Monday, September 27, 2010

Starting it All... Again...

Almost a year and a half ago, I posted this:
Well, now... I'm posting it again.
I've thought for days about how to Blog about the Fact that we've started our 2nd adoption.
I had many great ideas... I though...  :-)

Another one coming...
Me:  What about if I do a video montage of me driving in the car, and every song on the radio is about babies!
Wife:  Huh?  Wazzz dat?!  Whoze der?!  *SnnorcK*
Me:  You know, like... Ace of Base's song All that She Wants is Another Baby... or Amy Grant's Baby Baby.  Or Baby's Got Back!   And every time it gets to the part about having a Baby, I'll pretend to switch stations.
Wife:  Now?
Me:  Okay, or, how about... we get Ping a Tee-Shirts with "I'm A Big Sister" written on it!
Wife:  You want to talk about this NOW?
Me:  No?  Okay, how about something more subtle!  Liiiiike, uh, OH!  I'll take pictures of things like 7 seats at the diner table!  Or all 7 seats in the mini-van!  You know... cuz there will be 7 people in our family now!
Me:  Oh, really?  I didn't notice.  Guess I'm kind of excited.
Wife:  ... moron.
Me:  What about if w...
Wife:  Oh my gosh!  Just post a freaking blog already and be done with it!  I just want to go back to bed!  And stop being so narcissistic!
Me:  Boy, you are grumpy when you get woken up...
Wife:  You think?
Me:  ... and thats why it should be me!  I can handle waking up multiple times a night better!
Wife:  OH FOR THE LOVE OF ....

So yes, in ending the worst kept secret of the Forever Family Blog, we have begun the paper work for our 2nd adoption!

So, to answer some of the questions we get asked on a continual basis:
  • Yes, we still want another child, and yes, adopting, and yes, China.
  • No, it isn't really any quicker - well, a little, but only because we know the paper work a little better, and don't have to do the PRIDE Course again, and a shorter Home Study.
  • Yes, we think this is a good decision.
  • No, it isn't really any easier (not emotionally anyway).
  • Yes, we know what we are doing (or at least as much as we ever did know anything)
  • No, it isn't really any cheaper.
  • Yes, we would consider an older child with special needs again.
  • No, I don't think thats crazy.
  • Yes, Ping is doing great.
  • No, she stopped speaking Mandarin.
  • Yes, she stopped yelling at me.
  • No, we don't know the child.
  • Yes, we are open to either a boy or girl.
  • No, we... oh wait... the wife is yelling at me.
Un-huh... right.  No, we talked about it.  I didn't think we confirmed her.  I know.  No.   Un-huh.  Yes.  Right.  Well, hmmm, I don't know.  You really think so?  No.  I kind of totally disagree.  The couch, yes, I know it.  Oh.  Right.

Okay... so um, apparently, my wife has really fallen for a little 8 year old girl with Cerebral Palsy.

Now, for the sake of transparency, honesty, and hopefully help/encouragement for those in similar positions, I'm going to talk openly about this, and no, it won't be easy:
  • Yes, my wife and I have both been introduced to a wonderful little 8 year old girl who needs a Forever Family.
  • No, we are not in agreement about adopting her.
  • Yes, there is a chance one of us will have a change of heart, prompted by God.
  • No, I don't know how this will be reconciled.
  • Yes, we are open to other children.
  • No, this isn't a "problem" for our family - we've dealt with bigger issues over whether or not to have another child, and if so, which child.
  • Yes, there are other children.
  • No, I'm not sure adopting out of birth order is the best thing to do.
So yea, what do you do when you disagree on a child?  I mean, if you got pregnant, it is kind of a non-issue.  But this is an issue*.  What about adopting out of birth order?  What about adopting a beautiful little girl who needs a wheel chair when our house has 3 floors, and no ramps?  Gah!  And the list goes on!

Now... when we moved from Winnipeg to Ottawa... we flipped a coin.  We also flipped a coin to decide which house to buy.  Come to think of it, a coin flip has answered many of our questions.  I'm pretty sure it is a biblical method of coming to decisions - I mean, God is the God of Flipped Coins isn't he?  I'm pretty sure had Jesus not given all his money away to the poor and the needy, he too would have flipped a coin to solve many of his dilemmas.  Hmmmm... save Humanity with the redemptive love of Christ by dying the most gruesome death imaginable , or... go to White Castle for some Cheesy Fries and steamed Burgers!  Tough call... tough call...  (some might argue that White Castle IS the most gruesome way to die, and this is an academic argument only)... but you know what I mean.  Back to my point, this is NOT something that I think a coin flip is going to answer...  

