Friday, October 31, 2008

Perils of dressing in the dark

So the other morning, I'm at work, and my cubie neighbor Hil happens to look down at her shirt. "Well look at that," she says. "I got dressed this morning and wore a pink bra under a light shirt." So I look, and I can barely see it, but I totally understand where she's coming from. Hil is a mom to twin two year old boys, and when we get up for work, we do it really early. Some people in my department come to work at 3:30 am. This is what life is like in fraud prevention. Much of our success rate depends on finding counterfeit/forged/stolen/notrealmoney/etc before our branches open, and the people come in and withdraw the funds. So we work really early for the most part. So when we get dressed in the morning, it sometimes involves trying not to wake up sleeping children or other household members. Sometimes we get dressed in the dark.

Not ten minutes later, I get up to go to the fax machine. While I'm there I look down at my shirt. Usually there's some sort of breakfast cereal on there (another result of working very early mornings. We go on breakfast break. Or eat it at our desks while getting the news fix, in my case.). Today, I happen to notice something else. I'm wearing a black bra. Under a white shirt. Fortunately it's a high quality Eddie Bauer turtleneck with a high percentage of spandex, so hopefully it's not so noticable that my coworkers think I'm trying to make a statement. I remember how I had planned to wear a black shirt, but had to change pants and in so doing changed my shirt to match the new pants. In the dark, because Jupiter was asleep in my bed.

Once, a few months after Jupiter came home, I got my work bag in the car, Jupiter's backpack in the car, Jupiter coated and hatted and in the car, and drove off up the street. About six houses away, I noticed I was still wearing my house slippers. I debated going home to change into other shoes, but since it wasn't raining or snowing, I opted just to go to work in the slippers, figuring it would be worth a laugh for my co-workers. Besides, they were very comfortable slippers.

Sometimes, I get really tired. You may have gathered that from the dressing mishaps. I think that all Moms are tired. It's part of being a Mom. They (the kids, not the Mom's so much.) wake up at 2 or 3 am, and go wandering around the house looking for the cat or looking out the window to see if it was snowing, because the weatherman said there was a 2 percent chance of a snow flurry on the news, or just call because they had a nightmare, and we get up and go and find them or try to comfort them, sometimes fall asleep in their bed or bring them into our beds. Or they get sick and can't sleep, and you do something really cool like give them a popsicle in bed in the middle of the night, and then you read the complete Anthology of Thomas the Tank Engine for a half hour. Today when I came home I had to take a nap for a half hour before I could pick up Jupiter and take her trick or treating. Mostly I even slept through the guy accross the river who is gearing up for the first day of hunting season by repeatedly shooting off something that sounds like a cannon. Sometimes when I'm having a conversation with somebody I forget in the middle of the conversation what we're talking about. I don't mean to be's probably just a mini nap.

Hil told me once that her husband doesn't understand how she can fall asleep one minute after she lays down. I never used to be able to do that. Now I can. It's totally a Mom thing.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A fried rice recipe for Karen

Fried Rice with Beef-The food and cooking of Thailand

7 oz beef steak
1 tbsp vegtable oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 egg
2 1/4 cups cooked jasmine rice
1/2 med head broccoli, finely chopped
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp thai fish sauce
ground black pepper

Trim the steak and cut into very thin pieces with a sharp knife. ( I usually just buy a small pack of stir fry beef from the grocery store.) Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan and cook the garlic over a low to medium heat until golden. Don't let it burn. Increase the heat to high, add the steak, and stir fry for two minutes. Move the pices of beef to the edges of the pan and break the egg into the center. When the egg starts to set, stir fry it with the meat. Add the rice (it works best if rice is cold prior to frying.) and toss all the contents of the wok together, scraping up any residue on the base, then add the broccoli (more cheating..I use the frozen kind and just defrost it under hot water before adding to the rice.), soy sauce (I cut the soy sauce a little because it is so very salty. Or they make low sodium soy sauce which you can try as well), sugar, and fish sauce. Stir fry for two more minutes. Season to taste with the pepper and serve immediately with chili sauce.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jello buzz

Jupiter is in to sweet things. Pure sugar, candy, chocolate, you name it. Last Sunday I came out of the shower and found the ice cream scoop in the sink. So I ask "What did you eat with the ice cream scoop?"

