Eva Goes to the Ballpark

If you know me or read this blog, you have a pretty good idea that I enjoy sports. All kinds of sports. Football, basketball, I watch the Triple Crown races in horse racing, the Indy 500, etc. My wife tolerates most sports. The one sport that we can agree on is baseball. We’ve been going to baseball games for a long time, at one point having season tickets to the Omaha Royals (now the Storm Chasers). Our tickets were 5 rows up behind the opponents dugout. We got to see future big leaguers like Billy Butler, Mike Aviles, Felix Pie, Rick Ankiel, and fading stars like Sandy Alomar Jr. and Mike Sweeney. We usually got to see them with lots of leg room, as those games almost never sold out.

That team was a triple a team, meaning that it was one step below the majors. Here in Dayton, we have the Dragons. They are a low A team. Here’s the order of minor league teams :

Triple A (<- Omaha)
Double A
High A
Low A (<-Dayton)
Rookie Ball

Dayton’s team is a full three levels below Omaha’s. Dayton’s team is made up of players born in the 90′s, among whom there might be 2-3 who make it to the majors. The level of play is not as good.

Yet, Dayton just last year broke the record for most consecutive sell outs. We put our names on the wait list for season tickets when we moved here, four years ago, and still haven’t heard anything. Now, it’s not hard to get tickets, but the place is always pretty full. Dayton loves their team here.

We were lucky to get tickets over the weekend from a friend, so it was time for Eva’s first ballgame. It was a Saturday night game, and the weather was nice. The tickets were in the shade, so we didn’t have to worry about sun too much, just the walk over to the stadium.

We put a hat on Eva, and made our way to the stadium. For the first time, I was the one they stopped at the gate to check my purse, er, my diaper bag. “Is this all baby stuff?”, I was asked. Not the time for a smart alec reply, so I said yes and moved on. Baby formula, the last outside food you can bring in.

We found our seats and sat. Normally I’d get food at this point, but a certain someone wanted to be fed. As we fed her, the seats to either side of us filled in. To our left, a family sat down. The seat directly to our left was occupied by dad(?) and his special needs child. The boy was great during the game, despite the fact that you could tell he grew bored of it at times. The problem for us was that dad was a bigger guy, and with his son on his lap he spread his legs out, squeezing us out of our area.

Further down the row there were a number of empty seats. The group on our other side could have slid over to accommodate the two families with children next to them. I understood not sliding for the first two innings (when people still could have come), but not after.

Anyway, we swapped seats to give us and them more room, and it worked out fine.

It was Hometown Heroes night at the game. A tribute to our military, with a number of activities, including the flag coming via parachuters.

We stood up for the national anthem. I could hear a baby start crying….wait, that’s my baby! What do I do? Do I stop saluting the flag to tend to her, or stand my ground? I soothe her, and mommy sings the national anthem in her ear, and she calms down.

We sit down, and enjoy the game. During one of the between inning events, they introduced a number of vets returning from their tours overseas. In fact, one of the vets was also in one of our adoption classes! Congrats to him and family for his return and the resumption of their adoption journey!

In the row in front of us were girlfriends of two of the players. How do I know this (besides the fact that they were dressed for a party rather than a ballgame)? There was a man sitting just down from them that talked to them. A lot. Like creepy amounts. Asking all sorts of questions. Casually dropping that he’s a house flipper who does pretty well. Yada yada. Eva take note, stay away from creepy guys.

Around the 3rd inning, the camera guy came lurking. He takes those candid shots of kids waving to the camera, adorable couples, and cute babies. Wait, we have a cute baby! I see Mom notice the camera. She is equal parts excited to have Eva on the big screen and mortified that she might be on the big screen. However, today will not be that day. She was blocked/saved by creepy guy moving over a couple of seats to be closer to the girls, thus blocking the camera.

We make it to the fifth inning before leaving Fifth Third Field. Luckily(?) the Dragons are already losing by seven, so the outcome is already determined. We walk back to the car and head home. Eva has now experienced her first of what hopes to be many ballgames. Let’s hope creepy guy isn’t there next time.

First Mother’s Day

We’ve passed Mother’s Day. It’s extra special this year because it’s momma’s first Mother’s Day. I was told under no circumstance was I to screw this up, as this is her only First Mother’s Day.

