Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The 21st marks the half. The half way point between 1 and 2; eighteen months old; Treya’s half birthday. To celebrate, we let Devi enter ToysRUs (for the first time) to choose a dolly to bring to her sister in India. Surprisingly, she was all business, never pausing or asking for anything for herself. Anticipating that look of overwhelming awe at the rows of floor to ceiling toys, I was shocked that she remained unfazed in her determination. I narrowed the field to three basic squishy bodied dark skinned dollies and Devi made the final decision - the one wearing the pink and purple sleeper —an obvious big sister choice. Once home, we filmed ourselves singing the half-birthday song over a scrumptious cupcake and although there was only one candle to blow out, the three breaths that extinguished the flame were united in our wish. (For fear of it not coming true, I can’t tell you what the wish was, although I believe it to be pretty obvious)
We are three weeks into waiting for our No Objection Certificate which has us landing on the calendar two days into my very unscientifically calculated sliding scale of when I think it might be granted. This is yet another of the ridiculous things adoptive parents do to bide their time. My calendar is loaded with graffiti—marks, checks and stars decorate the days denoting average lengths of time for this or that to be approved in an attempt to put my anal tendencies at ease. It doesn’t work, but makes me feel like we are actually getting closer to having something happen. This past weekend, I actually sat down with a highlighter and our Lonely Planet India travel book and began to research sightseeing possibilities; something that up to this point seemed to be more of a jinx rather than a reality of this adoption journey, in progress for two years on July 29th.
Lately, a new childhood behavior has begun to surface. Tantrum by definition means a violent, willful outburst of annoyance; a fit of bad temper. No where in the dictionary was Devi’s name mentioned, but it probably should have been. Or perhaps “sudden but typical 3 and a half year old behavior” should have been added in parenthesis. It appears that she has an internal toggle switch in her brain that can turn these outbursts off and on at will with a complete and total change in the volume, intonation and inflection in her voice—not to mention real tears that she can start and stop on a dime and a fast as lightning death grip. This comical phenomenon, wailing one second and singing the next, leaves us parents standing firm, but shaking our heads searching for some reasonable explanation while trying not to crack a smile at how hysterical this may look to the average onlooker. The wrong choice of cup or pair of socks, one too many or one to few blueberries, the beginning or end to an activity...and just about any parental statement can send her into one of these so called “hissy fits”. Although they pop up without warning, at least they occur a lot less than half the time, as this blog post might suggest. I pray that this phase of learning to try and control one’s environment ends long before we are 30,000 feet up confined in an airplane or worse yet, in the Delhi airport!
By comparison, the definition of compassionate is possessing a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it. This statement describes our little girl to a tee. Where caring for others is concerned, she has always been mature far beyond her years, always quick with a pat on the back, an offering of comfort or other sincere statement of concern. She reminds me all the time that she wants to be a mom when she grows up. No doubt, with her nurturing soul, she will be a dandy.
Recently I hurt my back trying to move a kiddy pool full of water. I know, I don’t have the brightest bulb burning sometimes, but for the sake of this story, no questions or suggestions for me, please...lets just let that one go :) Over the course of a few weeks, my back has not been healing very well, so last night daddy was solo for the bedtime routine and I went to a massage therapist for some relief. I told Devi that I was going to someone to make my back feel better, kissed her good night and left.
This morning, since I am all ready at work when she and daddy wake up, he was preparing Dev for the day. Today is Pajama day, the third day of Crazy Week at school. As Dev put on her doggy pjs and was rounding up the sleeping bag for nap time, she asked daddy if I was going to pick her up from school. Normally, the answer would be yes, but on this particular day, I will not be arriving home until after her bedtime. Daddy explained that he would pick her up from school and take her to swimming lessons and he would also be putting her to bed. Then she asked daddy, “Can you ask mommy to tiptoe into my room when she comes home, so I can ask her if her back feels better?
All this was reiterated to me in my daily ‘Devi update” phone call from Pat this morning. In an instant, Devi has reduced me to those sappy mommy tears once again...I know my pumpkin pie loves me, but not as much as I love her back! And that is just the half of it :)
Saturday, July 03, 2010
[warning....slightly graphic story]
Up to this point our parenting skills have been challenged in many ways. We’ve been manipulated, charmed and maddened, but to date had never really suffered being bamboozled, until the other night.
It was a rare warm evening—one of our first days that could be considered summer weather. Even though bedtime was approaching, none of us wanted to give up the beautiful warm day just yet, so we decided to take a stroll to Rust park for a few minutes of fun in the field and playground.
