Wednesday, May 25, 2011


He radiates joy. People turn completely around when they feel his presence. Radiates. He is amazing. Truly. He knocks my socks off.

And I suck. I continue to get mired in the muck.

One of the hardest parts about one of my familial relationships is that- this person always seems to suck the joy out of me. I DO NOT WANT TO BE THAT PERSON!

I have control issues.

I have pride issues.

I have temper tantrums.

I am 4 years old. (Well 4-something)

Yup. Its me. I may not have more baggage than my son- but I throw mine around a lot more.

So today. I again reviewed the New Day post and are calling it NEW AGAIN. Tomorrow is a new day. And a water bug safari is calling our name.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Need creative input! That is YOU

I'm enticing you here with a  promise of cutie picture and a prize...

I need a new 'title' for our little blog here. The url isn't changing. We are in effect still wandering around, not lost, making progress but... although 'Single' maybe true in the Married vs sense... rarely am I actually found in an Uno state. Toddler- nope. Boy. We may have met, with him looking, acting, needing very much like the toddler but we are moving into big boy years here. He is freaking 4 and moving oh so very way to fast into 5. Me? Although I write, often in the context of what is going on with him- it's really a matter of- what have I put this poor kid through- right?.. Perhaps it should just be one of the most common tags "No idea what I'm doing".

I thought of bringing back wandering not lost.. but...
Incorporating Wolayta?? how?
I thought of Tee and Me- but- cheesy and uninspired
I thought of lots of things that are completely off subject as my brain is taxed with other exciting but full mental energy burdens. 

SO I'm asking.


Loving on you for suggestions.

And I'll even come up with a prize- um- how about an Ethiopian Scarf, a coptic cross and a baggie of berbere (if they'll let me mail it) to randomly pick from all the suggestions. Of course if you'd rather have some Maineish stuff, I'm not shipping you Lobster! It cost 4x as much to ship. Come here and eat it! But I could lets say.... ummm. A sample of whoopie pies from different makers? mmm yummy. Your choice ET stuff- Maine Stuff both?  Random Winner gets to choose!

For each suggestion- an entry.  Yup, give me two or three or ten. I don't have a picture of the swag yet, cause I'm making this up on the spot. But I'll attempt that tomorrow and add it here. So please please please- give me something to go on. You are ALL far more creative than I could ever dream.

And for being a good sport about all this- here is another cutie patootie picture. Yes out of focus- but as you can see peeking out under the helmet, which is the only one that goes over his ears, is his fantastic grin!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Growing up, Letting Go...

As my baby, is becoming a boy. A real boy!! I may begin to look and act like a real human too!

(Edited for too much info... sorry early readers... I sometimes have boundary issues... completely insensitive to what may make others uncomfortable)

My baby is a ball playah!

Some of you remember my discussion of landmarks on my torso in this post.  He has a spot on my body that he clings to that spot (not private area! think belly button ish) almost every sleeping moment. (At least until I can wiggle myself out from under his grip.) It's his thing.  His comfort. I've tried substituting a blanket. A stuffed animal. Even had a blanket made with a similar feel for something to play with and hopefully relieve my entire body from being his anchor of comfort. I've tried everything. And as you can imagine- this is a bit tiring as that means- for the most part- I need to be in bed with him the entire time he is. (he still sleeps 11-14 hours a day).

This regression, as I've stated before, also means progression. Shush. Don't tell him I told you- but... he's staying less attached to 'it'. It comes and goes- but- people... I think we may be seeing the beginnings of letting it go! I'm a little weary to think of all that can happen when this day finally arrives. Think of dishes being done. Think of him going to sleep by himself. Thinking of - (gasp) going back to work! WHOA! A whole new world may be opening up here ladies and gents. And it looks a lot like a Momma and son with a future.

Yes he looks like this as he rounds the bases every time. Not looking where he's going. Looking for Momma.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Day....

I'm declaring this the "New Day". It matters not that for the first time in-- a long time- - my son did not sleep through the night. Yes he's still thrashing and talking in his sleep. Yes. He is still needy clingy and pushing me away all at the same time. But today. Today things change.

Today is the last day of 'school' for the summer.

Deleted a bunch of boring explanation just to say...... So that has left, this 4 year old boy- who is quickly developing *some* 4 year old abilities in a classroom with 18-30 month old kiddos.

