Thursday, March 29, 2007

Meat Schmeat

The wee Olivia must be secretly up at 3am reading A Green Pharmacy and perusing this web site. She is a card carrying convert. I expect to be shopping for mini birkenstock's, batik tee shirts and finding ways to manage bohemian Asian dread locks. (Assuming her hair ever reaches even the tips of her ears.)

She simply will not touch one little iota of meat. Which in itself does not cause me huge psychological issues with but gees, at 16 1/2 months? She can sniff out chicken at about 6 paces. She rolls her eyes at any tiny piece of beef, ground or otherwise. Pork, uh no no way no how. She can dissect any casserole with a meat product faster than Ava can snarf down a fudgsicle. She holds a delicate pinky up and makes careful mini piles of meat that will be tossed onto the floor if not removed in a satisfactory amount of time, by me. (How nice of her to give me the courtesy 3 minutes to move it over to the high chair and remove offensive carne before the flinging starts.) I've even resorted to offering a chicken nugget, she flung it at the window quickly. Her sister has sweet dreams which include salami, which is only offered here in low doses for obvious reasons. Liv thinks salami should only be used to deep condition her hair. Aside from offensive the smell she might have a million dollar idea as it does provide a nice shine.

A friend offered that nuts could be used to supplement the diet when protein might be an issue. Yes, I answered but you usually have to have more than 8 teeth to safely consume nuts. She conceded that I might in fact have a point there.

Since carbo girl is showing no signs of scurvy or rickets and is standing in her corner at a whopping 32 1/2" and 23 lbs. and is burning through baby clothes as she sizes up about every six weeks I suppose I should not worry. Let her eat the peas with a side of wheat bread and cheerios, at every meal right?

But if she starts picking sticks and berries out of the backyard I'm calling Dr. Atkins.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Gone To The Park

We played at the park for hours. Then Mommy got tired and brought us home.

Then we put our jammies on and played some more.

Then everyone finally pooped out and went to bed. Including Mommy.

A day in the life.....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Is 5 too young for menopause?

I'm living with Stormin' Norman here on the cul-de-sac. Over the last few weeks I've been wondering why no one has remembered to tell me that children at age 5 are the epitome of 2 all over again. Cute and funny one minute and temper tantrum's evil spawn the very next.
If I didn't know better I'd swear someone is slipping her hormone replacement tablets. But there are no signs of hot flashes so I guess that's out.

I've explored the idea that perhaps this strange and sometimes sub-human behavior might in fact be delayed sibling issues. Heck it could be delayed, "I couldn't stay out with my friends until 10:00pm trolling the neighborhood like I wanted" issues too so who knows for sure. Has the newness of baby who is now clearly toddler Olivia worn off now that she she showing signs of having thoughts of her own? As in, "Sissy, get the hell off my ear that hurts?" And this just isn't as endearing as "Oh, steal my ice cream, yeah that's funny too." Therefore I will scream my head off 1 hour before bed time to get your attention you idiot adult.

Or perhaps this could be captured in the fact that she only goes to preschool 12 hours a week and honestly needs to be in preschool about 72 hours a week to burn off all the mental and physical energy she has. How many more days until Kindergarten? Really, I want to know.
If this doesn't get any better I might have to strap her little legs to the treadmill and have her put in a few miles before lunch.

Clearly, 2 1/2 plus 2 1/2 = 5. And that my friends must be the mathematical definitive answer as to why Dr. Jekyl and Lil' Miss Hyde has moved into the purple bedroom.

Just as I was beginning to contemplate priestly intervention I witnessed an awesome tantrum thrown by not my little darling, nope the proud owner of this whopper was tossed out into the crowd by our 5 year old neighbor. Ava had to come home since it was so bad at his house. I certainly felt their pain as his mother had to walk the path of shame ending a playdate early. Oh, my dear, if you only knew how many times I traveled that road. But I was secretly resting easy in that space called misery loves company. Maybe someone has put him on HRT too.

I will love you no matter what. You can't do anything that will make me stop loving you. I love you unconditionally. Lather, rinse repeat three times.

