Something needs to change. I find myself at the end of this year wanting something different. Something more. And so I guess the time to do it is now, at the beginning of another year. Start with a fresh slate and see what happens.
So this is the end of fits & starts. I'm not really sure what to say here anymore, or if I just need to find another way of saying it.
I will start a new site soon, so if you are interested, drop me a line and I'll give you the location. In the meantime, here's to a new year, new possibilities, lots of big love and small miracles, and peace where you can find it. Thanks for reading.
H. is a lightweight, but he's all muscle. When we met him at 5 and a half months old, he was jumping. His foster mother remarked how strong he was. And he still is. He may be lean (I don't think he's an ounce over 21 pounds) but don't let that fool you. The kid has superhuman strength. And the smarts to match.
And so why did it surprise me, then, when I woke this morning to horrible, can't-catch-my-breath crying that I would run into his room only to find him...on the floor. Yes, that's right folks, he climbed out of his crib and landed with a THUD. It's at moments like those that your parenting skills are tested: do I swoop down and lift him up and ply him with kisses to comfort his shaking body...or do I just stand there and marvel at how strong and ingenious he is to figure a way out of his torture chamber? Okay, I went with door number one and hugged him and kissed him until he stopped crying. Fifteen minutes later.
So now. What to do? I guess we'll wait and see if it happens again and if so, we might have to buy one of those tent thingys. Or move straight to the toddler bed. I just don't see him staying in it after I leave the room. I'll take any advice from the Beentheredonethats. Until then, I'll just hope that Bam Bam stays put.
We moved. We're now in the new place but not exactly happily settled. The move didn't go all that well, but ok. The settling in didn't go all that well, but ok. Our brand new tv broke last night...but ok. We'll get there. These are inconveniences--annoyances, not Problems. In the grand scheme of things, I can't even complain. But the biggest issue right now is the very real possibility of having to find a new home for the Boy Dog. It's a long story and I can't get into it right now, but rest assured, it's not because of anything he did. It's kind of hard to get anywhere when this is really all we can think about.
In the midst of all this, I've been working more from home and trying to juggle work sans babysitter. Ideally I'd like to have someone part-time so I can take more jobs, but if the jobs don't come, I can't exactly pay someone. So this means a lot of working late at night and early into the morning, which can be exhausting. On the flip side, the jobs I am getting these days are closer to what I want to be doing. And then there are moments like the one this morning while I was walking Jackie Mack and thinking I should chuck it all in and start over with a new career. Medical school at 34, anyone? Or what about law? We've been pestering our lawyer friends lately for advice, maybe I should just go to law school myself and answer my own questions.
Enough of the woe is me.
Sunday was one year to the day that we brought H. home from Korea. He officially joined our family on December 1. Where did that year go? How is it that we are now parents to a 1 and 1/2 year old who walks around the apartment with an armful of books declaring, "I read!" We watched some footage the other night of his first hours and days with us. When was he ever that small? So fragile? Because now all I can see is the boy with the full mouth of teeth who can't help but run and crash and dive onto his new rug and then laugh hard, like he's just told the best joke ever.
He loves his big new room. He loves when I chase him from the kitchen to the living room to his room. He loves to climb in my lap a thousand times a day to have his favorite books read to him. He loves to dip his hand in the dog's water bowl, to pull out all my cookbooks, to climb into his chest of drawers. He loves--I mean loves--raisins.
Last year at Thanksgiving we were traveling to Korea. This year, we were traveling to New Jersey...when we got rear-ended. It was pretty awful. When the car hit us, it sounded like a massive can being crushed. Turned around, H. was okay. Smiling even. We pulled over and Mr. Fits surveyed the damage. There was none to our car but the car that hit us was a wreck in the front. While H. and I waited for my husband to handle matters outside, all I could think was I am so thankful no one got hurt. The other car had pulled in front of us and the three adults who were in it looked a little shell shocked. I was fine, but shaking. It could have been so much worse and I guess you can't help but let your mind go there. I was looking ahead at the other car when I noticed three little heads pop up. I don't think any of them were in carseats. Jesus, it could have been so much worse.
If I was lacking any kind of perspective then, I think getting hit knocked it right back into me. So their car got banged up--that's a headache. So our tv broke, our couch couldn't fit through the door when we moved, things aren't running as smoothly as we'd hoped right now. But we'll get there. It will get better because it can.
We are moving at the end of the month. Out of our neighborhood and into the great unknown: Queens. The moving part was inevitable. Our space is closing in on us and it's making me one cranky biotch. The where to part of the equation has been a heated topic of debate round these 900 sq ft. Do we buy? Rent? Move to the suburbs?
Last week my sister called and said there was a three bedroom apartment for rent in her building. Mind you this was after we had brunch at our friends' loft in Williamsburg that was sick. Sick as in, swing inside the apartment. As in, huge dining room table with two benches. As in, they are both graphic designers so of course their space is gorgeous and inventive and we are so jealous. The day before we had a playdate (one of H's little friends whose parents are our little friends) on the Upper West Side in an equally sick apartment. Sick as in, a foyer that was larger than our living room. As in, Will & Grace-sized rooms (and I swear, I don't even watch that show). As in, full-on views of the Hudson River. As in, the husband said to me on the 15-minute long grand tour, "So I am sure you know, this is a classic six." To which I replied, under my breath, "Yeah. Classic."
Is that jealousy you detect in my tone? Why, yes. Yes it is.
I just want more space. Real rooms. A place to put our desk that's not our bedroom if you know what I mean and I think you do.
So anyway, back to the phone call from my sister. We went right over and decided that we liked it. How could we not? THREE BEDROOMS, PEOPLE! EAT IN KITCHEN! DINING AREA! SUNKEN LIVING ROOM! THIRTY THOUSAND WALK-IN CLOSETS! Do you see where I am going with this?
