October 29, 2007
L: "Who's There?"
C: "Two Rabbits" (holding up her two bunnies)
L: "Two Rabbits who?"
C: "Mine Two Rabbits" followed by more giggling
And this afternoon after her nap, she greeted me with "knock knock" again but this time her response to "who's there?" was "Abigail (a classmate) with a follow-up of "Jacob (another classmate)". And again more giggling. If she grows up to be a famous comedian I'll enjoy telling stories about her early days of crib stand up. But I am not sure I want her to follow in Margaret Cho's footsteps...don't get me wrong Cho's mama routine is very funny, but I am not sure I am ready to hear my daughter making fun of me or talking about topics that make me blush. Right now her knock, knock jokes are perfect.
So after being inspired by this weekend's ode to candy corn, I felt inspired to celebrate National Candy Corn Day (Oct.30th). I put a lovely little bowl of my favorite Halloween treats on the dining room table. Pleased with myself because the monkeys rarely go in that room and they wouldn't think to look in such an obvious spot for treats, right? Wrong. Camille (who will be trick or treating as the snot monster thanks to a cold) discovered those little sugar nuggets and managed to claim them all to herself by rubbing two hands full of snot over the whole bowl. Candy corn glistening with snot is not appetizing.
Hopefully you will be able to enjoy a snot-free version of candy corn. And while absorbing that sugar think about what I read on the Brach's Candy Corn Bag: "Each year American's consume enough Candy Corn that if laid end to end, would circle the earth 4.25 times!" That's a lot of Candy Corn. Funny how certain candies have become associated with different holidays...Candy Corn at Halloween, Candy Canes at Christmas, and Peeps at Easter. I am a traditionalist on this topic because I am not a fan of the commercial cross-pollination. Peeps pumpkins just seem wrong and pastel colored candy corn certainly can't taste as good as the original. And snot covered candy corn is never in season. Happy National Candy Corn Day to all of you!
October 28, 2007
I was just reading your blog and am offering up an apology for telling you the truth about Santa. I don't remember telling you there was no Santa, but I do vividly remember the day I asked my mom if there really was a Santa. I had been wondering about it for some time, and one day, while my mom was sitting reading at the kitchen table (the old kitchen at the house on Columbus Street), I asked her if there really was a Santa. She hesitated a little bit and then said she thought I was old enough -- no, there is no Santa, but please don't tell Peter.
It's funny how just about everyone remembers when they found out there was no Santa. It's like it becomes a marker in growing up.
...don't worry about telling me about Santa. I really didn't believe you and I remember continuing to believe my hardest in Santa until I found those presents. Like you I remember the setting when I confronted my mom about Santa. In the bathroom of our old house (that weird bathroom opened up into the dining room...remember that?). You are right I think it must be one of those rites of passage. I had a friend who's mother saved all of her teeth and when my friend found them her mother told her they were just "old pearls"! and my friend believed her!
We were fortunate to rent an apartment in one of the older homes in the historic district and we spent most of the weekend walking, exploring, and enjoying the cooler weather (80s vs 90s!). Noah loved watching the trolleys and horse drawn carriages from our apartment window....funny to fall asleep to horses clip-clopping in the night.
We also spent a little time exploring the riverfront. So much more to see in this unique Southern city...we can't wait to get back again soon.
And a few family shots. We rarely seem to get a photo of all four us together. We'll have to work on that.
These huge paintings were on display throughout the park. We didn't know about them until our arrival but after getting home I found this article. Camille loved going on the slides and trying to keep up with the big kids. Noah perfected his monkey bar skills. I enjoyed the people watching and Adam got to throw the frisbee around. Two perfect afternoons spent at Forsyth Park.
October 14, 2007
The flight into Louisiana was very bumpy thanks to stormy weather and an old prop plane. I hadn't felt that sick in a long time. Once off the plane we had to walk across the the runway only to discover the door to the terminal was locked and no one was responding inside. Felt weird to be standing out there watching other planes come in and wondering why they didn't realize a whole flight of passengers was standing outside on the runway. After finally getting inside, I headed to the bathroom where I ran into the flight attendant who told me she had thrown up twice during the flight. That made me feel better. If someone who flies all of the time got sick twice and I only felt that way but didn't get sick, that must mean I am better at flying right?..that's my twisted competitive side exposing itself.
On the flight back home, I had a layover in Memphis. I hadn't flown into Memphis before. So here is a warning for those vegetarians flying into Memphis: change your flight or be prepared. It is a vegetarian nightmare with a BBQ place every few feet, smiling pig faces, and the overwhelming aroma of roasting flesh. I am not a vegetarian so I enjoyed the local fare, but I can only imagine it wouldn't be a fun place to have a layover if you kept Kosher or you were a vegetarian.
The final leg of my flight was an interesting experience in American social/economic class. I sat between two very different men. One was a very well dressed vice president for a large railroad company with several vacation homes around the world. He spent most of the time glued to his laptop and trying to ignore the other man. A young guy dressed in shorts, a Grateful Dead t-shirt, and a very loud southern accent. I spent most of the flight listening to him. A construction worker from Mississippi who offered me drugs (Xanax) while taking some pills with his cocktail. A very chatty guy who moves every three months working on hotels across the South. A smoker who kept talking about his desire to smoke on the flight. I am not a smoker. Can't stand the smell or the idea of it. Glad it is not allowed in most public places. But this guy actually had some good business ideas for catering to smokers: movie theatres for smokers and flights specifically for smokers. I don't get much opportunity to hang out with construction workers so it made the flight go by quickly.
This is what I love about traveling. The unexpected conversations. The chance to meet people you don't ordinarily hang out with. Their stories. Things out of context that suddenly make sense or feel right or make me think a little more carefully. The funny and annoying things that happen along the way.
