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Showing posts from November, 2013

Another milestone reached and I'm grateful for the reminder

One of the hardest things about adopting, at least for me, was the visitation process.  I understand why it exists, especially with older kids. Everyone needs to time to adjust to the idea that they're about to become a family. But dropping The Kid off at her foster family's house after a visit was always a heart-wrenching experience for me.

Today marks one year since the day The Kid went home with us to stay.

365 days ago, we transitioned into a phase where we given the power of attorney to a child of the State of Michigan. We literally had papers we needed to carry with us everywhere to prove we could sign for her care.

It sounds so cold when I think of it in those terms, which is in stark contrast to the memories I have of that season. We picked her up that night from her foster family, tears were shed all the way around because it was a big transition for all of us. The next day Gladys came down with the flu, I battled a sinus infection and The Kid felt fine.

I remember f…

30 days of thankfulness in one post

It seems that I know several people who have made it a point to devote a status update on The Facebook to something they are grateful for everyday in November. I admire those friends, because I know I don't spend enough time expressing my gratitude or thankfulness. And, while I do have a lot to be thankful for, I don't want to try cramming it all on The Facebook in the last few days of November. For the curious, here's my list of 30 things I'm thankful for this November, in no particular order.

Maple syrup. I don't know how people can live without the stuff.The love and understanding of my wife. I can be a prickly person to live with, but she is always in my corner and I take a lot of comfort in that knowledge. My daughter. In case you're wondering why, keep reading my blog. Detroit. Sometimes I feel battered by the city, other times I'm hopelessly in love with the place. As infuriating as the city can be, it has given me a place to call home while I grew a…

I think I've been watching too much children's television

I'm a television addict. As much as I try to turn off the TV and walk away, I frequently find myself reaching for the remote so I can watch a little more HGTV or Headline News. Unless baseball is in season, than I'm almost exclusively a Fox Sports Detroit/MLB TV kinda guy.

That is until The Kid came along. We didn't want to fill her head with a bunch of junk, but we couldn't seem to get through most days without the glowing box shining brightly in our living room. So we started with Baby First TV, which gave us the scintillating shows Harry the Bunny, Fred and Fiona, and VocabuLARRY. We have since transitioned into harder core toddler television. Now our days start with Little Bill and end with Wibbly Pig.

And here's my dirty little secret, I like these shows. Little Bill is smartly written, and we nicknamed The Kid's great grandmother after Little Bill's grandmother, Alice The Great. I like the little Spanish lessons Nina sprinkles into the Good Night Sh…

The Kid and aquariums: A match made in heaven

One weekend several months ago, The Kid and I visited the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle in Detroit. It was a fun way to kill a few hours, and afterward, she was still brimming with energy so we walked toward the botanical gardens. As we crossed the bridge by the Belle Isle Aquarium, we found that it was open and free to the public that Saturday.

That's when I discovered my daughter's love of aquariums. Since I moved to the city some 13 years ago, I'd been in the aquarium a handful of times. It was always pleasant, but sparse compared to modern standard. It's reincarnation was made possible by the Belle Isle Conservancy, and they've done an excellent job with a shoestring budget to reopen the facility.

The Kid was mesmerized. Even with her energy waining, she sat in my arms fixated on every display. When I would walk away from a tank, she would sob until we walked back. Needless to say, I received a healthy upper-body workout from lifting her high enough …

An apology to my colleagues or I really want to make parenting a toddler sound appealing

Whenever we start talking about kids in the office, a few of us parents automatically devolve to the grossest thing our kid did recently or look up from our fifth cup of coffee in a bleary-eyed state long enough to announce that we're exhausted by yet another night of teething. This leads to several comments like:
"And that's why I have cats.""You really make parenting sound appealing. NOT!""People want to be parents, why?" I get it. It's natural for parents to commiserate with fellow parents, even when they're children are much older than yours, because they get it. They get why you're excited over a sale on Pull-Ups, they laugh at your tales of trying to properly dispose of the shrapnel left by explosive bowel movements while nodding acknowledgement, they help console you during the third week of Stage 4 teething. You can share without guilt because you know they understand.
Sadly, those without children that are within earshot, ofte…

Enjoying a once-a-year treat at the Detroit Institute of Arts

One of the things I appreciate most about living near downtown Detroit is our proximity to the arts, specifically to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Gladys and I have always enjoyed taking a spontaneous trip to the museum, and we're finding The Kid likes it too. In fact, our favorite nights to go now are Fridays because they always have plenty of activities each of us enjoy happening throughout the DIA.

After work last Friday, I picked The Kid up from daycare and we headed straight for the DIA for a "papa/daughter" date as we waited for Gladys to come home from a work trip. After crushing some Mac and Cheese (The Kid's current favorite meal), we headed through the American Art section after finding the hall leading to Rivera Court closed. Apparently, this was the night before the big DIA gala and crews were busy setting up for the event.

Rivera Court was closed too, which was going to be a huge disappointment. After I read several signs to The Kid about the art in a fe…

Nursery rhymes are creepy and disturbing

I've been ruminating on this for a while, especially after learning about the alleged plague interpretation of the history behind Ring Around the Rosie. I stopped singing Rock-a-bye Baby to The Kid because when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall and who really wants to teach their kids that they're going to fall out of a tree while they are sleeping?

Some have proposed the inspiration of Three Blind Mice was Queen Mary I of England, otherwise known as Bloody Mary. While scholars at Rutgers note that it is possible this nursery rhyme was rooted in the politics of the time, there is no definitive proof of her having three political adversaries dismembered in any fashion.

Regardless, who really wants to teach their kids to sing about dismembering rodents? Isn't there something more positive we can sing to our kids?

When you start singing Humpty Dumpty, don't you picture an egg? That is a thoroughly modern interpretation of this particular ditty, with historians deba…

Maybe it's time to start rethinking a few of my own biases

I met the boyfriend of someone very close to me today. He wanted to make a good first impression, and luckily, he decided the best way to do that was just to be himself. As soon as most men in his position start trying to be impressive, they put on a false front and lose me. My grandfather used to say you can't bullshit a bullshitter, and I learned to be patient while learning from him not to accept bullshit.

Anyway, midway through lunch, this young man impressed me most when he told Gladys and I how much he admired us for adopting. Usually, when I hear this, I cringe because it's usually followed by a comment about how "those kids" need a good family to bring them up right. 
Admittedly, I interpret the phrase "those kids" as "those brown kids" when it's white folk who say that to me, because there is always the wink and nod that is supposed to convey understanding among pale people. That wink and nod usually tell me that the only way kids ar…