Friday, April 2, 2010

Cutie Patootie...

Had to post these - she's so darn cute!

On another note - last weekend we all flew to California to finalize R's adoption. So, after years and years - it's all done!! We're are now officially, completely, legally R's parents! We also got to see R's birthmother and sister while we are there. SOOO great seeing them. I'll post more about the finalization and our visit later.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First Tooth

R's first tooth has made it's appearance in the world. It's in the middle of her lower gum, and it's razor sharp. I'm full of mixed emotions. It's an exciting, scary, sad, and happy event. We're thrilled that she managed to push out her first tooth with little to no fussing. She's been drooling a lot, but as earlier posts have discussed she's been drooling heavily for the last 4 months or so. Besides drooling, and the occasional red cheek or two, you wouldn't have any idea that she was cutting a tooth. We're so proud of her - it seems like a milestone. But, while everyone is excited I'm also scared because (beyond the fact that this means she's growing up faster then my mind can handle) it also means that she now - officially - is armed and dangerous. I've had dreams since we started the adoption process about our child being a biter - now I get to see if any of them will come true. Fingers crossed please!

We hope to have a picture in the near future. The tooth is a little illusive. She has to smile just the right way (which can be difficult to capture with the camera), or she we need to pry open her lips. The later option is a) difficult to do at the same time you take a picture, and b) doesn't usually end up making a good picture - oddly enough, just like you and I, R doesn't really like it when people try and pry open her lips without her permission. So, picture to come... not sure when, but some day I'll get it!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 15, 2010

We've got a date!!!

It's with great pleasure that I announce that we've got a date to finalize R's adoption! Time certainly does fly. It's amazing that after all this time (4+ years) the adoption process is coming to an end for us. That isn't to suggest that "adoption" is leaving our lives - it's not, and that's a good thing. Adoption, specifically open adoption, is the miracle by which R and R's birth family came into our lives. Adoption is a daily discussion in our household, and I don't see that coming to an end any time soon - or for that matter, ever. What I do see coming to an end is the piles of paperwork, and visitors to our household to confirm that we were, at first, going to be good parents, and most recently are good parents. They were great folks - and hopefully some of them will stay in touch - but it will be nice not to have to "report" to them anymore.

So, come the end of this month all three of us will fly across the country to appear before the court and get the last signature(s) we'll ever need to legally make R ours forever. It's a strange feeling. Certainly, we've known R was our child for months before she was born, and this paper work finalization won't change in anyway how we feel about her (or her birth family), but after having been in the process for so long it's strange to think of ourselves as done. I'm sure for months afterward I'll just randomly complete forms and mail them to our adoption agency just for old times sake. :)

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell... why all parents should hate it.

I don't usually use this blog or our other blog to talk about politics or - more specifically - gay rights. So, some of you might wonder why it is that I'm now writing (or rather ranting) this blog about my thoughts on the US military's policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. First, if your not familiar with DADT you can read about it HERE. Although DADT is a LGBT issue of equality, as a parent I find it a deplorable policy for another reason. DADT teaches shame... to everyone. I think most parents want their children to grow up being strong, confident people. I think most parents want their children to be individuals, who think for themselves and stand up for what they believe in. So, my dear blog friends, what kind of message does it send to the children of our great country when one of it's largest institutions has a policy that tells people that they have to hide who they are or they will be fired??? Don't be different then the majority - it's bad. Is that really the message we want to send to our children? Don't get me wrong, I know that there are potential challenges (both legal and emotional) with having out men and women serving in our armed forces. But, do we really want to teach our children that instead of excepting people for who they are, we should just tell them to hide their uniqueness so that it doesn't interfere? Should we suggest that when faced with the challenge of integrating "different" people, we shouldn't face that challenge and instead we should just tell them to hide or get out? When the going get's tough, the tough run away?

So - call your elected officials! Tell them that as a parent you believe that DADT teaches children that it's okay to be forced into hiding who they are (whatever that may end up being). Tell them that you want your children to be proud of who they are, and that it's not appropriate for our armed services to be setting such a bad example for our future leaders. Tell them to take action now!

Okay - I'm done with my rant. Thanks for reading. :)


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

First food... first cold.

I'm very happy to report that R has begun the process to educate her pallet.. she has started eating rice cereal. For those of you that don't know, rice cereal is essentially rice that has been pulverized to a fine, flat, dust. You mix it with formula and it forms a sort of white paste. In fact, I'm fairly certain that in a bind you could use it as a glue.

