Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
This installment is a place. Good luck!
Monday, June 23, 2008
don't know when I'll be back again.....
Actually, I do know when I'll be back! Next Thursday.
Liam and I are off to Ontario to visit with my mom and dad. While we are there we are going to take the train to Toronto to see the CN Tower and the Ontario Science center. Otherwise, we are having a relaxing week, letting Grandma and Grandpa get in as much spoiling as the can.
Don't despair though! Blogger has made it possible to post while on vacation. No, they have not magically update my parents house to include such things as the internet or a computer. My folks don't have cable and still call me from 3000 miles away to help them programme their VCR over the phone. With Blogger I can schedule posts for future dates, so I am leaving you with "What am I" version 4. The first picture will post on Wednesday, and the reveal will happen on Saturday.
Friday, June 20, 2008
At first I thought the curse of Nova Scotia was going to ruin everything, but in the end it was okay. Never heard of the curse? It is guaranteed that if you plan an outdoor activity in Nova Scotia, no matter what the date, what the weather forecasts, it will RAIN! Well we didn't have rain, but the fog was thick! We couldn't see Dartmouth across the harbour and we could not see the lighthouse on McNab's Island. But we could sure hear the foghorn! Any time we ventured away from the water's edge, the fog cleared up and the sun was shining. I don't think we covered the full 186 acres, but we did a pretty good chunk of it.
Here are Liam's pictures:
Thursday, June 19, 2008
There are 2 songs that are adoption triggers for me. I've been listening to both of these since I was a little girl. As (bad) luck would have it today, both of them played on my Yahoo Music feed while I was at work this morning. I'm already having a rough week when it comes to the emotions surrounding my own adoption, so hearing these songs, nearly back to back, was almost enough to push me over the edge.
The first song is Bobby Vee singing "Take Good Care of My Baby".
As a little girl, maybe 7 or 8, I had no clue that this was a teenage love song about a boy who lost his "baby" to another boy. I thought it was about adoption, a first parent singing to the adoptive parents. And of course I fantasized that it was MY first parents expressing all these wonderful things for ME. And in my childhood attempt to understand adoption, this line really stuck with me: "Once upon a time that little girl was mine, If I'd been true, I know she'd never be with you". If only my first parents had done SOMETHING different I would still be with them. And that is the paradox of adoption. What 7 year old wants to leave their parents, the only people they have known but at the same times wants to be with people they've never met, because that is who they are supposed to be with? This is a concept I still struggle with today, let alone what it did to me emotionally as a 7 year old.
Here are the lyrics, sing along!
And though it really hurts me so
There's something that I've gotta say
Take good care of my baby
Please don't ever make her blue
Just tell her that you love her
Make sure you're thinking of her
In everything you say and do
Aww, take good care of my baby
Now don't you ever make her cry
Just let your love surround her
Paint a rainbow all around her
Don't let her see a cloudy sky
Once upon a time that little girl was mine
If I'd been true, I know she'd never be with you
So, take good care of my baby
Be just as kind as you can be
And if you should discover
That you don't really love her
Just send my baby back home to me
Well, take good care of my baby
Be just as kind as you can be
And if you should discover
That you don't really love her
Just send my baby back home to me
Aww, take good care of my baby
Well, take good care of my baby
The second song really is about adoption. It's from the musical Annie and is called "Maybe".
Annie sings about the fantasies that adopted kids have about their first parents. This is the line that catches me each time: "Their one mistake was giving up me! " Ouch. Why did someone give me up? Why was I placed for adoption? What was wrong with me? My adult self understands all the nuances, social pressures and reasons for my adoption, but my 7 year old self certainly didn't. It is so easy for adoptees to fall into the trap of "I did something to cause this".
Maybe far away
Or maybe real nearby
He may be pouring her coffee
She may be straightening his tie.
Maybe in a house
All hidden by a hill
She's sitting playing piano,
He's sitting paying a bill!
Betcha they're young
Betcha they're smart
Bet they collect things
Like ashtrays, and art!
Betcha they're good --
(Why shouldn't they be?)
Their one mistake
Was giving up me!
So maybe now it's time,
And maybe when I wake
They'll be there calling me "Baby"...
Betcha he reads
Betcha she sews
Maybe she's made me
A closet of clothes!
Maybe they're strict
As straight as a line...
Don't really care
As long as they're mine!
So maybe now this prayer's
The last one of it's kind...