Luckily, I’m not the first dad in my group of friends. I got to see what happens you say the dumb thing that goes through all our male brains. For example…”But you’re not MY mother.” It’s not pleasant.

This Mother’s Day is also in the midst of a number of stressful moments for her including: the penultimate moment of her school year…the school musical, hosting both our families, our daughter’s baptism, a party with friends, driving to Cincy with Eva, and our social worker’s visit.

With this all in mind, how did Mother’s Day turn into such a disaster?

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It started the week before. I thought a week would be plenty of time to get what I wanted. It wasn’t. Some things required shipping, and would arrive post Mother’s Day. Some things only existed in my mind. The toughest part was realizing that a week of time post child is significantly less time that a week pre child. Instead of going out a night or two during the week, I’m forced to cram it into lunch breaks and such.

I manage to get most of what I want. I even get a cake from The Cakery to top it off. I ask Eva to bring home something for Mom for Mother’s Day, and she says OK.

Saturday comes, and we are travelling to Cincy. Steph doesn’t feel the best, but makes due. Better to be sick on Saturday than Sunday.

Sunday comes, and Steph is still off. No breakfast. However, as church is let out, she’s feeling better. I had made reservations at Melting Pot , and she can’t resist fondue. Well, she can if it disagrees with her. Which it does. For the next three days.

She’s acquired some sort of stomach bug. There are three things that can aggravate it : Milk, alcohol and salad. There are four courses for the Mother’s Day special : Cheese fondue (milk and alcohol), Salad (salad), Meat and Veggies, and chocolate fondue (milk). By the end of the meal, she was ready to be home, in bed.

“But we have cake!”

“Don’t talk about food!”

For the rest of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, Steph is immobilized…or sometimes very mobile on the way to the bathroom. Nothing sits well with her, and she just feels miserable. As precaution, we decide to keep her away from Eva. So, for Mother’s Day, Eva is sequestered away from her mother. For Mother’s Day, her cake will sit in the fridge until Wednesday.

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So now, we have a year to plan for second Mother’s Day (you only get one of those!). Hopefully daddy can plan ahead and hopefully mommy will be healthy.

“Eva, I forgot to ask. What did you get mommy for Mother’s Day?”

“Why, I brought home the stomach bug!”

Eva Goes To Cincy

One past Saturday, the family made a trip down to the Cincinnati to visit our relatives down there. This was Eva’s first trip down to the Queen City, and she was excited. Of course, she can be excited about just about anything, as long as you say it in the right tone with a smile.

“Greece may pull out of the Euro causing mass market problems in Europe and the markets, blah blah!”

“These political commercials today make it seem that voting for the other guy will cause the end of days, pbbt!”

“This is the year the Vikings win the Super Bowl, Yeah!”

Well, maybe not everything.

We wait until she finishes her after lunch bottle and hit the road. Perfect planning. This is her nap time, so she’ll sleep in the car and be rested and happy when we get there.

Did you catch the mistake last paragraph? “Perfect planning”. As if there is such a thing in parenting. Sometime you get caught in their robotic acts of consistency, and begin to think you know what’s going to happen. Pbbt.

You know what happens next. Eva stays awake the entire way there. Well, about ten minutes away she begins to doze off. Precisely the worst place to start dozing. The route we take includes this road called Rybolt. Rybolt, I’ve determined, was a roller coaster that was repurposed as a street. The first time we took this road we were following a Mini Cooper up a hill. Then, it disappeared, as if it went into a sink hole. It was just a steep hill on the other side, but still crazy none the less.

Eva did not appreciate this route choice. Just as she’d fall asleep, we’d drop and she’d open her eyes in a panic, wondering what the heck just happened. Now, not only is she tired, but also off put.

When we arrived, Eva was tired (obviously). Eva is a people person though, and there was people around that she needed to observe, so no time to sleep. Then a funny thing happened.

Being the most adorable thing in existence, most everybody wants to hold her. Hold on, quick diversion:

The Four Types of Baby Holders

1. The IRS Agent – They come over, and you know them, and they take without asking. Most frequently known as Grandma.

2. The Child at the Pet Store – They come over with their arms outstretched, the message is clear, gimme.

3. The Shy Girl – They act all shy, wait for you to offer, but if not they’ll meekly ask “Can I hold her?”

4. The Back of the Bus – They don’t ask, they don’t take. You need to offer, or just plop her in their laps. Most frequently known as Uncle.

