Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Officically official

We finalized the adoption of Cam this past Friday.  It happened a lot faster than we had anticipated, Rob was just hoping to have it done by the end of the year, so we are pretty damn pleased to have it done.  I really didn't think I would be that emotional about the finalization, because let's face it:  the kid has been here 8 months and is my daughter in heart, mind, and spirit.  But when the phone rang two weeks ago (I know...FAST!) and Rob asked me if October 8th was okay, I was all "Shit yeah!".  Then I got all trembly and my heart started racing.

So here we are, in the judge's chambers:

To get us to that smiling point was a long haul.  The court we chose to finalize in is a good 40 miles away, and we live in an area that has bewildering, awful, truly shitty traffic.  So that meant I had to have my ass up and ready by 0645.  Being an insomniac who takes drugs to catch a few Z's makes getting up at that hour not fun.  Add to that the nervousness and my problems with anxiety, and you have a recipe for disaster.

 I cannot state how much I love my husband.  Or appreciate what a great husband and father he is.  But.  BUT.  The man may drive me back to the bottle at some point.  To illustrate, I will have to digress a bit.  I hate dressing up, therefore my closet is sparse on the dress-up clothes.  Example:  I was married in an Old Navy linen pant "suit".  Got the picture?  Knowing that I wanted to look nice, and not at all like the schleppy, but comfortable,  I went shopping at Talbot's.  It took me 40 minutes of wandering aimlessly for me to acquiesce and ask for help.  Asking for help in Talbot's is akin to saying "here, just take my credit card and charge $400."  I knew Rob would want to throttle the ever-living shit out of me, so I started rationalizing that I really did need "adult" clothes.  Even if that meant that kind of money for one outfit.  So the nice lady picked out a "not too dressy, but not so casual" outfit and had me ready to go in under 10 minutes.  Pants, jacket, ruffle-y shirt, belt, shoes.  THAT kind of shopping was fun.  I'd like my unlimited funds now, please.

So that was last Monday, fast-forward to Friday morning.  Rob is hopping out of the shower, and something told me (okay, experience) to wait and see what shirt and tie he was going to pick to go with his suit.  Rob has gained a bit of weight in the last year or so.  He used to be a cook for twenty years, always moving around, stayed pretty skinny.  He quit that job to work in the tech industry.  On his ass all day.  So he got a little pudgy.  Pudgy enough to make his suit pants look like the button might blow from all the pressure put on it.  He stood there, gut over-flowing, telling me he would suck it up (I guess literally).  No way martyr man, no way you are going to bust out of your drawers in front of the judge.  So we quickly decide that he is just going to have to wear khakis.  Which haven't been dry-cleaned or pressed.  None of his shirts will fit aorund his thick-ass neck, so he tells me he will just leave the top button undone, and "the tie will cover it up".  Before my head could explode, I hopped in the shower to mutter to myself about having to dress TWO children.

I get myself all gussied up in my new clothes, while Rob dresses Cam.  We decided that since we had a long haul, we'd take both cars one with me, Cam, my sister-in-law, and best friend.  Rob would take his Dad.  As I was busy getting all the stuff we needed together, I didn't bother to make sure what the rest of Rob's outfit looked like.  Probably, my brain knew subconsciously that I really DID NOT want to know, so he left to pick up his Dad.  Two hours later we meet back up, and my husband looks like a teenage boy who attends prep school.  Tie all askew, shirt barely tucked in, black SUIT shoes, brown belt, and a navy blazer.  At least his fly was zipped.

Now, I have been trying to adopt a healthier attitude, one that over-looks imperfection.  This Type A has a hard time with that, but I managed to remember that while my clothes were fabulous, my hair looked like I put a bowl on it and had cut it myself.  Stupidly, I waited until the day before to get my hair done, when I know it takes a week to grow in "right" after a cut.  Because I am, really and truly not a girly-girl, my expertise in doing my own hair is limited to blow drying upside down, and letting it fall into place.  The haircut my lovely hair dresser gave me was awesome.  What I did to it the next day should be considered criminal.

So, to get that picture with all of us smiling, there may have been some gritted teeth and a dollop of resentment.  Except for Cam, who just thought being in that judge's chambers with all the attention on her was the bee's knees.

Welcome to the family (officially) my little Munch.  May you please learn to dress stylishly, despite having us as parents.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

She's breaking my spirit.

Among the many things wrong with me, insomnia is certainly one of the least pleasant.  While I had no problem asking for meds for my depression, I resisted all attempts by doctors to give me meds for sleep.  Maybe on a certain level I was afraid to take something habit forming, like say a case of beer and a goodly amount of Grand Marnier.  Or a fifth of bourbon.  Whatever my malfunction, I finally caved and decided this past June, enough was enough.  I needed some damn sleep, the little bit I had been getting before Cam came home was now non-existent. 

