My Heart Hurts

This evening Miss M saw a commercial with a pregnant woman and said “awww, she has a baby in her tummy! All mommies have a baby in their tummy.” I am always looking for ways to talk about adoption with her so I took this moment to tell her that actually, not all moms have babies this way. I told her, “I didn’t have you in my tummy, but I’m still your mommy.” She followed that with, “ok, may I have more graham crackers please?” End of conversation, right? Nope.

During our bedtime routine tonight as I was kissing her goodnight, she looked at me and said “you’re not my mom.” I (of course) responded with “yes, I am.” I looked over at my husband he looked sort of shocked and didn’t know how to respond. I explained that I’m her mom, and he’s her dad, and we love her more than anyone in the whole world. She said, “yeah, but you’re not my mom.”

I really didn’t know what to say so I asked who she thinks her mom is and she said “Auntie Corinne” (aka, my BFF). This made me smile because we spent the afternoon with Auntie Corinne and M just loves her. But I actually expected her to tell me that her birth mom is her mom because we talk a lot about adoption in our house and how she grew in her birth mom and how we were chosen to be her mom and dad.

As I pondered this, she followed it up with “and she may be a bad guy. But maybe not – maybe she’s a good guy.” Uh….We’ve had a lot of super hero movies and books in our house and at daycare lately, so I get the good guy/bad guy thing (although not in relation to the topic at hand, but hey, she’s a toddler), but the whole random conversation just caught me off guard. (For the record, Auntie Corinne is definitely a good guy.)

Hearing my daughter say “you’re not my mom” seriously made my heart ache. I’ve been preparing for tough conversations about adoption since we brought her home from the hospital, but that statement hurt. We read books and talk about adoption all the time with her. We have photos of her birth family in her room and we see them fairly often so she knows them. We explain the difference between “mom and dad” and “birth mom and birth dad” when we talk about or visit her birth family.

But, she’s 3. She doesn’t really understand all of it yet. What she understands is that babies grow in a mommy’s tummy and I told her she didn’t grow in my tummy, so clearly I must not be her mom. How confusing this must be to a toddler!

To top it all off, we’ve had a lot of conversations about babies lately. My SIL is pregnant again, one of M’s classmates is getting a sister soon, and her birth dad has another baby. So now, Miss M keeps asking me when she’s going to get a baby sister. Sigh.

My heart aches because I can’t promise her a sister. Or a sibling at all. My heart aches because I can’t just grow a baby the way she understands. My heart aches because it’s so hard for us to grow our family and we have to just wait for someone to choose us. My heart aches because I want so badly to make it easy for my toddler to understand her family but I know it’s going to take more conversations and more time and more patience and more love. Some days being a mom is so easy, but other days, my heart just aches.

Posted in Communication, Loss and grief, Parenting | Leave a comment

Sassy and Sweet

This morning Miss M learned a tough lesson in consequences. She wasn’t listening to anything we said and was being defiant and sassy. She had an awful attitude and wasn’t being very nice to us or her toys. Basically, she was mean and nasty all morning.

She was supposed to start her park district sports class today and I told her if she didn’t start listening and lose the attitude we weren’t going to go. She was really looking forward to this class and was talking about meeting new friends and having fun so I knew she’d be upset if we didn’t go, but I didn’t expect the 45-minute long screaming tantrum.

Instead of going to a fun activity, she chose to continue being nasty and had to stay home and miss out. However, I think it was more punishment for us because the tantrum that resulted was ridiculous. I honestly don’t know how she even has a voice left after the wailing that took place (and all this drama before 9am!)

Thankfully, she chilled out eventually and was pretty good the rest of the day.

Tonight, as I was tucking her in and saying goodnight, I gave her a kiss and said “I love you.” She looked at me with the sweetest look on her face and said “I love you most, mommy.”

It amazes me how toddlers can be sooooo sassy one minute and so sweet the next. Let’s see what tomorrow brings….

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Tomorrow, Tomorrow

We were at Target this weekend and I saw the movie Annie in the $5 dvd section. I loved this movie as a kid, so of course I had to buy it. I meant to set it aside for M to watch when she’s a little older, but she found it on the counter tonight and wanted to watch it. How could I say no?!

She didn’t really grasp the full story (thankfully – it’s kind of heavy for a toddler), but she loved the music and the dancing in the movie. She kept jumping off the couch and dancing along in front of the tv. By the end of the movie she was singing the chorus of “Tomorrow” at the top of her lungs. We were sitting back just smiling at her antics and her enthusiasm. I think “Hakuna Matata” has been replaced with “Tomorrow” as the song request at bedtime, at least for now. :)

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Sometimes, I call Miss M “sweetheart.” As in, “good morning, sweetheart!” Well, lately she’s been calling ME sweetheart, and it is hilarious.