Then have a nice glass of chardonnay.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Get Your Craft On

This little bag is my recycle project for this month's Get Your Craft On. All the the material and trim were originally used in making playroom curtains. The little button was originally purchased many years ago when I thought that I would make myself a sundress. Ha. That sundress got the better of me, I cried UNCLE and it ended up in the trash about 7 years ago.
Let's just say it kicked my ass.

Ahhh, but for the sweet smell of revenge. A recycled button on playroom curtain material made into a little handbag.

Now what will I ever do with it?

I suppose I might wait until one of my girls grows up and graduates from Princess material purses.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Girls Who Went Away

Have you ever read a book that you thought "Wow, this may haunt me for the rest of my life?"

It is an eery feeling. I heard this author on NPR several months ago. I was driving around in traffic on my way to meet another adoptive mother who was going to be a travel mate on our trip to China this past August/September. I was stunned at hearing these stories of birthmothers who had relinquished their children between the post WWII years and before Roe v. Wade. She was truly captivating as she talked about her experience as an adoptee and all of the interviews she had conducted with birthmothers here in the US.

I thought, "Oh yeah, I must read this someday. Huh, isn't it weird that I am in the car getting ready to meet A who is also an adoptive mother and we leave to adopt our girls in a matter of days?" (A and her husband traveled to China with us every step of the way to adopt their twins.)

Well, of course life happens and I got a wee bit busy this fall and completely forgot about the book. Then, I was perusing other blogs this week and stumbled on a recommendation for the the book.

I haven't even finished it and it is painful what these women went through. Some were hardly women they were girls. Society put so much pressure on them to be certain way, and many had absolutely no choice at all, they gave up children under complete distress. Over and over they tell the story of one baby, one choice, and they could never forget what happened no matter how many people told them to move one, just forget about it.

I suppose we all know someone who "got into trouble" as a teenager. Or our sisters or mothers knew someone. This book focuses on women in the 1950's and 1960's. But I started high school in 1983 and I knew a girl who went away.

She was kind and cute. She was smart too. She was popular but not in a "slutty" way. She was 15. She was dating a senior football player. Her parents were Catholic. Her name was Dee.

Dee disappeared in November of our freshman year. She told me one day her parents would not let her stay at school and she was going to a school a 1/2 hour away. I naively asked her why. She replied that she just had to go away but she would be back next year. Sure enough she appeared back in school 5 months later. Rumors ran rampant...home for illegitimate babies was where Dee went and the nuns took her baby. I just couldn't believe that could happen to Dee. The football player went on to become "most popular". He took a very pretty blond girl to the prom while Dee was "away".

Without even knowing that Dee was truly "in trouble", since I just heard the rumors, I had a dream she had a baby boy a week or so before she appeared in school again. I wanted to ask her about it but no one said a word to her about it. Ever. In 4 years of high school. I traveled with Dee our senior year to Scranton, PA to check out Scranton University. It was the first time Dee was allowed away from home since her freshman year. On the car ride listening to the Police she said, "I had a baby." I said, "I know."
That was it, I didn't know what else to say. She did not go into the full story but she told me that she was thankful for our friendship because lots of people would not talk to her when she came back. It thought this was weird since we weren't even that close.

So, here I am all these years later. On the other side of the fence profiting from some woman's shame or poverty or government ruling, parental pressure or perhaps her choice. I don't know.
But I do know this book is a must read if you are an adoptive parent, no matter how much it makes you feel like crawling out of your skin.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bunny Buffet

Far be it form me to complain or be high maintenance in any way when it comes to life around here but I simply cannot let this issue go. The more I think about it legal representation might be warranted. I've been slighted and someone is taking advantage of the fact that at my deepest core I am an embarassingly non-confrontational type of gal.

It's Bunny Buffet time around here at Twoladybugs again. Remember what happened last year?
(Arrow down to the 3rd or 4th paragraph past Ava staring out the back yard.) Yeah, I somehow drew the short stick and got assigned making the 2 dozen deviled eggs for 4 year olds. Yes, I said deviled eggs for 4 year olds. Deviled eggs, you know the kind that require real cooking? You boil eggs, which in itself I could probably handle. Then, and here comes the hard part, you have to delicately cut each egg in half and scoop out the middle. You then mix the middles otherwise known as yolks in some parts of the country with some mayo and pickles and whatever else you have laying around that you feel might impress and then you have to scoop the mixed stuff back into the cut eggs. Add a smattering of paprika for wow factor. This is so time consuming and quite frankly idiotic that you can even buy special plates to display your creation. (We have no such fancy plate.)