Riley was initially a little bit apprehensive about eating anything other than formula. After all, formula has been her sole form of sustenance, and if your lucky enough to have watched her eyes light up as the bottle approaches you'd realize that her pension for formula is nothing less than a hard core addiction (her eyes glaze over, and if for any reason you don't get the bottle to her mouth in short order she will actually start to shake!). Her introduction to rice cereal was also compounded by the fact that it was also her first introduction to a spoon. Luckily, she believes that everything should go into her mouth so getting her to take a spoon full of rice cereal was easy. What wasn't easy, was getting her to keep the rice cereal in her mouth and than swallow it. For most of the first rice meal she would just take the cereal in her mouth, smack her lips a couple of times and than slowly spit it out of her mouth so that it would dribble down her chin. John or I would scrape it off her chin, and then put it back in her mouth... then she would spit it out again. Repeat this cycle for about 20 minutes and that was her first cereal meal.

Although she did manage (by mistake I'm sure) to ingest a little bit of her first cereal, it wasn't until her second attempt that she really understood that this wasn't a game and that this is actually a way for her to eat. Halfway through round two she started swallowing and before we knew it she was begging for more. As you'd expect she still spits up quite a bit of it - I'd guess about half, but she's making progress. She's been at it for a couple of weeks, so relatively soon we'll be adding oatmeal cereal to her diet.

On a not quite so happy note, Riley has her first cold. More specifically she has her first ear infection. It's minor, but all the congestion that's accompanied it has kept her fathers fairly anxious. A couple of our friend's children (that have never met Riley) have had RSV recently, so with that in our minds we've been watching her like a hawk. The doctor prescribed her an antibiotic, and says that we don't have much to worry about. Riley, on the other hand, is basically unfazed by the entire thing. She's her regular, smiley, happy self (with a fairly constant runny nose, and an occasional cough). So - we'll continue watching her like a hawk, and hopefully she'll be 100% healthy in a few days.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

g-Diapers follow up, and more...

Back in 2006 on our adoption blog I wrote a post about g-Diapers and other thoughts about diapers. Now that we have R in our lives I figured it was only appropriate to write a follow up to that post.

First g-Diapers. They are a wonderful in concept. Eco-friendly, stylish, and simple. In our reality they are good, but not great. We got them for R before she was born and used them diligently from the time we returned home until she turned about two and half months old. As it turns out - for us - they were great when she was a new born, but as she grew they became less and less able to contain the "gifts" R bestowed upon the world. I really wanted them to work, but alas we just couldn't find a way to make them work. We tried multiple sizes all to no avail. So, now we're using standard disposable diapers; destroying the world but keeping R, our house, and everywhere she goes a little cleaner.

Secondly, I'd to re-address the idea of a diaperless baby. For those of you who didn't go back to my diaper blog, a diaperless baby is when the parents don't use any diaper, ever. They watch for the tell tale signs from their baby that he or she is going to have a bowl movement and then hold the child over the toilet or some other semi appropriate receptacle. Prior to have a child I thought this would be very difficult, now I think it's totally insane and - practically speaking- it has to be near impossible! First, I'm not sure what the visible signs are. I've spent 24 hours a day with R since she's was born, and although you can definitely tell when she in the process of having a bowel movement (i.e. a combination of grunts, screams, and smiles) I have yet to determine any early warnings. Yes, she's more likely to pee when she first wakes up, and yes she's more likely to poop sometime after she's eaten, but as for a warning sign - I don't see it. Occasionally, she will get a little quiet just before she goes to the bathroom, but it's not consistent at all. The signs are just not there... or at least not with R.

In practice it has to be a nightmare. Yes you cut a year or two off of wearing diapers, but the damage to your home and clothing must be extensive and expensive! The only way I can see this working is if you don't care about anything you own, and have no issues with baby excrement being all over your body. In my old blog I wrote that if I were to try raising R as a diaperless baby I'd "envision myself rushing to the bathroom with baby in my arms only to not quite make it and end up covered in what should have ended up in the toilet." Now, after actually having R, I would have to change that vision to include not just myself being covered in excrement, but also the sofa we were sitting on, the rug, the hardwoods, probably a door knob or two, the bathroom tile... well, you get the point: it would be everywhere! Seriously, the cleaning would take hours, and would likely cause stains that would just require that the sofa (or whatever) would have to be reupholstered or perhaps just junked. Oh, and don't even get me started on night time. I guess parents should just stay awake all night and watch for bathroom queues. Uhm, okay.

