The Honey Is Important

Well, it’s that time of year again–I’m doing a “secret gimme” with some ladies in an online community I belong to. It’s like Secret Santa, except that neither of the ones I’ve participated in have actually been at Christmas. I believe that I will be assigned to a very nice woman with a one-month-old little girl; the group is vaguely organized around being pregnant/having kids/wanting kids at some point. I am a giver only, since I want to get kid stuff but obviously have no need for it right now. My gift last time didn’t go over super well; shortly after I had sent a khaki onesie with cowboys (on My Little Ponies!) and a cd of pirate music for children, the mother announced that she was going all-out girly with her little one. Oops. I’m also probably going to go a little overboard this time. Just my suspicion. If she likes it and posts a picture, maybe I’ll share the contents here–otherwise, probably best to hide my shame.

Except for this:

Adorable, no?

Adorable, no?

Last night I baked honey peanut butter cookies to put into Mr. Book’s sack lunches; I am making them into peanut butter sandwiches by using two with jam in between, like oreos. While strawberry jam or grape jelly would be uber classic, we have raspberry jam, so that’s what it’s agonna be. If any of y’all bake, I gotta tell you that all-natural peanut butter makes such a difference in these cookies, and is so cheap if you have a Trader Joe’s in your area–fuck Skippy.

I’m working on the menu for dinner when Ruth and Nora visit; I’m thinking Greek food, a couple of stews and some marinated olives and cheese. With a couple of vegetarians and some wild food sensitivities, it’s something I do have to put some effort into.

Ruth and Nora have friends whose child, Jim, is I think five–maybe four?–and just the sweetest little baseball fan you’d ever hope to meet. His parents don’t really give a damn about baseball, but did just take him to a game for his birthday–hearing about this, I told Mr. Book, Whatever Cricket and futurekid end  up liking, we have to take an interest and learn something about it. Just watch, futurekid will want to play golf or something. Open adoption does sometimes feel like we’re practicing to be parents–not that we attempt to parent Cricket, God forbid, but we see parents doing their thing very close up, and then we talk about it, just the two of us, and what we would do, and what we will do. I know it’s all different when the rubber meets the road, but I like being able to feel prepared even if it’s sort of an illusion.

This has been sounding a bit odds-and-ends-y because there’s something I want to write about depression, and also don’t want to write. So I’ll just jump in.

I’ve been on antidepressants on and off since 2001, about five years after the start of the conversation about whether I should maybe be taking them. I’ve been on six different antidepressants as well as anti-anxiety medication, and finally did arrive at a regimen that works reasonably well for me. But then I stopped taking them while I was pregnant with Cricket, despite the fact that a doctor had told me to carry on; after giving me an exam, he said carefully that if mom isn’t okay, she can’t be okay for the baby, and that in these cases we recommend continuing the medication. Ah, yes. How lucky I am that my depression has left permanent marks. I stopped taking one of the antidepressants as soon as I got a positive test, and stopped the second after the second trimester. And then I didn’t have any health insurance, and I sort of half-assedly took a few for a while but not really. My parents have offered to pay for them, which is a costly gift, but it’s meant that I’ve had to admit to myself that I’m using “no health insurance” as an excuse, and that I am in some ways glad not to be able to take medication. I find the need for pills (wait for it…) depressing. My parents and my husband are gently unanimous in insisting that this is important. I understand that not wanting to take the pills is a symptom of depression. So what do I do?

Well, I’m baking, and working, and brooding about it, a bit.

Adoption Hangover

I made a very nice curry the other night; it was one of those dinners where you’re worried all along that it won’t come together, and then, seemingly just as you’re spooning it onto plates, it finds success. I like mine with lime pickle, but Mr. Book finds pickle odious, and eats it straight, with a great deal of rice. Today I am making something easy, because we visited Cricket and his family yesterday, and I woke up feeling hungover and generally ghastly. After the last visit, I felt sick for three weeks, so hopefully this new reaction will be shorter.

So Ruth sent me an email saying that she’d very much like us to come, and that she just wanted us to know that she might seem stressed out, and did we not want to come? In fact, neither of us really did want to come, but that’s sort of complicated–we in some ways never want to go, because it’s hard, and we have to get up so early, and I always feel awful the next day. But we’re not really going because we want to, and we also have had a really great time each time so far; Ruth and Nora are gracious hosts in addition to being people we like, and while Cricket had sort of a rough day, he is a little trooper. We got to their house at about 9:15, and went to get coffee with Nora before meeting Ruth at the church. Being Catholic, I have a hard time remembering not to call things by their Christian-equivilent names, but it really was in a church, not a synogogue. The Rosh HaShanah service lasted three hours, and we were basically on our own for that time–Ruth was singing, and Nora spent almost the entire time outside the sactuary with a fussy Cricket. The service apparently took place during naptime, and he was unable to really sleep for the rest of the day. Despite that, there was never a major meltdown–he was fussy sometimes, but always willing to be jollied out of it.

After the service, we hung out at their house for a few hours; Ruth had cooked lunch, and I had brought dessert. We mostly just sat around and talked, played with the baby a bit–it’s hard for me to convey how pleasant it was–then we went for a walk, and then went out to dinner before Mr. Book and I headed home. We talked a bit about the next visit; they are planning to come here next month.

Nora and Ruth had gone to a picnic put on by the adoption agency, and I asked who had the ugliest baby. For me, this is not an abnormal conversational gambit–I have a couple of ugly baby stories to share, and was hoping to hear about some [sweet, loved] dogfaced infant, but I think my intentions were misunderstood, and Ruth told me that Cricket was hands-down the prettiest baby. Maybe they’re just nicer than I am. I mean, Cricket is a pretty baby, but I don’t really feel any personal investment in that; if he were ugly, I wouldn’t feel responsible for that, either. I did mention to Mr. Book, though, that I wonder what their next adoption will be like. We are positive, healthy, involved birthparents–a married set!–who let them set the level of contact and haven’t been nutty; Cricket is lovely, healthy, and forgive-me-for-mentioning-it-but a blue-eyed, blond, white child who wasn’t exposed to any drugs or anything. That is not the average adoption. I don’t by any means think that all birthmothers are junkies or anything, obviously, but I do wonder whether they’ve blown all their good adoption karma. On the other hand, they are certainly building up more right now.

I’ll leave you with the cutest moment from the visit yesterday. Ruth had told me that afternoon that Cricket had really wanted to bite the dog, and that she had told him “We don’t bite people; we give kisses” and that he had hesitated a long time before licking the dog, which is how he kisses right now, and that it had clearly been hard for him–he longed to bite the dog. [Mr. Book says we should tell him that he gets that from me.] Well, as we were heading back to their home from dinner, Cricket grabbed my finger and pulled it into his mouth. I expected him to bite me, and I was cool with–a down payment on my adoption guilt, maybe. Well, he paused, holding my finger between his teeth, and then licked my finger. I thanked him for the kiss, and then we went through the whole thing again a  few minutes later. What a sweet little boy.