Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Parenting Skills...

Let's re-visit this photo, shall we?



As you know he's reaching for the goat 'pellets'. You see the 4 year old, being cautious, making sure the tyke doesn't fall off the ledge upon which they are teetering. 

What you don't see is the Billy Goat running towards them hoping for a meal.


What is the tyke's mother doing? Is she beckoning the boys off the ledge? No.

Is she warning him of the charging Billy Goat? No.

Is she pleading with him to get his hands out of the Goat Poo? No.

Is she standing behind them making ready to catch him if he falls? No. 

Appearently, mother leaves that up to the 4 year old.

Mother... is standing back attempting to get a good angle with the camera, laughing about the goat poo.

Mother may need to re visit the 'good parenting' classes......

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Confessional- I Admit...

- to sometimes feeling like a really shitty parent / person

- to sometimes thinking "I got this in the bag"

- to having less patience than I thought I did

- to being more tired than I can physically feel

- to not recognizing his pain for, at least, 4 days until he finally screamed when pee'ing a stream of blood. (this kid doesn't show pain... I need better instincts)

- to watching him pick up some long lost food type item off the ground, put it in his mouth and swallow it and nary did I blink an eye

- to telling him "Our ground in America is dirtier than in Ethiopia, so you can't eat off it anymore."


Here he is.. What's he reaching for under that fence? Goat Poop

- to not knowing how to teach him that sometimes parents make the rules and it is for his safety.

- to not knowing how to teach him abstract concepts like "safety" "love" "happy" "sad" "hurt"

- to still cringing, expecting to feel teeth in my shoulder, when I pick him up if he's even a bit frustrated or unhappy.

- to him falling asleep in my arms more often than not, still after 5 months home.

- to giving him a bottle that first night in Ethiopia (I had to teach him to suck)

- to returning to a bottle (now moved on to a sippy) after 3+ months home

- to still giving him the sippy as his need to suck is really strong right now

- to going for a ride in the car, him strapped in his safety seat, just so I can have a full phone conversation.

- to buying organic milk and local free range organic eggs... yet... when it comes to fruit... I buy the regular apples and rarely have I washed them before he's chomping into them.

- to needing breaks from my son in order to parent him to the best of my ability

- to wanting to hold him, stare at him, and snuggle with him, most of the nights, he falls asleep in my arms

 - to SOMETIMES wanting to set him down and get out of the room as fast as possible

- to attempting to convince him to like wearing hat, just to cut down on "doing" his hair

- to being slightly obsessed with his hair

- to the fact, my son knows the word 'breasts' and what they are. He left a memorable impression on Saturday at a busy DunkDo.nuts kiosk as he pointed to the cover of a P.eople mag and loudly exclaimed- "Look Mommy BREASTS! Mommy! Mommy! Breasts!" I have no idea who the guy is but I'm thinking some sort of photoshop art work was done on the fellow that graces this weeks cover to give him such large... breasts.

Had to leave you with a funny one!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dearest Son...

Mistakes. I make a lot of them. Too many as your only present parent.

I fight the urge to holler. Forgive me for my quick sharp bellowing interruptions- attempting to shock you into stopping what you are doing. It is how I was parented. I fight it everyday. And every day I get better. But you deserve better- and I'm getting there, pumpkin.

You are very good at showing me those mistakes. You play them out- and as I wonder where you learned to act like that- I'm immediately reminded- as if looking in a mirror.

And then... you amaze me. I see other behaviors reflected.. but in you- the reflection feels so much more real, more sensitive, more touching .. more.

Tonight- as we lay down to sleep, we are visiting Uncles in DC. You snuggle into me close as you can with your head on my shoulder. Your hand touches my face. "Mommy." you say in that soft voice I remember of Ethiopians. Your fingers lead your eyes, studying my face. Playing with my eyelids and eye brows. "Mommy. Eyes. Special."

Fingers tracing my cheeks, every wrinkle, crease and scar. "Mommy. Beautiful."

Tucking your head closer, between my cheek and the pillow, you wrap your tiny arm up over my head, wrapping my hair in your fingers. You take a deep breath and within moments you are fast asleep.

Before this moment, I thought I knew I was fit to be a parent. I thought I knew what to do. I thought I'd learned it all. I thought I'd grown enough. You have changed me. You have touched the foundation of who I am and strengthened us as a family like nothing I could have ever attempted or known was possible. You- as a child- make me a better parent and a better person. You are a GREAT son. I love you baby.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Single Mother Dreams Big...

Back when I spent beautiful weather days stuck to a chair and could only look longingly through the window at the trees blowing in the wind and sun shining, I dreamt of being a stay at home mom. I dreamt of early morning runs pushing strollers, weekly hikes with my curious young'un, a house without mountainous piles of dishes nor laundry, volunteering at our new church, writing grants for worthy causes in my spare time. I was sure there would be pounds lost as I'd get so much exercise. Miraculously papers would be organized, receipts in their proper spots, thank you notes sent immediately and handwritten notes just to say "Hi" to friends now far away.

