Friday, September 28, 2007

I heart Fridays

I heart them so very much.

The end.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Yesterday I learned that a woman I knew at school died Friday while serving in Iraq. She was an Army surgeon.

I can't stop thinking about her.

Monday, September 24, 2007

National Adoption Day

We got word today that we'll be finalizing Hester's adoption on Friday, November 16--National Adoption Day. I'm not looking forward to it. I'd hoped that we could do something small, something that would honor the solemnity of the occasion as well as the mixed emotions that the day will surely bring. I'd hoped it would be just Ms. Stork (our social worker), our little family, and the judge. Instead, we're going to have Adoptionpalooza! complete with arts and crafts, a community breakfast, and a press conference "to celebrate all the adopting families."

It just feels wrong to me.

I wonder what Hester will think of this day in years to come. Will she think it's cool that there was such a to-do on the day she legally joined our family, or will she be angry that such fuss was made on such a bittersweet day? Hard to say.

In the meantime, I wish we trusted the placing agency enough to tell them what we really want. Knowing them, it's better to go along with the carnival of National Adoption Day than to fight for our own small, private adoption day. November 16 is the soonest day we'd be able to adopt Hester, so that's what we'll do. We'll make it legal like some tacky Vegas wedding, then we'll get the hell out of there.

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Friday, September 21, 2007


Thursday, September 20, 2007



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A bit better

Okay, I'm feeling a bit better. No news on the neighbor dog, but dusting is done, clothes are put away, and I've had some Milk Duds and a Diet Coke. Also, Hester is pulling herself up on the clothes basket. How cool is that?

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Aw crap

Nightmarish morning: One child scared and sobbing, two others fighting, Hester still sick. The neighbor's dog was hit by a car while the kids and I were in the yard. As I tried to help, the kids picked the last of our tomatoes and crushed them. V. messy lunchtime, late nap time. Tough talk with a parent about Early Intervention for her son. Loads of laundry to put away and dusting still to do.

The day can only improve, right?


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Snapdragon is coming

My brother-in-law Snapdragon will be here tomorrow. He'll be staying for a whole week! I'm excited to see him but I'm nervous, too. The last time he visited the logistics were tough, but this time I think they'll be tougher, because:

1. I'll be working during his visit,
2. He's on west coast time, and
3. Hester Willa is here. She's also sickly right now.

So. I think we're going to put him in our room while we crash on an air mattress in Hester's room. That's going to suck royally for us, but I really think it'll be the best arrangement since he'll be up later and get up later than we will. Wish us luck and good sleeping vibes for Hester! Fingers crossed that she doesn't get too excited about seeing us in her room.

I confess that I'm worried about the work part, too. Our house from 8am-6pm is not a restful place...just ask Petunia when she's home sick from work. Snapdragon hopes to study during this trip while he's on break from school. The last time he tried this (a couple of years ago when my work kids were much quieter than they are now) he went back home saying he never wanted to have kids. Oi. I'm hopeful that Petunia will help him find quiet places to study, but I'm nervous that he'll be miserable while he's here. I know she plans to g on lots of little day trips with Snapdragon and Hester, so maybe all this worry is for nothing.

In anticipation of Snapdragon's visit, today I'm busy cleaning and getting things ready for his arrival. I'm not going too crazy, but some things need to be done before he comes. I've done a lot already, but I still need to dust, put away several loads of clean clothes, and tidy up our bedroom. I also need to figure out what to make for dinner tomorrow night. If Hester goes down easily tonight, all will be well. If not, I'm going to be super busy tomorrow morning. Here's hoping for a sleepy, peaceful baby and a quick and easy round of cleaning.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Cheerleading for my baby

This just in: Hester graduated from Early Intervention this morning. YAHOO! She's a star and we're so happy for her. The assessment was HARDCORE but she did great. I'm relieved to put those visits behind us.

