Sunday, February 28, 2010

Future Think

I suppose it's not a surprise that, 2 1/2 years after the birth of Thumper, we've been thinking a lot about a second child. No, Aerie's not pregnant; we've just been thinking and talking and thinking and talking. I'm far more convinced than Aerie on the subject; she wavers back and forth and back again. I want another. Thumper needs a sibling, I have no doubt, and I want an extension on this stay-at-home dad contract of mine. I know she didn't enjoy pregnancy that much the first time, or at least not the first and last thirds of it. We're both working on losing weight, and she doesn't want the setback that pregnancy would represent on that front, either. And there are money worries, and health-related worries, both for baby and mom, that increase as we grow older.

So, anyway. Yesterday she asked me, "What do you think of adoption?"

My first thought was, oh, no. I've heard horror stories. I have fears. I think adoptive parents spend the rest of their lives living with the consequences of strangers screwing up their kids. Oh, nightmares. Developmental delays. Angry, violent, drug addicted. No, no, no. Lots of fears.

But, I don't know. I had a lot of fears about pregnancy the first time, too. If there's one thing I've learned through this whole parenthood experience so far, it's that you can spend a lot of time and energy worrying and planning about possibilities that never come to pass. And the possibilities that do come to pass are ones that never even occur to you. So having fears is not reason enough.

This morning, while driving Thumper to the playground, the idea of adoption really started to appeal to me. In some ways, it seems like both of our lives, Aerie's and mine, point in this direction. I grew up intimately involved in the Child Protective Services world. From the time that I was six until I was nineteen, my parents were foster parents. They took in (I think) 38 kids over that time, kids that were the product of abuse and neglect and drug addiction. I have no doubt that that experience had a profound effect on me, shaping me into the man that would want to be a stay-at-home dad.

Even after they retired from fostering, my mom became a social worker in the CPS system, placing foster kids into adoptive homes. Two of those foster kids even nearly became my adoptive siblings. The first, a round-headed, red-haired boy, did not for reasons I can't begin to recall. The other did not because (I think) of racial preference policies where white parents weren't the first choice for black kids. Anyway, fostering and adoption are part of my upbringing. And if you know Aerie, you know her upbringing has shaped her into a protector of the weak and the underdogs, a caretaker, a champion of the abandoned.

But then again, when you start looking at adopting, it seems like it's for much better, and stronger, people than I. There are so many kids, older kids that too few people want or can even begin to consider taking in, kids with daunting special needs. I don't know if I'm up to all of that. I want to be a better person, but I don't think I'm capable of being that much better, really.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Snow Day

It doesn't snow in the Greater Austin Metropolitan Area very often, so when it does, you by-god make your kid get out there and play in it. Actually, he's the one who said, "I wanna go outside and see the snow." So we did.

He stood inside the open garage and watched me quickly make a snow man. He did not want to participate in the process, and he was thoroughly unimpressed with the result:

Finally he decided to try his scooter in the snow, but the cons quickly outweighed the pros, so we went inside:

Then we had this conversation:

"I don't like the snow."

"You don't."


"Why not?"

"Because I don't. It makes me wet."

He watched my sad little snowman from the front window for awhile and soon reported that it fell over. But when we weren't looking, the snowman fairies came and built us another one, which I thought was right neighborly of them:

Friday, February 12, 2010


Last night I got the clear impression that I was watching Thumper's physical abilities develop second by second. In gymnastics, I've been encouraging him to jump. He jumps up and down on the floor, but he won't jump on the trampoline and he won't jump off objects, even low ones.

Last night, though, he dragged a box into the living room and jumped off of it holding my hands. Then he climbed back up and jumped off into my hands. Then he climbed up and jumped off over and over and over, with his Mama and me praising his wonderful jumping skills. Each time, he got a little better at it, first falling on the floor when he landed, then putting his hands to the floor but staying on his feet, and finally sticking the landing.

"I'm a good jumper," he said.

"You are!" we said.

Then he landed badly and turned his ankle. It didn't swell, but he was limping. That's a very sad sight, a two-year-old with a limp.

This morning I asked him, "How's your ankle? Does it still hurt?"

"Just a little bit," he said. "But it doesn't hurt."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Veggie Tales Does Seem Like Sort of a Capitalist Juggernaut, Though

I think back on my ponderings of religion shortly before the boy was born, and it kinda makes me laugh a little now. It's funny that this post got one of my highest comment counts (partly because I commented all over it myself). I pondered and wondered and worried, and now, it turns out that the religious indoctrination of my kid is mostly being handled by animated vegetables with no hands or feet. And despite all my intellectual posturings, I'm pretty much O.K. with that.

An asparagus sings to my son that he need not be afraid of monsters on TV or under his bed or in his closet because "God is bigger than the Boogie Man." That same asparagus also tells him that it's comforting to know that God loves him, even if he forgets to feed his dog, or if he sings off-key. As uncomfortable as I am and have been over religion and religious indoctrination, those seem like pretty good lessons for the boy to absorb, even if they mean little to me personally.

This morning, I thought of that religious discussion at Olive Garden while we watched Silly Little Thing Called Love, which is mostly about God's love, and just had to sort of giggle at myself. One of the many lessons for me in fatherhood is that no matter how I think and plan and worry and anticipate and imagine how things will be, they will be different. Life is unpredictable, and the actual experience does more to shape what will happen than all the thoughts I can think or words I can type or philosophies I can philosophize. So worry as I may have about how I would teach the at-the-time-still-waiting-in-the-wings Thumper about God and religion, our lives together proceed as they will proceed. He has already asked, "What's the Bible?" and he will over time ask about God. And those conversations will proceed as they proceed, more or less independently of whatever imaginary conversations I've already had in my head with him.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hey, Me Too!

Miss Yvonne at Yo Mama's Blog (not your mama's blog) coined a phrase for something I used to do obsessively for more than a handful of years, and still do now and again, sometimes only semi-consciously. Turns out I'm not the only Phantom Typist in the world! Hooray!

I took Typing from an odd, cross-eyed man, whose name I can no longer recall, who had a weird bowl-cut hairstyle. Not to pick on the cross-eyed; that wasn't why he was weird, though it didn't help. Anyway, I was 14. It was the 8th grade. And we used actual IBM Selectric typewriters because I am old. During that semester, and for more years after than I'd care to recall, I "typed" my internal monologue as well as things that other people said to me or that I said to them. I credit this bizarre behavior with transforming me into the incredible typist that I am today.

And I'm not the only one!
Related Posts with Thumbnails