October 29, 2010

October 26, 2010


I seem to be in a bit of a rut that's making me question whether I'm doing things the "right" way. Not that I didn't question before, but lately it's become annoyingly more frequent. It just seems that everyone is posting about literature that suggests we do this and experiences that suggest we do that and it all seems to eventually be contradicted somewhere else by someone else who swears this is the "right" way to do it. And then I close the Internet browser window, drop the magazine, turn off the radio, and look at my kids. Two pretty wonderful seemingly well-adjusted children who, in my humble opinion, are the epitome of right. We must have done something really really right to be granted the privilege of parenting these two. Their scenarios are unique. There are wrongs and there is loss. We will continue to make our best effort to do things the best way possible. Whether that's always going to be considered "right" by everyone else is another story. But beyond the research, the trends, the recommendations, the absolutely-not-unless-you-want-to-scar-your-child-for-life kind of advice, there are two pretty happy kids enjoying pretty healthy lives and well, how much "wrong" could we be doing?

October 25, 2010


I'd be lost without the ability to purchase necessities online and have them delivered right to my doorstep. Diapers, wipes, formula, baby gear, clothing, Halloween costumes, shoes, books, tights, etc etc etc. It's just so much easier to shop online than pack everyone up and go to an actual store. Diapers.com offers free (next day!) delivery for orders over $50, and I signed up for Amazon.com's "Prime Membership" which cost me $19 but guaranteed me free two-day delivery on purchases. Next day? Two days? These are words not found in my let's-make-a-plan-to-go-shopping vocabulary. Usually I start to think about going on a shopping trip and then a week or two later it might have happened. Not in the virtual shopping world though, no no no. I can discover I've ruined my last pair of black tights and have a new pair delivered in time for this week's meeting, no worries no stress. We can use the last baby wipe (haha, as if we'd ever run out of those - I think we have a stockpile large enough for a family of 25 in the basement...) and have a new case delivered the next morning. No delivery charge. The very thought of having to go to an actual Babies R Us to purchase such necessities and load them into the trunk and unpack everything at home only to realize I forgot at least one essential item gives me the shivers.

And on a completely random totally unrelated note...

Ash trying to order from the beer beverage menu

He settled for the cream meant for daddy's coffee

October 24, 2010

And, We Survive

So, even on a Friday afternoon when Ash comes home with a temp of 103 and Leni is scratching at the leftover sticker-spots left on her forehead from her hearing test, it was still day 1 of an amazing fall weekend. Dose #1 of children's ibuprofen brought his temp down to the high 90's and dose #2 given in the middle of the night when he had spiked back up to 101 brought him down to the 98.6 range. Permanently. Leni never so much as sneezed the entire weekend.

So, we survived. And we owe our guardian angel big time. As a start we offer the following tribute to her. Enjoy.

October 22, 2010

TGIF, Until It's TGIF + Doctors

We were all set for a great Friday. A beautiful, 60 degree, semi-sunny, colors at their peak kind of Friday in the Hudson Valley. Then I had to take Leni to her follow up appointment to have her hearing tested (she originally failed the hearing test when she was discharged from the NICU a week after birth), which meant electrodes taped to her head here there and everywhere and long periods of motionless silence needed to detect the presence of her ability to hear. Thankfully she was an absolute rock star and was able to complete the testing in under an hour and passed with flying colors. Often newborns fail in the first weeks after birth simply because of the circumstances of the testing - fussyness, etc etc etc so we weren't terribly worried, but it's still nice to officially have the green light. And mere moments after leaving the docs office for Leni's hearing test we picked Ash up from school, where he appeared more than lethargic and obviously did not feel well, to discover he had a temp of 103. One dose of Childrens Ibuprofen and an hour spent napping in mommy's bed (with Scooby Doo on in the background) and his temp was down to 98.9. And we made sure to monitor Leni's temp throughout the evening and she seems to be (for the moment) avoiding her brother's bug. But he was SO SAD when we told him he couldn't kiss his sister night night...

So I suppose as far as a Friday full of doctors could have gone, ours wasn't quite so bad. Leni's hearing is just fine and Ash's temp is under control and tomorrow it's supposed to be 62 and sunny so our previously planned pumpkin picking adventures should be a go.

Thank goodness tomorrow is Saturday.

October 21, 2010

The Sleepy Feeding

As much as we try to keep life casual and free flowing, we definitely have a schedule. Actually we have lots of schedules. One for Ash's school, one for Leni's babysitters (and soon to be daycare), both of our work schedules, the cleaning lady's schedule, the studio assistant's schedule, the travel schedule, the this the that and the other schedule. Lots of schedules. One in particular is Leni's feeding schedule. Specifically, the one feeding that falls outside of normal awake hours usually sometime between 4AM-6AM. The sleepy feeding. We swap who takes this feeding each night so that we're both at least presented with the option of getting a full night's sleep every other night.

