Saturday, January 31, 2009

Meet Ami

When Cameron was about Matthew's age, he received a teddy bear to whom he grew quite attached. The bear became known as Henri (the French form of Henry) when I listed potential names and when I said "Henry?" Cameron replied, "Henri!"
When Matthew first came home, Grandma and Grandpa T gave him his own teddy bear. We have been waiting ever since then to learn the bear's name. Today, Matthew finally told us. His name is "Ami." Again, with the French -- you know, "ami" as in "friend."

In addition to naming Ami, Matthew climbed for a good reason today! As you can see here, he dragged a little chair over to the bigger chair so that he could climb up and read "Curious George" with Ami!I found this much more charming than earlier this week, when Matthew used the same little chair to climb onto the counter, place the salt shaker on top of the toaster and turn the toaster on, resulting in a melted shaker. And I swear, he accomplished this in about 5 seconds. I was actually in the kitchen with him and scooped him off the counter, but failed to realize that he had turned on the toaster until I smelled burning plastic.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Teaching Bad Habits

So, I'm pretty sure that when your kid does something that you don't really want them to do again, you are not supposed to laugh. And I'm almost positive that you aren't supposed to take photos. But seriously, how could you not document this?

Snowbound, Part 2

When Cameron's school called on Wednesday night to say school would be open on Thursday, I nearly wept with joy. When they called back at 6am on Thursday to say they had reconsidered and would be closed, I nearly wept with disappointment. But then, I pulled myself together. "Hold your head up, missy! You have totally rocked the last two days! You can DO this!" Then I called a friend and begged to have a playdate.
What a relief it was to spend time with someone over the age of 5! And how amazing to have Cameron and Matthew play with someone other than ME! We grown-ups talked and talked and occasionally broke up squabbles over toy computers, golf balls and favored baby dolls. But by far the biggest disagreements were over who got to push which doll stroller around the kitchen.When we got back home, I felt rejuvenated and I took the boys out to play in the snow once again. We had a great day. But not sooooo great that I didn't do a little dance when the school called to say, really, there would be school on Friday. Yee-hah!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


This afternoon, I took the boys outside to play in the snow. The whole world was sparkling white -- ice covered the tree branches and the sunshine glinted off the endless blanket of snow. There wasn't another person or even a footprint to be seen. Until we ran, whooping and hollering, falling in the piles of snow and breaking icicles off to use as light sabers. "This is the way I remember winter when I was little," I said to Cameron.

"Wow," he sighed wistfully. "It must have been like heaven when you were a kid!"


Yesterday, school and soccer were both cancelled due to snow. Our day went from really busy to wide open. Sometimes, when faced with a long day home with the kids, I feel . . . despair. But somedays, like yesterday, I feel up to the challenge. We got bundled up and played in the snow not once but twice!
We turned a cardboard box into an easel and colored.
And if I thought I was creative coming up with the easel idea, just look at what Cameron designed!
Yes, he made a MultiGrain Cheerios costume (with some help from the art department). He wore it much of the afternoon and made observations such as "It's hard to sit down when you are a cereal box." After much experimentation, he decided that the hardest thing for a cereal box to do is "spin around and around."
In the afternoon, we baked allergen-free cookies. Matthew was very excited and repeatedly signed "cookie, cookie." After having one, he decided that one cookie is just not sufficient and he took matters in to his own hands, dragging the stool over to try and swipe another treat. When I caught him, he yelled, "Tricked you!"
Overall, it was a highly successful snow day.
Then, school was cancelled today. *sigh* I'm still managing to keep my spirits up, but I am a bit less enthusiastic. Instead of bundling everybody up for a trip outside, I decided to just bring the snow in where it is warm. This novelty was quite a thrill for the boys. They've been playing in the snow for about a half hour now, creating snow men and using Little People to stage disasters. "HELP! I forgot to wear my mittens! This snow is freezing!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Alphabet 2.0

Matthew seems to have quite a memory, and can already sing several songs, count and recite his ABCs. He is, however, only 17 months old so he takes some liberties. Every time he sings the alphabet song, he reaches l-m-n-o and goes like this, "H I J K ya ya ya ya P." He also sings "Doubbbb-llllle" for W. I like to imagine him spelling his name "Ya-A-T-T-H-E-Doubbb-lllle."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

That's my name, don't wear it out

Yesterday, Matthew started saying his name. We've heard him say "Ma-dew" and Ma-cew" before and thought he was trying to say his name, but yesterday we'd ask, "What's your name?" and he would triumphantly shout, "Ma-ttew!"

