Princess, Knight, or Queen?

My daughter loves pink, all things princess, and most of all, tutus. But she also loves trucks, monsters, and dinosaurs. We encourage her to play with all kinds of toys; some days she wears her tutu and tiara while racing trucks around the family room. She’s a well-rounded kid. :)

Today she asked to watch the movie The Princess Diaries. For those of you unfamiliar with the movie, the awkward high school girl finds out she’s a royal princess and shenanigans ensue. At one point, Miss M asked me, “mom, why doesn’t that girl want to be a princess?” When I said I didn’t know, she responded with “Well, maybe she wants to be a knight. Or the Queen.”

That’s my girl.

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My three year old does not adjust well to change. She needs a routine. She needs structure. She needs to know what to expect so she can prepare. We try to maintain a fairly normal schedule for her, but every once in a while life happens and her schedule gets thrown off.

During the last three weeks she has experienced several changes to her little world and she’s struggling with how to adapt. First, her beloved daycare teacher left to teach junior high. Then, another wonderful daycare teacher left and moved out of state with her family. Plus, Miss M graduated to the next level at swimming lessons. Guess that that means? Yep, she has a new swimming teacher, too. That’s a lot of change in a short amount of time.

To make matters worse, her new daycare teacher doesn’t seem to understand the need for waking M up after 1 hour of napping. Instead, she’s letting her sleep 1 1/2 – 2 hours every day. We have repeatedly asked her not to do this because M will not go to bed at night if she takes a long nap. When she’s up late and then awake early for school she acts out and doesn’t listen because she’s tired. We’ve been through this before and had a great system with her other teacher (which made all of our lives much more pleasant). But her new teacher seems to not hear our pleading requests. It’s in one ear, out the other.

I feel like a broken record. Every day when I pick her up and see that she slept almost 2 hours, I gently remind the teachers to please wake her up after an hour. Every morning when my husband drops her off, he gently reminds the morning crew of the same thing. In both cases, they assure us they will wake her up. Yet every damn day it’s the same frustration.

I understand her daycare center is going through a transition period and hiring new teachers and rearranging schedules/rooms for the existing teachers, but I hope they get their shit together soon. I am so tired of getting notes home from the teacher that M didn’t follow directions and didn’t listen, etc. But mostly, I’m tired of explaining to the teacher that we’ve been down this road before and the best solution is to cut her nap off after one hour so she actually sleeps at night.

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One Year Later

One year ago today our profile became active with our agency and we became a “waiting family.” My husband was convinced we were going to get picked by an expectant mother quickly, but I wasn’t so sure. Turns out I was right. (And I sometimes like to gloat when I’m right and he’s not, but not this time.)

One year later and we have not had a single phone call or situation presented to us.

This is drastically different from our last experience as a waiting family when we were picked multiple times and actually declined a few situations based on the information presented.

I thought I’d be okay waiting this time. I thought it would be easier because we already have a child and can focus our attention on her instead of focusing on what we don’t have. In some respects it has been easier, but not always. Some days, the doubt creeps in and I start to wonder why we haven’t been chosen. What is it about our profile that makes someone view it and then pick another family? Why wouldn’t someone who is interested in an open adoption see that we work hard to nurture that relationship with our daughter and her birth family and that we’d do the same for them?

It’s hard not to feel discouraged. I find myself wondering if I’ll ever be a mom again or if I should just donate all the baby stuff we’ve been saving.

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In our house, adoption is a normal topic of conversation. We don’t talk about it all the time, but it’s not a secret that M is adopted. We read adoption books, we talk about her birth family with her, and we take opportunities to normalize adoption as much as possible so it’s not a big deal. I forget sometimes that this isn’t a topic of conversation in everyone’s house.

My sister-in-law emailed me a few days ago and said they were watching a show that had a foster child story line. My 4-year old niece asked what a foster child was, so my SIL tried to explain in age-appropriate terms. My niece then said, “Oh! It’s like how Aunt E and Uncle M are M’s parents, but she also has other parents who couldn’t take care of her.”

My SIL and brother were shocked. Apparently, they had never told my niece that M is adopted and they didn’t know she knew, even though she’s met M’s birth family and we’ve talked about adoption in front of her.

My SIL asked me what was okay or not okay to tell my niece and asked for tips on how she could help explain adoption to her. I am so happy she asked, because it gave me the opportunity to educate her on appropriate/non-appropriate adoption language. For me, the two terms that make me crazy are “gave up” and “real parents.”

