Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

This day is starting off blah since we missed our 5 a.m. wake-up alarm, which means I didn’t get my mind-clearing, positive day-starting, endorphin-pumping run in. It’s all downhill from here, unless something magical happens quick.

I have been writing a lot lately, just not here. Oh, how I wish I could publish a series of email exchanges with a friend-in-crisis, but that would be an invasion of privacy. Even on the Secret Blog.

One of the topics discussed in Flurry of Emails is the power and importance of how we perceive things and what is says about us. Take this true-life example of a woman I know This woman HATES her neighbors (no one else has a problem with them) over some stupid dispute about a five-foot piece of property (one survey says that it belongs to the woman and another survey says it belongs to the neighbors). The woman hates them with a passion and is happy that they are in foreclosure and that their house is going to be auctioned off. She has ringside seats to their downfall and she is giddy with delight. But her venom and hatred and anger say a lot about her and who SHE is, and not the neighbors. Know what I mean? With that simple story you can tell that she is the type of person who will never, ever be happy and content. You can’t have that much hatred and bitterness living in you without it being a part of you. Right?

I need to apply that thinking to this tedious, time-consuming and expensive second-parent adoption process. If you have read this blog closely then you already know that this process makes me oh so angry and bitter (yes, yes, I know that makes ME bitter…I’m working on it). This has involved doctor’s visits and paperwork and attorney visits and, most annoying, a home study by a social worker whose purpose is to decide if Nicole is a fit mother. We executed that on Sunday, and while I was annoyed to have to submit to such nonsense, it wasn’t actually that bad. The social worker was polite and kind and didn’t go into our drawers or open the refrigerator or check the books on our bookshelf. The visit was clearly a formality, conducted mostly from the couch in the living room, which sort of made it even harder to understand. In fact, this entire process seems to be just one giant waste of time, because the courts are going to give Nicole her parental rights. This is no equivocation on that. So why do we need to go through this? Just more bureaucracy and wasted money and wasted time.

Which reminds me…what IS Obama doing for gay rights? Anything? Anything at all? A stupid gay pride party at the White House is about the extent of his involvement.

OK, so let me swallow all the bitterness and try to find the lesson from this. What I need to work on is the whole Child-Comparison trap. The SW asked us to describe the girls and I found myself saying things like “She is the reserved one and she is the outgoing one” and “She is the adventurous eater and she is the not-so-adventurous eater.” It was impossible for me to use adjectives without using the opposite adjective to describe the other. What is wrong with me? Even those with the most rudimentary knowledge of psychology knows that this will ensure visits to therapists down the road. It doesn’t help that people ask things like “Which one is the leader?” and “Who is the more vocal one?” The temptation to compare the two, since they are, after all, the exact same age, is something I really need to work on.

Madeline is going through a Language Explosion. But it is a s-l-o-w journey to the 60,000 word adult vocabulary. All of the sudden she is repeating words back to us and asking us what things are (still, both girls say “Dada?” which means “what’s that?” and the double-meaning of that is not lost on me.). But what is funny is that Madeline declares everything — and I mean everything — hot. To wit, she just ambled over here with a flashcard with a picture of bones on it and asked what it was. I said “bones” and she responded “Owns. Hot!” “No, Maddie, not hot.” I say that at least a hundred times a day. And that is not an exaggeration. I assume she will soon outgrow her theory that everything is hot; after all, she said everything had eyes up until a week ago.

Bottom line, I am so happy that the girls are communicating more. Communication takes the guesswork out of Toddler Life, and the less guesswork, the better. Avery is very good at telling us what she wants and needs by using two-word phrases: No dancing! Sit Dare! Sing Momma! More jibbies (jibbies = tickles). Avery has clearly mastered two-word phrases, and since there is no official three-word stage in language development, more complete sentences, starting around three, is the next linguistic milestone. All this communicating makes life a lot easier, but it makes me miss their rapidly vanishing babyhood even more.

It is another nice day (no rain for a change) so we will go to the Zoo or playground later. And tomorrow, a playdate with Mr. Beck in Brooklyn and then off to Long Island for a Long Weekend.

Pictured above, me and the girls in front of my favorite flower of all time, hydrangeas. (They really are pretty.) And the girls at dinner. The lighting in the pictures is awful, but I couldn’t resist the cuteness of sharing a chair (neither girls wants to be in their expensive Scandinavian chairs anymore…so much for using said chairs until they are five).


K J and the kids said...

Look, you mention this stuff going on and then all it does it makes me NEEEED to know and then you just say....oh well. Seriously.

The bright side to your adoption that you have one. We on the other hand don't even have the hoops to jump through.

Love the pictures.

justine said...

i will do my best to not say this bitterly, but good for you for being one of the only people i know who is willing to ask what in the world obama is doing. i feel totally hurt and betrayed and over him. and i am glad someone else does, too.

those hydrangeas are AMAZING!! hope the zoo was fun!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE their hair!

calliope said...

Seriously loving that first photo- all of you look fab there!


Hola- Definitely don't think that one can be angry all day, and not have the bitterness become part of them. That's why I try to let a lot of crap slide and live by: poison snake bites you, your'e poison too.

2nd parent adoption process is invasive and time consuming. But, just glad I had the right to do it...but it is super annoying. Apparently in the courts in NYC- at least Surrogates Ct- most adoptions now are being filed by same sez parents. who knew.

Kids are adorable...


Anonymous said...

i'm relishing the two-word sentence phase too.

Gemini Girl said...

It's hard not to compare. I SWORE I would never do that, but people do ask "which one is the (insert anything here) one" "

We really do need to work on that more- but no one can blame us. The first step is being aware of it.
That's the main reason I dont dress the girls alike. I mean, people are going ot automatically compare them to one another- why play into that (you know?).

And yes- what is Obama doing for gay rights? It pisses me off that he fails to adress the subject matter. We are living in 2009, not 1949.