” She proceeded to disintegrate into toddler meltdown mode so I did what any good parent would do: I bought her a cookie.

I still had a few more errands to run, so ten minutes later we were at Target. The kid was sitting in the front of the cart as I compared the merits of various chewable vitamins. “Mama, I have to go to the bathroom.”

“Okay, there is no way you have to go, because you just went at the bakery. Remember?” I mean, I’m no psychic or anything, but I KNEW she didn’t have to pee (or anything else for that matter). My youngest sister was like this at the same age. She was bound and determined to see the inside of every public restroom in the entire metropolitan DC area.

This time A got significantly louder. “MAMA, I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!” I could tell that other shoppers were looking at me like, “Wow, what kind of jerk doesn’t let her kid use the toilet?” I thought of that scene in the movie “Sybil” where the unspeakably abusive mother ties Sybil to the piano for hours and won’t let her use the bathroom.

So of course I wheeled her over to the Target bathroom and hoisted her up onto the potty where, predictably, she announced “I’m done” about .036 seconds later.

It occurs to me that, even though I am paid by a small corporation for my work as a project manager, my true and actual boss is three feet tall, with curly hair and a surly attitude.

Monday, April 14, 2008

For the record, I did NOT fart in church

Yesterday at church I was attempting to listen to the morning's announcements while the kid bounced around on my lap, seemingly oblivious to the fact that we were in church. She ate fruit snacks (rejecting a "tainted" one that had two colors swirled together and spitting it into my hand), flipped through the hymnal, and flirted with a man who was sitting behind us. At one point she leaned in, hugged me around the neck, and then said, "Mama, you farted!" Please believe me when I say that I was not, in fact, guilty of this particular offense. If I had been, I would've admitted it.

"I didn't fart. Now, shhhh while the lady is talking, okay?"

"But you farted!" It was a little louder this time. I swiveled my head around to look at the churchgoers in the nearby rows. I smiled as if to say, "Farting in church! Ha ha! Who would do that, eh? This kid - such a card!"

I hissed at her through my teeth, "Okay, yes, fine. Now just shush." It seemed preferable to confess to a crime falsely than to let the scene escalate any further. She smiled at me as if to say, "See? I knew it!"

Shortly thereafter, the kids were called to the front for a segment called "a story for all ages." When A was younger I always sat on the floor with her but now that she is older, I send her up there by herself. Usually one of the older girls will look after her. On most Sundays there are ten or so kids who huddle around an it's-seen-better-days rocking chair to listen to a story. Will it surprise you to know that, week after week, my child is the only one who feels compelled to talk through the whole thing? (And also loudly points out that the rocker is broken.) Reverend Sandy is always so patient with her. She'll read a page and then A will say something that has nothing to do with anything ("Teddy bear is scared of dragons!"). And Reverend Sandy will smile and nod at her as if these interjections actually have some basis in reality. During the story time I notice that a lot of the parents will turn and look at me - a look that lies somewhere between pity and mirth. I don't know what they are thinking, but it's probably something like, "Better you than me, eh?"

I keep thinking of the adoption paperwork we filled out a few years ago, where we stated that we were willing to accept twins if such an opportunity arose (we drew the line at triplets, though). I love my daughter in a way that is beyond words, but two of her? Aye carumba.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Keep My Baby Off the Pole!"

It's a blah day here - it's been snowing all day and it's just beyond depressing. It is mid-April, right? Seriously, we are losing the will to live.

I dragged myself out in the snow to catch my Weight Watchers meeting this morning. I did lose several pounds this week but it's nothing to brag about - I am still 7 pounds over my goal weight, which means that I'm losing weight that I've already lost before.

Today we had tickets for a shindig called "The Big Event for Little Kids." We wanted to get there early, because it gets insanely crowded - every snot-nosed kid in town attends this thing. But, we didn't get there nearly as early as we wanted, because the wee lass was still in bed when I got home from my meeting. As usual, she stayed up far too late last night. I just can't figure out how I ended up with such a little night owl. I'm one of those obnoxious "early-to-bed-early-to-rise" types. Plus, I have copious amounts of energy when I get up and have been known to steam clean the carpets before 6 a.m.

I always find myself wondering what sort of career my daughter will have . . . the type of career that will allow her to get up at the crack of noon. And then I think, oh no . . . not that type of "career." I always think of Chris Rock's routine about keeping your daughter "off the pole."



I haven't given up on the idea of my kid becoming rich and famous and buying me a house in the Carolinas, though. I'll just wait patiently while she finds her niche.

Here are a couple of photos from the chaos. We left with a bag full of free crap that she won while participating in various activities (like an obstacle course that she insisted on running in reverse order, several times, until we physically removed her). She also participated in multiple craft projects, all of which seemed to involve glitter. There was a small petting zoo, and leave it to my child . . . she only took notice of whether or not the animals had pooped in their pens.


