March 22, 2008

Grrrrrr

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 5:05 pm by Erin

If your ILs mispronounced your child’s name every time they said it (even though they’d been hearing it pronounced for 3 months before your child came home), wouldn’t you correct them?

After hearing my ILs pronounce K’s name wrong for several hours last night, I lost hope that simply hearing us say it frequently would get them to start saying it properly.  So I finally corrected them this morning.  Then, after several more hours of mispronouncing, I corrected my MIL once again.  She replied "Well, it’s not exactly a normal name!"

Excuse me, this is your GRANDCHILD’S name.  I don’t care whether you think it’s normal or not, learn how to pronounce it.  I don’t care whether you plan on using the more American-sounding nickname that your son uses from time to time, you still need to learn how to say his name properly.

FWIW, she’s continued to mispronounce it since then.  It’s a good thing they’ve gone back to the hotel for the night.

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March 20, 2008

Just need to whine–but there are pictures to make it worth your while!

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:08 pm by Erin

Must whine about a student.  Forgive me and feel free to skip to the pictures at the end.

I have a student who didn’t do well on the previous test, and told me that it was because she had a horrible migraine–and that she gets them almost every time after her clinic days (she’s in a medical assisting-type program and spends two mornings a week in the clinic, as do all of the other 30+ students in my class).  One of her clinic days is the same day as our class.  I was sympathetic last time, because I also get migraines, although her test grade remained the same.

She also complained about people coming up to ask me questions during the test, about which I was less sympathetic.  I am not about to tell my students that they can’t ask questions to clarify the test material.

Anyway, she e-mailed me this morning to explain that she had had a migraine last night and took her medicine, which left her unable to drive to school today.  She wanted to know about another option to take the test.  I told her that the only option was to come in and take it tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.  She e-mailed me back and (suddenly) it’s that she has a fever and maybe the flu, and will be going to the doctor tomorrow, and can she have another option–maybe Monday before her class at 1 p.m.

At this point, I was annoyed.  I had already suspected that this student was pulling something, but it was semi-confirmed by another student after class.  The other student explained that she’d been sick earlier in the week and missed clinic, and this student asked what they did when she missed it.  The other student said "Nothing, I was sick."  (The other student thought that I should know, because she didn’t think it was fair that this student was getting more time to study.)  Her previous reason–the medicine–wouldn’t have been a reason she couldn’t come in tomorrow, so all of a sudden, she has the flu.  Uh huh.  Sure.

I e-mailed her back and explained that Monday was not acceptable, that she could take it tomorrow morning or not at all.  I also asked her to let me know, because I am not normally in on Fridays and I will be making a special trip to give her the test.  She replied that her fever would probably last until tomorrow and she might not be able to drive, but if she could be there, then she would.

So tomorrow, there are two possibilities: I will make the trip, she will show up, and she will take the test.  Or I will make the trip, she will not show up, she will get a 0 on the test and fail the class (a 0 on this test would put her numerically incapable of passing), and she will be kicked out of the program–they don’t get a second chance if they fail a class.

Either way, I’m really annoyed that I have to drive over an hour round-trip to give this exam, particularly so because it means I have to drop K off at daycare quite a bit earlier than I would otherwise on the same day as both my interview and my ILs getting here.  If she doesn’t show up, I will have no pity in giving her a 0…though I will have to talk to the department chair about it because of the implications.

*sigh* OK, I’m done complaining.  Thanks for putting up with it.

The reward?

Ethiopia_2_106

Ethiopia_2_149 (The spot is where he drooled on the pillow–teething is fun.)

March 17, 2008

Comments of late

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:15 pm by Erin

I’ve decided that I’m just going to grin and bear my ILs’ visit, and let the "it’s just three days" mantra keep running through my head.  I’m also going to look on the bright side and see that since they decided to come down so early, MY parents can come down in early April, which was probably the only time they could have come down before June (what with Pesach at the end of April and then they leave for several weeks in Russia to celebrate their 35th anniversary).

I’m also going to look on the bright side and see that I really, truly believe that K is attaching to us, and that I don’t any longer believe that my ILs’ visit will affect that.  I had my Bradley class last night, so there were 12 people in my living room.  K came crawling into the room and, instead of going to anyone else, he crawled right over to my lap.  He was perfectly happy to smile and entertain everyone with his adorable antics, but he showed no desire to let anyone else hold him.  He’s a pretty happy and outgoing kid, so that helped me see that he really does prefer J and I to other people (he’s as willing to go to J as he is to me, thankfully), which is a great start.  I didn’t feel anywhere near as positive about it earlier last week, which I’ll write about another time.