OK, back to the story. We had a couple of cousins who wanted to hold her. Never been a problem in the past. Today, she realized that the person holding her was not Mom or Dad. This led to tears and frowny faces. First time ever for her (not the frowny face, the I want mommy or daddy).

As a parent, there are many ways to view this. Hurrah! She’s doesn’t want to be with strangers (Stranger Danger!) She won’t be climbing into a stranger’s car any time soon. Or boo, we want to avoid having a child who’s too reliant on mom and dad. Besides, there were our cousins so they don’t qualify as strangers (Eva disagrees, if you’re not recognized, you’re a stranger, that includes you, strange sun glassed man who sounds like daddy but doesn’t have the same eyes).

As an adoptive parent, this is a grand milestone. In a previous post, I discussed the bonding between us towards Eva. I didn’t discuss her bonding with us. How do you determine when that occurs vs. I kind of like you because you give me food and a place to sleep? Well, this moment I think qualifies.

(Confession Time) I didn’t realize the importance of the moment during the moment. I want to share Eva with our family, spread the joy. I was sad that she wasn’t up for it. Only later that week, during one of our monthly meetings with our social worker did she point out the significance of the bond between her and us. Perhaps there were previous moments that I had missed, or maybe I believed it true because I had bonded so strongly.

Eva fights off sleep. Too much to look at. At her next feeding, we try to give her the bottle, but she is so distracted by the kids running around. We find a quiet spot, which works until a child comes barreling through. We are fighting a losing battle. To top it off, mom is starting to feel sick. So much for perfect planning.


“What, me difficult? No way!”

Just before we pack things up to go, one cousin comes by for a last shot. Eva, after spending the afternoon with her in the room, relents. She is no longer a stranger, she is somewhat familiar. She still checks that we are close, but finally lets someone else hold her.

We pack up and say our goodbyes. Back to the road, back through the roller coaster, back on the highway. Eva fights it for a while, but eventually quiets down and sleeps. Apparently she needed a pacifier…

Shall I install that basketball hoop?

We had our four month checkup not too long ago. It was shot time again, and she was a trooper with her latest rounds. She had an ear infection, but on the bright side she seems to have a higher pain tolerance at this point, as it didn’t slow her down all that much (a little discomfort swallowing).

She’s also continuing to grow. 90th percentile in height, 75th percentile in weight. Pretty steady with before. I’m installing the basketball hoop and volleyball nets now before it’s too late.

We tend to see our children as reflections of ourselves. I enjoy sports, so therefore she will enjoy sports too. With her God given height, she’ll obviously choose a sport where height is an advantage. So, basketball, volleyball or play in the Professional Keep Away League (PKAL).

This may seem rather ordinary to you, I mean don’t most parents picture their children doing the same fun things that they did? I project sports on her, another parent projects theatre on theirs, and yet another parent dresses them up for their first Renaissance Festival. Parents see their children doing the same things as they did (or wish they did).

As a pre-adoptive parent, I wondered if things would be different. Would I be able to project on a child that doesn’t share my DNA? Will I look at her and only see her birthparents? Could I only project a future for them based on that?

Obviously, this wasn’t the case with me. I fully expect her to play sports, sing in the choir, love Pixar movies, and be a fun loving person like her mom and I.

So I’ve charted out the next few years out for her, with anticipation that we’ll all be seeing her in the 2032 Olympics in Rio. Your children always grow up to what you expect them to be, right?

Blog Title Vote

So last week I put a post requesting thoughts on the title of the blog.  The results were overwhelming, er, underwhelming.   We had one reply.  So, I thought about it, and came up with a few reasons why:

1. All my title options were terrible and you were sparing my feelings.

2. You dislike me.

3. You love the current name.

4. You dislike having to type out full comments.

I’m going to assume #4, because that’s how I usually am.  So, I’m going to simplify things.  A poll!  Just select and press a button.  Easy.

Let me explain my titles here.

God’s Child, Our Joy - This refers to a future post I will put up sometime.  An adoption theme that comes up a number of times is that while we may be adopting, all children are God’s children.

