Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Will it really be that bad?

I don't know how accurate this is, but closely following Leone's arrival within our abode, I began to panic about getting him on a schedule.  A feeding schedule, a diaper schedule, a sleeping schedule.  For one reason or another, it seemed to be one of the most important things ever.  A schedule.

Looking back, I'm fairly confident that one of the primary reasons for said schedules was that I was scared out of my mind and thought the only way I could put those fears to rest would be if I had something I could check off.  And a schedule?  Shoot.  I could handle that.  I knew how to be rigid and focused and determined and stubborn.  Also?  I knew how to check things off.

So.  There we were.  Schedules in hand, baby boy who seemed determined to do things his way or the highway.  Threw me through a loop.  A huge, scribble-scrabble loopty-loop.  I remember driving for hours, HOURS, to get him to nap at exactly 1 o'clock in the afternoon.  And thinking that the timer went off fifteen minutes ago for his bottle and why isn't he hungry?  Is he sick?  Is something wrong?  Does the formula taste like shit?  This is exactly why I should pay the million dollars to have breast milk delivered from Denver.  If it was breast milk, he would be eating right now.  I am failing at this!!  My baby is going to hate me, hate us, hate his life!!  Wait.  Now you're hungry?  Oh.  

But no.  It wasn't over at that point.  Because then?  Then I would have to figure out if the schedule should change by twenty minutes, or if I should stick with the original plan.  And then?  Should I wake him up if he sleeps over an hour?  And if he doesn't fall asleep until 1:30, does it make sense for us to keep him awake for an extra 30 minutes before nighttime?  What if he doesn't nap?  Should he go to bed early or will that jack everything up? 

Shit.  I was tired.  Tired with a capital T. Exhausted by my own mind.

Today I rocked my boy to sleep.  We rocked and rocked and rocked.  He cuddled in, stuffed monsters and frogs and flannel blankets crammed into the places our bodies weren't.  At first I worried a bit- will this make it hard for him once school starts up again?  What will it be like when I start teaching again and I'm not there to rock him to sleep?  Will he be extra sad?  Will he not go to sleep?  Am I starting one of those American viewed "bad habits"?  What if I die?  What if I die tonight and I've made him used to rocking to sleep in my arms and then he'll never nap again and he'll be extra, extra sad- and OH GOD- what if I die?!  What will happen if I die?!

Phew.  Ridiculous.

What is it about me that makes me want to prepare for every step in the future, be it immediate or further on?  I know that when it comes to potential grief (through departure from visitors or someone's looming death), I like to begin the sadness way ahead of time.  You know, so it won't be so bad once the real occasion is staring me in the face.

So.  Annoying.

And also?  It doesn't really help out that much.  I'm still sad, I'm still angry, I'm still confused, I'm still whatever the situation calls for, regardless of when I began the process.

So my boy wants to cuddle.  He actually wants to cuddle.  With me.  These are moments- precious, beautiful moments.  And to throw them aside because I'm afraid of what might come?  Ridiculous.  Absolutely stupid.

Like I said, we're doing just fine.  Only thing is, I have to get over these humps within my own head.  And my boy?  He's pretty patient with me.  Patient and funny and demanding and pushy and wonderful and delightful and smart and good and handsome.  And also?  An amazing little cuddle bug when he feels like it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Today at the library Leone grabbed my shirt and declared in his super loud voice to anyone who might be listening:  "MY MOMMY!"

This attachment stuff?  We're making some real nice progress.  Real, real nice progress.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Not that I have any room

It would seem as though I'm not a complete asshole baker.  Not that I have any room for bragging at this point in my baking career, but hold your hats on tight and firm... I made a second batch of the blueberry muffins, dropped them off with a baker down the street who just had a baby, and received word today that they were the best blueberry muffins she has ever had in her life.  Well.  Color me purple and put a bow around my heart.

I followed heed from a commenter a few days ago (couple weeks ago?) and ordered my newest, most favorite, I can hardly believe I was even going to attempt this "Summer of Baking!" without owning it, cookbook.  Oh, the joy I feel in my heart.

That Julia Child.  Sure is a kick in the seat of the pants.

Do you remember that whole bit a while ago regarding my dive into the world of anorexia when I was 12?  Active bulimia when I was 17?  Obviously I've had issues with food and body image for what seems like my entire life- the idea of baking and then eating something made with butter was enough to have me thinking about throwing myself in front of a train.  I can remember my beginning interest in baking- it was enough for me to put my nose right up to the ingredients and sniff away.  That shit actually filled me up.  Smelling something.  Who would have thought?

