Monday, February 27, 2006

The Happiest Place On Earth

We are back from Disney 2006. Practically kicking and screaming but we are back. (That was me kicking by the way.) Boy oh boy, did I ever really want to stay and hang out with my dude just a little longer. And let me add that I am a self professed sit at the shore with a good book, a margherita, and some shrimp at the hut type of gal. Let's be honest, Disney is the death of spontaneity, welcoming all type A's at turnstile 8C. And yet, it is amazingly easy to get swept up when every time you buy a coffee someone says "Have A Magical Day!".

My gal was pretty darn happy once she realized she was visiting Jasmine, Belle, Ariel, Lilo and Stitch, and Pooh and Friends. Of course the unlimited lemonade, chicken strips, and mac and cheese were euphoria inducing. Gramma and Grampa were on hand to heap on loads and loads of undivided attention. There you have it...pint sized nirvana. Endorphin rush 14 out of every 15 hours.

Bring on the characters. Ava was somewhat obsessed with character greetings. We waited in no less than 72 lines for a fur hug.

Mickey's Philharmagic? Yeah, give me my glasses.

Goofy talks a little if you get too close.

What could possibly so interesting?

Dancing princesses of course.

Notice the rain gear in the crowd? 55 degrees and breezy in Orlando on Sunday. Aha, but it kept the masses away. We practically had Fantasyland to ourselves for the first hour and a half. Ava's Grandma was slugging her 3rd hot decaf to stay warm while Grampa, Daddy and I were frolicking through the Teacups, Pooh's ride, Dumbo, Small World, Peter Pan, and Space Mountain in a record 45 minutes! Take that Disney crowds!

I thought I might leap into the pig's arms myself. But then thought better of it when I realized it would cut into my dessert time bellied up to the buffet. At last count it was 6 desserts that I sampled. Ok, a little more than sampled. I guess I'd have to call Disney 2006 a rousing success for our family.

Have a magical day!

(Someone will have to say that to me tomorrow or I will die from withdrawal.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Going To Play With Mickey

This guy called. He asked very nicely if Ava could come play.

And, the rule is if you ask nicely...and your daddy has a business trip that we can sponge off of....ok.

We promise to take tons of pictures. Like this one that we took last year.

Last year she was all about that carosel. This year the Princess Lunch in Norway seems to be catching more attention. That and a promised trip to the pool or two. Geesh, all the way to Mickey and the kid wants to swim in a pool.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Kidlet Wing

Recently, while talking to Muffin Man I tossed a out a crazy idea. In the 11th hour of waiting for the baby's referral, let's consider adding a little more stress and complication to our lives by adding a room onto the back of the house. That way Ava and her little mei mei could have a playroom with a painting easel and train table. Secretly, I have really been looking for a place to dump the train table since Ava received it last Christmas. The kid showed an interest in trains ONE time ONE day and well meaning but completely naive Muffin Man dodged 4 traffic violations screeching off to the toy store to get a train table complete with airport, train tracks and little green trees. Now, it houses the all consuming Little People metropolis which she ignores as well as the trains that are hogging space in the drawers below the table. So, the answer in my mind to have space for the "all important" train table....Let's add on to the house while we are bringing an unknown child home from China...makes sense right?

Here's the funny part. Muffin man is buying into it. "Sure dear, add a wing." Can you say home equity line? It makes me a little queasy here in this old relationship when I am the one who is acting with reckless abandon. It is not a comfortable place. You see we have had a good thing going for many years now where he likes to spend spend spend and I play the miserly bitch..."you'll put us in the poor house dear."

But, as with all things in life experience gives us wings to fly and confidence to soar beyond. As I contemplate the need vs. want dilemma of my little housing addition idea I am reminded of my black beauty.

What does a black car have to do with the kidlet wing?

Here is the thing. On an impulse, when I bought my beloved black beauty, a 1999 black Dodge Durango, with gray soft leather interior, 4WD, electric everything, a nice cd player, and three rows of seats I was bad ass tired and feeling mean. I had been beaten down with the whole infertility thing for a while and just needed to feel in control of something. Anything. So, we bought a car that was a little beyond our means (or so I thought at the time) with a whole boat load of attitude. Believe me, the color was no ironic twist. The sales man offered us a light blue model at a cheaper rate saying color surely wouldn't be an intelligent consumer's deal breaker. Oh really? Black Beauty made me feel powerful, in control of my life. I loved her in 1999 and I love her now, all 6,000 lbs of her.

