Scrambled Brains

I am becoming addicted to the list post. At least I can admit that I have a problem?

  • I brooded and worried and pumped 18 oz of breastmilk for my two hours away, and Joey apparently slept through my absence. Okay. I thought about him and the Mister a lot, but sat in Starbucks and worked and had a nice time. Maybe I’ll do this again some time.
  • My parents are visiting this weekend, and I’m looking forward to seeing them. It’s the worst time of year to visit Stumptown, but I know that they’re coming for Joey, not for the scenery.
  • This is a bit random, but back in October, my sister Kate and her husband gave me a couple of nursing tops for my birthday (at my request)—and my mother tried to talk them out of it, saying that she had never gotten any use out of nursing tops. Well, I’m wearing nothing but, unless the laundry situation gets desperate; I’ve got to pick up a couple more! I know that my mother and I are built differently, but it must be more than that.
  • Mr. Book and I both have photo keychains of Cricket from his first day; for Christmas, I got him one of Joey. I had expected that he’d use both of them, but instead he has replaced the old one. It’s not that I don’t understand—every time he caught a glimpse of Cricket, he felt sad—but it bothers me a little bit. I don’t know. We react to these things very differently. I’ve always liked seeing pictures, and Mr. Book has always felt more conflicted about it.
  • I did ask Ruth about possibly giving a clothing-type gift to Cricket, and she said that they have no problem with it, adding that they aren’t worried because (among other reasons) they don’t think I would be trying to mother him with a gift of clothing. But I kind of would be—it is a motherly impulse that leads me to want to give shoes (or any clothes), and I don’t want to be inappropriate or underhanded, so now I am re-brooding about the whole thing. She mentioned that he needs shirts. . . .
  • I think Joey is turning blond, and I am not the only one.
  • Can anyone recommend a company or website that makes nice nursing dresses? I’m supposed to be in a wedding over the summer and have no idea what to do. I’m supposed to wear red.
  • I don’t know how she feels about being linked, so I won’t, but there’s another adoption poster who only very recently placed her son for adoption—I think we keep triggering each other. In her most recent post, she wonders about how to ask for time alone with him, and it’s only reading that and thinking about it that led to me realizing that I have never been alone with Cricket—really, not even for a minute. Mr. Book was alone in a room with him for nearly an hour once, while the rest of us were in another room of the apartment, and I know that he treasures that time. But I haven’t had that, unless you count time during the pregnancy, which I absolutely don’t. I managed to get myself pretty upset about that last night.
  • We have a visit tentatively scheduled for January 15, and Mr. Book has sensibly suggested that we set some ground rules between us to prevent me from freaking out. Okay, he didn’t say that last part, but let’s be honest—that would be the primary benefit of a game plan. Do they hold the baby? How does that happen? What are we not okay with? What is our signal for “Susie is totally losing it”? What do we do if I have to use it? Perhaps most importantly, what kind of soup should I make? (My best soup is a tomato soup, but [1] tomato is an unglamorous and homely soup and [2] my tomato soup is rather sour and not at all ketchupy—not what people expect.)

14 thoughts on “Scrambled Brains

  1. This is my friend’s huge page of nursingwear links:
    I don’t know how updated it is because her oldest is Noah’s age and she’s been managing it since around then but at least it’s a good start! I loved nursing clothes because I liked keeping my belly covered. I’m more modest about my belly than my breasts and that’s just how it is. I used to score every now and then at thrift stores and I wore my nursing clothes to DEATH. Also I liked wearing dresses now and then.

    I don’t understand their “mothering” prohibition. To my mind, any interaction you do is some form of mothering by definition so maybe you don’t need to worry about how the interpret it and just go with the fact that they said yes?

    • Oh, thank you so much; I think I’ve found something using that list. Now to run it by the bride and see…. And thank you for the POV check—I’ve picked out a cute and boyish-but-not-masculine shirt to go with a pair of shoes.

  2. In my neck of the woods (but online really):
    I have a friend who works there & I bet I could see about scoring some stuff for extra cheap (or maybe there are samples hanging around? email me if you want & I’d ask her).

    I like list posts.

    I like that you went out, on your own & survived & might even try it again. That was a lot of milk to make/leave. I am impressed!

    I really hope the visit goes well. I think Dawn makes a great point: go with it, don’t define the type of interaction. See how that feels/goes.

    • There are some very cute dresses at that site—thank you!—but I don’t see anything in the color I’ve been instructed to wear.

  3. So, Ruth actually says things like that? Like: it’s okay for you to give him clothes because we don’t see that as being an attempt to mother? That sounds so bizarre to me. I’d be thinking more along the lines of “Hey, this person carried him IN HER WOMB for nine months, that’s kind of mother-y. Shirt or no shirt…she’s gonna feel mother-y toward him”.