Later in the evening, Matthew heard me mention a boy in Cameron's class named Dylan. As it so happens, one of Matthew's only close-in-age friends is also named Dylan and he grew quite excited. "Dylan! Dylan!" he shouted.

Later still, I asked again, "What's your name?"

"DYLAN!" he yelled.

"No, no. Your name is Matthew. What's your name?"


As much as I insisted his name was Matthew, he insisted even more fervently that his name was Dylan. We all teased him, calling him Dylan and egging him on to say his name.

Then, this afternoon, I heard Matthew waking up from his nap. As I walked down the hall, I called out, as I do every day, "Is that my Matthew?"

Only instead of hearing a little voice reply, "Yah," I heard him say, "No."

I tried again. "Is that my Matthew?"


Then, it came to me. "Is that my Dylan?"


Saturday, January 24, 2009


Yesterday, I spent the day with Cameron at school. He proudly showed me "chain work," which has long been a mystery to me. Cameron would hop in the car after school and crow, "Guess whaaa-aat! I finished the seeee-veeen chain!" It was clear that I should be impressed but my attempts to figure out what, exactly, the seven chain was were unsuccessful. So, yesterday, Cameron showed me that he can count by eights (8,16,24,32,40,48,56,64) on a chain of eight sections each with eight beads. The end result is that he can figure out that eight squared is 64. Wow. I am impressed.

I'm glad that the eight chain was the first work he showed me. I mean, I know that motor skills are important and all but it just isn't quite as impressive to watch your kid write his initials with shaving cream and then rub his hands in it. Although I do admit that it was very impressive to watch him clean up the mess -- carefully wiping the table down with a sponge, pouring the dirty water from a tub into a bucket, carrying the bucket to the sink, wiping out the bucket and tub with a towel and then carefully folding the towel and packing up all the supplies. Makes me think I've been totally underestimating him -- I should put him on diaper duty. For his own good, of course -- I'm just thinking of his motor skills.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


When I'm out and about with Matthew, people often struggle to find the words they are looking for. Namely, a polite way to say, "Uh, who are you? Is this kid yours? And . . . how?" Recently, Matthew has taken it upon himself to clarify our relationship for others.

On Monday, I took the kids to a library program about MLK Jr. As we walked in the room, the speaker glanced up at us and actually lost his train of thought for a moment. "Mama," Matthew said pointing at me. "Mama, mama." As new people entered the room, he would announce again, "Mama" sometimes accompanied by an affectionate hug.

Yesterday, Cameron had soccer class. Matthew toddled from parent to parent, gesturing to me and staring at them earnestly as he explained, "Mama."

And today at the pediatrician's office, he made sure that no one was confused about who was bringing him to the appointment (or torturing him with a nebulizer). It was mama.


Matthew has been sick with a nasty cough and cold for about a week. It didn't seem to be improving, so we headed to the pediatrician's office this morning. In the waiting room, Matthew put his mouth on the children's table (insert gagging noise here) before I could stop him. He ran to the door and entreatied me, "Up, up!" When I didn't comply, he attempted to drag a kiddie chair to the door while explaining helpfully, "I climb." When they called us back for our appointment, I heaved a sigh of relief -- it would definitely be easier to contain him in the exam room, right? Once in the room, he ran about opening drawer after drawer as I frantically followed behind him, closing drawers and trying to block his progress. Finally, the doctor arrived. A peek in Matthew's ears -- infected. A listen to his chest -- wheezy and crackly. A script for antibiotics and an inhaler and, oh, one more thing . . . a nebulizer treatment before you go.

The doctor lugged the nebulizer into the room and, to my surprise, turned to Cameron. "Don't be scared," she said. "This isn't going to hurt Matthew, it's going to make him feel better." (I love our pediatrician, by the way.) As the nebulizer began puffing away, I held the mask to Matthew's face. He didn't move a muscle, just sat there inhaling the medicine. The doctor headed out of the room and I congratulated myself on having such a compliant little patient.

Seconds later, Matthew began screaming, "All done, all done!" He tore the tube out of the mask. I reattached it and held his arms down. He thrashed and pulled the tube out of the nebulizer, shrieking, "Help! Help!"

Cameron began to sob hysterically, while I held Matthew's arms down with one arm, wrapped by legs over his and clamped the mask over his face. "We're OK!" I shouted. "We're all OK! Everybody stay calm!"