"Nada," she says. She likes to think if she uses another language, she won't be in trouble.

"Yes, you did. What did you eat?"


"You ate yogurt with the ice cream scoop?" Never mind the fact that the ice cream scoop will not even fit into the yogurt container. So I open the fridge and count the yogurts. Fortunately I had one for breakfast, so I know how many there were before I got in the shower.

"You didn't eat any yogurt, because there aren't any missing from the fridge." Try again. "What did you eat?"

"Brown sugar." Now this, I believe. And sure enough, when I get the gladware container out, there's a big ice cream scoop shaped hole. And since I did not specifically tell her NOT to eat the brown sugar while I was in the shower, I can't do anything about it, other than to tell her not to eat the brown sugar. With anything. At any time. Unless I give it to her while we are baking. Which I did a couple weeks ago, and now see the error in that.

I don't know why she craves sugar so much. I don't worry about her weight so much at this point. She's strong and not what you would call dainty, but her BMI is fine. But it's like she HAS to have her sugar. She fixates on it if she knows its there, but she can't eat it right away. When she first came home, it was bananas. I used to have to hide them in a bag out of her sight, because if there were five on the counter, she would insist on eating all five of them. I read in one of the parenting books geared to adoptive families that sugar is instinctually very comforting, so maybe it's something to do with how her brain is hard wired after early deprivation. Maybe she just likes sugar a lot.

Today while I was at work I got this email from my sister, who was at the house with my parents and Jupiter. It says "Your daughter is hilarious. She keeps us on our toes." end of email. What can it possibly be? So I ask.

While Mimi was in the shower Jupiter helped herself to one of the jello boxes in the cupboard, opened it, and poured the jello powder into one of the wooden boxes she plays with. She hid the empty jello box and the wrapper behind the couch. She then took the jello powder upstairs to her room and put it in her bed. Then she told Mimi she was going to take a nap. (This is always a sign. Anytime she volunteers to take a nap, she's probably got something in her bed she's not supposed to have.) Then awhile later, she went to find B. She's all red. She tells B that its the leftover hair color from her hair. (try again.) Finally she admits to the jello theft. "But I wanted to make jello," she tells B. "I used slobber, because I knew I needed water."

the jello (or as someone from work called it, a giant box of fun dip) came off her skin and out of the sheets. I admire Jupiter's creativity, iniative, and resolve, all of which I am sure will serve her greatly in whatever career path she chooses. As I like to say, I don't know what she's going to do when she grows up, but she's going to be in charge of it. But it worries me a little that she's willing to go to such lengths just for a sugar fix. I spent some time at work googling (it amazes me they haven't taken away that function on my computer. Sometimes I run out of stuff to google.) healthy protein snacks which do not have peanuts or any kind of nuts. I will enlist the doctor to support me in my endeavour to reduce Jupiter's sugar intake. Of course, Halloween is coming up. She also loves Halloween. It's her favorite holiday. She gets to go around the neighborhood and people give her candy for being cute. She might like it even better than Christmas, though that could be a toss up.

On the bright side, Jupiter's sugar intake doesn't seem to be rotting her teeth. We went to the dental clinic at UNE this afternoon for a cleaning and flouride. There's a big hole in our dental benefits at work, we can either cover ourselves for $11 a pay period, or a family (of 2 or 14) for $26 a pay period. I decided it was cheaper just to pay the dentist for Jupiter out of pocket, since she wasn't likely to need multiple fillings or a root canal for awhile. So we hit the dental clinic today, which charged a very reasonable $17 for a cleaning and flouride treatment. The student hygenist said that Jupiter's teeth all look very healthy and not decayed. Then the instructor even looked at her teeth after. Jupiter got to bring home a new toothbrush, which made her happy. Once I bought her a new toothbrush at walmart, and she sat in the cart and announced very loudly "Thank you Mom for the new toothbrush!!!" I was afraid all the people around us thought that I never buy the child anything...though I'm glad she likes toothbrushes. They even gave me a new toothbrush.

There were a lot of families making use of the dental clinic today. One family drove two hours from NH to bring themselves and their children. There was another family of five, and one other really big group. What a wonderful resource for the community, and one I was grateful to have. If people drove two hours from another state to come, I can only imagine the number of people who need that particular resource and have no way to get there. Affordable dental care is hard to come by. And don't even get me started on medical. I'll just say I don't believe insurance companies should be making the decisions about what medical procedures I may or may not need. That's what doctors are for. The end.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Birthdays and BirthMoms

Today is Jupiter's last day of being 4. In a few hours, she'll be five years old.

