Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tattoo You

So, you may be wondering about the tattoo poll I posted on the blog. Or maybe not. You've never been the curious type, I know.

For years I have toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo. My brain just cannot let go of the thought, even though it always (ultimately) boycotts the notion whenever it bubbles to the top. The idea continues to intrigue me, this thought of making permanent on my skin what lives in my heart.

So, what keeps me from taking the plunge? This may be the oddest excuse out there, but here goes. As you may recall, I have vitiligo and went through total depigmentation when I was 14 (hence the name of my blog). If there is any benefit to being super fair (and also limiting my sun exposure), it's that my skin is completely unmarred. I don't have freckles or moles or anything like that - anywhere. For some reason, when I look at myself in the mirror, I have a hard time imagining myself with a decoration.

The other reason is that I worry about what the future me will think of this thing. I have a hard enough time reconciling the "one who packs my lunch" me and the "one who has to eat my lunch" me (seriously, how can I be so disappointed in my own lunch every day when I am the one who packs it?) The future me may be someone entirely different from the now me. Who knows. Plus, there are certainly plenty of reasons to be fearful. I think you'd have to agree that there are a lot of bad tattoos out there. Check out this site to see some of the worst. Will I be the same person at 70 that I am now? In about twenty years, there will be a lot of middle aged women with sagging, lumpy tramp stamps that seemed like a good idea at the time (twenty years prior). A lot of regrettable ideas are born of tequila shots and nothing more. And what about the now-responsible adult who has to sit through a job interview with the letters B-E-E-R tattooed across his knuckles, a grim reminder of a very bad night?

I worry so about making a mistake with my choice of tattoo that I've been pondering it for ten solid years. No lie. If I do get a tattoo one of these days, the loose concept I have in my head is of a celestial-type design showing four stars (for the babies I lost) and something to honor my daughter, the one I got to keep. I wish I had some artsy-fartsy skills so that I could truly envision what it would look like. For now, I guess I'll keep mulling it over.

In the meantime, here is one of my favorite songs of late, "Old White Lincoln" by The Gaslight Anthem. I like the line, "You and your high top sneakers and your sailor tattoos."

Monday, May 24, 2010

The queen of one-liners

We had a fabulous weekend. Because we don't believe in happy mediums (media?) around here, the weather went straight from 42 degrees last week to 90 degrees this weekend. Go directly to inferno, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

We did squeeze in a lot of outdoorsy stuff over the weekend, though. On Saturday, we attended an eight-year-old's birthday party in the afternoon. The party was for the daughter of a family friend and was held at our local amusement park. We'd made arrangements for them to take A home with them, as their older daughter had agreed to babysit that evening. P and I were celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary with a cocktail cruise. It was a two-hour tour down the river and back again. Two couples from church came and it was a lot of fun. There were four bachelorette parties on the boat, but they weren't as obnoxious as such parties often are. One of the brides came around with a bouquet of blow pops and I bought one for a buck. I have no idea what it was all about (and whether or not a sexual favor was implied in some way), but I do love blow pops.

On Sunday, my neighbor and I made arrangements to take a bike ride on a local trail. She has one of those pull-behind Burleys and volunteered to pull A behind her. Her nephew would be riding in the Burley as well. Hey, if she wants to pull an extra hundred pounds behind her, who am I to argue? It was decidedly muggy on Sunday (90+). After church, the kid kept complaining that it was too hot. Finally, I said, "If you're too hot now, then you're too hot to go on the bike ride today."

She frowned and thrust her chin outward. "Mama. How could you say something so mean to such a nice kid?"

How could I, indeed?

On Sunday evening, the kid invited me to play a game of Go Fish. She has a deck of egg-shaped cards that she got from the Easter Bunny. I said, "Sure, I'll play." I'm always hesitant to accept game invitations from her because one of us is not a good sport. Nevertheless, we sat at the dining room table and played Go Fish. We bantered back in forth with "do you have a three?" and "didn't you just ask me for that?" for a while. Eventually, I had a couple of quartets on the table and she had a bunch of cards in her hand.

I asked her, "Do you have a five?"

Her response: "Just a second. I'll check around."