When we got that memorable referral phone call telling us about our sweet Mei-Mei in Taiwan, Noah and I went shopping. We found a cute little pink bunny with a silky blanket attached to it.I slept with that bunny until we traveled to Taiwan (one of the things recommended for enhancing attachment) and we placed it in Camille's crib on her first night with us. Since that night she has always slept with her pink bunny. A few months later Camille received a similar bunny blanket, which quickly became known as the yellow bunny. Those two bunnies have traveled the globe, have been well loved on a daily basis, been through countless washings, and have been the source of tears and panic when we couldn't find them.
I spent most of this past summer searching for a "back-up" bunny in anticipation of preschool and the awful chance that one of the original bunnies might get permanently lost. I finally found one. Not identical but very similar. A few weeks before school started, we attempted to introduce the new bunny into the family. This did not go well. Camille initially seemed to think the bunny was cute and would carry it around the house, push it in the stroller, and act cordially towards it. But at night time she became hysterical if the new bunny was in her crib. She would scream, throw it out of the crib, and not stop crying until the bunny was removed from the room. She started school and brought her "pink" bunny to school for the first few days. And the bunny did not leave her arms during those first school mornings. The bunny came home full of snacks, sand, and mud and was a big part of the smooth transition to school. Until the dreadful morning when I realized I had left the pink bunny at home. I happened to have the new bunny in the car and since that day that bunny has officially become "school bunny". School bunny is a very important part of school, but she does not sleep in the crib and Camille never asks for her at home except in the mornings when we pack her school bag.
And now there is another bunny in our house, "Nana bunny". Nana brought a new bunny with her earlier this week. As with school bunny, the attachment process is on-going. "Nana bunny" has worked her way into the daily nap, but she is still not allowed to sleep in the crib during the night. Camille's attachment to her pink and yellow bunnies is strong and deep. I was foolish to think that I could ever truly have a "back-up" bunny for those two magical bunnies. I hear her talking to them each morning in her crib. She feeds them, she attempts to put diapers on them (not easy on silky blankets), and she holds them close to her face while sucking her thumb and nodding off each night. It has been interesting to watch her react and relate to the newer bunnies.
Attachment is a complex thing...it is smells, tactile sensations, shared experiences, love, tears, time, it is conscious and unconscious work,and many other magical components. During social work school and my early work experiences, I did a lot of reading on the subject. I attended workshops specifically focused on attachment. I worked with families struggling with serious attachment issues. During my pregnancy, I started to think about attachment in a more personal way as I prepared to become a mother. I dreamed and day-dreamed about my unborn son, I kept a journal, and read tons of parenting books, but nothing quite prepared me for those first few months of extreme exhaustion and extreme emotions. I would often just stare at him for long stretches of time, blown away by his perfection and his miraculous existence. I felt overwhelmed with love, anxiety, and the huge responsibility of being his mother. And then as we began our adoption journey, I began a whole new level of preparation. Paperwork, internet searches, adoption groups, and lots of time for waiting and worrying. I again attempted to prepare for another unknown experience. And again nothing quite prepared me for the flood of intense feelings. The surreal experience of having a child suddenly placed in my arms, my pounding heart, those dark eyes studying me, my tears of joy soon to be followed by tears of sadness while watching her birthmother kiss her good-bye....nothing can truly prepare you for these things. But Camille's attachment to her bunnies is my first real experience of observing attachment in action. Even with my own children, I felt so immersed in the dance that I couldn't really step back or track the process as it happened. Now I am seeing it with the bunnies and my sweet little girl and it makes me smile.
Being "home" and helping my mom has been good. I am so proud of her and all of that she has accomplished. My mom has always been very creative but this upcoming show will also highlight her sense of humor, her compassion, and her skilled pack-ratting/collecting. In addition to her fabulous (and funny) jewelry collection, she is also working on an installation that relates to Hurricane Rita which had a huge impact on this part of Louisiana (a few weeks after Katrina hit, but still often overlooked). I am in awe of her and feel very lucky to have such a talented mama.
In addition to my mom's show this weekend, Festival Acadiens will also be taking place. I have been going to this Cajun music festival since I was a little girl....depending on the weather danced in mud or danced in dust, but definitedly danced because I can't resist moving my feet when I hear those sweet sounds. And this year's festival poster is also a special piece of "home" since it is a reproduction of my dad's painting of the old farm house where I grew up. And now that painting is hanging over our fireplace. I'll miss the festival this year because I need to get back to my other home where the monkeys roam. But if you are in Louisiana be sure to check out the Gute exhibit and be sure to do some dancing at the festival.
It has been nice to be at home with my parents. Just the three of us....can't think of the last time just the three of us were together. But I have to admit that having been away from my monkeys I am starting to feel "homesick" for them. I have been missing the morning patter of feet and the croaky morning voices calling "Mama, Mama". I miss Adam's funny stories, Noah's creative questions, and Mei-Mei's slobbery kisses. All pieces of "home" whether it be in Louisiana or other parts of the world. Funny how "home" can have so many pieces, so many meanings, and so many places.
Seeing the bumper sticker also reminded me of a magazine I found while searching on-line for some southern garden books. Somehow gardens and guns just don't go hand in hand for me. According to Garden and Gun magazine, I must not really be a 21st century Southern American, are you? http://gardenandgun.com/live/
October 5, 2007
And speaking of Shelfari, I am getting ready to add this funny book to my shelf. We found it at the libary yesterday and can't stop reading it or cracking up. We were already William Wegman fans, but "Chip Wants a Dog" is good on so many levels (photos, story line, characters).