Friday, November 30, 2007

Feeb Feeb Feeb Feeb

Total and utter feeb, card-carrying, any dumber and I'd need to be watered, feeb. So we missed Jaynie. As we pulled into the airport parking terrace with plenty of time to spare, I even commented how nice it was to be at the airport without being pushed for time or up the entire night before. Jane's instructions were for Northwest flight #### arriving terminal 2. We got inside and the arrival board showed only Delta flights which I confirmed with the friendly gent behind the information desk, no other flights besides Delta. So we hauled over to terminal 2 and watched the arrival board, Northwest flight #### until it just disappeared off the board. It never said landed, or arriving or squat and then it was gone. What it DID say, and this is where the density issue arises, baggage claim SIX which is NOT in terminal 1, but, where it should be when there is a CO-SHARE flight with Delta, over in terminal 2 where Jane said the damn flight was going to land. Although I'd like to blame the info desk guy for not say, oh, but sometime Delta CO-SHARE flights land at terminal 2, this was all on me. Especially when you add to the whole picture that I was standing in terminal 2 for over an hour because I had convinced myself that since there was no other family waiting for them, that Jane was obviously going to step off a 24 hour travel day and drive them all back out to Vernal powered by true grit and pioneer spirit. And my tiny mind was okay with that, that Jane's husband and other children where fine to just wait for them to drive out from Salt Lake and they'll all just see them later tonight providing that Jane could keep a car between the lines after a marathon adoption trip and return flight. Feeble, feeble, feeble minded. I just got my ass whipped by an airport arrival board. I am so ashamed. By the time I got smart and headed back to terminal 2, it was way too late and we missed them. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap. Plus I had to be a good model to show my own kids how to handle disappointment and aggravation when all I really wanted to do was windmill my arms and jump up and down on the bag of treats from the Asian market that we stopped to buy on the way to the airport. I thought we were going to share a special moment with one of Nora's friends from the old days and be useful, or something, and I blew it and that blows. Now we'll have to drive out to Dinosaurland to meet the lovely Miss Jaynie and who knows when the dinosaurs will be migrating. Crap.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sharing the Joy

A local family (mom and older brother are making the trip) are in Guangxi RIGHT NOW, even as I type, adopting this stunning beauty. Her name is now Jayne (Jaynie) and she is a contemporary of Nora's, there is only a few months difference in their ages. Unfortunately, Jaynie sat on the back burners longer than Nora had to wait for whatever the hell reasoning goes behind whose files the SWI prepares and sends to the CCAA in what order and when.

And from all reports, Jaynie is having a smooth transition, no trauma, no terror, so far and I wish them all continuing ease as they learn to love each other.

And typing this reminds me to mention that I am a fraud. I get nods from folks thanking me for my honesty about the sometime rocky road to attachment in adoption, but I'm not that honest. I don't want anyone to worry about Nora or think that I'm a monster mom and that Nora should be removed from my home so that she can get the kind of parent she deserves, that all children deserve. I do keep my own counsel a little bit, which you wouldn't really suspect considering I spill on an open blog all the time.

But I read the piece I submitted to Love's Journey 2 from the day in Nanning when I stepped between Nora and an elephant with a head cold and tried to write about how I knew my feeling for Nora would grow and I would learn to love her as much as I drool and fawn over my other three. That I was confident that I would reach the same peak of adoration and all would be right with the world. Well, I haven't. I love that little girl and I would take a bullet/bus/runaway cement truck for her, but maybe not on a day when her behaviors had stomped all over my last nerve and I just look at her and think, when? when little girl? what next? how do we get past this? when do the flood gates open because waiting for erosion/gravity/tiny spoonfuls is hard, not impossible, but hard.

I actually gave in and let my mother take Nora last weekend under the guise of giving Nora a Grandma weekend (all the other girls have had opportunities to stay at g'ma's house without the other three) when the truth was, I needed a non-Nora weekend for myself. Almost two years into our relationship and I needed respite care and not because she did anything that outrageous, but just the accumulation of small annoyances that builds up and I just needed. Away. And I won't lie, it was pretty nice with just the first three because they are so easy to be around, so easy to parent, falling off a log, hands tied behind my back easy to parent, you get the picture. Although, objectively, there is nothing in particular that I can point to that Nora does that is not absolutely consistent with ordinary, run-of-the-mill six-year-old (slightly immature) behavior. She tries hard to meet my expectations, but what six-year-old can mind their p's and q's 24/7? When Mimi and YuYu are tired or crabby and not completely compliant, I don't get freaked out by that in any way, I roll with it, that's what I do. Maybe because I can't predict when Nora is going to lose it, not related to sleep or blood sugar, and I'm on guard all the time for the WHAM: well here's an inappropriate behavior exhibiting a lack of impulse control, the tension builds and I over react.

