the swine flu

has arrived at our house.

Rockinrolla is infected with the Dread Pig, which, so far, has proved to be a toothless, wimpy little thing, not the menacing razorback I had feared.

He started feeling bad Saturday morning, mostly just very sleepy. I thought it was due to a tough week at school. We had a special weekend planned, so he may have been so excited that he didn’t accurately report how crummy he felt, though. He took a nap before dinner that night (weird) and didn’t eat his dinner (at his very fave restaurant, the Spaghetti Factory: double weird) and wasn’t up for the evening’s planned activity (the symphony with Glen Campbell: possibly NOT as weird, come to think of it.)

The next day, though, was a zoo trip that he was VERY MUCH looking forward to, and he petered out about halfway through, with red eyes and pained expression. He said that the light bothered him and that it hurt him to move his eyes. He also had a headache and clearly just felt AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL. We went to an urgent care place (my favorite one, near the movie theater and Kohl’s – short wait plus nice and clean environment) which confirmed the virus. They said that 98% of their flu cases were H1N1 now.

Rockinrolla got some Tamiflu and perked right up. He was disappointed that NO, he was not allowed to go play basketball with friends last night and had to be quarantined. He did want some ibuprofen at bedtime, though.

The rest of us seem all clear. I was pretty sure yesterday that I had it; I had a headache and was tired, and had slept in the same bed as Rockinrolla on Saturday night and shared a hotel room and bathroom. Today, though, I feel fine, so maybe it was just a bad night’s sleep at the hotel and fretting about illness that did it. I’m going to go get tested at the place near home this morning. Rainbow has been at Grandma L’s for the past TWO nights and I miss him so much I can hardly stand it. We had just planned on him being there Saturday night, but had him stay (with a totally adoring grandma) for an extra day in case Rockinrolla got really sick and in case I came down with it. I’m hoping for an all-clear for me from the doctor this morning, but either way the babe needs to come home, I think. We’ll just have to be super-vigilant with the germies.

Stupid swine flu.

what Rainbow has been up to

Quite a bit, actually.

His third tooth has emerged, right beside the lower two. I can feel its pointiness and see the rest of it right under the gum.

He’s been exceptionally agreeable and funny and sweet, although he pretty much won’t take a nap worth anything anywhere except in his own bed. He’ll fall asleep in the car or stroller sometimes, but wake up as soon as the movement stops. Bedtime sleep has been very, very good. Sometimes he makes it for twelve hours (!!) but more often he wakes between 3:00 and 5:00 for a bottle and diaper change, and then will almost always go back to bed til 6:30 or so. That’s with a bedtime of about 6:30 at night, so no complaints here: I get my bebe time AND my daddy and big boy time in the evenings.

He tried for a good fifteen minutes to clap his hands the other day. It was amazing to see: he was quivering with excitement and trying SO hard to work it out. He pays attention when we sign, so maybe some of that is sinking in. He loves blowing raspberries again, and sometimes comes out with some consonant babbling. No pulling up yet, although he’s been holding himself up in standing position when we hold his hands for quite a while now. Totally a pro at the sitting and rolling about.

All he really wants to eat is mac-n-cheese, Gerber #2 style. I bought him a bunch of different foods the other day, but only about 6 of these little gems. And it turns out that is LITERALLY all he wants. He’ll tolerate oatmeal and prunes or some other fruit for breakfast, but for lunch and dinner, this product is the ticket. Forget Yo-baby sweetened fruity yogurt, rice and veggie combos, or plain green beans – bleccch. I need to quit blogging and go ahead and order a couple of 12 packs from Amazon already. So far he is NOT into texture or chunks of any stripe or flavor.

On warm days he enjoys the inflatable kiddie pool (which thankfully has a “NO DIVING” warning on it, I kid you not) on the back deck.

Leo in kiddie pool

And bathtime, of course; now relocated into our big tub because he’s a boy who likes to SPLASH.