So, with that said I bet you are waiting for the grownup epiphany where I realize that buying an expensive what-not is the not answer to finding peace and balance in my life and won't give me the sense of control I naturally desire. After all Black Beauty did not exactly get me a big job promotion and pregnant all at the same time. In fact, I got neither. Spending cash'ola will not make my life more in balance, it will not bring me a happy healthy bouncing baby girl any faster.

Here's the catch. The Durango situation really has worked out for us. I paid her off. I have only 60,000 miles logged. I obviously have not grown tired of her bad ass girlish figure. She totes me and my baby around town with style. It was in hindsight a winner of a decision.

So, if I rely on the Black Beauty as life experience, I guess she might tell me that it is ok to stretch a little. Have faith in what you cannot see today. Money is only a means of exchange. Power is as power does.

Let's hope this power is not banging nails loudly as a newly arrived baby tries to sleep this summer.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Wanderer

I'm Perrin and I have a wanderer. She is currently 4 years old and thinks that I exist mostly to chauffeur her to the event du jour. Once we get to where we are going...well, the wanderer can take over from there. She has no fear of adults, as long as they do their own thing and don't get in her way. She never fears other children or animals she meets along the way. She'd stare down any uppity pack of popular teenage girls at the mall and hold her ground in the path of bikes or strollers on our walking trail every time. Don't get me wrong, she is quite appreciative of my willingness to improve her life through outside activities and my overall driving skills. She tells me all the time to be careful when we are driving so that we don't bump into anything because a policeman might give me a time out. Or worse, delay our timely arrival at said event.

All of this is fine, really it is. I would call my wanderer highly developed and self assured, what parent wouldn't be delighted to have the privledge? She is unapologetic when she has an "idea" that could possibly take her to the next adventure not matter how big or small. To be competely honest, I am in amazement at how she remains unfazed by adults' shhh'ing or yelling at her to protect her safety in stressful moments. She brushes off other's disdainful sighs and unapproving looks like they are merely pleeb's in her ultra posh fraternity of life. She honestly "gets" that she can be super precocious, yet she does not concern herself with other's preconceived notions of how a four year old should act.

But to be a part of the confident wanderer's life, to trail behind her brings a certain amount of low grade stress. She is after all a child, albeit a 45 year old in a 40" body. The people around us only see the 40" inch body. Sometimes it is her nemesis to be physically adorable, female, and Asian. Sometimes it is her saving grace.

The issue with the wanderer is that she is always over fourty paces beyond me when in public. Tall worn out looking white woman in public place, no second glance needed. 40" little Asian person who is seemingly on her own. Ok, where is Asian mommy? Really, where is she? Then it hits people...Oh my, does this child not have a parent supervising? Should I help? Is this going to be an Amber Alert situation? Is channel 6 Action News here? Really, should I notify someone that this little kid has no parent with her?

Unlike my wanderer I am completely aware of other adults in public. I see their looks of disdain when she seemingly has no parent supervising. I also see the fright in their eyes, that fleeting moment when an adult has to make a decision to care whether this child has no apparent matching guardian at her side. I feel as if I should be cataloguing each adult reaction to this episode as it is repeated over and over as the wanderer wields her slippery independent ways. I sense that I am unofficially collecting scientific data on a) the unrepentant child b) adult reactions to a strange child's first 30 seconds of "lost" status and c) the life and times of the multi-racial family.

Some parents I know silently condemn me for being too soft on her. If only I were more strict and firm she would understand that our situation is unique and she must understand that now. She must be aware of predators and harmful vehicles popping out in front of stores. Stay with your parent at all times, no running off!

Yes, I am pretty strict on the running in front of cars issue. No walking without me when we are near the street. But, I just can't squelch that sense of wonder that makes her jump up at the end of a play and exit the theater row long before I gather the coats. She is off to try to meet the actress in the lobby. She is off to gather fairy dust at the kiddie cosmetique at the mall. She is dashing to find hair barrettes while pillow shopping. It is always something for the wanderer.