I really need to loosen up. And I have. I bribe Nora with good things so that she will behave at school and I have recently been dangling a trip to the movie house to see Disney's new princess movie that's out in a few days, love the hype. Nora messed up at school on Monday (after 5 consecutive good days) and I backed down because I realized the punishment (leaving her home with a sitter) would be way too harsh. She helped me fold and put away clothes to earn back her good to go status. I'm not completely uneducable, but close.

So, as we move into a 5-day holiday where I am expected to be a full-time parent and cannot escape to my office like I usually do, wish us luck. Just as I wish Jaynie and her new family all the best as they celebrate their first turkey feast (minus the turkey, substitue the dumplings) together in Guilin.

Monday, November 12, 2007

To Disney, and beyond

I took my computer with me on the Disney trip, but I was way too bushed by the time we got back to the room every evening to even think about opening it up. During the time it took for the computer to boot up, I would have fallen asleep anyway. So I have no contemporaneous descriptions of our experiences, but it’s not like I need to reliably recreate a crime scene from memory, so no loss, but if I hadn’t needed Mapquest that weekend, hauling the laptop around the Western US would have been a completely useless activity.

So, quick trip recap:

We left Thursday morning and drove through to Las Vegas and checked into the seminar hotel and walked into a room bigger than our back yard. The girls thought they were finally in surroundings worthy of their heretofore unrecognized status as descendants of Kings.
Wow, who does excess like Las Vegas? On Friday, my best friend’s brother, SIL and teen-aged niece threw themselves into non-stop girl entertainment while I attended the seminar. On Friday evening , after getting the full run down about the day’s activities, bowling, hot-tubbing, decorating Halloween cookies, board games, dress ups, Disney Channel (big treat, we don’t have cable) and hours of Capture the Princess, I started to get a little worried that Disney would be a huge let down for them. The girls loved their day in LV and I can’t ever thank Phil, Mary and Megan enough. Ever. Not to mention the bags of incredibly cute and hardly ever worn hand-me-downs from Megan. I can’t even begin to calculate how much I will save in not having to buy blue jeans alone. So glad I drive a van. We're talking BIG bags of loot.

Speaking of driving a van, on Saturday morning we left LV and headed out for So. Cal. We hooked up with the Ellison family just outside of LV and I followed them the rest of the way until I peeled off in Anaheim (they were staying the night a litter further south). I tell you kid, that’s the only way to drive, I just sort of drafted off Stephen the whole way down. He picked the lanes, when to pass, the freeway links and I just followed in my ovine mini van. So relaxing, the only way to fly.

It seemed like I blinked and we arrived in Orange County on Saturday afternoon, so we had time to check into our hotel room and then zoom over to Newport Beach so the girls could put their toes in the sand and say they’ve seen the Pacific Ocean. This was YuYu and Nora’s first glimpse of an ocean, that I know of anyway.

YuYu could have stayed all evening and gone back every day. The next big vacation will have to be beach oriented for my YuYu Bee. She just loved it.

The kids had a GREAT time in Disney. I had fun having fun with them and sharing their Disney Character, live, in the flesh, euphoria.

Nora was pretty good, for Nora. When she went through turnstiles, she kept purposefully trying to wham whichever kid was in back of her with the turnstile, like no one would notice that she was aiming and timing the twist. After the third day of that, and many calm warnings and always trying to grab her to go last, I finally lost my temper with her on the Disneyland train stop in New Orleans Square. A fine scene for everyone waiting for the train to see: overwrought Mom hissing in small, tired, hot daughter’s face until she cried. It wasn’t so much the whamming that made me so angry, it was the insincere apology she bit out to Mimi that made me fly apart. Nora, as always, was only sad that she got caught, not that she was leaving bruises on her sisters every time she managed to get in front of them in a turnstile. But after herding four kids under ten years old through Disney single handedly without ever losing any of them, if that was the worst of it, I think I should get the freaking mother of the year award.

I tell you kid (my mom has a friend that peppers her conversations with “I tell you kid,” even though they are both over seventy now), the constant vigilance of keeping track of them wore me down to the nubs. And I do mean constant, “C’mon Meems, fast feet, fast feet,” “Nora Bud, if you can’t stay by me, I’m going to tie you to me with a rope, I swear to God,” “YuYu Bee, please please please keep up,” “Girls stay together, stay together, please, keep me in your sight,” “Ellie, thank you little friend, I could NOT do this without you, you are the best.” It is just very very tiring, but all the Disney moments, “MOM!! That’s Ursula, she’s REAL!!,” made it completely worthwhile, although we won’t be doing Disney again soon, I need a spiritual rest. And the girls need to run A LOT of excess adrenalin out of their systems.

We met up with with the Ellisons in Disney on Sunday afternoon (THEE CHI family (you kind of need the local cultural reference to understand that one, e.g., Thee Church, and be conversant in Chinese WC adoption lore)) for a really nice party at the home (well the g’parents’ home, but oh, wow, so nice, what a treat) of a So. Cal CHI family in Encino on Sunday afternoon.