Life Itself – Since I blog about our life, and how I ended this post.

All Will Be Well – A quote we have told Eva many, many times.  A quote that applies to us as well.  And a great song by The Gabe Dixon Band.

Time Will Never Matter – The first of two Jars of Clay lyrics.  This is from the song Sunny Days, a particular chorus that applies to us :

So if you’re waitin’ for love
Well it’s a promise I’ll keep
If you don’t mind believing that it changes everything
Then time will never matter

Soon End In Joy – The second Jars of Clay lyric.  This one is from God Will Lift Up Your Head (one of my favorite three Jars songs).  I pared the title list down from an earlier list, and one word kept coming up in them : Joy.

Family++ – A little background for you non-programmers.  If you have a variable that you assign a value, say family = 2, to increase the value you write something like this : family = family + 1.  The shortcut for that is family++.

Now, the poll is non-binding, I haven’t checked if the names are available, but it will definately be helpful to me to narrow things down.

Thank you for you help.

Eva Goes To School

Every year at Steph’s school they do a musical concert for Grandparent’s Day. Every year I go and am amazed at how well she pulls it off. In our pre-Eva years, when someone would inevitably ask if we had any kids, she reply that she had 375. With this concert, you get to see all 375 work together. I stress at the idea of trying to corral two kids.

Every year I go, and in the past there would be two things I’d worry about, always relating to the surrounding parents. First, that they’d find out that I had no child performing and wonder why I was there. Second, that they wouldn’t know who I was and start complaining about the music teacher.
Of course neither of those would happen, they were creations of an active mind.

This night, however, will be different. Instead of worries of awkwardness, I would anticipate the ohhs and ahhs of those adoring Eva.

We arrive early to get a good seat. Eva has redefined what a “good seat” is. Before, I’d try to sit near the center to see everything. Now I find the easiest out. Aisle seat, all the way at the end by the exit.

It’s bottle time, so I pull it out for her. Eva sits up and starts to eat. This lasts a few gulps before she realizes that there are people around. People sitting. People walking by. People having conversations. Tons of potential adorers. This is no time to eat, this is show time!

I place the bottle down and prepare. I run through my responses in my head. “Why yes, we are the luckiest parents in the world.” “I agree, she should be on magazine covers.” “No, she’s not signing any autographs tonight.”

Only…no one stops by. This is a whole new environment for Eva and I. A room full of parents. Two things become clear in this room. First, the room clumps into a number of cliques*. Second, and most telling is that while I think Eva is the best thing ever, there are 350 parents in the room that think the same of their child.

* Funny kid story. When I was young, I heard my grandma complain that the new church had too many cliques. I asked mom why they didn’t fix the furnace to fix the clicks.

The cliques are easy to see. There’s the cluster of business guys in the back who have their cells on their belts, look like they just got off work, and refuse to sit in the chairs. There’s the uber-involved parent groups. They are the ones setting up tables, the food, running the meeting, etc. There the documentary parents. They cluster towards the middle, have video cameras set up and fire off flashes during the show. Then there are the let’s get this over clique. They cluster in small groups and complain that they have to spend a Tuesday night at school, complain about the temperature in the gym, and seem otherwise annoyed that being involved in their child’s education is taking them away from CSI:NY (tonight’s the episode where someone dies and they just barely solve it before the hour is up).

We are in a room that doesn’t see the uniqueness of a baby, that are deeply involved in their own child, or deeply involved into themselves. That leaves little room for oohing our precious child. I grasp this concept rather quickly. Eva does not. Why do these folks continue to walk past me? Why am I not the center of their universe?

We’re in a room full of centers of the universe. It’s a miracle that the gym hasn’t imploded from all that gravity. Maybe the lesson here today is that while a butterfly’s flapping wings here causes a tsunami there, a tsunami of joy in our lives is just a mere butterfly flap in theirs’.

As the night progressed, Eva succumbed to sleep. It was past her bedtime, and the excitement of it had worn her down. She would wake up momentarily a few times. Not during the singing or the dancing, rather during the applause.

After the show a few parents came by to say hi to Eva. She did her best to stay awake, even occasionally flashing that million dollar smile. A car ride home, and she was out for the night with a lesson learned. She might not be the center of everyone’s attention, but is for the people that matter the most : Mommy and Daddy.