I was leaving for work one morning and she came running up to me and said “bye sweetheart! I love you!” (My heart melted just a little.) She also calls me sweetheart when we’re playing with her dollhouse or her play kitchen. She’ll say, “I’m going to be the mom and you’re the sweetheart.”

I love it! It makes me laugh to hear my 3-year old call me sweetheart. I hope she never loses this sweet and loving nature.

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Mother’s Day

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I have a lot of feelings about this topic that I need to get out.

First, there’s an e-card thing going around on FB that makes me livid every single time I see it. It says something like “All moms gave birth to a child. Except my mom – she gave birth to a legend.”

While I understand this is intended to be funny, I don’t think it’s funny at all. In fact, I find it infuriating. Clearly, I did not give birth to a child. But I am a mother. Making the assumption that you are only a mother if you gave birth insults all the moms out there who are raising children they didn’t give birth to. GAH.

Next up – Birth Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day as an adoptive mom is complicated. I always longed for the day I would finally be able to call myself a mom and celebrate with my child. But as I celebrated, someone else was grieving.

Did you know there’s a thing called Birth Mother’s Day? Apparently it’s the Saturday before Mother’s Day. I don’t get it. Why should it be a separate day? Again, can’t we be inclusive of all mothers on Mother’s Day? She may not be raising M, but she carried her for 9 months, gave birth to her, and loved her so much she made the gut-wrenching choice to place with her us.

It’s funny though, because M’s birth mom disagrees. I sent her a video yesterday of M saying happy Mother’s Day and blowing her kisses. She responded that she loves the video but she’s not M’s mom – I am. She said “all I did was get pregnant and give birth – that doesn’t make me a mom. You are the one raising her, teaching her right from wrong, and teaching her to be the very best she can be.”

I get it. I am M’s mom. But M will always be her daughter too, even if I am the one she calls mommy. I feel like she should be honored on Mother’s Day with the rest of us. Complicated feelings all around.

Posted in Birth family, Celebrations and milestones, Parenting | Leave a comment

Maybe Cross-Country Running?

My parents put me in sports as a kid and I loved it. I played three sports in junior high and high school and continued to play for fun through college. I made lifelong friends, learned the importance of working together, stayed in shape, and had fun.

I know sports aren’t for everyone, but I want M to be exposed to different sports and other activities so she can find something that she loves to do. So far, we’ve tried gymnastics, dance, and now soccer. I thought she would like soccer because it’s fast-paced and requires lots of running around, so I signed her up for a 5-week soccer camp.

After the first three weeks, these are my observations:

  • 50 minutes is too long to expect 3 and 4 year old kids to pay attention.
  • Splitting the kids into groups and expecting them to stay with their group the entire time is insane.
  • I think she’s bored out of her mind.
  • The coaches change each week and only some of them seem to know how to “coach” little kids who’ve never played soccer before.
  • My kid is the only one running (and I mean RUNNING) around the park away from the class. She runs toward the street, or past her soccer field to the huge open fields furthest away from her class, or to the bathrooms, or the parking lot. Really, anywhere except where she’s supposed to be.
  • I’m the only parent yelling “stop! come back! stay here!” (on repeat) and it’s embarrassing.
  • I’m also the only parent getting any exercise at this camp because I have to chase my kid and bring her back. I get in about 30 minutes of sprints each week, especially when she heads for the road.
  • My 3-year old is FAST. I am not.

I know she’s only three. I know this her first exposure to soccer. I know I shouldn’t expect her to pay attention the entire time. But holy hell, I am so tired of chasing her. I’m thinking maybe she’ll be a track star or a cross-country runner in the future. I’m also thinking maybe we need to get her back to dance class because at least she’s contained in one room for that activity! :)

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This Is Three

IMG_1324My daughter turned 3 last week. I cannot believe we have a 3-year old! Where did the time go? She’s an amazing, caring, stubborn, independent little girl and I can’t get enough of her. I decided to interview her tonight just for fun. Some of her answers made me laugh, some were completely expected and some I’m still trying to figure out. Here is a quick recap of our interview.

  • What do you want to be when you grow up? A mermaid
  • What’s your favorite color? Purple
  • What’s your favorite toy? Trains
  • What’s your favorite book? She said something that I couldn’t understand. Even after 10 minutes of trying to get her to repeat it, guessing, and asking her to bring the book to me, I still have no idea what she said. I’m assuming it’s a book she read at school because she couldn’t show me.
  • What’s your favorite tv show? Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Bubble Guppies
  • What’s your favorite movie? Monsters (Monsters, Inc.)
  • What’s your favorite food? oranges (I expected cheeseburgers or cake pops, but she actually picked a healthy food!)
  • What’s your favorite animal? Piggy!
Posted in Celebrations and milestones, Just for fun, Parenting | Leave a comment