Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Who Am I Doing This For?

I have a mini soapbox today.  It has to be brief because I am on coat number four of silver spray paint on angel wings.  You can imagine how much help Cordie is with the painting process.  The weather is also being super cooperative as it is and has been raining all day long.  The painting came after the dying of a previously white, now sort of gray/blue, dress.  Why am I doing all this?  Halloween.

At this age (Cordie just turned one), Halloween says way more about me than it does about her.  She can't pick her own costume.  This is one of a precious few years that she gets to be what I deem cute or cool.  However, because I am a suburban SAHM people start asking in August "Oh are you going to make her costume?"  Because that appears to be part of the job description.  In August, I blithely replied "Yeah, I probably will.  No sense spending money on something I can whip up myself!"

Oh the optimism of August.

Now it's October though and I am in throes of a post-birthday craft funk.  I'll make a little confession to you, oh Internet, great keeper of secrets...I looked for a pre-made costume.  I know, I know!  I stay at home, what else do I possibly have to do with my scads of free time?  Costumes are expensive though!  Especially for being such cheaply made bits of nylon that will inevitably rip when I put her in the car seat.  It's not like she's three or four and into dress up yet.  That, in my opinion, is the time to go pre-made.  Then just chuck it in the dress up box on November 1st.

The cost and the fact that there seem to only be insect costumes for one year olds made me revisit making my own, I mean HER own, because Halloween is about the kids after all.  Eye roll.  I decided Cordie would be a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who.  This checks the box of "hip costume that reflects well on parent's interest" as well as "not a bee, butterfly, or ladybug" and "crafted not bought".  I am winning at Halloween.  So I bought dye, wings, and spray paint.  Suddenly this costume was not necessarily cheaper than store bought.  What's so wrong with a butterfly anyway?  Everyone loves butterflies!

I have now somewhat successfully dyed the dress, painted the wings, considered different methods of face painting, and found a silver hair bow.  I'm looking at the costume and thinking, "Yep, those wings will be lucky to stay on long enough to get a picture."  The arms of the dress may be short.  She can't, or shouldn't, eat that much candy so is trick-or-treating even an option?  So why I have done all this?

Over compensation for not seeing her on her first Halloween when she was Cinderella in interim care.  Not wanting my kid to be the only kid without a cute costume.  Getting to influence her to like cool things like Doctor Who.

And because I get to eat her candy.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Cordie is beginning to transition to solid food.  We have FINALLY found a sippy cup that she can and will drink from, but she does not like milk.  Because of that we aren't rushing it.  Still, Cordie loves food and she is getting more independent by the hour and wants to feed herself.  It's the strangest thing though, I suddenly don't know how to feed my child!  I remember when she went from laying down in the baby bathtub to sitting up in the big tub.  I called Mom and told her "I don't know how to bathe my baby."  Cordie was about six months old so Mom said "Um...okay?"  I could not figure out how to get the backs of her legs clean!  She was sitting in the water, so how could I scrub her without practically face planting while lifting her slippery, soapy body with one hand and simultaneously fending off her vicious grabs at the washcloth and actually wash her little thighs with the other?  Eventually I figured it out, but that was my first glimpse at how transitioning from one thing that you know so well to something new kind of throws everything for a loop.

The weird transitions are one of those things about parenting that I didn't really expect.  I sort of thought there would be concrete mile markers.  She doesn't eat solid food, then she does.  She doesn't drink from a sippy cup and then she does.  I knew I would have to wean her from a bottle, but I didn't appreciate the full spectrum of she eats purees and I eat feed her, she eats soft things that I feed her, she eats soft things she feeds herself, she refuses to let me feed her and eats more or less independently.  There is way more gray here than black and white.

Evidently this is a thing for lots of moms because the baby food aisle at Walmart is chock full of foods in different levels of independence.  We are somewhere between the regular baby food that I would feed her, (Heaven forbid that I should feed her instead of her doing it herself) and the squeezeable pouches.  So basically every meal is a combination of these

Part of the issue is, let's be really honest, me.  I am first time mom-ing this up.  Seriously.  You should see the size of the bites I put on her tray.  They're infinitesimal.  You know the cups of fruit that you might pack in kid's lunch boxes for school?  I cut those pieces in half.  Yesterday, for the first time ever, I gave her a roll to take bites off of instead of picking it apart for her.  Well, not a WHOLE roll of course.  Half a roll.  Half a tiny crescent roll.  

The thing is, I KNOW this is ridiculous!  I know that with baby #2 I'll be tossing them a chicken leg at 8 months and being like "go to it kid!"  And yet I still do it.  I try to comfort myself by watching Dad who breaks Cheez-its in half.  I'm not alone in this realm of craziness!

The "best" part about all of this is the sleep regression.  Cordie isn't getting full enough in the evening to sleep all night, so she's waking up for a nighttime feeding.  Oh goody.  I'm caught between how sweet it is to snuggle her and promising myself that the next day I am going to feed her until she has chipmunk cheeks and can't possibly hold one more bite of anything.  One day this week Cordie ate in her high chair for an hour and half!  I did not sit and stare at her the entire while making "helpful" comments like "take a sip of juice, not that much juice, nom-nom-nom".  She slept the whole night that night and it was glorious.  Blissful sleep!  