You'll check around? Where might it be, if not in your hand?

That kid. She doth crack me up.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What not to say

One of the highlights of my weekly routine is listening to the "This American Life" podcast in my car on the way to/from work. I love a good story (even more so when it is true), and I've always enjoyed the way "This American Life" weaves together different tales with a central theme. Ira Glass is the host and he does a great job of narrating the stories and interviewing the storytellers. The fact that I love an NPR program this much . . . it means I'm getting old, right? The other day I was watching a particularly amusing episode of Spongebob Squarepants. It was the one where Patrick is telling Spongebob how to become a mature adult. At one point Patrick says, "And now you have to develop an appreciation for free-form jazz!" I laughed out loud because I have long said that once I start listening to jazz, it's all over.

But, back to NPR. I hooked up my iPod in my car on Tuesday and started to listen to the most recent podcast. The theme was "home movies." Ira narrated an introduction wherein a woman was watching a home movie. You could hear the sounds of a projector whirring away. The woman was studying the movie intently because she was curious about one particular person who appeared on the screen. Then Ira said this: "She is adopted and she thinks this may be her real mother." I stopped listening on the spot. I couldn't be sure if he would continue using negative adoption language, and I didn't want my jaw clenched for a solid hour.

Adoptive parents are used to people not knowing the correct terms to use in relation to adoption. Most of us have been knocked around quite a bit in the journey to parenthood but even so, I wouldn't say we are overly sensitive in general. However, I was surprised to hear the term "real mother" used by a radio host/personality, someone who should really know better.

My daughter has a birthmother who loves her very much. I think about A's birthmother every single day. She gave birth to this beautiful child and she is the only reason I am a mother. I would never try to diminish her role in any way. The term "real mother" is just insulting all the way around. My daughter has a mom and a birthmom. From the moment she was born , I have taken care of A's needs. When she was a baby, I got up three times a night to feed her and changed the vast majority of the diapers. I take her to the doctor and make sure she eats well. I buy her clothes and everything else she needs (and lots of stuff she doesn't need). I read to her at night. I floss her teeth. I laugh at the "Guess what? Chicken butt!" joke every time she tells it. I hug her tightly every day of her life and tell her that I love her with all my heart.

What, exactly, do I need to do in order to be her "real" mother? Hmm, Ira Glass?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You've got what in your what?

You remember the Peanuts comic strip, right? That not-funny-at-all but somehow endearing piece of Americana? And you remember how Lucy used to hold the football for Charlie Brown and then yank it away at the last second, causing Charlie Brown to fly ass over teakettle across the next few frames? A similar scene played itself out in our backyard yesterday.

After weeks of crappy weather, the universe finally rewarded us with a spate of warm, sunny days. My daughter likes to play soccer in the back yard with the dogs. Our back yard is fenced, but not terribly large. I pick up the poop as frequently as I can, but with three largish dogs running around back there, there will always be a pile somewhere. And A will always step in it. We've asked her to watch out for the dog doo, but her feet are drawn to the turds like moths to the flame. We've even tried a little reverse psychology on her: "Hey, be sure to step in some poop while you're out there!" She scowls and says she never steps in poop, but an hour later you'll find me soaking her flip-flops in the utility tub downstairs.

We had a beautiful sunny afternoon yesterday, and as usual she headed out back to play with the dogs. I should add that she does have other outdoor options. She's got a brand new sandbox. She's got a swing hanging from a tree in the side yard. Her brand new scooter is sitting unused in the garage. Her bike hasn't seen much action either. Her preference, it seems, is to play ball with the pooches.

I was inside, putting away laundry and such. I could see her and hear her in the back yard, as she and Kaiser (our foster dog) ran back and forth with the Scooby-Doo ball. (Kaiser plays defense.) All seemed to be fine. However, a few minutes later, she appeared at the back door yelling, "Mama! Mama!"

I opened the sliding glass door. She was bent forward at the waist and her hair was hanging down into her face. There, on the back of her skull, was a tremendous glob of poop. It was approximately the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. There was a smear on her back as well. "What happened?" I asked.