I can only imagine what the patient in the next room was thinking -- two sobbing kids, a tiny muffled voice calling for help, me screaming that we all need to stay calm. It was a traumatic ten minutes. When the doctor returned, both kids were red-eyed and snotty nosed, I was sweating and panting and the tube was, once again, disconnected from the nebulizer. She has clearly seen it all, as she barely batted an eye.

Now, finally, all is calm. Cameron's at school, Matthew is napping and I have a little while before I have to hold Matthew down to give him a few puffs of the inhaler. Repeat to self: "We're OK. We're all OK."

Peace, Love, Obama

Monday, January 19, 2009

Last Comic Toddling

Matthew's joke-telling skills are improving by leaps and bounds. Today, he has a new joke that he's been trying out with great success. It goes like this:

Matthew: Knock, knock.
Audience: Who's there?
Matthew: Who-hoo.
Audience: Who-hoo who?
Matthew: JOKE!

Giving is Better than Receiving

Shortly before Christmas, Cameron shyly presented me with a package wrapped in construction paper. "I made this for you, Mommy," he said. I carefully removed the liberally applied Scotch tape and found inside . . . a toy catalogue. With a proud smile, Cameron opened the catalogue and began to flip through the pages. "See? I marked off all of the toys I want from you." Awww.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Can't Take My Eyes Off Him . . . Really

As soon as he was old enough to stand, Matthew started climbing. It turns out that this is not a passing phase. I have no recent photos because the climbing has become too hazardous for me to pause and take a snapshot.

We have a small step stool that Cameron uses to reach the sink. Matthew also found it helpful for reaching the sink and then, one day, it occured to him. "Hey! If I moved this thing, I could reach other stuff too!" Every time he can get his hands on the step stool, he relocates it to someplace interesting. Occasionally it's cute, like yesterday, when he used the step stool to climb up on the couch and sit down next to Cameron. More often, it's terrifying, such as using the step stool to reach the stove. Last night, I thought I had the solution to the climbing: no more step stool. Brilliant, right?

Then today, I sat Cameron at the table with his lunch. I strapped Matthew into his high chair, pushed on the tray full of food and walked into the kitchen to grab my own lunch. Within seconds, Cameron called, "Mommmm-yyyyy! Come see what Matthew's doing!" When I walked in the room, Matthew had somehow wiggled out of the high chair restraints, crawled over his tray and was now sitting, smiling, on top of the table. *gasp*

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On a serious note

As I've mentioned before, this blog is listed as one of Adoptive Families magazine's "Adoption Blogs We Love!" And, in the latest issue, they've included this post I wrote about Cameron's awareness of being a multiracial family. After a few moments of heady self-congratulation, it suddenly occurred to me that people might actually come to my blog. And, in all likelihood, they’d be expecting it to be about adoption and, well, it's usually not. Which got me thinking about why it's not.
Some people blog about their adoption process. I didn't . . . it was too personal, I guess. The decisions you are making during the adoption process are big and I didn't want them clouded by outside opinions or pressure.

Some people blog about the need for adoption reform, the ethics of adoption, adoption policy. I love reading these blogs and always learn something. But I'm still learning and forming opinions about those topics. Plus, there are way more eloquent and thoughtful people out there writing those blogs -- I defer to them.

I mainly started blogging to write about my family – simply to share the fun and the frustrating moments of motherhood. And writing about my family will sometimes mean writing about adoption and sometimes not. Because, paradoxically, I am thinking about adoption both all the time and almost never.

Here's the adoption stuff that is "all the time." I think about Matthew's birth mom every single day. Each day, I tell Matthew how much he is loved by mommy, by daddy, by Cameron, by grandma and grandpa and by his birth mom. I tell Matthew his adoption story and I think of how that story will someday become a conversation and how that conversation will grow over time. I think nearly constantly about how to be the best mom I can be to both of my boys, and in our family that will always include how we talk about adoption and race. I think about how to teach others about adoption and multiracial families, how to answer people’s questions, how to kindly correct their missteps, how to advocate for Matthew. So, in many ways, adoption is always on my mind – it isn’t just how Matthew joined our family, it’s changed our family in so many ways and it will always be a part of our daily life.