But I know that finding the answer is going to be part of the journey to our 2nd adoption...
... and I for one am looking forward to finding out the answer myself.

* == It's only an "issue" to me.  It is NOT an issue to the girl waiting to be adopted.  It is NOT an issue to the wife.  It is NOT an issue to God.  It really is just an issue with me right now.  Right or wrong?  I don't know.  It comes down to "Can I give her the best life possible".  But then you go, "best compared to what?" ... and then it *should* be a NON-ISSUE, because a life with a family *should* be better than a life without a family.  So why is this an issue to me again?  Gah.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chainsaw Encouragement

Wife:  You can totally cut down that tree!
Me:  Really?  I donno.  Its pretty big.  And I've never really cut down a tree before.
Wife:  You can totally do it!  Remember when you and your buddies took down the tree at our old place?
Me:  Yea, we tried to rent a chain saw, but the store was closed.  So we attacked the tree with a shovel, a hatchet, an ice pick and an ax!  Good times!  Good times!
Wife:  But you DID get it cut down and you didn't kill anyone, or break anything.
Me:  Yea, you know what, you're right!  I CAN totally cut down that tree!  Or, and I'm just throwing this out there... it IS the long weekend, and it IS my Birthday.  How about I actually just rest this weekend.  You know, relax!  I'm just saying!
Wife:  I'm sorry, did you say something after "I can totally cut down that tree"?
Me:  Ummmm, no?
Wife:  Good, because I thought I heard something about not wanting to do it.
Me:  Nooooo, why wouldn't I want to cut down a tree!
Wife:  Maybe you want to cut down MORE than 1 tree, if you know what is good for you.  I'm just saying.

Cue the Eye Of The Tiger theme song, as I head off to the chain saw rental store...

Me:  I'd like to rent a chain saw!
Clerk:  Sure.  How big do you need it?
Me:  Well, the tree is about THIIIIIIIS big!
Clerk:  Uh, we don't have a saw that big.
Me:  Oh.  OH!  Wait!  Thats brilliant!  If I can't rent a chain saw, then I don't have to cut down the tree, and I can spend the rest of the weekend relaxing!  Brilliant!  Thank you!
Clerk:  No problem.
Me:  *calls wife*  Hey, sorry baby, I can't rent a chain saw.  They don't have one big enough.  Well, no.  I mean, yes.  Well, I can.  I thought maybe do it next weekend.  Oh no.  Uh-huh.  Right.  You STILL think I can do it.  Alright, well... I'll see what I can do.  There IS another chain saw rental store in the next town... yes, you do want me to drive to the next town.  I understand.  Love you.

Cue more Eye of The Tiger as I drive to the next chain saw rental store...

Me:  I'd like to rent a chain saw!
Clerk:  Sure, how big.
Me:  Uh, THIIIIIS big!
Clerk:  We got that!
Clerk:  Have you ever fell a tree that big before.
Me:  Um, no.
Clerk:  Do you have any idea what you are doing?
Me:  Um, no.  But me and my buddies took down a smaller tree with nothing but a shovel, an ice pick, a hatchet, and an ax!
Clerk:  Here, you may want to watch this instructional video... more than once.
Me:  Great!  I've totally got this!  Ummmm... how do I start the chain saw?
Clerk:  Sir, are you sure you want to do this?
Me:  Yes'ir!  My wife thinks I can do it!
Clerk:  You know the Chainsaw is the most dangerous thing you can operate with out a license?  Are you absolutely SURE you want to try this?
Me:  Well no, I'd rather not.  But I figure I have a better chance with the chainsaw, than I do with my wife.  If I come home, telling my wife I can NOT cut down the tree... well, then I'm dead for sure.  With the chainsaw, I figure I've got a 50/50 chance of survival.
Clerk:  Okay, just try not to cut off your arm or leg.

And just like that, I walked out with some massive chain saw, and spent my afternoon felling trees.  I think its funny how we have to wear Seat Belts in cars, Helmets on Bikes, we even have Safety Belts in Shopping Carts for our kids... and yet, any idiot can walk into a chain saw rental store and rent a chain saw, no questions asked.  :-)  Well, except "Do you have a credit card."  They do ask about that.

But what exactly dose me chain sawing have to do with adoption?  Glad you asked!

See, I honestly did not think I could do it.  I did need someone to encourage me, someone to build me up, to lie* to me and tell me that I can do it, even though common sense and my sadly neglected survival instinct was telling me that it was a bad idea and that I should stay away from it.

