Monday, February 27, 2012

Adoptive Moms Wish.........

the same things as biological moms.  That our kids would be healthy and well adjusted.  That our kids would be hard-working, responsible, and kind members of society.  That our kids would be themselves and be comfortable doing that.  And that our kids would be honest, sincere, loyal, and generous.  I'm sure there are a bunch more admirable adjectives I could throw out here but you get the gist.

But there are some other things adoptive moms wish--and we need the help of all you biological moms out there.  Because these wishes--as much as we'll work to make them come true in our own homes--really hinge on what kids who aren't adopted believe and talk about.  And I think these wishes, and the fruition of them, are just another step in the right direction of cultivating a culture of adoption in our society.  They're wishes that I hope one day aren't wishes--but just the way things are--with very little thought involved...............

1.  Adoptive moms wish that when any child hears that someone is going to have a new baby they say, "Awesome!  Is the baby going to be adopted or are they having it themselves?"  We want the assumption that all babies "come from their mommy's tummies" to be a thing of the past.  Not all babies do come from their mommy's tummies.  Adopted kids know that and they need to know that their friends know that too.

And I'm not saying that when you have the big talk about where babies come from you need to complicate the matter more by throwing in this big adoption talk but I think it's appropriate to make sure your kids know what adoption is and that it's just as normal as birthing your own child and that they'll probably have some good friends in their life-time who are adopted and it's pretty special.

2.  Adoptive moms wish that jokes about being adopted would be deemed inappropriate for all kids.  "Didn't anyone ever tell you that you're adopted?  That's why you have blond hair and we all have brown hair."  Because being adopted is a bad thing?  It's something to avoid at all costs?  It's something to hold over your pesky little brothers head as a threat?

An adopted 8th grader might hear that and be able to laugh at it because they know how to weed through context, maybe.  But an adopted 3rd grader hears that and wonders why you'd tease someone about being adopted when they are and they've never thought it was weird or wrong or different; but now they do. There's nothing wrong with being adopted and jokes as innocent seeming as those above need to be stopped.  Kids need to knock it off with that and parents need to help them, as do teachers and other school personnel.

3.  Adoptive moms (99.9% of us) wish you'd ask us about our adoption experience.  Just like biological moms enjoy talking about their birthing all glory.........adoptive moms have a lot to tell you about their process of having a baby.  So when you're sitting around a table with a bunch of moms and you've talked about epidurals for the last thirty minutes........take a second and ask the adoptive mom what her home study was like, or what her relationship with her child's birth-parents is like.  We all have a road that we've travelled to become moms and they all deserve equal stage time.

4.  Adoptive moms wish they never ever have to hear again, "You're so lucky you never had to have a C-section.  You're so lucky you never had to take that glucose test.  You're so lucky you didn't have to go through labor.  You're so lucky you didn't have to suffer through nursing."  Do you want us to start talking about infertility treatments?  Because we will.

That's just four.  New ones come up all the time.  Just like all moms come up with new things all the time that they wish for their kids, their families, and themselves.  And to be clear--nothing really prompted this post--I'm not talking to anyone really--just everyone--and on behalf of other adoptive moms I know.  We all love our kids in a "I'll throw myself in front of a moving bus without a moments hesitation to save you from any kind of pain" intensity--so these thoughts are just a result of that deep love.

I want my little girl to feel confident and proud of who she is.  I don't want her to come home with tears on her beautiful cheeks one day because someone told her she was wrong, "babies always come from their mommy's tummies," or "i heard someone make a joke about how it was weird to be adopted."

And I'm smart.  I know those tears will probably come.  I'm preparing myself to wipe them away and kiss her little cheeks and tell her I love her and that "those other kids are just wrong--and they don't know--they don't know how cool it really is that you're adopted."

If only that would make it all better right?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Thankful for now.