She explained that she had tried to kick the ball and had missed. The next thing she knew, her feet were in the air and she was flat on her back. In poop.

I wasn't even sure where to start. She reeked, of course. I tried to keep it low-key because I think she was already pretty horrified about her predicament. I couldn't figure out how to get her dress off without smearing poop around even more, so I took off her shoes and her leggings and put her in the shower with her dress on. I rinsed the biggest glob out of her hair (her beautiful curls! full of dookie!) and then got the dress off. There were also bits of grass stuck to the poop. I then washed and conditioned her hair and handed her a Little Mermaid washcloth so she could clean up the rest of her.

A few minutes later, she had freshly combed hair, was in a clean dress, and was happily watching Phineas & Ferb. I'm sure there's some moral to this story, some little nugget of wisdom you can take away from it all, but I just don't know what that would be.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I tried to like him, really I did

I have a profound dislike for my OB/GYN. In his defense, there probably is not an OB/GYN on the planet who could win me over. When you miscarry four times, you learn to hate the stirrups even more than the women who don't have fertility issues. When I first moved to town, I chose an OB/GYN from a list provided by my insurance. At first, I didn't mind Dr. S. But then, I got pregnant and things went downhill from there. I told him that something was wrong, because I had been bleeding. I asked for an ultrasound. He told me that I was worrying needlessly. He said "You're a first time mom! You're supposed to worry!" Then he went on to tell me that ultrasounds weren't shown to have any effect on the success or failure of a pregnancy. He refused to send me next door to the hospital for the ultrasound. A couple weeks later, I began to bleed heavily on a Saturday and went to the clinic. Dr. S wasn't in that day, but Dr. B broke the news to me that I had indeed miscarried. Dr. B performed my D&C that day, and was very kind and compassionate. So, I broke up with Dr. S and started seeing Dr. B thereafter. However, about a year later I had another miscarriage on Dr. B's watch.

I decided that maybe I would fare better with an OB/GYN who's got a vagina. I wanted to get to the bottom of why I was not able to carry a pregnancy to term. At first, she seemed helpful. She ran lots of tests. I was tested for Lupus, hypothyroidism, and a few other medical conditions. I became pregnant for the third time in 2002. This attempt was not a go either. I repeated the same scenario in 2003, but this time with a twist. Dr. K sent me to the hospital to have an ultrasound, but the technician was not permitted to tell me the results. I was told that Dr. K would call me within the hour. Many hours went by and finally I called the office myself, because it was the start of a holiday weekend and if I didn't talk to her that day, I'd have to wait three days. She admitted she'd forgotten to call me. Yes, she forgot to call and tell me my baby had died. That was the last straw for me. I couldn't believe a doctor could be that incompetent and careless. How come nobody cared? Four miscarriages and no one gives a rat's ass? I was beyond frustrated.

Sometime thereafter, I ended my quest to give birth. However, I would still need a gynecologist, of course. I decided to go back to Dr. B, the doctor who'd been so kind to me when I had my first loss. Things were going fine until he had the audacity to retire. So, I ended up with Dr. D, who was part of the same practice and is still my doctor today.

So, what is my beef with my current doctor? Well, a couple of things. The first is the form I have to fill out every time I go in. It asks how many pregnancies I've had, how many live births, and how many living children I've got. So I answer: 4, 0, 1. This baffles the nurse and the doctor every year. How could I have a living child if I've never carried a pregnancy to term? At the risk of sounding like a third grader: duh. The wording on the form is just sort of insensitive and it irritates moi. My second beef is that Dr. D continues to bring up his belief that I have the same odds of having a healthy pregnancy now as I would have if I'd never had a single miscarriage. We have the same argument every year like clockwork. I've shown him a photo of my daughter. I've explained that I have a child, I have no desire to give birth. He still doesn't get it. He doesn't think I could possibly know my own body and what it can and cannot do. I stopped taking the pill last summer (not in an attempt to get pregnant, but rather an attempt to alleviate a different medical condition that was exacerbated by the pill). So yeah, a year with no protection. Honestly, I am not worried about it at all. I'm 40 and even if I wanted to have a child, my fertility is plummeting by the second. I know there will be no baby.