I would NEVER wish 2year old regressive needs and behaviors in a 4 year old body on my worst enemy (seriously- wouldn't do it!)  And yet, I *think* that this will prove exactly what he needed for a time. I *think* this is helping to develop parts of the brain and synapses and bonding etc that he totally missed. I *know* what was going on with him when he was 18- 24+ months old. He was starving. Literally.

So as hard and difficult and gut wrenching and ugly and second guessing and tear driven and exhausting as this has been for him (and me)- I think it has and will prove beneficial to my babies brain and thought process.

As regressive as he's been- he's also been charging forward with very 4 year old appropriate stuff. Asking how to spell. Getting himself dressed (sometimes without prompting- gasp!). Buckling his self in car seat. Stretching his former limits of physical abilities. Not just physical stuff. Communication. Using empathy words.  Taking on household chores as his own, with his own initiative. Having a conversation that includes back and forth talking. Imaginative play has finally been introduced in these parts. These are just some of the things that the past 3 months have brought forth.

But you can see why it is hard to parent. He is disorganized. One moment he may be 4. The next 2. The next 4. The next both at the same time which causes him to panic and fall apart. This is why, I've sounded so.. melodramatic. It was Dra-matic. I don't typically like drama. But- if that is what my son is bringing to the table- OK. I'm going to embrace it from here forward!

*Today* he starts teeball with other 4 & 5 year olds (*although its raining and scheduled to do so for the next month... ) One day each week we will, also, join a homeschooling group with a science teacher for field trips (similar to the ones we did over April vacation).

*Today* I will embrace my sons need to explore and not be sedentary. I will embrace his chaotic movements in hopes he finds comfort in them, or simply learns more about his body. I will embrace my son when he needs it or asks for it. Today I will no longer search for conformity that lies only in my own screwed up view of the world. Today I will no longer get frustrated with my sons unwillingness or inability to follow directions. Today I will not say "Don't do that! You might....(insert old wives tale, dramatic catastrophe, get wet, get dirty or bump your head)". I will NOT SAY IT! Today, I will revel in the beautiful, full of life, hurts, laughter, pain, love, kindness and unique perspective that he embodies. He is the child I always wished for. Today I will be the mother I always wanted to be. Flaws and all. Today I will be a role model for my child in mannerisms, duty, charity, kindness, communication, empathy and love. (*today*- we all know I will need to come back and read this over and over again of this commitment I make)

Yes. Today is a new day. We are shaking those toddlers out of our days. We are letting the one that lives here remain for as long as he needs. (and if the needs get more than what either of us can handle- we've got the number to our therapist and the store up the street sells beer and Ben & Jerry's) We are embracing our differences. We are looking forward to what lies ahead, knowing full well, these days of summer come and go swiftly. (The reality is- it hasn' hit 60 degrees here yet- but I'm going to not let that get us down or hold us back. Puddle boots warm cloths and rain coats may be our summer wardrobe but today I'm embracing it!)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Only Way Through is Through....

A friend posted this as her status yesterday:
  • "Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. "  - Pema Chodron

Semi-Feral Mama wrote this (on the surface, the context in which she wrote it has little baring to my relation to it-- but, deeper, exasperated state... it rings true):

In the midst of particularly difficult days, weeks, (ok- months)- these sentiments are so clear in my head. That I can NOT get OUT of it. We MUST GO THROUGH IT. I want a break. My introverted mind needs it. But this little crisis is not about me. He can push me away - harder and harder and harder- each time reinforcing that I need to stay. Be present. Look at his face. Do not escape.

"What's wrong with you?"
Tired. It's just catching up to me. He's had a difficult week (truth is we're going on months- but this was harder than most- poor guy)

"Well, why not just drop him here and go take a nap (or better yet clean your house- it wasn't said but historically implied...) "
Thank you for the offer. As much as I really really want to take you up on it and he is asking for that- I have to decline. I know he needs me to stay with him. Leaving him at all would not be getting us through and I wouldn't get any rest. But thanks.

"Well. You know. You have to consider that most of this stuff is perfectly normal for his age."
No, it.. (kneejerk reaction). Ok. Well thank you anyway. I'll talk to you later. (recover and no energy to justify.... )

Note to all you soon to be parents- it being "perfectly normal for his age" does NOT MAKE IT EASIER PEOPLE! In fact it makes these parenting decisions "how do I best handle this for this child?" more difficult!!