Won't you please come get your "Baby"
And that is where my adoption journey is stopped right now..... Maybe
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The weather is supposed to be fairly decent:
Friday June 20th
A mix of sun and cloud with 40 percent chance of showers. Low 11C. High 21C.
Then I had a great idea! Liam got a camera for Christmas and he enjoys taking pictures, just like his Mama does.
So, we are going to take our cameras along and do a photo scavenger hunt. I have found these 12 pictures of the park, or generic things like trees and birds, and we will see if we can find the same things and take our own shots. The park has many military ruins scattered about the 186 acres, so it will be fun to see how many we can find.
I'll be sure to post his results on the weekend.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
1) having medical/genetic info
2) knowing who I look lie
3) understanding the reasons for my relinquishment
4) having a connection to my past
5) general curiosity
I was not looking to replace my adoptive parents. I hoped to have a relationship with my birth mother, but at the age of 30 I wasn't expecting to have some sort of instantaneous Mother/Daughter bond that could transcended the past 3 decades.
I had been searching, albeit on and off, for more then 10 years when a social worker finally got to my file, opened it up, called Iris and confirmed that she was indeed my birth mother. Seems so simple, that you wonder why it takes so long!
At first Iris did not want to have contact with me. When she placed me for adoption in 1970, she was told that the records would remained sealed forever, to move on and forget about me and that I would never be able to contact her. She followed the news over the years though, and new that "forever" was not very likely and she figured that one day she might end up hearing from me. She once shared with me that she had kept a slip of paper from the hospital that had my time of birth, weight and length written on it hidden away in a drawer just in case I ever wanted it. So some part of her must have thought that we might one day be in contact again.
So once I had found Iris, then what? We lived 1000 miles apart, so distance was certainly a factor. I think it gave Iris a bit of peace of mind that I couldn't just drive over and knock on her door. But the biggest obstacle was that Iris had never told anyone about me, including her 37 year old daughter who still lived at home.
Over time we built up a relationship through email, phone calls and letters. We've even met face to face a couple of times when I was able to make the trip back to Ontario. But I don't know how I would define our relationship; it's certainly not mother/daughter, and I wouldn't even say it's at the level of Aunt/Niece. Maybe because of our age and generational difference (Iris is 40 years older then I am), our relationship is almost like what you would expect if you met one of your Grandmother's friends and took a liking to her and kept in touch with her. But at the same time it is much more emotional, primal even.
And it was this emotional part that made me reach out to her via email today. You see Iris is having surgery next week. It's nothing serious or life threatening, but she is 77 years old and not in the greatest health, so any medical procedure is going to have some risks. I reached out to her today, as gently as I could, to let her know that I am scared that something might happen to her during her surgery and I will never know. I tried to explain that it hurts to know that I have a sister out there who doesn't even know that I exist. I tried to explain my fears of losing my only connection to my first family.
Alas, her fears are much more deeply routed then mine. She is not at a place that she can admit to anyone that she had a baby that she placed for adoption 38 years ago. She worries for Madelaine's mental health, something that she has hinted at as being a concern or not stable. She can see no good in including me in her life.
I gotta tell ya, that really hurts.
My logical, intellectual side understands and tries to see things from her point of view. But the rest of me is really just trying not to cry right now. And it's hard to even explain or understand why. This is a person I've only ever met twice, how can she have such a huge impact on me?
When we were first in reunion and going through an intermediary, the SW sent me this article: "Why Won't My Mother Meet Me" It was very helpful at the time and I think I will reread it again today.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Well done Lori for being the first to guess Popcorn! It is such a weird combination: popcorn covered in hard pink candy coating. It is very similar to Cracker Jack's, and I have no way to describe the flavor other then sweet.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
And the best part? Liam can do it! (kinda)Of course he's a touch on the short side right now, so he can't reach the handle, but can push it using the support bar. It's hard for him to do; he almost needs to take a running start to get it to go a few inches. I offered him $20.00 to do the whole thing, but he crapped out after $2.00 worth.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the mower. It wasn't as physically demanding as I thought it would be and it does a pretty decent job. There are a few tall weeds that it wouldn't get, they were too tall so they just bent over instead of getting cut by the blade. But that was another way that Liam came in handy. I just told him to go around the yard and pull out anything that was sticking up! I think the next cut, done at a regular interval and not when the grass has gone wild, will be the true test. I don't think I will ever win any lawn care awards, or manage to get the checkboard look to it, but I'm okay with that!
