Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope your day is filled with peace, joy, family, and laughter :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Climbing the Mountain

A couple of weeks ago, I was so overwhelmed looking at my Christmas To Do List. I'm making progress climbing that mountain, thankfully, but I can't say I've been knocked down with the spirit of the holidays like I was last year. I'm enjoying in in a different, quieter way this year. A few Christmas carols make me cry every single time I hear them. Sitting in the dark looking at my Christmas tree is my favorite activity most days. Laying on the couch to watch A Christmas Carol sounds like the most festive thing I'm up for. I've been thinking about Mary and her Baby more than matching wrapping paper, which is more appropriate I suppose, but man! I was so excited about my wrapping paper last year! This year the baking got done, but it felt a bit like a chore. The cards went out, and I was happy to see them go, but I'm not rushing to the mail box everyday to gather in ones received. The shopping is done, and I only have Jeb left to wrap for, but even the thought of all that wrapping left to do makes me tired. Last year I enjoyed wrapping so much, I was actually disappointed when it was done. It's not that I'm not happy, or enjoying this Christmas Season, I'm just floating on the water instead of playing in the waves.

So, my list now looks like:

1 throw a birthday party -- big giant check.
2 buy and finish Christmas cards -- done.
3 shop for everybody -- done.
4 wrap everything -- 75% done.
5 bake 6 dozen cookies for a cookie-trading-thing at work -- never baking another cookie, aka DONE.
6 get a Christmas tree -- check.
7 decorate the tree/house/etc -- everything looks fabu.
8 work more than I want to -- yawn.
9 all the other regular shit that has to get done in a household -- ongoing, double yawn.

I have to work Friday night AND Saturday night (growl), so I told Jeb that Santa is coming Sat night and we will have our Christmas Sunday morning when I get home. I'll then sleep for a few hours and family will come over in the late afternoon for a relatively simple holiday meal.

Simplified, that's the word for my feeling this year. It's working for me.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Coming Out

I'm pregnant. There, I said it. I'm 7w5d today, due July 30.

I've been debating how to come out about it here, as I know pregnancy announcements are a sensitive subject in the adoption community.

I'm not going to get obnoxious about it, I promise.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jeb's birth story. (long)

Jeb will be 3 tomorrow. My baby. Three. (sigh)

I wrote this years ago, but thought it was a good time to post :)

I never thought I'd make it to my due date, let alone go 15 days over. Having been an L&D nurse, I was all too aware of the risks of induction, and of hospital birth in general. I chose a midwife for my care, and specifically chose a hospital that was natural-friendly even though it would cost considerably more than going to a different facility. So, at 41 weeks I was getting really nervous. I started trying my own "induction" methods: walking, sex, spicey food, eggplant, evening primrose oil, relaxing, talking to the baby, bouncing on the birth ball, castor oil, enema, and even cohosh. Nothing worked. I had been contracting on and off for weeks; it felt like I could kick into active labor at any minute, but I didn't. By 41w5d, I was so deflated, exhausted, nervous, and uncomfortable. I agreed to come in for a cervidil induction at 42w, as I didn't feel comfortable going past that. It was such a hard decision; I knew how quickly the cascade of interventions could happen, and in the back of my mind was a tiny voice wondering what if my body just won't labor? I had been preparing for a natural birth for months, I'd had such faith in my body and the birthing process, why wasn't it happening? What if it just wouldn't? I hated the doubt. I hated that my faith was being shaken.

Somehow I got some sleep the night before we went in for the induction. Clothes, music, snacks, and cell phones were packed and ready to go. The car seat was in the car. I had a little moment of panic standing in the nursery before i went to bed. We would be bringing a BABY home in a few short days! It didn't last long though, being on the cusp of 42 weeks, I just wanted to not be pregnant. We woke up at 5 the next morning, and i took my last pregnant shower. For days leading up to this one, I had wondered is this my last pregnant shower? Now I knew: this was the last one. I spent an extra moment washing my belly and imagining my babe out of my body and in my arms. On our way out, I had bennett take one last picture of me pregnant, we loaded the car, and left. It was still dark as we drove, both of us so full of anticipation. I stared out the window and felt sad that things were already going differently than i had planned, or hoped. During my pregnancy, I had fantasized about laboring at home before going to the hospital. I pictured myself in the nursery, in the tub, breathing and moaning through contractions on the birthing ball. I pictured bennett and I walking through our neighborhood, leaves crunching beneath our feet, stopping on the sidewalk during contractions. I wondered what drivers-by would think, and imagined reassuring bennett that i was ok, that this was all normal. And here I was driving in for an induction.

We arrived on the L&D unit with all of our bags and Important Things. 2 nurses got us settled and admitted in record time. I mused about how nurses help each other with a 6am admission: no one wants to be stuck there late after a night shift. I tried not to let on that I was a nurse, let alone that I had been an L&D nurse. My midwife came in, and placed the cervidil noting that my cervix was still only 50% and 1cm. I thought the cervidil would surely put me into labor as I had continued contracting all night and had even passed some pink mucous. So we began waiting. I made sure to drink fluids regularly. Bennett paced. We watched tv. We each took a short nap. My contractions were showing up nicely on the monitor, but were not very painful. Around 11am, the baby started having some late decelerations. They were the kind you see in the text books: very little variability, the decel starts as the contraction is ending and takes awhile to recover. A nurse came in the room just as I was expecting. I changed positions, which helped. Bennett was hopeful that the tracing looked better, but I was nervous. The baby was having trouble tolerating these contractions and I wasn't even in labor. I kept thinking about my "old" placenta. At that time I honestly believed I had about a 50/50 chance of getting sectioned.

The day dragged on. The baby would occasionally have some nasty looking decels, but always recovered with position changes. I could tell that the nurses were nervous. at 4pm Nadine (midwife) came to check me. I was 2cm, but I think she was being generous. She offered to do another cervidil, or rupture my water. She assured me that the head was well applied, so I opted for the rupture. She had to be somewhere late morning the next day, and I really wanted her to deliver me because I felt the covering OB would surely not be as laid back as Nadine about some decels. So she broke my water, which was pretty uncomfortable, but I wanted so desperately to get into labor. After the my water was broken, I got out of bed and sat in the rocker. my contractions got more painful pretty quickly. We called my doula and agreed that she should come in within the hour. I filled her in on some of the heart rate issues, and she said to me "it's time that you stop being the nurse, and start being the laboring mother". I took those words to heart and didn't look at the monitor again. She got to our room around 7pm and I was having to breath through the contractions, but they still weren't difficult. We walked for some time, bounced on a birth ball for some time, and she showed bennett how to give me some acupressure. At first i thought the acupressure was kind of lame, but it really worked. So much so that during one contraction I pushed Bennett's hands away. We continued alternating between walking and bouncing for several hours. I kept up with my fluids and sneaked snacks. I hated going to the bathroom, as the following contractions were always more intense. We listened to Donovan, and reminisced about being teenagers together. I went on the monitor for 15 min out of every hour, and the baby was cooperating beautifully. I was constantly checking in with the baby, reminding him that he was safe, and that we would work together to have a beautiful birth.

