Thursday, September 29, 2011

What is he?

So, I was sitting at the park holding the handsome little man you see here.  Lexi was off playing with some friends.  I was singing Jayvan some little songs (his favorite is Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes), when a woman walks up to me and says, "What is he?"

This took me by surprise and I didn't even have time to respond before she clarified, "What is he? Obviously half White and half . . . ?"

I looked up at her and answered, "Black."

She then went into a whole spiel about how she "knew it" but his hair threw her off because it looks like Mexican or Indian hair, but his nose looks Black, so she "knew it."

Then, Lexi ran up to us, and (as she often does) kissed Jayvan's cheeks and exclaimed, "I love my baby brother."

The woman looked a bit confused, so I'm sure her mind was going a mile-a-minute placing together some scenario where I was with two different men and now had two children of different races, but I was wearing a wedding ring, so I must be married to a Black man now.  I chose not to engage in conversation with her and she moved on, chasing after her own two boys.

I tried to let it go, but this conversations bothered me.  If she had approached me and asked what his ethnicity/race is, then I don't think it would have bothered me in the least.  I've been asked this question many times before. I am proud of my son's heritage, and (even though it is a bit intrusive) I have no problem telling people that he is half Caucasian and half Black.  He is.  However, I was asked "What is he?"  He is so many things:

  • My son (and Matt's son of course)
  • A beautiful child of God
  • Lexi's brother
  • B & R's birthson
  • K & L's birth brother
  • A baby
  • A boy
  • A person
  • A human being
  • A grandson, nephew, cousin, great grandson, etc.
  • An amazing blessing to us all

What is he?  Please, for the love of all things, never ask someone, "What is he?"  Would you walk up to an adult and ask, "What are you?"  Well, maybe this particular woman would. Who knows.

When we met Matt for dinner I told him about the encounter, and he said I should have just replied, "A baby" to the first question and stared at her blankly.  I really don't want to be rude to people, yet she was rude in asking the question in the first place.

As we prepared for the adoption process I read a lot and realized that by adopting a child outside of our race, we in a sense would have to become adoption advocates as well as advocates for our child.  So I thought to myself, if I hadn't answered this question with "Black" am I somehow showing my son that I am not proud of who he is?  Of course, he is obviously too young to understand that at 2.5 months old, but it is quite possible that we will have questions like this when he is older.  He may have to field these questions himself, so I need to set a strong foundation for him.

I discussed this situation with some friends (both on-line and in real life), and the suggestions for responses varied greatly.  Some of the suggested responses to "What is he?" are:
  • Why do you ask?
  • That's in inappropriate question? Are you always so rude?
  • Martian
  • My son
  • Human. What are you?
  • What are you? Part rude, part what?
  • A baby
  • How is that any of your business?
  • That is private.
  • I really don't know.  That was one crazy night. Ha!
  • We don't really know.  We were really surprised when he was born.  It must run on my husband's side of the family.
  • Why do you ask? Are you taking a census?
  • It's a secret family recipe.
  • He is a beautiful child of God, just like you.
Obviously those responses run the gambit of  meeting rude with rude, funny, honest, aloof, etc.  I'm still not entirely sure how I will respond if we get the question again.  I imagine it will depend a lot on my mood at the time.  For now, I will go on enjoying and loving my son for everything that HE IS.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hot Air Balloon Sightings

One of the fun things about living in our area is the frequent opportunity to spot some hot air balloons.  You'll see kids and adult alike staring up at the sky admiring the peaceful beauty of the hot air balloons.  When Lexi is old enough, I would love to take her on a balloon ride.  Matt and I went on one on our honeymoon, and while we had a minor crash, I wouldn't trade the experience.

 Here are just a few photos of some balloons from this week.  

Sleeping Baby Boy

He seems to change more everyday.  His cheeks get more kissable.  His expressions become more full of emotion.  His hair gets longer and curlier. He "talks" more and more. Our love for him grows.

A Beautiful Fall Day

Today was a gorgeous Fall day.  Lexi and I decided to ride bikes to the playground.  Our neighbor girl came along.

The girls made bouquets for their moms.  Awe.

I love this photo of Lexi swinging.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Backyard Camp-Out & Pancake Breakfast

One of the things I love about our neighborhood is the many traditions that we have started.  The new tradition (if you can call it that the first year) is a Backyard Camp-Out, followed by a fishing tournament and pancake breakfast.  We borrowed a projector from Papa Bo and invited the neighbors over for s'mores and a movie (or two).  The kids agreed on Robots and Tangled for the movie choices.  Nana, Audrey & Josh joined us later in the night too.

 It got a little chilly, so Jayvan and I headed into the house while Matt and Lexi camped outside all night.
 In the morning we headed to the pancake breakfast up by the pool.
While we chose not to participate in the fishing tournament this year, it seemed like a lot of fun.  Maybe next year.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Adoptive Breastfeeding

As we were preparing for baby Jayvan, I wrote a couple posts about my journey into relactation.  My hope had been that I would get a full supply and I would have a wonderful breastfeeding relationship with my son.  Only half of my hopes came true, and I am happy with that.  I have experimented with a few different herbs and medication and I've secretly hoped that some new herb will magically boost my supply to be all that my baby needs.  That hasn't happened and I have resolved to be happy with the supply that I have thus far.  I'm currently on a regimen of Domper-M, Shatavari, and Gaia Lactate support.  I'm also eating lots of oatmeal and drinking lots of water.