You may wonder why I don't leave and find a different doctor. Well, I really only have to tolerate him once a year. Also, I've already worn out several OB/GYN clinics here in town (burned a couple of bridges, in other words). This isn't a big enough town that I can just keep shopping for a decent doctor indefinitely. Sometimes I wonder if it is just me being a difficult and/or demanding patient. I've also worked my way through every dermatology clinic in town, after finally settling on a doctor that I really, really like.

Anyway, I had my annual exam with Dr. D on Friday. Because, you know, I always like to start the weekend off with a bang by putting my feet in those stirrups. I knew he was going to bring up the M word and he did. "We recommend a mammogram," he said, handing me a slip of paper with a number I'd need in order to schedule the mammogram at the hospital.

Later that evening, I talked to my friend Kathy about the mammogram and at first she started to tell me that it's not really all that bad and then I guess she remembered that it is exactly that bad. "It does kinda suck," she conceded. Ah, what are friends for, eh?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This one is all over the place

Me and my brown son

I'm having a relatively quiet week and, as such, don't have a lot to blather on about. I am speaking at church on Sunday, so I'm trying to get my act together for that. My friend Beth and I are speaking on the topic of "Building a Family: DNA Not Required." We are actually running the whole service; we chose the readings and the hymns and all that jazz. I'm reading the "Story for All Ages." Well, if the book I ordered arrives in time. It's called "The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairytale."

I've never told A's birth story out loud before, so it will be interesting. My friend Beth adopted a sibling group of three from Poland (all at once). I have a lot of admiration for her, because it was all I could do to handle one child! I mean, mine didn't speak English either but that's because she was a squalling newborn. However, I have been truly amazed at how quickly Beth's children have learned the language over the past couple of years. Kids, they're like sponges.

Speaking of moms and kids, I did have a nice Mother's Day. As you may recall, P had botched two of the five Mother's Days that had passed prior to this year. There was some botching this year, but it was of my own doing. As for gifts, I received a nice musical card (the kid is obsessed with cards that play music). This one plays "How Sweet it is to be Loved by You." She drew a picture of the two of us inside the card, both of us wearing dresses, of course. They also got me an iTunes gift card. I've spent part of it. I downloaded some music from The New Pornographers, Yeasayer, and Jonsi, but haven't figured out what else to buy yet. I have to chuckle when I look at the Genius recommendations from iTunes. Since I have a fair amount of children's music on my iPod, iTunes keeps insisting that I would really enjoy buying the Pocahontas soundtrack. Good try, iTunes. I'm still mad at you for suggesting I might like "The Best of Paul Anka" a few weeks ago.

Anyway, the part of Mother's Day that got botched was lunch. I took the kid to church and then spent some time online, digging around to figure out where we should go. I thought it might be fun to go somewhere we'd never been. I selected a casual nearby restaurant that listed a vegetarian black bean burger on its menu. Better yet, moms ate free on Mother's Day. Woot! We hopped in the coolmobile and headed over.

We were seated promptly, but then ignored promptly. After ten minutes or so, our server finally acknowledged us and took our order. Since my lunch would be free, I splurged on a fancy drink (a Rosetta) and we got an appetizer as well. We didn't see our server for long stretches at a time, but eventually everything made it to our table. Then the bill came. As it turned out, my food was only free if I chose from the "entree" section of the menu. Would you like to guess how many dishes were listed in that section? Five. Would you like to guess how many of those were meatless? One, the "beer cheese" macaroni and cheese topped with breadcrumbs. Would you like to guess how many calories were in that bugger? I don't know either, but I'm guessing it's in the millions. That's why I passed it up and opted for the black bean burger (which came with carrots instead of fries). The two dishes cost the same, $9.50. When I asked the server about the bill, she advised me that I'd ordered from the "burger" section and not the "entree" section. When I, in turn, advised her that I am a vegetarian and wanted the black bean burger, she checked with the manager and then came back with the news that if I had selected the macaroni and cheese, it would have been free. Grrrrr

I should mention that I really don't think I am a difficult customer. I'm generally pretty easygoing when I eat out. My stad has been in restaurant management ever since I can remember. If anything, this makes me more tolerant of little things like the kitchen running out of an ingredient, a moderate wait for a table, etc. However, I don't have a high tolerance for excessively slow service and a "take it or leave it" attitude from management.