The contractions started demanding my attention around 9pm and I was so glad to see nadine at 11pm to check me. I was terrified that there would be no change. I could handle the pain as long as I knew it was doing something. I was 90% and 3-4. I was elated! From my first prenatal appt, Nadine maintained that "once you get effaced, your labor is going to fly." That cervical exam brought on a wave of contractions that I had to moan through for the first time. I remembered to make low pitched noises; it was one of the only things I remembered from class. The baby's heartrate went to the 80s with a few contractions, but again recovered with position changes. I agreed to stay on the monitor for some time. I spent the next 2 hours in the bed on the monitor moaning with contractions. I visualized an eggplant with each contraction. I pictured holding it in my hands with my thumbs on the top of the fat part and my fingers on the thin part and pushing the bulk through the smaller "neck" while pulling back the skin. Tt's a hard visual to explain, but it seemed similar to pushing down on my fundus and pulling my cervix up and back, allowing the baby through. I focused on staying soft and limp and allowing each contraction to do its work. I concentrated on keeping my mouth loose and relaxing completely in between contractions. I got that "woozy" laborland feeling. At 1am Nadine came back to check me, and I was anxious to get in the water. I was 4-5 cm and completely effaced, so I headed to the tub.

As i lowered myself into the warm water, I thought I was in heaven. I could handle anything in there! It was bliss! Bennett sat next to the tub through a few contractions that were starting to push me to the edge. He remarked that Melissa (doula) and Nadine were commenting on how awesome I was doing. I said "really? because I feel like any one of these might make me lose it." My stomach was starting to feel uneasy, and my gatorade-water mix no longer sounded good. I wanted small sips of water. Ice cold water. The nurse did some intermittent doppler-ing, and it took all of my concentration to stay in control and not bat her hand away. I don't know why, but her touching me made EVERYTHING hurt more. I asked "is it going low?" she said no and I almost yelled "then get your freaking hands off of me!". I had been in the tub for maybe 15 minutes when I started having that I-can't-do-this feeling. I got on hands and knees in the water, but it didn't help. I started saying over and over that I couldn't do it, that I didn't care about going natural anymore, I just wanted it to stop. Melissa tried bargaining with me: just 5 more contractions and then I would get out of the tub. It worked in the sense that I needed something to fight against, I needed to argue with someone. Then I started throwing up. Bennett brought me a tiny spit basin and I looked at him and threw up all over his chest and extended arm. None made it into the basin. I threw up all over Melissa's arm and felt terrible about it. Finally she put a pile of towels in front of me which was exactly what I wanted but couldn't say with all the puke coming out of my mouth. I threw up into the towel pile and was just pummeled with wave after wave of crazy contractions. I didn't know when one was ending and the next starting. I thought I was dying, and then realized I wasn't, but wanted to. I was panicking, but also knew it was normal. I looked at Bennett and mustered all of my strength to gather the control to "check in" with him. I aked him if I was scaring him and he said no, but his eyes said yes. I told him I was going to be okay, and then I was sucked back down. I was terrified of thinking I was in transition. What if this hell wasn't transition? The thought was too scary. I started begging for a new plan. Something, anything. Nadine showed up and I told her I wanted a gun. She said with a big smile "oh! when women ask for a gun they are usually 8-9 cm!" She told me to get out of the tub and into bed and she would check me. I agreed, only on the terms that if I were anything less than 8 cm, I would get drugs. I even commanded them to get the OR ready. "call anesthesia! intubate me! I don't care!"

Somehow I made it to the bed. Being upright was much easier than hands and knees. I got into bed and Nadine checked me, sure enough, I was 8-9 cm. I got a huge smile and actually laughed. I looked and Bennett and said "oh my god, I'm going NATURAL!" I knew there was no turning back and was elated, but also frightened: there was no turning back. By this time it was 2am. I went from 4/5 cm to 8/9 cm in one crazy, intense hour. I spent the next 40 minutes working on that last cm or two. Not one position helped. The contractions spaced out a bit (they had been every 2-3 minutes for hours), but when one hit, I screamed to Jesus for dear mercy. Melissa tried everything. They told me to surrender and give in to my baby's descent. I told them I didn't care about a baby. They told me to relax and stay soft. I told them I was already doing my best and that everything was involuntary, I had no control anymore. Finally I got into a position to push. The position that felt the best was actually on my back, pulling my knees back. I didn't feel any great urge to push, I just wanted to get this over with already. Although, when I started a push, my body would then take over. It took me a few contractions, which were now a good 4 or 5 min part, to organize a good pushing groove. I was out of my head by this time, I felt like I was going to pass out. All of a sudden, my mouth was bone dry, and I couldn't talk. Melissa wiped my head with a cold cloth and i thought she was a genius. Never in my life had I had a need fulfilled so perfectly without asking. She gave me ice chips, and Bennett stroked my head. When a contraction would come I would whimper and dig down for strength I didn't believe was there, but it was. I was holding back a bit though, it felt like I would break in two if I pushed the way they were telling me to. Finally, with one contraction, I made the decision to push with reckless abandon, and POP his head came out. I looked up at Melissa in sheer terror, it was the most unnatural feeling I have ever experienced. A few seconds later I felt someone adjust my bed, Nadine was looking at the monitor, and the vibe in the room changed. Nadine looked at me and told me to get this baby out, now. I thought there was a stuck shoulder. It was a tight nuchal cord. I gave one last heave, and he came out. I thought for sure i had ripped from my meatus to my anus, but I was actually somehow completely intact. I fell back in bliss and just said over and over I did it, I did it. Bennett leaned into my face with tears in his eyes, and said "it's a boy!". I did it. I did it. They put Jeb on my chest for a moment, and he was blue. His first apgar was a whopping 5, so they took him to perk him up a bit. I sent Bennett over to take pictures and meet his son. I was suddenly more concerned with Bennett getting to see him than anything else. I felt like I'd had the pregnancy and birth, and these first moments were for him. I birthed the placenta, which hurt more than I was expecting. Jeb was brought to me and latched on beautifully. We made phone calls and revelled in our son. He was born at 3:19, and by 4:30, I was up to the bathroom and putting my own clothes on. I felt a little sore, but so great, so high. I did it. I did it. Bennett fell into a deep sleep around 5. The nurses were done with me for a while, and the room was cleaned up and calm and quiet. A glowing mama, and wrinkled newborn were the only evidence that birth had just happened in that very space. I held Jeb and we gazed at each other for over an hour as the sky changed from night to dawn. The sun was rising on a new life. His new life and mine. I declined the erythro ointment, and I am so glad I did. He was wide eyed for hours, and we just poured our souls into each other. It was the most perfect, sacred hour of my life.

For several days I didn't know what to think about natural birth. I felt a little bit traumatized, and couldn't remember why I had wanted to do this thing. Looking back, I'm so glad I did. I really believe I would have been sectioned if I'd had an an epidural and couldn't move around. I also believe it absolutely gave us a unique bond . I'd already been to the darkest, most miraculous place for him, before we'd even met. And the fast recovery was awesome. I am so proud of myself, and look forward to doing it again, hopefully at home next time:)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

(almost) 3 year olds say the funniest shit.

Last weekend Bennett, Jeb and I went out to eat at a casual restaurant. After we ate, Jeb had to use the bathroom, so I took him.

I helped him go, and then I took my turn. Another woman was using the stall next to us.

Just as I went to wipe, Jeb yells:

What are you doing to your VAGINA, mommy?!

I would have been embarrassed if it weren't so damn funny.

(btw, Jeb is often with me when I pee, this was nothing he hadn't seen many times!)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

.... and don't forget to hang up your sock.

Thanksgiving was very good. Chaotic, but good. I have much to be thankful for everyday, and I love honoring it all in an extra special way on Thanksgiving. It's actually my favorite holiday. I love that it doesn't have the stress of Christmas, and it's more about family, food and football.

