Monday, January 30, 2006

Gong Xi Fa Cai

I took Miss Ava to the Chinese New Year celebration hosted by our local Chinese Community Center. Of course she had a ball and ran around like a mad woman enjoying the crafts and games and pork with tofu before the performance.

Then she promptly fell asleep in my lap 1/2 way through the show. Everyone got up during the intermission and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the site of my kid zonked out in my lap. Unable to wake her we sat there for another 20 minutes. The little boy sitting next to us kept pointing and laughing at her, "Hey Baba, little Chinese girl fell asleep on that lady's lap." Ha Ha Ha.

On a high note, I got to wear my favorite jacket purchased in Guangzhou. They made it special to fit my long arms. "No extra cost for you...cute baby, so no extra cost.", the shrewd business owner told me while we were shopping that day. Note: even if you are not a tiny size nothing but are interested in the clothes in China, just ask them to measure you and often they will make it for you in a day or two. Amazing. I think those little 100 lb. women in the store thought my 6" tall frame was quite the anomaly.

Performing 10,000 jumps over the Chinese jump rope at the performance might have contributed to falling asleep at the performance.

Always, the Monday morning quarterback.

That kid has to learn to pace herself.

We hope your family enjoyed the New Year festivities as much as ours did. Wishing you a fortunate 2006!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Date Night

Hmm...5pm. Prop Ava up in front of Dora video while mama gets cleaned up for Date Night.
Date night is simply code for parents getting to do what they used to do on a weekly basis before kidlets entered the picture. But alas, it is now something special and thus needs its own special title...Date Night. Let's be frank it's in the same category as mini van and chubby hubby gets new lawn mower while secretly doing the happy dance in the corner.

Justification: it's only 45 minutes of Dora and besides she's going to Bingo Night with LBF (little best friend). Bingo has numbers, it can be classified as educational. Ergo, Dora now educational bingo later. Dharma has professed itself..the universe is as one. Perhaps it's a stretch, I admit. Muffin man is going to get himself a hotty on his arm even if I end up having to rent a hotty. Since I don't really know any hotties, I'll have to worry about that later.

Enter closet. It's messy in there, start with the shower. Turn shower on. Enter closet again, staring aimlessly. Need style guy.

Style Guy: Hey, here I am. Up in your head, looking fabulous.
Me: Great, help me out. I simply can't wear the same mom jeans tonight. And, no comfy shoes either. Those Birkies are looking a little tired.

Style Guy: One suggestion. How about you opt out of a turtleneck. Just this once. Don't you
think Muffin Man might like to see a little ha ha? What is the deal with you and turtlenecks?
Me: Hey, I like turtlenecks. Smart women wear turtle necks. They make me feel my
New York'ness.
Style Guy: Being born in Niagara County does not technically count as New York chic, we've
already been over that.
Me: I have a few that are sort of form fitting. Doesn't that count for anything?
Style Guy: I've said it once I'll say it again. Those girl puppies should see a little night life. You
went to the trouble to have them reconstructed after all. What do the Black Eyed Peas say? Love those lady lumps.
Me: Oh for God's sake. Where is my red turtle neck?

Style Guy: How about the black velvet jeans?
Me: Oooh, I don't know. I might need to drop 5 before those make my ass look smaller than the Titanic.
Style Guy: I will not play the "Does This Make Me Look Fat?" game with you. You know the
rules, adult conversation or I go next door to help the lady with 6 kids. Rumour is that she might get a Date Night in the year 2012 and I would have to prepare..emotionally and all.
Me: Fine, velvet jeans it is.

Style Guy: Ok, about shoes. You are forbidden from buying any more in the sensible category. Every once in a while you get to go out but you spend all your money on little girl clothes. What is up with that? She's four now, are you going to get over the pink dress with matching hair bow stuff?
Me: In my defense, I waited a long time to shop at Baby Gap and Gymboree. It makes
me happy.
Style Guy: Are you happy now? What have you done for yourself lately? (Cue Janet Jackson
music here.) You have only one pair of decent black boots.
Me: Ok, cool. Black boots it is. I like them, they make my size ten foot look skinny.
Style Guy: So, you''ve given up on a skinny ass and are placated by skinny feet?
Me: Well, yes. It lets me keep my wine and cheese habit going.

Hair styling 5 minutes. Make-up 3 minutes. Same as normal, but honestly intend to find red lipstick somewhere in drawer, or basket, or old purse, or might be Carmex like usual.