With my wife encouraging me (encouraging me unselfishly might I add, because "I could have DIED" while cutting down that tree, and yet she was still willing to let me do it - and what an inconvenience for my wife if I were to have died), I was able to achieve something which I previously deemed unachievable.

We are encouraging our Ping to embrace her new family, to love life, to feel safe, to cuddle with her Yeti father.  These are some of the areas where we are encouraging her.

Maybe there is a metaphorical massive General Sherman tree in her life that she still needs to cut down and tear out...

...and if she needs someone to help her cut that big sucker down... well... we will all be there.  Shovel and Ice Pick in hand.  :-)

* == My wife puts the LIE in "beLIEve"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Accident, Mafia Style

Me:  Ping, can you go get your Mother?
Ping:  No.  Mommy folding laundry.
Me:  I know.  But go ask her to come outside please.
Ping:  Okay.
Me:  Thanks.

... hmmmm... I wonder what happened here... some sort of "accident" I guess?  No, this was done on purpose.

Wife:  What?
Me:  Where are you?
Wife:  Up here.
Me:  Why don't you come outside.  I want to show you something.
Wife:  I can see from here.
Me:  You're on the 2nd floor of the house, looking out of the bathroom window!
Wife:  I'm safer up here.
Me:  What are you afraid of?
Wife:  Nothing.  What did you want.
Me:  Did you see the play structure?

Broken play structure
Wife:  No, why... Oh my!  Its broken!
Me:  Un-huh.  Do you know how it broke?
Wife:  Oh gosh no.  How or why would I know how that got broken?
Me:  Because I see tire tracks here.  Its as if "someone" ran it down.

Hmmmm... the plot thickens
Wife:  Maybe one of the construction guys hit it with his tractor.
Me:  Un-huh.  By "accident" right?
Wife:  I'm sure they didn't mean to hit it.  But I do remember them having to move stuff.
Me:  Okay.  I'm going to ask you one question.  And you have to answer me truthfully.
Wife:  Okay.
Me:  Did you pay the construction guys to run over the play structure!
Wife:  ... I have to goto the bathroom.
Me:  Because you have wanted a new swing set for a couple of summers now.
Wife:  I can't hear... wha?   You're breaking up!  Oh my.  Gotta go!

... quite the "accident".  How do you drag a 500lbs tree into a swing set?
I'm pretty sure my wife just had our swing set "whacked".  There are some habits and behaviors I hope we pass onto our children.  Some which are good, and right, and noble.  These we try our best to pass on with due diligence and deliberation.  We teach what is right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable.

I guess we did need a new one anyway...
But having our swing set have an "accident mafia style" is one of the things I hope my wife DOESN'T pass onto our Children!  On the flip side, I think I showed some great character in dealing with the situation... hopefully I can rub off more on our children than my lovely wife.

... I'm pretty sure I'm one bad post away from having my own "accident", and I'm pretty sure Ping would be willing to help organize it.  :-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ducks In A Row

I've got a friend of mine who has 4 girls.  And, I hate him.
Okay, well, maybe I don't HATE him.  Lets rewind a couple of years...

See my buddy Dom has these adorable beautiful daughters.
Each and every Sunday morning, we would arrive at church around the same time, and make our way though the throngs of people to our respective Sunday School classes.
As his daughters and our boys are about the same ages, the startling contrast between boys and girls was... well.. startling.

We would hit the foyer together.  There, is Dom.  With his 2 (or maybe 3 daughters at the time) daughters following behind him, glowing in their beauty.  Their hair was done up in bows.  Their dresses were pressed and tidy.  Their flowing dark hair shimmered in the sunlight and their faces seemed to glow as they looked lovingly upon their father who lead them while their voices rang out like song birds professing their love and adoration for their father.  Yes, like a mother duck with her little ducklings trailing behind in a row (except, that instead of a duck, its a big Italian guy), they followed him though the sea of people, steadfastly as little women, not as children.

Then, I would come in.  With our two boys in tow.  Their hair, disheveled.  Their clothes, discombobulated.  Instead of following behind like good little ducklings, they tended to hang off my various body parts, like my leg... arm... or head.  Their voices seemed to echo the madness of a want-to-be World Dictator who just watched their Masterful Evil Plan come crumbling down because of some unforeseen obvious flaw in their thinking, and a bumbling buffoon of a hero saves the girl.  Yes, with kicking and screaming and gnashing of teeth, I dragged, pushed, pulled, cattle prodded our beloved boys into the Sunday School class room.

I should have seen it starting when they were young

The whole time, I could see Dom glancing over his shoulder, and a look of sympathy and dismay would wash over his face as I'm sure the thought "Poor guy... stuck with boys" raced though his mind.

