Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A conversation

It started out simply enough.

Jeremy was cleaning the kitchen after dinner. Brody and I were in the living room. I read out loud to Jeremy that Sarah Jessica Parker was expecting twins, via a surrogate.

We talked about it for a minute and then he said, "Yeah, we have to sort of think about what we're doing, if we ever want more kids."

And here he told me a year ago he was done. Which I remind him he said. And which he denies.

In any event, I explain, it costs $1700 to have initial testing at a reproductive immunology clinic in California, and then probably $400 a month in medications while pregnant (even with insurance, Lovenox ain't cheap) and another $500 a month in testing fees to test my blood every month pregnant to make sure my natural killer cells (the ones that kill the pregnancy) don't spike. And if they do? IVIg treatment. Also not cheap. And the fees are this much because my insurance will not pay for out-of-network treatment/testing/doctors.

Jeremy revealed that he thought that all the treatment we did before and during Brody, including a trip to Mexico for lymphocyte immunization therapy (LIT) would basically still be in effect. Nope, I said, it stops after you stop taking the meds and basically wears off.

"Well," he said, "I always sort of wondered if all that treatment wasn't what caused Brody's problems."


Still, I always knew he blamed me for Brody.

Which is what I say to him, in a completely normal tone of voice. (This entire conversation was in a normal tone of voice. Which I find odd, but there it is).

What? he said. What are you talking about? I don't blame you.

Well, I explain, if it wasn't for me having recurrent miscarriages and having three big auto-immune issues, (categories 1, 3 and 5) then we wouldn't have needed the treatment, and you blame the treatment for Brody.

I go on. If it wasn't for me having this, we would be right now planning another child.

He clearly regrets what he said.

Probably because of my stupid tears during which I explain that no other family did any of the treatments we did while pregnant with their Vacterl child, and, by the way, Brody is healthier than most Vacterl children.

He really really regrets what he said.

And we are left with an economic reality. Too much money for me to get pregnant, and too much money for us to adopt.

That's why we have a plan to be out of debt in five years, he says.

I'll be 43 in 5 years, and Brody will be almost 8, I say.

That's perfect, he says.

I roll my eyes. It's not perfect. Not by any stretch. We can't afford to adopt because of the treatments we are paying off. Not to mention the $30,000 in outstanding medical bills from after Brody was born.

I always wanted two, or three, children. Brody would be such a good big brother. I want more children. At least one more.

Jeremy reveals during this conversation that he has researched waiting children in Colorado. He shows me the webpage with all of their faces. He fancies a sibling group.

I tell him that in order for that to occur, the state requires that one of us be a stay-at-home parent.

Which we can't afford because of all of our debt.

There are no good answers.

Jeremy is still hopeful and trying to make me feel better about this....situation. He says he is not sure that he even wants another child. I call bullshit on him, because he tortured his sister, mother of one, for years to have another child so her son wouldn't be an only child. That was before he had one of his own and realized the responsibility of it all, he says.

Not to mention, he says, Brody might resent a child we adopt, or have biologically, who does not have his medical concerns.

I tell Jeremy that I think Brody might resent us if we don't give him a sibling because of his medical issues. Which is what it boils down to, right? Well, the cost of my medical issues and the cost of his medical issues.

At some point during this conversation, Jeremy, and then Brody, climb into my corner of the couch and we are huddled on top of each other. With no good answers and no good options and nowhere closer to another child than before.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nostalgic Quoting

I am a collector of quotes. And am doing so again to help celebrate my niece's graduation from law school in May.

During that process, I ran across a quote I found in 2005.

I found it in an email I wrote in 2005. I still don't know who said it. But when I emailed it to my friend, I wrote that it gave me chills when I read it for the first time. At the time, I was pregnant for the third time and full of hope again, and, little did I know, about to have my third miscarriage.

Here it is:

We must plant a seed of the thing
that we desire for our life
as though it were ours now.
Affirm this:
that which I seek is now seeking me.

That last line slays me every time.

Tears and chills and hope, oh so much hope even when it seemed like there was no right to be anything but nothing, but hoped backed by a determination that we would not give up in the seeking, that we were not alone in the seeking.