And there I am. Fourty paces behind, gathering data...hoping she remembers to look back.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Word From The Ranch

February 15, 2006

Super Wonderful Adoption Agency
Who thought they'd check in and send a silly little letter since it will be
9 months tomorrow and there is no end to this adoption in sight.

Dear Main Muffin Man & The Lovely, Young, Super Hot, Amazingly Skinny Mother of the Year Perrin:

The trip to China will be a once in a lifetime experience. Second, in our case but who is counting? You are going to pick up your child! That is what we've been hearing for 6 months now, no 8 months, no 9 months and STILL counting. What a wonderful experience! Let's hope so.

But, please also be aware that it will be a very exhausting trip, both physically and emotionally.
Really, who would have guessed? It will make your trip so much more enjoyable if you are well prepared. Check, I got my ladybug Gymboree outfits in size 12-18 months in the mail today infact. I'm all ready to go. If you have any health concerns go talk to your doctor now. If you are not exercising, you may consider starting now. Does multitasking to eat brownie cupcakes while sitting on my ass for umpteen hours reading adoption blogs and yahoo board rumors count as exercise? Really, there can be quite a bit of heavy lifting in brownie consumption since my daughter tossed in that extra egg in the current batch. Remember, there will be a lot of walking and during much of the time you will also be carrying your child and your luggage. Wait, you mean to tell me we can't take Jeeves our house butler to schlep all our stuff?

If you haven’t been reading books about the culture and travel in China, and talking to adoptive families who have traveled, it is a good idea to start doing this, too. Right on sista...find someone out there who we might have a connection with to stay sane. I'll get on that ASAP....Yup.

If you are first time parent(s), taking a parenting class would be highly recommended if you haven’t already done so. Parenting class? Hmmm. Let's be honest we missed that boat in 2002. Please check with your doctor or local hospital to find information on such classes.
It will be a big moment for you to meet with your child the first time. Ok like, big big or more like HUGE big..or perhaps like stoked man, big? It will also be a big moment for your child. Think about the big adjustment both you and child will go through. Gosh, again with the big talk. You are killing me here. Please also take time to educate yourselves on the issues associated with this transition. I am sorry but Deb Gray's Attaching In Adoption gives me nightmares every time I try to read it. Then I break out in hives. Maybe I should start a book club. Talk to your social worker, listen/read other families’ stories and read articles/books regarding bonding, attachment, and separation losses. Hold on there sparky, in the paragraph above I was supposed to be exercising, not sitting on my tushy reading endless drivel.

Remember, the better you as the parents are prepared, the easier the transition will be for your child. Oh, good parent makes good kid...that is explaining a lot for us now three years later. I can not stress enough on the importance of getting prepared for this big trip. It will make the transition easier for you and your child, and make the trip more enjoyable! Yup, got the stress part down, no problemo!

Please also remember to monitor the expiration date for your I-171H Approval and your CIS fingerprint clearances. If your I-171H Approval or CIS fingerprint clearances are anywhere near close to expiring I would recommend you consider re-doing them. Uh huh, so file yet another form for $140 to re-do what I spent $5000 and 4 months doing less than 1 year ago. Seems reasonable to Muffin Man and me. You can always touch base with me if you are uncertain. Let me know if you need anything. Big wet kiss for you too, schnoodle.


Your well intentioned adoption agency.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love Kicks

These are LOVE kicks. St. Valentine would have hopped right on over to pick up a pair, had Target been around in those days I am sure of it.

What are the LOVE kicks attached to?

Funny you ask.

The most adorable little Valentine!

Now who wouldn't want to give this kid a cupcake at preschool? With a cutie pie grin like that she'll probably score extra sprinkes.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Curious about George

We were curious about George. So much so that we went to see him at the theater this afternoon. After scarfing down a large popcorn, slurping excessive amounts of diet coke and rescuing Ava about 20 times from the dreaded folding chair that kept trying to swallow her little legs...we both left competely satisfied.

I had to laugh, yes out loud, at the part where Ted follows George to the Zoo entrance. He can't see George but thinks to himself, oh no we are in for trouble this time. Then he stops himself and rationalizes, hey, George is a monkey and this is the zoo, there must be lots of monkeys here. How much trouble could there possibly be?