How can this be, exactly? I remember waiting the long five months between trip one and trip two, and working on her lifebook, which is the adoptive family's version of a baby book. Lots of our kids are not newborns or infants by the time their forever families are formed, so a traditional baby book doesn't always work. Jupiter's has some scrapbook pages that I made, stories I wrote about her adoption process, a family tree ( I read a FRUA post a couple of weeks ago about a class that did a loving tree instead of a traditional family tree, and the kids could put all the people who were important to them on the limbs. I thought that was so GREAT.) and birthday pages. I did pages for her 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th birthdays, and I remember thinking when I did the last one how long it would be before I got to fill it in. And now it's tomorrow?! She's in her room at the moment, in her bed but not sleeping, because she's too excited about her birthday party to sleep. I just threatened her with not being able to go to school tomorrow and not bringing the special treats for her class snack. (a box of ice cream sandwiches for $1.25. What a great week for Hannaford to have their 125th anniversary sale. Thanks, Hannaford!)
So at the moment she's quiet. But not in bed, she just snuck down the hallway.
There are a couple of times a year I think of Jupiter's birthmother; as I aknowledge the gift she gave to me. Mother's Day is one, as it falls in May and is the anniversary of my departure date for trip two. The other is of course, my daughter's birthday. I wonder about her birth, what she was like when she was so small, and wish I could have been there for her when she was at her tiniest. I wonder about all the questions Jupiter will ask when she is more grown up, and able to see her birthday in the context of more than cake and presents? For now she doesn't ask much; she just accepts that she was born in Russia the way other kids were born at Maine Medical Center or Mercy Hospital. She did ask once whose tummy she grew in, when we were having our "what it would be like if I was in your tummy?" conversation. She's getting old enough now, to decide if she wants to tell kids she's adopted, and recently I have struggled to answer the people who just assume she is my bio child and mention that our eyes look exactly alike. I don't want to lie, but I begin to feel that it's Jupiter's story to share or not as she chooses. Of course I hope she will choose to share it. I am so proud of her as she grows up to be smart and beautiful, and works to control and positively express her boundless strength and spirit.

She's not going to bed...the joys of birthday excitement!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm back online!

Well, it's been an interesting week in my technological world. Last week about this time, actually I think it was Monday, but who can remember exactly that far back, I was online, checking blogs and getting ready to post, when I got a neat little message from AOL. It said, "Your ten hours of online time have been reached." What ten hours? The last time I checked, it was unlimited access. They did raise my rate from $9.99 for unlimited access to $11.99, or I assume they did because I got my credit card bill and it went up. But apparently, when the rate went up the amount of time I was allowed to use the internet went down. Then I checked billing, and apparently last month I went over my ten hour limit too, because my credit card bill was $47.

For several months now, I've been wanting to get rid of my dial up access anyway. If there's anybody out there who actually remembers dial up, well, I was the last person actually USING it. And it was actually getting faster, given that nobody else used it anymore. But the suprise from AOL did it for me. I swore that I would go to the Time Warner office and join the 21st century. That took a day, and I wasn't sure if I could pull it off because I thought I might need a loan for the installation fee. But if I install everything myself, it's cheaper. So I walk out with a cable modem and a DVR box for my tv set.

I don't really need the digital cable. But if I get the high speed internet, I have to get rid of my landline phone to compensate for the cost of the internet. That means Mr. Tivo will be out of service. And it's so convenient, I really do want to keep that. So I had to upgrade the cable too. when all is said and done and balanced out, it will only cost five or six dollars more, after I cancel the landline phone service and the AOL service (yipee!).

Another day later, I go to hook up the DVR box. I unhook Mr. Tivo (I am emotionally attached to Mr. Tivo, it turns out, and am a little sad about that.) and hook all the wires in to the DVR, turn the TV on, and I have a black screen. I push buttons. More black screen. I push more buttons. I get frustrated but refrain from saying bad words at the DVR box. Only because Jupiter is awake. Finally I call the cable people to see if the box is broken or if I got the box that the Forest Lake people have to use because their original cable is different than ours. The lady tells me to check all the cables. Then she says to point the remote at the DVR box and push the power button.