Anyway- I know some people had wondered what Jayvan's Birthmother thought about me breastfeeding.  I thought I would share a bit about that.  I wasn't quite sure how/if I would bring it up with her.  I didn't want to freak her out, because adoptive breastfeeding does not seem to be a common thing. When we were in the hospital with Jayvan, B (Jayvan's Birthmom), said, "I'm really sad that Jayvan won't be able to be breastfed.  I know that is what is really best for babies." 

That was my perfect opportunity to say, "Well, I have actually done a lot of research and have found a lot of herbs and a medication that can induce lactation, so that I can breastfeed him."  She thought that was really great and any awkwardness that I was concerned about was a complete non-issue.  I started nursing him in the hospital and continued to do so while we were in Virginia (and back home of course).   We were supplementing with bottles and I know that it meant a lot to B that she was able to feed Jayvan as well.  She would also joke that her breasts would tell her when it was time for him to eat.

Jayvan took to the breast much easier than Lexi did, but maybe that is because I had a little practice with Lexi as a baby.  I remember calling the lactation consultant crying, because Lexi took her sweet time getting used to nursing.  In the end though, we had a wonderful breastfeeding relationship and now I'm blessed with another baby to nourish.

We tried using a lact-aid (a supplementer with a tube that you hold or tape to the breast), but Jayvan kept spitting it out and it made breastfeeding much more stressful for us.  We have settled into a groove of breastfeeding first and then supplementing with a bottle.  I am so thankful for the wonderful bond this is giving us and the wonderful nutrition I know he is getting.  I feel so blessed to be able to have this relationship with my son.

Monday, September 12, 2011

How do you remember?

This morning Lexi asked if I wanted to hear her Months-of-the-Year song.  Of course I did.  So she sang it wonderfully.  Then she asked, "Do you know how I remember the months so well?"

"Well, I guess because they are in a song and that makes it easier to remember."

She replied, "No Mom.  I remember them in my brain."


She went on to say that Mrs. Richardson (her teacher) also remembers things because they are in her brain.

Good to know.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday to Aiden

We went out to The Farm for Aiden's 5th birthday party. The Farm is the home that my grandpa built and now some of my family live there.  I have so many fond childhood memories of that place.  We used to go down every other weekend and go fishing, have bonfires, ride horses, play games, and sit outside until the sun set.

 Each time we go out there, we try to drive by our old house.  This is the first house that Matt and I bought together.  We lived there for about three years.  Lexi was born while we lived there.  She took her first steps there.  We have a lot of fond memories there too.  It looks like the new owners are taking good care of the place.
 The Farm has changed a lot now.  Lexi loves playing on the swing set.

 Jayvan got to make his first trip out there and he seemed to always be looking up at the sky.  I wonder if he can see something that we can't.

 My cousin set up a treasure hunt for the kids and when they found the treasure box it was full of fake money and bling.  Jayvan got his first bling ring.
 Here are my cousin Jessie, her dad (Uncle Steve) and the birthday boy (Aiden).
 Fake mustaches were part of the goody bags and this just had to be done:

We ended the night with a four generation photo.

Happy Birthday to Aiden!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Two Months Old

Jayvan is two months old today.  It's hard to believe it has been that long now.

He is cooing, smiling, and grabbing anything that is in his reach.  He continues to be loved by everyone who meets him.

He is also attempting to sit up (with back support) for a few moments.

And then he gets tired and topples over.

When I kiss him, I give him an extra kiss from his birthmom.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Day In the Woods

A Rainy Day Production
Directed by Lexi & Mom

Our audience consisted of Daddy and Jayvan

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Star of the week

Lexi was the star of the week in her classroom. 
On Monday she took in all of the pictures and information about her favorites.  She said she wants to be a ballerina when she grows up.  I told her that she should probably go back to dance class if she wants to be a ballerina.  She said, "Nevermind.  I'll just be a doctor."
On Tuesday she took her favorite book to share with the class. She chose Inside Your Outside. She said that none of her friends had read it before and they really liked it.
On Wednesday she got to take her favorite stuffed animal, which was her ladybug pillow pet.
On Thursday she got to sit at the teacher's desk during morning activity.
On Friday she got to bring something for show and tell.  She chose her brother. Awe...

A Night at the Races

When I was a Lexi's age (don't a lot of parental stories start this way?), I grew up going to the dirt track races pretty much every weekend in the summer.  I can't say that it was ever my favorite thing to do, but my dad raced frequently, so we went and watched.  My dad hasn't raced in many years (we were thinking 18 years), but a friend of his started renting out hobby stock cars.  So, my dad rented the car and we all drove out to Butler, MO to support him. Matt stayed home with Jayvan, because the dirt and noise aren't exactly baby-friendly.

 Can you tell that my dad was giddy with excitement?
 Lexi is doing the exact thing that I did at many races back in the day (wow, I sound old): playing with her cars.  Of course, I typically was playing in the dirt and she's playing on metal stands.
Here he is with his big winnings ($20).

I am so glad that my dad got the opportunity to race again.  I know he had a blast.  We got home really late (or really early depending on how you look at it), and I had to shower all the dirt off before we climbed into bed.