Anyway, that was all years ago.  I tried baking with my nose, I tried baking with low fat ingredients, I tried ignoring my desire to touch and smell and taste delicious foods.  Thing is, none of the crap worked out so well for me.  It's not like my life was so much better- in fact, it was a struggle.

Last week I was watching Julia Child help put together some muffins, scones, soda bread, and popovers with Marion Cunningham.  And here's the thing- I absolutely squealed in delight when I watched the two of them converse about the one ingredient that caused me more fear for most of my life than anything else- yellow, creamy butter.  Although it won't do it justice, let me give you a brief recap:  Marion was pouring muffin batter into some cups and ever so thoughtfully said, "The thing is, so many of these baked things that are so shy of fat really... well, they really just don't taste good!"  To which Julia said with an emphatic nod of the head, "No, no....  So you end up having to put more butter on them, so you'd be better off having the recipe right in the first place!"

Um, hell ya!  Thank you Marion!  Thank you Julia!  The things I've baked in the past have tasted like shit- and the reason was because I refused to use the fats!  Of course!  The fats!

So even though no one else in this whole entire world could care less about the conversation between Marion and Julia, I felt like I had an epiphany.  As I watched the two of them slather butter on top of their finished muffins, taking extreme delight in the flavors swishing around in their mouths, I thought to myself- no need to go to the extreme over here, but come on... take pleasure in your food.  Taste it.  Smell it.  Touch it.  Indulge.  Do it right the first time

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It only looks like a piece of Heaven

Leone and I went on an adventure yesterday.

What you can't see in the above picture is the way I leapt about ten feet off the ground after I took it due to the sudden impasse of ants up my drawers.  I swear to you, the ground was actually moving.  MOVING!

What you can't see in this picture is the mosquito resting on Leone's forehead.  Nor can you see my immediate reaction of slapping the thing dead... right on my boy's head.  My freaked out responses to insects is something I need to get better at.  Much, much better at.

What you can't see in this picture is my constant glancing about, sure that a bear or a mountain lion was going to spring on us.  What you also can't see is the huge pointy rock laying right beside me just in case that bear or mountain lion were to make themselves known to the left of us, to the right of us, or directly behind us.

What you can't see in this picture is the huge spiny sticker embedded in Leone's thumb.  Nor can you see the ginormous tear quietly making it's way down his right cheek.

What you can see in this picture are my overall feelings associated with a spot I thought was only capable of providing great joy and pleasure.

Nature.  What a crock.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Around the same time as the river "incident"

So you remember this?  A few days later, apparently in the quest to scar our son up in as many ways as possible, we decided to escape the river and drive the car up high, high, high.  To a spot where the only amount of foreseeable water would be teeny creeks running down the mountainside.  And really, those tiny bundles of water wouldn't be much because we had plans on staying in the car.  Just scoping out a possible picnic spot for the weekend.  The entire point of the damn ride was to see if there was still snow, because if that were the case, well.  We would have to figure out someplace else to sit and gorge upon sharp and smoky cheeses, soft yet crunchy breads, crackers with oats all over them, fruit that makes you wipe your chin off immediately, so on and you get the whole idea over here.

We got to the spot, relieved that we could see no snow in front of us, behind us, or to the sides of us.  And now that it was closing in on dinner, we decided it best to head on down.  No touring around on our feet that day.  And... what?  What is that we see?  Perfect.  Two motorcycles.  We can follow them down the Pass, being sure to "ohh" and "ahh" because darnit if Leone isn't drawn to those things as though they were cousins to the roaring river.

We had just really started going when Leone, peering between the front seats for a better view, declared that both riders were wearing their helmets.  "Ohhh, yes, Leone.  Helmets!  So very important to...." And apparently right after that I started swearing (and although I don't recall doing that, I have every reason to believe my tesoro because, damnit.).  Right in front of us, one of the bikers lost control.  He swerved.  He flipped off his bike.  The bike flipped over him.  His body hit the concrete guards on the mountain side.  Dust.  Whirls of dust, brake lights flashing, a body being flung around like a broken puppet.  Things happening that happen when you're going around 50/55 mph down a mountainside.

Leone went silent.  No words.  Nothing.