And now it's officially The Christmas Season. I've had a harder time getting into the spirit this year than last. Man, was I loving every minute of the Christmas Season last year. I was so looking forward to a repeat experience, and I'm dragging my feet admitting I'm not quite there this year. I am loving the music, and so looking forward to our family traditions, but underneath the excitement is a big giant feeling of tired. I feel like I'm standing at the base of a mountain, looking up. I know I'll enjoy the hike once I get going, but I am totally overwhelmed looking at the darn mountain. I have exactly 2 weekends off between now and Christmas, and a few weekdays off. In that time, I have to:

1 throw a birthday party
2 buy and finish Christmas cards
3 shop for everybody
4 wrap everything
5 bake 6 dozen cookies for a cookie-trading-thing at work
6 get a Christmas tree
7 decorate the tree/house/ect
8 work more than I want to
9 all the other regular shit that has to get done in a household

I don't remember feeling as overwhelmed last year, but my list was essentially the same. I am looking forward to doing each individual thing on my list (except maybe numbers 8 & 9). I am super excited about Jeb's birthday, obviously. I love writing and sending Christmas cards. My gift-list is almost complete, so the shopping really won't be that tough. I enjoy wrapping presents. I enjoy baking, especially with Jeb. I LOVE putting up the Christmas tree, however finding a spot to put the toy box temporarily will be a challenge. Each activity is fun, but all together? Overwhelm. I'm disappointed in myself for not feeling more gung-ho.

It's probably just a matter of inertia, and once I get going I'll be more excited.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just a small, but huge moment.

Jeb is currently upstairs playing alone in his bedroom.

Just in case you didn't read that right, or understand the magnitude, I'll say it again: JEB IS CURRENTLY UPSTAIRS PLAYING ALONE IN HIS BEDROOM.

He is chattering to himself, playing with toys, drawing on his whiteboard, and generally occupying himself. This is amazing. And very new.

I'm thrilled. Not just for the spontaneous precious down time for me, that's only about 10% of why I'm happy. I'm so happy for him. He's a mama's boy, a clingy kind of kid, he stays close. For him to be alone, and happy, and to do this voluntarily, is HUGE. I am so excited for him to develop this skill, this ability to be alone but not lonely.

It seems so small, but this is so big for my boy. I am so happy for him :)

(*eta, so in my extra down time I started to play around with my template, but am now called away, and I don't think I like it yet. work in progress.....)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pretty Boring

The boys are both asleep, and I should be too, but the quiet and stillness of the house is too much to resist.

So, I blog.

I'm closing in on 1 year of blogging (!), and I've so enjoyed looking back on my own "recordings". I love reading old posts, and remembering. I love that adoption issues are certainly present in my posts, but not dominant. I feel like I've integrated my experience as a birthmom into my life, and I think the blog definitely reflects that it is Just One Hat.

So, in that vein, here are some average, boring, glimpses into life this week:

Husband's business is doing well, but he is overwhelmed and stressed with figuring out the "plan" to execute the snow removal contracts he has for this winter. We had sleet/rain/snow/slush last night, which left him frantic today. It will all come together, but these are tough days for him. I try to be supportive and positive, but there is so much of the business I don't understand, so I wind up giving very cliche, very lame "advice". I couldn't be LESS stressed about it, because no matter what? It won't be as bad as last year, aka his FIRST year.

My job is lame. I don't hate it, because it's easy and at this point in my life I'm not looking for a challenge when it comes to my work. What I hate is the schedule. And I have a pretty decent schedule! I hate being stretched so thin. I hate taking anything away from my household. I sometimes joke to husband that gender equality is oppressive! I should really shut up, because my job has allowed us to start husband's business, and I'm lucky enough to have a job, BUT BUT BUT being a working mom is fucking hard.

Jeb is fantastic. He is doing exactly what an almost-3-year-old should be doing. He's wearing me the fuck out. He is calling my bluff right and left and it's both amazingly frustrating and amazingly hilarious. This age is more challenging than any, so far. I've had to be more firm with him than ever, and the phrase "pick your battles" has been whispered from my lips more than ever before. Most days he's in his jammies until 2pm because getting dressed is a complete THROW DOWN. Just like getting in his car seat. And out of his car seat. And eating lunch instead of Halloween candy. And going to bed. And coming up from the basement after we switch the laundry. And not coloring on the walls. And not jumping on my head. Or dumping a bowl of scrambled eggs on the carpet. And NOT playing with my phone, or daddy's phone, or the computer, or a sharp knife, or ... or... or..... and... and ... and....... Thankfully I have the perspective that this is a very appropriate developmental stage, and that at some point my easy going, cooperative, pleasant son will return. It will happen, right?

TTC is not nearly as fun as I'd imagined. I've looked forward to it for so long, but? It's kind of a pain in the ass. I'm in my first cycle actually trying, ever, and well? I was so distracted during our, um, attempts. I was so preoccupied with thoughts of TTC that I forgot to feel close, kwim? Rainbows didn't shoot out of our asses, or anything! Like anything, I guess, reality is different from the fantasy. I'm only 2 dpo, and I'm already looking forward to not-trying-to-make-a-baby-sex. It's way more fun. I'm trying not to obsess, and truthfully, if I'm not pregnant this cycle I'll be disappointed but not wrecked. Next month? I'll likely be wrecked. I've always been sensitive about TTC struggles ( I hope), having been in the adoption community for so long, but I now have a little bit (a teeny tiny very little bit) more understanding? (That's not the right word, and I don't know what is.) Anyhow, I hate that anyone has had to go through this for months and years.

I need to call Colin. I don't call him as often as I should. I think about him all the time, but life gets in the way, and I don't call. It's a bad excuse, but it's all I've got.

I suppose that's all for an average Monday night :) I know I'll enjoy looking back 6 or 12 or 18 months from now :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November will always hold a special place in my heart.

Today Jeb and I were outside, kicking leaves, and I thought of a private journal entry I wrote last year:

November always makes me think of those weeks I waited for Jeb's arrival. He was supposed to be a November baby. Throughout the pregnancy I fantasized about the familiar sights and smells that November brings, thinking they would be the sights and smells of early labor and early newborn-ness. It was not to be (as he was 2 weeks "late"), and now those sights and smells bring me back to a place of w a i t i n g. My boy is now quickly closing in on 2 (eta 3!) , which is too much to think about sometimes.

As Jeb's birthday approaches, I can't help but get transported back in time, and relive the days/weeks/moments of excitement/anticipation/nerves leading up to his birth. The same thing happens as I approach Colin's birthday each year. I'm happy that their births are opposite each other on the calendar. Each May as I remember Colin's beginnings, my thoughts and feelings are drawn to: buds on trees, longer days, new life at every glance, a general feeling of stepping outside and giving new life. Each November (turned December) as I remember Jeb's beginnings, my thoughts and feelings are drawn to: crisp evenings, falling leaves, shorter days, and turning inward to begin mothering. It feels just right.

Welcome, November, it's good to feel you again.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Inspired by Production not Reproduction

Oh, man, you know when you read a blog post and you didn't realize you had so much to say until you read that post? I love when this happens; I love a good spring board.

I just read Production not Reproduction 's post about things "I don't have to think about".