Edited to add: After posting this entry, we went out to dinner. It turned out to be prom night for some of the local high schools. We were seated right next to a group of 16 or so prom-goers. A gasped when she saw a brunette girl dressed in yellow. "It's Belle!" she yelled. She then proceeded to assign a Disney princess personna to every girl in the group. Meanwhile, she spilled her milk (and just about everything else she attempted to consume) on herself. We decided to walk on the wild side and order her a cupcake for dessert. She jabbed a fork into the cupcake and somehow flung a huge wad of chocolate back on herself. She jumped up and down in our booth, sang, and tossed silverware around. If nothing else, I'm guessing that those fancy young couples might think twice about having unprotected sex tonight . . .

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ever Closer

My baby girl will be three years old in just a few short weeks. She is smart, she is beautiful, and as she grows bigger . . . so does her awareness of the world around her. Soon we will need to have the big "adoption discussion" with her. Now, please know that we always speak openly about the fact that she is adopted. It's nothing that we're trying to hide. But she does not yet understand the mechanics of babies and wombs and how it all works. Her daycare teacher is pregnant, so in a way her pregnancy may help aid in these discussions. In order for A to understand that she didn't develop in my stupid faulty uterus, she first needs to understand that she did develop in somebody's. So as her daycare teacher continues to expand, I know A will have questions and maybe things will actually unfold in a way that is natural and comfortable and not at all awkward. Hey, a girl can dream.

We have been building up to this in a gradual way. At night I sometimes lie in bed with A and we tell each other stories. I tell her a story about how her dad and I met a long time ago. I go on to say that we fell in love and then wondered where we could get a baby girl. She always smiles and says, "Here I am!" So eventually I will add the next layer, which is that she has a birthmother, J, who was not able to care for a baby at that time in her life. A birthmother who loves her very much and wanted more for her than she could give. Someday I will tell her so much more. I will tell her how, at the hearing for termination of parental rights, J cried so hard that her shirt was wet from shoulder to shoulder. I will tell her how smart, funny, and pretty her birthmother is. I will tell her whatever she wants to know, the most important of which is that no one ever gave her up or gave up on her (the term "gave up for adoption" always makes me cringe a little). She has been loved by so many, right from the start.

The story of her birthfather, a young African-American man, will be more challenging. He denied paternity and his rights were terminated involuntarily (meaning that he was served a notice to appear in court and did not attend). He is currently in prison. The official charge is: 2nd degree sexual assault of a child (two counts). I am far from a legal expert but I think this is something along the lines of "sex with a minor." (I should clarify that J is not the victim in the case - it was a different young woman.) A's birthmother said he seemed like a nice guy at first and I know she felt badly about misjudging his character. Who among us has not dated a jerk at some point? As far what I'll tell my daughter, I posed that question (well, in a rhetorical way) to her birthmother a couple years ago, and she suggested that I simply say that he was too young and too unprepared for parenthood. And for now, I suspect that that is as thorough an explanation as a three-year-old probably requires.

I must admit I am approaching this chapter with a fair amount of trepidation. My natural inclination is to preserve her innocence for as long as possible, but . . . hiding important truths would surely be much more damaging in the long run. My goal is to provide her with as much information as she needs, doing so in a way that is age-appropriate for her.

Last night, A and I were watching TV in my bed and I turned to look at her (mostly because she cannot stop talking for two seconds and I couldn't hear anything on the TV). She put her hand on my cheek and softly said, "Mama." Sometimes I just cannot get over that kid and her mop of curls and her cherubic little face. I walk past her bedroom and am still in awe that she's ours. After so much pain and loss over the years, how do you ever get over the fact that, just this once, you got really, really lucky?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Just like Meemaw

The kid went off to daycare in her "big girl" undies this morning, which was pretty exciting. Aside from that Target debacle last week, she hasn't had any other accidents. My main motivation, if I'm being honest here, is that Pull-ups are expensive. And I am cheap. I could buy a nice bottle of wine for what I pay for a small pack of Pull-ups. I think we will continue using them at night, but I can't see any reason why she needs them during the day. Now that I've typed that sentence, no doubt the daycare will call momentarily to let me know that my child is awash in her own fluids and that I must pick her up immediately.

Last night I was scheduled to participate in a board meeting via conference call (I sit on the board of the American Boxer Rescue Association, which is just as glamorous as it sounds). I hooked the kid up with a movie and some popcorn in hopes that she would keep it to a dull roar while I was on the phone. She sang, she demanded more juice, and she yelled at Gideon for standing too close to her popcorn, but for the most part she was compliant. At one point she brought me a braided fleece tug toy and told me that it was a snake. "My snake is very sick. Do you want to pet my snake?" she asked me. I'm pretty sure that her dad tried that line on me when we were dating.

