Thursday, February 28, 2008

The "real" deal...

Before I forget, let me start this post by pointing everyone to our delightful little guy’s 9 month slide show. Yup, he's 9 months old today. Have I ever told you what joy he brings us? What a boy!

Anyway, about the title here. The “real” deal. Yesterday for the very first time since Danny was born I felt pretty marginalized. Here’s what happened.

Danny got his Social Security card right after he was born because we needed it to get him a passport to take him to Germany. When he was born he had to carry Susanne’s last name because DC law says that the baby has to carry either the mother’s or the father’s, and, well, Danny’s got two moms. So his name at birth was Daniel (My last name) (Su’s Last Name).

Okay. When we started adoption proceedings we had the option to include a request for a name change which was great because we'd already decided to change his name. Upon his adoption, his name became Daniel (Su’s last name) (My last name). Are you with me so far?

So at 6 months the adoption was completed and the court ordered DC to produce a new birth certificate listing his new name and both parents (Parent one and Parent two.) Once we got that document, all we needed to do was take his old Social Security Card, his old and new birth certificates and our adoption decree (true test stamped copy) to Social Security.

Which we did yesterday at lunchtime.

The woman (Ms. T.) who did our intake was really, really puzzled. She’d never seen a second parent adoption. I didn’t sense any kind of maliciousness or homophobia, but here’s sort of how part of our conversation went:

Ms. T: (to me) “are you his mother?”

Me: "Yes"

Ms. T: (to Su) “and you are???”

Su: “I’m his mother too.”

Ms. T: "So who is his real mother?"

Su: "We are both his real mothers."

Ms. T: “You both adopted him?”

Me: “No, only I had to adopt him, Su gave birth to him.”

Ms. T. (to Su) “Aha! So you’re his real mother.”

Su and I together: “No, we are both his real mothers.”

Blank look, confusion, wandering off to find a supervisor.

Part of her problem was that the federal form we needed to fill out only has lines for mother and father. So we’d put my information on the “father” line. We wanted to make sure that as his legal parent, Danny’s social security number was linked to mine. It could make all the difference if I were to die or become disabled since he is truly my dependent too.

Turns out they needed to send our file to Philadelphia to have their legal people “look at it”. Apparently there is no problem getting Danny’s name changed on a new card, it’s this issue of a state (or in our case a District) issuing a ruling (on my legal adoption of my son) and how the federal government will act on that ruling.

I can’t imagine we are a test case. There have been A LOT of second parent adoptions so there must be a precedent right? We got a call today from Ms. T. letting us know that she “was able to go ahead and process our request.”

Ms. T. also called me Mabel at one point in her confusion. Mabel? Maybe she can just refer to me the “Velveteen” Mommy ;-)

Have a great weekend everyone. We’ve got a big birthday weekend planned starting tomorrow for Danny’s “other” mother. Happy birthday sweetheart! -Monica

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weighing on my mind...

What’s on my mind today? Clutter. Stuff. Never ending tasks.

Maybe it’s human nature to get everything all cleaned up and then slowly descend into the maddening hell that is “mess” and start all over again.

I guess this is how Sisyphus must have felt. You know, Sisyphus—the guy who the gods had condemned to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, and once he got to the top the stone would fall back of its own weight. The gods had the idea that there would me no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor. Those sound like smart gods to me.

My best friend from high school came out to visit us this weekend (along with her family which included an adorable four month old granddaughter named Audrey.) Anyway, Terilyn and I totally strolled down memory lane and basically spent the whole weekend cracking up. This woman is seriously funny. And wonderful.

But one of the things we talked about was her memory of how no one could ever come to visit and play at my family’s house. I hadn't thought about that in a long time. Gosh, we grew up in a very chaotic world with 7 kids all about a year apart and a few of my brothers were very destructive. I remembered well the shame about anyone seeing our house. I also remember that our mom was ALWAYS cleaning and that the place was ALWAYS a disaster. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must have been for her.

Today Su and I live in a beautiful, organized house. But I still have some of those same feelings of discomfort and shame when people come over. Even if it's NOT messy.

Now that's messed up.

We actually pay a very nice woman to come ever two weeks and really give the place a top to bottom cleaning. She’s awesome, and I shudder to think what our bathrooms (and the house in general) would look like without her help. I should just shut up and be grateful I know.

But the real kicker is that we still have so much to do every day to keep things organized and neat. Cats and food shopping, and trash and dishes and laundry and making various appointments (oh and caring for our beautiful infant son.) And that’s before I even write my “to do” list. Thank God for Susanne I tell you.