A few really hit home:

Today I don't have to think about how to answer the question "How many children do you have?" Ugh. I have gone through so many phases of comfort with this question. Way before I had Jeb, I was so new in my birthmotherhood that I proudly shouted that I had a child. I told anyone and everyone about open adoption, and about my son. Then, still before I had Jeb, I got a little more private, and would still talk about my experience when the conversation turned to birth (because I just couldn't deny the fact that I'd given birth), and used words/phrases like "not parenting", and "placed in an open adoption", and "future birth siblings", ect. Then, it got harder when I was pregnant with Jeb. Is this your first? "Um, kind of..." was the true-est answer I could come up with. Sometimes I would just say "yes, this is my first", and feel guilty, but you know what? The lady in the grocery store doesn't want to know the whole story. And she shouldn't have to be understanding of the fact that every flipping pregnant woman coming through her line might be sensitive to such a question! I always struggled with whether or not giving the "easy" answer would hurt Colin. I can handle most of the schmudge that is adoption, but I never wanted to "deny" him, my son, my blood, my love. And now--now that I don't have to 'fess up during talks of pregnancy and birth, since everyone I talk to knows I'm parenting Jeb, it's gotten slightly easier. But I'm still more private than I was back in those early days. Just this week Colin came up in conversation with someone who didn't know (it's so hard to remember who knows what, and I'm so comfortable with all of it that I occasionally reference Colin in conversation with people who don't know my story), and I had to explain. I struggled. Well, I didn't struggle in the typical sense, but sometimes I just want to stick a thumbdrive into people so they can get caught up and I don't have to answer the same stupid questions over and over and over; or smile and nod as they tell me how brave and wonderful I was. (And? When I realize someone is just learning that I am a birthmom, all I can think is "oh, here we go, dammit I wish I'd just kept my mouth shut!" Not because I don't want to talk about it, but most people are just so damned ANNOYING about it and DON'T GET IT. An I'm over the education part of this journey. For now, anyway.) This turned into a serious ramble, but the real answer is that it is always tricky to tell people how many kids I have. I want to maintain our collective privacy, without being dishonest, and without denying my son. /end rant.

*deep breath*

Today I don't have to think about a professional treating me differently when I answer their questions about pregnancies and number of children at home. Yes, yes, yes. Remember when I had that ridiculous cyst on my forehead? I accidentally got into an awkward convo with the friggin' dermatologist about my medical history. He was just taking a general history, and Jeb was on my lap, and he asked a very benign question "one child?", (see above), and I answered that no, I've had 2 sons, the other is 12 but I don't parent him. Um, DUH? The derm doesn't really need to know about my reproductive history, and more?!?!?! I didn't have to even bring up that I wasn't parenting!! I could have said that I also have a 12 year old, so as to stay honest on the medical front, but left it at that since he could have just been in school! I was so caught off guard, and for the rest of the appt, I felt weird. "not parenting" could also mean I was an asshole and my parents had to step in and take my kid because I wasn't doing a good job. Blah. This stuff happens more often than you'd think. Colin exists, I gave birth to him, it happened, so when someone asks something that brings him up in my mind, I don't/can't lie. It's not calculated, it's just what happens when someone asks you about something that's real.

Today I don't have to think about people using one of the most painful decisions of my life as ammunition in their debate over abortion. Holy shit, YES. I can't fucking stand the pro-lifers' argument "How about ADOPTION!!" Barf. I can understand many many of the arguments from the pro-life side. But telling women that adoption is such a fantastic, and easy thing to do? And you'll be an angel of life! And there are wonderfully attractive and morally upstanding and infertile couples out there! Don't you just want to make their dreams come true! They even have a nursery!!!! You are denying "good" couples from being parents if you abort!----Disgusting. I have zero regret. I am happy with my choice to carry a pregnancy and then place my baby. But that has nothing to do with ANYONE ELSE'S DECISION. I can't tell you how many people have used my decision to argue their pro life stance. And I'm pro choice!! I don't want to be anyone's poster child. Just because adoption was right for me doesn't mean it's right for anyone else. It's hard. And it sucks sometimes. Being pregnant knowing I wasn't going to parent s.u.c.k.e.d. I wouldn't suggest placing to anyone; it's got to come from within.

So, I'd like to close with a few of my own statements, in the same vein as Production's post, but from a different perspective.

Today I don't have to think about how Jeb's first mother is feeling.

Today I don't have to wonder from whom he got his big brown eyes.

Today I don't have to hear stupid remarks about who is Jeb's "real" mother.

Today I don't have to think about money, or time, or another woman, when I think about growing my family.

To this day, I have never had a Social Worker. I've never had to prove anything to anyone in order to be a mom.

Today, when Jeb had a fit, it didn't cross my mind that it could be something deeper. Whenever he has a hard time in the future I won't have to wonder if there is a sense of loss driving his behavior.

I know this has gotten long, but it was so terrific to see my perspective understood by another member of the triad. My goal is to understand, as much as possible, other members of the triad. Not only to help me understand Colin better, which is obviously my huge goal, but to understand his parents better and my husband's place in it all better, and Jeb's place in it better, and the list goes on.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Finally some Fall pictures!

I finally had my camera charged AND available at the same time just in time for pumpkin carving. What a blast!

First, though, some Autumn art. We picked up some leaves off the ground outside and then painted and glued. So easy, and so fun.

Can you tell someone is excited to carve pumpkins?!

I told him to reach in for some of the goop...

but he didn't like getting his hands dirty AT ALL, and immediately went to wash them off!

My nickname for him has always been Pumpkin, I don't even know why. It just kind of happened, but it makes this kind of thing even more fun, my Pumpkin with his pumpkins :)

The two of us. Man, are we tight.

And, this has nothing to do with pumpkins, but it is so fucking cute I can't stand it.

Can't wait to see everyone's Halloween pictures! Jeb is so excited to be Captain Hook. I can't wait!

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Brain Dump

There have been several things I've wanted to blog about in the last 10 days, but they've all been competing for space in my head so badly, that I haven't been able to write coherently on any of them. So, I'm just going to brain dump and get over it.

1. An anniversary related to my placement happened this week. On Oct 19, 1997 I got a positive pregnancy test. I was 9w5d. It boggles my mind that I was so far along before taking a test, but I was so young and unaware. And, my cycles were irregular. When I was pregnant with Jeb, by the time I reached 9w5d, I thought to myself geez if I didn't know I were pregnant I'd think I was dying... how did I NOT KNOW? But? Youth and denial are powerful forces. And, pregnancy was so much easier at 17 than 27, ....and so many other things. I should really make a blog post solely about that day.

2. Autumn has been good to my family. B's business is going well. Our personal finances are so much better than they were 6 months ago when I wrote about the crippling money stress. We have had all the typical, awesome, family outings. We've visited the pumpkin patch, picked apples, gone to the County Fair, taken walks through crunching leaves, seen the Jack-O-Lantern display at the zoo, and all that good stuff. Of course, I forgot my camera for of these awesome memories, but I'm trying not to beat myself up for it ;) We have still to watch Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin while eating donuts and cider (a family tradition), and obviously we are looking forward to trick or treating in a big way. Jeb is dressing up as Captain Hook, and is so unbelievably excited to wear: A red jacket, mama! And a gold hook, mama!! Arrggghh!!

3. I am enjoying Fall on a whole different, much quieter level. I am heeding the pull indoors. Cooking hearty meals in the slow cooker. Snuggling under blankets to early morning cartoons, and to late evening movies/snacks. It feels strangely comforting to retire the herb garden and drink hot tea every afternoon. I'm appreciating my outside running, but am also looking forward to hanging out on the treadmill (no hills!), and reuniting with my yoga videos. The sunsets, albeit much earlier, seem so much more vibrant than I remember from the warmer months. I'm enjoying living in a place that shows me the beauty of every season, and commands my attention.