Tesoro pulled up close, I frantically shouted to the other cyclist that we were going to get help because cell phones didn't work up here, and off we drove until a phone was located and help was called.  By the time we made it back up the Pass, another car had stopped and folks were gently huddled around him.  It took, what, 20 minutes for an ambulance to get there?  Maybe?  Maybe a little less?  Maybe a little more?  And then another 30 minutes before the police officer arrived to grill his friend and my husband and I?  All said and done, maybe right around an hour and a half?  Perhaps two?

All the while, there sat our son in his car seat.  The little boy who doesn't know how to remain still, how to remain quiet, for more than 30 seconds.  But this time?  This time he was quiet.  And when he did speak, he asked what happened.  What happened?  What happened?

The motorcycle fell down baby.  It crashed.  The man is hurt (we had pulled up right alongside him, for the love of God.  Leone's window was open as we watched the man roll around on the Earth in agony, not sure if he was going to live or die).  Sometimes things like this happen.

What happened?  What happened?  What happened?

It's been something like two weeks since we witnessed the accident.  And our boy, our Leone, still asks about it.  Says at random times- a motorcycle crashed.  Sometimes things like this happen.  A motorcycle crashed.

Oh, Leone.  If only we could stop pain and agony and hurt and fear.  If only we could do that for you.  For him.  If only.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The tremendous ache

Right around this time last year I got to introduce my boy to his grandfather.  Their first meeting, our last. 

I have a tremendous ache today.  Absolutely tremendous.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

And just when I almost threw in the towel (again)

If I had the nerve, or rather lack of manners, I would have titled this post "Sons of Bitches."  Instead, I have just the amount of nerve, or rather, amount of manners, to use said phrase in the beginnings of my blog post.  That you just so happen to be reading.  So in turn, you just said "sons of bitches."  Perhaps you read it internally as though you were reading a fact (the period at the end would encourage you to do so)?  This time, however, I want you to read it with some gust-o.  Some frustration.  Some real voice.


There.  Better.  Now you know exactly how and what I was thinking two nights ago as I peeled the lemon bars out of the pan, trying to scratch off the too brown and too crusty corners.  Unintentionally caramelized.  Overcooked.  Underpaid.  Too thick.  Not right.

Sure, everyone ate one.  Which about made me scream and shout and mash each and every jacked up looking bar together in a gigantic blob of lemony scented yellow goo prior to throwing it against the wall just to take some sort of satisfaction in the smacking sound it would  most certainly have to make.  (How's that for internal dialogue, voice, and lack of breathing?)

Let's look back, shall we?  As I had been preparing them, delighted by the fact that the oven was right on par for temperature, I had been trying to come up with just the right words to describe the smells, the texture, the way the lemon zest gently fell into the silver bowl.  I smelled the butter as I mixed it with the, well, I don't remember now what I mixed it with, but I smelled it.  And it made me all kinds of proud and happy and warm and cozy.  I read the recipe card, stoked that I did indeed have all the ingredients even if I didn't have the right pan size, and decided to just go with it.  I mean, really, was it going to matter that I only had an 8 x 8 pan instead of a 9 x 9?  No.  No, no, no.  I would just bake it a bit longer.  Yes, I would make do and it would all be okay.

Obviously I was wrong.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  And even though I had purposefully gone against my willful intent of waiting to bake until I got my new cookbook, I came this close to once again quitting.  Because it sucks to mess up again and again and again.  Like, really sucks.

Tesoro, my lovely tesoro, gently encouraged me through his lemon-scented bites to bake something I knew would work out.  To have a success before getting back to the grind of failure.  Didn't he know that I needed to stop this?  That I needed to become a happy person again?  That even though I could make a good apple pie and batch of cinnamon rolls, I needed to expand myself?  That even though none of this made sense, if I couldn't step up to the challenge I should just get over myself while eating a bag of Doritos and drinking a case of Michelob Ultra (after, of course, the wee one goes to bed)?


So.  Going against his advice, I chose to make a batch of blueberry muffins this morning.  By some grace of God, I managed to figure out the right calculations for the elevation (we're talking 7,500 feet), and got the results I've been waiting for.  Needing.  Hoping.  Seeking.  Relying on occurring so I could smile again.

Check it:

And now, according to tesoro, these are officially outlawed in our house.  Finally, a smile.  Slathered in butter with a hint of purplish blue.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I never thought it would have come to this, a bit edited

I had made up my mind.  I was going to invite her to my house.  Never mind that we had never talked on the phone.  Never mind that we lived hours apart from each other.  Never mind that the only things I knew about her were the things she chose to share on her blog.  On her facebook status updates.  On her public domain.