Anyway, lots of luck to those who have decided to try raising a diaperless baby. I really admire your courage, but please don't invite me over to your house....:)


P.S. Here's a little video that makes raising a diaperless baby look like a cinch.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Countdown Kids

Hello, my name is William and I have a problem. For the past month I have been unable to get the Countdown Kids songs out of my head. Yes, it's true. As R and I move from task to task throughout the day I sing Countdown Kids songs constantly. For those of you that aren't familiar with the Countdown Kids they are four "kids" who have put basically every nursery rhyme to music. I put "kids" in quotations because I'm not 100% confident that they are kids. Their website shows them in cartoon form, and shows the month and day of their birthday, but no year. The cynic in me thinks it's entirely possible that they are at the very least older "kids' if not full on adults, but I digress. R really enjoys them, I don't hate them, and J thinks they are a little spooky. Regardless of our varying levels appreciation for the countdown kids, I am absolutely unable to get them out of my head. Perhaps it's that the tunes are catchy, or the fact that R and I listen to them for hours a day - but either way they are just stuck in my brain. When their songs aren't actually being played I hear them in my head. Hearing them in my head inevitably means that I'll start singing them, and before you know it R & J are looking at me like I've lost my mind.

It's especially disconcerting when I break out in nursery rhymes at dinner. Here's how one portion of last nights dinner conversation went:
J: "Did you see any more about Tiger Woods?"
W: "No. He's ridiculous.. why would I care about Tiger Woods? He's just another celebrity who failed at being a role model. He's just sad."
J: "True, but he never asked...."
W (singing): "Hot cross buns, hot cross buns. One a penny, two a penny..."
J: "Seriously?"
W: "Sorry. But, don't even try and tell me he didn't want to be in the public eye..."

So, you get the point. Throughout the night I'd randomly break out in song. It's bad. I have to get it under control. Beside being horribly rude (depending on the conversation), it's just crazy. Although, I doubt I have much hope. Until we got the Countdown Kids cd, I had essentially the same issue with songs from The Sound of Music (an all time favorite of mine). Oh well.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

A book you should read...

John and I have been long time participants in Abbie Goldberg's (of Clark University) Transition to Adoptive Parenthood Project (TAPP). The study "is aimed at exploring the transition to adoptive parenthood in a diverse group of families." As such, when we got word that the APA would publish her most recent book - Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle- we went to Amazon and pre-ordered the book. I assumed that the book would be interesting, but more than anything I wanted to buy it to show my support for Abbie and her talented team of assistants. The book is billed as "a comprehensive overview of the research on same-sex parenting.." and after reading it I have to firmly agree with that description. As gay man, and now parent, I found it extremely interesting to read.

I could easily relate to many of the challenges and benefits of same-sex parenting that are discussed, and it also added plenty of things for me to think about our child's future. It's amazing to me the vastly different experiences that gays and lesbians experience. I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment that was very accepting of diversity, and to this day have never experienced first hand overt discrimination as a result of being an out, gay man. With that being said, I do recognize that there are many, many, many other LGBT who have not had that same luck, and Abbie's research overview makes it abundantly clear that there is so much more work to be done if we want to live in a world where LGBT folks are considered equals.

Anyway - it's just a really interesting, unique read. You should seriously consider learning about Abbie Goldberg's research by clicking HERE, or buy her most recent book by clicking HERE.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Required photos and holiday cards

I'm not sure if it's just us, but as new parents there is a lot of pressure for us to take certain pictures of our beautiful baby girl. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE taking pictures of her. To date we seem to be averaging about 10-15 new pictures a day, and on top of that we've got a pretty big video clip collection as well. But, it seems that the world is bound and determined to call us lacking parents if we don't spend hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to have her picture taken by a professional at very specific monthly intervals. One of our friends looked at us like we'd just poisoned her sandwich and said "You're not going to get three month pictures taken?!?!...[long pause] Uhm, okay." HELLO! Three month pictures? We take DAILY pictures!!! Up to now there has essentially been no point in time where Riley's life hasn't been photographically chronicled!!

Well, after not much discussion John and I have decided not to be good parents. And by not good, I mean we're not going to hire some stranger to take posed pictures of our child in one of her many wonderful dresses or outfits. Why? You ask. First, this might hurt so brace yourself: We really don't like the vast majority of posed photos that we've seen. Read that carefully folks, we don't like the photos - it's NOT that your child isn't adorable and cute. Very often the poses look forced, and the back grounds are either over done, or just so plain it looks like a school shot. Oh, and don't even get me started on all the "artistic" black and white posed photos that people send out. Again, not necessarily bad, just not our thing. Secondly, we're lucky enough to have a couple of very talented photographer friends who visit frequently and take - in our opinion - truly interesting, beautiful pictures that (most importantly) also capture her little personality. Call me crazy, but I'd rather get a picture of someone that makes me smile (or dare I say laugh) in the mail than one of a little baby / young child whose been manipulated into some sort of crazy pose. [Note: as I write this I'm envisioning our names being removed from several peoples mailing lists as a result. Don't do it, I'm not talking about you!!] To me it's sort of like people who get painted portraits of themselves made - it's either going to be the coolest thing in the world, or...well.. not - and mostly it's not. John isn't hardly as passionate about this as I am, but luckily he's so picky with stylistic features that we'd most likely never be able to find someone who could do the pictures to his liking (unless perhaps Tom Ford happens to do that sort of thing as a second job).