4. Jeb is at a new, ahem, developmental stage. Oh, boy. I revelled in his lack of 2-year-terribles. However, he is quickly approaching the even-more-difficult-3s. And it's not even that he's difficult, he's just smarter. I've lost my patience with him more in the last 3 weeks than in the last 6 months. My usually effective tactics just aren't working. A perfect example is when we are in the laundry room and it's time to go upstairs, I say Come'on Jeb, let's race! That used to work like a charm, now he looks at me and says Go ahead, mama, you can win while he tries to stay in the basement and play with any number of dangerous tools/equipment/toxins. Or, it used to be that when he fought with me about something, I would tell him that he wasn't being a good listener, and that alone would compel him to comply... now? He tells me I don't want to listen. Oh, ok. We've gone through other developmental transitions, and I know it just takes time for me to learn his new buttons, and for him to learn my new limits, but the middle part is sticky. Last week, one day he went to time out 6 times, because he was trying to call my bluff. The threat of time out used to be all-powerful, and then he woke up one day and decided to test it. That was a tough day. We'll get through, and I'm acutely aware that I need to (a. be consistent and firm, but not lose it, and (b. hug and validate him even more that usual. Let's just say that I'm finding this stage to be challenging, and when I lay my head down at night and think back on the day... if I didn't lose it on him, it's a good day.

5. The election. I won't get political here, but the election is on my mind often. B is a political junkie, so it's ever-present. I'm looking forward to post-11.2.

6. Hormones. I think maybe they should be called Whoremones, because I hate them. I am in the throes of one of the worst PMSs I can remember. I'm def not pregnant this month, which is OK, for a lot of reasons, but the PMS is just a slap in the face.

7. Gratitude. Honestly, I say a prayer of gratitude daily. Not because I think I should, it just happens. In the midst of toddler tantrums, and stressfull/busy schedules, hormones, and daily irritations, I am struck every single day with just how blessed my life is. I am eternally grateful that my "stressors" are: a job that needs my work, a healthy body that loves to exercise, a smart and healthy son who challenges me, a hard working and loving husband who wants some of my time, enough money to pay our bills and provide good food, a home that needs attention.

/end brain dump.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teasing at 3

Jeb is now in a classroom full of 3 year olds daycare. (They make the transition at 2y9m) He is doing amazingly well; in fact, it's the easiest transition I think we've ever had in his life, like, ever. I am so thrilled and proud and have all those gushy mama feelings that come up simply because your kid is thriving.

Ok, so I have to back up a bit. Starting around a year ago, whenever I painted my toes, Jeb wanted in on the fun. So I painted his toes. For months on end his toe nails were pink, since I paint mine every couple of weeks. Bennett rolled his eyes some, but it was a non-issue. One day Jeb decided he wanted his finger nails painted. So I painted them. Every few weeks he'd ask, and I humored him. See where this is going?

2 year olds don't notice their peers' finger nails. 3 year olds do.

I was heartbroken when his teacher told me he got teased for his pink finger nails. My poor baby was so confused. He said to the Teaser but my mama told me it's ok. << This is where my heart shattered into a thousand pieces. (ok, maybe a tad dramatic, but really maybe not.)

My only reason for heartbreak is that my perfect, wonderful, amazing son was sad in that moment, and confused. That just a little smidge of innocence was stripped. Not only that he experienced teasing, but for something so superficial. These kids are only THREE for crying out loud. Rationally I know it's more about this age learning very concrete gender "rules" than anything else, but irrationally I want to slap the Teaser across the face and double dog dare him to EVER tease my precious again.

On the other hand, what an opportunity. Bennett and I had a really terrific conversation about how to handle teasing, and how to handle when Jeb wants to do something that we know makes him vulnerable out there in the Wild. Like having pink finger nails. Do we care about the nail polish? Of course not. I don't give a shit if Jeb wears a hot pink tutu with purple glitter sequence on it every day of his life. But, I won't let him wear it to school until he understands what he's getting himself into. Also, it's not Jeb's job to be my example to the world that I am super cool with hot pink tutu wearing boys.

It's also been a huge opportunity for really terrific conversations with Jeb. I've casually used it as an example of why we shouldn't tease others. He's been talking a lot more about who in our family is a girl, and who is a boy. I've explained that some people think it's silly for boys to wear nail polish, so for now we'll just keep it on the toes since it doesn't feel good to get teased. He's happy with all of this, and I'm sure he's not understanding most of it still, but I've found it to be very very good practice.

Seriously, though, I had no idea that teasing started quite this young.

Friday, October 8, 2010

OT 10 Update: The Nutrition Side

Operation Treadmill 2010 is still in effect. I've missed a week of exercise here and there, because of heat, or the exorcism that occurred on my face in late August, or whathaveyou. BUT. I've always climbed back up on the wagon (treadmill). In fact, this is the first time in my adult life when I've implemented an exercise routine and stuck with it even after a bad week. In the past, if I missed a few workouts I threw the whole thing out the window. I'm pretty proud of this fact alone.

It's been 9.5 months. My weight loss has plateaued in a big way. I'd lost 15 pounds by late spring/early summer, and I've put a couple of those back on. I'm still fine with how I look, but a good nutritional plan was eluding me. Back in June I was running a lot of miles. I was going on 5-7 mile runs. I was thinking about training for a 10 mile race in my area, and possibly a half marathon. Everything came to a screeching halt when I didn't support any of it with the right nutrition. I was still restricting calories, and especially carbs, while upping and upping my miles. I got really sick. For 2 weeks I would have a couple hours in the afternoon where I couldn't get off the couch. I was nauseous, exhausted, a mess. (It felt like early pregnancy, but I knew I wasn't pregnant.) I even cried to Bennett one day What is wrong with me? I feel like I'm dying. I was really and honestly worried that something was seriously wrong with my health. I didn't run for a few days because I was feeling too sick, and then I went on a carb binge. After 3 days of eating whatever sounded good (read: lots of carbs) I felt human again. After reading a bit about nutrition and training, it quickly became apparent that I wasn't eating right/enough to support my work outs. So, I started eating more. But running less. And then I missed a week here and there. But I was still eating more. So I gained a few pounds. Which is no big deal, but I felt like I was still left with the mystery of: How can I eat enough to support my work outs (and rev them back up) without gaining more weight, but without feeling sick?

And then I read Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Micheals. Holy smokes. I've never gotten into fad nutrition philosophies or the whole organic movement. My philosophy was always to eat well, lots of produce, not a lot of simple carbs, keep the meat lean, watch your portions, have a treat now and then, ect. This philosophy worked great. Even when I gained weight, I could look at my eating habits and know where I got off track, and get back on track. This whole regular exercising thing really threw me off. I needed more calories, but didn't know how to go about it. Until I read this book! It's amazing! The focus is on whole foods, and total hormonal balance. I learned so much about the hormones of hunger and fullness, as well as stress hormones and girly hormones. I have only made a few changes, over the last few days, but it already feels "right".

It's also been the motivation I needed to keep OT 10 going. I was still enjoying my work outs, but the whole thing felt kind of direction-less. I feel focused again, and I won't lie, I'd love it if another 10 pounds came off ;)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

T minus 15 hours.

This time tomorrow, it will be October. October 2010 is a month I've looked forward to for a decade, even before I could name the month. It's the month we are going to try. We are going to try to do something that has happened on "accident" to me 3 times. We are going to try to get pregnant. On purpose. Like, unprotected sex, during the "dangerous" time. We are going to hope my period doesn't come. We are going to smile whenever (God willing) we get a positive HPT, instead of, well, cry like I have the last 3 times.