I would have felt less stupid if she would have said "Maam? Did you turn the box ON?" But in my defense, when the box turned on, it defaulted to channel two which isn't a channel that anything actually comes in on, so it would have been a black screen anyway. Now we have tv, which is great. I'm still feeling a little guilty about the number of channels we have now. It's certainly not a necessity. But I enjoy watching the smurfs. And the Jetsons. And so on and so on.

The next task was the internet. About which I know next to nothing. So that took a day and consulting with about everyone I know. I haven't gotten the road runner up and running (lol) yet, but I can use the explorer button to at least get on the internet. I need some kind of user id and code which supposedly I got at my local office when they gave me the stuff. Not so much. So Road runner is tomorrows task. Along with calling AOL to have them cancel my service. Which will be a great half an hour I will never get back.

The Red Sox are playing game 7 tonight.....I won't be able to stay up for the whole thing, or probably not even half of it...but they do better when I don't watch anyway. Lets go, Red Sox!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How Jupiter got her Name

I feel I should explain how Jupiter got to be called Jupiter. At the Playground Village today, the Moms were talking about the trials of baby naming, and fighting with spouses over particular names. One upswing of being a single parent; I didn't have to fight with anybody about my daughter's name. I did go through a lot of names I wanted to use. But when I got the referral photo of a tiny blonde, blue eyed girl in a pink outfit, she of course came with a name already, being a year old. Then I had to go through the process of deciding whether to give her a new name, (which I was already struggling with choosing) or letting her keep the name she was given. I had to decide before I could fill out one of the 150 forms for Sverdlovsk Ministry of Education to complete the dossier. In the end, I decided to keep her Russian name, and to call her by a diminutive of that name which sounded American. We don't use her Russian name on a regular basis, to the point that when the social worker emailed me about the final post placement report, I looked at my inbox and said to myself "Who's Galina?" The baby home staff called her Gala, which meant that during the six months between trip one and trip two, I probably purchased 110 Gala apples. I chose Noelle for her middle name, not because it was a family name or anything, but once I had settled on her first name, Noelle flowed with it. Then, after I had filled out and submitted all the paperwork, I learned that my great aunt, who we have always referred to as Pearle, is actually Lena Pearle. If I had known, I might have chosen Pearle instead of Noelle.

Last year, when school was very tough, my daughter decided she was a boy. When she feels overly anxious, or theatened, she seems to feel safer pretending to be a boy, because of course all boys are tough and strong. She gave herself a new name when she needed to fall onto the safety of being a boy, so she chose "Jupiter. Like the planet." I have no idea why she chose Jupiter. Maybe someday she'll tell me. But everybody (except me, who could never remember) was very good about calling her Jupiter. Her Music Together teacher always sang "Hello, Jupiter, so glad to see you!" Her Music Together teacher's husband actually asked the teacher one day if someone in the class was really named Jupiter after I happened to leave a message on their answering machine. On papers and drawings and shoes, boots, backpacks, etc...we had to write Jupiter.

She is more accepting of being Lena now. She answers to it and is learning to write it at school. (and she wears dresses again!) I stuck with it for the blog because in my job, I'm big on security, so I give us all a fake name for purposes of the blog. And it reminds me of her strong spirit. So, that's how Jupiter got her name.

False Advertising

Jupiter tried a new yogurt drink today. She just HAD to try this yogurt, because it is High School Musical Yogurt, and the commercial says if you drink this High School Musical Yogurt, you will magically be transported to High School Musical World and thus be in the same place with real live TROY, who is the greatest being EVER.
Mimi tried to tell Jupiter that even if she drank the yogurt, she would not go to High School Musical World. Jupiter insisted that she would, because she saw it on the commercial. She is also a great believer in being able to will things as she would like them to be. Personally, Jupiter's viewpoint often reminds me of Rameses in Prince of Egypt. "If I say night is day it will be written." So, she is totally convinced that she will go to High School Musical World if she drinks this yogurt. She also concocted one of her elaborate plans so things would be just right. She waited til after lunch, sat on the couch, and took Mimi's hand so when she went to High School Musical World Mimi would go with her. So she drank the yogurt, and then had to come to grips with the fact that she was still at Mimi's house; sadly announcing that she didn't really get to go to High School Musical. Although she was willing to believe that it didn't work because Mimi didn't shake the yogurt enough before she drank it.
I suppose this is an object lesson for not believing everything we see on TV. Maybe it will even get her to stop screaming "I WANT THAT!!" at every single commercial on television. I hate commercials. But the whole experience broke Mimi's heart.
Incidentially, the version Jupiter gave me of this whole story was a little different than what I heard from Mimi. Since she didn't bring it up, I had to ask.
"Did you try some High School Musical yogurt today?"


