Saturday, April 25, 2009

10 months (and thensome)

Nora is in the double-digits; her mama is in shock. I've officially become the woman who harasses mothers of newborns exclaiming, "I can't believe my baby was ever that small!" And then going on and on about how, no really, it was just yesterday that Nora was that tiny. And they look at me the way I looked at moms of 10-month-olds when Nora actually was that tiny—like, "You're not even in my league anymore, lady. My baby is a tiny, innocent, perfect little newborn. Your kid is a teenager, already corrupted by the world. She's probably smoking pot in her crib."

This month has brought increased mobility and speed, and, subsequently, lots of bruises on the forehead. I try to help her avoid falls, but there's only so much you can do. Hey, she's developing her resiliency, right?

The jabbering is picking up a lot, and her language comprehension is improving noticeably. She knows who mama, dada, and Damo are, and she also dances when she hears the word dance, or the sound of the coffee grinder. She waves goodbye when she hears bye-bye. I'm working hard on training her on some more tricks.

She hates hats and sunglasses. Rephrase: She hates sunglasses on her face and hats on her head. Either one in her mouth is A-OK.

She's crawling on her knees more, especially when she's on carpet. On hardwoods she still does the army crawl. She can finally sit on her own, which was a long time coming. It wasn't that she couldn't sit until now, exactly, but that she's so intent on moving that she would throw herself backwards to get into a mobile position. Now she's figured out how to go from seated to crawling, so she's now allowed to sit without wearing a helmet.

She continues to adore her big brother, and he is so, so sweet with her. He helps her, watches out for her, and tries (almost always successfully) to make her laugh. It's really fun to watch their relationship develop, and I wonder how it will be when Nora is able to keep up with Sidamo (and compete with him for toys).

Norasaur, you're my sweet little toothless beauty, and I adore every teensy bit of you.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

She's here!

After months of really, really hard work on the part of very many talented friends and colleagues (and, OK, myself too), I'm proud to introduce you to Mindful Mama. Say hello. Ooh and aah a bit. Tell me you love it. Please. (And if that's true, share it with all your friends!)

There's so much I love about the site—hubris, I know—but here are some of my favorite features:
  • Julie's article, The Weight of the Weight, which poignantly describes what it's like to be waiting … and waiting, and waiting to become a parent.
  • Melissa's 30-Day Healthy Home Challenge. Some are things I do already, some are things I should do, all are things I'm committing to for the next 30 days. You?
  • Mindy's Urban Agriculture article. If this doesn't convince Greg to say yes to my flock of hens and pair of goats, I don't know what will.
  • The Mindful Mama Community. I'm a big fan of the content portion of the site, of course, but this is where the real fun lies. The Mindful Mama Community is so much more than just forums or discussions like you find on other parenting sites. This is a place to blog, to host photos and videos, to connect with mama friends, to microblog (a la Facebook or Twitter) about stuff you'd never post on Facebook or Twitter. There are still some glitches in this portion of the site, but it's 95% of the way there, and it's fun to start playing around and getting oriented.
Okay, enough gushing. I hope you'll visit the site, and I hope you'll find it to be the inspiring, welcoming community and resource it's designed to be. And of course, if you have any ideas for improvement I'm all ears!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

2nd Referraversary

Two years ago today, we got the word that we would have the enormous privilege of raising this little boy:

We were ecstatic. Totally over the moon in love with that pudgy little face, the rolly thighs, the doe eyes, the shiny head. We started imagining Sidamo in our lives, in our arms, in our home. We printed out a big picture of him, put it in a frame, and put it on our kitchen table so we could get a feel for what our family meals would be like when we brought him home. I washed, folded, and refolded all the clothes we'd been handed down, imagining a 3-dimensional Sidamo filling them. The scent of the laundry detergent we used then (we've since switched) still evokes memories of Sidamo, which is weird since I hadn't met him yet.

And now, two years later, it's hard to imagine a time when I only knew this sweet little man as a picture and a stack of paperwork. Just the other day, I was recalling something that happened about five years ago, and Sidamo was in the memory—as vivid a figure as those of us who really were there. He's totally and completely infiltrated every aspect of my being. And I mean that in a good way.

I'm not sure when it started feeling this way, but it wasn't immediate. Nowhere near. I remember as late as a year ago hearing other adoptive moms (or moms in general) talk about how they couldn't remember a time before their kids, and I thought they were either a) total saps, or b) full of shit. But something has shifted in the past year. I've always loved Sidamo, from the first time I set eyes on his little mug, but I don't know when it was that I began feeling like this—like we're fully integrated into each other. The feeling is indescribable, and I now know that those moms may have been saps, but they were telling the truth.

Sidamo is equally enamored of Baby Sidamo, as you can see here:

And, more animatedly, here:

For comparison's sake, here's our first referraversary post.

Sunday, April 12, 2009



Please tell me you have a humane way to deter woodpeckers from attacking chimneys at the crack of dawn, because I'm about two mornings away from watching my normally reasonable husband lose his sh*t. If you don't want to see him camped out in our front yard, in his bathrobe, armed with a BB gun, you'll help me intervene.


(Woodpecker photo by Sergey Yeliseev)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fortunate connections

Through a convoluted line of connections, I was able to find someone living in Denver who is from the village Sidamo was born in, in the Kembata-Tembaro zone of Ethiopia. Sidamo, Nora, and I met with him and a mutual Ethiopian friend who is from the Kaffa region this evening, and it was wonderful. I brought Sidamo's lifebook video so Sidamo's "neighbor" could translate some things for us, and we talked in general about life in Ethiopia and specifically in the area that Sidamo comes from.

The men were charmed by Sidamo—in a way that most people aren't. And that's saying something, since everyone is charmed by Sidamo. But their eyes lit, their hearts warmed, their gestures softened in a way that made it clear they saw something familiar (in the "family" meaning of the word) in him. And he was at ease, immediately, in a way he sometimes isn't.

I feel so fortunate to be able to make these connections for our family. It's so important—obviously to Sidamo, but also to the rest of us—to maintain the connection to his country, his heritage, and, if not his actual Ethiopian family, at least people with a shared history who have that feeling of family.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Snowed in

It's April, right? Take a look at your calendars, if you would, and please confirm the month. April, you say?

The reason I'm asking is that we are in the middle of our third snowstorm of the week, and it's beginning to feel a little bit like February. Except that in February it was 75 degrees and flowers were blooming, April-style.

This is why all the closets in the house are overflowing: There's never a safe time to put away either wool sweaters or short shorts (a problem that applies only to Greg's closet).

Confession: This photo is from a couple weeks ago when we went up to the mountains for a failed modeling job for the Norasaur (another story for another time). It's not actually that snowy here today, but it's kinda close.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

So that's what that means

Sidamo to me (apropos of nothing): You're wasting my time.

Me: What does that mean?

Sidamo: It means it's time to eat bugs. Me and Daddy and Baby Sister are going to a lot of meetings and one Pilates, and you have to stay home and eat bugs. That's what that means.

Well. That clears up a lot.