You've heard it time and again- people are just not going to get it.  And they won't.

To those closest to me, the knee jerk reaction is to try and justify it- explain it- what ever. Take it from me. It doesn't matter if it's your best friend or your mother- do not waste your energy attempting to justify why things are tough. They just effing are. And the only way through- is through.  And attempting to educate others- is far to exhausting when you are constantly navigating the parenting learning curve.

Sometimes I suck at this. I mean big time suck. Although, most of the time now, - I just don't know how I'm doing?  I wonder- how do I know if I'm handling it right? How do I know if I'm doing right by him? To this there are no answers. There is no one to bounce this off. Those are the loneliest times. When I sit in church praying to God, because really, there is no one else.

 PS- Just after I posted this I began to wonder- is there a way through this without taking the weight of what he bares. Is there a way to hold their hand through these times, without feeling the pain. Without the images of what they endure, going through your mind? Weighing us down? Heavy on our heart? In a way it seems disingenuous to take on their pain. It was theirs- don't take it way. But then again- we are parents. Do parents not feel the pain of their children? And yet- if I could- go through this- beside him- without carrying the weight- I think I could do better by him- at least in these times of crisis. Maybe? I don't know. What do you think? 

PSS- Is there a way through extended 'crisis' 'traumaversary' without making that the status quo? This i must master....

Today: I am thankful that the snow & ice is gone and buds are beginning to bloom. A new day is on the horizon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Please God...

Please let this crescendo be the final act of this epic dramatic play.

We are in need of a comedy next. A sit-com. A romantic comedy even. 

I feel silly sometimes asking when there is so much more pain in the world. But I know you are the God of all that is possible and all that is impossible. If this is our blessing, I'm asking you.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Skooled, Suckah...

Fair Warning- this post is photo laden. Completely unedited photo laden.  Ok- I warned you:

I'm honestly shocked every other week when I realize I'm still getting to know my son. That we're still getting to know eachother. Shocked. Seriously. Then I tell myself (as if i've never told self before) to remember to look at him like it was the very early days- watching- taking in his queues, his expressions, his interests, his actions, his needs through observation, grace and respect for who HE IS.  (this is all just another way of reminding myself to leave the freakin' kid alone once and a while! Stop being such naghole.)

The point of this is to remind me next week, and the week after that and next month- that sometimes a boy with a stick isn't necessarily the boy who leads kids down 'the wrong path'.  Sometimes that stick is a walking stick with a built in compass (they really make those you know).  In fact, in this case, he was finding things anew, exploring, seeking, finding, observing, investigating, imagining. Ok- he did take a few kids with him for the ride- but seriously- who names their kid 'Oatmeal' to begin with?!?! That's just name calling cruel!  I don't think I'm going to have any real jr. high issues with that mother.

School vacation week was another one of those weeks. I told you about the first day. Well that behavior- (I should be clear- I speak of my OWN naggerific behavior)- continued until I finally made attempts to just let him BE. And guess what- he had me fooled the entire time. Really. Why am I surprised?  Regardless of his feigned inattentive behavior, his distracting tactics, or complete disinterest in the subject at hand- by Friday- he was showing me all the stuff that had been covered over the previous week.

Day one: Tracking-  I captured this photo of the "wet tree" investigation just as my son was running in from behind- mouth already agape at the suggestion of tasting the wet stuff on the tree. He bit the tree. He started 50 feet away. Ran 50 feet to bite the tree. (That is not him next to the tree. Feleke was wise and used his finger as did the other kids)

Day One: Tracking; Here, instructor Matt, has the group inthralled at different types of 'scat' (poop) piles, observing for evidence of who may have left it behind. Notice the focus of the class- except that beauty in the pink with only eyes for my boy.

AHHH- He's found mud! And the class in ensconced with his direction and half the class has abandoned poor Matt. We really should buy a membership there, just for his patience.

Ummm- tell me that is not scat son!

Oh. Dirty snow? okay, proceed.

At the end of Day one, I was at least sure that a good time had been had by all!

Day 2 was a bit more chaotic and I took no photos. Day 3 though was insect houses - looking under rocks and logs. Again- you see the class enthralled with the findings under this rock. And Teg. Teg is loving his umbrella. Who doesn't, really? Repeat this scene 10 times and you have the day.

