Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ten Months Today!

As unbelievable as it is, little Charlie is ten months old today. He's becoming quite the mobile little man and he's getting more independent by the day. He's still a social butterfly baby who wants to be where we are but he's beginning to want to investigate more than he has in the past. He is a fast crawler and he's even gotten brave enough to stand up without any support once or twice. His personality is endearing. He's loves to play games (he invents new ones every day!) and there's a lot of laughter around our house lately. :) During the past couple of weeks he started laughing when we laugh or fake coughing to see what kind of reaction he can get from us. Cute!

This morning after his wake up bottle he came into our room. We all fell back asleep for a little while and the next thing I knew, he was sitting up next to me in the bed, just looking at me. What a lovely sight to see first thing in the morning!

He's also beginning to test his limits in terms of what he does and doesn't want to do. He hates getting his face wiped after he eats (like most babies) and he's starting to protest diaper changes too. His mini-temper tantrums are a little funny, although I know it's kind of wrong for me to laugh at him. He's into everything right now and is consequently becoming quite familiar with the word, "No." So far we haven't had any major mishaps, although he has had a couple minor bumps. We're all getting the hang of rolling with the punches and laughing off the tumbles, though that's still hard for yours truly.

He's a big fan of kisses lately, which I love. He cruises along the furniture, giving kisses the whole way. I think he's thinking about giving the dogs kisses when he's doing that since they are usually on the couch just out of his reach. He will also crawl over to us in the middle of playing and give us kisses, its so sweet!

We've finally gotten quite a bit of snow here in MI during the past couple of weeks. I always make a point of talking to Charlie about what's happening, both inside and out. He seems to enjoy watching the snow from our front window and we've gotten bundled up and headed out to play whenever it's been warm enough. Apparently he loves to swing:

His favorite books right now are Goodnight Moon and The Rainbow Fish. I especially love the way he's started pointing at pictures lately. He can even find a few items in some of his books, like fish, birds, baby body parts, doggies and so on. It goes without saying that I am biased; however, I think we have a smart little guy on our hands! :)

This past month has been yet another whirlwind but it's been a joyful one. I'm on "spring break" from school this week and I'm very much looking forward to a little extra time with our baby. Although I am (of course) thrilled that he's happy and healthy, he's becoming a big boy a little too quickly for me! It will be a welcome relief to slow down a little, even if only for one week.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Heart Cries Giveaway & Beautiful Blogger Award

If you haven't already seen it, my friend Rebekah is currently featuring her first-ever blog giveaway! Hop on over and check it out, she has an adorable picnic bag that will be awarded to one lucky blogger this coming Wednesday, February 24.

Also, Tracey gave me this "Beautiful Blogger" award a week ago and in the frenzy of my week, I forgot to create my own nominations. Better late than never I guess, right? Thank you for the award, Tracey!

As part of receiving this award, there are a few rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

2. Post this award to 15 other bloggers that you follow and think are great!

3. Leave a message on each blog, letting them know you are giving them this award.

4. Post seven things about yourself.


Picture of My World
Plaid with Polka Dots
Our Story: Our Journey to Adoption
Always & Forever Family
Anderson Happenings
Waiting for Baby: Our Adoption Journey Chronicles
Waiting for Bambino
More Than Dog Children
Urban Green Farm
Still Thinking...again
From You & Me to Family of Three
All for Lucy Lou & Vivi, too
Barren Woman
Miracles - Believe in Them

  • I met my husband online and we lived in different countries, more then 4,000 miles apart from each other.
  • I will be student teaching in the fall and am one part excited and one part terrified.
  • I sang with Kenny Rogers at a Christmas concert once.
  • Speaking of singing, I really enjoy it and have been told I'm not bad. My sister and I have sung at two weddings and a funeral, which is kind of our joke.
  • I took guitar lessons a while back but never became dedicated enough to get really good. I hope to try again someday soon!
  • I hate reality television and I think this makes me really weird.
  • I'm starting to feel like our house is bursting at the seems and I really hope we can afford to make some changes (or at least add some storage) soon.
If you're looking for some new reading material, check out the blogs I nominated, they're great!

Walking a Fine Line

I don't know if I can explain this.

In my experience, the art of motherhood can be summed up by saying I walk a fine line between not wanting to over-react and not wanting to under-react. This has been crystal clear to me this weekend as little Charlie has had a low-grade fever since Friday night. I think it's probably related to teething but you can never be completely sure. As mommy, there is always a low-level feeling of gentle dread (if that's the right word) about my boy. It's not like I sit around worrying about him constantly or anything - but more that there is a living, breathing being existing outside my own body that I love as if he should be part of my body. Does that make any sense? Perhaps I should just leave it to the experts. Elizabeth Stone put it so eloquently:
"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."
Bingo, that's kind of what I'm trying to put into words. As Charlie's mommy, one of my greatest desires is to protect him. The really scary thing is the acute knowledge that I can't. I can keep him physically safe, at least now while he's small...and there are things I can do to try to protect him as he grows but when all is said and done, his precious life is beyond me. I guess any mother who has had a really sick child, or worse yet, lost a child (as horrifying as that thought is) can really speak to that.

I've said before that infertility taught me lessons about letting go and realizing that I have little control over some pretty major aspects of my life. In looking at that now, I can see that it was preparation...groundwork if you will for my life as a mother. Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I like to be in control. While maybe not quite a "control freak," I do like to hold the reins. I know beyond the shadow of any doubt that I am a much better mother now than I would have been if things had worked out my way. Beyond the fact that I can't imagine my life with any other baby in it is the fact that I am a stronger, healthier, happier, generally better woman now than I was then. I'm sure I could have been a good mom but I wouldn't have been the mom I am now.