Something about swords, and masks... never a good sign.
Week after week this went on.
Month after month.

One father with his children, the picture of perfection.  Pure joy and rapture followed them where ever they went.
The other father, a whirling tornado of chaos and destruction.

One week, after getting all the children settled, I looked at Dom and he looked at me.  And with what ever strength i had left, through my tired blood shot eyes, disheveled hair, bite marks and torn and ragged clothes, I said "You just wait.  You may be laughing now.  But one day, ONE day, when all your 4 girls are teen-agers, YOU will be the Father who is falling apart while you wait up until 2 am for your daughters to come home... Because you KNOW, you KNOW they will be out with boys like mine!  And at that time, I will be sleeping soundly, and come Sunday morning, you sir, will walk in looking like I do now, and I will rest!"

I think sometimes, parenting is like that.  Some of the grief we are going though now with Ping is only laying the foundation for what will be coming in the teen years.  A foundation of understanding, communication and trust.  Maybe it would be easier for us now if Ping did everything we asked the 1st time, without issue, and without hesitation.  But then I think we would be caught un-prepared for when the teen years struck.

Its only a paintball gun... but its the emotional scarring that hurts.
Yes'ir, I'll take the arguments and fighting up front now, while they are young and easy to understand if that means when they are older, I will be better prepared for what is going to come my way.

PS:  I had to look really hard to find pictures of our boys being bad... cuz they really are not.  Maybe higher energy when they were younger compared to Doms daughters, but in no way bad.  Nor did they mind going to Sunday School.  They love it!  Especially since they get candy each week!  :-)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why Do We Make It So Hard?

Warning:  This is a bit of a "soap box" type post - something pretty close to my heart, and not really the typical "Yeti Funny (or at least what I think is funny)" readers may be used to.  IF you are looking for something funny, I suggest the Shot Gun post, or a re-cap of our PRIDE course...  If you are ready for a bit of a challenge, then read on... read on.

Recently, I heard of a family who found a little girl who was in an adoption which was failing.  The little girl was already moved out of the adoptive parents house and was living with a "respite" family.  This family we know of, went and met with the little girl and her respite family (apparently, the adoptive family did not want to meet with anyone) to try to help as they themselves have some adoption experience.

At the end of the day, the family was driving home, and the mother looks at the father and says "We can adopt her."

A few days later, the original adoptive family calls, and says "what can we do about our adopted child, she is driving us crazy", the mother we know offers "we will adopt her".

As simple as that, the young girl is now in the custody of the new family, and the paper work is underway to formalize the new adoption.

Now is that a great model for adoption?  Not really.  There was a failed adoption in there, and the little girl is old enough to know what is going on.  There is going to be lots to heal.

Unfortunately, this happens too often in adoption (see the American family who sent their Russian child home with a 1 way plane ticket)... but I would like you all to forget about that for a bit and focus on the other side.

The "We can adopt her" side.

It really was that simple of a choice for this family.

There is a child.
Who needs a loving home.
We are a loving home.
We can adopt a child.
We have the financial means.
We have the love.
The only thing missing is the child.

Isn't that the response we all want from society?!  That people and families would give of themselves to provide a better life for those in need?

Isn't that why our children did fund raising for children in Haiti after the earthquake?

I know there is that whole side of adoption which doesn't want to focus on the "I'm saving a child".  And rightfully so.  Because really, we are not saving a child.  We happen to be adding to our family, regardless of how we are adding to our family.

But in this case... the answer can be so clear.  This was a clear response to a need.

I see families go out and spend thousands of dollars on a new car... when they already have two fine cars.
I see families go out and spend more money on their home theaters than we spent on our first home!
I see families add extensions on to their homes, adding bedrooms for children they will never have.

I see families do all sorts of "crazy things" which for some reason seem culturally acceptable.  In fact these things are deemed normal!

But adopting a child?  Well... thats just... crazy!

When did it become crazy to help a child?
When did it become crazy to open up your family to someone who is lost, and alone in this world without someone to love them?

When did we become the crazies who decide to welcome a child into our lives instead of buying that new motor boat?  big screen TV and sound system?  BMW?  etc...

Sometimes, this world leaves me speechless.
Sometimes for the wrong reasons.
But today, today I have been left speechless for the right reasons, as I see a child welcomed into a new family who will love her and raise her as if she has been loved with the intensity of a thousand suns!