You might be wondering what brings this rant on at this particular time. Well, we're working on our holiday card (and yes I mean holiday, not Christmas! There are lots of religious and spiritual events going on between now and the end of the year and we wish anyone who celebrates any, or all, of them well). As you might have guessed by now our card will not include any posed shots of our family (certainly nothing like my profile photo of us). It's going to be a single shot of Riley. Something simple, but not boring. Something cute, but not cutesy. Perhaps a little bit of a modern spin. Probably a post card, not a standard fold out card. We think people will like it - but if they don't hopefully they are like us and in the end just thrilled to see yet another picture of an adorable child (even if the photo isn't so hot).

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Here's some a news clip you might be interested in:
The UK National Academy for Parenting Practioners says lesbians make the best parents. Read about it at the Scottish Daily Express

Friday, November 27, 2009

DA (Droolers Anonymous)

It's official. We've had the intervention and Riley has been enrolled in the local Droolers Anonymous program. LOL! As mentioned previously Riley is the perfect child. She hasn't had any projectile vomiting, or colic, and rarely even spits up... but over the last few weeks she's developed a nack for drooling. In fact, if drooling we're a sport I'm quite confident that she'd be in the olympics. So we're adding this relatively new trait to her list of accomplishments we're very proud of. Basically, she drools about 80% of her waking hours. So, she's really dedicated to ensuring she get's it right. I've seriously considered replacing her clothes with wetsuits. I had no idea that there was even that much fluid in her body (that wasn't devoted to something else)! We'll be playing, and then I'll realize that the entire front of her shirt isn't just wet, but absolutely soaking. So, for the time being, she now travels with a full assortment of bibs to try and hold back the approaching floods. So far, so good... no one has drowned yet, and the water damage is minimal.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

And so it begins... life with the perfect baby.

Many of you have followed our story via our adoption blog and after the arrival of our daughter (Riley) we took a little time off from blogging. In all honesty, being new parents we just didn't have the time, energy, or even the want to login and write about our lives. Alas, the blogging bug has finally returned and here I am to continue the chronicles of our lives (now with a beautiful baby girl) on the internet.

Riley is now twelve weeks old, and boy has it been an exciting ride. I should start out by saying that John and I are lucky.. very, very lucky. Not just lucky to have been chosen by an amazing birthmother with an amazing, supportive family. Not just lucky that Riley was born in perfect health. Very, very lucky because Riley is the perfect baby. I know, I know. Right now you're thinking "Oh, how cute. The doting dads think their baby girl is prefect." I understand that thought process, I'd think that two if I weren't the father of the worlds most perfect child. Let's go down the high level list of her perfection. As I already mentioned she's in perfect health, so that's clearly the most important thing - BUT beyond that she's literally text book on schedule or ahead of every physical and mental milestone. She enjoys tummy time, and has the strongest neck around (as she has had since the day she was born). If you hold her up, she can easily support herself with her legs and keep her head in an upright position. She reaches for things that are placed within her general path of sight, and if you oblige will have long conversations with you (in baby talk responses to your words). She is stunningly beautiful. Her smile could easily stop all war and violence in the world. I've sent several pictures to the Obama administration and although I haven't received a response, I'm basically giving her credit for the recent economic advances the US has made with China. She is in the 90th percentile for her height and weight - so she's essentially perfectly proportioned. The list goes on.. I mean on and on and on and on... :)

The second best part of her perfection is her demeanor and sleeping habits. She is a happy baby and although she has some of the most powerful lungs of any creature on the planet she only cries to signal that she needs food, a diaper change, or attention. Otherwise, she just smiles and coos. She can keep herself amused if need be, and - wait for it - she SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT! Yes, you read that correctly. In fact, she's been sleeping through the night since she was about four weeks old. Every night we put her to sleep at about nine in the evening, and she wakes up promptly at six am, has a bottle and then goes back to bed until nine am. Totally amazing. She sleeps so well, and people are so surprised that I actually asked the doctor if she was okay. (Being a new parent one of the ways that I determine how things are with my little one is through the reactions of our many other parent friends. Even if I see something as good, if other parents are really surprised I do some follow up.)

So - I'll spare you the rest, as I'm sure by now you realize that she is truly perfection. Of course, she does come with millions of diaper changes, but that's a small price to pay for perfection.