The day she drove up I felt sick to my stomach.  Every car that went by made my heart leap into my throat, followed closely by a moment of nausea.

Why do I put myself into these moments?  Wasn't it enough getting through high school?  Making new friends in college?  Falling in love, making a commitment to one person to be their forever, buying two cats along with a washer and a dryer?  Building a home?  Becoming a mother?  Wasn't it enough?  Hadn't I experienced enough increased heart palpitations for my lifetime?  Why am I doing this? 

And what if she ended up being mean?  And angry?  What if she stole our forks?  Or way worse, what if she took off with my kid in the middle of the night and disappeared?  What if she was a liar?  If her entire blog was a set up in order to make it to this very moment in which Lifetime movies are modeled after?

What if we didn't like each other?  If her blog was true.  If her facebook status updates were true.  If she was incredible and amazing and generous and beautiful and really, really nice- but we didn't click.  What if she hated me?  What if she thought I was the worst parent, the worst cook, the worst housekeeper, the worst everything?  What then?  Would she write about it on her blog?  Would the world full of people who don't know me, but know me, end up hating me also?  Find out my truth and come to my door with sticks on fire, sharp rakes in their hands?

Nerve-wracking.  Absolutely nerve-wracking.

What ended up happening was that I found myself a soul sister.  A woman who knows how to love, how to share, how to assert oneself, how to listen, how to talk. 

You are amazing.  You are.

I suppose it makes sense.  The truth of the matter is, I've known her for a long time through the grace of Blogland (I've dug her the entire time, by the way!).  And every once in a while, just like this incredible visit, I've received the opportunity to get to know these mysterious faces on a much more personal level.  I've laughed in person with her.  I've hugged this one on a sandy beach.  I got to experience one of her absolutely incredible birthday parties for her boy once upon a time, she helped me organize my life prior to a trip to Ethiopia, and she also stood by my side as I gathered my father's belongings after his death.  This one talked me through many a freak out as I became a new mother (we briefly met in person once, but I fell in love instantly and can't wait to meet her again).  I know this one's true name (can you believe I've read her blog long enough to have known her prior to her use of her super awesome pseudo name?!) .  And I'm going to meet her and her pretty soon.

Truth?  You know me better than a lot of people round these here parts.  And I'm so grateful.  So grateful to share, to learn, to embrace, to congratulate, to cry with.  We are growing and changing and loving and learning.  I would never, never, never had thought that day I wrote my first post announcing to the world that my tesoro and I were infertile... I never would have thought it would come to this.  I had just wanted to say my truth out loud.  To not feel so damn alone in our journey.

Thank you for helping out with that.  It has meant the world.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Waiting for the camera

It's week, what, three? of summer vacation. And as luck would have it, the camera officially bonked. As in, it's no longer working. For real, no kidding, no jokes about it, bonked. The good news? We just ordered a new one yesterday. Point being, pictures should be coming again soon.

In the meantime, you should know that Leone is awesome and has healed completely from the trauma of falling into the river. So much so that yesterday, as we were throwing the 1,659th rock into the river across the street, I was informed to change locations. Apparently, according to the gal who owns the local bed and breakfast, the chances are incredibly high that Leone and I are bound to build a dam. In turn, we will be responsible if the entire town goes under.

Because my boy and I are determined to stand up to The Man, we made it to a neighboring "city" this very morning and purchased a wee little inflatable swimming pool. My hope is that Leone will enjoy causing a ruckus to the point that we will be told by our neighbor that the pool has to go away because the chances are incredibly high that if the ruckus continues, all the wildlife will flee the area. In turn, we will be responsible for ruining the charm of a little mountain village and the creatures that inhabit it.

Wish us luck.

Sidenote one:

I got an oven thermometer this morning and ordered Baking with Julia last night.  I'm also anxiously awaiting this series to come my direction care of our local library.  Oh yes, things are about to get crazy in these here parts, what with the pool, the rocks, and Julia.

Sidenote two:

Speaking of ordering books a few sentences back... have you ever ordered books off this site?  It's super awesome and you can get incredible deals. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

I was thinking about going all Julie and Julia

Yep.  It's true.  My plan, this summer, was to go through a baking cookbook.  Or at least begin to go through a baking cookbook.  I was going to mother my boy during the day, write papers for graduate school during naptime, and then bake some new concoction in the evening.  My grand plans also included, but were not limited to: a weight loss of 10 more pounds, finding and buying a new wardrobe, pulling out the sewing machine, becoming crafty with felt, and taking up jogging (although the jury was definitely still out on that one considering that I really didn't want to start that madness up again).