There.  I'm done on my soap box.  Please don't assume that this post represent my whole thoughts on adoption... just my thoughts today, right now.  I challenge any of your to visit a site like RainbowKids and think differently.  If those children do not stir your heart to action (even if it isn't adopting, but sponsoring, supporting, help advocate for, etc), then I don't know what will.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Keeping Secrets

Generally, keeping secrets is bad.  But sometimes, there are just some things which you keep under wraps for as long as you can.  And naturally, some people are better at this than others.

Bad @ Secrets:  The Wife
Mother in Law (MiL):  I'm so glad everyone could make it for Saturday brunch!
Me:  I'm all about the free food!  Oh, ah, yea, I'm just glad I could make it!  Pass the roast?
Wifes Sister J (J):  So what is everyone doing this weekend?
MiL:  Oh nothing much.  Just sitting around the house.
Me:  I've got school stuff.  Something about calculus... wasn't really paying attention.
Wife:  I don't remember.  But there is something.  Oh, right, is everyone going to J's House Warming Party?
J:  Wahhhhhttttt?
Wife:  Your surprise house warming party, you are coming aren't you?
Everyone:  Uuuuugh!  R!
J:  Uh, I didn't know I was having a surprise house warming party.
Wife:  What?  Why are you all staring at me?!

Bad @ Secrets:  Our Son D
Me:  Hey D, how is the Mc Flurry!
Me:  Cool.  Glad we got to hang out tonight.
D:  Yea.  Hey, what dose coffee taste like?
Me:  Dark.  Bitter.  And yet, somehow, glorious!  As if the heavens have opened up and this dark liquid was cast down to this bitter dark cruel earth as a reminder to us all that there is someone who loves us, and provides good things - despite our own wretchedness!
D: .... uuuh... Can I try some?
Me:  Well, you could.  But we don't have a coffee machine at home.
D:  Oh!  What if there was a coffee machine at home!  Then could I try some.
Me:  I guess.
D:  And I hear there is some coffee machines which can make Tea!
Me:  Yup.
Me:  Yup.
D:  And then the WHOLE FAMILY would be happy because you can have coffee, Mom can have tea, and us kids can have Hot Chocolate!
Me:  D, did Mom get me a coffee maker for my b-day?
D:  ....  aaaaaaaahhhhh.... ummmmmm... I didn't tell you!

Good @ Secrets:  Our Daughter G
G:  Daddy, guess which book you have to read to me tonight?!
Me:  Okay, Smelly Socks!  No?  Love you Forever?  No?  Bernstain Bears?  Booooobahs?  Um, Elmo?  Disney Princess Collection?  Andrews Hair?  Tooth Fairy?  Ahhhh, Strawberry Shortcake? ...

... 10 minutes later ...

Me: ... Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut?  Is it, the Monsters Book Just Go To Bed?!
*big smile starts to creep across Gs face*
Me:  Aaaah, so it IS Just Go To Bed?
G:  *stifling a laugh*  Nnnnooooooooo!
Me:  I think it IS Just Go To Bed!
G:  *shaking her head trying not to laugh*  No!  It ISN'T!
Me:  I'm pretty sure it is!
G:  *biting her lip*  Uh-nah.
Me:  Give me the book!  What?!  Dora Visits the Doctor?!
G:  *bursts out laughing*  I fooled you Daddy!

Stone cold liar!
Stone cold I tell ya!
Nothing giving it away.
And she TOTALLY faked me out with the fake laughing and stuff!
I thought I had her for SURE!

Not Sure @ Secrets:  Our Ping
Me:  Ping.  Come here.
Ping:  I love you Daddy!
Me:  Oh you figured that out eh.  When you think you're in trouble you start off with a I Love You.
Ping:  Lets cuddle!
Me:  Yes, later.  But first... WHO put that red thing (some sticky gelly goopy thing) on the ceiling?
Ping:  Mmmmmmm, D did!
Me:  Nooooo, D did NOT stick that to the ceiling.  Did you?
Ping:  No!
Me:  Ping, don't lie to Daddy.
Ping:  Okay.
Me:  So did you get that stuck on the ceiling?
Ping: Yes.  But I can no reach it!

Now I knew she did it, cuz I watched her.

It feels good to be moving on to normal age appropriate behavioral problems.  :-)  It is nice to be dealing with something other than NOT sharing, or NOT talking nice.  Yup, I'm sure by the time she is 14 we will be arguing just like any other teenager/parent would!

Anyway, all that to come back around to Keeping Secrets... is there a big secret being kept somewhere here lurking in the blog postings?  Hmmmm... not that it would be hard to figure out if there was... cuz apparently, some people around here are just NO GOOD at keeping secrets.  :-)

... I think I'm gonna have to make our 6 year old daughter G preview all communications my wife has with the outside world.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Blogging while in China

I've been asked a few times about how we posted to Blogger from China, since it is Fire-walled.  I think I've posted about this in the past, but maybe did not include the instructions.

