Friday, June 29, 2007

First thought: Now THIS is something I could get behind

I saw a little blurb on Parent Dish about a fascinating trend (though "trend" may be too strong of a word - let's use "thing" instead) that is being called Trash the Dress.

Fascinating. (In a I'd-like-to-have-an-excuse-to-put-my-pretty-white-dress-back-on kind of way.)

Women everywhere (or at least in several large cities across the U.S.) are putting their wedding dresses on, getting dirty, and having it all captured on film. Fun for the bride; fun for the photographer. I didn't love all the photos (misogynistic much?), but some really drew me in. The underwater shots, for example. I could get into looking all pretty and flowy and ethereal. And something seems so freeing about donning this pristine (pristine because I paid what amounted to a full month's rent on my first apartment to have the thing cleaned) object while paying no attention to what comes in contact with it.

But what if you do this and don't get any gorgeous shots? Then at the end of the day you're left with a dirty, stinky dress and some ugly photos. Or what if you sign up and your big day comes and then you can't even zip your dress up? *Ahem*, not that that would happen to me, I'm just saying that some poor soul who hadn't worked out since the wedding might be sorely disappointed when she tried to slip back into her cinderella costume.

So I think I'll just leave my dress stashed in its hermetically sealed container where it will slowly turn a pale shade of yellow until my son announces his engagement, at which point I will sprint to the basement, grab it from its shelf, and transport it to the waiting arms of my future daughter-in-law to-be because of course she'll want to wear it since she'll be just like me.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Now that Lisa Ling has weighed in on the topic...

Lisa Ling is like your really smart friend in college. You know her. The one who always did all the reading and asked compelling questions in class. She's the one who had time to be everyone's friend and never seemed to need time to study and then at graduation you found out she was actually triple-majoring in three subjects like Political Science, Physics and Humanitarianism. (That last one's made up but if it really existed you know she would have been ALL over it.) So I knew that her National Geographic special, China's Lost Girls, would give me plenty to think about.

I watched it the other day and she didn't let me down. She gave me the human side of the adoption story, following a very nice family from Atlanta as they traveled to China to fetch their second adopted daughter. It was remarkable to me how similar - identical, actually - their journey was to the journey of the woman in that book I mentioned. So it was interesting to see it all brought to life. But what I was counting on Lisa for, and what she delivered on, was the other side of the story. What's going on in China to cause this and what's happening as a result.

Nothing was terribly surprising, I'm sad to say. It's well known that the huge number of abandoned Chinese baby girls is a direct result of historically recent social policies and ancient traditions that favor boys to carry on the family name. She touched on another important issue that I hadn't considered before, which is the fact that in China when girls marry, they typically move away whereas boys stay close to the family and help support the elders. So, the value of a boy child is not just symbolic. For a family with only a girl there would be very real concerns about how the parents would survive in old age.

The consequences of this pattern are, unfortunately, not surprising either. They predict that in 20 years there will be 40 million men without women to marry. (I think I remember those numbers correctly.) There are already cases of kidnappings and abuse as the shortage of young women eligible for marriage gets more and more severe.

So here is where the fact that my is blog really just mine - no comments=no readers, or some close approximation, right? - means I can speak freely without worry. Well, almost without worry. Let me just say this: What I am about to say is in ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NO WAY a judgement of international adoption or of the people who create their families through it. I am writing this to sort out my own feelings on a complicated, personal issue.

Okay. So.

I started to ask myself, by adopting a baby from China would I at all be contributing to that country's social problems. I mean, if there continue to be families ready and willing to adopt these little girls, are parents in China who face this decision going to feel more comfortable abandoning their babies? This thought came in to my head during one segment in the DVD when the mother from Atlanta visited the park where her first daughter was found and hung a sign written in Chinese with a picture of her daughter as an infant and a picture of her daughter now. The sign told readers that her daughter was found in the park and that now she's a healthy, happy little girl. And she is. And I think the mother's intention was to let the biological mother know that her little girl was okay. But I couldn't help thinking that it also seemed a little like an advertisement. Like, "look where she is now!"

Like I said, it's complicated. I hope that if anyone else ever reads these words they will understand that I'm really just raising for this debate within my own heart. If this is something my family is going to be a part of, I have to know that I've looked at every side, and that includes the political side. I just have to.

So my feelings about West meets East are a little bit more tempered than they were when I last wrote about them. Part of that is because of what I just described. Part of that is because my first full cycle while seeing an acupuncturist was also my most erratic in terms of my basal temperature and, now, as of this weekend, was also my shortest in length. (22 days? Huh?) But I still have faith that there's a way to grow this family. I just don't quite think I know what that way is right now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I am well on my way to becoming one of those crazy old ladies who stands on her front porch screaming nonsensical orders at innocent people who happen to travel by. It's sad but true.

Eli has been napping for an hour and forty five minutes and I like it. I want to keep him sleeping because it is quiet and I am content. So the fact that my neighbors across the street (teenagers) are outside playing basketball does not please me. The "thud" "thud" "thud" was not awful. Sort of a rhythmic white noise and Eli was sleeping through it. Then they brought the dog outside. The dog barked. Quiet! You... DOG! (That was in my head.) Neighbor girl yelled at the dog. While the sentiment was appreciated from this side of my front door, the noise level was not. Quiet! You... neighbor girl!