Then a lady screams in the background. Ted immediately moves into action and thinks Oh, that's where George is.

I know how you feel Ted. Your prodigy is out of sight for one second and headed for antics filled with trouble. Just when you think you are overeacting...dum dum dum...someone screams and your little one is at the top of the heap!

Kudos to George for reminding us that it is the adventure that matters when you are working with little monkeys.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Visit To Preschool for CNY

Today was Chinese New Year Day at preschool. Everyone was right when they told me to chill a bit on worrying too much about not be authentic enough since well, what the heck do I really know about Chinese culture?

As it turns out I know a heck of a lot more than the average 4 year old at preschool. Here is how it all went down.

Lots of shhhhh pleeease. Lots of lights being turned on and off to gather the attention of people in the four year old age range. Lots of me remembering to nominate preschool teachers for canonization, does anyone have the Pope's cell number?

I shared my perfect pronounciation of Ni Hao, since if you remember I did sit through a 2 hour session on just the perfect way to say it in order to sound like I am from Beijing in a recent Chinese class. Mostly, I got the "Whatever" look from 14 four year olds. Ok, moving on.

The book. Mostly everyone wiggled and giggled. My darling one set a perfect example by ignoring her teacher and insisted on wanting to sit on my lap. Which couldn't be accomodated since I was reading the book. Alyssa did entertain me by popping pink fuzz balls into Andrew's hair without him even noticing for 5 whole minutes, and the kid sports a crew cut!

The chop sticks relay game...not a race, due to liability issues. Can't have any little darling poking an eye out while racing to get the cotton ball in the bowl first. Overall, a high point.

Eating the lotus puff snack. Mostly nibbled not truly eaten. Ava scarfed down two, that's my girl. Those lotus puffs ROCK! Samantha got a little snippy and tossed hers into the trash before taking one bite. Then asked me for another one. Sorry, Samantha...poor starving children in China and all...just c-a-n-'t d-o i-t. Better luck with the craft activity, Sam.

Cut out a lantern craft. Let's just say no one got a new hair cut and I am pretty satisfied with that.

Chinese music activity. Lots of swaying and mouth synching. Little Milli Vanilli's. Call New York for the record deal.

And finally, the Fu upside down good luck coloring page. Color red, inside the lines. Lots of red...not so much inside the lines. At this point, I'm opting for the Montessori philosophy perhaps they just did not need to see red crayon lines INSIDE the lines. Who really cares?

And finally, the Chinese zodiac take home coloring book. A rousing discussion of year you were born and corresponding animal. We figured out that Noah's dog, Louis, is not a year of the dog but rather a monkey. This was apparently a little confusing, but once the hong bao was distributed the indepth discussion about how a dog could be a monkey was promptly dropped.

How do you say naptime in Mandarin?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Lazy Mommy and Toys for Lunch

Today as quite possibly the laziest mommy in the world I opted for the drive through at lunch. It is a nasty secret habit that I cannot believe I am publically admitting. Yes, we did it even after I read the 5 part story on childhood obesity and diseases in the paper last week. It was a drive thru we don't frequent. So, I sort of messed up the order and we ended up with a covered platter of chicken and mashed potatoes and cole slaw. I did not even know you could still get stuff like that in a drive thru situation.

How is a four year old supposed to eat cole slaw in a car seat? Did I mention that we got no utensils either? Of course we were already on the busy road and couldn't go through the line again.

Ava raised one eyebrow at me and said, "You know, at Old MacDonald's they give kids like me toys in their lunch."

Sorry kid, you are not in Kansas anymore. Eat the mashed potato flakes with a finger.

I will of course be accepting nominations for Mother Of The Year in March.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

An Orphanage Visit

I'm waking up at 4a.m. or thereabouts now several nights a week. I won't blame it on my notorious night waker, no she's been sleeping like a champ after the "tv is conditional upon staying in your bed all night" new house rule.