I would eventually print the quote out and look at it every day while pregnant with Brody.

He was trying to get to me as much as I was trying to get to him.

Do you have any quotes that have stayed with you?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thumb pictorial

I have so much to say and am too tired to say it.

So here are some photos to tell the story for a bit while I recover. Brody is well, but tired. His thumb, his THUMB, is pink. Glorious, circulation-full, pink. We are happy.

Brody in the play area behind the hospital on Wednesday:

Thursday, after surgery. He wanted a yellow thumb and cast, but we settled on purple. Luckily, the thumb stayed pink.

Surgery was 10:30 - 2:30. I think he got back to the room around 3:30, and he did this until the next morning:

The next morning, Friday, around 18 hours after surgery:

Saturday. Brody asked me to take this because he loved this dinosaur in the hospital lobby. He also informed me, "Mommy, I wanna say cheese." He couldn't say it though, because he was apparently looking adoringly at his new friend.

Saturday afternoon we flew back to Denver. Sunday morning, we went to the park to play. And for the first time ever, he navigated the stairs himself and went down the slide. So many times that I had to stop him because it was getting windy and cold, and he needed to go down for a nap.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A story in pictures

Even though we just had this 3 days ago, Denver's forecast this week is

Which means that Brody and I are glad for this

Oh, and Salt Lake City, where we will be Wednesday - Saturday, will look like this:

Monday, April 20, 2009


For my sister Donna, who made me a piece of art to wear around my neck for good luck. Recall that when a pony ate my sapphire, my good luck charm (consisting of my birthstone and Brody's birthstone in a piece of jewelry) was gone. Now it's back, in the form of a silver pendant with Brody's birthstone and mine. If I could take a photograph of it that would do it justice, that would show how really stunning a pendant Donna made, I would post it. I love big silver pendant necklaces, and I love Brody's birthstone with mine. And I love the fact that now I have an heirloom, made by Donna's own hands for me.

For my sister Marilyn, who is watching Brody today so I can work. And who gave me some liqueur for the flask for the hospital visit.

For my friend Stacy, the one who tricked me, who is watching Brody tomorrow so I can work. (I took off two days last week, and I do not have leave left, and we are "quarantining" B away from public places and daycare in advance of the surgery).

For my friend A, with whom I enjoyed a lovely lunch and shopping on Sunday. I've known her since kindergarten and now that we live in the same state, and are going through similar issues, it's just comforting and fun to have her in my life again.

For my husband who, although he annoys me at times, and I him (I know it's shocking to even imagine I could annoy anyone), is a very good father, who took care of the dead animal this morning, (squirrel, not duck, by the way, but the head was missing), found my toothbrush, untangled my necklace I thought hopelessly tangled after I tried to untangle it for 20 minutes, kissed and hugged me for no reason at all this morning, and is already regretting that he is not flying out for the surgery this week.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I never did mind the little things

Brody is fine.

I am a state of jumbled nerves. Really, how is it I can face down a jury, albeit it with a fair amount of nausea, but my own mostly happy life has me on the edge.

Thursday, we had a vision and hearing screen. Brody's vision is excellent - hell, he can spot a school bus at 2 miles.

But she couldn't read the hearing, because .... wait for it..... there was fluid in his ears. A possible ear infection.

Also, Brody's teachers, cognizant of our surgery in 7 days, report that there have been 3 cases of strep in Brody's room at school. Just in his own room.

Brody visits the third doctor in four days, our beloved pediatrician.

"Well," he says after looking in Brody's ears, "This is the kind of thing that could clear up on its own, or it could turn into an ear infection."


"When is surgery?"

"Seven days from today."


"Alright, I'm writing a prescription for an antibiotic. If it wasn't for surgery, I wouldn't be doing this."

"If it wasn't for surgery, we wouldn't even be here because except for a cough, he's not acting sick."

Then a blizzard hits Denver. I stay home unexpectedly. With no actual paid time off left. A quandary for a different day.

On a positive note, the left front tooth, while still jammed up, is still white. I noticed that the right front tooth looks weird, but, I think, maybe that's because of the other front tooth being, you know, screwed up.