Also, we learned that Hester has her 2nd ear infection. We thought we were going to have to take her to the ER last night when she couldn't lie down without screaming, but eventually she fell asleep. She was her usual chipper self this morning, but we knew something was wrong. Petunia took her to the doctor just after her EI assessment and now the 2 of them are at the pharmacy getting the kid more pink stuff. Poor little baby! She sure tries to tough these things out.

And finally, at the doctor's office Petunia learned that Hester had gained 2 lbs. since her last visit. The doctor was v. pleased and said that Hester's doing great weight-wise. She's now a respectable (smallish, but solid) 15 lbs. 12 oz. Yay, baby Hester!

So that's the news from here. Yay for Hester Willa!


Friday, September 14, 2007

A little help from my (bloggy) friends

Some of you have experience with this sort of thing, so I'll just throw it out here. What could be going on with a 2-year old child who presents with the following issues?

--fear of children in same age group; extreme fear of roughhousing or boisterous play
--high-pitched keening, crying, and shaking when distressed
--extreme sensitivity to and fear of loud noises
--tremendous separation anxiety from caregiver
--these problems come and go randomly as far as I can tell. I bet there's a trigger somewhere, but it's not blatant
--he used to have an obsession with lights and light switches and he used to flap his hands, but those behaviors have gone away

This little boy is fine when he's in my arms or in a back carrier, but that's not feasible when there are 4 other children to care for. His pediatrician says he looks great and dismissed his mother's concerns with the statement that "all 2-year olds are fearful and anxious from time to time." She's pressing the pediatrician on it again today after I had to call her for an early pickup; clearly he's not okay as he cried and shook every time one of the other kids looked at him.

This little boy is a wonderful kid and I want to care for him appropriately, but I can't figure out what's going on with him. Two coping strategies work fairly well some of the time: making him a cozy nest where he can observe, but not interact with, the other children, and helping him remember to cover his ears when loud noises occur. His mom gives him a pacifier and a lovey when things get tough, and they work sometimes as well.

I used to think this little one had Asperger's, but he doesn't have the hallmarks of that syndrome. Perhaps he has a different autism spectrum disorder. I have a call in to Early Intervention for him, so we'll see what happens on that front. In the meantime, if you recognize this child's behaviors as anything more than a random cluster of behaviors, would you please email me? Thanks. I really appreciate your help.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Lately I've been hard at work on Hester's lifebook. I just finished most of the text and I think it's coming together well, but I wonder if I put too much information in it. I don't want to leave anything out, but I'm also the kind of person who thinks that more is more when it comes to information.

I used Beth O'Malley's framework for constructing the book but wrote it with my own phrasing, including lots of little details like what Ariana ate when she was pregnant with Hester and how one of Hester's relatives is a Junior Olympian. I didn't shy away from the birds and bees stuff, or Hester's birth and hospitalization, or the very difficult reasons why Ariana and Bobby said they made an adoption plan for her. I think it's a good lifebook, but I also think it's pretty weighty. Overwhelming, even. But doesn't Hester deserve to know her truth from the get-go, details and all?

I just hope I'm not effing this up.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Schedules, division of labor, and other household woes

Today Sster posted her daily schedule and her household division of labor issues. She encouraged her readers to do the same. I'm up for it, so here goes nothing!

Daily Schedule (Weekdays)

4:45am: Alarm goes off

5-6am: Get out of bed; feed Hester; feed Clara and let her out; make coffee; say goodbye to Petunia

6-8am: Laundry; dishes; wash floors and surfaces; shower; clean bathroom; dress and change Hester; breakfast (if time)

8-9am: Kids arrive

9am: Breakfast

10am: Feed Hester

12pm: Lunch; feed Clara and cats

1-3:30pm: Naptime for kids; write kids' daily notes; eat lunch; blog, email; knit or read; feed Hester

3:30pm: Kids up

4pm: Snack

6pm: Kids leave; feed Hester; pick up house; feed Clara and cats

6:30pm: Petunia home on Wednesdays and Thursdays

7pm: Play with Hester; read, knit, or watch bad TV; eat dinner; catch up with Petunia (Wed. & Thurs. only); chat on phone with family
Run to grocery, Target, post office, etc.

