Thursday, September 27, 2007

William Tell Overture for Moms

Noy sure if you've seen this or not, but it's worth seeing! I am going to play this loudly every morning for my kids and save myself the energy of saying it all myself!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


(Pipo at maybe 5yo in Haiti)

It is possible for a child to grow up in a 3rd world country and be spoiled. It is possible for that child to occasionally think that the world revolves around them, and that they are 'special' and are to be treated differently than the rest of the household.

When Pipo first got here, we let a lot of things slide. I understood how many adjustments he needed to make, and that he needed the time and space to come around on his own time. Much of this had to do with food. I knew things were so different for him here, and in the first months, we were fixing seperate meals for him, or arranging family meals around his preferences. Slowly, he bagan to try new things and learn to like much of our american food. It's been almost 2 years now, and he eats what everyone else is eating. But occasionally, the old Pipo breaks out and wants his "own" seperate dinner. And it drives this mom nuts!

After speaking with many of the people who spent time down in his village, specifically in the hospital, I have realized he was catered to there. Poor sick little Pipo, all alone in the hospital, with both his parents gone, and his grandmother off to the market every day. Now I am not downplaying any of this. He has had a hard life. To be a very sick little boy with both your parents dead is a tough situation to put it mildly. But this boy learned to work it. I have had people tell me that if he had been told "no" by anyone, all he had to do was show his big puppydog eyes and give one of his charming smiles, and he would eventually get what he wants. Well puppydog eyes don't work in Fitzville.

Honestly, this kid has come so far in less than two years. But somedays, he is just one of 7, and I don't have the patience for "I don't like that, I want something else." Tough beans kid... take your puppydog eyes to dad... he's always a sure bet to say yes.

Monday, September 24, 2007


What's a lemonade stand without some live music?

Friday, September 21, 2007


See these flowers. These beauties here are of the "OhmyGodIdon'tknowhowyoudothiseveryday" variety. Every so often, something comes up that requires me to be gone earlier than the kids are up and off to school. When this happens, Fitz is 'mom' for the morning. Every time this has happened I have gotten flowers that day. Every time.

Most morning Fitz has to be at school early to give guitar lessons. He wakes up in a nice quiet house, has a shower, a nice cup of coffee sitting in his rocker in the kitchen, and then drives off to school. Approximately 10 minutes later all he## breaks loose. This is when I need to get 7 kids up and dressed, 6 of them fed, lunches packed homework checked, backpacks filled and make the rounds to the 3 schools. Oh, and that doesn't include the 3 days a week our baby friend is here.

So while I was on a train headed into Boston with Pipo for numerous Dr visits and tests, Fitz got to experience a 'mom morning'. Aside from the 'interesting' outfit Emma had on and the fact that she did her hair herself (I wrote the teacher a note to excuse myself from responsibility for these things) and that the 2 younger kids needed to use toothfairy money to buy lunches because someone forgot to make them and they were late, Fitz did a great job.

All joking aside (though all of the above was true) the man is amazing. He pulled it together after the kids were off, and I came home to a spotless house that night, and dinner ready to feed the masses. It was Wednesday night and we had 17 extras for dinner. But somehow I walked in to that clean house, with dinner spread out buffet style, friends waiting and my husband handing me a glass of wine. And flowers to boot. I love this guy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I love my kids!

Okay, you had to know this was going to end badly. But Pipo and Charlie were so darned creative, making up this game with backwards life jackets for pads, a bike helmet, a batting helmet, wiffleball bats, and boogie boards. I was laughing to hard to tell them to be careful, plus I just had to get my camera. And for the record, they made it a good 15 minutes before Charlie was crying!

PS. and if you click on that pic to make it bigger, you can see the remnants of the game they were all playing previously... Pipo had every truck we have up on the slide, and he would yell CAR WRECK, and send it down the slide, where the rest of the kids would all laugh and scream each time.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Funny conversation...

Driving to school this morning, we had our little baby friend Lyle with us in his carseat. Pipo was sitting next to him, listening to him babble. After a bit, he says to me, "I feel bad for babies that can't talk. I remember when I came from Haiti and didn't know English and it was frustrating when I didn't know the word to say."

I thought this was some mature thinking. After thinking about it for a minute though, he says to me very seriously, "But it would be pretty scary if a baby was just born and started talking like Fitz. I bet that's why God made babies so they couldn't talk.... so they wouldn't scare us all."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Looking back...

So today I was looking through old emails trying to find some information I needed. I saved all of the emails from back when we were trying to get Pipo here, so I got caught up in some emotional backtracking seeing all of these. But one email just cracked me up. It's one I sent off to our friend Conor right after he told us Pipo (Philippe) would be coming home in just a few days. Here is what I said...

