Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Well, the job is not happening. So stupid to let myself believe we might catch a break.
Maybe it means we are meant to meet a child here in this city.

Monday, 20 October 2014

I am slowly going crazy, one two three four five six switch...

crazy going slowly am I one two three four five six switch

Does anyone remember that old kids song? It's how I feel lately, eleven days in  with no word back on the interview for S, and no idea if we will be moving (and yes, I am totally counting weekends.) The more that I need to wait the antsier I get, not knowing when or where we will start our fostering/adoption training. I kind of wish I had some faith so I could lay it on all God, but I don't think leaving it in the hands of random chance and the laws of physics is likely to have the same calming effect (at least, I assume that is one reason why people have faith.) So maybe I need to look into that whole thing. I wonder if Hestia is taking new patients.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Those poor birdies...

So, yesterday in the car, Pickle and I had a conversation that went something like this:
P: Excuse me.
me: Okay...?
P: I farted. And it was so quiet you couldn't even hear it! (burst of maniacal laughter) Mama? Why are farts funny?
me: (defeated) I don't know sweetie, I really don't.
P: Well...they DO eat birds.
me: What?
P: Yeah! Farts eat birds. But only small ones, Small birds. (pause)  Do you wanna talk about bones?

Gotta love the mind of a four year old boy.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Everyone hail to the Pumpkin King!

Samhain. All Hallows Eve. Hallowe'en.  My favourite holiday of the year is nigh! Out come the candy (and the three extra pounds I get from scarfing it) and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Out come the paper ghosts, ghouls and mummies; the pumpkins, jack o lanterns, and cobwebs. And out comes the costume-angst, for all except Panda.

Panda is an odd one. Usually by January 1st,, she knows what she is going to be the next year. She'll be Queen Elsa from Frozen this time, and I gotta say, I'm kind of relieved. I know it is unusual celebrate that your child wants to be one more blue Disney princess in a sea of blue Disney princesses instead of say, Malala. But I see it as a turning point for her. Since she has been old enough to choose her own costumes, she has been Spiderman, Iron Man, and Captain America. Yay, girl power, claiming male spaces, right? Nope. Maybe... a young girl's confidence that sex and gender are irrelevant? Not at all.

See, her daycare group from babyhood to age five was predominantly boys. Active, energetic, sometimes aggressive boys, with the occasional girl in a corner with a tea set and a dolly for some variety. And since Panda is decidedly not of the tea set persuasion, her best friends were always boys. We have consciously not gender stereotyped in our home, but of course the world (and other parents) are always ready and willing to jump in fill the gap for us. Around the age of four , she started to separate colours along gender lines, then toys, then everything else. Nothing about girls was cool enough for her. Princesses were 'too kissy', and pink was totally out of the question - any attempt to explain that colours were for everyone was met with an incredulous stare and "Papa doesn't wear pink." (Technically true, but her papa won't wear any colour out of the neutral range. Ever.) She had a Transformers party for her fifth birthday. At five and a half she decided that men got all the cool jobs, and was heartbroken and sobbing that she couldn't be a boy when she grew up. Cue long rambling explanation of the why girls are awesome, the history of feminism and the struggle for equality. No go. Eventually I gave up and offered her a hug and a cookie instead.

The start of kindergarten and new (girl) friends ameliorated things somewhat, especially on the fashion front - although she got points from the boys for being the only Iron Man at Halloween whose chest plate thingy actually lit up (thanks, S!) Frozen did more, because here was a girl that Panda could really get behind, someone who could do cool magicky stuff and still look great in glitter.

So, I really, really never thought I'd say this, and believe me I am well aware of Disney's flaws, but in this one case, I gotta say- hat's off to you, Walt, for letting my little girl finally revel in her double xs. I hope it'll stick, and maybe her 2015 will start with the announcement that next year she's going as Amelia Earhart, or Ada Lovelace. But until then, I'll be the lady unabashedly belting out 'Let it Go' in the car on her morning commute. And yeah, I know you all can see me, and no, I don't care.

p.s. So....did Queen Elsa single-handedly put all those ice-miners out of business with power over ice and snow? I figure that pretty much the only people rich enough in those days to afford ice were the nobility, and she could easily take care of them with a sweep of her hand. 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


S has been ‘working away’ for four weeks now, which means that Netflix and I are getting along famously, and that the house could use a good scrubbing. (I have two kids, a full-time job, and a streaming plan; I have no time for more than a lick and a promise attitude to housework.) He does get to come home on weekends though, which means that the house get messier, dirty socks start showing up in the most unlikely locales, and the kids are really disregulated. From like, Thursday night to Monday night  Tuesday (and counting). Tears erupt over the slightest slight, Panda gets downright ornery, and there are a lot of feel-better cuddles and snuggles being dispensed. Pickle especially is having trouble sleeping, which means I am having trouble sleeping, which means…more Netflix. 