We paid our bill in full and vowed never to come back. When I got home, I wrote a letter to the manager and yes, I mailed it. I just wanted him to know that he sucks, in case he wasn't aware of it. I also printed a page from their website (and attached it to the letter) which clearly stated that moms ate free with the purchase of an adult meal - a page that made no mention of some requirement that the free meal come from some small sub-section of the menu. Oh, and just for good measure, I posted a bad review on Google and on a restaurant site. They messed with the wrong vegetarian, man.

So, that's my Mother's Day tale. I haven't had much drama since then. For a final bit of randomness, I got my haircut and requested bangs. Yes, I know I only recently grew them out, but I just didn't think I should keep subjecting people to my naked forehead. I've had approximately the same haircut since I was five.

I'll try to find something more meaningful to talk about next week. Until then, here is one of the songs I bought. I think you'll agree: it rocks.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Summer Goals

When I lost my job at the end of 2009, I also lost all of my vacation time (I was up to 5 1/2 weeks of vacation after 13 1/2 years on the job). I'm exceedingly fortunate to have a new job but am still mourning the death of my vacation accrual. ("Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . . .") So, needless to say, I won't be taking any elaborate vacations this summer. But, I do plan to rock the hell out of every weekend. I have just about every weekend planned from now until Labor Day, because you know I like to schedule fun and not leave anything to chance or spontaneity.

Aside from hitting every festival I can find, I also have a few goals for the summer:

1. See a live concert if it kills me. I am always scanning the concert calendars and listings, but when a show comes along that I want to see, it's either two hours away on a Thursday night (and you know I'm way too much of a pussy to stay out all night on a workday) or the ticket price is comparable to my car payment. But, I'm going to try harder to get to a show this summer. The bigger challenge might be to find someone to accompany me to a concert.
2. Purchase and prepare a vegetable that's unfamiliar to me. Yes, I know I said this last summer, but I'm going to try again. Yes, I sometimes leave the summertime farmers' market with nothing but a glass of Riesling in my belly and a bag of kettle corn under my arm, but really, I am capable of accomplishing something more meaningful at the market. I swear it.
3. Work on getting my dogs out of the crate while we're at work. I'd like for them to have the freedom to roam the house while we're gone, but Gideon has some degree of separation anxiety and every time we've tried it in the past, he has made a bad decision of some sort (such as tearing down the custom blinds in the front window). Gretchen is a few years younger but is in some ways more trustworthy. Part of my incentive is that we have a smallish house and I hate having crates everywhere. We'll see.
4. Finally, try to get back to my goal weight. I had the nerve to show my face at Weight Watchers yesterday, and I'm feeling pretty motivated. It's certainly easier to be active in the summertime. I'm anxious to get my bike out, but it actually snowed here on Tuesday so I'll need the weather to be a wee bit more cooperative first.

In honor of the coming season, here is a summerish song, "Summertime Clothes" by Animal Collective. I actually find the video a bit disturbing for some reason, so listen to the song but close your eyes or something.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Little Miss Modesty

My daughter had her five-year exam on Tuesday. She wasn't thrilled to go, so I plied her with a snack beforehand. Needless to say, I didn't tell her that she was likely to receive some immunizations at this visit. In additional to a reluctant child, I also brought along a form from the school district that needed to be signed by the pediatrician in order to enroll A in Kindergarten.

As is the custom, she was weighed and measured before the exam. I can't remember her weight offhand (38 pounds, maybe?) but her height was 40.25 inches. She grew exactly three inches since last year's annual exam. While this still puts her in the 10th percentile, her doctor says she's fine as long as she is, in fact, growing. I did a little calculation this morning. Let's say she will grow three inches per year for the next eight years (assuming she will stop growing when she hits puberty). That would put her adult height at around 5 feet 4 inches. I have maintained all along that even though she is petite now, I don't think she's going to be a remarkably short adult. I just hate to see her fretting about her untall stature now.