Toy Battle

The Setting : Lunch out at Chipotle

The Stakes : Being Eva’s entertainment for the meal.

The Contestants :

In corner one we have Elley, the Elephant.

Elley is a colorful toy, with bright blue colors and vibrant green feet. Her core is made a crinkle materials for maximum sound making. Her feet are soft plastic, good for a teething infant. Her hands, ears, and trunk provide a number of ways to held, and a number of places to chew on.

Elley has been there from the beginning, and will be with her for a long time afterwards.

In corner two we have a Chipotle Napkin

This napkin is brown on brown, given away for free, and is generally discarded quickly by most patrons. It makes no noise, has no easy to grab elements, and has no purpose other than taking that food that somehow missed your mouth. While a gift card from Chipolte is nice, no one would ever want to unwrap a napkin from under the tree.

What will Eva choose?

Napkin after napkin were attacked and left by the way side (i.e. the floor next to us). This napkin has seen better days:

Once again, the lesson is: All those carefully selected toys you and your loved ones have purchased for your baby will lose out in battles with napkins, empty boxes, and Eva’s new favorite “toy”, the hymnal.

This Blog Isn’t Free

You thought that you could just read this blog for free, forever. Well, now has come the time to pay up. With all this original content and witty remarks that you’ve read, you accumulated many, many dollars of debt towards us.

Oh no! What can you do? Well, I’ve got the perfect solution. Vote for my daughter!

Vote

Our daughter’s picture is up for the cover of Parents magazine, so vote today, vote tomorrow and vote the rest of the week. You’ll feel better and that nasty debt will be lifted off you shoulders.

Future of the Blog

When we started this blog last year, we had two goals. First, to keep everyone up to date on the status of our adoption without having to repeat ourselves too often, and secondly to bring some light to the adoption process for everyone who hasn’t had any personal contact with it (like we were a year ago). Along the way, I discovered that I really enjoy writing these posts. I’m a collector, and it’s hard to collect the moments of your life, but with the blog I feel I’ve collected snapshots of our moments in the past year. These snapshots should be there forever (good or bad).

The blog title leaves a little to be desired. It was just a place holder until we came up with a better one. Which we never did. I thought I came up with a good one “Life Itself”, until I realized I subconciously stole it from Roger Ebert’s biography. Whatever, it is what it is.

My posts are no longer exclusively adoption based. Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of adoption related events yet to come. Face to face meetings with birthparents. Our court date in July when it becomes official. The day Eva has to make a family tree for school. Etc. Those moments are important, but there are fewer of them now.

Now we are adoptive parents, with a focus on both adoptive and on parent. I think this blog should mirror our lives, and thus shouldn’t be just adoptive news (although I’ll still write about it a lot). So, where to go from here? If you follow us, you’ve seen I’ve written many a post on being a parent already. Change is here, but is that apparent in when someone stumbles upon this blog? It’s an adoption blog with less than 100% adoption content.

I go back and forth on that thought though. Showing the joys and perials of our parenthood is a validation of the adoptive process. Yes, you can have a happy and normal family through adoption. Our story can shed some light into the post-adoption world. We’re a family that is as different and the same as every other family. We’re a family first and foremost, but with adoption on the mind.

The other thing on my mind is readership. Who’s this blog for? Is it for me? Is it for Eva? Is it for our friends and family? Is it for the world? Right now, our readership is mostly friends and family, but do I want to branch out? Do I start posting my blog on other sites to share our joy? Doesn’t that open us up to less friendly readers who might not be so nice in a comment? Does every sentence in this paragraph have to be a question?

No matter what I think, this blog resides on this thing called the internet, and everyone can access this. We have a number of other bloggers who have stumbled upon this blog and continue to read us. We have friends who have shared our blog to their friends. It’s out there, and there’s no stopping that.

So now, I’m asking for your advice. I think the blog needs a name change desperately. I’ve listed some of my choices below, and want your opinions.

God’s Child, Our Joy

Joy Arrived

Plus One (this one is also stolen)

Life Itself (still like it)

Change This Life

All Will Be Well

Our Waking Dream

Sunny Days

Time Will Never Matter

Soon End In Joy

Fear to the Wind

Family++ (a little programmer humor)