Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Prince Born of India?

Well, as much as I’d like to say that dream had come true, the new Indian adoption procedures still need to iron themselves out and Pat and I continue to get older, so we must be contented with our family size as is for now. Well, sort of. In the meantime, we’ve adopted a Prince Born of Colorado who just happens to have an Indian name. Meet Bengal! He is our 9 month old greyhound pup. 


Though we were not quite ready for a dog, I’m a sucker for anything Indian related and taking his name as a sign, look what I got us into this time! Arriving at the airport shortly after his arrival, we could hear the unmistakable roo of a greyhound permeating the cargo warehouse. Image our surprise when the huge garage doors rolled up revealing a pet carrier that measured about the size of a Mini Cooper. Having raised adult greys before, I was aware of their size, but had no idea what size a pup of his age might be. That would be....LARGE! The staff all came out to witness his grand entrance into our family. Pat opened the carrier, snapped on his leash and like a majestic procession, he emerged in all of his animal glory, prancing out to the first available patch of grass. At first sight, he looked so much like our Cayenne that he took my breath away. With feet the size of luncheon plates and long gangly legs to grow into, he is all ready as tall as our Konrad was as an adult - with about 1 to 2 inches in height to go.  I can barely straddle him now.

A gentle giant, he adores the girls and follows them where ever they go. Treya is just tall enough to drape her arm over his back and walks everywhere with him, though there is no doubt who is walking whom. This is remarkable, considering how she normally responds to animals of any kind, recalling the disaster of the  “pig incident” last September at the state fair. She loves to put her face on his back and say, “Take my pichur!” or “I lub my puppy dor eder and eder!” Devi kept time by sleeps until he arrived and hasn’t stopped smiling the whole time. She loves his soft fur and can sit uninterrupted for an hour petting his head cooing to him and telling him what a good boy he is and how much she loves him. 

So excited to have him loaded in OUR car!

All the excitement wore everyone out on the long drive home.

Apparently, he was leash trained by a 7 year old girl and once that fact was disclosed, it sort of sealed the deal for us. We were going to adopt another retired racer like we had in the past, but because all the tracks in our area have closed, to find a dog young enough be a vital family member until the girls were near young adult hood and to find one that had exposure with children all ready was proving to be an difficult task until our Bengali Boy was found. Immediately, the search for the perfect middle name came up. It is still open to debate, as so far we have Devi’s suggestion Bengal Beautiful and Treya’s choice Bengal Baked Potato to choose from. Definitely, a work in progress. 

So far he has gotten car sick twice, had an *ahem* accident inside three times, has chewed on our house plants, stolen one of Treya’s shoes, climbed into the shower with me, tasted a night stand and fallen over in the fetal position upon spotting another small puppy. No doubt he needs some training and maturity, but he’s captured our hearts all ready in the two days he has been home. Watching as he played bubbles with the girls the other day, and how he lovingly lets them hang on him, I know he will be our perfect fit. Pat is thrilled to have a little more testosterone in the house, feeling out numbered most of the time. Me?  I’m just thrilled that we are once again a dog family. In just two short days he has brought more laughter with his funny antics than we’ve heard in a long time and the girls are loving their new responsibilities in caring for a pet...including scooping the P**P! 

Welcome to the family Bengal_____? Suggestions gladly taken :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Mother's Pensieve

Obsessed with the tale since first reading the Sorecerer’s Stone, I’ve often wondered what it would be like to live in Harry Potter’s world. From a mother’s perspective, there are so many magical things that would come in handy. Take, for instance, a Marauder’s map, which tells the location of everyone in your “castle” at any given time, eliminating the need to yell out names or search every room. An invisibility cloak would be wonderful to pull over my head to watch the girls’ imaginative play without them even knowing I was there - not to mention how useful it could be in catching someone in the act of being naughty. The sorting hat would be especially handy when classroom and teacher assignments loom. And the time I would save with a Remembrall in hand for instant recall of items forgotten would be worth it’s weight in gold.  One thing is certain; however, I would love to have a Pensieve. This large stone basin that is used to store and review memories would be my prize possession. Nightly, I could extract all the memories that occur each day, and through a thread of vaporous air, transfer and save them from my head to the bowl to relive them over and over. Never would the details of each precious memory ever be forgotten. With a full time job, a husband and two children, life moves so quickly it is hard to savor each and every moment in the way I’d like. It seems lately this blog has become more of a written calendar of events  than a time capsule of memories, and so this post will be devoted to stepping into my mother’s Pensieve.

For starters, Treya is blossoming. Home a year and a half, I sense she finally has found her place in our  family. Her favorite place to sit is finally on one of our laps and she seeks out hugs, cuddles and kisses all on her own in a natural almost unconscious way. All shyness gone, she now eagerly says hi to all passers by on a regular basis. We call her the Echo as she repeats everything Devi says or does - even undesired behavior. At night we sing her her own lullaby. One of the lyrics says something about how glad we are now that she is home. One night while tucking her into bed, with my face just inches from hers singing, Treya questioned the word home. “Momma, what homah?” I explained that her home is right here, in her bed, in our house, with mommy, daddy, and Devi...forever. She grabbed my arms, pulled them close to her chest and flashed that huge toothy grin said, “Taya homah!” Since that day, rarely a night goes by that we don’t share that exact exchange.

