Entries from April 2010 ↓

sticks and stones

a few days ago, someone made a comment on my “a part apart” post that really got me thinking.  for those of you who may have missed the comment, i’d like to re-post it here (note to “A”–I hope you don’t mind!):

“I feel the way you do…my (adopted) baby is 6 months old, and I don’t feel like he’s a part of my body.  I was just feeling guilty about that last night.  And I still have trouble saying “my son”, or “mommy”, or things like that in front of other people…like maybe they’ll think that’s not accurate??  I don’t know why I feel this way–it surprised me.  I am adopted myself, and I never felt like I WASN’T my (adoptive) parents’ child…not once.  I think it’s just a hard switch to make after waiting so long, wanting so much, and hurting so badly.”

I responded to her via e-mail with this:

“thank you.  your perspective (especially as an adult adoptee) is wonderful for me to hear and I think your last sentence is absolutely right.  It IS hard to flip that switch after so many years of feeling pain associated with words like babies and mommies and such.  I still feel that pain associated with words like pregnancy and breastfeeding because even though I have a son now, I never got to (and likely never will) experience those things, so there’s still jealousy hanging heavy on those words.  I find I have to practice saying “my son” and “mommy” at home a lot when I’m talking to my son or to my husband and while that helps to make it feel less odd in my ears, it still sometimes doesn’t feel quite TRUE yet.*”

I’ve been thinking about it ever since and still find it interesting that while words like “baby” and “family” don’t bother me at all now, I still have this teeny, interior cringe whenever I hear other words (“womb” is one that for some reason really gives me the heebie-jeebies).  how interesting that becoming a mom through adoption can make some of those deep emotional wounds fade to just a dull ache or even disappear (most of the time) but other wounds are still raw.  will they ever heal?

*I’d like to add that in some ways this reminds me of when I first got married after dating J for 6 years.  It felt weird to say “my husband” for the first little while, but now (especially after 10 years of marriage (as of this Thursday!)) it feels as ordinary as water.  I figure saying “my son” will lose its edge soon too.

traveling through the big wide world of adoption

this week i went back to work for two mornings.  while i was there, i announced to the group of moms and dads and nannies that bring their kids to my library programs that I’d spent the last six weeks getting to know my newly adopted son.  I passed around a brag book of photos and everyone oohed and ahhed over how cute he was and extended their heartfelt congratulations to me.  I also had some wonderful and unexpectedly deep conversations with a few people about how adoption has touched their lives.  One mother told me that she’d been adopted as an infant and then she went on to tell me how her adoptive father had died in a car accident when she was 18 months old and her mother didn’t re-marry until she was 13 years old and then her mother passed away when she was 20 (I think) and so now the only relative she has is her stepfather who never even legally adopted her, but whom she feels enormously close to.  She told me that hearing my story (and she really only got the tiniest highlights!) made her heart swell and made her get all teary-eyed (which might also be due partially to the fact that she has a newborn with the exact same birthday as Baby Dude!).  Another mother approached me, all excited, and said, “I heard you adopted your baby from Texas?  We adopted our daughter from Texas too!”  I had no idea this child was adopted and it was so nice to talk to another mother who has at times felt like they “slip under the radar” because their daughter looks enough like them that people assume she’s biologically theirs.

I sort of feel like I’ve just joined a secret club and now that I’m “in” all of the members are revealing themselves to me.  i never seem to get tired of hearing other peoples’ adoption stories…. they’re all so different and yet ring so familiar at the same time.  I wonder if there’s a secret handshake?

