Sunday, August 31, 2008

Goodbye Summer!

Now that it's September, the nights are getting cooler and school is back in session, summer is becoming a memory and we are looking forward to....Christmas. Okay, that's just me. I'm obsessed with Christmas. But you get what I'm saying. We're looking forward to fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, leaves, pumpkins, cider, and all that good stuff. It's Dave and I's favorite time of year. But here are a few pictures to wrap up our summer; our first summer as a family of 3. Goodbye Summer 2008!












Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Gotcha Day Mateo!

It was one year ago today that we fell in love with our son and started our journey as parents. We love you Mateo and are so glad you found your way into our lives!


video

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Job We Have

So I'm going to get serious here for a minute. I've been pondering the job we have as parents, specifically on the topic of cultural identity. Most parents don't have to worry about that. You're children look like you, talk like you, and relate to your genetic heritage. But for those of us who have adopted children of a different race than our own, this is our greatest challenge.

It seems like a simple question. Can you love a child with skin a different color than your own? For many people the answer is yes. But the real questions are much deeper. Can you also love and embrace a culture different and/or unknown to you? Can you prepare your child for a life of experiences (both positive and negative) that you've never had? Can you prepare your child to face harshness you've never lived and can not even comprehend living? Can you teach your child how to respond to prejudices, racism, judgment, and assumptions that you've never had to respond to? How prepared are you to reach outside your comfort zone, and maybe physical location, to find mentors, coaches, friends, and teachers that are of a different race? How prepared are you to comfort your crying child when he/she feels excluded, outcast, and hurt, knowing you can't do anything to fix it? How will you feel knowing you can't mend this broken world and stop it from hurting your child?

Are you prepared to change your views on race and culture? Are you prepared to be angry with people you know and care about for their views on race and culture? Are you prepared to exclude people from your life, family and friends you've known for years, because of their inability to change their views about race and culture?

When my son comes home from kindergarten and asks why he is the only "brown" boy in the class, how can I, being a white person in an all-white family, explain to him what it means to be "brown"? How do I prepare him for what that means for his future?

Many transracial adoptive parents say that kids are kids and they don't see color. And that may be true, but the world does see color. And we can't shield our kids from it. But how do we prepare them? I've never been followed in a store, or told I couldn't date someone because of my race, or treated unfairly by teachers or coaches. But these are the realities my son will face. This is my biggest fear, but also my greatest responsibility as an adoptive parent.

I think my job is bigger and scarier than parents with biological children. And I'm not saying that to get more credit or have a pity party. I'm saying it because I'm genuinely afraid. I absolutely feel with all my heart that my son, being Hispanic and African American, is by far better being adopted into our white family living in suburban CT than lamenting in the foster care system for 18 years. But do I think he would have been better off being adopted by a Hispanic or African American family? Maybe...probably....I don't know. There are things he needs that I can never give him. There are parts of him that I can never fill. He will struggle with things I can't help him with. And of course, we all can't give our children perfect worlds, but to withhold a major piece of person's identity is especially cruel.

Sorry if this was heavy. I'm usually all about the comedy and keeping everything light. There is too much serious in this world and I like being able to loosen it up sometimes. This blog has been a great outlet for me in many ways. But I figured I'd use it every once in a while to bring up some bigger issues, mostly about being an adoptive parent, but things that impact us all. We should all examine our prejudices and think about how we are changing our nation, especially with the very real possibility of a minority president. To learn more about how you can change the next generation's view about race, visit www.antiracistparent.com (Sorry, I know that sounded like a public service announcement, but I couldn't help it).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hyper Child

"Boy, isn't he an active child!"

"Oh, he's very physical, isn't he?"

"My, doesn't he have lots of energy!"

"Your child needs medication!"


These are some of the comments I've been receiving for some time now. I guess I've known my son was more on the active side....but he is a toddler after all...and a boy. But lately I've begun to think my child is more than a little active and bordering get-that-child-medicated active. Namely, hyperactive.

I started to get this idea after spending too much time with other children. Another reason not to have mommy friends with well behaved children. Anyway, while out and about with other families, I started to notice some differences. Here's an example: we were waiting in line to go into a local aquarium and most of the kids Mateo's age were sitting in their strollers watching the world go round or maybe wandering around the plaza a little bit but not straying too far.