I found a simple way to update the blog via email - and its just a setting inside Blogger itself, so its easy!  You can get around the Blogger restrictions by blogging via email.  Your blogger account can be set up to accept an email, and then immediately post it as a new blog.

In the Blogger setup (from the Dashboard), goto:
Settings -> Email &  Mobile

On the "Email & Posting" settings page, there is a section on "Posting Options".  Turn ON  "Publish Posts Immediately", and fill in the Email Address.

Now, anything you email to that email address, will be posted as a blog.

But be careful... cuz if you happen to upload a CUTE picture of your daughter, and your wife is standing in the background getting changed, you can NOT go back to remove that picture!  :-)

There are other options, trying to avoid the China Firewall (remote desktop control, like PCAnyWhere, or, but its more complicated).

The emailing worked great... you just can't do much lay out though.  It is limited to typing some text, you can add pictures as "Attachments" to the Email, and they just kinda show up. 

NOTE:  I'll try to post some screen shots... you know, when I'm not at work.

My Gosh I'm Getting Old!

Yea, so this weekend was my Birthday... I figured the gifts I got from the kids were so funny I'd post them.  :-)

Take the card from my Boys.  Looks nice and colourful.  But check out the lower right hand corner of the card.  Yes.  Thats a Space Marine from the StarCraft II game about to be eat'ed by a Zergling there.
The made a WANTED Poster for me... wait, check the name they scratched out, I am the WANTED Person.  Great, my boys are trying to get me arrested.  *siiiiigh*
Yes, Ping taped a Rock to a card for me.  A Rock!  I remember her dragging that silly rock in from the drive way.  I meant to toss it back outside.  Good thing I didn't, otherwise I would not have gotten it taped to my B-Day card!  :-)
Ahhhh, my sweet G drew a picture for me!  Its an old man.  With pants pulled up too high.  A beard.  Balding.  Fat.  And apparently... me.  *siiiigh*
The inside of G's card.  Ice cream.  The kids on the right.  The pretty smiling one in the middle is G herself.  An Angry face on the left above the Ice Cream bleeding from the eyes with razor sharp fangs... guess who I am in the drawing?
Close up of the Angry Face with fangs and the bleeding eyes...  It's still cute somehow.
AAaaaaah!!! Kurieg my love!  The wife and kids all pitched in to get me a new coffee maker!  :-)
I think all the cards and stuff were wonderful!  It was cute to see how excited they were to give them to me.  Even Ping was running around for the last 48 hours just waiting to give me my card!  Someone remind me sometime to post my thoughts on Ping and Birthdays... cuz they are kind of a big deal to her.  I mean, a REALLY big deal.  :-)

It was a great B-Day.  We had a nice breakfast cooked by R, then we went swimming as a family and had a blast!  Later that night I soothed my bruised old self with copious amounts of coffee from my new Kurieg coffee maker!

Oh, and most importantly, look at what I fixed!  :-)
I spend a couple long nights gluing all the pieces back together!  I think the industrial strength epoxy I used would kill anyone if they actually ate off it... but at least we can put it on a plate stand somewhere and have a nice story to go along with the plate now.  :-)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Is it Bad that I Pushed Our Kids Down the Hill?

Wife:  You know, I used to be worried that I was a bad mother.
Me:  Really?  Hmmmm.  Why?
Wife:  What do you mean by "why"?
Me:  Oh nothing, I just think it would be helpful if you could narrow down the choices as to WHY you were thinking you were a bad mother.
Wife: ...
Me:  Is it the fact that our 4 year old called your a "FireCracker" because of your temper?
Wife:  No.
Me:  Oh, um, was it the fact that you lost our 1st born?
Wife:  No.
Me:  ... and when they found him, he was eating Urinal Cakes out of the toilet in the church.
Wife:  No.
Me:  ... and they had to rush him to emergency?
Wife:  No.
Me:  Hmmm.....  *pause*  Oh!  Is it the time that you let him eat over a cup of sand out of the sand box?  And we had to rush him to Emergency and have his stomach X-Rayed?
Wife:  No.
Me:  Hmmmm... see, I need some help here.
Wife:  Oh, you are going to need A LOT of help REAL SOON for SURE.
Me:  Was it the ti...
Wife:  How about you stop talking now.  For the love of PETE, what did I do to deserve this...
Me:  ... me that you just tossed them into the pool because you thought they didn't want to learn how to swim?

