new do

Oh, look, I got bangs:

I think it takes some years off. Like, thirty or so:

That was literally the last time I had for-real heavy bangs. My mom (who met me today for lunch with Rockinrolla) noted this also, and did a lot of chuckling.

Just for kicks, here’s the rest of the class.

I think my favorite is the little boy beside me. He looks like an elf. I bet he was fun.

I guess these are people I will literally never, ever see or hear from again, seeing as A. This was in Virginia, where we lived until partway through first grade and B. I don’t remember any of their names.

The teacher was Lois W. Cornett at Marion Primary School in Smyth County, who noted very sweetly in my report card that I was a pleasure to have in the classroom and that I would be missed.

The same report card that had this information on the back:

Which I include only as an interesting aside. Can you imagine a report card listing your child’s “defects” or “deficiencies” nowadays?

picking up steam

with the words, that is.

Last night, Rainbow totally said “Cat.” It was sooooo sweet, just dripping with the sugar. It was like the Sesame Street skit where there are two profiles and one face says the first part of the word and the other the second: he was all K-K-KAT-AT-AT…T-T-T…


And this morning, with his usual move of insisting on touching my coffee cup and then listening earnestly when I tell him it’s HOT, he did the same routine.


Also, HI is in the pipes.

He doesn’t do any of these on command, mind you. And Cat and Hot are just as likely to be At and Ot, but – BUT!

He’s talking! He’s talking! He’s talking!


So, it’s almost Thanksgiving, and I wanted to acknowledge that while I am tremendously grateful for my life and all the joys I get to experience, the holidays can kind of suck if you love someone who is no longer alive.

And I wanted to say to anyone who is reading this, that if you are grieving through tomorrow’s holiday (and the upcoming Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/whathaveyou) I hope the day slips smoothly by for you with minimal drama and pain and that you know each year will get easier. It sounds annoying, maybe, but time does heal. It won’t always be this bad.

I hope you don’t drop a casserole dish or hurl insults you’ll later regret at someone or break down in tears at the dinner table. I hope you’re spared all of that and you have an easy day.


We’ve had some pretty shitty Thanksgivings in years past.

My dad died on October 4, 1996. (And his mother, my grandmother, one week later: Weird.) That was such a swirl of horridness All Around. And immediately after my grandmother’s funeral in Virgina, Daddy J had to go on a month-long international recruitment trip and leave me with baby Commodore and percolating baby Rockinrolla and a very distraught Grandma MJ. I was trying to remember Thanksgiving from that year, and I just have NO IDEA what we did. Surely we did SOMETHING – probably at my grandparents’ house? No recollection whatsoever. I’m sure it was awful.

The Thanksgiving after Ward’s accident was hard, too. We had at that point established that Daddy J and I have different grieving styles. His is Bring on the Clowns!! He wants distraction: fun people, music, activity, noise. And in no way do I knock this approach; immmersing oneself in the world seems a really healthy thing to do. I, on the other hand, crave quiet and gentleness during grief. I want soft voices, delicate music, and dimmed lights, and I want to wear velour and fleece and drink hot tea and red wine and I want to chat with one or maybe two people, or else sit by the fire in quiet comaraderie and read books. A room full of people talking transmogrifies into a room with the TV on and channels flipping by wildly and the stereo on FULL BLAST and a strobe light blinking and the dog barking and a car horn honking and a person on one side of me explaining quantum mechanics and a person on the other side describing their Great Aunt Bertha’s Rose Garden Dilemma and in the corner someone is clanging cymbals and it is entirely Too. Much. Information.

Anyway, we had a big Thanksgiving that year, and it was very healing and wonderful for Daddy J, which I am happy for, and I made it through, which I am also happy for.

And on more recent Thanksgivings we’ve had a miscarried baby and then the knowledge that we were infertile, both of which were crummy and tainted the whole thing.

But, this Thanksgiving is different. We have a Rainbow.

I am, of course, grateful for my countless blessings. People around me who love me and to whom I can express my love, a healthy body, a tantalizing future, material comforts.

But what I am most grateful for this year is something I heard during a deep meditation a few years ago.

I was terrified of another tragedy. What if something happens to Daddy J or one of the boys or my mother? What will I DO? I don’t think I can handle it. Is anything else bad going to happen to me? PLEASE SAY NO.

And I didn’t hear that my life would be tragedy-free.

What I heard was:

It willl all be okay, because you’ll never be alone.

It was a huge comfort to me, a warm reassurance. No matter what happens, I’ll always have God/Spirit/Angels/Universe with me, and I’ll be okay.

So what I’m most grateful for today is that Presence.

I’m glad You’re here.

Thank You.

Christmas Presents for the Babe

So, I’m pretty sure Rainbow is getting this item along with a few stocking stuffers like this and this and this for Christmas.

He asked Santa for it, and Santa (I’m quite certain) feels it is a reasonable request. I think Santa also knows that probably he will not be the only person to give Rainbow presents this year, and that he doesn’t need to go crazy with the toys because Rainbow will shortly have Ward’s play kitchen out and assembled to play in and there are a lot of toys in this house already.

(Although Rainbow does need a special stocking. Santa may be still looking for that.)