So, onto some of the comments that I’ve gotten lately.  I’ll limit it to three, but they highlight why I need a blog like this that my family and most of my friends know nothing about.

First, I’ve had several comments from various members of our family about my other blog, the family one.  While we were in Ethiopia, I wrote an e-mail every other day or so to a friend, who posted them there for me (she doesn’t know about this blog, so I couldn’t have her do the same here).  Certain relatives on my side of the family are apparently upset that I didn’t write more about P while we were in Ethiopia–how P liked the trip, how P was responding to K, etc.  Forgive me for being presumptuous, but P has been the ONLY child we’ve focused on for 4 years–I kind of felt like K deserved a couple of posts in which he got to be the star.  It’s not that there wasn’t anything to write or that I didn’t want to write about how P was reacting, but K is a brand-new family member.  It was important to me to focus on him as an individual and his needs so that I could figure out how our family needs to adjust with him in it.

Second, the other morning I ran into the father of one of P’s classmates while we were dropping our kids off at school.  He asked how things were going and I said that it is going great.  He said "You know, you’re not really a parent until you have two."  I didn’t even know how to respond to that–fortunately, we were going in opposite directions and I didn’t really have time to anyway.  I still don’t know how I’d respond to it.

Third, today I ran into another father of one of P’s classmates while we were picking our kids up from school.  He said "How’s it going, Mommy of two?"  I said it’s great, to which he replied "Well, you did it the easy way."  I was taken aback but responded that it had taken us three years and clearance by two governments to get K here–I didn’t see a whole lot easy about it.  He agreed that he hadn’t really thought of it that way, but that was true.

Thankfully, I haven’t gotten any comments yet from well-meaning (or not-so-well-meaning) strangers, just some comments on how cute my son is and questions about where he’s from.  I’ve simply said thank you and told them that he’s from Ethiopia.  One man asked if the adoption process was difficult and I said it was at times but that it was clearly well worth it.  He said "That’s obvious just looking at your son; he is really beautiful.  Congratulations."

Now that’s the way to have a conversation with a stranger.

To end, some pictures (that have a limited blog lifespan, of course):

Ethiopia_2_088_3 Ethiopia_2_121

March 13, 2008

In which I come down from my high

Posted in The musings of Erin at 9:40 am by Erin

K is (when not at daycare and in the same room as us) a wonderful child most of the time, happy and babbling.  He’s a lot of fun–I had all day with him yesterday, and we had a great time.  We feel like he’s already started to attach to us.  When we got home from Ethiopia, J and I decided that we didn’t feel the need to make people wait a really long time to visit and that his parents, who’d originally planned a visit for the end of this month or beginning of next, could come to visit at the beginning of April.

Somehow, "the beginning of April" has turned into March 21st.  That would be next Friday.  Two weeks to the day after we got home.  And now "J’s parents" somehow also includes my brother-in-law.

Since we’d told them they couldn’t come when they’d originally intended, they scheduled a trip to visit my BIL over Easter.  When J first spoke to them, they said "Well, we don’t know if we can change our trip to those other weeks."  We assumed (ha, big mistake) that this meant they wouldn’t be coming down so soon.  That was OK with us.  Then they said that maybe they would come down after Easter.  I pointed out to J that was very soon, and we decided to call them back again.

No, instead they decided that they will fly into Ohio on Wednesday, as intended, and drive down here with my BIL on Friday.  They will stay until Monday (Sunday is Easter, which is not celebrated by the 3 out of 4 Jewish members of my family) and then leave. 

They will get here "late on Friday, probably around 7 or so, and come over to see the kids before bed."  K goes to bed at 7:30, P goes to bed at 8.  We are already getting them ready for bed at 7.  I am seriously ticked that: a) they made these plans without consulting us or even considering our family’s needs, and b) we agreed to them.  Reluctantly, furiously, resignedly…but we did agree to them last night.