And another thing. I swear I watched a movie in elementary school that promised that by the year 2000 robots would take care of everything. Liars! So the point of my post is that I’m sometimes I feel overwhelmed. I think I’d prefer to just feel “whelmed”. I may need a dose of my Susanax. ;-) -Monica

Monday, February 25, 2008

That's one way of looking at it...

This morning Su was printing something at home and the cursor was being very sensitive. It didn't seem to want to do the print function and she said that the computer wouldn't "give her the finger". I thought this was pretty funny until she told me that if you think about it, the computer basically "gives you the finger all the time". Now that is funny! ;-) -Monica
(Roll your cursor over the finger to the left here and you'll see what I mean.)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Snowy Day...Everything was, A OK!

Su took these on Wednesday afternoon. Tonight we might get some real snow. that case, we may be able to actually slide on the sled! -Monica

It's all about the hat...

A few weeks ago our friends Nelson and Jenni introduced us to a wonderful brunch place in College Park, MD called the 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant. It was very fun and we look forward to many more brunches there with Oscar and his mom and dad.

Anyway, it's on an old but still active airstrip, and has a real WWII sort of theme. They even have some vintage airplanes out front. We liked it so well that we recently went back there when we had some out of town visitors. Su's dad snapped several cute photos of his little grandson. it just me, or do you think that Danny looks a bit like Rocky?
(That being said, it goes without saying that Susanne is WAY cuter then Bullwinkle ;-)
Have a wonderful weekend everybody! -Monica

Thursday, February 21, 2008

If a picture's worth a thousand words...

then how many words are two pictures worth?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Nuestra Marimba

Aww...doesn't Danny look impressed? Here he is with Richard and Wes who, ironically, have always been "the little ones" to most of us, since they are both the babies in their respective families. They're teenagers (or is it tweenagers now?)--seems impossible!

They are both sons of good Peace Corps buddies who live nearby. And if Susanne and I can do half as good a job raising Danny as their parents (Becky and Jeff and Steve and Kurula) have done with them, Danny is going to turn out just fine. Better than fine in fact.

In 2005 both these "little fellas" were a big help at our wedding. In this pic below you can see them passing out flowers to all of our guests, (aw look there's my mom...) Gosh, what a difference three years makes huh? In three years Danny will be "crowding" four. Gulp. Big Gulp!!! -Monica

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Our poor baby

Fever is not our friend. Nor runny noses that make it hard to nurse properly.

As I write this on Sunday night Danny is sleeping peacefully, and we are” knocking on wood” that this is the end of his 3 day fight against some invading pathogen.

Here’s the story. On Thursday our friend Jenni who watches Danny called Su to let her know he had a fever. Jenni had wisely gave him infant Tylenol earlier which we'd let her know would be perfectly fine with us if he needed it. Su soon left work to go get him, and by the time we got him home and checked, his temp was at 103.2 which of course concerned us. After talking to the nurse at his doctor’s office who confirmed all the things we thought we should do to comfort him.

We debated about Thursday whether to go ahead with our long planned trip to visit Su’s mom in South Carolina, and since by Friday morning his temp was back to almost normal, we decided to travel. Unfortunately though this cold had no intention of giving up so easily.

He ended up being pretty miserable on the flight from DC to Atlanta. With terrible nose congestion he couldn’t really lay down without discomfort and was even struggling to nurse because he couldn’t breathe through his little nose. Our poor baby. Su ended up holding him upright over her shoulder for just about the whole flight. He’d periodically use her shirt as his own personal handkerchief which was quite fine with her. He’d bury his little head in her chest and shake his head from side to side. He cried some but finally he slept. It was that sad pathetic crying rather than the horrible screaming airplane noise that most travelers dread, but it was crying none the less. People seemed pretty sympathetic I think. Fortunately he seemed much more comfortable on our last leg from Atlanta to Charleston.

We have done all the right things regarding giving him Tylenol, tepid baths, saline nose drops and lots of water etc…and it looks like finally his fever broke for good earlier today. It’s actually been quite restful here which has been good for him I think.

I can’t tell you how stressful it is to pick up your crying infant at night and feel how hot he is. I am very grateful for medications that can reduce pain and fever. I’m all about managing pain, ESPECIALLY when it comes to our precious Danny. (This includes hugs and kisses too.)

Thank goodness, by today he seemed well enough to get out of the house and go to our favorite Japanese Steak House where the chef cooks all your food on the hot grill right where you are sitting. Danny loved it. Especially the part where the chef lit up the whole grill with leaping flames. Ironic don’t you think?