Here's the "almost never" stuff. I don't look at Matthew and think "adopted." I did at first in a "Wow, can you believe it?" kind of way. And, of course, every time we went out in public for a long time I was hyperaware that we were now a family that attracted a lot of attention. But now, I see Matthew and I think about how adorable his giggle is and how tough it is to keep him out of trouble and a million things other than how he came to be our son. These days, I sometimes even forget that other people see us any differently until, inevitably, someone asks, "Is he adopted?" or "Where's he from?" I think when people first meet us, and often for a very long time afterward, the main way they think of our family is “the white family with the adopted black baby.” And that, I can tell you, is “never” stuff for me. As much as adoption is a part of our daily life, it doesn’t define our family.
So, if you came to this blog to read about adoption, you sometimes will. Most of the time, what you'll see are stories about a happy family with two beautiful boys who are funny, smart, challenging and always giving me writing material! A family that, by they way, was built through adoption.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No, really

The boys and I were playing with Legos this morning when Matthew dropped a piece under the table. As I reached down and picked it up, he said, "I got it." (Really. He's quite a talker.)

"That's okay Matthew!" I answered. "I already picked it up. See?"

Taking the Lego from my hand he replied, "Oh, right." This is Matthew's new favorite line. His response to everything is "Oh, right." We have no idea where he got it from.

Matthew held the Lego for a moment, looked thoughtful, then reached down, dropped it on the floor and said, "I got it!" as he hopped off the chair and scooted under the table.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

3rd Place

Cameron reviewed again for me this morning that he loves Daddy just a little bit more than me. Although he does love me a lot. This time, however, he continued. "And Matthew? I love Matthew THE MOST! I love Matthew this much," he said, stretching his arms as wide as they could go. "See? I love him so much I can't even fit through the door." He demonstrated by attempting to walk through the door with his arms out.

If Cameron is going to love somebody more than me, I'm happy to come after David and Matthew!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I've heard of an "eye-opener" but this is ridiculous!

Thanks to his multiple food allergies, Matthew's diet is fairly limited. Perhaps as a result, he gets really, really excited when he is introduced to a new snack. When we discovered that Premium brand Saltines are made with soy instead of dairy, Matthew would have chomped through whole sleeves of crackers if we had let him. And don't get me started on Honey Maid graham crackers!

But this week, Matthew tried his first pretzel and, well, it wasn't pretty. Matthew has developed an intense and obsessive desire for pretzels. "Eat dat," he cries plaintively, pointing to the cupboard and signing 'pretzel, pretzel.' "Eat dat pease!" No matter how many pretzels he is given, he is back, minutes later, mouth stuffed and crumbs flying as he mumbles "Eat dat."
A few nights ago, I was awoken by Matthew's cries at 3am. "Eat dat!" he sobbed. "Pease, eat dat, eat dat!" Bleary-eyed, I saw his little fingers signing "pretzel please" over and over. This scene repeated itself for the following two nights.

It's become clear to us. Matthew has a pretzel addiction. A serious one. I'm thinking an intervention is called for. Sit him down with an intimate group of friends and family who will kindly but firmly express their concern at how his use of pretzels is interfering in his life and relationships. And I'm not going to be an enabler any more! I'm going to be tough. Tears or tantrums? Sorry, kid, you can't handle the pretzel.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Technically Correct

Today Cameron was showing a friend one of his toys. "Did you get that for Christmas?" the boy's mom asked.

"No, I got it for my birthday," Cameron responded.

"Oh, when was your birthday?"

"It was in 2008," Cameron said. "And my next one is in 2009."

Monday, January 5, 2009

Lament of the Stay At Home Parent

David returned to work today, after many days of family togetherness. The boys are missing him. "Mommy?" said Cameron. "I love you. A lot. Like this much." He stretched his hands apart. "And I love Daddy this much." He stretched his hands a few millimeters farther.

"You had a lot of fun with Daddy, huh?" I replied. "It's okay to love him just a little more than me!"

"Yeah," said Cameron. "Just a little more than you. But I like him WAY more than you."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

An Idea for the State Lottery System

Matthew received a Little People Spin n' Crash Raceway from Santa. The idea behind the toy is that two Little People in their respective race cars "drive" around a figure 8 track and crash into each other. This, we have discovered, is Fun. However, other items can also be made to race about the track, such as Hot Wheels, Legos and stray Cheerios. This is Even More Fun.
The other night, Cameron saw the lottery on TV for the first time. He was entranced by the numbered balls being sucked up the tubes while a middle-aged woman with a heavy handed make-up artist announced the winning numbers. So, tonight, the Spin n' Crash Raceway was transformed into the Little People Lottery. A few dominos, a turn of the key and then a quick opening of the gate and . . . winning numbers! It's such a simple and affordable system, it really makes me question what the lottery system is doing wasting all that money on those fancy gravity pick machines.