Tuesday, December 16, 2014

There Were Blues [Adoption Series Pt 5]

I love shopping at Goodwill, and I enjoy trolling the book section. As we were in the process, I repeatedly saw the book "Post Adoption Blues" on the shelf. I saw it over a period of months before it was finally bought. I never picked it up; I ignored it. From our adoption training and the presence of a whole book about it, I knew the blues was a definite possibility.

I feel stress all around my body but it is most often manifested in my face, particularly my chin. Depression I feel in my arms. I learned that many many years ago when breaking off an engagement. At that time I felt so manipulated and that I lost so much: trust, friends, and some self-respect. My arms ached for about a month.

Coming home with our son was such an adjustment. My in-laws were with us for a week, and shortly after they left my husband went back to work to a packed week. Settling in to a schedule was tumultuous. Let me be very clear, our son is adjusting really really well, almost picture perfect, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been difficult.

Toddler says, "Everything is mine and I will put it wherever I want."
I can say having my son has been harder than having my bio girlios. That seems reasonable. There are language and culture barriers. Time zones, nap times, feedings and diapers again. Instead of a tiny baby that sleeps most of the day, I have a rapidly developing heavy toddler. But there were things I didn't think of and things that were more taxing than I expected. Adopting a child is like birthing a baby, but it is definitely different. I was surprised and hurt that our workplaces didn't acknowledge our adoption like a birth. I apologize to all the adoptive parents I know that I didn't come alongside, and I thank all the ones that have encouraged me through this first few months because they know. So many said, "Stay strong; this is the hardest part." when we got back, and it was so encouraging. I am so thankful for Cara for setting up a meal plan and for all the families that brought us meals. We never had that with the girlios, but I can not adequately convey my gratitude. I...was...overwhelmed. I am thankful for Jennifer for clothing my son across the world and back, and for Kelly and Nadege for clothing him for the next year. We had so many offers of help. Even with all the support, it was hard.

One of the things that I didn't expect to be so hard was the 24/7 attachment process. I mentally knew it, but I didn't physically know it. Unlike my bio girlios where I felt I could get a sitter, and the girlios would still know that I am their mom, weeks and months of attaching could get exhausting, especially when meals and bedtime were stressful too. Before my son came home, we were out of the strollers, diapers, and naps phase. I enjoyed more 'free' time than I knew. Keeping up with the house post adoption was just not happening. My son got my attention. My girlios had to adjust to him and getting less attention. There were times that I felt more exhausted than I should, and my arms ached. It was another adoptive mom who brought up the blues, and it resonated with me.

I read a few books on our trip to China. One of the books that I read most of, and it really resonated with me was "The Happiness Project." I'd like to finish it, but we'll see when that happens. I love that she makes tangible goals in the book. I wrote myself a list of things I want to do long term and short term. I set some goals. It gave me perspective. Exercise, particularly running, has been an important part of my physical, emotional and mental health. I was finally at a point post physical therapy that I could run again and now when I needed it I was too tired to go out. My arms ached. My super supportive husband gets it. I love him for it. I joined a group class and have run a few times. I gave up on the house, reminding myself of toddler life long ago, and gave myself some grace.

I'm getting better. We are getting better. We are a family. There are still bumps in the road, and some of them smart. We feel like a family. I still have to remind them that I am the mom, but I've done that everyday I've been a mom. They are my favorite people.

Favorite Peeps!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Poinsettia is Acid/Base Wise

Yesterday, I didn't post the winner of the reflective headband. After the holiday long weekend, I had laundry up to my eyeballs. I used a random number generator to pick the winner. Congratulations Barb (and her friend Chris) on your headbands. I picked up yarn today, and I have some online training to do for work so those headbands will be done pronto.

So, I got this poinsettia from a raffle at Jazzercise class (Yes, Jazzercise. It's fun, and that's another post). As a science teacher I was so excited. You see, poinsettias are acid/base indicators. It is not as dramatic as red cabbage, but it still indicates, and it smells better.

Here's what I did, and you can to. Gather all the things you want to test (clear solutions are better as color affects color), a poinsettia, a French press (or something to make your 'tea' in), containers to test in (we used glasses), hot water, and eager helpers.

Have your super helpers take the red leaves off and put them in the French press. It does take a lot of leaves. It actually helps to rip the leaves or cut them up. On a side note you can use the green leaves too but the solution goes from green to clear rather than green to red. It's a fun secondary test if you have the time and the ingredients.

Steep the leaves. The 'tea' should be a red-brown color.

Remove the leaves. The longer it steeps the better. The more concentrated the 'tea' the better the color.

Set up your testing materials. Add water to powders like baking soda, salt, baking powder, and borax. We diluted all the containers so the color was not as striking but it was detectable.

Give the little information on acid and bases. Ask questions on which ones do you think are acids and which one do you think are bases. Why?

What is up with this picture? The milk has a hue.
Remember that the orange juice affect the color. It is pink at initial mixing.

I take fabulous pictures; I know it. You'll have to trust me on the colors. Anyway, the acid solutions are pink. The basic solutions are green, and the neutral solutions are brownish. We didn't put them in order from acidic to basic yesterday, but we have done it before. We did mix it all together to see what colors they would make. I, being the geeky teacher, did ask if the new solution was more acidic or basic. Our big bucket in the end was slightly acidic.

Give it a try if you have a chance. It's an easy experiment, fairly clean and definitely seasonal.