Dr. Alexander examined the kid and asked her a few questions. Then he asked me if I had any concerns. I mentioned that I've noticed she still has a slight lisp but that I wasn't too worried about it at this time. I really couldn't think of anything to ask. I have always felt incredibly fortunate that my daughter is so healthy.

Finally, when I could stall no more, I broke it to A that she would need a couple of immunizations. To be honest, I actually found the process easier when she was a baby. There's no point in explaining hypodermic needles to an infant, so you don't. The baby cries and then, if you're lucky, crashes early that night. Five-year-olds, however, understand needles. When the nurse came in, I did my best to play up the fact that A would receive a couple of band-aids. She is obsessed with band-aids, so I thought this might sweeten the deal a bit. I can't say it was that much of an incentive after all. I held her hands while she got a couple of quick pokes and 90 seconds later she was wiping her eyes and digging into a bag of loot the nurse gave her (bubbles, crayons, etc.) Dr. Alexander saw her in the hall as we exited and tried to wave good-bye, but she just gave him a foul look. I advised him that he'd slipped several points in the polls after this visit.

The real fun came when we left the exam room. She picked a sticker out of the sticker bin and then headed into the waiting room, where she trotted up to the first random family she could find. She lifted her dress all the way up and pointed to the Tweety Bird band-aids on her thighs. "I got shot!" she exclaimed. The mom frowned and expressed her sympathy, while the dad probably wondered if he should be looking at a little girl's Minnie Mouse underwear.

As I loaded her into the van, I called her dad so that she could tell him about her traumatic experience. We then drove to the post office so that I could mail a Mother's Day gift. A woman was walking out of the building as we were headed in, so A stopped her to show her the band-aids. Then she displayed them to a man who came out after that. "Why couldn't I have insisted she wore pants today?" I wondered to myself. Once inside the post office, we stood in line for a moment before a postal employee waved us over to his window. He started to ask me the "liquid/perishable/hazardous" question about my box, when my adorable little cherub again threw her skirt up and showed her band-aided thighs to the man who was weighing my box, as well as displaying them for the postal employee at the next window. "I got shot at the doctor!"

The second man leaned over the counter. "You got shot at the doctor?" he asked. "I thought people only get shot at the post office!"

"Ha ha! Industry humor!" I responded.

He handed my daughter a "priority mail" sticker to go with the Dora sticker she'd selected at the clinic. She proudly slapped it onto her chest next to the other one. We then left the post office, and, fortunately, did not encounter any additional strangers on the way home. She couldn't wait to get home and show her near-fatal wounds to her dad.

"How did it go?" he asked as she burst through the door from the garage.

"Well," I responded, "Do you want the version with her flashing strangers or without?"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

So, have you seen this thingamajig?

We took the kid to a hotel with a water park inside to celebrate her birthday last weekend. It was a "kid suite," which included a separate area with a set of bunk beds, a desk, and a television mounted on the wall (so that it could be viewed from the top bunk). A was thrilled. The only drawback was that the remote control for our TV also worked for her TV. You can imagine the hilarity that ensued with that. "Mama, turn it back! I have to watch Nick-you-low-dee-on!"

Another feature of this hotel: an energy card. Have you seen these? Basically, the key card that gets you in the door also turns on your electricity. You put your card in a slot just inside the front door (after you enter the room), which then enables the electricity. The goal is to keep you from being a douche and leaving on every possible light and appliance in your room when you depart. In theory, you have to take your key card with you (otherwise, you can't get back in) and in doing so, you turn off the power to the joint. I thought the whole deal was pretty clever.

I'm not the type to waste electricity at home or elsewhere, so I didn't really need to be forced to conserve energy, but I can see how it would work for some folks . . . such as, the folks who live in my house. Granted, I do get a little over-zealous about turning out lights sometimes. I've been known to shut off the bathroom light while my daughter is pinching a loaf. "Mama! You did it agaaaaaaain!" I hear in a sing-songy voice. I also turn off lights while my husband is reading comics. I may or may not do that one on purpose.