It was also a very real pleasure to get reacquainted with So. Cal Super Parents C and D and meet the two children they’ve brought into their family since the first time we met a few years ago here in Zion.

Okay, maybe it’s just me, but bombing down the Hollywood Freeway with exit signs for all the great streets of song and film flying past, it just gives me a tingle. I also had the privilege a meeting an efriend in the flesh: a calm and fun single mom from the Bay area and her darling, darling, precocious is the understatement of the century, child L, and if I get her permission, I’ll post some pictures and a link to their own blog. D and I mistimed Monday evening and didn’t get around to feeding our kids until 9:00 pm at the IHOP on Harbor Blvd. YuYu, my waif, almost fell asleep on her pancakes; she just does not have a very deep well to draw from when she’s low on sleep. So maybe that admission nixes my mom of the year trophy, but, hey who knew only two of four logs were running on Splash Mountain? And once you’re inside the mountain, tough luck brother, you’re stuck, ride or die.

And, of course, the Highlight with a capital High: The Princess Lunch at Ariel's Grotto. You can't put a price on princess love, unless of course you're Disney, but a chance to meet the "real" princesses, priceless (Is VISA/Mastercard/evil consumer credit lender still running that contest for a write your own ad? I might be onto something).

We trick or treated on Tuesday evening at California Adventure and that was pretty fun too. Lots of characters were out and about and the Disney people had treat stations set up around the park and my kids who were worried about missing out on Halloween if we didn’t get back home in time the next day, got pounds of candy that night. Those Disney folks covered all the bases. That’s what makes them great.

I drove straight through from Anaheim to home on Wednesday; can I say thank you thank you and a few Hosannas to the gods of ceiling installed DVD players? and still made it back home in time to trick or treat on Halloween (not bad time, I drive fast, but safe, fast but safe). But it went something like this: Pulling into the garage at 7:30 pm. “Girls, quick, get your coats on, run downstairs, find a crown in the dress up box, grab your treat bag (already full from the Halloween party at California Adventure) and let's RUN! before it gets too late.” I tell you kid, after hitting all the houses on our street and the circles, we got back to the house around 8:45 pm where it finally caught up with me. After driving them like cattle for the past many days, not enough sleep and 12 hours of continuous driving, I was actually shaking from fatigue. The girls, on the other hand, slept a lot of the way back, were wired on candy and PST (to them it felt like 7:45 pm), and that was a bad combination. I made them brush their teeth and go to bed even though they were not ready or even tired, and I fell into bed, splitting head, and tried to sleep. Kind of an anti-climatic end to a really fun vacation, but such are the physical limitations of single parenting.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

We're here, we're here

Just a quick drive by to end any needless worrying by our internettie friends over our health and/or well being. We are hale and well, but technology is conspiring agains my middle-aged ass, I crowed too loudly about being hip and with it. The universe is letting me know that I am neither and that I must take a smack down.

Somehow, someway, the DSL connection on our home computer punked out. I know the DSL line still works because when I drag my laptop home to work into the wee hours, because that's what lawyers do, don't know a one that doesn't work long hours and if you do, let me know because I want to practice in that area, I have no problem connecting. I need to call Daniel the computer geek guy who fixes my messes over to the house to fix it, but then I think, well, as long as I have to pay for a home visit, why don't I drag the other extra tower home from the office, make space, get another station ready for him to connect to the little home network because God knows I'm incapable, but then I don't because that would take effort and I'm low on effort/energy whatever it takes to do much more than clean an occasional bathroom, occasionally.

So the days go by and I think about things to blog in my head, there are things that are reportable in our lives because, after all, we just got back from the Disney pilgrimage AND a pipe burst on the third floor of my office building (my office space is in 1898 school building, really cool, exposed brick and all, but recently sold and set to be entirely renovated for an entirely different purpose and I'm moving in 23 days anyway) and I got flooded out of my office (gross, yuck, so discouraging) and that was really fun yesterday, not to mention anytime you try to get away from your office when you're self-employed, it takes a truly Herculean effort to nail enough flapping ends down so that you don't commit malpractice or neglect during the time you are gone and that kind of contributed to the blog silence. Plus, I'm feuding with my erstwhile law partner, jackass, and that is emotionally draining me more than I like to admit, jackass.

And Nora has been spitting on other kids. She had a bad week in October, there was a flurry of yellow and red behavior write-up cards flying out of her back pack every evening, but she pulled it together and strung several "green card" days in a row, I fussed and made a big commotion over her good behavior, but this week, she's spitting, disrepecting, not listening, disrupting, again. If there was ever a kid that should have come with an instruction manual, this is the kid.

So, I'd love to share the Disney photos, pictures of true princess love, and I'll take my laptop home this weekend, if only to protect it from any other mishap in the last month I have left in this building, and do a little uploading.

Thanks for the concern, I'll get back in the swing of things some day, maybe, or not.