    And, all questions of who-counts-as-a-mother aside, who would ever say that to another person? “Yes, it’s okay for you to give this kind of gift because…insert devaluing/control freaking statement here…? Why not just say “Sure, that’d be fine” and keep the finicky razor-wire booby-trapped boundaries in one’s own head? Just weird.

    • I asked Mr. Book (the night after reading that email), “What do you think they think we think about the adoption? How do they think we feel about it?” and he said “I believe they think we’re too immature to parent, and that we don’t really have feelings about the adoption.” I don’t know, of course, whether he’s right, but they have mentioned every so often how unthreatening we are—I guess we’ve successfully appeared to be nothing like parents of any kind.

      • It’s hard to know about people 3rd hand, but it seems like they have very weird boundaries or social skills.

        From seeing some adoptive parents on TV, I think Mr. Book may be right that they think you don’t have feelings about the adoption, but man, what mechanics of denial it must take for anyone to think that about any adoption.

  4. Shirts and shoes would be huge! I’m sorry about Ruth’s “not mothering” overshare; I’ve never met anyone like her. Gift giving is one of my family’s strongest love languages, if you will, so I would consider giving gifts as loving, maternal, expressive. The same goes for cooking.
    That’s great you have a visit tentatively scheduled. I like the game plan…it’s possible you could wear Joey for a portion of the visit, especially if you get weirded out. Maybe you could ask R or N to cover camera duty (so you and Mr. Book are in all the pictures and they aren’t too handsy with Joey). I wish you could have alone time with Cricket sometime. Have a great time with your parents and a good New Year’s!

    • The catch is that they take terrible pictures: blurry, unflattering, and seldom. But taking pictures at the last visit gave me an odd confidence, so maybe that will work even when they’re holding Joey? Happy New Year to you, too, and to ever’body!

      • Could taking photos of them holding Joey be something you rationalize as a gift to Cricket? I don’t know if that can work for you, but that’s what I would do, think of it as a signal to him that you trust his moms (even if you don’t) and thus his place in connection to you and to Joey.

      • Weeell, I do trust them—okay, my mammal brain doesn’t, but Rational Susie does—and it doesn’t hurt to know that even if they tried to make a break for it with Joey (which they wouldn’t!), I could take ’em. Yup, awfully high-minded over here. 😉 You are right that it is another piece of a connection, and we need all of those that we can scrape together, I think.

  5. I read your post a day or so ago and have been feeling really angry about Cricket’s amoms saying that they don’t want you “mothering” him. It makes my blood boil when aparents visit their insecurities on nfamily. Why *shouldn’t* you mother him when you are his mother? It’s not about what Cricket might need or want–it’s about *them*, as usual. This triggers the hell out of my adoptee self.

    I can understand how you’d feel very sad about not spending any time alone with Cricket since his birth. I wonder if you might bring this up to Ruth and Nora, and say that now that Cricket is two, he’s more aware of people and relationships and you’d like to spend time either with just the two of you or with Mr. Book and Joey, too. I don’t know how they’d respond, given their dictatorial attitude (which pisses me off no end) but if you don’t ask or negotiate, your relationship with Cricket will be defined completely by them. It sounds like Mr. Book is already very disheartened by this state of affairs–it’s easier to put painful things out of the mind for some people. I just hate to see you and Cricket paying the price for aparent selfishness. Habits are also hard to break, and once Cricket is relegated to the back burner, whether for emotional self-protection or avoidance of Ruth and Nora, it will be difficult to set new parameters.

    You are in my thoughts. I am so sorry.

    • Ruth did mention in a recent email that Cricket is going to have a sleepover with one of his grandmothers, which startled me a bit: He gets to sleep over with people now, huh? I’m not anywhere near putting myself into that sentence, but it’s still interesting to hear and think about.

      I think you’re right about my laborious passivity meaning that Ruth and Nora will completely define my relationship with Cricket. This seems like one of those situations where there’s an obvious solution (Get up on your hind legs (…politely), girl!), but not one that I see happening. I don’t know. I’m afraid of being shut out completely to an unreasonable degree, and it keeps me from acting.

      • The sleepover is a very tempting idea! I do hope that one day he’ll be able to spend a whole weekend, and more, with you at your home.

        I understand where your fear of being shut out completely comes before much else. But I still think it sucks that they are so insensitive and can’t see things from your point of view, even for a moment. It is not in Cricket’s best interest for them to act this way and feel so threatened. In the end, I hope that Cricket can see their machinations and call them out on it himself, and that you can find the strength to speak up for what you want and deserve. I had to fight for a relationship with my nfamily as an adult. It was painful, and my nmom didn’t treat me very well for 10 years, but I couldn’t give up. Time passes so quickly–I can’t believe that my elder son will be seven years old in two weeks–and I hate to see you miss out on so much in Cricket’s life. Argh. Adoption is at its most vile when it cancels out nfamily relationships. The imbalance of power in favor of aparents makes me want to scream.

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