8pm: Hester ready for bed

8:30pm: Hester asleep (knock wood); get bottles ready for morning

9-10pm: Let Clara out final time; bedtime

10:15pm: Petunia home (Tuesdays and Fridays)

[There's also a lot of playing and child-wrangling during those hours from 8am-6pm, but I don't need to tell you that.]

So, you can see that my day is chock full of household activities as part of and on top of my regular work. In addition to most of the cleaning and laundry, I do the trash and recycling, lawn mowing (ha! all 5 blades of grass!), pet care (though Petunia does the cats' litter pan 75% of the time), finances, letter writing and birthday remembering, and most of the basic goods shopping. It's an inherently unequal division of labor situation, but (right now, anyway) it works for us.

This is, it's working for us except in one BIG area: Dinner. Here are the issues with dinner, but you have to promise not to make fun of me before you read on:

1. I hate to cook and I'm way pickier than Petunia; I'd happily eat turkey hotdogs or cereal morning, noon, and night. Additionally, I'm a pretty awful cook (I'm pretty good at baking, though!). I'm also freaking exhausted by the end of the workday. After planning and preparing or cooking 3 meals/day for the kids in my care, I just can't bring myself to plan/prepare/cook anything for Petunia and me. It's awful--when 6pm comes I just want to lie down and have someone put a sandwich in my mouth. Tired + lazy = shitty eating habits.

2. Petunia loves cooking, but she walks into the house at 6:30pm twice a week and 10:30pm twice a week. She doesn't know what's in the fridge, she's exhausted as well, and she gets frustrated with my pickiness. Also, she and Hester are vegetarian while I eat chicken and turkey.

3. I hate leftovers. Also, I can't bear to eat things I smelled cooking for longer than 15 minutes or so, which means that while I can make chili or soup or crock pot goodness and serve it to others, I can't actually eat those foods myself. It grosses me out.

4. Our kitchen chairs are tricked out with booster seats for the kids and it's a pain in the ass to remove them every night and put them back on every morning. Lazy, perhaps, but there you go.

5. All of which means that we have one of several things for dinner: Pizza, breakfast for dinner, burritos, sandwiches, hot dogs (turkey and veggie, respectively), cereal. Seriously, these are the foods we eat at night. And we eat them on the couch, usually while Hester's playing on the floor in another part of the room. I know, we're bad moms. For reals.

6. I feel really guilty about this because I'd like Hester to grow up eating dinner with us. Right now, it's one of those things I've had to push off in a "choose your battles" kind of way. After all, she has communal meals 3x/day and snuggly bottles 5x/day. Also, we can't eat while we're feeding her, so it's been easier to justify lax mealtimes. However, a more formal dinner together would be nice, especially since Hester's starting to eat finger foods now. As she grows, I expect this will be my #1 area of Mama Guilt unless I can get a handle on it soon.

I'm not necessarily looking for help with this; I think Petunia and I will have to come up with something that works for us. Eventually, I think I'll need to bite the bullet and sacrifice some of my precious little personal time for the greater good of eating together. Now, if only I could figure out what to make tonight....

Thursday, September 06, 2007

In which I see red

Our placing agency fucking SUCKS.

We were eligible to apply for a court date to finalize Hester's adoption on July 18, which was 6 months after Hester was placed with us. Of course, the placing agency has been giving us the runaround since then. We're not surprised about this--they were even worse before Hester was born and worse still when she was in the hospital. They're lazy, incompetent, and negligent; they also lie all the time. This time, they say that their lawyer is refraining from sending us our Petition to Adopt and Affidavit of Petitioner paperwork "until they have a few more families ready to finalize." BULLSHIT! I know they're giving us shitty treatment because of our particular situation. I'm incensed about it.

The very minute we finalize, Petunia's going straight to their board of directors. The director of the agency deserves to lose her job.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hester hearts apples


In rural northern NY even the 7-month olds ride horses