We're moving my grandma into an "independent" living facility over the course of the next few weeks--and really--my mom's doing the majority of the work.  And it's a lot of work on top of a lot of emotions.  And when I look around the little apartment she'll be moving into next weekend, after all of her carefully selected furniture and pictures and mementos are put into place to try and replicate a feeling of home it makes me so thankful for the things I have right now, in my own home.

And it makes me want to really soak in those little moments--the ones that are fleeting--the ones that are right in the middle of a frustrating day perhaps--the ones that are easy to take for granted--the ones that seem........forgettable......but shouldn't be.

So right now..........
I'm thankful for.....

A little girl who knows the proper way to swirl her powder brush through a compact..........and a little girl who loves life and wants to do everything I do.

Giada..........this is the most reliable way to calm Georgia down while I'm making dinner.  I flip this lady on and Georgia is planted in front of the TV practicing the right way to say 'parmesan,' 'mozzarella,' and 'ciao.'

Mommy & G matching Toms.  I love this picture.  I truly do.

Eating lunch at Noodles & Company with Georgia.  She can put away a bowl of pesto cavatappi like no ones business.  And every time she does she says, "I'm so 'cited to eat pesto.  I love you mommy."

A brave little girl who smashed her body as close to this 10th story window as she could get.  She told me it'd be fun to fly.  It's that loving life thing--she's got it mastered.

Crazy lights.  I will remember crazy lights for the rest of my life.  I hope we do it until Georgia is eighteen years old.  There is nothing greater than flipping on this disco ball before bed and having a little dance session as a family.

Walrus's.  This is Georgia's go-to move when she thinks we need a comic break.  She can make walrus tusks out of just about anything.  And she's pretty sneaky about slipping in her tusks without us seeing her and whipping her head around and announcing, "The walrus."

Quiet-time.  Naps are really over for us so we do about an hour and a half of quiet time every day.  I generally walk into an avalanche of books and toys and babies and animals.  It's still adorable.  I'm thinking one day I'll be over every toy on her floor.

A little girl who wants to wear her George Washington shirt with a pink tutu.  And you better believe when I ask her who's on her shirt she can tell you, "Our first resident."  That's right, resident.  Not president.

Aunt Enna, who can get Georgia to sit still long enough to paint pink sparkly nails.  Nothing cuter than little painted toddler nails.

What's that little thing that you're thankful for?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Let's go to the movies.......

Watch this clip.  It will make you feel good.  It will remind you how much you wanted to be Grace when you were growing up and how you still wish you had a dressing room like she had to get ready in every day.

Ah.  This is my favorite scene from Annie, hands-down.  It really strikes a cord with that inner-princess/glam girl/1930's lovin'/it would be fun to be a millionaire/girl in me--and let's be honest and just admit it--all of us.

We took Georgia to see her first movie today and before we went I threw on a pencil skirt, sashayed around my bedroom, fell onto my fainting couch for effect, rolled my hair, and peeked dramatically through my curtains.

We went to see "The Secret World of Arriety."  Hard to find a rated G movie anymore that doesn't look like it has scary parts like a mommy deer that dies, an evil lion who sets the valley on fire, a deceptive, Triton wielding octopus, or a witch that poisons people with apples (really Disney?  way to get kids not to eat fruit). And these are things I scoffed at before I had a kid,"seriously--that's scary?,"--but they really do scare them--it's crazy.  Especially a kid like mine--who is SO sensitive.

You know those ads on TV with abused animals and Sarah McLachlan singing--the ones that ruin your whole day, send you running from the living room so you don't have to watch them, and make you feel like a huge piece of human garbage if you don't run out right now and adopt one?  Yeah. You know.  Georgia cried the first time she saw one of those, "Why do those animals look sad?"  "What's wrong with that doggie?" "I don't want those cats to look like that."  I'm not lying.  She cried.

So, I had to be careful when I picked a movie that was going to be right there in her face with surround sound.  And was she ever excited...........she's told every human being we've come in contact with for four days that we were going to see a movie.

