The first step is to penetrate the clouds of deceit and distortion and learn the truth about the world,
then to organize and act to change it. That's never been impossible and never been easy. ~Noam Chomsky

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I heart daycare, I feel like a hypocrite, and our failing health

It's been too long since I've written about the little stuff. The stuff that seems small but makes life tick.

Daycare Update:

I really love it. I so so so love Ariam's daycare. Moving her was a really good choice, even though it means we have less cash each month.

I admire mothers who stay home. Those SAHM (never knew what that stood for until I became a parent and started reading parenting forums!) who homeschool, and cook amazing meals each night, and keep the house sparkling, and who manage to love on and teach and nurture their children every minute of the day are unbelievable. My heroes.

It's just not me though. This whole stay at home mom thing. I had some daydreams about being a SAHM before Ariam came home. You know, we would just be clean and pretty all day together. The fridge would always replenish itself with carrot sticks and organic milk. We would frolic in green meadows while memorizing the periodic table and playing with each other's hair. There may have been derndle dresses, a guitar, and frocks I sewed by hand from green flowered curtains in said daydream.

Then the daydream turned into a nightmare last summer and fall when I realized that I could not maintain a meaningful career, cook healthy meals, keep up with the laundry, and nurture my clingy toddler. Successfully. In one day. (Let alone run errands, go to doctor's appointments, load the dishwasher, and  handle conference calls from the car.)

Then we found the dream daycare (preceeded by the not so great, average daycare) and ever since I have been able to breathe again.

Not all daycares are the same. And we couldn't afford this one full-time. So I'm not saying that everyone should run out and enroll their toddler in the nearest daycare.

But this one really does meet our needs. This is how I know:

1. Ariam gets excited on "school" mornings. She bounces, she carries her shoes around, and she points at her jacket and screams "CHAK et!!"
2. When asked if she wants to go to school Ariam responds with the sign for "Friends" and says "YAY!"
3. When we get to daycare she knows the routine - how to peek in the front door until it unlocks, which door is hers, where to hang her coat. She doesn't cry or cling anymore.
4. A kiss and then she's off! But when we pick her up at the end of the day she gives a lot of hugs and smiles and is ready to go.
5. Since starting daycare Ariam is gentler, she does like to use the word "mine" a little too often, but she knows how to share. She can take turns. She's more communicative. And after a day at daycare she's nice and tired. In a good way.

The daycare is bright, colorful, clean and full of fun activities. The two workers are consistent and always greet Ariam with hugs and smiles. It is just a good place. I'm so happy and in love with it. We have decided to move her up from 2 days/week to 3 days/week. (More on this later.)

Now, on to feeling like a hypocrite:

Last year I made a bit of a fuss about transracial families who put their children in monkey costumes for Halloween. It just felt....wrong. Too much history there/monkey being used as a term to demean, belittle and hurt for too long to make it all ok and easy now.

I have had a really cute onesie folded up in the drawer for a few months.
Last week I put it on under a sweater and when I picked up Ariam from daycare she had the sweater off and just the onesie showing.
It's a lovely onesie. Puffed sleeved. Two toned aubergine color.
Just one thing. It has a monkey hanging from a tree branch plastered right on the front.

And here is what I've decided.
I don't care. The onesie is cute. I like the color on her. And she doesn't wear monkey themed apparel in general. So there. I've decided that in our city, where we never get strange looks as a trans-racial family, a monkey here and there is just fine.

Now, in other cities, like Washington, DC, I wouldn't even go there. When we traveled in DC in September we got stares from African Americans city wide. I don't think I'd like to open myself up to monkey-themed criticism on top of being a conspicuous family. But here, in our neighborhood, at daycare, oh well. A monkey onesie is not going to hurt anyone. Yep, I feel like a hypocrite. I am outing myself and saying that maybe the November monkey post was a bit over the top.

Finally, a health update. Which will lead into my next post about healthy adoption:

J tore a ligament in his knee on New Year's day. He lay in bed for a week. I was VERY jealous.
He had surgery. I wasn't so jealous.
He is now recovered.
I'm planning on tearing something next.

Cassidy has lung cancer. As you all know.

I have been sick off and on for two months with a recurrent fever, lots of phlegm, and huge amounts of lethargy. Yesterday the doctor finally prounced me medically ill enough to receive drugs.

Ariam's head is "too big." According to medical science. So she has to have an MRI next week.
I personally feel she is just fine and I would know if something were wrong.
She's just very smart. And big headed. And her curls are hard to squish down when they  measure.
Fine, whatever, it's 50 cm and growing. It isn't even on the charts it's so big.
But we'll take the MRI and prove that there is simply a great big brain in there and maybe the doctors will stop bothering us.

End of the updates.
Next post will be on something I've been thinking about for a long time. Healthy adoption/special needs adoption.



  1. I totally get the dream SAHM thing. When reality hit I decided that I could still be a SAHM but not with a 3 year old hanging on my every movement. So maybe SAH with him in preschool part time. That I maybe could manage. Again- in my dream life- with no financial worries and a magically clean house with meals ready like the jetsons. Ya. that I could swing.

  2. Shannon - that's too funny! I love the Stay at home (but with him in preschool) idea. If I weren't working then this whole 2-3 days/week at daycare would just be perfect. maybe I could even clean the house and read a book!

