Archive for August, 2006

An Anniversary


So tomorrow is my sixth wedding anniversary.  And if I was speaking to Chuck, I might reminisce about the wedding, etc.  (Just kidding, I am mostly speaking to Chuck.  Although he's popping popcorn and I am trying to watch an uncaptioned movie very quietly, so I had to stop it…)  

But when I think about my wedding the thing I can't get over is how different my life is today than it was six years ago, how many things have changed, including parts of my worldview.   It's weird, everyone has this mental picture of themselves in their head, this idea of who you are, and part of me still feels like I'm eighteen.  Of course, I'm a bit older than that, but I still sometimes look in the mirror and expect to see that other person looking back at me.

Of all the things that have changed, friends coming and going, moving to the suburbs, working in the suburbs, etc., obviously the biggest change is the kids.  [It still feels funny to say kid-s (plural), but it's getting much more natural.]  But it's impossible to conceive how much having children has changed my life.  So many of the big moves we've made, Chuck leaving Strive, us leaving Fratney, me leaving Strive, buying a freaking minivan, etc. have really been driven at the core by our feelings and responsibilities as parents first, people second.   

Would I still be going out to bars on Tuesday nights, partying all night and waking up for work the next day if I hadn't had kids?  Most likely not.  I can't say I miss too much about that life.  Perhaps the disposable income.  That was pretty cool.  But really deep down, the most important thing I feel like I am doing is what I do with my son and daughter.  I hope I am helping them become fantastic people, and that I continue to grow in conjunction with them.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to quit working to be a full-time stay-at-home mom.  But I am definitely enjoying this time off with them.  And I guess it's okay that Chuck is here too.   

The First Week


So we've been home almost a week and things are going quite well.  Rose has had three doctors' appointments (one of them with three doctors) and everything has checked out great so far!  She had five vaccinations and a TB poke on Monday.  Today they drew EIGHT vials of blood for a variety of labs, etc.  I thought for sure I was going to pass out on that one.  But everyone dealt quite well, although Chuck said I was mother of the year for collecting the stool sample and whatnot. 

Basically, Rose seems to be on track with everything, when she went into the Care Center she wasn't even charting on the American growth charts, now she's at the fifth percentile height and weight (Dillon is like 96th percentile or something).  Today we had an appointment at the adoption clinic with three specialists who poked and prodded and pronounced her okay.  She's fantastic developmentally, she's right on track with everything (and in some respects past where Dillon was at this age – she's way more daring, she's definitely going to keep us on our toes!)

With regard to the sibling stuff, everything seems to be going smoothly.  Dillon declared that he was going to be "the best big brother in the whole world" and he's pretty much living up to that so far.  The other day Chuck was tickling Rose and Dillon got very serious and sad.  We asked him what was wrong and Dillon said that he didn't like it when Rose cried, we had to explain to him that she was laughing, and then he was fine.  The only attention rivalry we've seen so far was at Grandma Vickie's house, where there was a bit of "look at me" going on , but other than that things have gone pretty smoothly.

They share a love of music, Rose does a great head-nodding thing when she's really into a song. The other day she was totally rocking out to "Punk Rock Girl" (Dead Milkmen?).  She likes the big guitars and drums.  Every day there's a dance party at our house and I think she'll be fine at Dillon's Punk Rock Birthday Party.  I got her a kick-but outfit for it, too…

We sort of lucked into the fact that in April we had registered Dillon for a day camp this week at University School (Robots, Science, Soccer, and Tai Quon Do!) so both Chuck and I got to go to all of the Doctor's appointments but we didn't have to drag Dillon with.  Also, we got some quality bonding time with Rose without having to worry about ignoring D.

Now we're going through the process of introducing the family and friends to Rose.  So far she's doing really well, and I have to say Anna's the favorite so far.  Rose took to her immediately.  But, then again, she hasn't met Kate yet!   

Home at Last



Out to breakfast at Baker's Square – we don't have much to eat in the house, although Rose and I got up about 4am to have a first breakfast of Kashi Cheese Crackers and water.  Eventually I got her back to bed for a bit and we wind up at second breakfast around 11am (after Dillon wakes up from watching movies all night with Dad and Rose and I wake up from our nap). Rose and Dillon both order the "funny face breakfast" with no meat, and it turns out that Rose likes pancakes – she eats her three, then has some of mine – but not eggs as of yet, though I can't even get her to try them.

After that, we mostly just hang around the house, except for running a couple of errands to pick up things we really need (a potty chair that fits over the toilet, another car seat, a booster chair).  Dillon and Rose have a very fun time playing together, and I don't see any sign of sibling rivalry yet, although at one point it sort of seems like D needs some solo play time.   Everything is going much more smoothly than I'd hoped, except for the dogs are still locked in the basement.  Rose just can't be on the floor if they are free, she freaks out too much.  So there's something to work on.