I have been looking forward to this since about 10 minutes after Colin went to his forever home. This itch wasn't cured by my pregnancy/birth/motherhood to Jeb. Jeb was a pleasant surprise, and so when I was pregnant with him, I had a really really hard time shaking the identity of the pregnant teen. Bennett would say to me at times You know, Patti, you're not 17 anymore. This is really OK. No one is mad at you. I knew it, but I didn't know it.

So, I've fantasized about this time, about this month. In my fantasy I have zero fear or ambivalence, only a long awaited sense of right-ness, of correct-ness.

In reality I am terrified. I am so freaked out. I am excited, but nervous, and ready to back out at any minute. I started feeling like this about a month ago, and actually hoped I'd get pregnant on "accident" last month so that I wouldn't have to really actually make this decision.

Imagine my shock and horror at how I am feeling about this! I have been so disappointed in myself! Here I am, 30 years old, and FINALLY at the exact moment that I have been dreaming about for YEARS! What the fuck is wrong with me?

And then? The flood:

Am I ready for this?
Will I ever be ready for this?
Well, the kids will already be almost 4 years apart and I know I want more than 1 and I'll be 31 next year so I'd better just do it already.
Do I really want more than 1?
How can I meet the needs of 2 when I already doubt myself with 1?!
What if it takes a long time?
What if I miscarry, I am 30 after all, and many of my friends have experienced m/c.
What if I have post partum anxiety again?
Am I ready to nurse 24/7 again?
What the fuck is wrong with me?
I'm just thinking about growing my family, that's not so weird.
Maybe something is wrong with me.
What if I am not a good enough mother to have 2.
Have I proven myself good enough to have another?

Ok, this might sound really stupid, but I never expected any birthmother-y shit to come up. Now, I'm smacking myself in the head---- Um, PATTI! How did I not expect giving BIRTH again and becoming a MOTHER again not to bring up any BIRTHMOTHER stuff? Duh.

So there you have it. Motherhood will forever be intertwined with feelings and anxieties over being worthy/deserving/good enough for children in a more intense way than people outside the triad. Of course every mother should strive to be a terrific mother, but in my world? It's been more literal. Colin's parents had to prove to a shit load of people that they were worthy/deserving/good enough. When I was pregnant with Jeb, I had these weird feelings like I had to prove to someone that it was OK that I kept him. I would have dreams that I had to ask Colin's mother's permission to NOT give this one to her. Even now, day to day, I am constantly looking for signs that I am doing well with Jeb, or signs that I am a total failure. (this drives batshit crazy, btw). So now that I'm going to do this on PURPOSE? Well, I feel this enormous amount of pressure to come up with a very concrete and objective report to hand in to someone so the can stamp "APPROVED" on my paperwork. And the 17 year old in me would nod, and put my head down and accept it if that stamp came back "REJECTED".

Yay. There is no pretty bow with which to tie up this post. It's been floating around in my gut, and I just had to vomit it. That's all I have to say about that (for now).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh, hello there, Autumn.

I'm feeling tired and disorganized (ok, and hormonal). My house looks like it usually does at the end of my heavy work-week: also tired and disorganized. We had some family visiting from out of town this weekend, so the usually small amount of down-time was even smaller -- filled with more dishes and less house work. I struggle without my regularly scheduled down-time. Hello, my name is Patti, and I'm an introvert.

Suddenly it is Fall. I didn't notice Summer waving goodbye, it was so subtle. Just a few degrees here, a few moments of sunlight there. Throw in some busy days and errands, and poof! It was the middle of September and Jeb was wearing pants-jammies instead of shorts-jammies. I do feel a twinge of sadness, mostly in the evenings when I look at the clock and immediately do the math for when daylight savings ends. Wow, is it only 6:30? Soon it will be this dim at only 5:30. (sad face) Our Summer was so terrific, but by the end of August I was really looking forward to exactly this. Mums on the porch. Watching the trees for signs of change. Digging my (super cute) jean jacket out of the closet. Enjoying my runs again. Visiting the pumpkin patch and the apple orchard. Snuggling my husband under the covers instead of trying to get as far from each other as possible. Fires in the chiminea. Dinners in the slow cooker. Halloween decorations, which are my favorite decorations of ALL TIME. Pumpkin flavored coffee. The County Fair. Is it too early to make Witch Hat Cookies?

As of 7am I am off for 5 nights. Thank goodness because I really miss my family.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Big Love might be on to something...

I might have dropped the ball tonight. I won't know until the morning, if husband is upset that I spent much of the evening outside on the phone with a friend. Sure, my friend needed an ear, but our evenings are precious (esp on the weekends), and I am the first one to get upset when he sacrifices them for work --- or phone calls. Oops. He's now in bed and I'm feeling kind of rotten about it.

It's so hard to find that balance. There's that tricky word again, I know I've written about it before . Ok, more than once . Being a wife and mother and employee and business owner and landlord and friend and birthmom and sister and daughter and aunt and and and...? It's hard. It's hard to feel like you're doing anything awesome instead of feeling like you're doing everything half-assed.

Thankfully husband is pretty terrific, aaannnd it doesn't hurt that I have a birthday celebration planned for him tomorrow that will hopefully smooth over any sore feelings.

This was one of those evenings when I really could have used a clone, to made sure everyone was getting the support they needed. I've started to think that having sister-wives would be fantastic. How great would it have been if I could have talked with my friend, while 1 sister wife kept husband company, and yet another sister wife folded the laundry? Not too shabby ;)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nature v Nurture: A Big Issue Even in Bio Families

Obviously adoption puts an additional spin on the nature v nurture discussion, but it's also a very interesting phenomenon within non-adoptive families.

I think about it a lot. I am coming to the conclusion, more and more, that Jeb has more influence on who I am as a parent, than I have on him as a child.

I'll say that again in another way: My motherhood adapts to Jeb's personality/needs/tendencies, it has not formed Jeb's personality/needs/tendencies.

I started having this feeling in the first couple months of his life. I had all kinds of academic parenting philosophies. And then I was blessed with a child who would not be put down. And slept like shit. And wanted to nurse non stop. So I became that mom in short order; the one who held her baby all the time, and also slept like shit, and nursed her baby anywhere and everywhere. I didn't turn Jeb into that baby, he was born that baby.

He is still that kid. His favorite place is in my lap. I'm sure he would still be nursing had I not weaned. He still sleeps like shit. It's just him. Bennett and I have abandoned many of the theories-that-sound-awesome-until-you-know-the-reality-of-day-to-day-parenting. We've become the parents who Jeb needs, not the other way around.

We actually have had very little effect on who the core of Jeb is. Sure, we've taught him good manners, and appropriate behavior ect, but that doesn't have much to do with who he is as a person. I haven't created his fantastic temperament, or concern for people in distress, or his sense of humor. I like to think we've given him a strong, secure foundation, so that his best traits can shine. I believe that we've created an environment where he is not stressed, but rather curious and playful, which contributes to the development of his smarts and imagination --- but it doesn't create those qualities, those are his.

I was musing to a friend (who has 2 daughters) about Jeb's absolute obsession with basketball, and she made an off hand comment about "conditioning" boys' love of sports. It wasn't mean spirited, but it couldn't have been more wrong. I could care less about basketball, and I don't think my husband has shot a basket since junior high gym class. We've never even followed March Madness. I had nothing to do with 10 month old Jeb pointing at every single basketball hoop in the neighborhood. He is passionate about basketball. And skateboards. And backhoes. And so many other things that I also had nothing to do with.

I wouldn't even dream of crediting myself with this stuff, I love learning about him, I'm not interested in molding him in that way. There are things I do want to "mold": compassion, respect for others, healthy self esteem, determination, you know... all that good stuff. But not his interests. Not his personality. Not his goals.