There will undoubtedly be many lessons along the road of motherhood that are going to remind me of this same point - that I ultimately have no control. It's a difficult life lesson to learn and one that undoubtedly needs to be reiterated time and again, at least for most of us. I think that whole point about walking a fine line is why mother's intuition can be so strong at times, and why it's so important to listen to those gut feelings.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Charlie tried his hands at finger painting for the first time yesterday when we made his daddy a life-sized paper baby, good times!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

An Unexpected Opportunity to Share

Tonight our agency held its first panel discussion group about trans-racial adoption. Originally Michael and I were asked to speak on the panel; however, the community response was overwhelming for the agency so they politely asked us to be audience members instead. The email we received said something to the effect of, "The response to our proposed meeting about trans-racial adoption has been very positive with many more people than we anticipated agreeing to be on the panel of speakers. Several adult adoptees have been added to the panel, which will allow less time for adoptive parents to speak."

Honestly when I got that email my reaction was mixed. I was one part relieved because we've been so busy and this was one less thing to add to the list but the other side of me was miffed because, although I am by no means an expert, this is one topic about which I do have a lot of thoughts. Besides--what adoptive parent doesn't want an opportunity to share their story?

So whatever, I let it go. Michael ended up having to work tonight anyway and today was an exceptionally busy day for me at school. I decided I would attend the meeting as an audience member and absorb what new information I could. For some reason I had it in my head that the meeting started at 7:00 but it was actually scheduled for 7:30. It was a good thing I arrived early though because one of the panel members was unable to attend. When I heard that, I ceased the opportunity and volunteered to sit on the panel in her place. As my SW said after the meeting was over, "it was serendipitous."

I'm so glad I got to share our story! I felt like a valuable part of the group of speakers and it was so nice to look out into the crowd and see 20+ families, most of whom were listening intently to see if trans-racial adoption was something they could envision for themselves down the road.

The panel was amazing. There were four members from one family consisting of 11 children, eight of whom were adopted. The parents were there, along with their son and daughter, both of whom were African-American adult adoptees. There was a woman I've met a few times in the past who has adopted three children through our agency, two of whom are African-American, there was an adult adoptee from Columbia, there was a man with whom Michael works who, along with his wife, adopted their now three-year-old bi-racial son when he was a year old, there was me, and there was my good friend and her husband whose daughter is almost two and is of Hindu Indian dissent. Quite an interesting mixture of speakers to be sure.

We were each given a few minutes to introduce ourselves and share a little bit of our story with the audience, which was pretty powerful. After that they opened up the floor for general Q & A. Some of my favorite quotes from the evening were:
  • "You know, if we hadn't adopted our children, five or six of them wouldn't have lived."
  • "You love who you love, it's not about color."
  • A first-graders response to the question, "Why are those white people your parents?" "Because they adopted us! And besides, my dad is pink."
Many of the topics addressed tonight were issues I discussed in my recent post about race. The main points I took away from the meeting were things most of us already know but which still serve as good reminders. The bottom line is that while there are intrinsic issues surrounding it, trans-racial adoption is very doable. With the wealth of knowledge and information out there, combined with networking such as this meeting afforded me and others like me, white adoptive parents can and do raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children even when physical and cultural identity are completely different.

I let the meeting tonight feeling really good about what our future holds and about us as the unique and valuable family we are.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Gift of Time

This morning I woke up to one of the best emails I've read in a while:
"Eastern Michigan University is closed due to weather on Feb. 10"
If it had been me sending out that bit of good news, I would have added about a bazillion exclamation marks to the message! The thing is, my university never cancels classes...and I mean n.e.v.e.r! Even when all the other colleges in the area are closed they usually remain open. Not only was this a much-needed gift of a little extra time, it was a hugely unexpected and glorious surprise!

I still had so much to do when I woke up this morning; a physics lab report to finish, a reading assessment packet to complete and type, an art exam to study for and take...amidst all the other everyday stuff associated with existing and being a wife, mom and homeowner. Turns out the art exam was unavoidable despite the snow day; however, taking one test online is far better than the jumbled multitude of tasks I thought today was originally going to contain.

When you're a busy, multitasking mom...days slip by like sand through an hourglass. Sometimes I look at Charlie and I honestly don't know how he's already gotten so big, or how he can already do so many things. Although one day doesn't seem like much in the grand scheme of things, having a little extra time on my side to spend with my baby really was a tremendous blessing for me. Today meant a lot and we made the best of it!

First Charlie got to have some practice feeding himself, which is something he's done but probably not as much as he should have by now. I'm admittedly bad at this aspect of baby parenting. I get irritated with the messiness of baby feeding and playing with food. I have to make an effort to remind myself that he needs to learn how to do it himself, which involves a great deal of food play and yes, mess. Seeing his delight really helps me let it go. All I can really say is thank goodness for dogs who are experts at catching what he drops!

He was one hungry "Li'l Dude" and spent
several minutes concentrating on getting food into
mouth. The tuna noodle casserole I made was a big hit!

As soon as I let him have the spoon it was all fun and games.

Little Man figured it our pretty quickly!

This past week he's mastered the skill of
clapping. Any time he's really excited this is what he does.

Seriously, with those eyes how could I
not let him make any kind of mess he wants?!

After lunch, we headed out for a romp in the snow. Michael works from home on Wednesdays so he was able to join us during his lunch break. Good times!

Charlie watching as I attempt to
make a snow person. My efforts were
futile, we ended up with more of a deformed
snow blob that didn't survive for pictures. Oh well!

Charlie wasn't too sure about sitting in the snow but
he had fun watching Daddy shovel for a few minutes.

Michael leaned down to show Charlie a snow ball
and the boy decided to give it a taste, too funny!

We've had a great day and it's not even over yet...I'm so grateful for this unexpected respite and for my beautiful little family!