That dream.. ooo It was NIIIICE.

Then reality came.

I'm now an unemployed single mother. (That carries its own baggage and tasks. )

None of that stuff of 'my dreams' is happening. Nadda.  You know why?

All that stuff is about me. Things I need to get done. Things I want to do. Self care things. Those are all things that keep me happy. Keep me feeling confident, safe and in control.

We've been together more than 5 months now. For a long time- my time NEEDED to be 100% about his care, his confidence, his safe environment, his relationship to me.  But the time has come to find a balance.  The time to start taking my own self care seriously is here. And that means- that he is going to feel some sort of sacrifice of his needs-- -  so I'll need to manage that too.

Add it to the list.

No one ever told me how short the days are when you aren't bored. No one ever taught me to schedule my life around the sleeping patterns of another. No one ever told me how important those sleeping patters are. No one ever told me to double my grocery budget and that the vast majority of what I bought would be wasted on a fickle appetite. No one ever told me that my eating habits would change dramatically. No one ever told me that 3 year olds aren't interested in being strapped in a stroller as soon as they wake up. No one ever told me that my own sleeping patterns would be structured around his.

Balance. It's always been one of my most difficult challenges. (truth be told- I've rarely ever practiced it)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Black Screen of Death...

This is not a test. Following this announcement you will hear emergency information. This is not a test.

Laptop died. Is at the doctors now.  Please be patient.

Speaking of Patients... My laptop is one and this morning so was the Boy..   Mollescum was looking U.G.L.Y. after 2 nights of apple cider soaked cotton balls staying on it... but boys and their 'toys'- I was afraid it was beginning to spread.. so off to the docs we went. 

He did Great! Seriously. He was scared upon entering as the kid forgets NOTHING and the last time he had 4 shots. PO'd he was.  The doc did some digging around- go the seed out and then froze it 3 times. Teg winced at some pain during the squeezing part- but after that he laid across my lap and did great! Even tried to watch.  No pictures of this as it was in a rather sensitive area and.. seriously.. no one wants to see that!

Oh- and I think we've reach the 3 foot mark!

ps- I know this isn't my normal writing-- but I'm at the public library to give you something and right now its all I've got.  Peace out!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Confessions... I admit

- that I haven't watched the news since I left the Hilton in Ethiopia (Haiti earthquake)

- that I was grateful the earthquake happened after I received his referral and while I was in Ethiopia-- otherwise-- I knew THAT person, formerly known as myself, would have tried find a way to dedicate the next year of her life to Haiti and possibly.. dare I say it... given up on Ethiopia... ugh

- that after a couple days in Ethiopia I really liked being "disconnected" and have yet to welcome it back fully.

- that I've recently had to ask what the date is and after receiving an answer, had to ask "Which Month?"

- that although my son is (most) always coiffed and properly dressed in snappy attire-- his companion, me, (most) always needs another 30 minutes in the bathroom mirror and time to re asses her wardrobe. (and is often left wondering if she brushed her teeth)

- that I have trouble convincing him to keep his pants on

- that I love being a mom. I will love being a single mom.

- that I'm "struggling" being a single mother-  finding the balance and focus of where and what needs to come next- holding it all together when exhaustion hits- keeping my voice and actions in appropriate context for the 3 year old that surrounds me... I struggle. I don't think any one around me knows this.- It's possible, I'm struggling even more than I think...?

- that my son has learned the phrase "Son of a B*tch"

- that I would day dream about to being a stay at home mom... until I actually became an unemployed single mother (aka: another statistic)

- that I remember wanting to raise my son to be loving, confident, empathetic, strong, unique, independent, kind, generous, hopeful and joyful-- and now that he's here--- I can't for the life of me think of HOW to do that?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What is He Up To?...

Good question.  He wants to stay home... ALL. THE. TIME.


He's been snuggly-er lately.
He's been caring for his "Baby"- rocking her, singing to her, feeding her.
He's been reaching for that comforting mole much more often.
He's confident here at home.
He's finally ok with being in a room alone for more (slightly more) than 30 seconds.
He's less outgoing with visitors.

This is where he stayed, during his Citizenship Celebration

While all of this was going on, outside...






I've written before that he has been spending one day (6 or so hours) with my Mom & Dad and then one day with Ashlee.  Today should have been that day with my Mom... he wants nothin' of it.

Apparently last week, while at my mom's he got anxious a couple times and kept asking for me. Upon my arrival I noticed him slightly less excited -- I chalked it up to him being more comfortable with the coming and goings.

Recently, we went for a visit. After turning on their street- He asked- "Mommy. Nite Nite, Nana's?"
"No. Hunny, you don't have to take a nap at Nana's. We're just visiting for a bit."
"Mommy? Be Right Back?" (his asking if I'm going to leave).
"No, Hunny. Mommy Stay with Teg."
To this he gets a big bashful smile on his face and relaxes. (On my kid- the BIG & BASHFUL smile is, in fact, possible)

Why? What is he up to?