Poor Rob was sleep-deprived too.  The man loves his sleep, and sleeps like a log when left to his own devices.  We made a deal early on after Cam came home, I had all feedings until 0400, anything after that, Rob had it.  I am a night owl, Rob is an early riser.  There were many nights I just stayed up until 0200 and then crashed, hoping I would sleep until 0900.  Never happened.  I was in school full-time, had my internship, and a new baby.  I was beyond crazy.  I was medicated for the depression, but it wasn't doing much good.  The doc doubled my dose, and I was at least able to stand in the same room as other humans and not want to rip their heads off.  To say I was irritable was a huge understatement.  I don't know how I am still married, because Rob took the brunt of my crazy.  I am normally very anal about things, what most would consider a control freak, which is pretty common in alcoholics.  Think of an alcoholic you know, you could probably think of at least five ways that person is shit-house crazy about things being in order.  That's me.  With a new human dwelling among us, I was at my Type A best.  Rob is anything but Type A.  As care-free and relaxed as they come.  His attention to detail is limited to non-fiction books and fried foods.  He always knew I was somewhat crazy, he just had no idea until the baby came home.

Those months where Cam needed to get up several times a night to feed were brutal.  By the time she was four months old, feedings were down to two a night, which is when I started buying up every sleep training book you could find.  I was determined to get Cam on a schedule all three of us could live with, with as little pain as possible.  If you have made it this far and you are a parent, you are probably laughing your ass off right now.  I really can't blame you.  The ignorance of a new parent is immeasurable.  At least once a day I am confronted with something I swore I would never do, and go right ahead and do it.  Pretty sure dozens of people behind us in church were disgusted the first time Cam's bink fell to the floor and I gave it a cursory wipe on my pant leg before giving it back to her.  In one afternoon I fed her a french fry, ice cream, roast beef, and bread...not generally thought of as foods for 7 month old's.  I regularly let her crawl all over any flat surface without thinking twice.  Think disgusting mall floors. 

So, when it came time for sleep training I swore I was not going to let her cry it out.  I firmly believe in attachment parenting, and crying it out just seemed to fly in the face of it.  Plus, the kid is just pitiful with the crying.  The lip....the tears.  My heart could take no more than 10 minutes, 15 tops.  Regularly I stay up until 0200, just waiting for her to wind herself up.  Sometimes it's easy, sticking bink back in her mouth, giving a little pat on the back.  Lately, she's been teething, or a demon is growing in her, because that kid is only consolable in our arms.  My sleep meds knock me out within five minutes of taking them, so if she stays asleep until 0200, I dose myself and head to sleepyville.  Which means Rob is left to deal with anything after 0200, which gives me a great deal of anxiety.  He is the only one bringing home the bacon, so I feel AWFUL if he has to do anything between the hours of 2200 and 0400, thus the anxiety.  Lately, I have been anxious and irritable.  Remnants of shitty depression and too little sleep. 

Cam is a terrible, terrible sleeper.  Ever since we brought her home she has been a twitchy, noisy, moving baby.  There was no way we could co-sleep, because that kid was all over the place, even at 17 days old.  We marveled at how we would put her in one spot in the crib, and she would be turned around at the other end.  There is no genetic link, but I swear to god, the kid could hear a pin drop on a cushion five miles away....just like me.  It's only gotten worse as she's gotten older.  I told Rob last night, I wish our video monitor would show a map of her movements through the night, kind of like our GPS and how where we drive leaves cookies on the map.  Along with being a twitchy moving baby comes frequent wakings.  I have since day one RUN to her side, to make sure that she KNOWS we are meeting her needs.  She has figured this out around the fourth month or so.  Really she has trained me to come to her, and I have performed very well up to this point.  Since the teething began, I broke protocol when she would cry out.  Instead of just putting bink back in her mouth and patting then leaving, if she wouldn't settle I would.....shit, I would pick her up.  I admit it, I am an enabler.  That kid will sit right up, bounce up and down on her cute little bum and cry real tears.  I have been known to whisper in her ear "don't tell your father".  This has made my sweet, smiley daughter into a monster.

Last night, I merely opened the door to her room to make sure she was breathing, and the head popped up.  A wide smile crossed her face, seeing that her favorite plaything had arrived.  I lovingly placed her back in her sleep position, told her "sleepy-time", covered her up and walked out of the room.  Before I stepped away form the crib, an exaggerated pause then the wailing began.  I shut the door, and bolted down stairs.  Have I mentioned that I have never made her cry for more than 15 minutes at a time?  Well, she knew it and proceeded to throw all her baby energy into letting me know that her plight was UNACCEPTABLE.  I watched on the monitor as she lay on her back kicking her feet in rhythm to her staccato cries.  Flailing arms.  Outrage.  Rob laughed, because he thought I was going to break and go soothe her.  I didn't.  I held firm.  And by firm I mean I turned the monitor around so I couldn't see it and plugged my iPod in.  I may have some residual deafness from how loud I had to crank it to drown her out.  It took an hour and 45 minutes of straight crying before she submitted.  Triumphant at last! 

Rob had to be at work at 0630.  Unusual in that he works from home usually, and lets me sleep in until 0900 or later.  This insomniac's best sleep comes between 0400 and 0700 without the drugs, with, I can sleep until 0900.  Last night I didn't take any meds, because Rob needed his sleep.  I was awake ALL.  FUCKING. NIGHT.  LONG.  When Cam stirred at 0430, I ran to get her and brought her back to our bed, which I never do.  I thought maybe she'd sleep.  Nope, but guess what?  I taught her AGAIN that I will come rescue her from sleepy-time.  Sigh.