I think it's so much fun to experience these first with her.  I hoard them, I do.  I've learned as a mom that there will be very few first experiences that I will ever be willing to let someone else have with Georgia. They're all mine........I think it's a great pay-off for all of the things that are really hard about being a mom.  It's kind of like your pay-check.  Those tantrums, no nap days (which are every day here), huge messes in the living room, greasy hand-print stains on your jeans, endless bed-time shenanigans, and the saga of constipation/UTI's/and potty-training are the work you do to get paid in shrieks of excitement at first movies, plays, presents, eating out, amusement parks, beaches, trip to Florida, and a lifetime of moments to look forward to.  Moms (and Dads).....don't give those away.  Don't give away your paycheck!  It's the best paycheck you'll ever a million dollars.

So when Georgia told everyone we were going to a movie I felt like I was getting a little advance on my paycheck because it kind of makes my mom heart swell a little bit seeing how excited she was about something that on any given day is just really.........normal.

She liked the movie.....for the most part.   It's hard for her to sit still for even ten minutes so ninety is her Everest.  We ended up leaving about twenty minutes early--she'd really hit a wall and started exclaiming things like, "It's too hard for me to be quiet," "I just want to go out and see what's happening in the hallway," and "I'm a little scared."  Side note--there is nothing scary about this movie.  It's adorable........I think she was just getting antsy and saw that line as a sure-fire way to be able to get out and move around.

I love those little legs just peeking over the edge of the seat and the sippy cup in the holder.....too great!

Looking forward to lots more paydays like this one........

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love Day & Landmarks.

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite days.  I hold firmly to the belief that it is not a Hallmark holiday but one to be celebrated.  We don't go crazy here in our house but we definitely acknowledge it.  Red candy hearts, cinnamon, glittery beads, flowers, and cards, and I love yous really will suffice.  I always loved Valentine's Day as a kid; my mom and dad did an awesome job of making it fact my dad still sends us flowers on Valentine's Day.  Georgia got her first flower delivery from him last year too.

And this year, we did the best thing I could really imagine doing on Valentine's Day; we went to a close friends adoption finalization hearing for her little cutie! It was at the same court house Georgia's was at just over two years ago.  G was really excited to go--really excited.  We read her adoption day photo book the night before and talked about how cool it is for a family to get to have their adoption day and how special it is to be able to go and celebrate with them......especially for us........because we know exactly what it feels like.

Georgia had convinced herself that the judge was going to be putting on quite a show.  She wanted to know what his costume would look like, what he would sing, and who his favorite princess was.  I couldn't tell her how sorely disappointed she would end up being.

We made our way downtown......a little early......Georgia was just too excited to stay at home any longer.  We hung out at the same big windows that overlook the street below as we did on her adoption day.

Here's a picture of Georgia and I at the same windows on her adoption day in December 2009. Ironically......I wore those same four inch heels yesterday--maybe not the wisest choice to go tromping through downtown on a rainy day while trying to hold onto an almost three year old who can't stop running away to exclaim to everyone at the court-house, "I'm adopted too......and so is baby Will!" 

And all that excitement that she just couldn't keep bottled up inside made me so happy.  I love to hear her talk with genuine excitement about her adoption as she's getting older and able to verbalize important details about her life, "I'm adopted, I love my mommy, my daddy is the best, I think Jesus really loves me, Fiona is my best friend." 

She kept asking me questions like, "Did the judge talk to me when we were here for my adoption day?, Were we in this same building?, Was Pop Pop here?, Did Enna let me chew gum on my adoption day? (eerily--I think she did--I think she let her taste some), Did we sing songs at my adoption day?" And I could have answered those questions all day.  Because she was reveling in the landmark that represents her adoption day.  It's starting to mean something to her.  She knows that building holds significance.  Something big happened here, in this court house, back in 2009.  