Perhaps my nightwaking is all part of my new "let's get this adoption show on the road" attitude. It is different than my "we are going to have another child someday but it is so far out there I'll postpone the official wig out", and it is different than the "it's coming up soon and thus I must purchase cute baby clothes", and it is certainly nothing like the "yeah I'm cool, it will all happen when it is supposed to, so why bother rushing to paint the bathroom".

Yup, it's a new one. Let's just get this show on the road is the only way I can describe my mental state these days. Momma is tired...of waiting....of anticipating...of explaining to well meaning friends and neighbors...of not being able to pick a name for sure.

Perhaps this is why I keep seeing her standing in a crib at the orphanage looking at me in my dreams at 4 a.m. Sometimes she even waves and motions to me not to worry, she's fine. The weird thing is that the orphanage doesn't look like the one we saw on our last trip. It is a shorter building without as many floors. It is open and clean without color on the walls.

On our trip in 2002 we were able to tour an orphanage that we were told was a primo showcase orphanage in Hunan. All of the familes loaded the babies up into the rock star bus and we headed down skinny streets of Changsha until we came to a building that looked similar to the others in the neighborhood. It was 9 stories tall with laundry hanging from thin balconies. Windows were propped open for ventilation. The rock star bus pulled up in the back alley looking very out of place. American adopters filed off one by one holding little Chinese babies in expensive slings on their chests.

Our guide explained that this orphanage was very nice and great pride is taken its care and maintenance. Any emotion that might be felt during the tour should be kept silent. We should understand that we are priviledged to take this tour and should act accordingly. Stiff upper lip, got it.

We filed into a sparse courtyard and rounded a corner to a large stainless steel elevator that reminded me of the elevator at the hospital Brian and were lucky enough to have visited a few days prior. We take the elevator in groups of 5-7. I can tell our guide thinks this is ridiculous since she is always telling us to squeeze together in tight spots, as most Chinese do. But, we are now tired travelers who have been awakened by scared babies with new surroundings at all hours of the night. We are as a group losing tolerance for the small inconveniences like cattlehearding in elevators. But chipper and smiley on the outside.

The doors creak open and the elevator jumps a bit. My daughter is strapped to my husband's chest resting comfortably. She has a Western nuk-nuk popped in her mouth. She reminds me of the baby on the Simpson's as she sucks hard and it moves in and out. The one floor we are permitted to see is dark as we unload off the elevator. We shift around a corner and see a medium sized room that has a television. A few toddlers play at our feet. An official looking woman in a business suit takes over the tour. Her English is thickly peppered with Hunan dialect making it hard for me to understand what she is saying. The air is stagnant despite the open windows and I start to feel lightheaded. Parents stand and nod as the official lady talks on and on. At this point I must sway and move my feet a little bit to breathe air. I take a few steps back from the group. Suddenly the group starts to shift away from television room and down a sunnier looking hallway. I hang back a bit to get my bearings. I know I am not allowed to show any emotion but it starts to settle in that 4 days ago my daughter was one of these children I see before me. The enormity of how our lives have changed in the last precious hours fills my eyes despite my concious effort to quell any visable signs of emotion. I do not want to offend my guides or the ladies in white coats who obviously take their jobs seriously.

To take a minute to compose myself I step backwards. My shoulder accidently pushes a swinging door open. I step inside the room alone. The room is filled with tiny babies in large hospital beds. Not one of these infants can be over 4 months old. Some have IVs inserted into their foreheads. Some have rags stuck into their little mouths. I am stunned. I know immediately that this room is not on the official tour. I know that I should immediately walk out and find my group, but I can't. My legs are lead as I fixate on the rags in the babies mouths. My first reaction is to pull the rags out fearing one might choke. But I am too scared to reach out to a child I have no right to touch.

I am scolded by a fast talking nanny who enters the room. She tells me in broken English that these babies are new to the ward and I am not permitted in here. She tells me I might contaminate them. She motions for me to leave immediately. I quickly get the lead out of my legs and walk in a daze to the sunny playroom where the group is congregating. The lady in the business suit is commenting on the new wood laminate floor we are standing on. She seems very proud, and Brian jokes that it is nicer than our kitchen floor at home. This room is nicer than all the rest. It has lots of brightly colored toys lining the walls. The tightness in my chest eases a bit as we see one final room with babies in cribs and nannies playing with children 4 at a time. Babies and nannies are smiling. I still have the feeling that I must hold my breath to keep myself from spinning out of emotional control. I take my fingernail and press it into the side of my leg to keep present.