Day 4- Earth Day- SURPRISE!! Looky who is participating and interested in the class!! Hoot Hoot! Alrighty son. Here mom is learning to keep her trap shut, and Teg learned to answer a question when asked round the table. His name? Teg. Favorite animal? Harley (of course)

I may have spoken too soon... but you knew that already huh?

BUT NO! Outside, it all comes together. He starts taking initiative, turning over rocks, looking for worm tracks, beetles and potato bugs!

He trolls the water for salamanders and frogs! No, none of that was on the agenda for this particular day but it matters not! I worry for nothing. Conformity be damned. Explore son! Investigate! Take your team to find hidden treasures, if you must, just ask their mom's first ok?

You're on the right path baby! You have been all along. I've been the one holding you back. Sorry bout that.

Monday, May 9, 2011

More like it....

After yesterday's posted I was convicted. Today. I choose Joy.
Today I will keep remember the short time your were my little baby....
  • the days of unsteady gait.
  • the falling down and tipping over many times a day.
  • the soft hesitant laughter.
  • the meek mild Ethiopian tones.
  • the spaghetti sauce covering your face from slurping.
  • the potty training.
  • the belly. Oh the belly!
  • the cute little baby onsies!
  • the ciao!
  • the smell of campobylactra (?) and other intestinal bugs.
  • the night sweats.
  • the boy who could curl up and tuck his face in my neck and stay there for hours.

Today I will remember the days that anxiety and fear ruled our lives.
  • the days of driving for 90 minutes for a 40 minute nap
  • the days of 2 hours of thrashing pinching gagging hitting to keep yourself from falling asleep.
  • the days when nap fail would instigate a complete mommy meltdown as if the world were falling apart.
  • the times you would walk off, with no sense of a safety tether to keep you close and safe.
  • the days you never ran to me crying.
  • the nights of desperate clinging & crying in your sleep.
  • the hours of wondering when things would be 'normal'.

Today I will remember that today is all we have.
  • Today, when you cry for a made up reason, but come to me anyway, my heart will rejoice.
  • Today, when I pick you up from school, I'll remember that you no longer fit with the little kids class.
  • Today, when you race to the top of the playground mountain, I'll rejoice that you can do it on your own and almost as quickly & adept as your peers.
  • Today, when you attempt the monkey bars, I'll be there to catch you.
  • Today, when you lay in the floor, play with your feet, hands and coo like a baby- I'll smile and watch you closely- comforted in this regression- knowing that it is for me to enjoy only fleetingly and yet, it shows how far you've come in such a short time.
  • Today when you push me away, I'll stand by & wait for you.
  • Tonight, when as we go to bed, we'll talk of days gone by. Of people we love. Of our day together. Of our future.  

I want to thank all of my friends, some known, some unknown, who have reminded me how quickly these times pass. And as hard and exhausting as they may be at times, it will be gone in a flash. So today I choose Joy. Joy. Thanksgiving and Joy.

(yes I'm reading one thousand gifts...)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fits like someone elses Jeans...

I don't know where this fits? This 'holiday'? Mother's Day. What do you do with it? Am I the only one who still struggles to find their fit in the category of "Mothers"?

To whine about being a single mother of a small child and how it just ends up being another day to thank other mom's- seems petty. And it is. Petty.  I'm sure it is a beautiful lovely day when you can experience it with zero expectations. Apparently/Unfortunately I left that wonderful gift at the cleaners for a day or two. Us, being where we are at- the more I try to love on him- well- today was a day to push me away.  So we went to the pool and exhausted both of us. So that by shortly after 5pm....  I'm pretty sure that was last years result too. Well- looky there!! Tradition!

Looking back to last year (my first as a mother), I am was am was am was intently focused, every moment of every day on what was best for my son. So much so that I can't couldn't really feel anything for myself. Last year, on mothers day, my Memere died. It wasn't unexpected. Her pain- Constant- Unrelenting.

A friend was traveling to meet her son about a week and a half before I would be leaving to meet Teg. She had some very serious last minute crisis snags, through no fault of her own. She lived 3/4 of the way across the country at the time, we'd never met in person, and yet I was literally in panic mode trying to figure out how to either help her or comfort her. Intrinsically, I wanted to 'be there' for her. My chest gets a lump in it just remembering it now.