Nap time today.  She just fell asleep after screaming for nearly two hours.  My ears are still ringing.  The monitor is still turned around.  I can do this.  My nearly 8 month old little ball of Id will not break me.  It's times like this I wonder how the fuck I have stayed sober.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Man, it's white here.

I live in a place that I never knew was SO white.  It makes me sound like an idiot, but when you are white, chances are you don't really notice it, because our society is geared toward making whitey feel comfortable.  Rob and I really started to take notice when we were mid-way through the adoption process, because at one point we were confronted with what "type" of baby we were willing to accept.

Sounds unsavory, no?  It made me feel as if we were placing an order for a sandwich, and not for a human life.  The sheet that the agency gave us covered race/ethnicity as well as things like HIV/AIDs, mental illness, Hep A/B/C, etc.  We were open on everything, except race.  There we checked off the boxes for Caucasian, Hispanic, and Asian.  What made us not check off the African American box was a discussion about where we live.  A little back-story on why that came about.

Our agency is fantastic, and requires parents to go through parenting classes.  My first instinct was to hem and haw, I was a nanny, "I know kids!!"  The class was less about parenting skill and more about parenting children that were of a different ethnicity or color than yourself.  It was an amazing class, one that should really be required of all parents.  At one point the instructor gave us each a cup and different color beads.  Each color stood for a different race:  white, obvious, black, obvious, brown for Hispanic or Indian; yellow for Asian; red for Native American.  We were then asked about 100 questions:  what color is your primary doctor?  color of accountant? lawyer? neighbors, teachers? etc.  We went through a LOT of people in our lives.  At the end we were told to look at our cups.  No one at the table had more than 6 beads TOTAL in their cups that were colored.  It was really eye opening and a little sickening.  I felt like such an asshole.

So, when we were checking off those boxes, Rob turned to me and said we cannot in good conscience raise an A.A baby in this town.  Now, where we live isn't just white.  We have a pretty good Hispanic and African American population.  It's just segregated.  Like from the 1950's.  How this escaped me until I was THIRTY EIGHT YEARS OLD is more than a little embarrassing.  Sadly, I am in pretty good company, because most of our whitey friends have no idea what we are talking about.  Sigh. 

If you have seen the pictures of Cam, you will notice her lovely brown skin.  What is it they say about the best laid plans?  Something about being fucked into oblivion, I think.  When the agency sent us an email last February about the possibility of a baby boy, we were really excited.  He was an already born situation, in Florida, and white.  We put our hats in the ring for the little fellow, and waited to hear back from the agency.  After a week and no word, I was practically delirious.  I HATE "bothering" people, so I felt like an asshole emailing our social worker about the baby, but there was no way I could live without knowing for another day.  When she emailed me back it was to apologize, but the mom had chosen someone else..BUT there was another mom and baby.

Would we like to be considered for another baby born situation?  Baby's mom is Caucasian/Hispanic, dad is Caucasian.  I practically levitated to the phone to scream at the poor social worker: "YES! YES! YES!"  Baby had a few issues, and would need to stay in the hospital for a little while, but was overall pretty darn healthy.  We found out within a few days that mom chose us, and we were OVER THE MOON.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on her, but there were some obstacles with dad.  It would be 17 days before I held my daughter in my arms.  The longest 2.5 weeks of my life.  And in those weeks were some revelations that dad may not be Caucasian, but Hispanic.  Then a few days later,  mom's husband is black, but were told at first that he was assuredly not the father.  At this point, Rob and I had already fallen in love with the idea of our baby, THIS kid, no matter what, was our daughter.  We agreed somewhere in the middle of those two weeks we would move out of town, we'd move ANYWHERE to bring THIS baby home.  Nurses kept saying the baby looked white.

When I pulled the blanket back on Cam at the hospital, it was clear, this baby was not white, but a beautiful brown color.  With lots of black hair and big dark eyes.  I sweet, sleeping, beautiful little baby.  I asked the social worker if she looked like her mom (we were supposed to meet mom that day, but didn't...a story for later), and she said "she looks like her brothers".  Mom and husband already had four boys, so our daughter had four brothers!  I took SW's comment to mean that she looks like mom AND husband.  And from everything I have heard about husband, I HOPE he is my daughter's father.

So, back to this very white town/existence we live.  Friday night we went to the symphony.  The very old and very white were in attendance.  I counted four brown faces, not including the orchestra (much more diverse).  Saturday night we went to our local Yacht Club, a place I had enjoyed for as long as I can remember.  Took sailing lessons as a kid, Pop taking us for dinner there a lot.  Was sitting enjoying the lovely view of the harbor, and what some might term "the early bird special" when I turned to Rob and said "Christ, again, look at the whiteness!"  I mean yeah, YACHT CLUB does not scream diversity.  These last two days have just driven home the fact:  we need to get the hell up out of here.  My brown baby deserves better than this.