Things got moving and shaking that first week.  I made a peanut butter cream pie from this book, but got super pissed at the process of figuring out when in the hell the damn pie was baked all the way through.  The truth is, I know how to do an apple pie.  I get that.  So I figured, this one is going to be easy peasy.  I've never had to worry about the crust getting too brown, I've always been somewhat satisfied with the insides.  And I'm working with peanut butter.  Seriously.  Can't be that hard.

The news of the hour was that the innards, although showing me they weren't completely baked through based on the knife jabbed in their middle, seemed to be overcooked.  And the crust?  Brown.  Too brown.

Bridget and Tesoro claimed it turned out great, but really.  I know.  I know they were just trying to be friendly.  The damn thing was chewy.  And the crust tasted dry.

Because I knew this was all about learning (The Summer of Baking!), I decided to go for a different pie yesterday.  One still using only a solo crust, one still ending up with a creamy middle, one from the same cute as heck sounding cookbook.  And for this one, well, for this one I decided to say "screw the knife trick!  As soon as the crust resembles the ones you make at Thanksgiving, pull the sucker out!"  Ends up that was the wrong choice.  Oh, Checkered Lemon Pie... you had the potential for being so dang good.

This time Tesoro was my only guinea pig, and boy did he try his best to convince me that it was good.  But seriously.  The insides were goo.  To the point that I got borderline (perhaps a wee bit more than that) pissed off at him.  "Tesoro!" I shouted, "Stop eating the damn pie!  It tastes like SHIT!  It's not even cooked all the way!  STOP EATING IT!  It has raw eggs, you're going to die, and I'll be the one to blame!"

As I scraped the remainder into the sink, smelling its lemony potential as it went down the drain, I decided to quit my Summer of Baking.  F this.  I'm a better baker than I'm showing myself to be.  Stupid cream pies.  Who even eats cream pies?  I don't need to do this.  Stick with the apple pie.  All you're doing is getting frustrated and angry.  Wait, maybe you shouldn't bake anymore.  Maybe you do suck at this.  IDIOT BAKER!  (yes, I have real nice self-talk)

A day later I've reconsidered.  I think it's the cookbook.  Maybe it's the oven?  Maybe it's because I don't have enough kitchen gadgetry

Anyway.  You'll be glad to know I'm not giving up.  No, no.  Instead I'm switching gears.  Going to make some changes.  Going to clear the baking air. 

I'm going for it.  And you?  You'll get to hear all about it.  Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Love: The Basics

by Kathleen Lynch

Start with something harmless--
a stone perhaps.  Choose one
large enough to sit on, one so heavy
it cannot get up and hit you of its own accord.
After that try loving a leaf--
preferably one lying nearby,
preferably a dead one.  Do not taste it.
Next: something with a rudimentary
brain--an insect, or the spider on your shoe.
This is where it gets tricky.  The most beautiful
are often toxic and their interest in you
is minimal.  When you turn to mammals
hunger becomes an issue.
You can even open yourself
to another of your species, with a brain
and body like yours, capable of anything.
But if you are afraid, stay
with the rock.  Remember though--
it will not feed you,
or speak, or answer.

Words can't even describe how glad I am that I chose to not be afraid.
11 years.  Of being his.  Of his being mine. 
Happy Anniversary, tesoro.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The event that shouldn't have happened

I wanted to wait until I got a picture of the exact place, but the thing is, the camera won't work.  I've tried cursing at it, I've tried holding it gently in my hands, I've tried knocking it against the ground.  No matter what magic trick I have tried, the damn thing won't work.

Two days ago my boy, my kid who digs all kinds of adventures except for those with people he is unfamiliar with, fell off the pedestrian bridge and into the river.  The river that is raging.  The river that has taken down parts of two different roads nearby (one upstream and one downstream) and has come three winks shy of flooding the main drag since the weather warmed up. 

Oh!  Here's a quick shot (seriously the moment was an "Oh!"  I just remembered this photo from once upon a time and got all kinds of excited).  This picture was taken years ago (not so many years ago, I suppose)- but you can get an idea.  All of the green stuff there in the background down low?  It's all under water right now.  And my boy?  My Leone?  He dropped off the edge of the earth right where the concrete is gray colored.  It's a good 4 to 5 feet spill, then add a few more feet of tumbling to get down into the river.