Landmarks are important.  To everyone.  Even little kids.  And I don't know that we always acknowledge them for our kids.  We tend to believe that until about the age of ten or maybe even older they're just floating along through life as we control the strings on them like puppets--but they remember.  They need to remember.  Landmarks are part of what makes them who they are and the identity they'll start to shape for themselves.  This court house is a landmark for Georgia and I believe she really gets it as of yesterday.  She wanted to hear everything about it in relationship to her own adoption day.  She wanted to hear me be just as excited about it as she was getting.  

There will be a lot more landmarks for her.  Both figuratively and literally.  I want to help her honor them and appreciate them.  I think it's my job to help her cherish where she's come from and know how it makes her Georgia.  

Georgia loves this little girl--baby Will's big sister--and she made sure to ask her to show her all around the courtroom.  That's the cool thing about an adoption finalization ceremony--it's so loose.  You can walk all over, talk, laugh, applaud,'s the best!  If you ever get the chance to go to one--don't miss it!  The judges are so happy; a break from the usual heart-break they deal with in family court and the chance to officially make someone a family.

This takes "please approach the bench" to a whole new level.  Somehow I don't think they mean, "climb all over it."  But hey.............

Here's us back in 2009 in pretty much this same spot...........

Two little adopted cuties!  I love this picture (and not just because Georgia is actually looking right at the camera for once!).

We headed to Will's adoption day party afterwards.......the best kind of Valentine's Day party there is!

Seriously adorable!

And Georgia camped out here when she wasn't running around with all the other little girls......she wanted to keep an eye on the cake.

And once we got home we opened our own Valentine's Day presents.  She's recently fallen in love with Disney princesses of all varieties--Snow White ranks high so I found this great little apron dress on Etsy.

And no joke, she said, "I got a book for ladies and daddy got a book for men."

Hope you had a great Valentine's Day as well!  And I challenge you to figure out what the important landmarks in the lives of your own kids are.  Take them there, talk about them, celebrate them.

Monday, February 13, 2012

There will be dancing.

When this girl is on our iPod......singing the song above.......or any of them, really, from her album.....we can't help but go crazy and dance.

And sometimes that music just gets under our skin so much we get to do naughty things like dance on the moms can get really good pictures...........

Because it's just so hard to follow the rules when she's on the iPod.........

That's it......happy Monday.....start dancing......and may I suggest a little Selena?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mom guilt. Stop ignoring it.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately.  I love this quote and I hate this quote.  
I love it for obvious reasons.  
I hate it because it makes me feel sad.  

Sad for all of the times I've lost my patience with Georgia when she really wasn't doing anything other than being...........a 10 month old, a one year old, a two year old.  Frustrated with myself for misunderstanding something that Georgia is trying to do and getting irritated because it isn't the way that I would do it.....and then when I see what she is doing it all makes sense--but I've already snapped at her.  And obviously this list could go on.  

I'm not trying to heap more mom guilt on here, I'm just being honest.  Sometimes I think we confuse mom guilt with good, healthy, human emotion and introspection.  Our society has become so accustomed to dismissing any sad stirrings us moms have in relationship to child-rearing as mom-guilt that I fear we're wasting lessons that our consciousness is trying to teach make us better moms.  

I think the term mom-guilt infers that what you're feeling guilty about you shouldn't feel guilty about.  Is that true sometimes?  Of course.  There's no way you can play with your child one-on-one for five uninterrupted hours a day.....or heck....even one or two......between work and laundry and dinner and phone calls and grocery shopping and other kids and family obligations and whatevers, it's a challenge--we probably don't need to feel guilty about that.  Should we feel guilty about huge tears that ensue from our children after we take away their candy and give them a time out because of their tantrum in the parking lot?  No.  That's called discipline, and our kids....our society..... need us to dole out those consequences for bad behavior so they become responsible members of their community. Should we feel guilty when our child has been playing by herself for an hour making up cute games and you're doing your own thing?  No.  Kids need to learn how to play independently and to occupy themselves.  They need to learn what being a self-starter is and that there is no such thing as being bored.  