BUT – we are getting closer to The Day Everything Changed (Or Didn’t) – the job interview is tomorrow! Soon we will know if the family will be together again, or separated for the remainder of the school year, or something in between. We’ll have a better idea of  where we will be going through the entire foster/adopt process as well  (we’d have a choice of two provinces and about three different paths….it is complicated.) We’ll know if I get to sleep sometime in the next six months, or if we should just increase our internet package and buy shares in Tim Hortons. Life ™, because you haven’t got enough to worry about already.

So to avoid thinking about all that, I am instead thinking about this. The Attachment and Trauma Network has been hosting a free onlinewebinar on educating children with complex trauma and attachment issues. It is completely absorbing (and my reaction is further proof that I got completely the wrong degree, and need to go back to school….) There is so much good information in here, whether you are a parent, or educator. They cover special education, virtual education, legal matters, IEPs , brain function and neurology and more. So now, I am feeling like I am prepared to take on  therapeutic parenting (said the chick who hasn’t even gotten her future address straightened out, not to mention the rest.) And of course I also feel that I can never really be prepared, that I know just enough now to be dangerous.

On an up note, Pickle has informed me that he wants two more sisters and another brother. Panda has put an order in for an older sister. We haven’t even mentioned adoption to them yet….

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

wheels on the bus go round and round...

I have been thinking a lot lately about truth and narrative, about the ongoing curating ourselves and our histories. My husband S is up for a job soon that could possibly be game-changing for us. He has to go through a second interview and present his best face, even though he already knows the interviewers through other work. We want to adopt a child from the foster system, and to do so  we will need to go through the homestudy. In either case, we want to be open and honest, but how do we decide which information is relevant? How much of what we present is factual in any case, when we get to questions of attitude and aptitude? How much of the curating is even conscious?

What I am trying to say is... presenting any aspect of yourself to the world leaves out so much complexity that it is exceedingly easy to be misjudged. And no one ever remains unjudged. Let's start with social media, since that is an easy target. Everyone curates a (best?) version of their self on social media (at least I hope, otherwise there are a lot of wine-swilling mamas and extremely humourless feminists in my circle...not to mention one individual who seems to think about the pending Illuminati takeover all day, every day.) You can post, 'like', quiz, etc and build up the version you want to show. It is pretty easy to decide - and control- what you want out in the world.
Not so easy when it is a face to face interaction, like an interview or a homestudy. S thinks he is the God Of All Wooden Arty Things, and I believe him, but will the interviewers? I believe we are even-tempered, supportive, loving and not-to-mention-superfun parents to Panda and Pickle, but will a child services worker see us the same way?
Okay, now I have thought myself into a corner.

What I am trying to say is...narrative is important. It builds our identities inside as much as outside. My sister is a master of this - she has been reinventing her past (relentlessly, and in the face of photographic proof to the contrary and not to mention I was there) for years. She has built the perfect self, the self she wants most. Now, I think most of us want to live (buzzword alert) 'authentic lives', but what is that really? Is it more authentic to recognize the journey that brought her to the person she now is inside, or is it okay to for her to retrofit her history to match her current self, because she feels she will be judged on mistakes of the past, even though to the world at large those mistakes were minor and easily understandable?
Okay, no- that isn't what I want to say; this isn't about my sister at all.

What I am trying to say is... we are all a story, written by us, but read by others in their own private language. We each have our own arc, and our own denouement. In the best cases our story is interesting to us. In the worst cases it is a policy manual ghostwritten by outside expectations.

None of this is really what I am trying to get to the heart of, though some of it is in some part. If anyone knows what I am trying to say, drop me a line....

Monday, 6 October 2014

Of Life & Coffee

Can I live without caffeine? Nope.

But that doesn’t have anything to do with the title of this blog. There is an old story of uncertain provenance that goes something like this*:

A young woman went to her mother and complained about how life was so hard. She was tired of struggling and was ready to give up.  It seemed that as soon as she solved one problem, a new one dropped in her lap.

Her mom took her to into the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and when they come to a boil, she put carrots in the first pot, eggs in the second, and coffee beans in the third.
“Wait.” She told her curious daughter.

Twenty minutes later, she pulled out the carrots, eggs and coffee and put them each in a separate bowl.

"What do you see?"  She asked her daughter.

"Lunch?” she replied.

Shaking her head, she asked her daughter to feel the carrots, and tell her what had happened to them.
“Well,” said her daughter  let’s call her Jane.) “Well,” Jane said, they’re cooked.”
“How can you tell?” her mother asked.
“They are soft now,” she replied.
“And the eggs, what happened to them?”
“They are hard cooked now … Mom, what’s the point of all this?”

Her mother smiled.
“Have some coffee,” she suggested.

“Look,” she told Jane when her daughter was seated with a fragrant cup, “all three of these things were thrown into a pot of boiling water. Not so fun for them. One went in hard and got soft inside, and one went in flexible inside and got hard. The boiling water changed them. But the coffee, it changed the water.”

“So, honey, which are you going to be when you get tossed in hot water? A carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”

I, my husband, and our two little ones are about to embark on a new adventure, one that could bring us a lot of joy and happiness, but also a lot of adversity.

I choose to be a coffee bean.

*rewritten for de-treacling