We exit to the elevator and this time I maneuver to be one of the first. The mood in that elevator is remarkably changed, quiet. No one makes eye contact and everyone heads directly to the rock star bus.

As I step on the bus I know that I will never be the same. I look up and see those rags hanging to dry from the slim balconies from the window on the bus. I fight back a tear and focus on my baby instead. She will need a bottle soon and I'm in charge of that. That's something I can fix.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Weekend Was A Blur And I Have The Photos To Prove It

We have successfully milked Chinese New Year for all it is worth. This weekend marked our second weekend of festivities. The big FCC event took place at the Children's Museum without a hitch. Nothing like throwing a party for your 400 'closest friends' for an extra little bit of fun and frolic. This picture sort of sums up the evening for me. A blur.

Now I would love to be able to tell you that I have used my photo editing software to blur the faces of the children attending the event's large photoshoot. In the interest of protecting their little souls from all the weirdos out there in the world of course. But, no. Most of my photos from the event are blurry because I have yet to take the time to learn how to use my fancy new camera!

Here we are looking at....

Roll down a bit.

In my defense with the camera situation, Muffin Man hasn't figured the fancy gadget out either. See Ava, she is pretty blurry too. The ironic thing is we upgraded cameras to help out with this situation. Now the damn thing is so fancy and apparently temperamental that I am going to have to obtain a master's degree in something to operate it without blurring every picture.

Oooh, Gong Fu Fan dancing. We were looking at Gong Fu Fan. Very graceful. Amazing. I hope my girls will someday dance like this. I hope grace and timing is genetic, it is a last hold out wish that they will inherit the talent for such aesthetic arts.

Here is the big lion. Great crowd pleaser. At one point he tried to swallow Ava's head. She thought that was hilarious. The little girl beside her was mortified. Screaming ensued.
A good time was had by all.
It is now my year of the dog resolution to figure out how to master the camera so that our pictures of China in a few months are well umm..less blurry.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Kid Who Looks Like Me

I volunteered at preschool this week. Got competely suckered into teaching 100 kids how to bunny hop on all fours. In groups of 4 or 5 no less, so repeated bunny hopping demonstrations were needed. I may have a sore bunny butt tomorrow.

As always, the highlights or lowdown in the trenches moments comes when speaking with the other parents in this little subculture of stay at home mom'ville. There were three of us mommys there to volunteer our prowess at bunny hopping and bowling in the basement recreation room. One of the mothers has three children under the age of 3 1/2. And she is volunteering to teach ladder climbing to other people's 3 year olds? Whew, super saint or super martyr. Vote is still out. The other mom, well just nice. Didn't have too much time to size her up since they had me bunny hopping so quickly.

Super saint's child came bounding down the staircase leaping into her arms. She gives him a big hug and then starts laughing. "He is the shrunken dryer version of my husband, looks nothing like me.", she says. I am not sure why she thought to comment on that...but whatever my thighs were starting to burn and I needed a coffee refresher. Plain nice mom says, "Yeah, people always comment on how my little Quinn looks like me." (And he did too.) Of course, I am still keeping mum at this point. Then, what the hell...I say, "Oh, it just doesn't matter what the kids look like right?" Hoping to tactfully direct the topic of conversation back to bunny hopping and bowling. ( I wanted to casually hint that we alternate stations, being the newbie I quickly got the short straw...bunny hopping. If I played my cards right perhaps I could maneuver my way into the bowling station.)

Then plain nice mom looks me in the eye and says, "Oh yes, but your child really does look like you. I see you walking her to school all the time and I have often thought how much you look alike."

Ok, that's a new one for me. Do we look alike in the same way that couples who have been married for eons look alike? Do we look alike the way some dogs look like their owners? Or perhaps the way teenage friends who walk the malls look alike?