Around 7pm, I drive myself to Urgent Care while Chuck gets the kids ready for bed.  There's some discussion about whether I should go, mostly Chuck pushes me into it.  I've not been feeling that great since Wednesday or whatever, but I've been vertical, so to me that's good enough.  The Urgent Care folks are pretty nice despite that I've walked in 45 minutes prior to closing and I'm like one of two patients there.  At the registration desk when I get there is an African-American teenage boy and an older white woman.  The woman's trying to check the kid in, and the reception person asks "are you his LEGAL guardian" and the kid answers, "SHE'S MY GRANDMA!"  I don't know if this was a repeated time at this visit to the hospital or if they've just been asked this question too many times, but apparently it's on everyone's last nerve.  It occurs to me that I'd better start keeping a family picture in my wallet for this sort of occasion.

I see a doctor, they run a bunch of tests, the doctor tells me very nicely that I could have ANYTHING since I just got back from Ethiopia, that she's pretty sure it's not bacterial since I finished the course of Cipro, but it could be a antibiotic-resistant strain of something, or a virus (which would be good news since it means I'm five or six days through it) or (less exciting for me) some sort of parasite.  She's worried about my blood pressure so they give me some IV fluids, during which my phone on the other side of the room rings twice, and I know I'm late getting back and Chuck is worried.  I call after I've been released, which is about an hour after the Urgent Care was supposed to close and Chuck has worked himself up a bit.

But when I get home, my kids are asleep in their beds, so I let the dogs out and get into mine with them.  And I sleep like a rock. 

The Planes! The Planes!


So, eventually we wake up (King Kong is playing again but Rose doesn't seem to mind, though at some points I physically turn her face away from being able to see whats going on).  Rose and I had sort of slept through breakfast, as it seems most of the folks on the plane did, but Chuck grabbed us some rolls that neither of us much wanted to eat.  I'm going to shorten the flight time dramatically here for you folks and just fast forward through the eighteen hours or whatever until we land at Dulles in Washington D.C.

We get off the plane and go through immigration.  We are interviewed by a thirtysomething Latino woman with the driest monotone voice ever.  She's asking us what could be construed as very nice although somewhat invasive questions but in this flat tone of voice that I'm just not sure what to do with.  But basically it was a brief interview and we're through to pick up our bags and go to customs, where we witness a guy sort of being berated by the customs agents, but we get through fine.

We recheck in to our next set of flights, and have two hours to kill, so we go to Chilli's and find that Rose's penchant for spicy extends into Mexican food, which is great news.   Then we hang in the terminal for a minute before boarding to O'Hare.  We have a short hop to Chicago, which Rose mostly sleeps through on my lap.  In Chicago, things get a little more tough.  We have a two hour layover, which is fine, we find a place that sells fruit and Rose eats a banana, and then we just hang out and play and wait for our flight.  She gets a little fussy (which is completely understandable as we are well into our 28th hour of traveling, it should be night time but it's not, etc).   I walk her around a bit and get a couple of looks from people, I'm not sure if it's the white lady holding a brown baby or "god, I hope that crying kid isn't on my flight"…

Finally we board like, the tiniest plane ever, and the seats are two and two, so we have two together and one across the aisle.  And the flight attendant tells me that Rose has to be in her own seat for the duration of the flight with the seatbelt on.  Rose emphatically does not agree, and lets the whole plane know that when I sit her down (up until now, she has been totally fine on the plane).  I hear snide comments from the college kids behind me, and I could totally take them (or at least Chuck could), but I figure my getting in a fight right now won't improve the situation.  And then there is a luggage problem.  Like, it's not on the plane.  So we wait 10 minutes (Rose is still really unhappy and crying), and then I give the bird to the flight attendant and get Rose out of her seat.  She immediately quiets down and promptly falls asleep.  We wait for the bags to be loaded for probably close to an hour.  Then, the flight attendant comes back around and makes me put Rose back in the seat for takeoff.  I want to tell her- if we crash, do you really think she'll be better off in her own seat?  It's not like people walk away often from plane crashes.  But I manage to put her down and buckle her in a way that she doesn't wake up, and fifteen minutes later we are in Milwaukee and on our way home.

We call our house and tell Nic we are on our way, when we pull into the driveway he and Dillon are waiting on the front porch.  The dogs are in the backyard for a minute until they jump the fence to come say hello.  Dillon gives us and his sister a big hug and we have a wonderful homecoming.  Nic brought us a dozen long-stemmed roses of many colors, and Dillon showed us the bajillion new toys he'd scammed off of his grandparents and other family the week we were gone.  Rose was completely enamored of Dillon, I don't know if she remembered him from her photo album or if it was just love at first sight, but they were laughing and playing within minutes.  She let me put her down in the playroom and Dillon was showing her everything and dressing her up as a construction worker.   The only setback we had was when Dharma came over to say hello and Rose pretty much jumped out of her skin.  So the dogs got locked in the basement.

It got late quickly, so we bathed the kids and Dillon and Chuck stayed up late watching movies and eating popcorn, and Rose and I went to bed in my bedroom.  We figured we'd try her bed tomorrow after she's gotten a little more comfortable in the house.