Sunday, November 30, 2008

When she walked in...

I was completely unprepared. I was thinking thoughts like, "Am I holding the bottle at the right angle?" and "He's so close to my body. I wonder if he notices my smell? Of course he notices my smell. Can I figure out a way to smell more familiar to him? Hmmph, I don't see anything nearby that could change my smell"...these were my thoughts. Yes, they were in regard to Jude, but totally and completely self-centered thoughts. The first hours I spent with him I was in a constant swirl of thought, unable to slow my brain to reason, yet at the same time, feeling such warmth and love, as the nurturing, nesting mama mode kicked in. I knew I felt pain for him. My greatest joy, becoming his mom, was the result of so much pain. So much loss on his part.
But, there was one moment, one moment when I understood a glimpse. I never wrote about this, because it was too much. Too powerful of an experience for words. Too raw. Now, almost a year later I feel like I can begin to touch it and hopefully, next summer, I can hope to try to make a small touch of it right. Although just a faint touch.
I'm glad I had witnesses. Without them, I fear I would have transformed it into a dream.
The upstairs of the Thomas Center, the care center where Jude lived for 5+ months, is where we spent a good part of our days. Learning how to take care of our precious little babes. Tommy had gone to the Embassy to turn in visa paperwork. Our travel companions were the types of people you instantly feel comfortable with. Our conversation was friendly, relaxed and real. In retrospect we were all probably doing the same dance of swirling and trying to nurture.
I was with Tesfahun when she walked in. I remember her face vividly. She was older. It's difficult for me to even guess her age. Her face was respectfully wrinkled. Especially around the eyes. Her eyes were very dark and made of water. She had one woman on each side of her. The three of them walked in purposely.
I didn't know to whom or where she was headed. I was a little taken aback when she approached me. As talkative as I am, I can initially be quite shy.
She spoke to me in English. I know that she had carefully chosen her words. She reached out to him and said, "Tesfesh"... He lit up when he saw her. His little body relaxed. Comfort. Peace. Most definitely love.
She looked at me, directly in the eyes. Holding my gaze with such intensity, I knew I couldn't glance away for a moment. It was a moment she had planned. It was her moment.
She stated calmly with much intent,
"I love him.
He is special.
He is a special baby.
He is happy."
Then the tears started as she repeated,
"I. Love. Him. I. Love. Him."
When she said his name, "Tesfesh" you could feel the love. You know when someone truly loves another, you can hear it in their voice. Especially when they say the person's name. Her "Tesfesh" was one of the most beautifully spoken words I had ever heard.
All I could whimper was "Thank you. Thank you for loving him."
She said each word earnestly. Each phrase was repeated for emphasis.
She handed me back our baby. She had brought support for this. Her support grabbed each of her arms as she broke and helped her to physically leave. The love she had for him is imprinted on his soul and will never leave. It will be passed down to his children. I heard her weeping. I felt her weeping. When I regained my ability to focus my eyes, I saw a roomful of tears. It was too much. It's still too much. I wish I could share with words her love. But, mothers know it.
She was not his by birth, but she is indisputably one of Tesfahun's mothers. He was her hope. As he is mine.

Happy to be home...

Our last few weekends were spent in San Jose/Santa Cruz, Austin, San Diego/Sea World and Murphy's/Arnold (northern CA). After our 7 hour drive yesterday, we are staying HOME for a few weeks. You can't make me go anywhere. Nope. Can't do it.
Good news? Playdates sound like A LOT of fun? Wanna come play?
I'll post pictures of some of our adventures after littles goes to sleep.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy 16 months Judah!

Please MAKE IT STOP! Seriously. Stop time already.
This is such an exciting time. Every single day he has new accomplishments that his mommy knows are miraculous. Today, for instance, he said "Scarlett" (our Whippet) SO clearly (/dardIt/) I thought I might fall over with pride. TWO step directions, NO PROBLEM. Oh, and he said, "Dada shoe" while lugging the huge shoe to give to his Daddy.
I know.
I can hardly take it too.
It's good stuff.
I'm a speech-language pathologist, this is the stuff I LIVE for.
Well, that, and how he insisted on giving EVERY person at daycare a kiss before he left today. It WAS his birthday and he felt special. That's pretty good stuff too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Siblings? No Siblings? What do you think?

I've talked with people who think that siblings are a must. I've also talked with only children who think they had it REALLY good and never wanted siblings.
We are currently one nauseatingly happy family. I know it's a question that only WE can answer, but we are having a tough time with it.
I love our family. As is. We still feel super mobile. I'm not worried AT ALL about traveling with our Jude, etc. He's EASY (not that EASY is an important attribute, but hard IS, well, HARD). But, I never want him to feel lonely.
Obviously, there is room in our hearts for many more. No matter what we decide, we will be thrilled and it will be perfect for us. We are not making any decisions in the near future. But, I still want input. Are people REALLY better off/happier with siblings? I'm not sure (this is by no means a diss on MY lovely siblings).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Leave it to me...