  3. You crack me up, girl! So much to comment on but the thing that has my real interest is what color is aubergine? Don't believe my color wheel has such a, blue, green...yes! aubergine...NO!

    I agree about the kid, that's it. I do, however, think that you have one great doc who is checking out all the details. Love it.

    Glad to hear that you are now sick enough for meds. Maybe you ought to think about going to A's doc next time. I'll bet he would have had this crud under control ages ago!

    Glad J is on the mend. Hope Cassidy is comfortable and happy.

    Heard from Mo today. They are in hog heaven in Belize. K is turning into an islander. Loves the warmth and water and is rolling with all of the new experiences. That apple didn't fall far from the proverbial tree!!

  4. I am a SAHM -- which is more often than not a Stay At Home Monster! My face turns aubergine between 4 -5 pm when I am trying, not very successfully, to manage homework, dinner, housecleaning, laundry folding, baby holding, butt wiping, diaper changing, all while hopping on one foot and smiling through clenched teeth.... I love staying home and I love being a mom. Just wish I could be a mom not-at-home like Mo right now!! Or stay home sans kiddos for a night! So, did u buy the monkey onesie or was it a gift? Ben/Ellie were at a birthday party this weekend and the entertainer made animal balloons. Ben/Ellie are pretty thoughtful kids and knew T would love, love, love an animal balloon. So, what did they get for him? A monkey! Jeepers.

    Hate meds. Hate MRIs. Hate docs. I can say that -- I've been married to one for over ten years. Hope u feel better soon, and that J and Cassidy are comfortable and content.

  5. Working Part-Time for me always worked better than a SAH status. Even though my job is boring and allows my brains to slowly seep out of my head, I can put on my ear buds and listen to a book without being interrupted 100 times. I will admit that things run better at home on days I don't work, but I think that is only because I only have those days, if I had more time, I would probably get less done.

    Sometimes clothes are just cute. Nothing more:)

    Have a package almost ready to ship for Cassidy. Let you know when it's in the air.

    Yeah for drugs.

  6. Yup-the thought of becoming a SAHM gave me hives (not really--but you read my Mommie Dearest post, so you know) which is why the working one day/week seems like the perfect fit. Hopefully. So glad you are thrilled with A's center--that makes all the difference! Yahoo!

    And the monkey thing? You got it--it's all about balance. Noemi's favorite stuffed animal is a monkey. She sleeps with "Moe" everyday. Since Donovan's deceased father gave it to her as a gift before his passing, I think THAT should be the message it portrays--one of love. If anyone has anything to say about that monkey, then they can get a grip. At what point do we draw the line with monkeys, anyway? Do I never take her to see the monkeys at the zoo? Silly.
    I don't like black and white rules--they don't require thought. So no, you're not a hypocrite, you're just becoming a moderate. :-)

    And yes, we are in Florida now--Deerfield Beach for the week. Sosi is napping now---ahhhhhhh--it took over an hour to get her to calm down enough to fall asleep but it's working?! I'll take it! Sun is gooooood. Maybe one of these days we'll all beach it together.
    xo, J

  7. My daughter (white), had a baby last year, the father is black, her child is bi-racial. HE (the father) LOVES MONKEYS. Every single item either he or his mother bought for the baby has a monkey on it. EVERY single darn item.

  8. I went to your other blog to read the post from November that you referenced in this post - insane - but I don't think you're a hypocrite. I haven't put my kids in anything with monkeys on it, mostly because my husband (who's an African history professor) made it clear to everyone we know to never give us anything with monkeys on it.I think when they're older if they want something with monkeys on it, then it will be their choice...

    Also, I hope you & your husband are feeling better and that Cassidy is comfortable. And I'm totally jealous you're doing daycare! I'm a SAHM, but am taking a class, but my husband arranged his schedule to watch them then...I guess I can't complain.

  9. Okay I am horrible but I just realized your blog moved. That shows how often I have been reading blogs. Good to "see" you again.

    Kaleb's head is also off the charts. I agree, they are just super smart kids and super cute.

  10. I have been a reader since we tried (and failed) to meet in Waco last fall. I brought my son home from Ethiopia New Year's Eve and am loving every minute of having him in my life. (although I'm not necessarily LIKING every minute - I know you know what I mean)

    Anyway, I want to thank you for posting your moderation in thoughts about the monkey business. Your words from the November post have echoed in my ears when I have used the monkey hooded towel a friend gave me or when we read Curious George. I have really struggled with feeling like a racially insensitive mother for allowing those bits of monkey to slip into our house. While I know my decision about what is right for my family should not be determined by a relative stranger, I am glad to know that someone I respect (YOU!) would not be quite as horrified about some of my decisions as I once thought. :)

  11. Too funny! And sad that I had you worried over your monkey hooded towel. The moment I sent my child out of the house with a monkey themed onsie, even though it was under a sweater, I though "uh oh, I am going to have to come clean about this on the blog!"

    I think that sometimes, for the sake of interesting reading, I write things in black and white. It's often how I see an issue when I first roll it around in my mind. With time and more life experience I realize that there aren't many purely right or wrong situations. It's all about context...



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