Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Week in review

We joined a CSA this summer (if that's a new term to you, go here). In the early harvest weeks it has meant a weekly truckload of lettuce—really and truly, just so much more roughage than anyone could ever hope to consume in seven days. To be honest it's been a little suffocating. The worst part is that we are nowhere near finished with one week's supply before the next comes, so it accumulates, and we're now knee deep in the stuff.

However, as we get deeper into the season, we've started receiving treats more exciting than Romaine, like bundles of fresh mint. Sidamo and I spent a couple afternoons last week turning it into the most delectable mint chocolate-chip ice cream I've ever tasted.

Iron Chef Preschool, here we come.

Saturday we went to the annual Dragon Boat Festival held at a lake nearby. We missed the races, but we got to see some of the welcoming ceremony in which monks chanted and beat drums before following the dragon on a little jaunt.

When he saw this, Sidamo pushed through the crowd yelling, "Sidamo try? Sidamo try?"

Happy boy

Dorfman, Greg is rockin' the Cuse shirt in your honor.

Somehow no matter where we went, we kept finding ourselves in the circuitous path of that dragon.

And, of course, no summer festival would be complete without the snowcone. Here Sidamo is having a go at Greg's after throwing his own on the ground.

Sunday Lisa and Scarlett came over with Great-Grandma for a funfilled visit. They even brought lunch, bless them.

Serious work, those puzzles.

Great-Grandma and her Great-Grands.

In Nora news:
  • We've had some more real smiles, which so far only Sidamo and I have seen. She's holding out on Greg, who doesn't seem too concerned. He says he's sure he'll see it eventually.
  • The other night she slept for four hours straight. It was blissful. Of course last night she was up every hour, but that's because of the next piece of news (I hope).
  • Nora and I both have a little cold, courtesy of Big Brother and his preschool germs. It stinks. I feel cruddy, so I'd imagine she does too. She wants to nurse nonstop but isn't too interested in the actual milk, so she gets fussy and frustrated and just wants to be held all the time. It reminds me how strange it is that I'm someone's mother (even stranger that it's two someones!)—that I'm the person they want when they're not feeling well, when they fall down, etc. That, to me, is the definition of a mother, and it's a pretty weighty responsibility.
  • Nora's been reading the blog. She understands that sympathy for her cries is waning, so she has started producing real, liquid tears. It works; whatever she wants is hers.

Here's how she has spent her week. I wish I could get better pictures of her; she doesn't usually look this ruddy and washed out.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Flip side

Tonight, to a crying Nora, "I don't care, baby sister!"

I guess it is sort of hard to muster sympathy each and every time she cries.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I recently found Sidamo leaning over a crying Nora saying, "No have for cry, baby sister. Mommy and Daddy always come back."

Melt my heart.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fast like a flamingo

Whenever Sidamo sees a motorcycle, he says, "Slow down, motorcycle [more like "mokopsycho"]. Go slow like a turtle, not fast like a flamingo!" No idea where it comes from, but it makes me laugh every time.

When I look at Nora, I want to say the same thing. She's growing so insanely fast. It's hard to believe, but we celebrated her one-month birthday on Sunday. On one hand, it feels like she's always been here, but it makes me so sad to see her leaving her squishy newborn days behind. She's much more alert these days, spending a fair amount of her day awake and checking things out. I think I've seen a real smile or two, but it was in the middle of the night so it's entirely possible that I was hallucinating—my mind's sneaky way of making me feel tenderness toward this ravenous little creature that's keeping me up all night.

That all-night nursing only exacerbates the problem of continued growth, of course. Vicious cycle.

I know it's cliché, but I truly am saddened by how quickly these days are passing. I love the newborn stage, and it's so short-lived. I should be living in the moment and enjoying each day without worrying about its passing, but I'm not quite that Zen. I just finished reading Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott (great book, thanks Elizabeth!), and she puts it this way: "I want to learn to live in the now, I want to learn to breathe my way into it and hang out there more and more and experience life in all its richness and realness. But I want to do it later, like maybe sometime early next week."

Progress is a good thing, I know, and I should be happy about Nora's growth—even if it is record-breakingly fast. I did a non-official weight check at my own doctor's appointment last week, and she's somewhere around 10.5 pounds. That's 3-ish pounds of growth in less than a month. Insane.