Style Guy: Nope. Gotta find red lippy.
Me: FINE...I think Ava took it.
Style Guy: Cop out.
Me: You are right, if Ava had taken it it would now be smooshed into the carpet. I admit.
Style Guy: That's what I like about you. You can be reasonable when pushed. Check in the old basket in the linen closet.
Me: Hey, looky here. Ava's red glittery nail polish. Maybe I could borrow it. Yeah.
Style Guy: What? No.
Me: This month's issue of Parenting magazine had a whole 2 page spread on the accessories you can steal from your kid. I think this might qualify.
Style Guy: Am I getting paid time and a 1/2 since it is after 5pm? Apparently you don't even
want to work with are letting Parenting magazine influence your sense of STYLE? This is a new low...even for you.
Me: Temperamental bitch.
Style Guy: I'll take that as a compliment.
Me: Hey, here is my red lipstick. Party on Wayne!
Style Guy: Huh?

Style Guy: Now, what about a little eyeshadow?
Me: Huh? Can't do it, it's beyond me.
Style Guy: What do you mean "beyond me"? Word on the street is that some women actually
use a little makeup beyond the cover dark circles realm, you know?
Me: Don't push me. I found the red lipstick. That automatically qualifies me for hotty
for the night and I don't have to rent anyone for the Muffin Man. All is well in the cul-de-sac.

Style Guy: All in a night's work. But I need a dirty martini. Quick.

Friday, January 27, 2006

What Will They Think In Hunan?

A few weeks ago I learned that Fran Morris from is planning a trip to China in March. They plan to photograph several cities in Hunan Province. They even plan knock on the door of her orphanage to give them pictures that American families have put together chronicling their children's lives. We can present a letter and a few pictures hoping that the orphanage director and caretakers will agree to accept the package.

I say hope because Ava's orphanage has been rather closed to Westerners. Very few families and groups have been granted access to the facility. The director is organized and proficient but not warm and welcoming. My hope is that the China Finding employee presenting the letter and photos will at least be permitted to give the packet to someone who can share the photos with people who care for the children at the facility.

I can only imagine that if I worked at an orphanage I would want to know where all these babies go. Do they get parents that love them? Do their parents care about their Chinese heritage? Will they go to school? What are their days like?

So, off the package will go. I hope they see it as our little attempt to say thank you to those caretakers who heard her cry in the middle of the night. Xie xie to the nanny who picked her up and fed her that thick mushy bottle. Thanks to the woman who carried her on her hip and looked into her lovely brown eyes while taking her to the play room. Thanks to the nannies who rode with her on that long hot bus ride to Changsha in Sept. of 2002. Thanks to the administrator who plopped her paperwork in the international adoption pile.

Thanks for caring about my baby!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

It's take your kid to work day

I know, I know I don't actually work..outside the home anymore. I hate the silly term "outside the home" even though I still use it all the time when people ask me what I do. That term sounds to me like I work, but only surrounded by these surburban walls. The fact is that I still feel like I work harder outside the home than I do inside the home. Maybe because I am a crappy cook, don't bake, and have a high tolerance for dust bunnies. It's complicated, but not really since I don't work outside the home. See?

Many years ago I saw a psychic. I only saw her one time, although I liked her and considered going back but just did not get around to it. I had the reading mostly for fun and curosity. She said something that never left me. I asked her about children and she sort of stammered for a minute. (Ahhh hindsight.) Then she told me that I would have a little girl that I would take everywhere with me. We would be very close. I would take her places that some parents would not take their children. She told me that I was a busy person with lots to do and this child would go with me even when I worked.

Little girl, check. Goes everywhere with me, check. But I don't work. Although...I have found myself to be knee deep in volunteer'land. Let me be honest...I never pictured myself to be the type to be running from here to there with volunteer opportunities. I guess I'm not sure what I thought quitting my career would look like after 3 years under my belt, but really I never thought I would be here. By here, I mean involved with 3 or 4 organizations and taking a leadership role in Ava's heritage non-profit, or my local FCC for the adoption crowd. This is not bad or anything, I just sort of thought I might be in graduate school at night while pulling down a tidy sum to manage some working stiffs at a widget making company. Lofty aspirations, I know.

