Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Early Education

Yesterday, after I rocked Dylan and stood to put him in his crib for his nap, he pointed over my shoulder at a picture of V.

"Momma," he said.

"That's right. That's V., your birth mommy."

"Belly," he said, drowsily.

Clearly, he has been absorbing the little story I tell him from time to time about how he grew and grew in V.'s belly, and when he was ready, he popped out. And about how Mommy and Daddy were there and we were so happy to see him. Mommy, and Daddy and V. all hugged and hugged and kissed him, we loved him so much.

So, I guess I'll need to work on how I tell him his birth and adoption story a bit more. We want to make sure it is easy, and age apprepropriate, and accurate, which feels like a tall order right now.

I find it so helpful to learn the specifics of how other parents talk with their kids of diffferent ages about their adoptions. If you have any resources or ideas, please share them!

One of my goals for this quickly fleeting summer was to create a Life Book that includes simple text and more photos of his birth relatives and of our time together around Dylan's arrival. I think it would be a helpful, and that he might come to treasure it. I haven't gotten around to it yet, but after Dylan made his interest apparent yesterday, I'm really motivated!

Sunday, July 24, 2011





Shortly before Dylan's first birthday, M. and I made a major decision, a decision that to this day at least one family member calls "the disaster." We gave him a haircut. Bravely, M. was the chief stylist, and I was the chief distractor, providing toys and snacks to keep hands away from the clipping blades. I must say, I was impressed! M. did a really nice job: our kid's hair was even, neat, and no longer in his eyes. But, the sweet, sweet little curls at the nape of his neck were gone.

So I should have anticipated ambivalent feelings when finally on Saturday we took him to get his first professional cut.

I'd found a shop not far away that specializes in kids, and based on our last few home haircutting attempts, I thought it would be wise to find a stylist used to working with little squirmers. Indeed, we walked in and Dylan immediately gave an excited, "Whooooaaa!" and headed toward the train table. Then he noticed the red car and got even more delighted. It was easy to get him up and into the chair. The stylist worked quickly and within a few minutes, there was a little pile of soft, fine hair on the floor.

And then it was done. And though the experience was successful - it went quickly, Dylan was too interested in all that was going on to fidget much, and our goal of getting what had become his fairly long and sloppy hair tidied up - I am really sad. Major disaster.

Now he looks like a boy, ready for school. I miss my freespirited little toddler.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Sweetest Sound

Witnessing Dylan's language development has been fascinating. I wish that I'd kept better track of it since he uttered his first intelligble word - ball! - about six months ago, because it seems like there are patterns, and then he'll totally surprise us.

When we were in Hawaii, M. and I were marveling how he seemed to be having some kind of linguistic developmental leap because each day, he surprised us with one or two new words we didn't know he knew, which was a much faster pace than before. M. confessed that he'd been keeping a list and that suddenly, it was quickly approaching 50 distinct words.

At that point, we joked a lot about how one of the words Dylan didn't know yet was "mommy." He'd been saying "dad" for months, and when you asked him where mommy was, he'd clearly point at me. But he wasn't saying it, even as he approached 100 words.

For awhile, it didn't bother me that he wasn't calling me anything. I noticed that he wasn't saying any words that began with an mmm sound. I heard from several others who said that "mommy" was not among their kids' first words. And, there were plenty of other ways I knew Dylan was attached to me.

Nevertheless, as the days that he acquired other words accumulated, but there was still no "mommy," some self-doubts crept in. (Good grief, he spontaneously said "backpack" and umbrella"!) Secretly, I worried that he'd master his nanny's name before he'd call me mommy. I wondered if there just were too many other women with spots in his heart - his grandmother, his aunties, his birth mom - and if his lack of vocal identification was a sign that I really wasn't that special to him. I didn't want to make this about adoption, but...

Shortly after returning from vacation, I came home from work to Dylan clearly calling "Momma!" Now throughout the day, there are so, so many "mommas." There's the pointing-at-something he wants momma and the that-belongs-to-you momma. There's the please-pick-me-up-momma and the where-are-you momma. Oddly, there's the red-car momma, as any red vehicle apparently reminds him of my little cherry Honda. There's the good-morning momma and the please-read-to-me momma. One of my favorites is the out-of-the-blue "momma" accompanied by an oddly placed lip smack. And you know what? All of those mommas are the sweetest sound I've ever heard.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Good Job?

(Cue the melodrama...but this is a true story.)

Big tears slid down my cheeks and into his crib as I look in on my sleeping son and breathe in his sweet breath. I am shaken by the full realization that if we parent well, this little one will some day not need me.

Oh, other mothers, how do you bare it?