Lucky Elephant XXXXX is a Canadian confection that has been on the snack food market since the 1970s. Not widely available in mainstream grocery stores or large convenience store chains, the treat has generally been more commonly found retailed at mom and pop grocery stores and neighbourhood food outlets, and more recently, online. Lucky Elephant XXXXX is sold in 70g boxes. Similar in concept to an American treat, the box contains sweetened XXXXX and a small prize. The XXXXX is not sweetened with caramel, however, but with a pink candy coating. There are also no peanuts in the package.
So far Liam has never expressed any interest or concern in having a 2 Mum family with no father. His friends come from such varied family make ups that it's not an issue among his peers either.
However, he does have a basic enough understanding of biology to know that it takes a man and a woman to make a baby. He talks a lot about K, his birth mother, knows that he grew in her belly and that she gave birth to him. He has yet to ask about any male involvement in his creation. Unfortunately we do not have very much info to share with him when he does ask. That was one of the reasons that I wanted to have an open adoption with K, so that when the questions do come, Liam can go straight to the source and not spend his life wondering - much like I did. But until K decides to reestablish contact with us, there isn't much we can do.
So today I will take a moment to reflect on this unknown man with whom my son shares 1/2 of his DNA. I will wonder which mannerisms come from this man, what traits they have in common, and what life would be like if we could open our home and hearts to him and include him in Liam's extended family.
Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there, known and unknown.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
A polydactyl cat is a cat with a congenital physical anomaly, with more than usual number of toes on one or all of its paws as a result of a cat body type
Non-mutant cats have 5 toes on each of their front paws and 4 on the back, for a total of 18 toes.
This is Edgar. He was our first cat, and he has the most toes. He has 26 in total - 7 on each front foot and 6 each on the back.Oscar has 23 toes, 6 each on the front and 6 on one back foot and 5 on the other.
Hazel is also polydactyl, but she hates me! so there will be no pictures of her. She is a one person cat, and that person is Hilary. However, since I am the offical nail cutter in the family (and with all these toes, that is no small job!) I do get to do her nails. Hilary will catch her and transfer her to my lap, generally with very little blood shed! Hazel has 24 toes in total - 6 per foot.
Friday, June 13, 2008
And here is today:
I think I was more sad to see the year end then he was! He has a summer filled with 2 trips and 6 weeks of summer camp to look forward to!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Liam has always been a picky eater as textures bother him. So as parents we have struggled with trying to make sure he gets enough protein, since meat is on his definite "yucky" list. We've been know to sneak tofu into his smoothies and nuts are a common snack. We cannot get him to eat eggs however in any format other then Cadbury's. Hilary has tried various creative ways to get eggs into him but none have been very successful. Till the package from Granny arrived.
At first glance they are just fun shaped pasta - cars, trains, planes. All things a little boy loves. And that is all they are. Pasta shaped as various modes of transportation. It's what Hilary decided to do with them that led to our boy adding eggs to his diet, daily if we would let him!
While your pasta is boiling, mix together 2 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese with 1 tsp of butter and 1 egg yolk. Mix until it's a lovely gooey mess. Drain the pasta, mix your gooey mess into the noodles and serve.
Liam would eat this twice a day every day if we let him. The fun pasta shapes were consumed long ago, but for some reason this meal will be forever known as Transportation Style Noodles in our house. Liam loves them so much that he made a "transportation style noodle bowl" at our last trip to the Clay Cafe.
I would love to find these specific pasta shapes again for him, but no amount of Googling has led me to somewhere that I can order them from. Right now we use Disney's Mickey Mouse shaped pasta, but wagon wheels will do in a pinch. I wonder how long his love of transportation style noodles will last, or if this will be his life long comfort food?
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Of course, that friend had to be replaced. And trust me, picking out a new friend like this isn't easy, the choices are dizzying!
After much discussion, soul searching and research, I would like to introduce you all to my new friend:Yes, I am going to move over to a manual push mower. I'm not sure yet how I feel about this. I guess I'll find out on Saturday when it arrives and I have to cut the grass!