We're growing together.    Eventually she will drink milk (our pediatrician is suggesting going cold turkey on the formula to "encourage" her to drink milk, yikes).  One day she make take smaller bites off of a bigger piece of food!  Until then, I just continue to eat the other half of the roll she can't handle that my insanity says she can't handle.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

On This Date 365 Days Ago...

...My family was driving home from the beach.  We had gone to Myrtle Beach and it was great.  We had an awesome time.  Mom had asked, as she had previous two years, if I thought we'd have a baby with us next year.  This time, unlike the previous two years, I said no.  I said that the process would most likely take longer than that, but hopefully by 2016 and almost certainly by 2017 we would have a baby at the beach.  

As we were driving, I was struck with the need to pray for our birth mother.  This wasn't unusual, after all I had been praying for her since I was sixteen and felt the first flutter of a calling to adopt.  I prayed and prayed, but the urgency of the need wasn't letting up.  Finally I told Josh that he needed to pray for our birth mother and we prayed together.  I think I even texted Mom in the other car and asked her to pray.  Finally the pressing feeling went away and I asked Josh what, if anything, he thought was going on in her life.  We wondered if maybe, possibly she had found out she was expecting.  How cool would that be?  We would have a June baby!  I was hoping.

Then we got home and found the official approval letter and I cried.  We were a waiting family.  I changed my cover photo to this.  We were so excited.  We were FINALLY getting close after years of seeming ever further away.  We just had no idea how incredibly close we were.

At 11 that night, Cordie made her sudden and slightly unexpected entrance.  It blows me away, truly even a year later, at how active and present God was in that entire situation.  I could not believe it when our adoption worker told us her birth date and I realized that I had been praying so hard for the birth mother That Day!  And yet, why should I have been surprised?  God's hand was all over our adoption start to finish.

There is no comparison between the screaming, colicky, barely a handful of a baby that we brought home almost a year ago and the happy, active, growing toddler we have now.  There were nights that felt so long in the moment that I thought I would never see the sun rise, but now I can't believe that the time has gone.  I was here for practically every second and yet I still feel like I missed it somehow.  I blinked and she was big!  It's amazing and breathtaking and heartbreaking and joyful and so many emotions that I can't help but cry.

Even as I experience the bittersweetness of her outgrowing clothes and toys, becoming super independent, and growing into her huge personality, I'm so excited about the next year!  She's going to add a lot of words to her vocabulary.  She'll learn to walk!  We're so close on that.  She's taken about half a dozen steps, but they're accidents, she doesn't even realize she's doing it.  She'll probably pick a thing she loves to sleep with like a doll or bear.  She may transition to a toddler bed.  She'll dance a lot, that girl loves to shake her thang!  Maybe learn work a puzzle or color.  Definitely master the iPhone.  It's going to be great.  I'm so glad I get to be here to see it.

Happy birthday my sweet pumpkin!  Mommy loves you more than you'll ever know.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Magician King

Yesterday I finished The Magician King by Lev Grossman.  It is the second of a trilogy, preceded by The Magicians and followed by The Magician's Land.  I wasn't wild about The Magicians.  It was okay.  Okay enough that I went ahead and picked up the second, but not so great that I was eagerly anticipating it.  I really really thought I blogged about the first book, but I can't find it which is now making me feel sorry for my friends and family because I had a LOT of feelings about the first book and if I didn't share them here I must have shared those feelings with them...in an endless stream of "And THEN do you know what happened?  I didn't think it was a respectful way to handle a reference to a greater work.  The characters are hard to root for!" Etc etc etc.

I'm really making you want to read this aren't I?

I say all of this to say that I was very pleasantly surprised by the second book.  Not only was I not hyped because the first book fell short of the intended goal, I dreaded the almost inevitable Second Book Syndrome that occurs in trilogies.  However, I was pleased to find that The Magician King did not suffer from SBS in my opinion.  Hooray!  The pacing was good and the story felt like it had merit and worth on its own instead of solely to move the reader from the genesis of The Magicians to the final conclusion of The Magician's Land.  There was an actual story that was worth telling and reading in this second book.  It also succeeded in making want to finish the series.

Grossman leans heavily on parallels to other fantasy works like Harry Potter, the Narnia books, and The Lord of the Rings.  The first book felt almost mocking of the other worlds, but this book tied in the elements of those stories without the mockery and with more original imagination.  The story felt more lived in, like the author was comfortable with the places and mythology he had built.

This isn't a book for a new fantasy reader (for those I'd suggest The Night Circus, The Golem and the Jinni, or Neverwhere), but if you are a dyed in the wool fantasy lover, I'd definitely give this a try.  You will enjoy the references and the possibilities set up in this world.  Don't be fooled by the comparisons to Harry Potter though, this is much more mature in themes.  There was scene in the final fifty pages of this book that I'm still internally cringing over.  It has a lot of good reviews by fabulous fantasy authors and that can be a recommendation in itself.  If you give it a shot, let me know what you think!  I'd love to, once again, ramble on about the pros and cons of the first one too!  If you don't want to invest the time in reading it, I learned (from Wikipedia so tread with caution) that SyFy has ordered a 12 episode season of the first book.