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Archive for June, 2006

Surpised by Joy

The sun came out while I wasn’t looking. Literal references aside (it’s a gorgeous day here–the sun is hot but the breeze is cool), I just realized, just today as I was working through a chapter of essays on modern Irish poetry, that I am doing well.

And I thought, how did that happen? I think of posts like this one and this one, and wonder how I got here. I’m not just talking about finally expecting a child that, barring remote unforeseen tragedies, I can actually expect to parent, or our exciting exodus to the midwest, though certainly these are good things. It has to do with a sense of being driven toward something possible. And I don’t just mean the disseratation either, though the dissertation certainly gives the feeling shape.

The evidence of the change is in my daily habits; in the fact that I did yoga today; in my focused reading sessions that are becoming longer and longer; in a moderately clean house complete with folded laundry and clear counters; in a family notebook full of budgets and plans for the next month; in the calmness and efficiency with which I executed the handling of a side-swiping incident involving our already piece-of-crap car; and the overall physical and psychic feeling of strength. I noticed today that I am confident, even, assured.

It has nothing to do with external things, though as I’ve said, they help. I think it came into focus as I was doing the Tree pose. I started by saying to myself, “I am grounded…in my community, in my family…” then stopped, and remembered that families and communities regularly vanish, and that their vanishing would not mean my own. I started again: “I am rooted in the earth, in God, and in the energy that flows from him.” And that’s it. I suddenly know it. The strength with which I have been gifted, unexpectantly, for the nourishment of my new son and all of the things I have to be to the people I love, is in me like a steel rod, holding up my spine.

What a thing to take with me from Pittsburgh, the steel city.

I am a lioness, basking in the sun.

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Safe Little Snapper

I haven't been posting much because I haven't been able to keep my cleaning schedule consistently until this week.  I didn't make it a rule for myself, but if I have housework hanging over my head I feel horribly guilty about blogging.  I am also attempting to make dissertation reading a priority which cuts into blog time as well.

It's hard not to think about the differences between pregnancy and adoption.  We spent the last year going through what they call a "psychological pregnancy" waiting for not-Boomer, and despite the similarities in longing and expectancy, I find that a physical pregnancy is very different.  I am beginning to understand why almost everyone else goes to adoption only after problems with getting or staying pregnant; in our experience a normal, planned pregnancy (so far, knock on wood) is a hell of a lot less stressful than a normal (ha, ha) adoption.  My perception is probably way off.  We spent a year not being "most" people: "most" people can adopt a healthy a.a. infant within a year; "most" social workers write your homestudy before you are matched, not right after the baby's born; "most" first parents do not change their adoption plans.  We were clearly not "most" people.  But this pregnancy has been normal and boring, except for some innocuous spotting at nine weeks. I'm continually amazed that this child is still with us.  I know it must sound silly–most people don't have trouble conceiving and make it past the first trimester without miscarriage.  We have sailed through those gates through sheer luck or blessing or whatever.  And I am most amazed.

For the moment the thing I am most thankful for is that I know exactly where the Snapper is and I know that he is safe.  After the ultrasound I really started to bond with this child, to feel that he is a person and I am his mama.  I had a pretty intense emotional experience in yoga last night, in which I was suddenly filled with this surge of strength and assurance.  I am the Snapper's mother–I can do anything. I had this feeling of motherly mightiness right after we got the call for not-Boomer, even though I had never laid eyes on him and I was not his mother at that point.  It left me immediately upon learning that he would stay with his first mother.  I honestly didn't know I could feel like that again, but I do and it's fantastic.  This feeling of strength is accompanied by the most intense relief that he is with me and is safe.  American Family's most recent post is absolutely heartbreaking, and although my child-t0-be was in someone else's womb and not in an orphanage, in a sense I know what she means.  To feel responsible for another life and not to be able to physically love and protect that life yourself is absolutely gut-wrenching.  It is part of every adoption, and it is so hard.  In a strange way I look forward to having that feeling again when we go back to adoption, because it's a unique part of adoption expectancy. But damn, it is nice knowing that the Snapper is right here.  I told Attic Man yesterday that for the first time I am sad that the Snapper is going to grow up.  I mean, what I am going to do when I can't have him right here?  Thank goodness I have five more months to go.  It must be why pregnant women are so uncomfortable at the end.  Otherwise maybe they'd choose to keep their babies safe forever instead.