One of many... many... swimming lessons
Wife:  No, the reason I thought I was maybe a bad mother was because I pushed our kids down the hill.
Me:  Un-huh... ummmm... which time?  When the refused to go tobogganing because they were scared of the hill so you decided to just push them down without their consent?

K Crashing into a tree while sledding
Wife:  No.
Me:  Oh, cuz that would have been a good time to think you were a bad mother.  I don't think D will ever walk right again.
Wife:  No, the time I pushed them down the hill when they refused to learn to ride their bike!
Me:  Oh right!  That.  Really?  I mean, you've done much worse than that.  There are many other things you should feel bad abou...
Wife:  Shut it.  Look, it was 3 years!  They refused to learn! The boys had no initiative to learn.  I had no choice.  So yes, I took them to the top of a hill and pushed them down on the bike... thinking the speed would help them stay up!
Me:  But, it didn't.  All the speed did was help them hit the ground faster... and harder.
Wife:  But I DIDN'T have to do that with Gemma!  She taught herself how to ride her bike in 1 day!  She taught herself to be potty trained.  And I'm pretty sure that Ping is going to be the same!  She is fearless!  It was just the boys I had to push.

D, before being pushed down the hill

K, enjoying his ride
Me:  Ummmm... okay, so... Because you didn't have to push Gemma down the hill and almost kill her, that means the boys were at fault that you were absolved from any responsibility in injuring your children...
Wife:  Yes.  It makes perfect sense.  If the boys had a little more initiative, then I wouldn't have had to push them!
Me:  I think when parents talk about "pushing" their children, they mean it metaphorically.  You know, not... literally.
Wife:  30 HOURS OF LABOUR!!!  I know a thing or two about pushing.

Children.  What can you do?  I find parenting so very entertaining.  You think you just get it all figured out and then, WHAM!  You don't.  Each child is a unique experience and no two children are the same (even siblings can be so very different).  The way they see things, respond to discipline, praise, motivation, etc, are all different.  And even if you are only dealing with one child, you still won't ever have it figured out because at each stage of their development, it seems that all the rules you have figured out over the last 5 years are tossed out, and you start again from scratch!  Yes Teen-Years, I'm looking at you!

I also think it is somewhat re-assuring that we can be pretty inadequate parents at time, and yet, somehow... the children can turn out OK.  :-)  I am also glad that eating Urinal Cakes isn't going to kill you, just leave your insides "minty fresh"  according to the Poison Control Center.

I know I've been a parent for over 12 years now... and goodness knows... I'm still figuring it out... or at least trying to.

I'm still enjoying the "figuring out" of my children, and ways I can be a better father.

... cuz goodness knows, I've given up on figuring out the wife.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Way With da Ladies

NOTE:  I originally posted this on No Hands But Ours (NHBO), but decided to post here as well for those who may not subscribe to NHBO.  Sorry if it is a repeat for some.

I know there are some stories of adoption out there, where the bonding between child and parent(s) is instant and wonderful!  Yes, the heavens open up, doves fly down, and the whole world slows to a crawl as your new wonderful, beautiful child runs to your arms - clearly un-inhibited by the past - and falls softly into your chest as tears of joy roll down your cheeks!

This... was not... our adoption.  At least, not for me and our daughter.  Our scene was more like, the heavens opened up, doves flew down, the sounds of angels singing could barely be heard over the joyous sounds of laughter and our precious daughter looking up at me and my wife softly sighing the words Ma ma and Ba ba - and then quickly realising that although her new Ma ma was a true beauty to behold, her new Ba ba happened to be the Yeti incarnate!  She quickly tried to find a wooden stake to drive though my heart, garlic, and a silver bullet to try to rid herself of me...

But that was OK (well actually, it hurt worse than anything else I’ve experienced, but that is for another post).  I was prepared for this type of reaction... and I should thank my wife for that.

*begin wavy flash back to our wasted youths*

Friend:  So, who do you like?  Anyone right now?
Younger Version of Me:  I kind am digg’n R right now.
(younger future wife - R)
Friend:  For real!  That is so cool!  Hey, HEY R!  Adrian LIKES you!
My Future Wife:  What?!  Adrian!?  Ewwwww!  I would never date Adrian!
Younger Version of Me:  I’m right here!  I can hear you, you know.
My Future Wife:  I want a man who is manly - and strong!
Younger Version of Me:  I have a very deep inner strength.  Don’t take my lack of arguing and getting mad as a weakness.  It takes much more strength to deal with things properly than it dose to explode and get mad!  And hey, you know what, I’m from Flin Flon!  I wrestle Bears Wrapped In Bacon!
My Future Wife:  I want someone, who is macho - who will make my decisions.
Younger Version of Me:  Well, I think that is kind of silly.
My Future Wife:  I want someone who will order my food for me!
Younger Version of Me:  But you haven’t told me what you like yet.
My Future Wife:  I would NEVER date Adrian.
(younger me)
Younger Version of Me:  I’m still right here!
My Future Wife:  You are so not the man I want.
Younger Version of Me:  But I might just be the man you need.