Leo in bathtub

The front porch is always fun, especially with Sharon, the little calico, who is quite tolerant about his squealing and grabbing. We’re working on the “gentle touch” thing, but he’s not buying it yet.

leo on porch

Of course, he still loves his outside swing. And strolls are GREAT. He is in love with the $3 fan (the red item pictured below – it fits handily in the cup holder) I bought him in the spring from Wal-mart. OHMYGOSH he adores it. He gripes if I don’t have it turned on, and then turns his face toward it. He especially enjoys plunging his fingers into the (soft and non-damaging) fan blades. DANG it took me a while to get used to seeing that, but it doesn’t hurt his fingers and he likes to make the fan sputter to a stop and then restart. It’s all about the power and control, I suppose, which is a good thing for a babe to know he has, no?

leo in stroller with fan

firsts and lasts

I was strolling with Rainbow today (magically, we avoided a drenching from the downpours that WILL NOT STOP COMING ENOUGH ALREADY STOP IT SKY GAHHHH) and commented to him that he was about to have his first autumn. His very first fall, in a whole year of first-ever-things.

And remembered that first year after Ward’s accident, when they were entirely different firsts. Our first night at home after the hospital, our first wedding anniversary without him, the first Wardie birthday with him gone, our first Halloween, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first spring… Painful, mind-blowing firsts that you just have to get through one way or another, because they’re coming, like-it-or-not.

And then the year of lasts that became retroactively sacred after he transitioned: his last birthday, last Halloween costume, last Christmas, last preschool class, last picture…

And it’s not so much painful as it is just… Huh. Here we are, then. Those firsts were excruciating, these firsts are special and glorious. Makes my chest tight and eyes swim and stomach a little woozy, but it’s okay.

Here we are, then.

dropping the ball

The scene: Mama Jamz and Rainbow are in a downtown shop. A casual friend, with whom we are on very good, warm terms, is talking to MJ. Let’s listen in, shall we…?

Friend: (goo-gooing and generally admiring Rainbow) You know, I’m going to have to take back what I was saying just earlier today. I had said that this child would never look like a Jamz*, but right now I see that he does look kind of like he belongs in your family.

Mama Jamz: (totally taken aback ~ say wuuuuuut…? ~ but feeling compelled to be nice and non-confrontational) Um, well, all of our boys look very different, so he blends right in.

So, okay. This is just like the scenarios they prepare you for in adoption education classes and literature and such, but I was completely taken off guard. I mean, I never thought that someone we liked and felt like we were generally on the same page (or at least in the same chapter) as would A. be thinking along those lines and B. share those thoughts with anyone else and then C. decide that it was a good idea to chattily, casually share these thoughts with ME.

Which is kind of neither here nor there in the big scheme of things, except that it makes me afraid that, as Rainbow grows up, people like this will think they should D. tell him how interesting it is to them that he does/does not physically resemble other members of his family as much as they expected him to, and that he therefore does/does not seem like he belongs in our family.

What’s funny is that Daddy J and I were open to just about any race and race combination. Rainbow did, in fact, end up looking quite a bit like us. And that is really special and great. And it’s also really special and great when people adopt children of different races/ethnicities who look very little like them. Daddy J and I had talked at length how it would be really cool to learn Spanish as a family with our new child if it turned out he or she was of Hispanic heritage, or get involved with community events that celebrated his or her racial heritage, no matter what that ended up being. And that it could be a mind- and heart-opening thing for our family and circle of friends to have a child of a different race. I think it’s great to adopt a child who is not a physical “match” with his or her parents.

(Rainbow will probably be spared summing-up glances from strangers who look upon our family – O look, that child is adopted, therefore XYZ must be true about him and ABC must be true about his family – which is an additional hurdle that some adoptees have to jump. Most likely, people will not know he is adopted unless he tells them. Which, again, is neither better nor worse than other situations; it’s just his situation.)

Anyway. Mostly I’m annoyed at myself, for being blindsided and missing a great opportunity to describe our feelings about Rainbow’s adoption. I missed a chance to advocate for him and for other adoptive families.

I should have said:

Well, of course he looks like a Jamz. He is a Jamz.

Or, to buy time while my blindsided wheels turned:

I’m not really sure what you mean by that.