A full nights sleep. Yeah. About that.

We're not very good at going to bed before midnight, so even when it's one of our "nights off" from the sleepy feeding the maximum possible sleep hours is 7, and that's only if Ash sleeps till 7 (not common) and only if the "night off" didn't still result in being awake during the feeding, because let's face it - when she wakes up and one of us stumbles out of bed to go to her room and change her diaper and make a bottle and feed her...well, it's almost impossible for the other to remain asleep. So, a much more common sleep number is 4, sometimes 5, and when we're really really lucky and all of the stars align we manage to attain 6 full hours of sleep. That doesn't happen often.

More common?

In bed around midnight. Asleep around 12:30. Shrieks over the baby monitor around 4:30. Back to bed around 5:00, only to be awoken an hour or so later by the cutest 3 year old voice in the universe informing us that he's all done sleeping. And yes, I do understand that if we'd just go to bed earlier the whole 4-6 hours of sleep thing would quickly turn into 6-8 which is more than acceptable, but what would be sacrificed in order to make that happen are things we're just not terribly excited to sacrifice.


A couple hours of adult time, sans any interruptions from children. A couple hours of sanity where we can just sit and stare at something, whether it be each other or the TV or our computers. Just sit and stare and be quiet and breath a little easier knowing The Shriekers are tucked comfortably in to dreamland and we're free to just sit and stare.

So for tonight, who's turn is it anyway? Well, since I clearly remember stumbling to the nursery at 4:10 this morning that means it's daddy's turn to take over the sleepy feeding. And maybe we'll push our bedtime up an hour and manage to be asleep by 11:30, and maybe the Little Shrieker will sleep soundly till 6AM. But probably not. And that's OK. Because both of us sort of enjoy the Little Shrieker's sleepy feeding, and both of us sort of look forward to being woken up just after the sleepy feeding to the Big Shrieker's announcement that he's all done sleeping.


Both of us really enjoy those hours spent after the Shriekers are sound asleep and we can sit and stare. In quiet.

October 17, 2010

Sunday Styles

This was one of those weekends you wish you could press repeat-repeat-repeat on for the next 5,167 weeks. First we headed to the Poconos to hang out with family, including one of Ash's most favorite cousins. Then we headed to Storm King, one of the worlds best sculpture parks, with Ash's best girlfriend. Family + Friends + Hikes to Waterfalls + Massive Sculpture Parks + Beautiful Fall Weather = HAPPY.

October 14, 2010

But What's Her NAME Mommy?

Ash knows he has two mommies and two daddies, us and his Ethiopia mommy/daddy. He also knows we're here for good, that we're never leaving him, that he never ever ever has to worry about us going away. But sometimes in conversation he'll insist that he only has one mommy and one daddy, which leads us into a conversation with him about Ethiopia, his beginnings, etc, and then eventually he comes around to once again embrace the fact that he has two. Recently, however, the conversation started including increased interest in who his Ethiopia mommy and daddy are, specifically what they're called. He wants to know their names. He wants to personalize them. They're no longer "just" his Ethiopia mommy and daddy to him, rather now they've been launched in his mind in to being actual people that he feels inclined to care about. This is a big jump. A good jump.

We know her name but not his. We have many pictures of her saved to page through with him some night in the near future, but none of him. We received varied reports from varied individuals about his whereabouts when we were in Ethiopia so don't even know for sure the exact story. And now that he's asking, really really asking, I just wish we knew more. We know enough, I guess, I just wish we knew more.

Or maybe not.

I've read several accounts of orphans in orphanages lately that make me not want to know more. They make what I do know seem to be quite enough. We visited our son's orphanage and can picture him, 11 months old and barely 15 pounds lying in a dark sandy room the size of my bedroom jammed wall to wall with at least 10 infant cribs. The nearest nanny two rooms away trying to feed a room of toddlers single handed. And still this was a step up from what his birth family was able to provide. That picture burned in to memory permanently. Sometimes it makes me not want to know more.


While at the orphanage we also met our son's birth mother. Despite being obviously wrecked by the memory of her last moments with her child she was stunningly beautiful. I have a thousand questions that I wish I would have asked her. There's so much more to that part of his story that I wish we knew.


We'd be hypocrites if we wanted only half the details. We don't want half, we want them all, but it's still to this day hard for me to stomach the reality of what was his reality. It makes my heart hurt, and then enrages me that I haven't become a less selfish less indulgent human who didn't stop at one adoption but kept going, giving my all to help increase the quality of life for even one more child. And I'm not talking about keeping going as in keeping adopting. I'm talking about raising funds, donating time, being helpful.