Santa (who takes parents’ feelings into consideration at our house) knows that we like the idea of One Big Toy Item in the living room, and thinks that I especially will find this item both visually pleasing and durable. Santa knows that I will also enjoy hanging onto this item as years go by, and that it will probably stow under the piano in the music room and we can wheel it out when young ones come over for visits and won’t that be convenient.

Santa, fortunately, did not witness my irritation when I learned that this company would not combine the free shipping and the 15% off coupons that I had, but I’m pretty sure that Santa nonetheless decided it was a good deal.

***edited to add: Okay, so Santa just saw that that is for ages 3 and up. But that’s crazy talk, right? Probably just there because of the chalk board? I mean, Rainbow will love pulling up on this item and pushing those beads around and doing that race game thing, right?

adoption list link

I was just eating some marginally stale birthday cake and having a spot of tea after I got Rainbow down for a nap, and came upon this list of adoptive hotbutton questions.

It’s pretty good, nothing tremendously earthshattering I guess (YES, we’ve heard about all of them, unfortunately) but I thought it was interesting that the author felt that the most common irritating question was, “Now you’ll get pregnant! They always do.”

Which: YES. It BAFFLES me that people would say something like that, yet they DO. REPEATEDLY. And even when they are friends, and you nicely say, “Well, no, that’s actually not going to happen with us,” they’re all, “Ha ha, sure, that’s what they ALL say. My cousin/friend/neighbor tried for five years to have a baby and as soon as they brought their adopted baby home, she was pregnant.” And then you say (although you later kick yourself for oversharing), “Well, actually, no, that would be a Medical Impossibility with me,” and they stare expectantly at you, as if you are going to launch into exactly why this is the case. Which: No. I mean, honestly? People want a reproductive schematic of me?


I guess I’m just relieved to know that I’m not the only person who has to hear this line, over and over.

(And if you’re a friend, and you’ve said this, I’m over it and I love you, but for future reference: No.)

Gold Star Day: First Word

Last night I was putting Rainbow to bed and reading Goodnight Moon (again: DANG, but this child loves this book with a passion) and he said it.

His first word, other than an occasional “Da Da” and (when agitated) a “Ma!” or “Mam!”

(Which I confess that I love and may cultivate. I’ve been Mama to all the other boys, but Mam is pretty sweet.)


Drum roll please…

He said BOOK.

I know!!! He’s BRILLIANT!!!
He kind of left out the vowel (who needs it, anyway) and said Bk! Bk! and patted his book excitedly. Of course he wouldn’t repeat it for Daddy J last night after I called him up, and hasn’t repeated it yet today, but:

The Knowledge is There. I Heard It.

Bk! Bk! Bk!

s’long, Fishmaster…

and hello, Commodore.

Chosen not for his daddy’s college alma mater, but for one of his current fave bands:

(how cool is it that my fourteen year old loves to listen to vinyl LP’s of Linda Rondstadt and the Commodores and the Sex Pistols and the Rolling Stones?)

(waaaaaaaay cooler than I was at fourteen, that’s for sure.)

early crawling, Rainbow style

(clearly, the forbidden flip camera is a great crawling incentive.)


He’s brilliant.

This whole I prefer Daddy to Mama and will lunge at him and shower him with kisses Thing is having its desired effect: I’ve had to step it up a notch.

O, the smiles, the singing, the patient repetitive book-reading, the 3:30 am snuggling – all because I really want to be his favorite. Which, yes, is very immature and self-centered, but there you go. I want me some gooshy kisses and baby lunges toward me, too. I think he thinks of me as his vehicle, his feeder, his needs-fulfiller, which is great, but I’d like him to be wild about me.

Daddy J has one up on me, though – I think the whiskers are a big part of it. He reported that Rainbow really likes to have the silky top of his head rubbed with them. It may also just be a Man Thing (the deeper voice, the height, the overall bigger-ness) because Rainbow’s crazy about Papa, too. When he comes over, Rainbow fusses to be picked up IMMEDIATELY and heaven help us if Papa does not oblige.

I secretly comfort myself with the idea that he thinks of himself as just an offshoot of me, since I’m the primary caregiver – like, he doesn’t really differentiate between himself and me. Of course I do all these things for him, and he doesn’t need to be all affectionate toward me to make me do it, because we are not separate. But I’m skeptical of this mumbo-jumbo, and still very jealous.

I may have to resort to sweets. I gave him a little dab of nutella this morning and he loved it.

Rainbow mobility

So, on Friday, Rainbow was messing around on the floor of the family room (plunked down in the middle of his toy campus) next to the coffee table. Daddy J was sitting in the armchair with his laptop, and I went into the kitchen for something.

When I walked back in, he was TOTALLY STANDING UP AT THE TABLE. And we both missed seeing it. But he has repeated this trick for us, so it’s clear: he’s officially a pull-up guy now.

AND, just now, early this morning, he did his first for real crawling. Not scrambling or scooting or throwing himself forward onto his tummy, but staying up off the floor and moving his knees forward, one after the other.

Go, baby, go.


In other news: The Fishmaster turned fourteen yesterday. He had his best friend spend the night, we had steak (well, and tofu) for dinner, and then watched the new Star Trek movie. I’m getting coffeed up and then will make their breakfast feast (pancakes, maple sausage, and cocoa with Reddi Whip) and then we are having family over for cake and ice cream this afternoon.

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