But there are other things that we feel guilty about.......and maybe we should........we probably shouldn't just pass it off as mom guilt.  We should embrace those feelings for what they're trying to tell us and get better........for our babies.  

When Georgia asks me for the tenth time to help her "put up a Wizard of Oz" show and I've put her off long enough and I put her off again........I think I should feel bad.  She wants to play with me.  I'm the most important person in her world right now.  I need to act like it.  

When she's eating lunch at the table and I'm checking e-mail.......again........and I notice she's sitting there quietly, I think I should feel bad that I'm not taking that opportunity to sit there with her face-to-face, enjoying a calm, quiet moment together. 

When Georgia wants to help me decorate, and that decorating involves scattering little heart shaped pieces of paper around vases of flowers with a side of Snow White's pink plastic shoes, and I remove them when she's not looking only to find her searching for them later, I think I should feel bad.  Why do I care so much if those little pieces of paper stay there?  Last I checked the photographer from Architectural Digest can't make it today anyway.  

When I fill up three days in a row with running around and running around and I know that half of those errands are completely unnecessary (do I really need to go to Marshall's again?  really?) and all she wants to do is play play-doh and make paper bag puppets with me, I think I should feel bad.  She has things she wants to do to--and some of them should be acknowledged.   

Everyone's list will be different.  The items on the list might be of the same vein or resemble each other, but they'll be different because we all have different triggers.  Things that really speak to us, really pull at our hearts and make us think that we should be doing better.  Don't ignore them.  

The term mom-guilt is good for dismissing ridiculous things that we feel bad about.  But I also think it's provided an excuse for us to behave apathetically as moms at times--and that's a bad thing.  We need to learn the difference between unwarranted mom guilt and mom guilt that says, "Focus on your kid.  Put down your phone. Shut your computer. Stop folding laundry for ten seconds. You don't need to go to the mall.  You need to play doctor for a full half n'hour and not try to get out of it.  You need to watch Sesame Street WITH your kid once in a while instead of using it as an excuse to do what you want to do while it's on.  The house can go without being vacuumed for an hour.  The stuffed animals can stay right there in the middle of the living room floor--they're at a show."  

We've got to learn this.  We've got to admit that not all mom-guilt is bad.  We need to remember......they'll never forget how we made them feel.  Never.  Not ever.  

Earlier this week Georgia asked me why I had black bananas in the refrigerator.  I told her they're for banana bread.  She of course wanted to make it with me. It's not that I mind her helping me in the kitchen I just didn't feel like making the bread so I kept putting her off and putting her off.  Today.......she asked again.  I said yes.  

She was in awe that I let her squeeze these rotten bananas into a doh with the garlic press has definitely been trumped.

I love this little face. Look at that face. And I mean the picture above.  I'm not talking about my own face below.

 I think I need to even out my bangs. Or maybe stop doing it myself altogether.

And here's the thing.  No sooner had we mixed up the batter for the bread than she was off on her own playing, taking this donkey (who was playing the part of the Tin Man today) on a walk.  And she didn't really want me to play with her.  She was satisfied.  Her mom fix had been had.  It doesn't take a lot to make them feel like we need them to feel.  

And that's not to say we can punch the clock for fifteen minutes and we're's to say that even the smallest of actions where we push aside what we'd rather do, or not do makes a huge impact on our kids.  And the more we do it, the more of a habit it becomes. And it's a good habit, the kind of habit that results in our kids knowing we want to spend time with them, they're more important than technology, the cleaning can wait (for a little bit), or the banana bread gets made a little messier because we're doing it together.  

So that mom guilt?  Some of it's a good thing.....maybe even more than some.  Listen to it.  Your kids will feel better because of it.  

You Might Also Like....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...