Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Toddler Terror & Rasta Dog

I have raised, at least partially, 4 sons.  Boys who everyone told me were the busiest of the child creatures.  "4 boys?  Wow! How do you do it?"  people would ask.  "Oh, it's busy but I love it" I would reply. 

Little did I know that those 4 boys were simply basic training for parenting a toddler girl.  Or at least THIS toddler girl!

Having 3 toddler boys and a newborn baby boy at home was a BREEZE compared to Miss Curious and her counterparts Miss Tiny and Miss Precious.  All 3 babies are now one year old.  Miss Curious is actually 11 and simply trapped in a one year old's body but that is besides the point. 

Either I cursed her or accurately read the future when I named her Miss Curious for the blog's sake.  She is into EVERYTHING. 

Looking back on the boys toddler years I have the few obligatory pictures of  Tanner getting into my lipstick, or the time Greg painted his nails, and Eric was a bit more of a handful hiding food under his bed or eating candy when he wasn't supposed to. 

With Miss Curious, I take a picture a day.  A DAY.  Today (and its only just after lunch time)  she got down a tin of coffee grounds and dumped it onto the kitchen floor to make a sand box.  Then she ate at least a tablespoon or more.  All this while I was putting the two little ones down for a nap.   While I got the babies up from their nap she figured out how to turn the spiggot on my laundry detergent (after getting into a closed door).  Yesterday she emptied a jar of nuttella on herself and her sister.

But the highlight of my week?  The jar of loc'ing wax.  You don't know what that is?  Ahhh let me tell you ... its a beeswax based product that comes in a jar - with a screw top lid.  It is SPECIFICALLY for locing hair into  locs or dreads.  In other words its incredibly sticky stuff and made to NOT come off, of anything.

Back to my story ...

It was playgroup day and the babies were needing changing and packing up into the truck.  When you have 3 kids that need to be put into carseats you realize that it is a PROCESS.  Miss Curious cannot be left outside while I load the non-walking babies as she is a "bolter" (again my first child that lives to run down the road to see the interesting dogs and cars down the block) but I could see her happily playing in the corner of the kitchen with the dog and some random toy.  All was good.  All were safe. 

I loaded the babies and came back to grab my precious almost-two-year-old. 

She was covered.  COVERED in wax.   "Kweeme Mommy?"  she asked.

"Nooooooooooo" I wailed for probably the 47th time that day.

And then I saw the dog. 

Annie would like to know that she isn't overly thrilled with being a Jack Russell with waxed locs.  I would like you to know that loc wax is incredibly difficult to get out of baby hair. 

It is impossible to get out of dog hair.

Three days later, she is covered in dirt and dust that won't come out, Miss Curious has hair that looks like it has been soaked in grease and I think that quite possibly the couch is ruined.

In case you ever wonder, all the things that parenting your first four children teach you is thrown out the window for number five.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Avoid reading if you are disgusted by parental pride

I am really, really proud of all my kids and all their successes big and small.  I think that goes without saying.  Yeah we have struggles and challenges as all parents do.  And yes we have challenges and successes that are directly related to being a transracial adoptive family or a foster family or parents of  kids that were adopted from the foster care system.  But that is not the totality of our life.  Our life is full of normal things like hockey practices and jumping on the trampoline and playing in the bathtub and running out of milk.

But sometimes your kid just succeeds and is recognized.  And I am really, really proud to say that Greg, our oldest son, earned a spot on the U16 BC Cup Zone 8 roster.   There were 12 spots for forwards available and he tried out against some of the best 15 year old hockey players in a huge expanse of our province and the Northern Territories that stretched from Whitehorse down to 100 Mile house.   It's a big deal in his life and we are very proud of him.  It wasn't easy but he did it. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pink Icing and Lace

A sweet baby with a sweet smile.

Gingham and flocking.  Satin ribbons and chocolate cupcakes.

A day of healing balm.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hard Reminder Days

I have talked and talked on here about the last first birthday party I threw. 

And now I have to plan another. 

And fate would have it that it is just days before we stand before a judge and hear our future. 

And my every cell screams at me that I could lose her too, right after her first birthday.

Just like I lost another before.

Right after her first birthday.

And it's really, really hard.

I remind myself to breath.  To smile.  To get through the day. 

To celebrate the life of this child I love with all my heart.

I want to scream and wail and cry. 

Instead I will order cupcakes and string up balloons. 

And I will share the day with another mother who is on the brink of losing her daughter.

Right after her first birthday. 

One baby. 

Two mothers.

One birthday.

I Know I am a Prude ... BUT?

My sister brought my kids some Easter candy last week. 
We cracked open our packages of pop-rocks and immediately started to giggle. 


The under 12 crew ate their candy without concern. 

Jess and I were laughing so hard we actually could NOT suck on those suckers in front of the kids. 

The big boys were thoroughly grossed out.  But not grossed out enough to STOP eating their candy.
In theory, those suckers are supposed to be a bunny nose with two bunny teeth sticking out.

Are you thinking what I am thinking?

Friday, March 12, 2010

What's That Light at the End of the Tunnel?