The thing is, I'm super careful with this little fella.  He wants to tromp all over the land and doesn't think anything will happen, but come on.  We need some limits.  And this one?  This time?  I had just told him that he had one minute until we went home for lunch.  One minute.  And I don't care if you end up following through with that twinkle in your eye and try rushing over that bridge- it's one minute.  Oh- you're going to do it, are you?  Well I'm a-coming!  That's right!  I'm gonna get you!

And there he was.  Bolting along the handrail, climbing up the steps as quick as could be.  And instead of staying on the river side where he was, I went on the bridge side.  Because he was going to make it to the bridge and was going to run until he made it to the far side... and the far side?  It's way worse than this side.  So I moved.  I moved and I shook.  But right before I got there, right before I grabbed his hand, he went over.  He went over.  And his eyes changed shape.  And his mouth opened wide.  And I moved like I had never moved before, making it to the handrail right as he started rolling down towards the river.

The river.  Fuck.  The river.  The raging river.  Please God, please Mary, please angels and saints and all those I love who have died before me... please, please, PLEASE let my boy not get caught in the current.  Fuck.  PLEASE.

And before I knew it, he was in there.  Covered up in water to his neck.  About a foot from the rushing, raging, pissed off current.

I don't know how it happened, but right then I was in the water, every part of me soaking wet, scooping my scared-out-of-his-mind boy out of the river.

You're safe now, you're safe, you're okay, you're safe.  Baby.  Baby.  Thank you, thank you, thank you....  Baby.  You're safe.

We walked home, pants dripping, shirts dripping, eyes dripping.  I just held him against me, holding out his arms, his legs, searching for the wounds I was sure to find from the rocks his body raked over, telling him that he was safe.  He was safe.  He was safe.

Not one scratch.  Not one broken arm.  Not a bruise.  Just a wee boy and his mama, holding tight to each other and trying to not think about what almost just happened.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

The neighbor

There's a little girl next door... well, maybe not so little.  She's going to be in sixth grade next year.  Anyway.  She's there.  Next door.  She has a lot of thoughts, a lot of opinions, seems pretty damn smart, very confident, and, oh- also?  She disregards boundaries.  But maybe that's my fault because I haven't just right out told her I don't want to hang out each and every time my boy and I go outside.  I keep thinking she might get the hint, but seriously.  It's not working.

Anyway, this post isn't about my being a bitch and not wanting to chill with a sixth grader all summer long... it's more about the conversations she and I have almost every time we join up on the boulevard.  Or more about the things she has to say and how I don't know how to respond.

A few months ago, when she first shook my hand and tousled my boy's hair, she made the comment about not having ever met an African American before.  She shared the different places she's been, places which I am sure she has encountered folks that have a skin color different than her own, and insisted that she had never seen skin that was brown.  Or black.  Or different.  From her own.

The next time we met up (or maybe the time after that?  It really doesn't matter), she said she was fairly sure Leone knew how to eat from a plate because he was from Africa.

The following time (or whenever) she wanted to know if he would have an accent when he started speaking more.  Or if he was so cute because he didn't come from around here.  Or that he liked spaghetti because he was adopted.

I know, I know, I know... she's curious.  She's drawn to our family, she wants to know more, she's learning about people and differences and sameness- and the good Lord knows she wants to babysit (for $15 an hour!  What a deal!).  But the truth is, I find myself struggling.  I hate that each time we get together, she wants to point something out about my kid.  Something she has decided no one else does (doesn't every God fearing two year old like spaghetti?), and that the only explanation for why he does it is because he doesn't physically match his Papa and me.

This isn't about the sixth grader.  It's about my trying to figure out how to respond to generalizing.  To other people's ideas and thoughts pertaining to my kid.  Do I tip-toe ("Well, sweetheart, the reason Leone eats spaghetti from a plate isn't because he's from Africa... it's because he's two and is learning his manners") or do I state the obvious ("Listen, kid.  Leone eats spaghetti from a plate because that's what we expect him to do.  And just because he's adopted doesn't make him some alien that you need to discover and explore.  Now leave us the hell alone!").

Truth is, I tend to tip-toe.  Truth is, it doesn't seem to matter much.  And pretty soon, pretty soon my boy is going to comprehend what this chick-a-dee (and others like her) are wondering about.  Chances are high the questions and explanations that we are getting now will quiet themselves, but there will be others.  There will be others, and they will be more obvious.  And more pointed.

And well, the thing is, I'm thinking I need to figure out what I'm going to say and do when those words and looks and glances and exchanges come our way.  For him.  For me.  For all of us.