I am so upset about this whole situation.  I felt like I was being a "good" daughter-in-law by allowing them to come as early as the beginning of April, when we’d previously said probably not before May (and to not make any plans until we’d said so).  They are retired and have plenty of money, so coming at another time wouldn’t have been a problem.  They claim that they want to do it that way so that my BIL can come meet his new nephew.  I’m sorry, but they’re coming over a weekend–my BIL could come over any weekend, not just that one.  And he’s not exactly been interested in P (I think he’s seen P three or four times in four years and, other than right after P was born, it’s only been when we’ve traveled to where he is–he’s never acknowledged P’s birthday with so much as a card or phone call), so what makes them think he really has any interest in K?  I have a strong suspicion that my BIL was not the instigator of this plan.

The behavior of my IL’s after P was born is a big reason we didn’t want them here soon after coming home with K.  I have frequently said that if I hadn’t been nursing P, I would not have gotten to hold him the entire week that my IL’s were here.  About the fourth night in, I was crying to J that I had barely gotten to hold my son all day and that I needed that time with him.  J, being a wonderful husband, took them out the next day for what was supposed to be a couple of hours so that I could have that time with P.  About 30 minutes after they left, I was sitting in our recliner, blissfully staring at P while he slept in my arms, when the door opened.  "I couldn’t stand to be away from my baby any longer," said my MIL as she walked in and TOOK P OUT OF MY ARMS.  I went upstairs and cried.

You can probably see why both J and I are concerned.

J and I were talking last night about ground rules.  We decided that they will only be allowed to hold K for short periods of time, they will not be allowed to feed or change him, they will not be allowed to pick him up if he falls.  We will be there anytime they have K.  They’re going to be upset but quite frankly, I couldn’t care less.  And if they don’t listen to the rules, they won’t be holding him at all.

I hate this.  I hate that they made the plans and simply informed us of them, when the plans that they made are not the ones that we proposed.  This is not the first time they’ve done something like this.  There have been times when "We’d like to visit sometime in October or November" has turned into "These are the dates and times we’ll be there," without any discussion of whether that works for us.  If it were my parents, I would have no hesitation in saying "That’s too soon, that won’t work for us."  Since it’s J’s parents, I don’t feel like I can say that without them completely hating me (and why do I care about that, I wonder?)–but J screwed me by saying "Let me see if that works for Erin."  So it was all on me.  He didn’t stand up and say, "No, that’s too soon–give us a call when you know what April looks like for you."  He put it on me and I felt like I couldn’t say anything.

In a related piece of news, I have an interview for one of the tenure-track positions at my college.  On March 21st.

Anyone care to predict whether I’m going to have a migraine that day?

March 8, 2008

And we’re back!

Posted in Momming at 8:24 pm by Erin

I thought I would have a chance to write more while we were gone, but I barely had time to write an e-mail each day (well, most of them) to my friend, who posted for me on my other blog.  It was an AMAZING trip, and K is a wonderful little boy.  I started calling him K on this blog because his name starts with M, which is the first letter of the name for the first little boy whose referral we couldn’t accept; now I’ll keep calling him K because that’s the first letter of the nickname that I’ve already given him.

There will be more coming, including pictures, but I can’t seem to upload them tonight.  I’ll try again tomorrow and will be writing lots more about our trip in the days to come.

Tonight we gave him a bath, and I mean "we".  K hates the bath.  He has a cry that is as shrill as anything–there have been times when I’ve held him while he shrieks like that and when I put him down, my hearing is muffled.  It’s seriously dangerous.  Fortunately, he calms down very quickly.  Anyway, he cried like that the other day when I gave him a bath.  I was not anxious to repeat the experience, so J held K while K stood in the bath, and I washed him.  He was OK until it was time to wash his hair (fortunately, that doesn’t need to be done as often as it does with P), then he screamed bloody murder.  But as soon as it was done, we wrapped him in a towel and I massaged his scalp with the olive oil treatment that we bought.  He was happy, his beautiful curls were back, and then we did a massage with baby lotion that he loved.  J read him stories and I gave him a bottle before bed.  We do those bottles for bonding and I think they’re as important for us as they are for him–I just love having that time to rock him and look into his gorgeous brown eyes (he has long, curly eyelashes), and whisper, "My beautiful, precious boy."  And I look into those gorgeous brown eyes and see his birthmother.  He has her eyes, and I am so thankful that we can tell him that when he asks.

I have fallen so hard for my son.