The other day Jeb said something to my husband that was incredibly sweet and compassionate, and I said to my husband (like I do about 20 times a day), "Isn't he just amazing?!" And my husband said "That's all you, babe, he's so great because you do such a good job with him". I loved the compliment at the time, but the more I thought about it, I couldn't really take credit in good faith. Jeb could have been a tough kid, but he's not. My next kid could be a really tough kid. Hopefully I'll be able to create the same environment and boundaries to instill the same values I'm trying to instill in Jeb, if that's the case.

My mother in law constantly want to assign Jeb's traits to one of his ancestors. He loves cucumbers! His great grandmother loves cucumbers! That's where he gets it from!! So, if the neighbor kid loves cucumbers is he surely a distant relative? I don't really play that game; it kind of annoys me.

Being a birthmom, I sometimes think about what Jeb would be like if he had been parented by other people. It's not a weird thought since my reality is that other people sometimes raise my kid. You know what? He'd be basically the same kid. Any other woman who raised him in a loving home would marvel at his mild temperament, and his love of snuggling. And I'm sure someone in that family would like cucumbers.

It's a comforting thought, to me. My job is to guide, love, and support. I can do that.

(In the unlikely even that my MIL reads this: that wasn't a dig :))

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Opposite of Last Monday

Today was an incredibly sunny, warm day, but kind of poopy in general. Not a total wash, but just, meh.

- Jeb didn't sleep well last night = I didn't sleep well last night = sluggish morning = not the greatest start to the day.

+ Story Time at the library rocked, as usual, and thank God, because if not for that motivation we might have wasted the entire day.

- I have some kind of infected cyst on my forehead. It hurts, and it's swollen, and it's embarrassing. I have a derm appt for tomorrow, but I'm worried that either 1.)I won't be taken seriously, or 2.)There will have to be some sort of procedure that will leave me looking ridiculous. Oh, and husband didn't offer the exact kind of support I was looking for this morning, which left me choking back tears, and on self pity. Awesome.

- Hormonally this isn't the best time. For some reason CD5-CD7 are always very very low for me. (shrugs)

+ Jeb and I bought an S-load of fruit. It was on my to do list, and dammit, I bought the hell out of some fruit.

- I haven't been running in since Thursday. Very, very bad. And we ate Chinese food last night. So now I'm bloated, and sluggish, and all I've fallen off the wagon! Why even bother?! I'm so fat and lame! And I have a CYST on my FOREHEAD! I sound so fun to be around, don't I?

+/- I've been on vacation for the last 5 nights, and have 2 more. I'm already sad that it's winding down, but thrilled to still have a couple of nights off. I want these last evenings to be fantastic, not full of, well, me. like this.

- If I can't find my way out of this mood, I'll feel guilty which will be like Shit Frosting on Barf Cake.

I really prefer terrific days to poop days.

Here's to hoping: I get a decent run in this evening which completely revitalizes my mood, and that half of my face doesn't have to get cut off tomorrow. fx.

(eta: Didn't get a run in because Husband didn't get home early enough (-), but he did bring me flowers because he knew I was feeling down (+). )

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Best Rainy Day in History

We had a rainy day today. It was the first in months, literally. The weather this summer has been ah-may-zing, but I'll admit I kind of missed the occasional rainy day! (I feel like such an ingrate even uttering those words, haha!)

First of all, we slept until 830 because the sun wasn't out to wake the toddler up. We are usually up at 645, so you can all understand how glorious this felt!

Every Monday morning, we go to Story Time at our town library. (Our library is the BOMB.) Story Time entails: a story read aloud by Miss S, an art project, a snack, and independant reading/playing/puzzle time. It's awesome. Today was especially awesome because Bennett was able to come with us since rainy days are slow days in the landscape biz-- score! Jeb was so proud to show his daddy around the library :).

After story time, we came home and played a little, did some chores, and ate lunch together at the kitchen table. We'd gotten into the habit of having lunch at the coffee table while playing/watching cartoons, but a couple weeks ago I started making a more formal lunch for the 2 of us and eating at the table. I LOVE our new routine. We talk about our morning, laugh, and joke. Jeb is HUGE into "jokes" these days, where he'll say something like the cow says oink oink! and burst into hysterics. He'll even alert me and say "mama, I'm making a funny joke!" Or he'll point to something that is blue and tell me it's red, while giggleing his head off; it's so freaking fun.

After our lunch of talking and laughing, we went up to my bed to read books and take a nap. We read 6 books, I rubbed his back, and we listened to the rain and wind while cuddling under the covers and both fell asleep. Heaven. Pure heaven.

We woke up, had a snack and went to Target, with the sole purpose of having fun and killing time. Jeb loves to hang out in the toy aisles, the sports aisles, and the book aisles, so we did just that for >1 hour. (I love hanging out in Target for any reason, and haven't stepped foot in one for months, so I was loving every minute as well!) I spied the back-to-school supplies and bought our afternoon activity: 2 pair safety scissors, 2 glue sticks, 1 pack construction paper, 4 tubes of glitter, water color paints, and some extra brushes FOR 12 DOLLARS. :) :)

So, obviously, we came home and had Art Time for over an hour. We painted/cut/glued/and glittered pictures of umbrellas and rain (to keep with the theme of the day!), fire works, flags, random shapes/letters/numbers, and my fav? Jackie Paper and Puff. All while listening to kids music, and occasionally singing along. Does it get any better?

There was a pretty big meltdown when it was time to put our art supplies away, but we ended up having a nice dinner when daddy was done with work. We then read all of our new library books about 5 times each, had the requisite jumping-around-playing-ball/wrestling-get-out-the-rest-of-your-energy-time and watched some Jungle Book before bed time.

I wish I could say bedtime was smooth, but it never is. I'm choosing to focus on the awesome, and roll with the difficult.

Oh and? Jeb is a superstar with the potty. It's like he's been potty trained his whole life. I didn't even have to ask him today, he lets me know when he has to go and that's that. Crazy.

I wish I'd taken pictures, esp of our Art Time, but it really never occurs to me to get the camera. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy again, so I'll try to remember :)

What a day. This is what being a Mama is all about. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bye Bye Diapers :)


Today (Sat) will be day 9 of Project Underwear.

This kid is a Rock Star, I tell you. He has taken to it like a pro. Days 1-4 I put him in underwear (except for nap and nighttime) and toileted him every hour. Each day he had 1 small accident in the late afternoon, but I thought that was pretty good. His night and nap diapers even remained 80% dry, he was able to make it to the toilet. By day 5, he was starting to tell me "Mama! I have to pee!". He wasn't loving it, per se, but he was successful. He would occasionally tell me "I don't like the potty", but he wasn't really fighting me. Days 6 and 7 were daycare days. He did well, but really just held it most of the day. He had zero accidents on days 5 and 6, and 1 on day 7. Day 8? It's like he's been doing this his whole life. I didn't have to prompt him ONCE. He just came to me each time and asked to pee. His nighttime and nap diapers were dry. He's gone in several public bathrooms with only 1 freak out (it was like, day 2, so I wasn't surprised). I bought him a nurf gun, which was a huge help in the motivation area; not just in the initial purchase, but he plays with it constantly, so everytime I wanted him to pee I would just say "no more shooting until we do pee pee" and that was it, he was pulling his undies down before I knew it!

I know we have totally lucked out in this potty training business. In fact? We have just lucked out all around. Jeb is such a good natured, sweet kid. He listens AMAZINGLY well, like I rarely have to repeat myself and he rarely resists. He just listens. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, this is one special little kid and if I loved him more I might explode.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

TPR too early.

