The Professor’s Homework Assignment: My Kids

I’m still doing BatFit, mostly. Haven’t been talking about it much. But I have been looking at the Curious Professor Z‘s monthly homework assignments. This is the one I decided to do.*

We have three kids. Two of them have fur. One of them has lots of hair. They are all adorable and we love them all.

I’m a cat person, really. Ever since I was a child, our family has always had cats. I have…issues with dogs, particularly large ones, but never with cats. The first cat K and I had together was one of three kittens born under his house. Siouxsie was my baby for a long time, and went through a couple of big moves with us. When she died, I was devastated and couldn’t even think about a cat for a long time. Years and years later, we found ourselves with another cat, a kitten that we came across through K’s work (she was found in a dumpster that was delivered to one of the warehouses he supervised at the time with a rather disgusting note attached. But anyway.). Annabel Lee is now 10 years old. She was a wild girl when she came here, and has calmed down a bit over the years; much more cuddly, and devoted to our human baby.

Our human baby is, well, no longer a baby. A has started 7th grade, with everything that entails. She’s tall and beautiful, very bright and pretty normal. The only thing she has in common with K and I is that she’s more than a bit of an introvert. She loves music, reading, superhero movies, Doctor Who, and math. Seeing as how I’ve stopped posting to Instagram (“Everybody I know has one!”) I decided not to post a recent picture of her on here. When she was younger, though, she and I went around to lots of our local cemeteries to take photographs and visit one of the best rose gardens in our area. Some of the best non-professional photos I have of her have been taken in the cemetery up in town.

Over the years I’ve had to learn not to wear even my favorite band shirts when picking up A from school. These days I wait for her in the car, so it’s a little easier. I’ve gotten everything from odd looks to mutterings about weirdos to all sorts of other things. There are a few parents I get along with; some are more like me (the mom of one of my daughter’s friends’ favorite holiday is Halloween too), and some aren’t but have been accepting.

Our other baby is the dog. Bubbles is a Shizu-Westie mix that we adopted from our local shelter. It had been less than a month after our first dog had died; everybody else was ready for another dog except me. Of course, that has made her my shadow.
She loves to go hiking with us. Sadly, some of the trails that are close by don’t allow dogs (one is a state wilderness area, the other is a bighorn sheep habitat). But she dearly loves the ones where we can go. The terrier in her comes out, and she has a hard time knowing when she’s about to run out of steam.

They’re all my kids; the human one, and the furry ones.

* Actually, I had thought about doing last month’s, about our Halloween/Samhain celebrations, as the Girl went trick-or-treating again this year. But that idea was quickly vetoed. 😦


“My friends all feel sorry for them. To have to have their birthday today.”

Baby Bat said that while we were in the middle of our morning oh-no-hurry-up-and-go routine. I was checking the girls’ presents, to see if they were dry. They just needed buttons and wrapping.

DadGoth made a joke about how “everybody will remember their birthday”. She got ready to go, I gave her the usual goodbye hug and kiss, and they were off. I pulled the pins from the wristbands and thought about the day they were born.

I’d gotten a call earlier that morning from my mother. They were at the hospital; my sister’s water broke early, about 3 weeks before she was scheduled for a C-section. I was getting dressed and in our bedroom when I saw what looked like a huge cloud over the World Trade Center. Then, all of a sudden, there was nothing.

I’ve written about this before, so I’ll spare everybody the rest. My sister’s girls, fraternal twins, are 11 today. Once again, Auntie is late with her presents. But there are some:

Pretty Twisted
(click to biggify)

These are from the Pretty Twisted pattern in the First Fall 2011 issue of Knitty. It’s a pretty good pattern. I used the Framed variation, but there are two others I’d like to try just to see how they work up. It was really quick and easy to finish.

The yarn is my handspun. I’ve made some things for my sister out of my own yarn, but not for the girls. The buttons are from our grandmother’s button stash, some large mother-of-pearl ones. There are two more buttons; I promised Baby Bat I would make her one as well, just as soon as she picks out the yarn, and maybe one for myself or my sister. Probably my sister.

To everyone who knew someone in one of the planes, the World Trade Center or the Pentagon who lost their lives that day, my condolences for your losses. No matter how long it’s been, grief never seems to go completely away. There’s a lot more that I’d like to say, but I think I’ll let that go.

Happy birthday to my not-so-little Boos. I hope we’ll see you in a couple of months or so.

First time for everything

Today, Anabel used the sewing machine for the first time.

Threadbanger had a new video up about making a wallet out of craft felt. Since Anabel is at the age where she really does need a wallet, we both thought we’d give it a try.

She decided she wanted a panda on the front. So she drew and cut out the parts herself, and I appliqued them to the wallet front. Then we started with sewing the inside, complete with card pockets, together. By the end of the project she was pinning and sewing everything together herself.

The stitches are a little wonky and uneven. But she was able to do it with pretty minimal help from me.

Who Gets to Know What: OAB Roundtable #34

Heather, our overlord at Open Adoption Bloggers, posted a new question today:

It is likely that we’ve all had that experience at some time: someone asking us to speak to the choices or feelings of others in our adoption constellation. Perhaps it is someone asking a first parent how their child feels about being in an open adoption. Or someone asking an adoptee why their adoptive parents chose to adopt. You get the idea.

How do you handle such questions when they are asked of you? How would you want the other parties in your open adoption to handle those questions when they are about you?

I’ve become a touch less tactful in my old age. At first I didn’t really talk much about our adoption at all; mostly introversion, but usually nobody questioned my being Anabel’s parent. At least not to my face. Now I ask directly why they need to know.

Our questions came mostly from our extended family. My mother asked whether or not her first family could come and reclaim her (a remote possibility in some states, but not in ours). We had a good conversation about that, and that they’re more like extended family. They also asked why C & J (M’s parents) wanted to have a relationship with us. I still can’t answer that question, so I said so. I don’t think DadGoth’s family ever really asked about our adoption. There were some snide comments from certain corners, but we’ll just ignore that for now.

When Anabel went to kindergarten, we talked about the subject coming up. DadGoth and I allowed Anabel to make her own choices as to who to tell about her adoption. There’s a whole raft of other things that make our family a bit unusual, and adoption is the smallest part of that. Her closest friends know, and it’s not a big deal. I didn’t really know the circumstances of when or why they asked. I don’t think it even came up in her dreaded Family Tree assignment in 1st grade. It turned out that her teacher’s mother was adopted, and the tree itself was a giant lollipop-like object that each child could attach pictures of their family in whatever way they wished. Anabel did choose to share her information with the class, and introduced the people as “Mom’s side, Dad’s side, and my side” of her family. As she gets older, she does know the standard answer for just about everything to do with us: “Why do you want to know?”

Sometimes the answers to that question are illuminating.

My sister did ask, not long after our adoption was finalized, how much it all cost. When I asked, she said she’d wondered if it was more than the twins’ birth (that included an overnight in the NICU). “If we hadn’t had insurance, that’s how much (twin nieces’) experience was.”

As far as other people in our extended family, I think M introduced us only once to anybody we were with – her current boyfriend/roommate – as Anabel’s parents. He and I talked a little while A and M were hanging out together. He did mention that this was kind of unusual. I said that this was, for us, the right thing.
I was asked only once from another adult if Anabel was adopted was by her BFF’s mom. She and her husband had been investigating adopting from foster care at several points in their marriage. It seemed that every time they had gotten past the home study part, she got pregnant.