So, back to the psychic prediction. As I was in a pseudo business meeting this afternoon, making plans for the local FCC Chinese New Year's function to rent the Children's Museum I thought of that psychic. I thought of her as I leaned over to Ava to ask for a piece of coloring book paper to borrow to take notes. (In my huffy rush to get us there on time I left my portfolio in the car.) Ava did not miss a beat and acted like I always borrow paper from her in a meeting room. The three employee managers at the meeting quickly offered paper without Scooby Doo. How nice. I was slightly mortified for a minute. And then I remembered the psychics words, "You will take her lots of places. Even places some other mothers would not take a child." I started to relax about feeling inappropriate. Pehaps this is just where I am supposed to be right now, kid in tow. But still getting out there in the world.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Let The Games Begin

Oooh, how about that? CCAA matching MORE than what we expected. That puts us at 1 month and three days to be matched with super kidlets before us. Must stop eating rocky road fudge and go for a walk or something before I throw up.

The CCAA has finished the review of the adoption application documents
registered with our office in June 2005.

The CCAA has finished the placement of
children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered
with our office before May 13, 2005.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Big Party

Well, we did it. Succumbed to 4 year old suburban peer pressure and threw a soiree for "Miss I Am Now 4"! By the way, everyone toodling around in a red minivan, sensible shoes, and loose fit jeans is doing it these days. So who are we to buck the system? Take a stand against obvious garish displays of commercialism and overindulgence, not us..not this weekend.

Ava and 13 of her very best friends in the whole wide world enjoyed all the perks that renting out a Little Gym can offer. Music, play mats, hide and seek, balance beams, uneven bars, gongo huge parachute, cake and of course presents galore. It was sheer bliss for the birthday girl. (Which made paying the bill completely tolerable at the end. )

In the old days, when Ava was about 1 and 2, ok and 3 I would have to be in hyper alert mode in these types of settings. She loved music classes and parties and playdates but she was shall we say...ummm...a little more agressive than most other children, and she had a little bit of a ummm...biting problem. So these parties and events were stressful as she would hold court tell everyone what to do, and promptly thump anyone in the head who thought it wise to challenge. I would fret and wonder where she learned this behavior...I would have to follow her around watching her like a hawk so some little kid did not get bruised in her path. (Remind me to someday share the nose biting incident where I am pretty sure an emergency room visit resulted for the victim.)

I remember my mom telling me, "I know it is tough now, but that little kid is going to be fine. One day she will be so confident she will be marching into situations with her head held high and never look back." Mom was right! She marched right into the party, greeted her friends and picked a game or two. Sheer delight, no whining, no clinging, no obvious bossiness. Ahhhh, so I sat back and enjoyed the ride. While some of the other children's parents had to manage the "stuck to adult leg" syndrome.

I don't know what I expected since this was our first foiree into Big Birthday Gigs. I have to fess up though, it was FUN. Big fun. She's growing up, I'm growing up.

Notice the black haired princess? I had to negotiate extra hard for that one. Apparently, most bakerys believe that princesses are usually blond haired and blue eyed. How naive.

And here she is moments before the big event is about to commence. She won the attire battle, opting out of the adorable birthday outfit I had especially purchased for said event. And for the third time this week, we present....butterfly jeans and pink tee shirt. It shall now be known as stinky butterfly butt.

Notice the purple bow? Her concession and birthday gift to me. We always compromise in our little corner of the world.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Smelling Like A Flamingo

This winter we have been a little more lax about kiddy baths. I admit it, I'm lazy. I suppose I could tell you that my darling petite flower of a child has such sensitive skin that I just cannot bathe her too often. Oh, that's bull. I am just lazy and she doesn't ordinarily smell that bad. I know too, because I have a dog-like sniffer. (It's a curse.)

I was caught a little off guard though today immediately after preschool pickup. I just could not get this awful smell away from me. After sniffing me, I smell great had a shower less than 3 hours ago, sniffing the dog, she smells terrible as usual but not sweet terrible just old dog terrible and the kitchen sink, not good but not sweet terrible either.

This was sweet terrible. Dollar aisle car freshener terrible to be exact. Not the good car fresheners they sell now at Yankee your Grandma's 1977 Buick car freshener.

So, if it isn't me (which quite honestly sometimes it is) and it isn't the dog or the kitchen sink what is it? It's the kid!

I ask her to come here. She hops over. W-H-E-W, its her. I know for a fact that kid did not smell like that before preschool. I ask her why she smells funny. And here is what happened.

Ava: "Well, Laurel from preschool had this special pink lotion and she gave me some so I could smell great like her. We used it all while I was waiting for you to pick me up."

Me: "Aaahhhaaa. That's great babe, it is now bath night. You sort of smell like a ......."

Ava interrupting me: "A flamingo! I smell like a flamingo."