She said it with a straight face and seemed quite I guess I will have to take it at face value. pun intended.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

CNY At The Preschool In The 'Burbs

It's Chinese New Year Time. And, admittedly this year beyond other years it is a bigger deal in our house. This is probably in part due to the influence from the Chinese Language School we attend on Sundays. Ava has been presented with Hong Bao by a respected Chinese friend. We are learning Gong Xi Gong Xi and Xin Nin Hao songs. We attended the big Chinese Community Center event this weekend. We have plans to go to the FCC event this weekend. We have had a decent amount of CNY traffic here in our little corner of the 'burbs so far. Oh, but in the interest of full disclosure, I have cleaned nothing. Although, I made a valiant attempt to catch up on laundry yesterday. May the kitchen gods and laundry angels be with this adoptive mom.

So, naturally when the other adoptive mom in Ava's preschool classroom asked me if I wanted to join in a CNY presentation for the kids I hopped on the wagon. Perfect, we could share some of Ava's and LBF's heritage with her classmates, eat a lotus puff and still be off to Starbucks before preschool let out for the day. Super. I can taste my vanilla latte already.

Or is this a good idea? I've been downloading CNY preschool ideas from like a mad woman. Honestly, downloading craft projects from nick jr. for the most esteemed Chinese holiday seems, well...weird at best. I have picked out the perfect book. I have music from Chinese School. I have Hong Bao for the children. LBF's mom is getting the chocolate money.

So all this is fine and dandy. But this year I am having second thoughts. Is this the best way to handle educating white suburban preschoolers about Chinese New Year? Am I the right person to be presenting the information? I never celebrated CNY as a kid. What do I know?

I suppose all of this sort of came to the surface for me when I was speaking with LBF's mom. She will be co-facilitating. She had some wonderful fun ideas for the kids. But I am not convinced that they are really part of CNY. For example, hong bao. Traditionally, the red envelopes are presented by adult family members to children in the family. LBF's mom thought it would be fun to hide the envelopes around the room and then have the kids find the lucky money. Well, that sounds like an American Easter Egg hunt. Not Chinese New Year. I said "no can do" and explained my reasoning. Then the idea of a parade came up. Hum...well yes I think I remember something about a parade at CNY time but I don't know the details. Yes, friends of our just went to see the CNY parade in Chicago this past weekend.

STOP. This is where I am just not sure I should be the one presenting someone else's culture and heritage. Perhaps I am completely overthinking the situation. The kids are 4 after all. And, isn't some acknowledgment of Chinese New Year and it's rich history better than the normal dinosaur coloring book page that they would have been working on? Isn't there some possibility that the kids families will see the cool zodiac book I am sending home? Wouldn't it be great if it fostered conversation about China? Am I completely naive? Don't answer that.

So, I guess in the end I am not ready to call the whole thing off. I am just sort of having weird feelings assuming that two shockingly white moms could present the facts, ambiance, feelings and whole picture centered around Chinese New Year. I think that I will do my best this year. Then perhaps I will invite someone from the Chinese Community Center next year.

I gotta say, this is one of those toss ups. When we wanted a baby, we just wanted a baby. We couldn't have cared less if she had come to us with purple spots and green hair. I did not fully come to grips with the how to handle some of the other issues like trying to respect her grandfather's purple spots and green hair. Again, naive I know.


Admitedly, this post will be of no interest to anyone but me. Since I am the author, owner, proprietor and key-(wo)man of this blog...what the heck?

My just turned 4 year old sat down in her room during quiet time. (Yes, I would really love to be calling it nap time. But since she has put her foot down and her lungs up regarding the nap situation it is now to be forever known as quiet time each afternoon.) It was dangerously quiet. By dangerously I mean that usually when I don't hear from her in a while it turns out that the kitchen chairs have been glued together, all of our lotion bottles have been skillfully mixed so the smells are "prettier", a pig tail has been carefully eliminated from her head or every single stitch of clothing in her closet has been re-arranged and re-hung according to her crafty plan, just to name a few of my favorites.

But today I barged in to her room and presto. A 100 piece puzzle was put together. Perfectly I might add. It was a strange and true and altogether new phenomenon for us. Kid has a toy. Kid actually chooses to quietly play with toy. Kid does not whine about being in a room alone with about 1000 toys, poor deprived lost soul.

I'm pretty damned proud of the little gal. 100 piece puzzle, hmmm I'm not altogether sure I could have pulled that one off.