Well. Live and learn. NEXT TIME I’ll be ready.

* Of course, she used our real last name when she talked to us. I don’t think she reads this blog, so the whole “Jamz” thing would be foreign to her, but I hope someday she stumbles across this entry and we can have a virtual re-do of the conversation.

cats and dogs

Holy smoke, but it’s been raining a lot around here.

The Fishmaster said that on Thursday people on the sideroads near his school had to be rescued from their rooftops due to flooding. And it’s just not letting up. There was some non-raining time yesterday, but here it is back again this morning, with rain in the the forecast for the next few days. Humph.

(The biggest bummer for ME is that our deck builders only work on Saturdays and the deck progress has s-l-o-o-o-w-e-d since they have started the lovely yet complicated railings. I hate to have them miss a day, but what can you do. They’ll finish one of these days, right…?)

Daddy J’s dad took the Fishmaster to his cross country meet this morning. I guess it’s happening, or they’d be back by now. Rugged young runners, slogging through the mud and slop. I hope he places. Scratch that – I hope he wins.

Rainbow, who was on the mildly irritable channel for a week or two, probaby due to teething, has resumed his normal, buoyant programming. He was just a hoot yesterday, laughing at anything and everything. In the car, he was facing the back of the seat and just cracking up – I guess at a toy? Anyway, he’s a silly, jolly little bear cub right now.

I think he’s getting the teeth on either side of his lower teeth. I can see them under the gums, and I assume the painful part of their emergence is now over, even though they’re not fully out yet…? It’ll be pretty cute when he has four on the bottom gum.

We received as a gift a Baby Signs kit, and I am intrigued. It is SO CUTE to see the little babies sign for what they are thinking and then be so proud at being understood. Rainbow is just the right age to start (possibly a tad on the young side) so we are going to give it a go. We are starting with the signs for “eat,” “more,” and “milk” (bottle). Which leads me to…

Question of the Day #1: You parents out there – did you teach your baby sign language? How did that go? Or do you know anyone who has?

On a different note, Rockinrolla’s school has had its first confirmed case of Swine Flu. Ugh. Of course we are being all careful with the hand washing and hand sanitizer and whatnot, but schools are schools, so it’s entirely possible that it will land at our house. At this time, the kids’ pediatrician said that it’s entirely up to me whether to vaccinate, and that the Swine Flu cases they are seeing are fairly mild, but could evolve into something bad.

I HAAAAATE to vaccinate Rainbow for anything whatsoever, but I would hate more for him to get really sick. One of my friends was talking about a regimen of vitamin D that is supposed to beef up one’s immunity, but megadoses of vitamins in the kids’ systems makes me even more uneasy than a doctor-administered vaccine, akshully. So I think (assuming that the vaccine will be available to us in October, as the doc said it would) we will all get vaccinated. But I’d still like to hear your opinion, so that leads us to…

Question of the Day #2: Do you plan to get yourself and/or your kids vaccinated for H1N1? Why or why not?


Last weekend, the fire department held an ice cream social to raise funds for the fire hall. It was great – the big boys had a ball (several of their friends were there) and there was a huge spread of food for cheap – like, $1 hamburgers and fifty cent desserts. (I had given the kids 10 bucks each for dinner, so they made out like bandits with the change.) I strolled over with Rainbow and we let him get admired and danced to the country/gospel group, and then Papa (Daddy J’s dad) held him for awhile so I could watch and film the festivities.

mama, daddy, and leo and ice cream social

They had a dunking booth for “local celebrities,” which ended up being the mayor and two of the aldermen. Daddy J, as an alderman, participated with gusto. He does a great job talking smack, I think, although the little boy who runs up and pushes the button totally outdoes him in sass.

Rainbow and his bottle

Rainbow’s new thing is to have his bottle put in his mouth and rubbed on his gums. He wants to do this after he eats and is no longer hungry, and he thinks it is funn-eee if you present the bottle slowly. He lunges for it and gives it a good chomp.

And yeah, he still gets fascinated by the camera. We have to be all sneaky to try to film him in his natural state, and all bets are off when he notices a camera.

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