Me: Ok, I have no snappy comeback for that one, baby. Laughing. But those pink feathers absolutely must come in contact with lavender and chamomille wash tonight! O-d-i-f-e-r-o-u-s.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

Four years ago a beautiful healthy baby girl was born in what I can only guess to be the countryside of northern Hunan Province. Perhaps this child was born into the thicket of difficult adult problems that had absolutely nothing to do with her. Her birth may have complicated one woman's family life offering little choice but to have to make one of life's most gut wrenching decisions...physical relinquishment.

But often in life what is tragedy in one moment can in the next moment bring an outgrowth of joy. We live in a strange and wondrous universe. I will say it is a surreal and humbling experience to be situated on the tail end of someone's unspeakable grief only to be handed the greatest gift of all. A child to love on a daily basis, to watch grow.

I got to see her walk through my bedroom door this morning. Her hair was dishelved, her eyes sleepy. In her hands she toted 3 books. She said, "Good Morning Mama", in her sweetest tone of voice, usually reserved for cunning attempts to procure candy. I rolled over and said, "Good Morning baby girl, Happy Birthday. You're 4." She said, "I thought I would be 4 today." We both laughed as she crawled up into my bed for morning book time.

I've been crying on and off all morning. Tears of joy, my baby is 4! Tears for a woman and a man I don't know, but can feel, who live a world away. I hope they are restful today, intuitively knowing that she is safe, thriving and loved.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Gold DiggerToo old and too uncool...but this gal is gettin' jiggy with this one.

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Come Sit On The Couch

Drs. Freud, Erikson, Piaget, Jung, and Malfy (if you can take a break from Tony Soprano); what is it that drives some parents to the brink of oversensationalized exhaustion when speaking with other adults about the talents and gifts of their children?

When your child is extra something, or in some cases extra everything, does that make you as a parent all the more over the top wonderful, talented, intelligent, great personality, makes her own clothes, head cheerleader, mother of the year?

Would I be out of order to suggest, ugh no? Only that much more annoying to me.

Really, does that child who is 3 need to be in the 5 year old gym class because she is sooo athletic? Does you need to be stressing the teacher out asking for sooo much extra attention in preschool because she is soooo bright? Does the child really not play with others well because she is so far "beyond" the others?

I wonder how much energy it would take to recognize an old fashioned normal kid? And what is wrong with normal?

Normal is ok.

Oh, and I suppose since we are asking the Drs. today I wonder why this has bothered me ALL darn day long? People usually don't creep me out or bug the crap out of me like this. Perhaps I need to chill.

And go kiss my super talented, plays well with others, no longer runs with scissors, colors in the lines even though I encourage her not to, MENSA genius. This is all Mommy code for: she's NORMAL.

Hopping off the box now....

Monday, January 16, 2006

More About Chinese School

About a month ago I posted about my daughter attending Chinese school on Sundays. Since the concept was so new the parents did stay in the room with children for the two hour duration of each class. I alternated between lassoing her into paying attention and trying to find the best place to hide the snacks so they would last until break time. Last semester was a pilot program for the Chinese community running this class for mostly Chinese children with English speaking parents. Most parents are Caucasian but there is a smattering of biracial or 2nd/3rd generation Asian parents who speak English solely in the home. Admittedly, as Americans (and mostly type A hyper sensitive adoptive types) we are sort of high maintenance for the Chinese Community Center so I am trying not to freak out over each little thing that is not perfect. Hmmm. Imagine me, in the back, the only parent not freaking out that little Sophia's feelings might be hurt since she was not selected student of the week. Whatever.

This semester it has been decided that the children will stay in the classroom with Lao Shi Ying, their teacher, all alone. I think the parents were sort of stressing her out. Here is where it got interesting yesterday. Eighteen kids showed up this semester. I heard through the grapevine and my kid spent the entire two hours crawling under her desk taking her sneakers on and off. And when that became boring she decided to rally up her girls and have them do the same. We searched for 10 minutes for the left shoe upon leaving.

What was I doing while the wilds rumpus'd? Why, relaxing in the newly created adult learning class next door of course. We spent two hours learning the exact pronunciation of Ni Hao with correct tonal inflection. Two whole hours. At least I got to use my perfect pronunciation at the Golden Crown's lunch buffet today.

This is my 4th attempt at jump starting Mandarin learning. With Ava's inability to stick her little bum down to that seat and my aches and fits about first through 4th could be a long semester.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Hep A And All The Questions That Go Along

Yesterday I had a Hep A shot. This will protect me for the rest of my life from any water or food Hepatitis A while traveling in China later this year. Heck, as a bonus it will also protect me from any Hepatitis A running around my local Target or Children's Museum too. Wonderful..roll up the sleeve and give it to me good.