I am about to emerge from the 7 month long fog I have been living in.   This fog creeps into our lives, cold and icey, and steals all our free time in late August.  Early mornings, late evenings and certainly every weekend consumed and we entire the dark tunnel of our winters. 

But last night at about 10:30 pm I heard a large horn signalling this train was heading out of the icey fog and a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel became apparent.   So it might have just been the buzzer signalling the end of the third period of the last hockey game of the entire season, but still I saw light!

And I see lazy Saturdays in my future.  You know, lazy meaning I can finally get some house work done, or venture into our yard noone has touched since September.   Except the next tournament for "Spring Hockey" starts next weekend.

I had better enjoy tomorrow.

(all pictures courtesy of my Sister taken at this weeks Provincial Championships)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Strange Grief

I have gone through this before.  That strange ache to freeze time.  A pause button on life.  Maybe just the chance to slow the days down just a bit.

Caden was maybe 5 or 6, the other boys 9, 10 and 11.  We went to a Children's Festival in the park.  My oldest two were completely bored.  My third took almost an hour to join in.  My baby ran off to have a great time.  I looked around and realized that my then pre-teens were the some of the oldest children there.  An era was ending.  I grieved for several days with that deep ache only other mothers know underneath the smile on my face. 

My boys were growing up. 

I might have mentioned before that I LOVE being a mom.  I love especially being a mom of kids that willingly throw themselves into your arms and participate fully and joyfully in all things LIFE.  What I really, really love is that time period between ages 4 and 9 or so when a child gleefully embraces everything around them, openly adores their parents and is willing to try new things without the required peer approval that arrives somewhere around age 10.   Don't get me wrong, I love my teenagers and love my babies too, there is just something about a child that willingly invites you to participates in all areas of their life, and not just because they need you to wipe their bum or a ride to the mall!

Caden just turned 9.    Caden is my son that still tells me I am the most beautiful woman in the world at least once a day.  He wants nothing more than to be cuddled before bed.  He adores me with an unabashed love.  He is fun and sweet and sensitive and loving.  And he is growing up.  And before my eyes the last remnant of my baby boy is disappearing.  I want to pause and remember.  Freeze time before this slips through my fingers. 

He came home from school this week and didn't come racing up the stairs to say hello.  He hid down there to play his DS which is NOT allowed on a school night.  He disobeyed.  Alas, of course a normal turn of events in most children's lives.  Just not HIS yet.  He is growing up.  The lure of the Nintendo more than the fear of getting in trouble by his mom.  A true sign of maturity.

And yet last night before bed he crawled into my lap and begged for a snuggle.  The remnant of my baby remains. 

I grieve the end of another era but I will celebrate and accept that I can not hold back time.  I am the mother of teenagers.  I am the mother of babies.  And I am now the mother of a definite "middler".  And the reality that in a few short years a child will leave home, then another and then one more nips at the back of my
mind and I hold these precious memories close.  I will freeze time in my memory. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Adoption Thoughts: Drugs and Your Teenager

I have a confession.  It's shocking and startling in this day and age, and probably for many almost unbelievable however it is true.  Ready?

I have never done any sort of illegal drug.  Ever.  Not once.   In fact, I have never even smoked a single cigarette.  Not one. 

My teenage angst consisted of taking one or two sips of a cooler before dumping them out in my friend's garden and recording "secular" music onto a cassette tape. 

Drugs never even tempted me. Ever.  Smoke made me cough and the people on drugs were losers.  I didn't need that to have fun or dull the pain.  And so I managed to navigate my youth relatively unscathed. 

And honestly, this is the life I would want for my boys  but my boys are growing up today, not twenty years ago and their world is almost baffling to me in it's differences.  The boys are of the age where their access and exposure to drugs is almost daily.  My oldest attends a high school of 900 students.  If he wanted drugs he most certainly could have them.  My second son has friends with siblings that both deal and use.  My third son had a child dealing pot in his SIXTH GRADE classroom last year.

My lack of experience or education does not mean that there is any escaping that drugs have already touched our lives deeply.  Our reality is simply that I became their mother because of drugs.  Or, I suppose, because of an addiction to drugs.  Not mine  (Advil anyone?) but others.

Because of drugs my sons lost their first family and their first country.  Their community.  Their connections.

Because of drugs, their biological father will spend the vast majority of his life incarcerated.  Their biological mother will not know them as the boys they are today or see them become men tomorrow.

Because of drugs our family grows today.

And so I have to educate my sons about drugs and addictions and the costs and the pressures.  And I educate them about genetic predispositions to addiction.

I hate it.  I hate the judgement that might be read into my words, the labels that must be placed on their family of birth; the extremely clear discussions of personal choice and responsibility, tempered by a biological reality of addiction. 

Their reality is not my reality but their reality IS my responsibility.  I MUST educate them because their genetics demand I do.

"Experimentation" is not an option when trying it once might result in a life time of addiction.  And so I educate them, and read to them, and honestly, do my very best to scare them away from that which would ever try to hold them captive in its destructive vortex because I intend to break the icey grip of the cycle of addiction that has stolen so much from my sons and their first family. 

Is that realistic?  Are my expectations fair?

How do you approach talking about drugs with your kids?

How do you plan on approaching talking about drugs with your kids if addiction is a genetic reality in your family or in their family of birth?