(Warning: a good bit of F bombs are dropped. I couldn't help it.)

It's been a while since I've written anything of substance. My work schedule sucked for the last week, and before that I was just plain hot and tired. I'm now on a mini vacay, and had lots of things I wanted to post about, just for my own record. This summer has been awesome, and I want to have as many memories recorded as possible.

And then, I read about a potential adoption and TPR "hopefully happening this weekend before discharge". This was written before the baby was even BORN.

I'd heard about TPR being signed in the hospital before, maybe 10+ years ago, and it seemed so barbaric, I was sure it had been done away with.

I am birthmother who was VERY confident and OK with her decision, so there's not terribly much I get up in arms about wrt adoption. I feel like I can appreciate each side, even though I've only lived 1 side.

I can hope to understand an adoptee's sense of loss, and I can hope to understand an adopter's sense of longing, and I try to only LISTEN when those members speak.


First, the hormonal TSUNAMI going on is reason alone not to make such an enormous decision!!! Let me say that again: 2 fucking days after giving birth? You are in a HORMONAL TSUNAMI. Remember those days of infertility drugs? Times that by about a million.

And what? Better get those papers signed before she changes her mind? UM! HELLO! And what? If she changes her mind a week later but the papers are already signed, what? We all do a collective "PHEW!" and pat ourselves on the back for "saving" her baby? Or worse, keeping the adoptive parents money? UN-FUCKING-ETHICAL. I'm going to say something radical: BIRTHMOM NEEDS THE TIME AND THE OPTION TO CHANGE HER MIND. SHE IS NOT A BIRTHMOM AT THE MOMENT OF BIRTH.

Thank God, I placed in Rhode Island. (A state that doesn't do much of anything right, imo, but does this right) According to RI law, I couldn't sign TPR until at least 30 days post birth. Colin's parents could take him, or if they were nervous about the risk and didn't want to take him until after, that was an option. I know the surface argument is about attachment and bonding and limbo, and they are all valid. Attachment, bonding, and aparents living in limbo are all very important things. But those things can still be accomplished and rectified while still giving the birthmom more than 2 damn days. I cannot fucking imagine sitting in a hospital bed, recovering from birth, bleeding, dripping milk, hormonal, vulnerable, not in my own environment, possibly completely ALONE, and having a fucking LAWYER give me papers and STAND over my hospital bed, while I don't even have actual CLOTHES on and ask me to make an irreversible decision about my baby.


TPR should be final, but not premature. I'm not advocating for the loosey-goosey laws that allow birthparents to fight for toddlers and destroy families. I'm talking about respect, and a reasonable amount of time so as to empower birth mothers. When I signed, I did not feel taken advantage of, I felt proactive, I felt like I was mindful and aware.

What? Are agencies too terrified that too many potential birth mothers will not place? Well shame on them.

Asking a woman to sign TPR in the hospital feels like Baby Stealing.

I'd love to hear any thoughts on this, as it is clearly my most trigger-y adoption issue.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Too Tired to be Coherent.

I am so, so tired. I am working way too much last week and this week. I was awake for >24 hours 2 different days this week. Jeb STILL DOES NOT SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT. I have been tired since 2007. *yawn*

Starting a week from Tuesday, I have a week off. I am so looking forward to that, I get a little choked up thinking about it.

What a hodgepodge. I can't even think straight I am so tired.

Being a working mama is hard. It's a labor of love, but tonight I'm feeling pretty burnt.

Can't wait to go to sleep in 8 more hours..........

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weekend with BOTH my boys :)

This weekend was the annual FIA picnic up in Vermont. We've all attended every year since 1998. Colin's birthdad and his 8 year old son went, too, so it was a very brotherly weekend. It was so fun, and so special. I can't even explain how nuts Jeb is for Colin. He talks about "my big brother" constantly, and Colin was so proud to introduce Jeb as his brother to anyone who would listen. Colin camped with us Saturday night, how cool is that? We have worked so hard, and boy
the rewards are well worth it.

Can you tell I'm beaming?

No words.

Boys love to look for stuff in the woods, apparently ;) Jeb followed him everywhere!

They had so much fun playing around in the tent!

I don't know why, but I thought this was a pretty cool image. My boys' shoes, so casually laying around together.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Lovin'

I had high hopes for this summer, and boy, I've not been let down. This summer has been everything I wanted, and more.

It's my first summer not being pregnant or nursing since 2006 and I was really looking forward to wearing summer clothes without thinking about nursing bras or mammary exposure, ect. I hadn't worn a sun dress in years! I enjoy getting dressed literally every single day like never beofre!

Another very vain reason I am loving this summer, and loving getting dressed every day is that I've gotten into great shape. And enjoyed the process. In fact, I've enjoyed the process as much as I enjoy dressing the results. My body is certainly not what it was 10 or even 5 years ago, but I feel stronger than ever. Even though my tummy is not as flat as it once was, and my breasts show the signs of nursing for >2 years, I feel more confident in my body than I ever have. I love my body more than I ever have; I enjoy flirting with my husband, and trying to attract him every day. His reaction only reinforces that my attitude and my femininity are even more appealing than the smaller waist he fell in love with years ago.

Jeb's at such a great age, and his independence has given us a much higher level of freedom as a family. He no longer falls asleep on any car ride longer than 10 minutes, which means we can go on so many more family adventures without fear of messing with the nap schedule. He still naps, which is also still very convenient. We get to do stuff that delights and teaches him, which delights and teaches us as well.

Jeb also loves the occasional sleep over with Grandma or Gran or Aunt Jenny, which has allowed husband and I to go on some really fun dates. I can't even explain how awesome this has been. We both miss Jeb like crazy when we're away, but let's face it, it only helps to nurture a marriage. And Jeb has so much fun! And our family loves to take him for the night! It's win win win!

This has been the Summer of Mama and Jeb. The weather has been heaven sent. This has been the most gorgeous summer I can remember. We've gone on outings. To the park, the pool, the beach, the zoo. We've had dinner picnics in our yard. We've spent afternoons playing in the sprinkler and the sandbox. Jeb has gone days without really getting dressed, spending most of his time naked, or at the very most in a diaper. We've gone to story time at the library every Monday morning and brought home Jeb's art to hang on the fridge each week. We've taken walks, picked up sticks, and sang 'We Can Fly!' from Peter Pan while running around the yard more times than I can count. We've blown bubbles and covered the patio with sidewalk chalk over and over. We've sat out in the cool evening air with Popsicles dripping down our wrists, talking about what an awesome summer day we had. We've taken more naps together than I can count, each of us as naked as possible, with the ceiling fan humming and a light sheet draped over our cuddling bodies. We've picked strawberries, trying our best not to sample too many before we paid for our lot, giggling all the while. We've taken days "off" and hunkered down in the AC for a whole lot of nothing: no errands, no heat, no cleaning, no business, LOTS of cuddles. It's been a summer to remember, for sure.

And it's only half over.

I've also worked a lot, stressed a lot, and cleaned not as much as I should have. But I know that my memory with be of the highlights, and there have been many.

I'm hoping to add to our family some time next year, and I'm acutely aware of the luxuries of time, space, and body that I may soon forfeit for 2-3 years while I grow and nurse the next member. I'm simultaneously enjoying my freedoms and looking forward to giving them up. It's the exact assignment I gave myself for the summer: enjoy Jeb, enjoy Bennett, enjoy time and sleep and running, look forward to another baby.

I can't wait to love the 2nd half of this summer as much as I've loved the 1st half.