There were many reasons for going this route:
1) we don't own a car so getting gas home is difficult
2) gas is expensive
3) burning gas is bad for the environment
4) electric mowers cost $$ in electricity to run
5) using unneccessary electricity is bad for the environment
6) I hate hauling the electric cord around with me, getting tangled in and tripping over it
7) our lawn isn't that big
8) I could use the extra excercise
Anyone else out there a fellow push-mower user? Any advice before I begin? The good thing is that I am not lawn-obsessed. I would be quite happy to let it grow wild, but I think the neighbours would disapprove. So I diligently cut each week and keep it respectible looking.
Monday, June 9, 2008
We've lived on the same street now for more then 10 years. In fact, we liked the street so much that when it was time to move into a bigger house, we bought from our neighbours and only moved 2 houses over. Our street even still has some of it's original occupants, people who have lived there for more then 50 years. We are not close friends with any of them, but it's nice to have that "over the fence" relationship with people.
And it's great to know that in times of crisis you have someone close by to turn to. I had just such a mini-crisis on Friday.
Liam wanted to ride his bike to school, so we got him all set and off we went. Not more then a couple of minutes from the house he stopped and I realized that his chain had come off. I tried to pop it back on, but, really, I am not mechanically inclined when it comes to stuff like this. And I was getting covered in gross smelly grease! As luck would have it, Liam's teenage babysitter was just coming out of her house. I shouted out to her to see if her Grandpa was home. He was!! Georgie came over and I asked him to help me put the chain back on. He took one look at Liam's bike and gave me a whole list of things that need to be done - no air in the tires, the chain needed to be tightened, stuff was rusty. Then he scooped up the bike, took it to his garage, shouting over his shoulder that he would get it all fixed up! Not only did he fix it up - it sparkled as if it were new - he even brought it back to the house for me.
Having great neighbours is wonderful, especially when you don't have any family locally that you can turn to.
This also made for a great teaching moment for Liam, something that I hope will help him to be a great neighbour one day. We baked Georgie a cinnamon loaf and Liam wrote him a thank you card and delivered the 2 of them after school.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Me: "What do you mean?" [I try not to lead these discussions, I want to see where he goes with them on his own]
Liam: "K is my mother, she borned me, but you guys look after me now."
Me: "Yes, K is your mother, but Mummy and I are your mother's now too because we adopted you. You sure have a lot of mothers"
and with that, he was back doing what ever he had been doing at the time. This is the third time now that he has said this, completely out of the blue. Every time we give him the same answer. I wonder if there is something more that he is trying to get to? Next time I will probe a bit more.
Adoption has been part of my life forever, since I'm adopted too. And I am very active on adoption forums (come on over and check out Adoption Threads if you haven't had a chance yet), I read adoption blogs and books. So the topic of adoption is very comfortable for me. I wonder though how other adoptive mothers would feel if their child told them "You aren't my Mom". Liam was being malicious or doing it out of anger, he was just very matter of fact. However, my reaction back to him could have easily set the tone for any further adoption discussion. If I had freaked out, cried, gotten upset or told him he was wrong, I would have been sending him a very negative message about adoption, but even more so, about his own feelings.
Do PAPs get training on these types of situations? How do the a-parents who don't read the books or participate in the forums handle these subjects when they come up? How can we as a community help them to be better prepared?
Liam walked into the room while Hilary was watching a rerun of ER. It was the one where Carole has her twins, one born very quickly in the ER and the 2nd by emergency c-section. He walked in on the c-section part and wanted to know what was going on. While we do censor his tv viewing, we also will take moments like this and use it as a teaching moment. Blood and guts don't bother him and since it's a rerun we knew that the outcome was going to be okay. So Hilary explained to him that this is one way that babies can get out when then are ready to be born, and the he was born this way too. He was very fascinated by the whole process and sat down to watch it with her. He then asked both of us if we had ever "borned" a baby. He thought on our answer of "no" for a moment and then said "it sure looks like it hurts! It must have really hurt K to born me" We talked about epidurals and medicine and how the Drs do their best to make sure that it doesn't hurt too much.
From an adoption point of view, I found this interesting. He has always parroted back to us his adoption story and has never asked any questions. So this gave me the insight that he does understand the over all concept of being born to one woman and then being raised by another. However he is still not interested/concerned with why he was adopted. Or why C and J (his 1/2 siblings) weren't adopted. Or why he has never met any of his first family. I find I tread a fine line - not wanting to make adoption a big deal and not wanting to ignore it or gloss over it either. Just because I read about adoption and talk about adoption every day, it doesn't mean that it should be part of his life every day. But how do I know when it is the right time to push a little bit or back off? I want him to know that I am always there to talk to or to listen to him, but I don't want him to feel that I'm beating him about the head with the topic either.