"Was it good?"


"What flavor was it?"

"I don't know. She (Mimi) didn't tell me."

"Did you taste the yogurt?"

"Yes. But I don't know the flavor."

End of conversation.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Jupiter's Poetry

I have just been told that for her Helping Hand Day at school tomorrow (Show and Tell Day) that Jupiter is going to recite her own original poetry. I got her to share two poems with me just now, and am hurrying to type them before I forget.

Leaves on the Trees
The Leaves grow on the Trees
The trees grow in the ground
The seeds grow into blossoms
The blossoms grow into trees.
The children live on the Earth
The Earth lives on the children
The children live on the Earth
The Earth lives on the children.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sick Day

Jupiter is sick today. It actually started yesterday, after church when she told me her stomach hurt. She told me this about 14 minutes after I snuck a drink from her water bottle. Later in the afternoon she complained of a headache and she ran a fever just shy of 100. Sometimes she plays, and sometimes she just cuddles on the couch under a blanket. Last night she woke up around midnight, comlaining that her head hurt, and so I gave her some more tylenol so she could go to sleep.
She stayed up for three hours. She was in a perfectly wonderful mood, singing, and reading books, and kept telling me she was not tired and didn't want to sleep. I of course, was exhausted (okay, so I stayed up a little too late trying to watch the Red Sox game) and did want to sleep, but Jupiter was having none of that. I tried laying down with her in her bed (after she decided she had had enough of my bed) but she just tried to kick me to death, so I left. Then I felt bad about that, so I went back in and read to her from her complete anthology of Thomas the Tank Engine, and Read Aloud Stories. Then about 2:45 we had peanut butter toast. Then about three am she finally went back to sleep. This is approximately one hour before my alarm goes off.
So I called out sick. I am fortnate in my options when Jupiter is sick. Since she goes to Mimi's house, she can go there sick or healthy and I can work or not. But since I was going to have had about three hours of sleep, I chose to stay home.
I thought Jupiter would stay home from school, but when she woke up I checked her temperature and it was normal, she ate her breakfast, and said neither her head nor her stomach was bothering her. So I let her go to school. I actually got to bring her to school, which was kind of nice to do for a change. Jupiter saw the fire trucks and saw the fireman put on all his "scary stuff" as she put it. Then I picked her up, and on the way home she told me her head hurt again. Back to the couch, and some easy block playing on the floor. Since I run around like a mad person all weekend trying to get the house remotely presentable, I didn't have to do lots of housework, so we hung out together most of the day. I like days like that, though I feel bad that it was at the expense of her being sick. Her fever went back up to just shy of 100 again, and when I gave her a chocolate cookie for dessert after supper, she didn't eat the whole cookie. She went to sleep at 6:30, so I figure she'll be up around 11:30.
One of the shows we watched this afternoon was A Baby Story, on TLC. Jupiter likes to watch the baby show; and I think it's good for her to see how babies are born. Today's episode happened to have a birthing tub, which produced a lot of questions and a pretty good view of the actual birth. Probably in a week or so I'll get an odd question at an odd time from her as she processes this.
A few weeks ago, we were pulling up to the gas pumps at Mobil when from the back seat, I hear "Mom? What would it be like if I was in your tummy?" So I had to hold off on pumping the gas until I could figure out what she was after with this question. I told her it was warm, and quiet, and you could hear the mom's heart pumping and sometimes noises from outside but they were very muffled. And babies in their moms tummies can kick their feet and suck their thumbs and get the hiccups. (which she thought was very cool." Then she asked whose tummy she grew in, and I told her her Russia Mom. Then she was done with the conversation for the time being. I do wonder where we will be when it continues. Stay tuned for updates.