Still Here

Oh boy, massive laptop troubles! We’ve bought ourselves a little time, but just went through a couple of days without ole lappy, and blegh. Reason #38573 why Mr. Book needs work: we need to replace the antique laptop. I’m celebrating my return with a list post.

  • The Tootleberry has discovered running and been wholly converted. We have acquired a toddler leash. When I told my parents, my dad said “We didn’t need one with you kids” and got weird looks from me and from my mom; they absolutely did need a leash for one of my sisters and for my brothers. It’s just a temperament thing, I guess, but the Snerks wants to run into traffic, to tool around on his own, and not to hold hands, no no no. He’s perfectly happy to wear his harness—much happier than he is being carried or having his hands forceably held—so I feel okay about harnessing the Toot.
  • Not much word from the Emerald City: Nora is seeing Cricket infrequently, and he’s sad and worried that he might have driven her away. Hopefully they can all find a new normal quickly.
  • We’re going to visit my mother-in-law, the first time I’ve seen her in three and a half years; Mr. Book is leaving tomorrow, and the Snerks and I will join him Saturday. I’m worrying about the trip, but we would very much like for her to meet Joey, and she could really use a little help around the house. But you may get a desperate, slightly crazed blog post from me early next week.
  • Joey has turned out to be a huge grapefruit fan. If I want to eat a grapefruit these days, I need to cut and section two of them—he will eat a whole one all on his own, and might very well eat more if permitted. (We have oro blanco grapefruit growing in the yard and available at the farmers market, so it’s not the sugar that he’s after: no sugar on these!)
  • I’m really enjoying having a toddler so far. Part of that might well be that I have a relatively cheerful and laid back toddler; sure, there is persistent mischief every day, multiple times per day, but he’s a sweet kid and a good eater and just funny as anything.
  • I’m still not having a great time brain-wise, but am muddling along.
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Already…

Joey’s sweater for next year—I’m making great progress, because I’m having terrible insomnia. (Pardon the terrible cellphone/lap picture!) It still needs 1.8 sleeves and a collar, but I’m liking the way that it’s going so far.

Fat Shmat

Happy Pancake Day! I’m getting off easy this year, since I won’t be fasting tomorrow; we celebrate and then just quietly carry on into Lent. (Mr. Book willingly cooperates with my Catholicism, but is not himself Catholic.) I am making pancakes for dinner—during a moment of insanity, I considered making pancakes for breakfast and dinner—and that’s about the extent of our celebration today. How do those of you who recognize it mark the day? I know it’s not Pancake Day for everyone.

The Snerks was up at 3:30 this morning (a rarity for him), and so I am fried and he is walking backwards. I meant this to be longer, but my brain is over.

Mixed Bag

I am having a hard time. Happily, things aren’t all hard at the same time—the Snerks is just amazingly fun, if really able to get into trouble now—he can open the garbage can, open our sliding doors, and managed yesterday to tip over a nearly-full cup of lukewarm coffee onto a pale carpet. Sure, that was my fault (I ran to the back of the house for something, literally ran, but it takes no time at all for him to accomplish these things), but as I cleaned the carpet, he kept trying to eat the cleaning agents and smiling at me. It is a very toddler time. He’s so playful and sweet, even when he is absolutely determined to pull dishes off the table/drive the cats to suicide/climb into the fireplace—he’s having a great time, and he wants us to have a great time with him. I am very grateful for the ball pit.

Still no work for the Mister, although he’s had a couple of interviews; we’re both discouraged, although I am trying to see each interview as a step closer to eventual work.

We had a Skype date with Cricket and Ruth today. It was awkward, although Cricket was very excited about the ball pit and asked his mom whether he can have one—he also called out to Joey, trying to get his attention and succeeding briefly. (Joey was otherwise occupied, trying to tangle himself up in my yarn.) Ruth is still planning on the three of them visiting at the end of April, although the amicable coparenting arrangement they had planned on is looking more challenging than they had at first thought it would be. I have already delicately mentioned that we have spare sleeping spaces in more than one room and will let it rest there until and unless they buy plane tickets.

That was Friday; it’s Monday now. Yesterday we went to Hollywood for the afternoon—my father gave the Mister and myself tickets to an NPR taping of an Oscar special, which was fun, and then we wandered around, looked at handprints in cement and ate some pizza. There really are good things going on, but I’m still quietly having a hard time. But it’s something I can live with. The pregnancy is emotionally harder than my last one, which I hadn’t really expected; there are days and days when it feels like a thing that I am doing to Joey. I talked to a mother who has two girls born fifteen months apart, and she talked about preparing her older daughter for the birth of the baby—she bought and cared for a baby doll, which is what I’ve heard advised for dog owners, funnily enough. I can’t imagine Joey being able to understand what’s about to happen, so while I’ve talked about it with him a couple of times, the only result that I can see is that he will now point to the picture on his container of wipes and say “Baby.”