The nurse starts the procedure by flashing that humongo needle in front of me and asks why I'd want this little ouchy to be the highlight of my day. I explain that I am going to China later this year. "Oh, you are a business woman who travels?", she asks. "No", I reply. (But secretly thinking I must be getting my mojo back after 3 years of mommydom if she at all thinks I could once again pass for a business woman. Is this because I am wearing Bobbi Brown Suede no. 14 lip gloss AND hoop earrings today?) " My husband and I are going to China to adoption our second daughter.", I tell her.

She looks like I choked her cat or something. "But why would you want to do that?", she asks. "Well, oh highly educated and ever so tactful nurse, we want another child." "That must take a really long time. It takes less time to have a baby here.", she says.

I can see where this is going. And it ain't goin' anywhere remotely productive. I start laughing, roll down my sleeve, get up from the chair and head for the door all in one rather ungraceful swoop.

"Oh, you have no idea.", I say. She tilts her head and with all the eloquence she can muster says, "Huh?".

Wow, I guess you sort of have to step outside to a new doctor's office in your best lip gloss to venture outside that adoption bubble now and again.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Smell Them Roses

This morning I ventured off to my local hospital for my semiannual oncology pre-visit testing. Technicians x-ray my lungs and draw six vials of blood from my left arm. For whatever reason the the blood draw chair is usually set up for right arm donation and I have ask them to switch the setting to the left. They look at me like I am Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, high maintenance. Then I explain that I am down a few lymph nodes on the right side and have been told left side blood donations only. Aah, they look at my with a little more sympathy er...patience. Then inevitably someone during the course of the visit says "But you look so young." Yes, young(ish) people get cancer too. I am in turn amazed that they are taken off guard, they do work in a hospital.

I used to get very scared/neurotic at these little semi-annual hospital sessions. I would wonder if this time I would get to keep my life the way it is...remission, happy little kid, husband who is able to focus on work and not caring for sick wife. With each passing year the stress of these testing visits gets easier to bear. I admit it is a test of nerve strength as I don't get immediate results, I have to wait a week or two when I see my oncologist.

While navigating the newly painted green walls of the hospital I started to get that tempting fate feeling again. "I'm so close to seeing that new baby, please keep me on course.", I say in my head to whoever out there is listening. "You know that little Ava needs a healthy Momma.", I say almost defiantly again to the God that rests in my head. "I know I shouldn't eat chicken nuggets, I know she shouldn't eat chicken nuggets, I know I probably shouldn't drink wine, I should be buying more organic, I should have continued therapy." I go on and on. That's the bad part of spending the morning at the hospital with only your one to talk you down.

I feel the stick in my arm and watch the blood flow up. How do they make that blood flow up, doesn't that defy gravity or something? The technician skillfully finishes and tells me to have a super day. I smile slowly and pick up my new Mao book as I head for the door.

I step outside to an amazingly glorious sunny day. The hospital shuttle makes a special stop to ask if I want a ride back to my car. I peek inside the shuttle, it is filled with old people who might ask me what I am doing riding the emergency room shuttle. I'm not in the mood for chatting and comparing war stories. I tell the driver it is nice out and I think that I will walk.

On my walk back I vow to make my afternoon filled with fun. Enjoy the day. Live more in the moment. Try not to worry about things I don't have control over. I suppose this is part of what the whole cancer thing taught me to begin with.

I pick Ava and her little best friend (LBF) up from preschool. She is staying with us for a few days while her parents are on vacation. I ask if they want to play in the backyard since the weather is so nice. Four your old shrieks of "Yea, Yea" unfold.

So that is what we did. They played and I watched through the camera lens. Having fun, just like I promised.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

N-e-e-d Pedoodles

Oh my...sure do wish I had my baby's referral right about now. Yes, for all of the obvious reasons and one more. Pedoodles.

I came dangerously close to clicking BUY IT on Ebay this afternoon. They are so wickedly cute I am even wondering if I could squeeze Ava's foot in the largest toddler size. Heck, do they make 'em in my size?

But then...what size will baby be? How upset will I be if she has outgrown them by the time we meet her? Would her feet be hot in them by this summer?

Someone needs a little retail therapy...that's for sure.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


This is Woobie. Technically she is Woobie 2. When we discovered how attached Ava was to Woobie a few years ago we promptly dialed Lillian Vernon personally and told her we needed a backup. (The ever prepared parent will absolutely not tolerate even the slightest possibility of woobie"esque" damage, loss or any other horrible non-speakable things that the cruel world might offer. ) Woobie is the vertitable Velveteen Rabbit of our house. She is famous in her own right. No sleep will commence without Woobie. No tears will stop flowing unless The Woob (as I now call her since we are close) is there to console.

