Sunday, September 12, 2010


Race can be such a loaded topic. There is much debate in the China adoption world about the responsibilities of non-Chinese parents (predominantly White) who adopt children from China. Heck, there is much debate in the U.S. about transracial adoption, too. But the Chinese thing has been on my mind lately.

A few weeks ago, Marcie told me, "Mommy, I wish I had light skin like yours." It about made my heart stop. I think Marcie is about as beautiful as they come. I love her porcelain skin. I love her almond eyes. I love her long, dark hair. She is downright pretty. And I tell her so. All the time. (Among other things- I also tell her how smart I think she is, or how observant, or how funny.)

Of course I asked her why she wanted lighter skin. And she didn't really have a reason. Just thought it looked better is all.

After I asked her why, I asked her what color she thought her skin was (brown) and what color my skin is (light). I pointed out that I have brown "spots" (freckles) all over me, but that her skin is beautiful- and the same- all over. I told her that everybody has something about themselves that they wish was a little different. This is normal. But that I hoped she'd change her mind-- because I so very much love the color of her skin. I also told her I was glad she told me what was on her mind. (And I was glad to know that the impetus of her statement was not something mean someone said at school-- but I have to wonder, at least a little bit, how being at a not-particularly-racially-diverse school will affect her self-image as she gets older.)

I imagine this will not be our first conversation about the topic of skin color. It's such an obvious thing-- and yet lots of people really skirt the issue. I'm not going to do that. I am not going to ignore this difference between us. But I do hope she comes to view herself as I do-- just. plain. pretty.

What about you? How would you have handled it? (Or how have you handled it if the topic has come up in your home?)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Soccer Super Star

Today was Casey's first game of the season. It was supposed to be five on five, with 15 minute quarters on a smaller field, as the season ramps up. No referee-- and the game win (or loss) doesn't count in the standings. But there was a mix-up with the field(s), so it was 8 on 8 instead. Which was fine. This game was one of the reasons we opted to wait to travel until Monday-- Casey's had such great momentum lately.

And he didn't disappoint. He did a fantastic job-- his coaches play the kids all over the field. He had a couple great (and important) assists. (And, for the record-- which everyone tracks even though it doesn't "count"-- his team won 3-1.)

He woke up excited about the game- even wanted to put on the uniform at 6am for a 1pm game.

Here's our soccer super star:

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Toothless Grin

Marcie’s dentist appointment was this morning—and Jason took her because I had a dentist appointment of my own.  They gave her some valium (apparently she is a “happy drunk”), and she did a good job following directions.

Jason dropped her at Grandma S’s house after the appointment—Marcie loves going there because she gets doted on.  But she called around 11:00 a.m., sobbing, and asked me to come get her.  So, of course, I did.  By the time I got to her, she’d received a dose of Motrin and was feeling much better.  We stopped at Jamba Juice on the way home, and then she crashed for most of the afternoon.  When she woke up, she was hungry and in much better spirits.

She remains on a soft food diet for the foreseeable future because her bottom teeth are improving and we want to save those.  She’s definitely got a lisp so far. 

Here she is on Monday, with our good friends, celebrating Labor day:


And here she is this evening (don’t mind the mess of baby clothes and toys in the background—I’ve just been purchasing things as I’ve remembered them).


Tonight, she placed each of her teeth in a snack-size ziplock bag and placed them under her pillow. She is under the impression that if she places them each in a separate bag, she will get three treats from the tooth fairy—one for each bag.  That’s a lot of books!  Think she’s right?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Comedy of Errors (Part Two)

I first wrote a post called Comedy of Errors when we were waiting to travel to meet Marcie. I'm experiencing a bit of deja vu.

Our goal this weekend was to get Tate's room more ready than it was. (It was a mess of leftover papers and junk that we'd collected in our office before moving our office to what used to be our dining room.) But with two very active kids, I fully recognize the need to get them out and about, too.

On Saturday we connected with three other families at the park-- that's when Marcie did some severe damage to her mouth. That night, leaving our friends' house, Marcie dropped her vanilla milkshake, and it splattered all down the back of me-- and the back of our black car.

On Sunday, I took the kids through the Costco car wash, then bought Marcie a soft serve ice cream. She managed to dump vanilla ice cream down the outside door of the black car, which had just been washed. And then she didn't say anything, so it dried that way.

Later in the afternoon, she was working on a book box for school, which involved some glitter. Instead of waiting for me (I was folding laundry) to help her shake off the excess glitter, she decided to shake it herself. She tried to do so over the trashcan, but instead, she got it all over the kitchen floor.

Then today, I'd cooked pasta so that Marcie could have macaroni salad at the pool party we were attending. Marcie was carrying the bowl of pasta out through the laundry room, when she tipped the container, the lid came loose, and she spilled about half the contents on the laundry room and garage floors (those concrete floors are hard to get sticky macaroni loose from).

Poor Marcie.

On top of that, after visiting her dentist today, we learned that she will be losing at least three teeth on Wednesday-- her front two teeth and one next to it (on top). We are keeping our fingers crossed that the bottom three teeth and a top canine can be saved. It turned out the fall was very damaging to Marcie's mouth-- she went from an overbite to an under bite (no exaggeration). And the trauma was as if someone took a baseball bat to her mouth. Poor kid. I think she's getting bored of all the soft foods. She's off the Motrin now, but she'll be back on it on Wednesday when they "wiggle her teeth out."

She's been very positive about it all-- she thinks it's just great that the tooth fairy will be visiting and exchanging gifts for three teeth.

All I can think about (besides the pain the poor girl will be in) is how much her smile is going to change in the next couple days. . . I know it would have happened eventually. But three teeth at once-- it's a lot. Glad I got some great smiley shots of her with Casey before the incident. I'll post some before and after photos later this week.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Yesterday we met up in the park with some neighbors/friends to play when it cooled off.

Marcie was sitting on top of the metal gate that surrounds the sandbox, her feet wrapped through the bars of the gate. I think she may have called out my name- though I don't' remember it- and the next thing I knew, she was falling face forward onto the concrete. Nothing broke her fall. Except her face, I guess.

Fortunately, we were with three other families, who herded the other kids away from the scene and handed me a cloth to use. Marcie's crying wasn't even loud enough to alert Jason to her distress, and one of the parents went to get him. The other families told us they'd watch Casey and off we drove (thank goodness we drove to the park instead of walked!). When Marcie fell, her front two teeth were shoved up into her gum line, and she cut her lip (and scratched up her chin). There was a lot of blood. And after a while, her teeth actually came back down, out of the gum line (and we discovered that one is cracked the length of the tooth, down the middle).

On the way, we called my sister-in-law, whose cousin in our kids' dentist-- and she gave us Dr. Hope Ann's personal phone number. And thankfully Hope Ann answered and was not irritated we called. And was very helpful. And even offered to see Marcie on Monday- even though it's Labor Day.

The bleeding eventually stopped, and her fat lip makes her very difficult to understand. But she was never threw up, didn't bite all the way through the lip (so won't need plastic surgery), and her chin injury is just some abrasions. She was feeling better enough a couple hours after it happened to join the other families in a dinner feast with a gaggle of kids (and I even had to keep telling her to stop running in her flip flops!) Of course, we won't have an official prognosis until we see the dentist, but I am nonetheless feeling pretty lucky that the damage was not worse- and that we were with people who were super helpful and understanding.