I should be being more helpful.

My son wants to know more about his Ethiopia family out of curiosity and a longing to understand who he is. I want to know more of his story in part because it makes me want to be a better person.

"But what's her name mommy?"

Her name is beautiful. Her name is love. Her name is everything good in the world you can possibly imagine wrapped into the biggest embrace you've ever felt. Her name is tremendous strength and undying commitment to make sure you're OK. Her name is also extreme sadness, because the orphan crisis is real, more real to her than anyone, and we're not doing enough.

It's easy to slip in to the happy healthy cycle of the life that is currently ours and block the images we've seen. That's a big reason for why we value travel the way we do, because it forces the reality of the rest of the world back into our front view mirror and reminds us that we need to do more, to be more helpful. So, I need to do more. I need to be more helpful. When I talk to my son about his birth story I want to be able to say that we as people are doing everything we can to provide healthy environments and families to the world's orphans while working tirelessly to rid the world of the need for adoption in the first place.

I see so much of her in him. There's so much behind something as simple as a name.

October 13, 2010

October 12, 2010

Not Us

The parents who spend all day with their children and love every second of it, or who work outside the home and spend every moment away from their children thinking about their children. I admit, it's not us. I know - we're AWFUL. We enjoy being sans child every now and then. Wait, no. I'm being honest here. We enjoy it...frequently. We also LOVE our children. And we think about our children during some of the moments we're apart, but not all. And actually, we don't feel that bad about it. Because when we do think about them, and when we are together, well, we dig it. And when we spend A LOT of time together MULTIPLE days in a row? Well, we still dig it, but a little less. So maybe, just maybe, today when Ash returned to school after the holiday weekend and Leni's babysitter arrived to love her for the afternoon...maybe, just maybe, we went to lunch. Solo. Sans children. And it was really really good.

And when we returned home? We spent the remaining hours of the work day in the studio, working. And when the work day ended we spent the entire evening loving our children. Playing outside together, cooking and then eating dinner together, reading stories together, and singing night night songs together. And then we tucked the kids into bed and almost giddily tipped over in to our own. Happy to once again find ourselves enjoying a moment sans children, but even happier to flip on the video monitor and just watch them both sleep for a few minutes. Just a few, but a very very precious few.

That's us.

October 10, 2010


I'm sure I've mentioned Takahachi in an earlier post, our absolute favorite Japanese restaurant in NY. We've been taking Ash there since day one #1 because of the utter deliciousness of the food and #2 because despite being a trendy hot-spot for sushi in Tribeca they don't growl at us when we walk through the door with children and a stroller. They even hand Ash their child-friendly chopsticks within the first minutes of being seated and make sure HE'S the one who's satisfied. Avocado maki roll not cut thin enough for you? No worries, we'll have our chefs take care of it. Red miso soup too hot? We'll send some ice right over. It's awesome. They also have one of our favorite hot dishes, black miso cod (honestly, it's sort of like heating up a stick of butter and serving it on a plate), which in the past we've always shared as an appetizer together. Until this week when ash ate the whole dang thing. By himself. I guess we'll be ordering 2 orders from now on. Turns out it would actually be cheaper to hire a babysitter than to bring Ash with us for Japanese.

And the nail in the coffin? When he asked for 2 sips of my wine. Listen to me when I say that that was the last straw. Child of mine who I adore completely, I will order more black miso cod for you and I will share my salmon avocado when you realize how infinitely better it is than the plain avocado roll you ordered. But step off when it comes to my wine baby.

October 8, 2010

Hands Full

One of the only "I'm no longer an only child" coping mechanisms frequently visible with Ash is that he likes to be carried. A lot. I have a setup when I'm solo with the kids where Ash can ride in the Stokke stroller and I carry Leni in the Ergo, or put Leni in the Stokke and just hip-hold Ash. I MUCH prefer the prior seeing as our 3 1/2 year old has grown about 4 feet in the last month and must have gained about 50 pounds of muscle. Thankfully I'm not solo with them too often and daddy takes over the hauling around of the big kid. It's awful these two have such a strained relationship...

No, they're not both mine. I borrowed #2 from a friend for the evening, and now at the top of my "I have no idea how they do it" list right alongside single parents are parents of twins. Seriously, no idea.

We like having our hands full. I think it's because that leaves us with less time to have any awareness of all the crap we must be screwing up because we're always busy moving on to the next thing. If we keep moving forward there's a better chance we'll actually get something right eventually, and then, then we'll slow down for a second to celebrate the moment. Turns out we get to celebrate a lot these days.