Maybe the reason I'm fixating on her growth so much is that I'd rather not think about my own: I gained about the same amount in the same time period. Isn't that the opposite of how it's supposed to go? I blame it on all my thoughtless friends who have been bringing us delicious meals since Nora was born.

Anyway, here's a then-and-now of our behemoth. And a plea that she might consider taking her brother's advice: Slow like a turtle, not fast like a flamingo!

Leaving the hospital, one day old

Today, at one month and two days

Friday, July 18, 2008

Here comes my baby

Don't tell her I said so, but her brother is far better at learning new moves. Ah well, we take what we can get.

Hands up, baby!

I fully acknowledge that he'll hate me for this some day—first for choreographing "Hands Up" and teaching it to him, second for filming him and broadcasting it to the world—but he has to have something to hate me for, right?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy Famiversary!

One year ago yesterday we met Sidamo for the first time. I wish I could say it was love at first sight, but the truth is it was a really difficult day, especially for Sidamo. He cried hysterically when he saw us (probably didn't help that we were accompanied by our agency's camera crew), and he continued to do so every time we saw him for the next several days. Of course we understood his reaction—the poor little guy had already gone through far more loss and transition than any human should have to endure, and here we were foisting another huge change on him. It could make anyone cranky.

After a few days, Sidamo started to take to me, but it wasn't until we got home that he finally accepted Greg. What a difference a year makes—Greg is now the apple of Sidamo's eye. The past year has been one of tremendous change and growth overall. When we met Sidamo he wasn't walking or talking; he was a short and chubby guy and was very much still a baby. He was shy with new people. He now talks a mile a minute (every minute of every day), is a total charmer, and is a little tornado who never stops running.

And, of course, over the past year we've become a family. We've learned to know and love each other, to push each other's buttons, to forgive. Greg and I have learned what it means to love a child as our own, what a parent's pride feels like.

The Famiversary is bittersweet: We mourn the fact that Sidamo and his first family suffered such loss in order for us to experience such joy. We marked the day by watching the video our agency provided documenting Sidamo's life before he met us. We gave him a small gift we bought for him while in Ethiopia, and we went out for a tasty Ethiopian meal. We sent our love to Sidamo's first family; I wish they could see what a loving, funny, kind, and spirited boy their son has become.

We love you, Damo, and I don't know what we did to deserve you in our lives!

Our second or third day with Sidamo, outside the care center where he spent a few months. Sidamo's stress reaction was to fall asleep, so he spent most of our time together sleeping (or crying). Our gender-specific colors (pink, blue) don't have the same meaning in Ethiopia, so it was common to see boys dressed in girls' clothing and vice versa. In this photo Sidamo is wearing three layers of girl's clothes. Pretty cute.

Yesterday, a much happier family.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Baby's got back (fat)

I've mentioned that my little girl loves to eat, right? Loves, loves, loves it. Like, if she's awake and she doesn't have a boob in her mouth she gets a really perplexed look on her face, as though her whole understanding of the universe has been shaken. The other day, I was lying on my side and nursing her with my shirt off. She was latched onto the bottom breast when all of a sudden she noticed the top breast. I saw a spark of discovery in her eyes, and, with bottom breast in her mouth, she started craning her neck trying to have a go at the top one. She wants it all. She wants it now.

It was no surprise, then, that at her 2-week appointment today (13 days, actually), we learned she has gained 1 pound and 4 ounces since birth, bringing her up to an even 9 pounds. I'm so proud of my little fatso (and my milk producers, truth be told).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Family visit

Sorry for the silence, but it's hard to type with a little piggy constantly demanding food.

My sister Meaghan, her daughter Catherine, and my father came for a visit to meet the newest member of the family and to help me manage the care of two kids. It was so, so wonderful to have Catherine's help entertaining Sidamo and holding Nora and Meg's help with cooking, housework, and various tasks of mothering. And both kids loved spending time with Pop-Pop!

The cousins

Catherine already wants to know when she can paint Nora's nails

First bath, after losing the umbilical stump

That's right, blame it on Aunt Meg

Pop-Pop and progeny

That postpartum belly makes for a pretty comfy pillow