And yet- as my beloved Memere- The woman who literally raised me enough that my uncles are more like older brothers-  As she was dieing in misery and pain, just a few yards from my house- on Mother's day (and weeks prior) I stayed away. Intentionally. I had no driving force to go and 'be there' for her. To be by my mothers side. To be supportive. To offer comfort to anyone. 100%. One hundred percent of all my emotional and physical energies are were focused on my son.

I don't necessarily have any regrets either. But- at the same time- as focused as I was- I wonder how much of the bigger picture I couldn't see can't see. How much of my own, necessary perspective, got gets lost by the wayside along the way. Remember, it wasn't until July of last year (6 months home) before I realized my son didn't cry. Ya. (I'm already having trauma flashbacks at my ineptitude over that one).

I know. This is a heavy Debbie Downer post for a celebration day. But- I'm lost on WHAT to celebrate. Our Ethiopian family, of course, still haunts my heart. Last year- I definitely remember having 'the adoption guilt' and 'mommy guilt' and innumerable questions on how to celebrate her.   And to be honest- our story- HIS story- isn't an overly common one (that sounds so trite... unintentional). Questions of how, when and if to celebrate? Truly. Hate me. But- there is so many unknowns, that I'm often left with anger and frustration (not directed at anyone- the world maybe- a post for another day).  I still often struggle with the 'the guilt' and 'the claiming' stuff- but I am relating and learning from so many other moms with experience and confidence that progress is being made.

Perhaps, instead of writing this -draining -dump -my -heavy -heart -on -someone -else drivel I should write in his journal. It allows me to take the here and now and give it- "him in 20 years reading it perspective". It lightens my burden. I hope it doesn't add to his.

His trauma response is still going on.- Since March I think.  I can still see it happening every single morning.  Which is another reason I'm angry. At the world. And tired. And lost for what to do. Remaining 100% focused on him, when that 100% is less and less every day. Draining.

Time is what he needs.

All the things we can not buy regardless of the cost.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Who is that Mother Anyway?!?!.....

You've heard it before. "When I have kids, I'm going to....."  "I'll never do....."  Well, I've said a hundred of those and violated them all.

I always thought, I want my child to be different. I want him to be comfortable not following the crowd and staying true to his 'own way'!!   And then.... well, then I became a mother who enrolled her son in group activities...

"Pay attention"
"Sit down"
"The other kids have the listening ears on"
"You're supposed to be listening to the teacher"
"Please sit still like all the other kids"
"Please go join the group and participate"
"Follow the group please"

I get tired of hearing my own voice. ugh..

And then I feel the sideways glances of other parents as they take another step away. Perhaps I'm far more disruptive to the class than he is. I hear my voice again. "Yep. It's me. I'm the disruptive one. But why is he not participating?!!"

Being an uptight over-analyzing adoptive momma (this is a very select group of individuals- ok- individual- I maybe the only one), I look at these things under the microscope and dissect all various possibilities as to "why he is doing this?!?!"
  • Is he just manipulating the kids and adults for more attention? (radish?)
  • Is it because I'm still his favorite toy, and he's attempting to manipulate me to engage him?(darned institutional learned behavior)
  • Is it because this is still over his head developmentally? (intervention intervention!!)
  • OK there are 2 & 3 year olds getting this stuff and paying attention!?!?! (intervention!! intervention!!)
  • Maybe his estimated age really is off? Maybe he's younger? (should we bone scan?)
  • His height would put him in the 80%ile of US charts... he's not likely younger...
  • Maybe he just doesn't like this stuff? It's water, mud and frogs and worms! What's a kid not to like!?!? Except that I won't let him eat any of it (another post for another day)
  • Maybe, just maybe, he is staying true to his nature. Maybe he is confident being away from the group? Maybe he is still learning? What are my comments doing to that spirit??!! ouch

I still want him to be independent. I still want the confident in his own independent spirit child to grow into a confident spirited man. So why oh why does my mouth attempt to squash that spirit and attempt to make him conform? Conformity. YUCK!! I have so much to learn from Momma's who can see and spot the joy and inner spirit of their child and honor it! Encourage it!

The truth is. It is all of those things. It is learned behavior from institutional living. It is attachment disordered behavior. It is his spirit and just him! Because- HE is all of those things. He is doing EXACTLY what he should be doing and he is learning! He is Engaged! It's Momma who is still behind on learning about her own child and her own weaknesses and tendencies.  Label that.