We signed the lease today.
I'm sad to leave this neighborhood. But ready to start anew. And it'll be so very Brady Brides to live in the same building as my sister. I'm currently accepting treatments for a sitcom based on our circumstances.
So here we are at T minus 22 days and counting before doing what we do so well: pack up and move. We've now done it four times in six years. Anyone want to help?
I've headed back to school. Sort of. Last week I began taking Korean lessons at a small learning center in Koreatown. It seemed like a good idea at first, a spur of the moment thing. When I called to inquire about lessons, the voice on the other end told me they started the next day. I said, "Okay."
Here's the thing. I thought I was going to learn some conversational Korean. You know, My name is. How are you? Where is the Starbucks? Who are you and what have you done with my pants? But to speak Korean you need to know the alphabet, you need to know how to read Korean. So that's what we're doing. Next week we move on to learning words and phrases. So far all I know how to say is "Hello teacher how are you?" and "Goodbye teacher, go with peace." But I also know the alphabet and how to put sounds together. There are a few sounds that we don't have in English but those are actually my favorites, so I practice those ad nauseum.
There are two other "kids" in my class, except they really are kids. Probably in their early 20s. One is an adult adoptee and the other is an American-born Korean. We are totally going to have a kegger after the next class.
Mr. Fits, H. and I will probably wind up heading back to Korea in the next couple of years, and I'd love to be able to have basic conversations with people. But I also feel like that by learning the language, it brings me closer to the culture. You can't learn Korean without learning about Korea. That part is invaluable.
The bonus is that I've been bringing home Korean food for us after class: bulgogi, gobdolbibimbap, chapjae, kimchi. So whatever I don't gain in knowledge, I'll surely gain in pounds.
At H's 15 month check-up our pediatrician heard a murmur. No big whoop, I thought. Until she said, "It's probably nothing, but I'd like you to have it checked out by a specialist."
In the weeks that led up to our appointment, I continued to mostly think it wasn't a big whoop because I know it's common and she probably just wanted to have us check it to be sure. And in the interest of not creating any suspense, I can say post-appointment that it's totally not, um, a big whoop.
H and I went to check out his heart the other day, only he didn't know it. What he thought we were doing was going to play with a radio that was--for some reason--at his level, steal toys from other babies' strollers, and play with the cord to a portable heater. (NOT ON, people, NOT ON. I only let him play with cords of things that are not on.)
When it was finally--after a good hour--our turn, the pediatric cardiologist came out to get us. He listened to the boy's heart. "Yep, he has a murmur," he said. Were there any health problems? Anything he has trouble doing? Anything that I'd seen that troubled me about him? Any history of heart problems in the family?
No. No. No. And I don't know--he's adopted.
"Of course," said the doctor. "Let's have a look at his heart."
And that was when it finally occurred to me that something could be wrong. I put my little boy down on the table, distracted him with a singing-dancing Elmo, and watched as the doctor got his chest ready for an EKG. It was only then that I thought, What if he sees something he's not supposed to see? What then?
On the sonogram machine, I saw an all-too-familiar image: insides lit up in a static-y white light. The doctor showed me what I was looking at: arteries, atria, valves, ventricles, chambers, my son's heart. It was beating fast and loud, like an amplified windshield wiper working overtime.
All those years of ultrasounds, searching for a heartbeat, came rushing back. The heartbeat they show you when the fetus is only a few weeks old is just this tiny blinking thing. An echo of a dot. It's miraculous because it's beating inside you but visually, it's not much to look at. But the heartbeat of a 15 month old is amazing. The hugeness, the detail, the black and white beauty of it. The fact that it's not going to slow down or vanish or merely end up a picture on your refrigerator that you finally take down when you've accepted that it's really gone. It was a great moment for me just to be able to look--shamelessly and with all the gratitude in the world--at H's heart as it did its work.
In the end, as I promised, there was nothing wrong--no abnormalities or defects. It's called an Innocent Murmur and chances are it will disappear one day. It's common in infants and children and won't restrict him in any way. We're all clear. On the way back from the doctor, I bought H a balloon because he loves them. It was really the least I could do for him after he had shown me his perfect heart.
I'm so out of practice I couldn't even think of a good headline. To recap the last couple of months in 30 seconds or less: worked, ended job, went to Miami with the lean mean walking machine. And here we are. October already. Where did the time go? One minute you're enjoying summer, the next, you learn Katie Holmes is with bump.
The kid is doing great. The tooth count is now at 12. Numbers 13 and 14 are poking through. Walking: forwards and backwards. Running: dangerously fast. Talking: sorta. Freakishly obsessed with: bananas, raisins, feet (other people's), balloons, shampoo bottles, and Cookie Monster. (It's not that he really likes Cookie Monster, it's just the only one of the Sesames he can say. It goes something like this: "Cccccooh. Ccccooh." And then he laughs.)
For Halloween, H. is going to be a lion. A Children's Place lion to be exact. He knows that a lion roars, so rather than having him endure the injustice of being, oh say, a dog (he doesn't know that one), we let him be the animal he knows how to do. (He also knows snake, but I didn't see that on the rack. Nor the owl.) We are hoping that LSP will hang with him in public at the local Halloween parade because I have insider information that she is going as someone who is way too cool to ever be seen in person with a lion. Let's just say he can be one of her groupies. If she lets him.
Also? Look what I saw on our deck yesterday. Need I remind you we live in Brooklyn?
I sent this picture to my husband who informed me this was not a grasshopper but a praying mantis. I think it must be praying for Katie Holmes.