Saturday passes, and Sunday passes. Brody comes into the living room today and tells me he's scared of the baby spiders in the kitchen.

Hell. We have ants. We seem to get them in the spring. I go buy ant traps.

"Brody's tooth is loose," reports my husband.

sigh. "Is it unjamming and falling out?" I ask.

"No, the other one."


I check the right front tooth. It is. Loose, that is. This is the one that got a hard fall last fall. I don't even have the heart to check the jammed up tooth to see if it's loose too.

Fine. Screw it. He'll loose both front teeth. My sister in law, niece, nephews, did. Everyone I know almost has a story about baby teeth falling out early.

We're in our bed playing with Brody and it hits me. You know why he's going to lose his front teeth? Because he plays like a puppy. Head first into and onto everything, and chewing and biting everyone and everything, and his head is his third arm.

Still, he's laughing and smiling and I'm thinking, okay, I've got this. I have my arms around this problem. He'll be toothless in a few weeks, and it's okay. We can feed him pureed food or milkshakes if we need.

Then I remember something in the back of my mind about anesthesia.

Specifically, I remember that the anesthesiologist is always asking, the night before a surgery, if Brody has any loose teeth.


I google it. It can stop a surgery, particularly if it's a front tooth issue, for intubation. Don't wanna aspirate a tooth in a lung.

Or the anesthesiologist can stitch it in so it's safe for the surgery.


Our Shriners anesthesiologists are very good and also .... non-risk taking. This is elective surgery, they say, why risk it?

It's not that loose. The only reason we knew was because for some dumb reason my husband was poking around Brody's mouth, checking all of his teeth or something. I will not even entertain the thought....nevermind.

I tell this to Jeremy, about anesthesia. He replies, "Stop googling."

I can't. Google gives me most of my information about most things, from the FMLA to hair styles that flatter my oval square round face to witnesses I'm researching.

I am now in the bedroom again, and notice the dogs aren't there, in their usual places of repose. I wonder where the dogs are. They were muddy earlier, and it's 9pm and they are still outside. Why? Hmm....

I go downstairs to let them in.

Mocha, the shepherd lab mix, proudly trots up.....carrying what appears to be a dead baby duck missing part of its lower body. If you take my meaning.

I inhale sharply, Mocha drops the dead thing on our patio and comes inside, and Kahlua, the chocolate lab, follows Mocha into the house.


At least they weren't muddy anymore.

My only hope at this point is that Jeremy removes the dead thing from the patio before Brody sees it in the morning. Or that a coyote comes and takes it away.

But I don't want a coyote on my patio, right? Even if it means removing a dead thing?

It doesn't matter anyway. It's out of my control.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hyperbole in the Vacterl age

As the readers of our carepage know, Brody fell Monday night. He fell about 2 minutes after I arrived at his school to pick him up, and he fell while I was filling out a form to order some pictures of him.

I saw him when his teacher brought him out to the main lobby area of the school. He had blood everywhere. And he was crying in a spine scratching way that was not normal, not scared, not mad, but this visceral keening cry that scared the hell out of me.

I reached for him, and tried to calm him. He would try to talk but more blood came out of his mouth.

The first thing I examined when the teacher said he fell was the arm with the pin in it (right arm). No blood, no pin sticking out.

Then I went to his mouth, and dread already rising, I saw his teeth. And they looked not right. Aside from the 1/2 inch gash on his lip, his teeth were rearranged.

It made me nauseous to look at it. I put his head on my shoulder again until he was quiet.

I called Jeremy to see where he was. Something I learned - if I can't explain it in a calm manner to Jeremy, it's bad.

At this point, it was after 6pm. Dentist closed. Pediatrician closed but talked to a triage nurse who said we had to go to the emergency room.

At that point, Brody was calm. Talking, laughing. He drank a whole bottle of milk.

We were not. I went to the ER, but Jeremy stayed home because he had promised his boss something the next morning. J sent me a long, sweet text about how it would be alright.

Then an hour later he wrote asking me to tell him what was going on because he was very upset and couldn't concentrate and couldn't work.