At the end of last year when I turned in my 2 dozen deviled eggs I called dibs on bringing peeps for Bunny Buffet 2007. Really, I did... read it.

However, look at this year's bunny buffet assignment.


Are they kidding me? I assure you they don't really joke around that much it is strict business at the preschool bunny buffet. I'm screwed.

So, you might think me whiny and petty and lazy. I am ok with this, I've been called worse. However, please take a quick gander at the other assignments. Number 1. on the list....1lb. bag of baby carrots. Number 2. on the list...4 ribs of celery washed and cut into sticks.
Who's zoomin' who here folks? Some other preschool parent get to dig 4 lousy celery sticks out of the dirty recesses of their crisper box while I in turn must spend 2 hours making deviled eggs for 5 year olds?

Look at Number 10. 3 ripened bananas and 3 ripened kiwis. Here is where my sense of humor must kick back in so no one looses a limb. Who is going to send a green banana and who knows what color kiwi to the bunny buffet? Wouldn't it be implied that fruit should probably be ready for human consumption? By the way I'm going to do a little investigation to see who drew the kiwi card and ask them if they even know how to tell a kiwi is in fact ripened. Because if they know this off the top of their head perhaps they would be better suited for making 2 DOZEN DEVILED EGGS.

There is probably a special place in heaven for ex-professionals who now change diapers, volunteer at preschool, and make deviled eggs? Yes?

I scream the proverbial UNCLE....go ahead send me your best recipe ideas for deviled eggs for 5 year olds. May 2008 bring me the ripened kiwi card.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Yangxi; A Former Life

Anyone who has adopted a child knows that child had a former life. They don't hatch out of eggs. They've had real experiences, real losses and hopefully meaningful positive moments as well. But for some it is gone in a flash, too young to cognitively remember the former life. Family members struggle to grasp the almost before time with a forever family.

So, it is an inexplicable gift when the elusive become tangible represented by a photo and or a story.

There were lots of little kids in the baby room at Yangxi, Guangdong SWI on July 30, 2006. It looks like a full house. A family from America was permitted a visit a few days after adopting their daughter from the same institution. The families visiting that day toured the countryside and county region of Yangxi. When they were admitted to the orphanage they snapped as many photos as the director would allow. They probably hoped they could see where their child slept, which crib was theirs? They were probably fascinated with the ayis working there. How do they feed 47 babies and then change them all? How do they keep this place so clean? Will I ever truly ever understand how these gorgeous children got into this room in the first place? I wasn't there that day but I know it must have been emotionally draining to see the sites with Western eyes.

And then... it occurred to one mother, what about the babies not in our group's arms formally adopted a few days ago? There are so many still left in these cribs. What will become of them? I wonder if I will ever get to know what will happen to any of these children?

And this is where the internet comes in.

Through the miracle of bloggyland I received a cd containing this picture this week from a family who traveled to Yangxi SWI exactly 30 days before we traveled to the Civil Affairs Bureau in Guangzhou to meet Olivia Xi GeGe. Their kindness humbles me. They copied their orphanage pictures and low and behold Olivia is one of the children photographed. I'd know those huge soft brown eyes anywhere. She still tucks her blanket under her chin and pops her beloved thumb in her mouth the exact same way. Not only do we have the close up photo but we were also given photos of the room and orphanage. We were given photos of the town. Some were more detailed and tell more of the story than we previously had access to. Pictures of people in the town seem to give that lush green landscape of far Southern China life.

So, the family who traveled to Yangxi in July and found the Twoladybugs blog would not accept money for their trouble or even postage to send us the cd. That's the way most folks are in the Chinese adoption community. So, what's a gal to do?

That is when I looked over and saw these sitting in the corner. I didn't know it at the time but obviously they were made several weeks ago for Mrs. S and her wee ones. The perfect matched set as a heartfelt thanks for a kind deed done.