Here’s Danny with grandma and mama back to his normal “laughing boy” mode. We sure hope this is the end of this infection. –Mommy Monica

Thursday, February 14, 2008

That's bigger than a Butterball Turkey too!

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about feeling like the hunchback of Notre Dame. I thought I was improving for a while, but now I know that I'm definitely not right. My neck and shoulder blade on my right side are both super stiff and lately it's been waking me up. I know having a young child to scoop up all the time probably doesn't help, but heck, what can I do?

So I went to my doctor's today and was perscribed a muscle relaxant to start taking tonight. I also have some exercises to do. In the little pamphlet they gave me called "A User's Manual for Your Neck" I read that the human head can weigh up to 15 pound. FIFTEEN POUNDS!

That's just slightly less than what Danny weighs now. Oh, no wonder my poor neck muscles are freaking out. They must be exhausted!!!

I'm hoping that a week of these relaxants and exercises and heat will do the trick. Excuse me while I go lay my head down now. -Monica

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Confessions of one who never played with dolls

I'll admit it. I was quite the tomboy. No shame there. I loved all the things that boys got to do. Run, jump, throw, catch, kick—you name it. I have two older sisters and 4 younger brothers and it was always pretty apparent to me that the boys got to do fun stuff, while the girls got to wash and dry the dishes and also do “tables and floors” every night.

And I hated playing with dolls, which I considered to be the most docile activity one could ever engage in. And paper dolls? Perhaps more participatory, but for gosh sakes, they were paper! How can you run, jump, throw, kick or catch that?

So anyway, if others wanted to do that I had no problem whatsoever. I just preferred to play tag and hide and seek etc.

So my big discovery now is that I LOVE dressing Danny in cute little outfits. It’s like he’s my own little, gulp, doll.

This doesn’t make me a sissy now does it? ;-) -Monica

P.S. Here is one of my living doll from about 3 months ago. Oxford shirts that have "onsie" snap bottoms. Brilliant huh?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I don't mean to brag but...

When you attach your kitty's favorite wand (the one she drags around the house and begs you to play with all the time) onto your rambunctious 8 month old's Exersaucer, WOW is everyone happy!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Now I lay me down to sleep...

Oh dear. I remember once my mom telling me that if we are lucky, when we get really old, we'll forget that we've become forgetful.

Well...I'm not really old yet, so I can remember quite clearly that I've forgotten things. I just can't always remember what those things were. I am therefore very grateful for electronic calendars, voice mail (I call and e-mail myself awfully darn frequently to make sure I don't forget important things) and of course I'm grateful for my much younger wife who remembers lots.

So my latest technique for remembering things is to visualize when I'm drifting off, that I've released an imaginary "roomba", (you know the robot vacuum cleaner that just roams the house cleaning all day) in my brain. I tell it to feel free to scour the deepest passages of my mind to help me wake up refreshed and suddenly clear on something I couldn't quite remember.

This actually works remarkably well for me. I'd give you some examples of things I've drummed up after a good night's sleep, but, well, I can't really think of anything to share.

I'll release the "imaginary vacuum" hound tonight again and let you know tomorrow.

Ummm...I've got to go now so I can call my voice mail. ;-)


Friday, February 08, 2008

Is his eyebrow slightly raised?

What do you mean Milka Chocolate is not in the "Super Baby Food" book?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Manna...or maybe Milka...from heaven!

What a day, oh what a day! So yesterday the package arrived! We never know exactly when the package will come, but when it does, it is filled with a huge stack of candy bars. German Milka bars to be exact. For those unfamiliar with this delicacy, I can only recommend that you run right out and find some right now. (Check out Aldi, World Market and other stores with European foods.)

Now, if you knew the full story or our annual "Milka" day of joy you'd probably think I should get my head examined. You see there is a very nice, handsome young man in Germany who met Su about 10 years ago while studying abroad in the US. I'll call him Franz. Well Franz has conistently for many years now sent Su a huge box with Milka candy bars in it for her birthday. Sometimes they come before the big day and sometimes after. One time they came on a very slow boat from Europe we are pretty sure, because the box was much worse for the wear.

Anyway, the boxes always come with no note. We are quite sure he spends more on shipping them to the U.S. than he spends on the chocolate itself. But here's the thing. He and Susanne don't keep in touch otherwise. Su exchanges letters and e-mails from his his sister periodically (who was also studying abroad in the U.S. at the same time) so we sort of know what he's up to, but he and Su haven't really talked in years.

He never replies to the thank you e-mails Su sends even though we are pretty sure he gets them. So every year we assume that will be the last of it. But no! Another box of 15 or so bars at our door! Happy happy joy joy!