Though sometimes serious, Treya can be such a silly girl which makes her nickname, the Jelly Bean fit her perfectly. Since our first meeting, one of her expressions has seared my brain. Like the scent of a favorite locale, this face careens me right back to that girl in a light pink, puffy sleeved dress at Shreevatsa whizzing by, hearing the tap tapping of the shoes of her leg braces hitting the cement floor and watching her try to catch a glimpse of my face in her peripheral vision. It starts with a grin, but in order to suppress the uncontrollable smile that left unchecked would surely break into all out laughter, she sucks her cheeks in and draws her lips up like she is preparing to suck through a straw. I think she has to dart out of sight to gain composure, because the smile inside is too broad to deny.

While cuddling together in bed the other morning, Treya noticed for the first time that we do not match. She held her arm up to mine and said, “Momma no brown. Why no brown?” I loved the way this came out, because the implication was clear that there was  something wrong with ME, as if I had suddenly just turned this utterly awful shade of pale. 

Communication remaining her biggest hurdle, there is absolutely no doubt about her current favorite song. Most of the words unrecognizable, the melody is clear as a bell as she belts out, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game!” Somehow or another, she has also managed to pick up a Bostontonian accent and so pronounces words like Bear as BeeEr. This and other expressions like, “Let me think about it” when asked a question that requires an answer keep us in stitches with her most of the time. She can count to 20, and spell her name out loud, though she has no idea the correlation between letters and what she is saying and still struggles with her colors, having only mastered orange and black, her two favorites.  

Sassy and bossy are two qualities that we are working on. She is so driven by order that she unconsciously takes over the days events with demands. It is not unheard of for her to mount her high horse and start ordering people around. “You cook dinah, mommy. Den eat it. Den mommy, you clean it. No good, no dsert. Den you bed. You do now!” Usually things like this are said in an authoritative tone and in one long run on sentence. In this same manner we must hear the words, “I do it!” a thousand times a day, but to her credit, she can comb her own hair and dress herself, wearing her shoes on the wrong feet claiming she likes it better that way.  Just recently, she has also figured out how to get her corrective shoes off in the morning without assistance and comes running into our room to wish us a good morning. 

Devi remains the inquisitive one, able to guide and direct conversations like an attorney at law. Riding in the car with her is always a green light to expect the unexpected. Random questions like, “How do wheelchair people get into their cars?’ pop up out of no where. Coming home from a birthday party  we passed a hospital and she asked if I’d ever had surgery. I explained that one surgery I had, revealed that I could not grow a baby in my tummy. That conversation continued like this...
D: Do you think I will be able to grow a baby in my tummy since you are my mommy and you can not grow a baby in your tummy? 
M: Yes.
D: Do you think I will be able to grow a baby in my tummy even though I did not grow in your tummy?
M: Yes, I am pretty certain that if you and your husband some day would like to grow a baby in your tummy it will happen?
D: I think it works like sharing and taking turns. A baby in my tummy mommy, no baby in your tummy. That must mean there will be a baby in my tummy like sharing. 
D: If you and daddy could grow a baby in your tummy what color skin would you hope it has?
M: Well, since a baby growing in my tummy would be half like daddy and half like me, it would all ready be decided. God chose me to be the mommy of children with brown skin and He is always right. I can’t imagine even having children that do not have beautiful brown skin just like yours.
D: Me either.

Brushing her hair one morning lead to this chat...
D: Mom, is Stevie Wonder still alive.
M: Yes he is. 
D: Does he have a seeing eye dog?
M: I doubt it. I think he probably is wealthy enough to have people help him get around.
D: Are his other senses better?
M: Yes, I’m sure they are. I’ve heard that when one of your senses is gone, you rely more on the others.
D: Like breathing? 
M: Well, breathing is not sense, honey. His other senses like smelling, tasting, feeling  and hearing are probably heightened. 
D: Well what if you didn’t have breathing?
M: Well then you would be dead.
D: Well, does God have breathing?

A favorite song of ours is The Unicorn Song, which is an Irish Shanty about Noah's ark. We only know the chorus, but after hearing all the lyrics on YouTube recently, Devi has been really concerned about Noah sailing away without the two unicorns on board the ark. She has probably asked me a thousand times, "Why didn't the unicorns get on the ark? Were they scared and frightened? Could they swim?" I've tried to offer various solutions of reason, but none seem to satisfy her need to know. Currently, she has decided that they all died and now the obsession is about where are their bones?

We never hear about Devi's misbehavior anymore, a problem that simply went away. Thankfully so. I sense in her a new level of maturity, able to laugh at her sister's antics like one of us grownups, appreciating the humor of a child so much younger than herself. This fact marked in time on July 9th, with the mastered ability to tie her own shoes. Soon thereafter, hushed to silence, we could hear the faintest of whistles, something she has been working on for a long time. 

To date, Devi wants to be a princess fairy ballerina teacher when she grows up and Trey just wants to be a mommy. Together our girls play mommy and baby, or kitty and owner and it warms my heart see how they take care of each other. This is not to say there is no sibling rivalry going on, but in a way I welcome it too. To watch as one helps the other with dressing, or offers a glass of water to the other, is heart warming. When they laugh it is that deep, contagious, not-able-to breathe kind that takes over one's whole body, rendering it useless. These are the memories - the sweet nothings from day to day - that I wish I could carefully float from my mind to my Mother's Pensieve, never to fade away.