We say “placed for adoption” or “made an adoption plan” instead of “gave up for adoption.” (This is a huge one for me.) M’s birth family did not give up on her; they made a choice after much thought and consideration.

We also say “birth parents,” not “real parents.” We are her “real” parents, even though we are not her biological parents.

I’ve had many conversations with adults who unknowingly used these negative words. In most cases, I gently corrected and explained the difference.

It makes me happy to know that my family is interested in using the right language and conveying the appropriate messages. I know there are many more conversations to come about adoption in our house, and maybe in my brother’s house, too. I hope that as M grows up she continues to be surrounded by people who understand where she came from and know how much she is loved by all of her family members.

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My husband rarely sees me blogging because I tend to do it late at night or early in the morning when everyone is asleep. A few nights ago, however, the toddler was content on the couch watching a movie and he was in the other room watching baseball. Since they were both occupied, I decided to pull out my laptop and revisit a post I started a few weeks ago but never finished. A little later, he came in the room and our conversation went like this:

Him: What are you working on?

Me: A blog post I never had time to finish.

Him: Is it about me? Do you ever write about me and tell everyone how awesome your husband is?

Me: Nope, haven’t done that (yet).

Him: Well, you should. Because I’m pretty awesome.

He’s right. He is pretty awesome. I’m often reminded just how awesome he is and I know I’m a lucky girl to have such a great partner. He works harder than anyone I know, he makes us laugh, he shows us love every single day, and he would do anything for us. He is patient and loving and forgiving and kind. He’s an amazing dad, and to top it all off, he cooks and cleans, too! :)

We’ve been through a lot in the 15 or so years we’ve been together and no matter how difficult things got, we made it through together and came out stronger.

So here’s a shout out to the best husband ever – I love you! (And I still haven’t finished that blog post I was working on.)

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Nervous Energy

Miss M is having surgery tomorrow to remove her tonsils and adenoids. I know it’s a routine procedure and she will be fine, but I’m still a nervous wreck.

Mostly, I’m terrified at the thought of my baby being put under anesthesia. I have no reason to be so scared; her birth family was gracious enough to answer all my questions to help me fill out medical history forms. No one in her biological family has ever had any problems with anesthesia or anything I need to be concerned about.

I’ve been told young kids recover quickly and I know she’ll feel so much better once she’s healed, but until this surgery is over and I know she’s okay I’m full of nervous energy. I’m trying to work today and can’t focus on anything.

I’m thankful it’s a quick procedure at least. We should find out tonight what time her surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. (We’re assuming it’ll be early since they see the youngest patients first.) By this time tomorrow I hope we are home with her and snuggled on the couch watching a movie.

I’d appreciate any positive, healing thoughts you can send her way (and maybe a few calming thoughts for me, too)!

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Battle of the Moms

The majority of my friends either live out of state or have older kids who aren’t interested in playing with a toddler, so I joined a mom’s group to meet people with kids around M’s age. Overall, it’s been a great experience and I’ve met some wonderful women that I enjoy spending time with.

But there’s always that one….The one mom that thinks her way is the best way. The only way.

I met her a few weeks ago and she was awful. I was at dinner with about 8 other moms, and of course we were talking about our kids at first. When the conversation turned to nursing and how/when to stop, I sort of tuned out. No big deal – I just sat back and enjoyed my margarita. However, when this particular woman called me out and asked if I nursed M, I told her no and explained that we adopted so nursing wasn’t an option for me. Well, the earful I got from her about how she would never feed her kids formula was enough to get me fired up, but I maintained my cool and said that I think either option is fine and people need to do what’s best for their situation. Done, right? Nope.

After a while, it became clear that I was the only working mom at the table. Again, I didn’t have much to add to the conversation since I work full-time. And again, this lady went off on me for choosing to work. She made comments about how I’m missing out on the most formative and important years of M’s life. She repeatedly told me that am going to regret missing out on this time with M and that she could never work while her kids are young. She quit her job to stay home because family is more important. Blah blah blah.

It’s great she did what was best for her family, but quitting my job is not what’s best for my family. Quite frankly, we need the income. And, I paid good money for a college degree and a master’s degree so that I can use my brain and support my family. My daughter is not suffering in daycare. In fact, she’s thriving. She’s interacting and making friends and learning and blossoming into a fantastic kid.

Being a working parent is hard enough without having to listen to someone else berate me for my choice. Some days I do wish I had more flexibility and could work part-time or fewer hours, but I like my job and I am proud that my daughter is growing up with a strong role model. That bitchy mom can suck it.

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