The hotel's water park was a lot of fun. It was packed, of course. I read a copy of The Onion while P made sure the kid didn't drown. (This archived headline cracked me up.) We wrapped up the festivities with a cake, which was delicious. When I called the bakery to place the order (about a week before), it was clear to me that the order-taker's native tongue was not English. I must've spelled my daughter's name eight times. However, the cake was perfect. I was almost disappointed, as I'd hoped I'd have a doozy that I could submit to Cake Wrecks. Ah well, there's always next year.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Well, it's an honor just to be nominated

Many thanks to The Radioactive Vegan for bestowing upon me a Sunshine Award. I tend to be pretty cynical, and this is the first time someone has accused me of casting sunshine about. Next thing you know, I'll be pulling kittens out of sewers and helping old ladies across the street. Wait, I am an old lady. Okay, never mind.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Is that you, baby girl?

Happy fifth birthday to my beautiful, curly-haired, feisty, bossy, smart, funny girl. I could swear I just brought you home from the hospital, but here you are. Five. Sometimes, even now, I watch you sleep. I listen to your measured breathing and brush a rogue curl from your forehead. I whisper into your sleeping ear; I tell you that I will always love you and that you are my dream come true. I don't know how I got so lucky as to be your mom, but even if I perished tomorrow, I am so glad that I will have known that joy. However, I hope I don't perish tomorrow, because I have seen how your father dresses you when I am not around.

What I want to remember about you at this age:
  • You still botch just about every joke you try to tell. You tell the first half of one knock-knock joke and then end it with the punchline from a different knock-knock joke. Of course, we laugh anyway.
  • You have started to think outside yourself a bit, and often consider what might make other people happy. The other day, you picked up a dandelion whose yellow petals had turned to white fluff. "Here, Mama," you said, "Make a wish." I blew the white fluff into the afternoon breeze. "I know what you wished for," you said. "Glass slippers." You often compliment me or give me a kiss and hug out of the blue.
  • You are desperate to do "big girl" things. You love to watch Nickelodeon, or nick-you-low-dee-on, as you pronounce it. Right now there is a "tween song" that keeps playing between shows. I don't let you watch iCarly, but you know exactly who Miranda Cosgrove is, and you know every word of the song she sings. Even the lyric "when I'm kissin' you," which makes me cringe a little. You're lucky your dad has not caught on to this yet.
  • You sometimes talk to me like I have the IQ of a squirrel. Last night you handed me a slip of paper on which you had written "YMCA." You are currently taking dance classes at the YMCA, and you said that maybe I wouldn't remember to drive you there on Thursday if you didn't write it down for me. Listen, kid, I know I am 40, but I do have a few brain cells left.
  • You're starting to have a better understanding of what it means to be adopted, though you still haven't asked a lot of questions. Recently, you told me that you are going to adopt a baby when you are 17. I tried to explain to you that they don't really allow children to adopt other children. However, I also made sure to add that maybe, when you are a grown-up, you will have a baby in your tummy. Or maybe you will adopt a baby. Or maybe you will do both.
  • You are very petite for your age. You very much want to be bigger. You believe that something magical will happen when you turn five and that I'll have to replace all of your shoes, because you will have grown exponentially overnight. I truly believe that you will be an average-sized adult, but for now, you are petite. What worries me about your current stature is that I don't want people to assume you are younger and, therefore, to baby you. You don't like this either.
  • You still think bodily functions are hilarious. Fortunately, your father thinks bodily functions are hilarious also. Nothing is funnier than a fart, apparently.
  • You are very girlie, but know the name of every super hero there is.
  • You only want to wear dresses and are getting more particular about your clothes. Sometimes when I hold up an outfit that I want you to wear, you say, "That's not fashion." It's like living with a miniature Heidi Klum.
  • You are afraid to do anything physically adventurous. We almost bought you a scooter for your birthday, but you never mastered the skates or the bike we bought you. You practiced a bit with your cousin Liam's scooter while we were in Virginia, but you got mad and kicked it every time you suspected you might fall. I believe your fear of falling is also the reason you were such a late walker. We're pretty sure you won't be an Olympic athlete, but we still have full confidence in your ability to allow your mind and your gregarious personality to take you through life successfully.
Happy birthday, baby girl. I love you.