We made the two block trek to the park, raced to the monkey bars and preceded to order our imaginary coffees from Devi’s coffee store. She informed me that the menu had switched to cooked rocks with ketchup, because she was all out of pretend coffee. Routine to this point, we played a bit more and then began our walk toward the exit of the park.
The out building restroom is undergoing some restoration, so a portable potty has been supplied by the town. Albeit a nice, clean, and hardly used one, it is a portable potty none the less. Walking past it, Devi announced that she had to use the potty and couldn't wait until we got home. Using the restroom can still be a bit of a power play for her, so when she announces that she has to go, she really does and we take it seriously.
We stopped and daddy went into the tight quarters with her, to help set things up and get her started. He realized that she was truly serious about THIS urge and this was going to take a few minutes. Evidently, Devi realized it too, and asked daddy for a little privacy, so he obliged and stepped outside to await the announcement of “all done.”
What happened next, was like a bad dream occurring in slow motion - the most basic of parenting faux pas. Daddy watched in horror, as the inset door dial facing him turn from green to red revealing the word, “occupied” preceded by the click of it’s secure closure into the locked position! A sudden shift in our power was realized as she unknowingly now called the shots from inside a locked blue box of human waste while we stood helpless and dumbfounded outside.
Immediately, both of our adult brains began to race as we processed the situation. We were outside AND she was in there...locked into a room of ick! A united front, we simultaneously came to the same conclusion. Our plan...stay calm and don’t let her hear the panic or any sense of urgency in our voice. Pulsing with adrenaline, Daddy calmly began the same dialogue we would follow at home.
Daddy: Are you done?
Daddy: Are you done?
Dev: No! I’m waiting for the p**p to come out. [pause] Hey, you can hear me. Can you hear me?
Mommy: Yes we can hear you.
Dev: I can hear you too.
While this conversation is going on, daddy and I are surveying the blue box on all sides trying to see if there is some way that we can take it apart or somehow break in, if need be.
Daddy: Are you done?
Dev: No, I’m doing some business. Why is there soap in the boy’s potty?
Mommy: THAT’S NOT SOAP...don’t touch it. Don’t TOUCH ANYTHING?
Dev: Why? Can I touch the toilet paper? Can I touch my princess panties? Can I touch.....the door handle?
Mommy: Yes. you may touch those things, but not anything else. Are you done?
Dev: No. [pause] When I’m done, can I touch the toilet paper?
Dev: How do boys sit on this boys potty?
Mommy: The boys don’t sit, they stand up like daddy.
Dev: No they don’t. The boys don’t stand up at my school.
Daddy: Well, big boys do. Are you done?
Mommy: You need to finish up.
Loud rhythmic thuds begin coming from inside the locked box, and I envision her swinging her legs and kicking the sides of the latrine like a bass drum with her heals. I tell her to stop kicking and finish up. I hear a few more irresistible thunderous booms from her feet that awaken my quick thinking ability and I devise plan B.
Mommy: Devi, there are other people out here that need to use the potty.
Dev: Who, mommy?
Looking around at the vacant park, I say ME!
Dev: Oh! Okay, momma. [pause]
Daddy: Are you done?
Mommy: Devi, you need to finish, because momma REALLY needs to use it too.
Dev: O-kaaaayyyy. [pause]
We can hear some muffled sounds of movement from within.
Dev: Mom, why did my toilet paper sink into the blue water? Hey, why is the water blue?
Mommy: The blue water helps to keep the air fresh and the bathroom clean.
Dev: No it doesn’t. The bluewater is not in the air, mommy.
Hearing a click, the green word “VACANT” appeared and the door opened and out pops Devi oblivious to what has just happened. To her it was just another routine and mundane part of her day. Needless to say, mommy and daddy were sweating profusely as what seems like a good 15 minutes had passed. At that point, I was just relieved that she was willing and able to unlock the door. I shudder at the thought of what would have happened if she were unable to get the door open.
In no time, we were on our way home. In route, Dev found a stick which became a princess wand and happily started turning daddy into all sorts of animals that he enacted with a flap of his winds, a swish of his clawed paw of a swing of his truck along the way.
Home, not soon enough, I announce BATH TIME, and under my breath I utter with LOTS and LOTS of soap! Nothing like a good scrubbing to erase the woes of a mother's vivid imagination....EWWWWW!!!!