These are not the only noises that I think of as my nemesis. The worst one? The &%$*! ICE CREAM TRUCK! The damn thing manages to circle our house several times, almost always during nap time. There have been a couple of exceptions which only means that Eli has seen it and now when he hears it but doesn't get to the window in time to see it, we have a problem. He spends the rest of the day whining "Want mucack (music) truck!" (Yes, I told him it's a music truck. I don't think he really needs to know what's inside there, do you?)

So, yeah, I'm the crazy lady who utters obscenities at the sounds of children and animals playing and at the ice cream truck. Great.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

West meets East

I've been spending recent Saturday mornings stretched out with a pillow under each end of me, stuck full of tiny needles. Classical Chinese music plays softly in the background, helping me conjure up images of robustly bursting follicles or eggs romancing sperm or sticky uterine walls or whatever is appropriate for that point in the cycle. When my mind drifts from that more purposeful imagery, I have a lot of time to think and what I think is this: We will have another baby someday and the odds are stacked in favor of a strong Asian influence in the process.

It's not just the acupuncture, though my hope is that eastern medicine is taking me down the right path and my body will soon cooperate. It's also the fact that I'm feeling more and more drawn to adoption in China if we reach that point. At first we had dismissed it, not being able to sort out the logistics of an extended stay with Eli to think about. But something keeps pulling me right back to it. One specific pull was a book that happened to jump out at me when I was in Borders a couple of weeks ago. It's called Forever Lily, and it's the memoir of a woman who never intended to adopt a girl from China yet somehow does.

While I have some problems with the book in general (her oversimplification of the roots of infant abandonment in China, as well as her Eurocentrism, for example) it was incredibly helpful to me as I started trying to imagine what the whole process would be like. She describes, in detail, her journey to China and the process - emotional, bureaucratic, etc. - she goes through to bring her daughter home. It made it easy to put myself there and think, "Yes, I could do that." So there you have it. Yes, I could do that.

We're not at that point yet. I'm probably closer than David is, but even I'm not there. This week I'll go to my first adoption information night. I'll go alone because, like I said, we're not at that point yet. I just need information when it comes to things like this. I need stuff to chew on and I'm done chewing on my Google searches. I also need to feel like we're moving toward something. I don't want another year to go by of TTC, only to look back and wish I'd started doing something earlier. So we'll get this moving forward and see what direction it takes us in. I'm thinking East.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Don't you wish your boyfriend was two like me?

It's a marvel, this unconditional love. I would have (and probably have, in fact) dumped men from my life for far less than I tolerate with my current constant companion. And yet, aside from the occasional parenthetical complaint (like this one), my son gets away with some of the worst habits I've ever encountered from a member of the opposite sex.

To wit:
*He orders me around with no manners whatsoever. I can weasel a please out of him when I remember to try, and he'll offer the occasional ill-timed "thank you" (after he's hoisted himself into his car seat on his own, while I'm busy doing something in the front seat, for example), but more often I get "take away" or "don't like; move" and I quietly comply.
*He doesn't know the meaning of personal hygiene. He loves tissues, but mainly sees them as an activity - as in "how many can you take out of the box in 30 seconds flat?" - rather than a tool. Instead, he prefers to offer his boogers to me. And I take them. Gladly.
*I generally put all of the effort into this relationship. I'm constantly coming up with things for us to do that involve... Fantasy! (Let's pretend we're elephants!) Travel! (Hey, let's go to that new playground!) Adventure! (Let's make a fort!) And 87 times out of a hundred, I'm met with a flat "No." The other 13 times the "No" is accompanied by a high pitched whine. Hey, kid, let's see you make some effort!
*His sense of humor is questionable. His favorite joke is decidedly unfunny, and yet he unapologetically acts it out over and over again, completely oblivious to the sensibilities of his audience. And how could you fault him for that? Even when your strongest wish in the world is that he would please stop taking off his shoes every time I put the car into park!
*He has no qualms about groping me in the most public of places. Breastfed until he was 20 months old, I guess he still finds comfort in the old gals. And did I mention he seeks comfort mainly in public places?
*He has no sense of physical space. Every time I rack up a new bump or bruise from an accidental encounter with my son's hard, hard head I am reminded of that age-old question, "If a tree falls in a deserted forest..." Because really, if a mom gets a black eye but is more concerned with calming her crying boy than icing a swelling, purple cheek, does it really even count?

This morning when I realized that if had ever dated someone with my son's habits he'd've been gone in a second I also realized something else. When it comes to Eli, none of this matters one lick. I am henpecked and boogered-up. I am unamused and beat-up. And I am completely and madly in love and I wouldn't trade any of it.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Well, I haven't done particularly well getting this blog up and rolling, have I? You know what happened? Right about the same time I started the blog I also discovered even more blogs that I just fell in love with. I already had a short list of women's blogs that impressed me beyond words but my recent finds really took it to a new level, not just in the quality of the writing (which is impeccable) but also in the topics these women address. Their words make the most mundane events poetic and the most tragic situations palpable. These are books I can't put down; these are blogs I can't live up to.

But the conclusion I've come to is that I don't need to. I admire these women and I drink in their words. My own words still need to be said. Sure, I won't think they're as eloquent and I'll probably never have Starbucks wanting to advertise on my blog, but I still need to say them, right? Today seemed like a good day to start. One blog where I've been lurking is Picture This, run by a very talented and wise photographer, Tracey Clark. She's just instituted Thursday Themes and I happened to have a shot I like for today's theme: SPIN!

So, in keeping with the theme I'm dusting off this blog and taking it for a little spin and I'm sharing the shot of Eli and David up top. Let's see how long we can keep this thing moving. :)