I'm glad I got the pictures to put in Liv's memory box. But I'm also glad Mrs. S got some information about where the little girl with the huge inquisitive eyes wrapped in the peach blanket went after she left the metal crib and large white room.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mr. Wilson

Those of you who have been known to frequent the cul-de-sac and the twoladybugs know that we sort of had to "help our dear pooch find her way to doggie heaven" two weeks ago. It was tragic, in an everyday and almost everyone has to do it sort of way. I am shall we say...completely recovered. I am remiss to admit this in public but one less little being in the world who needs my attention right NOW has been fairly refreshing. There I said it. I'm ok with being evil. I find it interesting. I'm not the most patient human and doggie mama in the world. Six months after bringing home the cutiest of almost all cutiest kids in the world has put me in the position of fantisizing about a part time job at the book store up the street. I attended a funeral calling last Friday night and can I honestly tell you, it was ok since I got to go alone? I think all mother's sort of get to this space I'm in eventually so I'm not freaking out or anything....but I could use a about 24 hours all to myself since my head might spin off if I have empty the dishwasher again today while managing a 5 year old melt down and tackle blowout poop which includes full changes of clothes for her AND me. Do I sound like a woman who needs a puppy to take care of while her man is off on weekly business trips? Can I add that we have no family in town for all intents and purposes when he is off selling widgets and eating at McCormicks and Schmidts I am a single parent...eating chicken nuggets.

Spring will be good for me, that goes without saying.

Back to Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson is ironically the new dog who lives behind us. He barks incessantly and wakes me up almost every morning. It has helped the adjustment here at the twoladybug house, "well at least we don't have that barking here in OUR house, I tell myelf as I listen to Ava melt down over her perception of lack of Noggin time on the tv."

Last night the Muffin Man met Mr. Wilson. Apparently Mr. Wilson is a 10 month old designer mixed breed Golden Doodle. Mr. Wilson's owner, Mr. W brought him over to meet and greet. The Muffin Man is smitten, that's all I will say. With Mr. Wilson, not Mr. W. The Muffin Man wants a Mr. Wilson in a big way. "His coat was like silk, He sits on command, He shakes your is the cutest thing you've ever seen. You have to meet Mr. Wilson tomorrow."

"Ugh, huh?" I say pessimistically. "But what about that barking?" He says, "They are working on that." "Ugh, huh." I say. I casually work into the conversation that vet bills are astronomical these days. And muddy paws make both the Muffin Man and I skiddish. I tell him I listened to the Diane Ream show two weeks ago where the Westminster people totally dis' the designer puppy trade. Granted, the AKC people always seemed a bit like Thurston Howell The Third to me but whatever. He's not buying it, he has puppyitis. I offered a consolation prize, a fish. "A goldfish? You've got to be kidding." he says.

During the whole converstion I start to hear quiet chanting in the background. Of course it is Ava making up some chimy rhyme about how she likes Daddy's ideas and Mommy is a total scrooge or poopy head or something. I remind her that I hate the word poopy head. She stops in her tracks and yells that "We don't use the word hate in this house." This is a result of the over use of the word hate on her part earlier this week. "Fine", I say. "Please don't say poopy head, it is not endearing me to Mr. Wilson or the likelyhood of a canine neighborhood playmate that lives at our house." She scowls at me.

The Muffin Man at this point suggests that we just go look at some dogs. Not to buy or anything, just to look. Yeah, right I ride to the grocery store on a turnip truck buddy. Let's take our 5 year old out to "just look" at puppies. This is the man who also wants to "visit" the Harley Davidson dealership on a monthly basis as a family as well. Ava knows the difference between a Fat Boy and a Soft Tail at 30 paces. She also knows the unridden dirt bike sitting in our garage is no pimp'd ride.

Anyone want to give me the number of a $16,000 dollar puppy? That is the only one we are "considering".

Are you expecting this little tale to end with a darling picture of us, the family of 4 on the cul-de-sac snuggled up with our new puppy? Sorry, ain't happen'in.

In the end I told my family to zip it up about any further pooch talk. I said it in the nicest way possible, really I did. I offered to call Mr. Wilson for a playdate. How's that for sunshine and roses, snips and snails and puppy dog tails?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Fun Pics of the Liv'ster

First, let me say a quick thank you for the well wishes of the dearly departed pooch. She would have absolutely loved that I spent a few hours crying my little eyes out while cleaning up buried dog bones from the recesses of expensive leather chairs and pee stained carpeting and reading a few comments from her unknown but well intentioned dog posse out there in internet land.