Woobie 2 has recently had surgery. It was a tailectomy and immediate tail transplant to be exact. We aren't going to divulge exactly how Woobie 2 got in such dire straights. We have decided to protect her privacy on the internet and all. We made sure she took all of the requisite anti-rejection medicines before her trip to the dum dum dum.....sewing room/operating room and mandatory recovery. Your thoughts and prayers are still welcome.

Here are Woobie 1 and Woobie 2 together again. Woobie 2 on the right is recovering nicely. Notice her tail is looking mighty perky and pink compared to her friend's. We are a little worried that Woobie 1 might need similar surgery in the near future. That is one sad looking little tail, Woobie 1.

In addition to tail end troubles Woobie is also experiencing satin shed. This is a very serious dermatological phenomenon that affects not only Woobies, but has been known to afflict stuffed ducks and bears too.

The other day Ava brought this to me.

It confirms satin shed. I'm just not sure this case of satin shed can be repaired in the operating room. It is sort of technical but has to do with close proximity to the tailectomy and scar tissue forming.

So there it is. The satin shed continues to sit on my desk, untouched. Even though I know there is little chance of saving it and doing another repair job on The Woob, I can't bear to let it go.

Call me a sentimental doctor or healer as I prefer. I'm just a little choked up about seeing the effects of time passing and one child's unconditional love for dear Woobie, or Woobies to be exact.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Scissors Update

Sporting a nifty new bob haircut today, no not me, Ava.

Apparently it took me almost 24 hours to realize that the left side of her head was oh, about 2 1/2" shorter than the right. I discovered this in Target, while she was sitting in the cart nonetheless. I looked at her tilted my head and said, "Gosh your hair keeps getting stuck in your turtleneck." I flip it, and well it was not stuck. It is gone.

And my state allows me to operate a motor vehicle, the Chinese gov't says they are going to give me another kid. I'm thinking I might need glasses.

Me: Ava, at LBF's yesterday did you cut your pigtail in addition to all of the other stuff you cut up? (Aahh, now I know why she was hiding her pigtail rubber bands and was purposely tousling her hair in a big mess.) No one ever said I was the brightest bulb in the package.

Ava: Oh, yeah mom. She thinks this is absolutely hilarious.

Me: Rolling my eyes and stopping the cart to examine further. How the heck did I miss this when I washed and blowdried your hair this morning? Ava this is so short on this side we are going to have to even it up.

Ava: More laughing hysterically.

Me: Ok, but you aren't going to have Jasmine hair anymore. (Admittedly, sort of a low blow on my part.)

At this point her hysterical giggling was truly starting to piss me off. In my mind I was hearing an old friend of mine saying, "To hit your kids in public or not? Oh heck, Walmart that's where you go to hit your kids. No worries there." (This was obvious party fodder and everyone had consumed a few beverages with umbrellas in them if I remember correctly.) Then I remembered I was at Target, no obvious displays of serious parental disapproval here.

Ava: No more Jasmine hair? Hysterical laughing stops immediately. You aren't going to make me look like a baby are you?

Me: No, but you will need a trim.

So, she got that trim a hour later. Which if anyone has tried to trim perfectly straight fine black hair, you will know how virtually impossible it is.

I am just far to anal to live with this little scissors indiscretion until next week when we could see a professional. Welcome to Mommy's House of Heinous Hair. Step right up, roll the dice. She sat there for an hour while I clipped and evened. Clipped and evened.

Blow dry. More evening up. Wet down. Snip snip. Momma curses. Momma apologizes for cursing. Momma refuses to explain what curse word means.

Here she is showing off the new do. She seems to have recovered nicely...since she got to spend the afternoon building yet another bird house with Main Muffin Man. (If they keep up the pace we should have a house for every yellow finch this side of the Mississipi this spring.)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Creative Whim or Bad Behavior

Playdate drama today. And all over a little pair of scissors, and uh resulting path of destruction.

Miss Ava was invited to her little best friend's (LBF) house this morning for a fun filled day of goofing around in their fabulous and enormous finished basement playroom. LBF and Ava have been buddies since they were adopted on the same day in Changsha a few years ago. They love one another, they sometimes fight, they can even complete each others sentences. They have even been known to tire of each other but refuse to separate. Instead, they will turn from each other and play separately but have their backs touching.