Looking Ahead

My brother was released from the hospital after two weeks, but now he’s back inside. He will need dialysis several times a week, and new kidneys as soon as that’s feasible—he was readmitted because of startlingly high blood pressure and fluid in his lungs. Long-term, he’s looking at some serious life changes; he needs dialysis about every other day. The ladies from the dialysis center have talked to him about the fact that he’s going to be treated as something of a novelty or a pet by the other patients—he’s not just the youngest patient there, they say—he’s the youngest by twenty years (at twenty-two). He’s also stuck with a pretty intense diet. He probably won’t be able to come out here for awhile, since he’s looking for work (he got fired for being in the hospital: woo right to work states!), but he is staying with Kate when not in hospital and isn’t homeless, at least.

In other news, Ruth reached out to me and talked a great deal about their breakup and their new and evolving circumstances. She was open about her personal life in a way that was kind of confusing: This is new intimacy. A friend asked me whether she wants to be friends—I don’t know yet, but maybe. I need more data points. But it does seem as though the boundaries are shifting, temporarily or not. I suspect that she might be a bit lonely. It’s complicated for me, because I’m a little angry at the two of them—my concern is overwhelmingly for Cricket and his happiness, and while I wish for Ruth and Nora to be happy, that wish is dwarfed by my desire that everything should be great for Cricket. I am of course not expressing that anger with Ruth or Nora; they are having a tough time, and they’re splitting up no matter what, and I think they probably have some idea that we’re not thrilled that they’ve been unable to make the marriage work. Making them feel worse wouldn’t make the situation any better, and would probably increase the distance between us. And of course anger is only a piece of what I’m feeling, and not the biggest piece: I’m sad for Ruth and Nora; I’m sad for Cricket; I worry about Cricket; I hope that their new arrangement will make them happy; I wish that I could help, whether that looks like bringing over a pie or babysitting or helping Nora move or just listening. As it is, I can only listen (and knit).

My ambition is to make the kids a sweater each year, at least for awhile—I would like to be the kind of parent who does those sorts of things, and by a happy coincidence, I like to knit. I’ve been browsing patterns and yarns since I finished both sweaters; Joey’s looks just like Cricket’s, but bright blue instead of red. Joey’s been sick this week, and it’s been awful, but we’re still making progress toward where we’d like to be: I joined a moms’ group, finally, to allow the Toot to socialize; Mr. Book had an interview for a good job, and it would be really great if he got it; yesterday, Joey was charging across the lawn on his hands and feet, chasing the cat and laughing his head off. We’re having a hard time here, with illness and bad news from my brother and just the continual grinding pressure of the Mister being unable to find work. But there are bright spots, and I am keeping my eyes on them.

Open Adoption Roundtable #34

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don’t need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you’re thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points–please feel free to adapt or expand on them.

Write a response at your blog–linking back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs–and share your post in the comments here. Using a previously published post is fine; I’d appreciate it if you’d add a link back to the roundtable. If you don’t blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.

It is likely that we’ve all had that experience at some time: someone asking us to speak to the choices or feelings of others in our adoption constellation. Perhaps it is someone asking a first parent how their child feels about being in an open adoption. Or someone asking an adoptee why their adoptive parents chose to adopt. You get the idea.

How do you handle such questions when they are asked of you? How would you want the other parties in your open adoption to handle those questions when they are about you?

On what must have been our first visit to the Emerald City post-relinquishment, we ran into a friend of Ruth and Nora’s while driving from one place to another. “Oh, hi Susie!” she said. “I recognize you from the pictures!” I actually cringed, not just a mental cringe but a real life, actual muscles, socially awkward cringe. What I really want is neither fair nor possible; I want never to come up in conversations between Ruth and Nora and their social circle. I don’t want people to know my name, or why I relinquished, or who could give up such a perfect child, or whatever other answers to questions I never want asked.

Setting aside my unrealistic wish, I would choose for Ruth and Nora to be as close-mouthed as is practicable: Why did she place? She thought it was the best decision at the time. What is she like? Quiet. I’d honestly rather that these strangers-to-me assume that I’m a drug-addled prostitute than have any real information about me. Ruth and Nora have never asked my preferences, and I’m sure that Ruth is pretty free with details, because that’s her nature. I try not to think about it.

I can’t think of a time when I’ve been asked to speak for Ruth or Nora; while it’s certainly true that lesbians can bear children, no one seems surprised that a queer couple might adopt if they want to parent. I also don’t tend to talk about them, and at this point—having moved once or twice—am surrounded by people who wouldn’t know to ask. My birthparenthood is mostly invisible.