I ended up leaving the conference call prematurely, however, because the kid had relieved herself in her potty and it was important that I get to it before the dogs did. "I pooped and peed in the potty just like Meemaw!" she told me. I think it's nice that, of all the things my mom does that could inspire my child, it is her ability to urinate and defecate that rose to the top.

I called my mom right away and let her know. Now, the thing about my mom is that she has convinced my dad that she does not produce any output at all. She hasn't pooped or peed (and most definitely has not farted) since they started dating 30 years ago. "Shhhhhh. Your father will hear," she said.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Not that there's anything wrong with that - part 2

Giddy just wanted to show off his gay pride collar (a friend of mine made the collar - she is crafty that way).



Friday, April 4, 2008

Something about Nothing

The long work week is, mercifully, almost over. I'm feeling better and that's always a good thing when the weekend rolls around. It's Friday! Date night number 1! Oh . . . wait. I've got a kid. And I've been "dating" the same guy for almost 16 years. Damn.

I am trying to decide if I have the gumption to go to Weight Watchers in the morning. I've had a good week as far as eating goes, but I don't think it is enough to make up for prior sins. I'll let you know if I figure out a way to lose 10 pounds over the next 18 hours or so.

On to some randomness:

1. A few months ago I blogged about A's birthmother and my distress over not having contact with her. I did summon the courage to call her a couple weeks ago. She wasn't home (or didn't answer), so I left a voicemail. I apologized for calling and told her that I would be happy to send pictures and updates if she, in turn, would send me her new address (I know that she has moved and yes, I could look it up online but I really feel like I need this information to come from her). I suggested that she could call or maybe just drop a postcard in the mail. I also said that if she doesn't want updates, that's okay, too. If she wanted them, I'd be more than happy to send them. (I have well over 1,000 photos of the kid on my hard drive - can you say, "overkill?") Well, I didn't hear from her. As I have said before, I can't pretend to understand all that she has gone through and I can't keep guessing about what is going on in her mind. I hope she is happy . . . I know I want her to be happy.

What I have decided to do is to write down everything I know about A's birthmother (her maiden name, her married name, last known address, her son's name, etc.) and put it in an envelope. I can then give it to my daughter when she is older, in case she would like to make contact.

2. A few months ago I wrote another blog entry that has been weighing on my mind a lot lately. That particular post was about a friendship that seemed, in my mind, to have faded away. I think my friend did read that blog and I fear I hurt her feelings, which was not my intention at all. I still miss her and think about her every day. I just didn't know how to fix what was broken.

3. On a less dramatic topic . . . I have had the occasion to use several automatic toilets in the past month or so (please try not to be jealous of the extreme glamour that is my life). This question has been bugging me for a while: why do they always flush before I am ready? I was at a pet expo a couple weeks ago, headed to the ladies' room, and felt a cold whoosh as I was sitting there. Then the same thing happened to me at a restaurant on Sunday. I mean, WTF? Do I do things out of order? It's not like I pee and then sit down. I can usually see a little sensor in the wall - what is it looking for? In those cases where the toilet doesn't flush prematurely, it usually takes the opposite stance - it doesn't flush at all. So then I try waving my hand in front of the sensor. ("Hey! I'm, um, all done here!") Usually I have to look for the override flush button hidden somewhere on the wall, which seems to defeat the whole purpose. I also find the automatic sinks and towel dispensers sort of perplexing. I mean, great, I haven't had to touch anything . . . except the germ-ridden, smeared-up door handle on the way out.

4. Speaking of toilets, I learned a hard lesson the other day. When you have a newly potty-trained kid, scope out restrooms as soon as you enter any establishment. The other day we stopped at Target to exchange an early birthday gift that A had received. It was a toy from a friend of mine, but A had received the same toy from her Meemaw for Christmas. So, we were in the back of the store, in the toy section - more specifically, the "pink aisle" as my dad calls it. We were comparing the merits of various princess dolls, when the kid clamped her knees together and announced that she needed to use the potty. The restrooms were, as far as I knew, about a half-mile away, up by the registers. I tossed her into the cart and proceeded through a maze of Target employees that were inexplicably moving in slow-motion, in packs, right down the center of each aisle. It was like "Night of the Living Dead" or something. When we finally got into the restroom it was, of course, too late. And it was completely my fault. Just poor planning on my part. That was her only accident in the past couple of weeks as far as I can recall. We have a road trip coming up tomorrow and I am thinking that we are just going to put her potty right in the van. I don't think she has the whole "ample notice" thing down quite yet.

And that's all I know.