And random cute moment? We were talking about astronauts and asked Liam if he still wants to be one when he grows up or if he is just going to be a police officer (for the longest time he was going to do both, and maybe even be a police officer in space to give tickets to speeding shuttle craft!) Now his dream job when he grows up? "I want to be a Mama just like you and have a little boy!" Awwwwww! We did remind him of his lack of uterus and that maybe he can be a Daddy when he grows up. He seems okay with that, and is making plans to "borrow" is friend Amy's uterus so that she can have babies for him. I'm sure Amy's parents will be thrilled!
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
A genuine master of the air, the swallow swoops low along the ground at
high speed, changing direction in the blink of an eye.
Growing up, my parents barn was full of barn swallows. Every corner of every outdoor building had their little mud nests hidden amongst the rafters. And I hated them. Mostly because they hated me. I kept my bike in one of the sheds and every year a family of swallows would nest right above the door. So every time I tried to get my bike out or put it away Mummy and Daddy swallow would go on alert and try to attack me before I could attack their nest. They would swoop and dive and I would cover my head with my arms and run screaming into the house.
As a result I now have a full blown phobia of birds.
My biggest fear is that a bird is going to swoop towards me and get their beak stuck in my forehead.
Yeah.. when you type it out it sounds pretty dumb. When the birds are swooping at you it seems very realistic!
And that is what caused yesterday's freak out. Liam and I were walking home from soccer when out of no where a Blue Jay came swooping at my head! He pulled up at the last second but I still felt his feet brush through my hair. He landed on a tree branch at my eye level right behind me! Before you think that I'm exaggerating due to my already quite pronounced phobia, let me tell you what Liam's reaction was. Keep in mind that Liam is 2 feet shorter then I am, so he did not have the same bird's eye view that I did! He saw the bird coming at us, screamed and DUCKED! Because of my recent falling-down-the-stairs injury I was not able to move very quickly and really, it happened so fast that I don't think I could have ducked anyway.
It was all I could do to not freak out in front of Liam. One of my parenting goals has been to NOT pass on my weirdnesses and phobias. Luckily we were only a few houses from home so I was able to send him running ahead to tell Mummy all about it. I made it home to find Hilary laughing in the doorway (spouses are SOOOO supportive of their partners fears aren't they?)
I think I'll be carrying an umbrella with me for the rest of the summer! Either to protect my forehead or to use as a bat for any incoming projectiles!
I have 4 pictures to show you, and with each one the blue covering it will get smaller. Think you can guess what it is? Give it a try!! Leave up to 2 guesses a day in the comments and be sure to come back to see the next picture tomorrow.
She didn't say anything about the email, so all is well!
The down side is that I won't be able to see her when I'm in Ontario. I arrive the evening of June 24th and she is scheduled for surgery the morning of the 25th. Madelaine has taken the full week off to help her with her recovery, so she will be around meaning that I can't be.
Now I'm having weird soap-opera type thoughts of sneaking into the hospital dressed up as a Doctor just to say hi! Hmmmm....maybe not.
Of course, her going into surgery brings up the anxiety of "what if". What if she dies? Nobody knows about me, so nobody will know to tell me. I'll be back to reading the obits daily.
Secrets SUCK!!! So if you are in a position where you keep one of these life-altering secrets, BUCK UP!! Tell people, be brave, get it all out in the open. In the end it will be better for everyone. It can't be worse then this.
Monday, June 2, 2008
- Nothing to earth shattering has been going on of late. Well, that's not entirely true... I shattered the earth yesterday when I fell down our stairs. They were wet from Liam washing them (his normal Sunday job) and I was being very careful going down them, all the time explaining to Liam that he should wait at the bottom because it wasn't safe. Then BOOM down I went. I went down on my butt, which bore the brunt of the injuries. My left cheek is now a lovely collage of black, blue and purple. My left forearm is banged up as well, but at least nothing is broken.
- Liam only has 2 weeks of school left! I can't believe that the year has gone by so quickly. They had their fair last week, showcasing their work for this term. They studied bioluminescent creatures of the sea. Liam focused on the Elephant ear Sponge. I had to Google it, as I had never heard of it before. Here's a picture for everyone else who has never heard if it either!
And this is Liam's interpretation: