Thursday, July 28, 2011

The big question

What exactly makes someone your sibling? Is sharing a womb required? Shouldn't it be about growing up in the same household? I am often asked (usually by the older generation) if my boys are brothers. I'm sure that what they want to know is if they were born from the same woman. But they never come out and ask that, and the answer to their direct question is yes. They are brothers. They live in the same household, have the same mother and father and torture each other as only brothers can. Yesterday at the grocery store an elderly man started following me around the produce section, waving at my boys who were happily driving the car at the front of our cart. As I was checking out the potatoes he began talking to them, encouraging them to honk their steering wheel horns and asking them how old they were. Then he looked at me and said, "Are they brothers?" "Yes." I replied simply. Because they are. Moments later his wife appeared and asked the very same question. "Oh how nice" was her response. To someone paying attention, my children do not look like each other AT ALL. They have completely different skin tones, facial features and body types. But that is not the point. Why should their biological origin matter to strangers? And if they really want to know, these strangers should just come out and ask. If someone said, "Do they share the same birth parents?" then I would respond with a polite no. But older folks don't talk that way. I know that is what they want to know, but unless the question is made obvious I don't respond with specifics.
This past weekend we were approached by an older couple while at lunch (once again it was the man who came over to the table first & I often wonder in the back of my mind if that is because these men served in Korea - I once had a guy at the library start talking to my son in Korean). The man said that our boys were very cute and observed that they do not look alike. I responded that they were not biologically related. He said, "Oh I know." Which left me a little perplexed. My husband thought perhaps the man meant to point out that our sons do not look like us, but I clearly heard him say, "They do not look alike" not, "They do not look like you". Once again the wife joined in on the cooing and I was left with another thought. Does the general population of parents have strangers regularly approach them, commenting on the cuteness of their children and asking mildly invasive questions? Or is this unique to those with racially diverse families? I always try to be polite and educate those who seek to know more about adoption. Both of my children love attention and will generally put on a show for strangers, but I wonder if it will bother them some day. Knowing Paul, I imagine when people ask him if John is his brother he will respond with a resounding Yes. No, I mean is he your brother? YES! He is the one who steals my toys, divides mom's attention and worships me. He drives me crazy but I love him fiercely. He is my BROTHER.
Enough said.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A love affair with cake

John loves cake. I mean he REALLY loves cake. Loves to shove it into his mouth so fast that he often wears most of the frosting on his face. Which makes for quality entertainment when we go to birthday parties. In May we attended a superhero party for a friend's son and John made quick work of the frosting laden cupcake. My friend took oodles of pics while nearby family members had a hearty chuckle. At another party in June, after devouring the cupcake, John gave his best "cheeeeeeese" face to an amused audience complete with blue frosting goatee. There is no denying that I feed into (no pun intended) John's love of cake. For his birthday I designed a choo-choo train cake complete with blue frosting and a wide range of candies (which the party goers devoured in seconds). It thrilled my youngest who is, as most two year old boys, obsessed with Thomas. (The cake is actually a replica of Edward as he is the #2 engine.) Not only did it earn points for coolness, it also tasted pretty darn good. John approved. And devoured every last bite.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Update on the van clan

Deep apologies to the handful of faithful followers... it has been two months since my last confession, I mean blog post. A few significant updates:

  • John turned two. His choo-choo train cake was... wait for it... LEGENDARY. The party was fun and he enjoyed being the center of attention. He continues to talk up a storm and there is rarely silence in the van. "Big truck. Mommy, big truck! Big truck going? Paul, big truck. See? Big truck. Paul!! Mommy!! Big Truck!!! See? See?" You get the idea. I felt bad for the poor man sitting next to us on a recent bus trip out of NYC. John narrated the entire event. "Bus ride. Tunnel. Bus tunnel. Mommy? Bus go? Bus go tunnel? Big tunnel." etcetera..

  • My six month maternity position came to an end and June was wrought with worry and stress. Thankfully another teacher is due in August, and after an intense interview on the second to last day of school I was able to secure employment for a few more months. I will be teaching English this time around and am very excited to try something new and to be able to stay in the same building. Hopefully things will begin to slope upwards in education and I can secure something permanent in 2012. For now I am happy to continue doing what I love in somewhat continuous spurts.

  • The van family of four took our first vacation. Nothing major - a trip to the Jersey Shore and NYC. It was a lot of fun, but a bit too screaming hot for my taste. Paul chose the venue in part after learning about the huge toy stores in the City. After spending time on/near the beach for a few days we ventured up to the City to spend an entire day in giant toy stores and decided we were not coming back to the City until the boys were completely over the whole stroller thing. Poor hubby had to push 70+ pounds around in 95 degree heat. (I tried to help but kept getting stuck on the curbs and lacked the enthusiasm to bust through large crowds of people and roll over their toes if they refused to make a path for us.) The one advantage was our "rock star" arrival at Hard Rock Cafe: We were escorted down the elevator, bypassed all the other people waiting in line and got a spot at the bar right away. Sweet.

  • Paul has been on the mad race to grow up way too fast. He is now nearly able to ride a bike without training wheels (still needs help getting started) and will soon be swimming unassisted. He starts Kindergarten in the fall and appears very ready to fly the nest. More on all of that in later posts.

  • No major projects on the house recently - hubby is waiting for me to take the kids somewhere for a few days so he can tackle our bathroom. In the meantime he has been fixing up things here and there and we have been trying to continue the outdoor beautification. The garden is struggling but I refuse to stray off the organic path no matter how many hours I need to invest pulling out weeds.

You are now up to speed with our happy little lives. Provided I can keep the children occupied with cereal and television, I promise to post more exciting adventures and witty opinions in the near future.