Thursday, June 30, 2011


Some say that children are little sponges, absorbing everything around them. Sometimes, it freaks me out a bit how much Dylan picks up without any effort on the part of the big heads around him. For example, he holds the pen of his EtchaD*odle between his thumb and index finger and "writes" with almost exactly the right posture. How did he learn that?!

Yesterday, as we were growing frustrated with our attempts to get Dylan to eat the healthy things we'd provided him for lunch, I off-handedly asked M., "Do you think we should give him some *f*i*s*h?" I stealthily spelled out the word, hoping to avoid shifting the boy's attention from his fruit to one of his favorite snacks.

Before M. could respond, Dylan exclaimed, "Blub! Blub! Blub!"...which is what he believes fish say.

The thing is, I don't think I spell words around him that much, and I can't remember ever doing it for the little orange crackers. Clearly, I must have, because my son knew exactly what I was talking about!


* gh as in enough; o as in women; ti as in nation. (Isn't English a wacky language?)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Summer!

Dylan and Daddy in the Garden
June 21, 2011

Yesterday, as we played in the garden through the long dusk, I felt a real kinship with my Scandinavian relatives who truly celebrate the shortest night of the year. I love summer!

Though I know it wasn't official until yesterday, as someone whose calendar is closely tied to the academic year, my summer began shortly after graduation more than a month ago, and it will conclude at the end of August. So, I have already really been enjoying it.

Here are a few things this season of sun means to me:

- Part-time work schedule. Most important, I have more time to spend with my boys. I also have more time to keep up with the laundry and all the household tasks that nag at me during the school year, which relieves pressure. It might even mean I'm a more regular blogger. (See! Two posts in two days! Don't get used to it...)

- Peaches! Our tree must have produced more than 200 of the sweetest, juiciest fruit. Alas, they all ripened in a three week period and are gone already. Fortunately, they freeze well and we'll have yummy smoothies for many months.

- Summer Delicacies. It's not just the fruit we grow ourselves that I love, it's all of summer's healthy, natural abundance. To me, summer tastes like sweet corn on the cob (with lots of butter and salt), lush watermelon, and strawberries on vanilla ice-cream. Ymmmm! BTW, Dylan's favorite food right now is watermelon and he's eating tons of it. If I go near the fridge, he starts exclaiming, "Melon! Melon!" Interestingly, he is also quite fixated on some of the citrus in our yard, and in a bit of verbal dyslexia, exclaims "Melon! Melon!" when he's really trying to say "Lemon! Lemon!"

- Vacation. At the end of May, we spent nine whole days in Hawaii. Those who know M. and me know that we love traveling and have had some wonderful adventures in distant lands. What appealed most to us this year, however, was the notion of sitting on beach...without having to worry about whether the ice in our cocktails was safe to consume. So, we rented a little condo in the Poipu area of Kauai. My mom came with us, saying she was our au pair, and she did provide many hours of attention to her grandson so that M. and I could escape the responsibilities of parenthood for a bit. It was so much fun to sit in the warm water of a tide pool and watch Dylan splash around, declaring each volcanic rock "laawvah!"

- Family Time. Dylan will have a chance to hang out with all of his cousins, who live in other states, this summer. We've already had some time with his "Arizona cousins" and it made my heart sing to see them all together. Those kids are much older but they just dote on their littlest relative. Even the too-cool fourteen-year-old vied for time to bounce his baby cuz around. Dylan will also get to see more of each of his grandparents, who he adores. Each one brings something special and different to his life and I know he will always cherish the time he spends with them, being the center of the universe for hours at a time.

- Celebrations and Mini-adventures. Father's Day, Independence Day, M's birthday, a weekend at one of our favorite spots, camping at the beach, the wedding of dear friends - all moments to get together with loved ones and let loose a bit.

- Making progress on my neglected To Do list. Some things I am dedicated to accomplishing in the next several weeks include: exercising and losing weight; making our back patio area more inviting with shade, plants, and decorations; researching and buying a fuel efficient four-door car to replace my old Honda coupe, since we'll need to fit a car seat in there when Dylan goes to daycare in September; painting and finish decorating Dylan's room; and creating a Life Book for the boy.

- And lastly, casting off my ghostly pallor. Okay, I know. I know. I know. I know it's all an illusion, but I really DO look healthier with a bit of a tan.

I remember a time in childhood when summer seemed too long. I got bored and began to itch to go back to school. My, how times change.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Irrational Exuberance

Dylan is growing up so fast. It's hard to keep up with him, here and around the house.

Before we adopted, I thought I'd miss not having a kid who inherited my biological traits and tendencies. Something that surprises me is how delightful I find many of the ways Dylan is different from me. One simple example is that I am definitely NOT a morning person. I set my alarm at least 20 minutes early because I know I will need to hit the snooze button a few times. (Praise my understanding bed-mate!) Once I finally do manage to throw off the covers, I typically trudge heavy-footed and sleepy-eyed around the house. My assistant at work could probably tell you I'm not very friendly, or even communicative, until about 10 a.m.

My son, on the other hand, usually wakes up with a huge, sunny smile. When I come into his room, he's often already dancing at the rails of his crib. He's most cooperative and easy-going in the three hours or so before his late-morning nap.

Fortunately, Dylan's sunny disposition in the a.m. is having a positive influence on me. I now look forward to his greeting each morning, and especially to a few moments of snuggling in bed with him and his daddy before starting the rush of the day.

Though I am a generally happy person, and I was even voted "Most Optimistic" by my high school class, it would be a real stretch to describe my personality as "bubbly." But that's what Dylan is.

He just exudes joy.

And I just love that about him. Yes, some of it is undoubtedly typical toddler energy. But I think there's more to it than that. I think he inherited much of his exuberance from V. But sadly, as M's observed, a hard life has already dulled much of her shine.

It is one of my greatest hopes and challenges as a parent to help Dylan preserve his wonderful, positive disposition. I hope he won't become world-wary, and that there will always be great, unstifleable joy in his life.

(Of course, I don't expect that it will always be running around half-naked with a toothbrush that will bring on such irrational exuberance...At least I hope not.)

If you have kids who were adopted, how are they like and dissimilar from you? How do you feel about it?