I love this little boy and I love carrying him.  I can't wait to see how our family comes together in the next few years. 

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Happy, Happy, Boy, Boy!

We found out today that the newest member of the Boomerific family has a "little wiggly," as the ultrasound tech put it.  He was hiding in a pretzel under my belly button when we got our first look, but we poked him and he started kicking.

He also appears to have the massive forearms of the males on Attic Man's side of the family.  I am gestating a future dock-worker.

The best thing that happened today, though, is that I am EXCITED for the first time.  There was too much that could go wrong before this ultrasound and now that I know everything measures the way it should, I am unabashedly ecstatic.  Attic Man couldn't stop grinning when the tech announced the sex.  I believe that only the size of the room prevented him from getting up and dancing.

We're having a son.  We have a son.

Finally.

*** 

p.s.–previa resolved.  thank goodness. 

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Saturday morning my friend A. and her son met her daughter and his sister for the first time. I. was to fly in from Ethiopia with her new father, A.'s husband.

A. and I have gone through much of the adoption process together. In a way I feel happy for me even though this is their joy. Does that make sense? I guess it's that I love this family so much and I have seen all that they've gone through to bring a second child into their home that it feels like a ray of hope for anybody who's trying to adopt.

It has also reminded me of how separate this pregnancy is from our desire to adopt. This weekend I have felt a strong, almost phyisical pull back to adoption. I think it was the combination of I. coming home and seeing lots of babies of color on Saturday night (if you're new here, the baby we almost adopted was A.A.). I mentioned to Attic Man how much I want that moment of meeting my child in a hospital, airport, orphanage, or adoption agency. He remarked that it makes perfect sense: we spent a year carving out a place in our hearts for a moment like that, and we will feel that space until it is filled.

When we heard that everyone in A.'s family was back safely and that her little family was now complete, I couldn't stop crying (damn pregnancy hormones!). I spent an hour before going to sleep trying to sort it all out, but I think I'm just overwhelmingly happy that my friend doesn't have to suffer through long waits, social worker incompetence, paperwork mishaps, and most of all, longing for her daughter. This woman, who is already an incredible mother to her first child, a loving wife, and a wonderful colleague and friend to me, deserves this happiness. It is long overdue.

***

Thanks for all the questions about how I'm feeling–which is great! I can't really feel the Snapper move yet, though I can usually tell where he/she is, if that makes sense. I also SWEAR I felt him/her during a particularly intense moment of percussion/bass in a Gov't Mule concert.

The BIG news is that we have an ultrasound on Wednesday. It's the BIG one, so we will have an announcement to make about what crushing social burdens the Snapper will have to take on, whether it be a history of subjegation or one of violence and misogyny. At least the clothes-buying will be clear-cut (which is, of course, part of the problem). Unless we have a shy baby, that is.

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Moving Task #1

Accomplished: sorting clothing into wear now, pack, and give away.  Yipee!  It took me about an hour and a half.  There are still a few things in the wash I'll need to throw in a box I left open, but I'm considering it DONE!

I'm also working on my emotional moving tasks, and so far it's going alright.  A month or two ago I was dreading this move.  I am excited to go to Iowa, but I have some bad childhood and adolescent moving traumas that are revisiting me hard-core.  Now, I know I'm an adult and that most likely making friends will be easier this time.  It's just hard to get rid of those old feelings.

Just yesterday I got the moving bug.  We're going on an adventure!  I got a burst of energy and started to plan and budget.  Although I'm not a natural planner, planning makes me feel calmer and more in control.  So I spent all yesterday afternoon budgeting for our upcoming trips (to my husband's uncle's confirmation, the beach with my parents, and the big apartment hunting trip) and today I began the first of many Saturday Moving Tasks.  If I keep it up things will be so much easier come moving day.  I have adult moving traumas, too, mostly having to do with running out of time, and worse, money.  This time I am determined to make sure we do neither.  I don't need any more stress.  Moving is hard enough.

Questions for my readers: what percentage of our moving budget should I add on for unforseen expenses?  I want to have some padding but I'm not sure just how much we'll need.  Also, what little details would an absent-minded person like me be likely to forget, or what little things did you do for your move that made it more successful?  For example, this time I'm budgeting for trip-food for the day we pack through two days after we arrive.  I can't imagine I'll be making it to the grocers the day we move in.  Any advice would be great! 