The short story on the front tooth is it's still shoved halfway into B's gumline, swollen, and he doesn't like me touching it but he can eat and laugh and play. It's not loose. We went to the dentist, and he said wait and see. It might fall out, it might not.

The real issue is....this threw us for a loop. I say US because usually one or the other of us, J and me, balance each other out. I comfort him when he freaks out, and he comforts me when I freak out. We each have our pressure points. Mine is the kidney. J's was the head. We go back and forth on B's hands and arms.

You'd think after 11 surgeries and living for 2 1/2 years with a medically complicated child, we wouldn't blink twice at a fractured tooth. A tooth pushed into his gumline? No big deal.

And yet. And yet and yet and yet.

We got home from the ER at a reasonable hour, and Jeremy was desperate to cuddle Brody. Brody was having none of it. Brody, at 9pm, wanted to play hockey and run around the house.

We finally got B to bed, and Jeremy sighed and said, "This just sucks. We can't catch a break."

"I know, but it will be okay. He's fine. There was a lot worse at the ER tonight."

"I know that, but still," J said. "Why is it us? Why this too?"

And the problem is that we weren't balanced. I felt the same way. We had no reasonable person.

And so I've analyzed what, exactly, we were and are feeling. And it's this: we feel like if we have a child who has multiple medical issues, then we should be exempt from all other trauma associated with childhood. It's not nice, and doesn't particularly display us as saintly people, but there it is.

That's why this seemingly innocuous episode affected us so much. We believed - on some elemental level that we didn't even know existed - that we were immune. I wrote at one point that we were not immune from more serious illnesses, like cancer, just because our child has Vacterl. But we never even gave a moment's thought, I mean we just assumed we were immune, from regular, less serious illness and injury.

And the jammed up tooth threw us for a loop.

I felt like an ass being so upset on the carepage. I didn't know how to characterize or express our level of upset over something so common, so ridiculously inconsequential in the universe, as a busted, loose, lost front tooth.

And what pisses me off so much about the entire thing is that I had this same feeling before Brody was born. I assumed I was entitled to a perfect child. I lost 4 other pregnancies, for chrissake. We spent thousands of dollars and years trying to have a child. We were entitled to a perfect one, right?

Wrong. The strange and miraculous thing is, I don't feel that way anymore about Brody. I don't think he is less than perfect. I believe it is an honest to God miracle that he is here, and that the Universe gifted us with him because we are, well, a favorite of sorts with the Universe.

The point being, at one point I did feel this weird karmic entitlement, and so it surprised me that I would not have learned more from that expierence and, well, basically, have my emotional and mental bullshit under better control at this point.

Which is all written to say thusly:

Dear Universe:
I got it now. At least I think.
Please let Brody keep the tooth.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Vacation stream of consciousness

The last vacation I had was in 2005. July 2005. Granted, that was in Kauai, so it was pretty good. But it was in Kauai because I had just had my third miscarriage, after we had seen a heartbeat for the first time, and it was a consolation prize.

Now, I want a real vacation for the three of us. We've never been.

Something happened during my trip across the state - maybe it was driving by all of the vacation worthy spots like Vail and Glenwood Springs. But I am tunnel-vision with wanting this vacation.

Ergo, I am planning one. Even though we do not have the money for it. I am envisioning a 4 day-3 night August getaway with the boys. In a cabin with some kind of pool or hot tub in Estes Park, next to Rocky Mountain National Park. I really really really want to go and I become drunk with happiness when I envision it.

I cannot focus on anything else, really. I feel like I'm in a haze of some kind. A vacation-wanting haze.

One way we can afford it is if we do not go to the Vacterl conference in Philadelphia in June. For what it would cost for the three of us to fly to Philly, the hotel, meals, conference fees, car rental....we could easily have a long weekend in Estes, and a trip to see my mom in Las Cruces, NM, and possibly a weekend away for J and me.

I felt guilty about missing the conference for about a minute. Three trips for the price of one? Three really really really good trips? No competition. We need a break.

I mentioned vacationing with J, and have sent him links. I want to lock this up right now.

