Seasonal Guilt Disorder

Posted in Adoption on November 12, 2009 by Brad

Trying to decide what to get our son for Christmas. Something small that we can send through the mail? Or order something bigger online and have it delivered? Is that too impersonal? Which will he appreciate more?

We have not visited at Christmas since our first daughter was born. We always used to visit at Christmas. My son’s family pictures from last Christmas are… heartbreaking. There he is, sitting under the tree, opening presents. Presents that were just what he wanted. But he does not have that typical look of a kid on Christmas morning with all the promise of spending the day playing with new toys and eating good food. He looks sad, and lost.

So, egocentric as I am, I wonder if that is because we – the rest of his family – are not there. I wonder if he feels like he is not important to us now we have kids who we are parenting. Maybe he feels replaced.

I do not know what to say to him. Am I reading into it? Was he just pissed in those pictures because he got Antz-in-the-Pantz and not yellow Mega-man? Will it just make things worse if I try to reassure him that we still love him, that our daughters have not replaced him in any way. Maybe he has not thought anything like that but me voicing it will make him think about it.

I should probably ask his parents, but I do not want to sound like an ass.

Adoption sucks.

Girls, girls, girls

Posted in Parenting on October 17, 2009 by Brad

I have girls.

Delilah (yes, that is a pseudonym) was born on her due date of September 29th 2009 at 21:38, weighing in at 6 pounds 13 ounces.

Everyone is doing great, except Lamia who appears to think that mommy no longer loves her.  She is sweet with Delilah though.

Tired. Obviously.

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Posted in Parenting on September 7, 2009 by Brad

How is it that my kid not only knows about McDonalds, but gets excited when she sees it? She had some fries from there one time. And now when we see the big golden arches she points and screams piercingly “O’Donalds!” causing everyone around us for 100ft to stare at me as if I am the worst parent in the world, because obviously the child is fed on nothing but McNuggets.

It was much funnier when our friends were visiting and told us they had just come from McDonalds and Lamia sang “ee-i-ee-i-o!”

I feel like she has lost her innocence somehow.

Guilt

Posted in Operation Shock and Awe, Parenting on June 28, 2009 by Brad

The second kiddo’s imminent arrival is a mere three months away. We are in the process of clearing out the study so that we can move Lamia in there and leave the smaller, closer room for the n00b.

I find I am feeling a little guilty at the uprooting that Lamia is going to go through. She has been so much the center, the focus, of our lives for the past 21 months. She comes before all else, and she knows it. The kid chucks a tantrum if she brings me a book to read to her and I tell her I will do it in 2 minutes. How on earth is this little girl, who has been so doted on, going to handle being second fiddle to a tiny baby? The baby who has uprooted her from her bedroom, will be wearing her old socks and playing with her old toys. The baby who is going to bring Lamia’s out-of-house activities to a screaming halt for awhile.

I cannot help but regret them being so close in age. It was not something we planned that way. When it comes to unplanned pregnancy, we rule. But I wish Lamia was just a little older so she would be able to understand what was going on. So that she would be excited about being a big sister, and about having a whole new room, her own little space which will actually fit some of her toys. And maybe we could paint it the color of her choice.

Of course, then I feel guilty for focusing on Lamia and barely even considering the n00b, and it occurs to me how kids end up with middle child syndrome…

A confession

Posted in Adoption, Mumblings on April 21, 2009 by Brad

I have been trying to decide what to with this blog. I no longer write here very often. Partly because when I do take the time to write something of substance, I have to deal with it being picked to pieces. Which is OK, that is why I write it in a public environment. But at the same time it is disheartening because even people who are supposed to be on “my side” take exception to my comments on occasion. If I am not even understood by those who should understand me best, obviously I am not writing well enough and thereby making matters worse.

So, I closed the blog for awhile. And I debated deleting. I looked over some of my old posts. And I found this. And I am ashamed because I must confess that now I cannot recall when Lamia sat properly on her own for the first time, despite fretting over Sprog’s parents not being able to remember the same thing about him. Guess I do not deserve Lamia either.

But anyways, I could not bring myself to delete the old posts. Some of them are important reminders of my own imperfection and mortality. Others may just possibly be read by someone who learns something and just maybe gets to be a dad instead of a birth father because of something I have said. Probably not. But you never know.

So it stays, and I will update with fluff and stories for Lamia. And maybe one day I will finish writing out the adoption story. When I really feel the need to punish myself.

Thank you to everyone who has read and commented over the years (just realized this blog recently had its third birthday).

Puff wants to play

Posted in Fiction for kids on April 21, 2009 by Brad

Puff is a puppy. Puff loves his family. But most of all, Puff loves to play.

Puff says: Lily, will you play with me?

Lily says: Go away Puff. I am sleeping.

Puff says: Mommy, will you play with me?

Mommy says: Not right now Puff. I am busy fixing dinner.

Puff says: Daddy, will you play with me?

Daddy says: Later Puff. I need to mend this torn book.

Puff says: Lamia, will you play with me?

Lamia says: I am too little to play with you Puff.