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Well, the honeymoon is over–and I don't mean the romance or passion or whatever. I mean that we have reached that point in our lives where the world and our schedules are crowding into our home time so much that we are now scheduling to spend a half-hour talking every day together. What a bummer. It's a nice half-hour though.

Things are still busy and very hard. Yesterday a good friend came over for tea and to pleasure-read while I graded. It was nice to have the company, and it prevented me from boiling over into a frothy mess. Bomb diffused. She's coming over tonight, too. She's also taking care of our dogs when we go to the beach with my parents. Saintly, I tell you!

The cleaning schedule is not going well but it is at least going. I am not going to worry about rewards and consistency until I work out how it fits into each day. It really is getting better, slowly. Just knowing how much we have in the bank account each day has been worth it.

Oh, and I love dissertating. Heaven.

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Despite what Kohana seems to think, I am not really on top of things.  I am, at best, alongside things, and at worst, drowning beneath them.  The last couple of days have been rough on the new schedule, and I may need to tweak it a bit.

1. I don't think I need to do two loads of laundry a day. I'm going to change the requirement to at least one so I keep up with it, but I have found myself running out of time, and today, out of actual laundry.  When the baby comes there will be much more of it, but for now I think I can cut back.

2. I'm considering allowing myself one day a week not to do any of my daily chores.  Some nights I am dog tired, or even sick, and I need sleep more than I need to mop up puppy prints.  Actually, this is my main dilemma: listening to my body vs. following the schedule.  Maybe I should do the night stuff earlier, like right after dinner.  Now that I think of it, the morning is no big deal, and the afternoon tasks together take 15 minutes, tops.  It's the nighttime that's hard.  It's the most labor-intensive and it's the time I'm most likely to fold on my plan.  What do you think–push it back?  I could add one night task to afternoon but all of it is geared toward closing down the house for the night. I don't want to mop in the afternoon just to have the dogs muddy it up again, or to leave crumbs for possible critters at night.  It's the same with running the dishwasher.  There are times, though, that my schoolwork is incredibly heavy and I end up having to sacrifice sleep to do it and the housework.  I cannot lose sleep right now.

3. One smart thing I've done is to give myself time limits on the major cleaning tasks.  I am resigned to the fact that I'm not going to have a sparkly clean house in one week after having let it go for so long.  So today I spent a half hour on the bathroom and no more.  It's partly because I am using actual cleaner (I'll go back to natural once the house is in order) and I don't want to breathe in the fumes that long.  But it's also because I plum can't stand to do anything for more than a half hour.  Next week I won't need to spend nearly as long on the tub, sink, or toilet, so I can move to purging magazines and sweeping up hair (and oh…the hair…!).I am completely resisting the urge to super-clean.  This is what a person with an ADD brain does: housecleaning is boring, so she doesn't do it; everything piles up, creating a clogged household and mind; she gets overwhelmed and angry; she super-cleans, working vigorously until exhaustion; becomes so sick and tired of cleaning that she never wants to do it again; everything piles up; and the cycle continues.  The only way that I've found to deal with the cycle is just not to participate in it.  I have to fight the impulse to get it all perfect (and perfectionism paired with an inability to complete tasks is another ADD trait which leads to frustration and a deep sense of defeat) and be willing to limit myself to a little at a time.  Starting and stopping is hard for me too, hence the time limits.

4. Really the theme of the whole process is It Will Get Easier.  I'm totally banking on this principle.  Already it's easier to keep the dining room table cleaner.  For one thing, cleaning up a month's worth of pile-up takes longer than a day's, and for another, I just don't put stuff there anymore.  Going through the mail as soon as I get it out of the box is not on the schedule officially, but if I do it I won't have to look at it junking up the table.  So I'm looking for everything to get easier and faster, both from practice and the pile-up principle.

5. I swear the dogs are happier.  I am not making this up.  First of all, it's stimulating for them, especially Lenny, to see me do anything but watch TV, study, or surf blogs.  Second, they have more places to poop now that I clean it up every day.  They get seriously distressed if their favorite spots are full.  Most of all, though, I am happier and more even, which makes everybody feel better.

6. I still haven't come up with rewards.  I need your help!  What would motivate you?  I think I need to come up with daily as well as weekly rewards.  Right now if I miss a day I am ruined for the whole week, which makes me just want to give up.  I am thinking of hinging internet time on it.  Crazy, I know.

Well, gotta spend 15 min. in the office now.

If your house is dirty, I still love you.  I love you especially. 

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