I want a vacation so badly that I am viewing the trip to Shriners next week for the thumb pollicization as some kind of vacation. Including the two days off from work I have that week as part of the quarantining efforts - Monday and Tuesday we are in the house and possibly the park, weather permitting. Just B and me.

I. Cannot. Wait. I am using all of my remaining paid time off - less 4 hours - for the week's adventures and I do not care at all.

I envision finally making the gingerbread house I bought in December with B, and making forts, and painting and using the rest of the bathtub paints before the month-long ban on baths... Also - happily - I envision cleaning and laundry and organizing my clothes and the tupperware cabinet. I really hate the tupperware cabinet.

Wednesday we fly. Thursday the 23rd is the surgery. And the Shriners man changed my reservation. And he could not have been lovelier about doing so. He said they had to pay a fee to do it, but after I offered to pay and apologized, he said he was the one who screwed it up.

Of course, all may be for naught because Brody has a cough.

Thursday of this week we are having a vision/hearing screen done through the county health services program for children with issues. I filled out the form. They asked me to list Brody's hospitalizations and surgeries.

In two lines.

I wrote: See attached. And attached the following:

9/3/06 Surgery: TEF repair

9/ /06 Surgery: Repair of hole in stomach created by placement of tube

1/4/07 Surgery: Craniosynostosis – fused metopic suture repair

2/28/08 Surgery: Placement of external fixators, bilaterally, to straighten arms

3/8/08 Hospitalization (5 days) due to infection in pins in arms

3/14/08 Surgery: Dilation of esophagus

4/24/08 Surgery: Adjusting pins of external fixators

5/22/08 Surgery: Wrist centralization bilateral

10/2/08 Surgery: Dilation of esophagus

11/8/08 Surgery: Cystogram

11/19/08 Surgery: Ureter reimplantation to repair vesicoureteral reflux

1/29/09 Surgery: Thumb pollicization (right) (moving index finger into thumb position)

4/23/09 Surgery: Thumb pollicization (left) (moving index finger into thumb position)

This list is very short compared to some Vacterl children, I know. However, it occurs to me at this moment that compiling this list may be the very reason I am jonesing for a vacation that does not involve surgery.

And why I am constantly using all of my paid time off.

And one more thing. Thank God for the Family Medical Leave Act and job protection during a serious illness of a family member. Say what you will about Bill Clinton, but the man got it right with the FMLA.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thoughts for a Thursday

I have to drive to the other side of the state today for work, stay overnight, then return tomorrow after 5pm. I'm driving through the mountains and one pass. It's already snowing there. Think good thoughts of safety for me. J was raging that I needed chains for my tires and someone to instruct me how to put on said chains. Does he not know for which entity I work? Then my boss ordered me to get a hotel room on the way back tomorrow night if I am too sleepy. Which is just one reason that I love my job.

I'm actually quite tired already. I slept well, but most of the night was spent dreaming a dream in which Brody's thumb fell off.

Well, sometimes it was his thumb, sometimes it was his thumb plus all the skin on his arm, and sometimes it was his whole arm that had fallen off.

And in the dream, no one would help us, even though we were at Shriners, and it was bad. So apparently I'm a bit nervous for the surgery on April 23.

Speaking of Shriners, they pay for us to fly to Salt Lake. I call the Shrine, my guy makes the airline ressie, and sends me the itinerary. Usually within 24 hours.

Three weeks ago I called. He said he would get it done.

Last week, still no itinerary, I called again. He said he was just getting to it.

No itinerary. Last night I called again. He said he was going to do it right then.

This morning, he emails it to me - and he has the ticket listed in J's name, instead of mine.

I emailed him back. I wrote:

Thank you so much! The only problem is that I am going with Brody this time, not Jeremy. I'm so sorry - I should have made that clear. Is there any way to change it?

Please know that I did make it clear. The first and second time I called. I am pretty sure he can change the ticket name without much hassle. However, if I was psychic, I would bet that he is not pleased with me at this moment.