Danka and Xie Xie.

Now, onto cutie pie pics that I took this morning after Liv found a pile of Ava's old hair paraphanelia in a corner that we were supposed to be cleaning. Remember? Dog bones and pee stained carpeting?

I wish someone would have told me back in early 2002 that little girls come with a silent contract saying that when you feed them yoghurt and hotdogs thousands of hair barettes , pony tail thingies, and clippies in every pastel color known to the rainbow will also mysteriously appear in your house. Then after 4 years they start to multiply on their own, sort of like hamsters and find their way to the corners of your house. It can be a problem if the family does not bond together and do a shamanistic cleansing at least annually.

Well, it's been 4 years of little girl hair. No one has done any cleansing. And here is the result.

Oh yeah, that thing is lavender. I think I bought it when Ava was 2 to match an Easter ensemble to visit the in-laws. Perhaps I bought all this crap because I was sleep deprived during Ava's baby and toddler-hood.

"Hmmm...Mommy, you told me you would always love me and never do anything to make me look like a chicken when you met me. Are you keeping your promise?"

Ok, fine. I like lavender just as much as the next gal.

That's it. I'm done, be gone with you. Turn on my music and let me take my nap. And take that 2 bit piece of lavender slip material with you.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Bye -Bye Bailey

It's been a bit like living in the twighlight zone here this week. Everything is real and tangible here in the house but I keep looking around for her.

This is a picture of Bailey. She was the present that the Muffin Man and I gave each other for our very 1st wedding anniversary almost 16 years ago. I wanted a dog in a big way and pretty much badgered him into driving down South about 45 miles to a kennel that was a bit like visiting Deliverance. A man with no teeth in a double wide trailer brought 6 of the cutest puppies you've ever seen into his living room. We sat on the floor and played with them all for a few minutes. I had my heart set on a black and white puppy that was Bailey's sister. But the Muffin Man would not hear of it and he had to have the brown and white Bailey. We brought her home at 5 weeks old and she fit neatly in the palm of my hand.

She was the most rambunctious in the litter, she was forever HIS dog. And we paid dearly for many years to come trying to tame that most willful and rambunctious pup. She failed out of puppy obedience school, she obtained a "note" in her file saying she wouldn't be invited back to stay at a local boarding kennel here in town. She ruined countless yards of carpeting. She peed on my mother's antique persian rugs. She barked obnoxiously for 12 years straight. She bit me when I brought Ava home from China. She pooped on my pillow once. She and I had an interesting relationship as she loved and doted on the Muffin Man and turned her nose at me. But like any semi-disfunctional family relationship I still loved the little gal. She had spunk. She lived life her own way and took a cat's philosophy of "I'm the queen...I'll let you know when I need you." I am canine...hear me roar. She had a little Gloria Steinem in her.

Ironically as she became quite old and arthritic and sometimes sick she also became more lovable. She softened a bit. She would come sit next me at night when I would read or watch television. She had this inate routine of circling several times before she sat down all curled up in a ball. The other night after I put the kids to bed I wholly expected to see her rumble into the playroom and watch Law and Order re-runs with me.

But she was already gone for two days when I absentmindedly looked for her tail wagging in the air. I had to help her pass if you can believe that. It wasn't exactly said out loud but I don't think the Muffin Man could do it. It took him several weeks to come to believe she needed a little help moving on. After kidney failure was uttered by the vet the decision was a tiny bit easier.

The weirdest of all weirdest things is that I'm the one having the hardest time moving on. I'm the one who casually and callously told friends I had new frisee' carpeting picked out for the MINUTE she went to doggie heaven, or wherever she was going. But I don't want new carpet, not yet. Ava was totally fine with the situation. She is already asking for a new pet, of course her father wants a new puppy right away. I can't even think of it. (Not to mention we have no business taking a puppy now with him traveling for business and me holding down the fort with the two kidlets.) At the grocery store we looked at Beta fish.

Can you get emotionally attached to a Beta fish? If so, I don't think I want one.