a part apart

Saturday was my first day back at work.  I only worked the morning and did my very popular monthly “Donuts with Dad” program.  People weren’t expecting to see me back quite yet, so I had some very excited kids actually chanting my name they were so happy to see me.  (I love my job.)  When I was cleaning up after the program, one of my co-workers stopped to talk to me and we ended up getting into a more-than-superficial conversation about parenting and childcare.  She has a young daughter (less than 2 years old, I think) who she takes to a daycare while she’s at work during the week when her husband is also at work, so this is all very current for her.  She asked me if it was hard to be back at work.  She asked me if it felt like I was missing a piece of my body.  I thought about it for a minute and had to admit, that …. no, it didn’t.  Was this because Baby Dude was at home happily sleeping next to J instead of in a daycare with “strangers”?  Or is this an adoption thing?  I mean, he wasn’t EVER “a part of my body” so do I feel less physically attached to him because I’ve only known him for 6 weeks and I’m still, in some ways, slowly allowing myself to believe in my deepest heart that he really is my son forever?  Does he feel less like “part of my body” because I’m not constantly attached to him while nursing?  Or is this just a difference in our personalities?  I don’t regret not experiencing that sensation (who wants to be missing part of their body?) and I don’t feel particularly guilty about it, but I’m just curious.

i couldn’t resist

probably about a year ago, i was in a local coffee shop and browsing their merchandise while waiting for my order to be filled and i saw these mugs and they made me cry because i wanted them so badly.  I mean, they’re so cute, they have a children’s literary reference, they’re a nice shape, but i didn’t feel like i could get them since we weren’t yet mama and papa bears.  the first time i saw them in a store since we’ve been back from texas, i knew that they were exactly what i wanted to spend some of my birthday money on.  i love them.  (and no, they don’t have a baby bear mug.  baby bears don’t drink coffee, silly!  but they do have a tempting melamine baby bear stripey cup….)

i also got this fantastically silky, soft, stretchy blanket (made from bamboo!) with a gift certificate to a local baby boutique from a lovely and generous friend.  did i need yet another swaddling blanket?  no.  but is this one my new favorite?  yes.  i mean, look!  he looks like a yummy little green bean!

and because i can’t resist this new cute little baby dude, here’s one more shot where he tells me what he thinks of green beans:

after Easter eye-candy for you!

for those of you who have requested more photos, here’s a few.  We’re really enjoying getting to know baby dude.  my parents came up for a week and did tons of laundry and dish/bottle washing (thanks, mom!) and other projects around the house that sorely needed to be done and were likely to continue being ignored for the next little while (thanks, dad!) and i think they loved the chance to get to hold and love on baby dude.

we also now have an entire week of just mom at home under our belts while dad’s back at work and all of the relatives are gone and we’re figuring out the rhythms of our days and nights and learning to interpret his noises (and smells).  we’re figuring out how to get around town together (we walked to the post office all wrapped up in the moby sling and figured out how to deliver a big box to the UPS store while also carrying a baby car seat) and just reveling in new parenthood.

favorite books so far: 

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee–has beautiful rhythm, meaning and illustrations that portray so many different kinds of families!  Plus, later when attention spans get shorter, we can just read the big words on the page and skip the smaller ones.

Haiku Baby by Betsy E. Snyder–I bought this one awhile back at Frugal Muse intending to gift it to someone probably, but the illustrations had me hooked and I decided to keep it.  I’m so glad!  I still love the illustrations and the little haikus on each page are a gentle read for little baby ears.  My favorite is the one called “Flower:”

“In tickly-toe grass;

A buttercup offers up

Yellow nose kisses”

Snoozers by Sandra Boynton–this one came to us in a box of used books from a friend.  I just assumed it was a collection of other Boynton favorites, but it’s not!  It’s all original stuff and is hilarious.  Each 2-page spread is a different “chapter” which might be nice for skipping around later in life and also has wonderful rhythm and humor (but then again, don’t all of her books?  Isn’t that why we LOVE them?).

The funny thing is that at work, I generally am not all that fond of rhyming books (for the preschool set I often find them distracting, especially when the meter is off or when the author tries so hard to make the rhyme that it’s difficult to understand what they’re trying to say) and I steer clear of “gentle reads” preferring funny ones, but that’s because I’ve always believed that gentle reads are better for “lap-reading” than for storytimes.  It’s nice to finally have the opportunity to appreciate them for their intended purpose!  Baby Dude may not understand the humor in these books yet and he may not appreciate the pictures, but I know that he loves listening to the lilting rhythms and the sound of our voices.  I love reading to this boy!