Another friend of ours once explained to me that he thought that maybe Franz had a crush on Su. That hadn't occured to me (although maybe it should have?) Regardless, being so very secure in my relationship, and so very secure in my love for Milka chocolate, I love Franz. Never met him but he's okay in my book. Is anyone else hungry now??????? ;-) -Monica

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Back home where my heart is!

Greeting gentle readers. I'm am just now back from a quick trip to Toronto, and have these couple of deep thoughts which I'll call my top 5 reasons I prefer not to travel for work:

5. I really miss Su and Danny (even if my trip is for only a few days)

4. CINNABONS! Damn you Cinnabons! Your sweet, sweet scent lures me into your evil lair every time I enter an airport. Eating your delicious treats before sitting on a plane for hours is just not an intelligent choice. And I do it EVERY TIME!

3. Hotel bathroom mirrors. (See reason 4.) They are often huge, spanning an entire section of the room. Utterly depressing. And the lighting doesn't help either generally speaking. I think I would seriously pay more to stay at a hotel that featured circus fun house mirrors (the good kind of course!)

2. Airport toilets that think they know when I'm done and start flushing. It scares me every time. I don't know what it is about my "hovercraft" positioning that fools them so consistently. And lastly...

Drumroll please...

1. I really, really missed my Su and Danny (and damn you Cinnabons!)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Thanks to all who sent comments letting me know that things would go perfectly fine on my first day "home alone" with Danny. We ended up not going out in the rain which was my ploy to distract him (it was torrential at times!) but we had a perfectly fun day playing and hanging out at home.

This weekend we got to go to the birthday party of my friend Mandy's 3 year old identical twin girls and it was great fun. It's amazing how different their personalities are. And from the very same egg. How does that happen? Same genetics, same environment. They are both wonderful little girls and Danny had a lot of fun "playing" with all the big kids.

Then on Sunday we had a wonderful time at our friends' Mikki and Kelly's house. Their little girl is quite the superstar. She crawls everywhere and, no lie, said, "that's okay" or some sounds to that effect at one point to Danny. She's just turned 9 months old and she's very impressive in all areas of her development. Oh, and since our hostesses were convinced that they'd only ever fed us pizza when we'd come in the past they made and amazing meal. It was like Thankgiving in February!

Today I get to see how Danny will respond to me after I've kind of been "out of the scene" for a few days. I've got a short business trip that I'll leave on today which means for the next two nights and mornings, I'm not really going to be around. Hmmmm...will he squeal with delight when he sees me Wednesday? Or will he shun me? Time will tell. I prefer to think that he and his creative mama will make confetti and have a ticker tape parade of sorts. But now I have to ask myself this. Will Susanne squeal with delight when she sees me? Or will SHE too shun me? ;-)

Delight, Delight, Delight, Delight, Delight, Delight, Delight, Delight, Delight, Delight, Delight! -Monica

Friday, February 01, 2008

Home alone...

In the 8 months of Danny's thus far wonderful life, he's been taken care of by his mama and now since she's gone back to work, by our friend Jenni several days a week. I've never spent an entire day alone with just me and Danny. As I write, I can hear him roaring like a "Danosaur" up in his crib since his nice long morning nap is now coming to an end.

Su's usually off on Fridays but has to work today because the beginning of each month is a super busy time for her job. I'm scheduled to be off every other Friday, but again, it's always with Su.

So...Am I worried? Maybe a little bit. The boy loves me to pieces. I'm the goofy mommy who gets him up in the morning, sings silly songs and comes home when it's dark. I'm the one who often feeds him his supper and throws him in the air and rolls around on the floor with him. What I don't usually do is give him a bottle. Why would I? Su is our instant source of all warmth, love and nourishment. But now I've got three cold bottles of breast milk in the refrigerator (yes, I know to warm them in hot water first.)

So, today is going to be an interruption to his system. An odd day. His day care provider Jenni feeds him bottles all the time. So he's used to the bottle from her. But when he's at her house he also gets to play all day with little Oscar. So now he gets a bottle from me and no Oscar? I just think he might be confused as to where the "regular people" are today.

So...we're going out. Forget about the rain. Forget about the cold. If it's going to be an odd day anyway, we are going down to the DC city office where we can finally pick up his birth certificate which was reissued by court order after I was able to legally adopt him. That's my plan. Distract him. Good thing my shoulder is feeling better today. Wait, the "Danosaur" roareth again--this time for real. Gotta go. Wish me luck! -Monica

What have you done with the regular people mommy? (Photo courtesy of Jenni!)