I've mentioned that I have an obsessive lil' noggin, right? Yup, it's true. So, leave it to me to turn a perfectly perfect night into a complete disaster because I obsessed myself into thinking that something perfectly perfect, perhaps, was not. I like to research things. I enjoy reading. I'm also a bit of a perfectionist in compartmentalized areas. Here's the problem: I got myself on an "attachment" phase. Yes, we are now SUPER attachers. We are basically either testing the attachment (adhering to all codes of ethics) or working on attachment building exercises. Last night's experiment went slightly awry, so I'll share.
Background info:
My son is a flirt. He likes socialization. A LOT. Jude prefers me when he hurts himself, is hungry, wants something, or to give kisses and hugs. But, if he's not needing me, and someone else he feels comfortable with is around, he'll let me know. He thinks nothing of telling me to back off.
So, I read. I think it's because I work full-time. It must be because he thinks he's "on his own" and needs to be friendly with everyone. I feel guilt and I get teary and panicky. If I didn't obsess, I'd honestly be in heaven. He loves me (and it's not just a one-sided "I love him so much I think he MUST love me back" love). What we've got is real and it's passionate.
BUT, I read and worry. Too much. Too obsessively. I want to be a better mom. I want to be perfect (which is obviously ridiculous).
SO, I try to convince Tommy last night (it took a very long time) that it's WRONG, VERY WRONG, that our baby sleeps through the night. WHAT IF, seriously, WHAT IF, JUDE doesn't think we are available to him during the night (thus, seriously compromising our attachment being secure). So, I decide, quite passionately that we (a) need to start stalking our child during the night, so that if he happens to wake he sees us, (b) need to co-sleep if the stalking happens to wake him up.
Oh, I have a lot more cerebral attachment crap going on, this is just what can be accomplished while our child is unconscious. Mind you, I do not have a meek child. Jude speaks his mind and even knows how to play me. I even know his baby style, ever so slightly manipulative "mama" that's for requesting bottles and when daddy's changing his diaper vs. the super sweet "mama" when he wants to give me sugar. I also know the demanding "mama" when I haven't met his needs quickly enough (he's still training me).
We went to bed. At 2:00 AM I hear Jude cough (I hope it's not due to the smoke, poor SoCal). No, it's not a terrible cough. It sounds shallow, harmless and not continuous. Regardless, we are on attachment mode, so I wake Tommy to create a plan. Our child is uncomfortable. It is NOW the perfect time to let Judah know we are there for him. Whenever he wants.
Tommy finally guesses, "should I wake him?"
I reply, "if you want." (read: if you want to be a good ATTACHED parent...although, it was never discussed that JUDE'S MOM, the one with the issues, wake her poor child. Remember: this is a 2:00 AM plan).
The GOOD parent goes in. He gently rubs Jude's back. Jude wakes, smiles and puts his hands up. Tommy takes him to our bed. Jude thinks it's morning. He laughs and plays. Then, since it's the middle of the night, he gets annoyed. Jude asks for his bottle. We've created a baby with edge. He's screaming the demanding "mama"...He's crazy tired. It took hours to put him back to bed.
Point: If YOU are thinking about waking your sleeping baby, DON'T. Babies apparently need their sleep. Tip: Just hang out with them while they are awake. Your husband and child will like you much better.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America. Land of Hope

I'm so happy for America. No matter what your political beliefs are, you have to FEEL it.

Truthfully, I've worried about Jude. I've spent a lot of time worrying about him. He is so perfect, so sensitive, so open. Of course I worry about any struggles he will face, as he'll face many. But, one struggle that I have held fearfully, is about race. I worry that he'll find aspects of being raised in a multicultural family difficult (although, coming from a multicultural family, I think the positives will well outweigh the difficulties). I worry about the day when someone will break his heart with a racist comment. I worry that he won't know what to say, and that he'll be angry later for his silence...and that he'll secretly cry himself to sleep because of it (this fear I have shamefully experienced). That, before he's old enough to logically process the hurtful ideas as "crazy", he'll question them...or worse, himself. Even just for a moment. Fearful that I won't do an adequate job preparing him. Therefore, I might even hurt him. I tear writing that.
This change changes those fears dramatically.
The US has spoken. The world has spoken. I can now look Jude in the eye and rest assured that the perfect color of his beautiful chocolate skin will never hold him back. From anything.
And my Jude has things to do.

Too much to say...

too teary to say it! I'll try again later.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I have such strong feelings about 8. I'll be blunt. I think it's WRONG. I've debated it. I've tried opening my mind to the "other" side. I've tried. I have. But, I've found it impossible. My core belief is that it is WRONG to discriminate. Every cell of my being cannot understand why someone would want to. I'm not posting this because I want to debate. I've heard the other side. Repeatedly. I don't understand. I can't. It's not my "agenda" (a word I've heard quite a few times in the great 8 debate) to argue the NO ON 8 side. I'm sharing my emotions because it's something I'm struggling with personally.
In 2000, I was at dinner with some of my oldest friends. It was the day Prop 22 passed, banning same-sex marriages . When one friend simultaneously mocked the idea of same-sex marriage and openly supported Prop 22 passing, I felt a strong mix of sadness and anger reach all the way to my toes. When I voiced my opinion, I was told "you don't understand."
Later, when I found out that a family member voted for it, I felt the same combination of rage and hurt. It was one of those hard days that changed me. I know I'm not alone. The same day a close friend and I cried (neither of us being reputable crying floozies) because we were so disappointed. It was a day when I had to accept that some people I love and trust would choose to openly discriminate. I could not articulate my feelings. Over 8 years later, I still find it difficult.
I drive down the street and cringe at every "YES on 8" sign I see. I've shared that I'm a dreamer. I want the world to be beautiful. I cannot happily accept that people would WANT to discriminate. I think about discrimination in the not-so-distant past. I think about how my parents' marriage and MY marriage would have once been illegal in some states (Anti-miscegenation laws did not allow whites to marry non-whites). It makes me want to throw up. Seriously. I hope I'm not as disappointed in humanity this Tuesday.
I KNOW I have lots of facts and ideas to learn. I'm the first to admit this. But, I truly hope that tolerance of discrimination is not among them. It's one thing I think is good to "not understand".

Disney Day