* end wavy flashback*

To say that my wife and I did not hit it off that great, would be an understatement.  We met at a young age in Sunday School - but were only “friends”.  But, I do have a way with da ladies!  I wear ‘em down!

When we were young, and we were out with our friends, I would go to the other guys who had cars and ask them “not to give R a ride home” - because I liked her, and I wanted to give her a ride home.  Then, after she was safely confined in my car, (after not being able to find anyone to give her a ride home), with no possible chance of escape, I would drive her home as slow as possible just to spend as much time as possible with her.

Now I know that might sound a little creepy... but hey, it worked!  She fell in love with my rugged good looks, charming personality and my humor (some would add obvious denial of reality).  Had it not worked out between us, I would have just been some creepy guy who kept threatening people not to give R a ride home, and stalking R all hours of the day... but never-the-less, it all worked out in the end.
(still wearing her down)

Now, what has that to do with our little Ping and our adoption?

Well, true to form, I did not hit it off so great with this new girl either.  I was confident though that I would woo her and win her over!  I would wear her down... 

(Ping showing her “playful” side as she tries to stab me with a fork)
I’m sure Ping was sitting there, looking at me going, I want a Dad who is:
  • less hairy
  • less smelly
  • more Chinese
  • less hairy
  • less loud
  • less scary
  • less tall
  • less cuddly
  • more further away
She was not impressed by me at all!  It was only this last week (after being home with us for 8 months) where she crawled up into our bed, and without me saying anything, just wrapped her little arms around my neck and said “Daddy, I lub you!”

(still not impressed by me)
What a difference a few months can make.  Just a little while ago, when she entered the bed room, she stood at the side of the bed and just stared at me.  She would not come close.  She would not climb up on the bed if I was there.  And if I was there, and she really wanted her mother, she would walk a wide berth around the bed (keeping her eyes fixed on me, lest I try to reach out and touch her) and crawl in next to her Mother.  If I tried to touch her, or hug her, or pick her up, or even talk to her... oh boy!  Did I get a mouth full of Mandarin (I know a little Mandarin and I’m pretty sure nothing she said was covered in my “Introduction to Mandarin” classes - had I taken the “Swearing Like a Truck Driver” course, I’m sure I could have understood a little of what she was saying).

(just trying to get away)

But each day, I just loved her.  I let her cry, yell at me, run away... what ever.  She would say Daddy, I NO love you!, and I would say “That is OK, because I love you.  Maybe tomorrow you will love Daddy?”, (“Maybe” she would reply, on a good day, normally it was “mmmmm, I tink abot it, an No!”).

I would hold her, talk to her, take her out one on one and have cake.  I let her cry, listened to her babble.  Held her when she was scared (even when she thought she was brave) and prayed for her every night.  I tucked her into bed, and carried her when ever I could.  I never demanded she love me, held it against her when she rejected me, or got angry when she pushed me away.  And slowly, ever so slowly, I could see the chinks forming in her armour - and slowly, I knew I was winning her over... and I knew I would.  Because, I have a way with da ladies.

(still wearing her down)
Current Wife:  You know what, you were right all those years ago (like you are right about everything, ever, in all of ever-ness!)* - you really are the man I needed.
Current Me:  Yup, I know.  And don’t look now, but I’m also the man you wanted.  I am able to order your favorite food when we go to a restaurant - because I have watched you, listened to you, and learned what you like and don't like (instead acting out in a macho manly way).   I am able to help make decisions - because I have the needs of our family deeply routed in my heart (instead of making decision because “I’m the man!”).  I am the type of man who dose the right thing, even though it is hard and requires great strength (instead of being the quick tempered man).

So maybe I wasn’t the man that my wife wanted...
... but I am the man she needed.

And maybe I wasn’t the Father that Ping wanted...
... but I know I’m the Father she needs.

(totally wearing her down!)

So to all the Dads out there (or Moms) out there struggling with attachment issues -  it’s all good.  Love will come around.  You just have to have a way with da Ladies**!

* = Edited by me, but it was SO implied in the statement though.
** = Or, boys... if you adopted a son.