Now that they are 4 and almost 4 they also get into trouble. Crafty trouble. Test those boundaries trouble. This is not a real great recipe when they play at LBF's. LBF's mom is super wonderful, I love her with all my heart. She is also pretty strict. High expectations and sort of low tolerance for all things shenanigan-like Ava and LBF can cook up in about 20 minutes.

On the way over to LBF's this morning I give Ava the normal "What are your rules?" speech. She responds accordingly, and I leave her at LBF's happily squeezing the life out of one of their cats. I foolishly lower my guard setting off happily for home and with great intentions of giving my desk a much needed New Year's clean and organize session. Instead I read blogs, will the cycle never end?

Two hours later the phone rings. Caller ID identifies LBF's mom. I know this is not good news. I contemplate ignoring the phone and staying in my happy blogland place .

But, then I sort of worry that Ava might be sick and pick up the phone.

Me: Hi, LBF's Mom.

Mom: Hi, (sigh) We have a big problem.

Me with sinking gut: Uh huh, Is everyone ok? (Codeword for Ava didn't bite anyone did she?)

Mom: Well yes, eveyone is fine, but LBF and Ava got ahold of scissors and cut up LBF's stuffed animals and some books. And, needless to say I am very angry.

Me: Repeating silently in my head: Children's actions are their own and not necessarily a reflection of really crappy parenting or moral ineptitude in personal character. Ok, how bad is it?

Mom: Pretty bad, I haven't had a chance to see everything yet.

Me: Many apologies, blah blah blah. Offer to pay for half of damage, blah blah blah.

Short discussion of teaching respect for possessions, making good choices especially after being told about 2000 times not to play with scissors, and general 4 year old pull your hair out testiness ensues.

We decide perhaps I should pick Miss Ava up early. Dum Dum Dum, looms the big haunting music in the background.

On the car ride over I'm uncharacteristically calm. What were they thinking, cutting up a room full of stuff with one pair of scissors between the both of them? Were they just in the moment? Aah, I have scissors let me see what library books look like in tiny pieces? Oh, I wonder what is inside of a teddy bear? What would happen if Mulan lost her scarf?

On the ride home Ava was feeling wronged. Typical for her. Apparently they did want to see what was inside of a teddy bear. I'm not sure why the books needed a good thrashing, but hey. She told me that she would not go back to LBF's. Aah, the heat of the moment. I told her that would not solve her problems and we talked a lot about how this was just a bad choice. Sometimes in life when you make a crummy choice there is a consequence. For her it meant end of playdate, no television and some good alone time in her room.

Well, I guess if they were perfect all the might not be as entertaining. But, then again I might not have to spend her college money professionally covering my grays either.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Top Ten Oooohhh Pleeaase

Apparently Parent Center dot com has published the top 100 names of 2005, or so my friend tells me. She knows that I am sort of struggling for just that perfect name for Ava's little sister. I have already written about the fact that Muffin Man picked Ava, we LOVED it, done deal. No fuss, no muss. Now it is my turn, oooh the agony.

My friend emailed me this list saying oh, since I know you are still name shopping, how about the old what's popular list? I did not get any new ideas*, but did figure out quite quickly that our sort of first choice for the new babe's name is a HUGELY unoriginal top ten name. To rub salt in the wound, apparently my huband's fabulous choice of 2002 which we were convinced was the perfect melding of non-weird but not common, sophisticated yet not old, she could be a business woman, pretty but not cutesy name is now a whopping #10. Now how did the man who still owns topsiders and says "groovy" pick a #10?

Girl Names as Listed By Parent Center Dot Com

1 Emma
2 Emily
3 Madison
4 Kaitlyn
5 Sophia
6 Isabella
7 Olivia
8 Hannah
9 Makayla
10 Ava

Well, shit. I have issues with being too trendy, too yuppie (again with the sooo yesterday lingo, but then again not that long ago we were DINKS, remember that one?) too suburban, white middle class, dare I suggest upper middle class names, midwestern names. Blah Blah Blah...

I simply don't know whether I can cave to having two kids on the top 10 list. Where is my artistic avant guarde black turtle neck wearing self? Probably at the Honda Oddessy lot, waiting for me to cave on that one too.

*Although we did have an online laugh trashing the yucky ones on the top 100 list. I may give up and name her Destiny Trinity. Evil.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

An Update From Sick Bay #9

Kindly, I've had a few requests for an update about the medicines issued to treat our little communist pink-o bout with the creeping crud back when we were in China in 2002. We were indeed issued 4 types of antibiotics each. A nice concoction of both topical and systemic medicines, or as I like to call them, horse pills. I am assuming that they were all antibiotics but since all of the little vials and pills were written in Chinese, I am not 100% sure.