Now picture Mateo, zooming around the plaza pushing his stroller at high speeds like he was on a NASCAR speedway. I don't even know how he can drive that stroller so well. He can't see above it but somehow he manages to navigate around obstacles without crashing. I think his 6th sense is a sonar system...you know, like bats. Anyway, that is very typical for him. No sitting in a stroller, or being held, or standing in a radius of less than 50 feet.

I told my best friend about this thought of Mateo being more "hyper" than most kids and her response was, "duh." So apparently everyone knew this but me. I don't know. Maybe I'm still wearing rose colored glasses or whatever the saying is. I think you just get used to it, living in chaos with a crazy kid who runs around like a maniac all day long.

So, we've started looking into medication. Not for him, for me. Do you really think I would medicate my 2 year old? Please, they don't even make medication for kids that young. Do they? No, really, do they? If they do, please let me know.

On a positive note. Mateo did the cutest thing the other day while watching "Kai-lan". "Kai-lan", if you don't know, is the Chinese version of Dora. Dora, Diego, Kai-lan, and all those "interactive" kids shows have basically the same story line told in the same way just with different characters and theme songs. Although the theme songs are quite similar and consist of saying the name of the character as many times as possible in a period of 22 seconds (which happens to be the average attention span of a squirrel) until you accidentally tell your boss to "Go, Diego, Go" despite his name being George, because the damn song is still stuck in your head. Anyway, part of the educational draw of these shows is that periodically the characters stop in the middle of their cartoon melo-dramatic situational problems to ask the audience (your little tots) to help them solve the day's current issue, usually by reciting a specific word (in a different language mind you) over and over until the problem is solved. And I wonder why my son says "juice, juice, juice, juice, juice" until magically a cup of juice appears in his hand. What are we really teaching these kids? And on that topic, Nick Jr. executives, why are you teaching my son to speak Spanish, Chinese, Hungarian, and every other language when he can't even speak English yet!?

Sorry, I have a little pent up resentment towards Dora. Back to the story. So we're watching "Kai-Lan" get herself into a sticky situation again (lost her homework, offended her best friend, teenage pregnancy, something like that) and she stops and says, "Can you say La? Say La." I don't know what "la" means in Chinese. Google it if you're that curious. Anyway, I always thought these questions were rhetorical and didn't expect my son to answer. But answer he did and it was the cutest thing I've ever seen. He said, "La!" in his cute little voice over and over every time she told him to. It was very cute, but also made me wonder if the Nick Jr. creators are using these cartoon characters with disproportionately large heads to pass subliminal messages to our children while we're surfing the internet happy they are being entertained by someone else for longer than 3 minutes. Hmmm....

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ridiculous Baby Products: Part II

Okay, so here's a short continuation of my earlier post entitled "Ridiculous Baby Products: Part I." I am always seeing crazy baby products but most of the time I forget them before I get home to blog about it. So if you have a ridiculous baby product in mind, leave me a comment and I'll totally make fun of it. Or even better, you write something funny and I'll copy it onto my blog and totally take credit for it!

Here's one I saw in a catalog the other day. It's called "The only wearable blanket...with legs!" Umm...excuse my lack of baby novelty knowledge but isn't a wearable blanket with legs....clothes?

Here's a tag line for another product I found in that same catalog. Let me know if you have any idea what this is. "Protect baby's mattress with Our Triple-Action Covers!" What? Triple-action? Sounds like a toothbrush...or men's razor....or toilet cleaner. How can a mattress cover have triple action? It covers the mattress. End of story.

Let's read on. "Nothing protects better than our exclusive three-layer technology." Technology? For a crib mattress? Does this new crib mattress technology put baby to sleep without crying within 5 minutes of putting baby down for nap? Does said technology knock baby unconscious at 5 am when baby thinks it's time to play and proceeds to wake everybody in the house with incessant screaming at the top of baby's lungs? If not, I'm not interested.

But on that note, I did see a product that you can put on the legs of the crib that actually rocks the crib ever so slightly as to stimulate being in the womb (or a small boat). Now that's technology!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Many Faces of Mateo






As you can see, he's just oozing personality

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hypnotism: fact or fiction?