Puff is sad. Nobody will play with him. He goes to fetch his ball and tosses it around near Lily. Lily opens one eye. Puff bounces over to Lily and says: Lily, will you play with me now?

Lily says: Come on Puff, let’s play ball!

And they all lived happily ever after.

The End.

Scent of a woman

Posted in Mumblings on March 25, 2009 by Brad

Honestly. I thought it was bad enough that we ran out of shower gel so we are now using some lavender body wash that my wife was given for Christmas by an elderly relative. I smell an awful lot like flowers.

And then the hot water system, she explode.

So now I smell like sweat mixed with lavender,  lavishly applied to the body with a damp and uncomfortably temperate washcloth.

You really wanted to know this, huh?

Remember that thing I said that time?

Posted in Adoption, Operation Shock and Awe, Parenting on March 19, 2009 by Brad

About how there were momentous events in my life of which two years sobriety was the least? Well now I can talk about the other one.

We are having a baby

Lamia gets to be a big sister!

Let’s not talk about my below average photography skills.

In other news, we are in the process of making a date to visit with Sprog’s family. We figure best get it done before we have a new baby, else it will never happen.

More on the blame and entitlement stuff

Posted in Adoption on February 6, 2009 by Brad

I wanted to clarify where I am coming at this whole adoption thing from, particularly in relation to my previous post about blame, entitlement and the adoption chasm.

I did not really include birth parents from the BSE and similar (for example Suz) who were clearly given no choice. I was speaking more from my own point of view as someone who participated in a so-called voluntary adoption. I say so-called because I am not convinced that they are entirely voluntary in all cases, although it was in mine.

Certainly, birth parents need to take responsibility for their actions in creating a baby. I think exploring all their options is a form of taking responsibility. Thing is, adoption agencies have some damn good sales people.

Ever gone shopping for something, and gotten led a little astray by the salesperson? For instance, when we went to buy a stroller for our unborn baby. Once again, a parenting decision – you know, you want to get the stroller which is going to be most safe and comfortable for your baby. Do you get a full size pram which is wonderfully comfortable for your bundle of joy, but a pain in the ass to fold and put in the car, and then only gets used for 3 months until baby wants to sit up and then you have to buy a stroller anyways. And of course you also need to think about your lifestyle – do you want a zippy little 4-wheeler that you can take into the city easily, or do you want to jog through country fields with your oversize pneumatic tires? Will it fit in your trunk along with your dogs? Is it light enough to fold and carry on a bus?

So you figure out all these things, and then you walk into the store pretty sure that you just want a layback stroller which can be used from newborn until age 4, and that should set you back maybe $70. And then the sales lady sidles up. And she is so sincere, and she reads you pretty well and snickers with you at those women over there checking out the $800 pram and tells you they’ll hate it in the end, and be back for this $250 layback stroller that is exactly what you are looking for (except 3 times the price). And you say “but wait, this one here does the same thing for only $70, why is that one so expensive?”  And she tells you it is better quality and will last you several children (except it will not, unless you have a 3-4 year age gap, because it only fits one child) and that crappy one you are looking at gets brought back to the store all the time because the wheels fall off. So you buy the $250 stroller, and you think you got a good deal because you did not walk away with the $800 pram. Why? Because some sales lady gave you (a vulnerable pregnant woman) a spiel that convinced you that your child would die while crossing the street if you bought the cheaper stroller. Reality? The $70 stroller is probably just fine.

And adoption professionals likewise convince vulnerable pregnant women that their children will have terrible lives if they are not raised by this fancy couple here. They are worth $250 to your $70, your family life is unstable, what happens when the wheels fall off? You are a terrible parent if you do not do the very best for your baby, and what good parent does not want the very best for their baby?

Coercion is subtle. That stroller? My wife and I walked out of the store with a layback stroller, suitable from newborn to age 4, exactly as we planned. We were OK with the $250 price tag, because we wanted the best for our baby without going overboard and forking out $800. And yet, 16 months later, it sometimes gets stuck when we fold or unfold it. And the frame is kind of buckled because we hung grocery bags from the handles even though it said not to (seriously, who doesn’t?). So now we are no longer drinking the Maclaren kool-aid, and we are wondering if we should have just bought the Graco…

And those expectant mothers who let their babies go because they were told it was the best thing they could do for their baby, suddenly find themselves wondering if perhaps they would have been just fine as parents and maybe they just needed someone to tell them so.

Maybe the best thing you can do for your baby is buy the $70 stroller and spend the other $180 on Gymboree.

Disclaimer: Stroller comparisons are for purposes of illustration only. I still love our Maclaren, and it is in fact the stroller I walked in there planning to buy. I just made the sales lady work for it. Zoooom!

Miracles and milestones

Posted in Mumblings on January 28, 2009 by Brad

I have not yet gotten around to addressing the many thoughtful comments on my previous post, nor have I managed to continue on my original thought train. These past few days have hosted a series of momentous events in my life, the least of which is I am celebrating two years sobriety. I will address the adoption chasm post in the near future. Promise.