You know you are feeling pretty desperate for some relief when you happily gobble up and slather on something that could be snake oil mixed with rat barf for all you know.

All kidding aside, the Dr. was quite good, as our guide assured us he would be. She explained that in China people who study medicine do not have the same choices that American medical students do when it comes to specialities. So, some Western collegues sometimes think of them as not as sophisticated. (Perhaps a little good 'ole American ethnocenticism too) Although the kids who make it to medical school in China are pretty much the kids who have scored very high in school since they were about 6 months old. Kidding but you know the drill, it is an esteemed profession in China as it is here.

Our guides explained to us that doctors in China have lots of education, are quite bright, but are not given the opportunities to stretch, research and shine in the communist setting. They are assigned a post at a hospital or clinic and do the same thing day after day. So, they become very adept at treating illnesses in their area of expertise. Take these opinion comments as our guide's opinions only....she was very nice to share this but I am NO expert on doctors in China, let's be clear.

This turned out to be great for a couple of dippy Americans with a ruckus case of Asian strain conjunctivitis, and without the immunities to fight it all off. The doctor in the opthomology ward saw us and immediately knew what to do. We recovered in several days. The medicines started working right away but it did take a while for my welts to calm down and Main Muffin Man's poor eyes remained red and inflamed for over another week. In addition, we ordered over 30 towels delivered to our room everyday and used a huge bottle of antiseptic cleanser in 5 days. We asked our guides to explain why the house keeping staff must wash their hands after cleaning our room each and every time to help prevent spreading.

Here I am about 5 days AFTER our trip to the hospital?

Being the vain gal that I am I did not want my picture taken...but here I am a few years later posting it on the internet for heaven's sake and grateful that I have a picture with my new babe. The welts had disappeared and I was left with only 2 nice red rings for eyes.

See her pink socks? People kept stopping us on the streets of China asking if she was "boy baby?", with a frown. We assured them, "girl baby." They happily gave us the lucky baby thumbs up. So, I vowed to only dress her in pink socks the rest of the trip to help with the questioning. Sorry, I digress I just noticed that.

Let me also say this about our hotel, which I know for a fact is where I got the pink eye. It is 5 star! They employed people to dust the sparking clean plants in the lobbys of each floor for Christ's sake. I would have happily eaten off the white marble floors in the main lobby, it was that clean. I don't think the staff even knew the word for no, not even in Chinese. They would do anything to please us heathen big nosed Americans. The ladies who worked in the dining rooms even asked to play with the babies so the parents could eat for 10 minutes in peace. My sheet situation I am convinced was a fluke. A person who worked at the hotel obviously had this strain and touched his/her eye and then put the pillowcase on my bed. No need to pack a supply of pillowcases from home next time. Although I will be taking a dose of of meds, just in case.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Oh Rats, New Witching Hour Strategy Needed

Rats...I thought this little blankie would be so comfortable that Miss Nocturnal would have no choice but to want to spend oh, say between 10 and 12 hours a night all alone snuggled up underneath. I practically fell asleep at the store while purchasing it two weeks ago. Then again that might have had something to do with why I was purchasing it in the first place. With it being hypo-allergenic, puppy belly soft, not too heavy, and the sweetest shade of mango I truly thought I'd hit a home run with the 82nd episode of project Ava sleeps alone through the night.

No such luck. She says her blankets get "bunchy". The "bunchy" factor seems to be playing into why she must have parental assistance approximately every 2 hours for a straighten out and re-tuck session. My grumblings, snarls, and threats seem to pull no weight.

What is one tired cranky momma to do? Retire "bunchy" to the linen closet of course.

In it's place, I present....

The sure fired extra fluffy down filled pinch hitter. The best Macy's Department Store has to offer. Well, the best the after Christmas clearance sale with an extra 20% off coupon has to offer to be exact.

Guaranteed to be extra fluffy..super warm..requiring no other blankie friends...and complete reduction in the "bunchy" factor.

In fact, while at Macy's it was explained to Miss Nocturnal that in addition to it's obvious attributes, it is Magic. It's powers enable even the most doubtful owner that it will indeed make sure anyone who slips underneath that they will not need any parent to re-tuck at 2am, find water for a 3am or 4am simple blankie straightening.

See? Here she is practicing. Can you feel the love?

Has tired cranky momma found the holy grail?

Or, will Miss Noctural win another round of Witching Hour Follies?

Honestly, I'd give it about 50/50 odds.