Dave and I had our 4th anniversary recently. Whoo-hoo! This is a big accomplishment for two people living in 800 square feet with a cute but hyperactive 2 year old dog...oh, and child. So what relaxing and romantic way did we spend our anniversary? With me on a stage in front of 200 people lip syncing R-E-S-P-E-C-T and waving my butt around in the air. No, I wasn't drunk. Even better, I was hypnotized. As part of a comedy act. Hypnotism is a lot like being drunk but better. Here's why. First, you have an unbelievable amount of courage and no inhibitions (usually a bad combo but when you're hypnotized you have someone telling you NOT to take your clothes off). Second, since you're acting from the sub-conscious part of your brain, you don't feel embarrassed (actually you don't really feel anything). Third, you remember everything, though a bit fuzzy and wake up feeling rested and relaxed. But the reason it's better than being drunk is... NO HANGOVER!

So, to peak your curiosity. Here are some facts about hypnotism. Then I'll get into the details of all the embarrassing things I did. Most people can be hypnotized, but the best candidates are young adults of average to above average intelligence and who are creative and imaginative. Well, that's me to a tee. Oh, and you have to want to be hypnotized. Actually, the reason I was so easy to "go under" was because of my experience with meditation. Not that I like meditation. Actually, I hate it. But I was forced in my massage training to participate and hypnotism is really a glorified version of meditation only with someone telling you to do funny and embarrassing things instead of telling you to relax and let go of all the inner turmoil. But, I don't know, something about showing off your "glutes" in a body building competition to an audience full of strangers kinda, sorta, does force you to "let go" of your inner turmoil, inner anxiety, inner demons, and sometimes your inner bowels. But for me, I didn't just "let go" of all that crap (figuratively, not literally). I did one up and said, "screw you inner turmoil! You don't own me!" And I had a blast....I think. Well, I would do it again anyway.

The comedian started with 20 people up front wanting to get hypnotized and guessed he would end up with maybe 3-5 that were actually able to go through the whole show. Well, I was one of them. There were 6 of us and I don't remember much about the others. I was too focused on being Arethra Franklin. And I don't think Arethra would stop in the middle of a jaw-dropping performance to find out who the other people on stage were. She is a Diva after all.

The only reason I volunteered to do this in the first place was because the hypnotist/comedian said he would add a little blurb about some vice we wanted to end while we were "under" during the show. So, wanting to lose weight for a while now, I based my whole decision of making an idiot of myself in front of 200 strangers on the thought I could get a subliminal message magically inserted into my brain neurons that would tell me not to eat 3 bowls of ice cream in one sitting... FOR FREE! People pay big money for this kind of stuff. My husband says he could tell me that for free too, but when he does it just sounds like he's calling me fat. I think that if this guy was a real comedian he would've told us we have the metabolism of an Olympic athlete instead. But that's just me, and I'm mean like that.

Anyway, after the whole event, I became a sort of celebrity. Several women accosted me in the bathroom wanting to know if I was really hypnotized or faking it. I honestly don't know that I could fake something like that. So, yes, I was really hypnotized. But I never lost control of myself and never did anything I didn't want to do. In fact, I remember as I was "sleeping" and the comedy guy was telling us the next stunt we were to do, thinking "this is crazy, why would I ever want to do that?" But for some reason I did want to do it and I didn't care what anyone thought.

For one of the stunts, we were told that we had, like, 20 cups of coffee and felt like there was a lightning bolt running through us. I remember, as he was saying that, suddenly getting lots and lots of energy and feeling like I could run a triathlon. And for another one, the hypnotist told us that when he turned his back to us, we would see a big tattoo on his butt of Barney (doing something dirty that I won't mention). He goes on to say that we would laugh and point but if he turns around he better not see us laughing or he'll be really pissed off. So, every time he turned around we all laughed hysterically and then when he looked back at us, we would stop immediately and look away. Dave said that I looked terrified every time he looked toward me. My eyes got really wide and my body was stiff and I looked like I might pee my pants (I didn't).

So that was our big anniversary adventure. To sum it up; bad food, dirty Barney tattoo, my first body building competition, awkward conversations in the bathroom, and a comedy club novelty glass I brought home. Funny, I don't remember spending any time with my husband.


Dave and I on our date. I'm not hypnotized yet, I just look weird.