Which brings up a thing. Shriners is, for the vast majority of everything, wonderful. But it's stuff like this that makes me crazy. Not really crazy, unless he can't change the name, but mildly irritated crazy. But I can never say anything to anyone because, you know, they are giving us around $500,000 in free medical care for Brody (until he's 18) (and that's not an exaggeration). I feel horrible that the name is wrong, and I hated even mentioning it. But I had to, and now I feel like an ingrate. Let's hope my good karma from the post below protects me.

Or at least prevents Brody's arm from falling off.

Monday, April 6, 2009

positive karma and mystery gifts all rolled into one

I got this from Nicole on her blog, and she got it from somewhere else.

I've had a long, largely sleepless weekend of grading bar exams (law school grads have atrocious penmanship and spelling skills and despite studying for 10 weeks, do not know con law) (edited to add: which is constitutional law and not criminal law) and I'm stressed out over a brief due at work today. So what better time to do this?

Here is the offer: I hereby pledge to make something for the first 5 persons who respond to AND agree to the conditions of this blog/offer. This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:

I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. What you get is what you get. It could be a papier mache statue of me, or a haiku, or a doll made of toothpicks. Or something that you have always yearned for in your secret heart but didn't even know until I gave it to you. Or something else.

What I create will be just for you. One of a kind!

It’ll be done this year (2009).

I will not give you any clue what it’s going to be.

Unless you live near me, it will be something that needs to be mailed, so you’d have to be willing to provide a viable address.

In return, all you need to do is post this text into a blog or bulletin of your own and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to your note under these same conditions.

IMPORTANT: This offer is null and void if you do not post your own blog/bulletin to pay this forward.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

a potentially meaningless observation

When I was growing up, one of the neighbors we had was Emery Booher.

Emery was a sweet old man. Sort of like a grandpa to me.

He and his wife lived across the street from us. His wife was quite senile, or maybe she had Alzheimers. At any rate, somehow I spent a lot of time in their house. I'd listen to Emery's wife talk on, while I would stare at the hundreds of china dolls dressed in 17th or 18th century dresses that made my 12 year old self blind with dress envy.

I'd also talk with Emery.

I don't remember how old he was, but he remembered well a time when there were no cars.

He told me how obnoxious "folks" thought cars were at first.

He also told me that when the government introduced social security numbers (see what I mean about old?), he remembers everyone being very nervous about the government having that much information and control over you.

I also think about the more recent history. While I was going through my miscarriages, I'd think, "Well, at least there's hope for me. Fifty years (a hundred years) ago there wouldn't be any treatment for my issues." The reproductive immunologist I treated with, Dr. Beer, his first successful "Beer baby" (a child born with the help of reproductive immunology) is now in his 30's.

After Brody was born, I was told that if he had been born a generation earlier, he probably would not have lived. Here's a gruesome discussion of the first documented TEF/Vater child - from 1839. That could have been Brody.

The first documented case of bilateral radial club hands was in 1733 - again, an autopsy. (They originally thought the condition stemmed from syphilis, apparently.

That made me think of my own evolution. If I'd been alive in the 18th century, or 1950's, I doubt I would have found the support of other women who suffered from miscarriages. I never would have found out about reproductive immunology (because (a) it didn't exist, and (b) I found out about it from the internet). And I doubt there would be any kind of open discussion about congenital anomalies in any kind of supportive or positive way.

But now, I have a blog, and a carepages site. I think every single one of the Vacterl families I know have at least one. Some have both. And that's not counting the message boards through Yahoo and IVillage. All dispensing confidential medical information, or monumentally personal emotional information.

I really have no point to this except I find it a fascinating evolution of us as a species or a culture....and I'm so grateful for the internet, and as much as I complain about them, the advancement of medicine and medical technology.

I'm so happy I am living at this moment in time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I just cried on a public sidewalk.

Once upon a time, there was a woman and a man, and they fell in love, and got married.

The woman is my friend. And she is a person of rare beauty, incredible heart, and great wit.

The man and woman loved each other very much, and wanted more than anything to have children.

After a year of trying to conceive, and much testing, they decided to try IUI. And so they did. For six months. And after six months of heartbreak, the man and the woman decided that their future child was in another country.

They applied for an adoption. And waited. And waited.

And then one glorious day, they received the referral – the document which tells them about their daughter, and included her picture. And there were tears and joy and buoyancy.