He's got a TON of developmental milestones going on right now. He's suddenly obsessed with all things fine motor related. Moved on from Diapers to Big Boys. His self motivation with speech and language- huge leaps EVERY DAY!  Returned to Naps a few weeks ago. Growing like a weed. A sense of independence fit for 1776.  Learning .. and slowly accepting.. that Mom has expectations of him.  There is a lot going on...

And yet, when I think of why he doesn't want to leave the house.... Why he is so diligent in controlling his environment and who enters it .... I think of a year ago.

A year ago- he was experiencing some major transitions.
A year ago this process started for him.
A year ago he was so hungry his body started turning against itself for fuel.
A year ago he was as yellow as as a yield sign. A year ago his hair was red.. turning blonde.

I guess if he needs some time to rest at home. To feel a bit in control of his environment.. he's certainly worthy. Where were you a year ago? Have you ever had a year in which so much has changed and out of your control?

I know, I haven't.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I may regret saying this... but- I think I'VE turned a corner.  The one where... I get that this is the life now. The corner that give you a slightly longer view of what is ahead.  Things look and feel.. REALLY FUN and HAPPY!

It is true that I'm different. I can't remember everything I'm supposed to. I'm competent (most of the time) of caring for my child. I'm getting better at taking care of myself (when I have the time). Those that expect me to remember every other thing on the docket or show up at all the family events... well- you'll be disappointed to learn... I'm not going to remember them all. My life is different. Priorities have shifted. That doesn't mean family and friends aren't important... JUST THE OPPOSITE in fact.

It means that I'm still fine tuning the balance... but I'm feeling slightly more centered and loving where we are at right now.

But things are a changing soon. Soon, the paychecks stop and with that stress and a whole other set of balancing acts.

Monday, June 7, 2010

What I've Learned...

I've learned

-the attachment parenting books do not always account for single parenting

-that a happy affectionate child does not equate to an attached child

-that your ugly moles and fat rolls are beautiful & comforting to your child

-that there is only so many times in a day you can say "NO" before it has a direct and opposite effect on the number of times you hear laughter in the following days


Friday, June 4, 2010

What Is He Up To...?

Testing me. Yup. He's fully testing me.

Lately it is in the art of holding true to what I've told him.

He says...
Sometimes that involves throwing toys to see if I REALLY loose them?

Sometimes that involves spitting and seeing if she gets mad at me?

Sometimes that involves ignoring her request for me to make a choice?

Most often- it is me making a choice and changing my mind. Two or Three times.


Mom says my choice counts so she makes me stick with my first choice- but that makes me mad. If a woman has the right to change her mind.. why can't I? And why doesn't she just change the food on my plate or the dvd... she did it the first time why not now?!?!?


Mom wonders...
Is it wrong? Am I truly giving him strength in his decision making? Am I instilling in him a sense of worth in his decisions? That his choices count? Or am I just stirring up trouble where it needn't be? Or is he verbalizing his decision making process and I misunderstand it to be a decision?

This mommy stuff is hard.  I think being him is harder though. He's definitely better at it than me...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blog help?

As you can tell, a few things have changed... you'll likely see more soon and perhaps a return to the old.  In the mean time I lost my hit counter.  Does anyone have suggestions on one? I think I'd like to do the google one- but I can't figure out how.. anyone help with this?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Citizen...

The conflict of expectation and regret.

Yay! It's official. My Son is a US Citizen. His name can go back to what it should be (not have to have my first name as his middle). He will now have a new birth certificate, US Passport and eventually a Certificate of Citizenship and all that entails. We will party and celebrate inviting all friends near and far!! We will dress in Red White and Blue displaying our joy and priviledge to hold this citizenship with all it's rights and responsibilities.



I suppose this goes along with one of those things is a 'must do' upon our initial decision to adopt internationally.  But, up until now... all the taking away.. felt a little distant. The losses he had were a not directly caused my my hand... until yesterday. No longer at arms length... I was the guilty party- I filled out the forms, wrote the checks and held him while the judge made it official. My Son. My Sun. I'm taking away his Ethiopian citizenship. He cannot hold both. I took it away. He was scared- and sad. Probably for different reasons, but the sadness in his eyes reflected the feelings beneath the surface of me, that went unsaid.  I took him away from all he once knew- and brought him to a place where a grown man will, the very next day, point his finger like a gun, at his head and shoot. I did this.

The joy in this is amazing- I was privileged to finally be able to be a part of an official part of this process. The sadness is deep. This is again, one of those moments when the emotion is so deep you cannot separate where the joy of expectation ends and the regret begins- as it is encompassed all in one act.

I certainly feel the pressure mounting to do right by this child.