Okay, and besides my emotional motherly outburst on how excited I practical side comes out. We got pounded with 16 inches of snow today. I have no idea what size Phillipe is. I am guessing he is fairly small, and in my punch-drunk motherly excited state, I can just take 5 different coats and boots to the airport, or you can give me a rough estimate of what size he is. I honestly don't mind bringing 5 coats to the airport, I just want to make sure he is warm on his trip home from Logan. Our E.J. is a size 7 at 7yrs old, and Charlie at 5 is between a 4 and a 5. I have many coats in different sizes so I can bring whatever I have. And I do fully realize that getting a passport was a much bigger hurdle than figuring out what coat size Phillipe is, but this is how a mother's brain works....

Nervous new mother much? And by the way... that coat fit!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

And on a good note...

Pipo, incredibly proud of his new Haiti soccer shirt

Rage and older child adoption

It's amazing how it can come seemingly out of nowhere. A dumb little comment or incident can trigger it, and it can blast out at you, or sometimes build slowly until it explodes with it's violence.

When Pipo first arrived we had meltdowns fairly regularly. Usually they were silent rages, where he would refuse to move or speak to us at all for indefinite amounts of time. As time went by, they became less frequent, but more pronounced. Nowadays it is a rare event, but when it happens, it reminds me of all this boy has been through.

One of the first true rages I witnessed, we were in public. I was able to contain him in the van for most of it, but ended up outside sitting on the ground holding him in the end. At first the amount of anger coming out of him frightened me. Then it ticked me off to be so inconvenienced. Then I was sad and scared, wondering what I had done to create such turmoil in this child's life. But eventually, as I held him, I began to understand.

When any of my kids has had a tantrum... the typical small child tantrum... it usually follows the same pattern. A small incident will make the child angry, maybe telling them it's time to leave the playground, or saying 'no' to one more cookie. But as the child cries and gets themself worked up, they start to remember every other 'mean' or 'bad' thing that has ever happened to them. That time they had to go to bed early. Or when you wouldn't buy them that toy, or when you wouldn't let them go to their friends' house. The more they remember the more upset and angry they get, the more out of control those feelings get.

In a child like Pipo, there are unbelievable amounts of things to be angry about. Truly, justifiably angry. He might be angry with me for telling him to put his bike away when he wasn't quite done riding, but that makes him think of how many years he lived without a bike, without any toys. It reminds him of losing his mother. Of being sick all the time, of being hungry all the time, of being uprooted from everything he has ever known. And how can I deny him that anger? How can I deny him this tantrum, this rage?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Final Hurrah

Okay, so maybe we didn't pull that bandaid off quite as fast as we intended. But we had a four day weekend with beautiful weather, some good friends to join us, and we couldn't resist getting one more weekend in down at the Cape. Two weeks ago, Fitz was ready to pull the boat out of the water. I convinced him to leave it in for a bit 'just in case'. He thanked me all weekend for that.

Sailing is a huge part of who Fitz is. Old wooden boats are an even bigger part. I knew this when we got married, as he proposed to me on an old wooden boat that was half rebuilt and sitting in his front yard. Over the years we have had various old boats in various stages of repair sitting in our yard. Occasionally those boats have made it to the water. But as the kids came, and life got busy, boats took a back seat. Even when we had one in the water, it was hard to get us all organized to get out on the water. And small children don't have the attention span for a long day on the water.

My Uncle had given us a beautiful 18 ft catboat that he had built, the boat we took our honeymoon on. It's a deep, wide, sturdy boat. Safe for kids and sturdy for sailing. But it's also heavy and untrailerable. We spent one summer with that boat moored in Eastham at some friends' house, but at low tide, the boat would be on it's side, and people walking the beach would climb all over it out of curiosity. It just wasn't the best plan, or the best boat for a family with a bunch of small kids.

The boat we have now came into our lives the way most things have... on a wing and a prayer. It's a Black Skimmer and Fitz bought it for a song and put many hours of work into it, to get it ready for the water. With all of our previous boating experience as a family, I was not convinced. Until this summer. As far as old wooden boats go, this one is a little less maintenance, and as far as small kids go, this boat is a lot more fun. With just an 8 inch draft, this 21 ft flat bottomed boat can pull right onto sandbars, and through marshes. Fitz can sail it right onto a beach and take the kids out for quick little sails. We have spent much of our time down the Cape this summer on Pleasant Bay, exploring many of the small little uninhabited islands, skimming along the National Seashore, looking out for seals, and collecting horseshoe crab shells. And I think, much to their father's joy, we can finally say we have a house full of boat lovers.