And then they traveled to meet their daughter, and it was love at first sight on all sides. They brought her home and we met them, and her, at the airport.

Immediately after bringing their daughter home, they applied to bring their next child home.

They waited, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

It was taking much longer than they ever even feared it would take.

They waited more.

Three years.

Three. Years.

And during those three years, the world entered a recession.

And the man’s livelihood was affected quite negatively by the recession.

His employer became financially troubled.

All this time, they were waiting for the referral to meet their next child. And waiting, and worrying, and watching.

A lot of worry.

And then, a few weeks ago, the man was told that the company was closing.

But the couple had an idea. The man would start his own business. It would work out.

But the woman, my friend, called me today. She said that she called their adoption agency to see if her husband’s possible unemployment and new startup business would affect the adoption of their next child. The agency said that it would, when their homestudy expired.

Part of the homestudy, she said, was financial stability. She said that they would first have to pay all of the homestudy fees again, and in light of the man’s tenuous employment situation, they would not pass the homestudy. She said that they would be required to prove the new business was making a profit. And, even if the new business was successful, it would need a few months of profitability, and things like a notarized letter from a CPA vouching for the business’s economic sturdiness.

I asked my friend when the homestudy expired, thinking maybe, just maybe, if they got a referral next month by some miracle then it would be all alright if the homestudy hadn’t expired yet.

But inside I was raging, and so crushed for them, and cursing the recession and everything else I could blame. I was also envisioning how to forge the required documents, and falsify business records for the new business.

As I was walking downtown at lunch, talking on my cell phone, I asked my friend again when the homestudy expired.

She said, “Oh, wait, there was one more thing."

"What," I said, thinking it could not be worse, really. Could it?

She responded, "April Fools.”

Stopping in my tracks I said, “What?!?!?”

She said, "April fools. We got our referral yesterday. We have a son.”

And that’s when I cried in the middle of the sidewalk on a busy downtown day.

They meet their son in a few weeks.

My friend reads the blog. If you would, please scold her for the joke, and congratulate her on her new son.


Another milestone: Why.

Last night at dinner, Brody was upset that he spilled some lemonade on his shirt. I told him it was okay, and that mommy had spilled soup on her shirt earlier in the day. I hadn't, but wanted B to see it was not a big deal.

B: Why, mommy?

Me: Why, what?

B: Why you spill soup on yer shirt?

Me: Oh, well, it was an accident.

B: Why?

Me: Because.

B: You spill soup on yer shirt?

Me: Yes, but it's okay. It was an accident.

B: Your shirt dirty? (Pointing)

Me: Yes, but just a little bit.

B: Little bit? You wash it?

Me: (sigh) Yes, I'll wash my shirt.

B: You spill soup on yer shirt, mommy?

Me: Yes. It was an accident.

B: Why?


Brody's favorite expression a few weeks ago was "what you doin'?" One time, driving down the mountain from my sister's house, he asked me literally 7 times in a row what I was doing. J was driving, and I was in the passenger seat. I answered that I was sitting in the car, going home, happy, going to sleep, etc. I'd then ask him what he was doing. He always answers "Sitting in my car seat."

Finally, he asked me that 8th time,

B: What you doin' mommy?

Me: (exasperated) Nothing.

B: Nothin'? (pronounced "nussin'" and the first time he has said this word).

Me: What're you doing, Brody?

B: Nussin'. (second time he has said this word).

At least it ended that round of conversation. But it's also his new favorite response.


Last night, however, J and I were unloading something from the car, and we left Brody to his own devices in the living room. When we got back inside the house a minute later, I noticed him in a new chair, "reading" the Snow Buddies DVD cover.

Me: What are you doing, Brody?

B: (without looking up from reading) Jus' hanging out. (he pronounces it "hanging" instead of "hangin'")

Me: (stopping) You're hanging out?

B: (still reading) Yeah, jus' hanging out.

I wonder - how does he know these responses? These are the responses of a sullen teenager or a disaffected preteen, aren't they? Is this the new school? J and I don't talk like this, do we?

It's cute, and also frightening.