Monday, February 25, 2008

Melanie IV

On Saturday, Melanie must have gotten into a gallon of coke or someting (coca cola that is, don't get cocky!) because at Lisa's basketball game she was zipping around like a miniature tornado.  Of course the older girls at the church were eating her up, playing ring around the rosy with her, etc.  One of the girls decided she's had enough and lay down on the floor.  Melanie wasn't going to let her rest, and she punched her in the nose.  I mean P.U.N.C.H.E.D her in the nose.  Blood, bruises, the whole nine yards.  Now we've gone from simple larceny and defacing public property to assault & battery.  I'm beyond mortified, humiliated, embarrassed, perplexed, bumfoozled.  I'm thinking we're going to need some bigger (dare I say professional?) help with this one.  She's out of control.  I put that little cartoon on the page, but on reflection, it's really not funny any more. 

A lot of kids (or perhaps I should use the word "some") who were adopted from overseas come with something called Reactive Attachment Disorder.  This is a syndrome in which a child who has not had the opportunity to form a healthy attachment to her caregiver from birth, later has trouble forming attachments with anyone.  It manifests itself by angry outbursts, acting out, over affectionate behavior with everyone except the parent, pitting strangers against the parents, almost as if to say, "I dare you ... can I act bad enough and you will still love me?"

Melanie was placed in a wonderful orphanage (baby house) at one month old.  It was a friendly, cheerful environment, but how much one-on-one attention could the kids get, with 10 other kids needing the same attention?  Granted, Melanie probably copped more than the average, with her cleft lip & palate; she needed to be painstakingly fed until she had her surgery at age 11 months.  But I'm beginning to get a terrible feeling inside.  We really need some prayers here ...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Revisiting Adoption

Last winter, I got an email from my cousin, Leigh.  Her mother, Dorothy, is my dad's sister.  Leigh and Dorothy and Leigh's two sisters, Susie & Becky, all live in Texas.  (There's also a brother, David).  Leigh is my age, and we great up as friends, as much as friends who only see each other once a year can be friends.  Living all over the place as we did, we only went to North Texas on home leave over the summer.  Nevertheless, we've always been friends.  When I went to college in Texas that first year, and my parents were still in Singapore, I drove to Pampa with Leigh to spend Thanksgiving with her family.

Anyway ... now that we've established the background ... back to the email.  She and her mom and sisters were planning a trip to North Carolina in January to visit some of their cousins, i.e. my grandfather's family, whom he left before the Great Depression, in Mebane.  My father and his sisters had met their cousins once or twice in their lives.  I mean, North Carolina and Texas are pretty far apart, and Southwest Airlines didn't exist back then.  I suppose that when you get along in years you decide to go back to visit family, distant though they may be.

There are two of my dad's first cousins living in Charlotte.  One Saturday afternoon we drove down to visit them, along with their siblings and children.  It was a big ol' family reunion.  Or should I say, a UNION.  There was no "re" about it, as we had never met before.

My dad had very rarely spoken of these folks.  I should have been thrilled to meet them, but I felt empty.  They were strangers.  As I thought about all these new people in my family, I realized there was no connection.  Just DNA.  After all, isn't family more than just biology?  Isn't family sharing experiences, sitting around the table saying, "Remember that time when we ...?" or "Remember how grandpa used to ...?" and remembering the summers spent on the farm, or the time Uncle Raymond got a new toilet seat for Christmas?  Isn't THAT what it is all about?

It made me put our daughters into perspective.  Truly ... My daughters and her brothers CAN sit around and laugh about Melanie cutting her hair, or about how many times Quentin got stitches.  And the trip to Disney ... and the way we used to laugh at dinnertime.  At how funny Daddy looks with a beard.  Isn't that what family is really about?  We don't need no stinkin' DNA.


Yeah, me neither.  Class is tonight ... this semester I'm taking Management and Administration.  It's one of the "core" or required classes, and it really doesn't have anything to do with libraries.  Strictly business management, with a library thrown in here & there.  Interesting, yeah, but I'm so desperate to get into some real nuts & bolts library stuff.  Like cataloging, collection management (managing books, not people!) and government documents.  I guess that will come soon enough.

I have a paper due tonight, an analysis of an "organizational culture".  I have written it, read it, re-read it, corrected it, had David read it and comment on it, and I'm sick and tired of it.  I think I did a good job, but these grad school standards have me in a conundrum, and I'm feeling somewhat inadequate.  Earlier in the semester I had to write a "growth plan" (where did I see myself going in the next 5 years and how I hoped to get there) and a resume.  I thought it was outstanding, but I got it back with a low "B".  I guess a B is acceptable, but wouldn't it be great to be, like, an honors student?  How much more do honor students scratch their heads?  How much more thinking does an honor student do?  Am I just an Average Joe?  How boring is that?  Where do I go to buy genius-ness?  I suppose there are more average people than there are Mensa people, hence the name average (picture the bell curve).  If everyone was ultra-smart, by which yardstick would they be measured?  Is this too Jean-Paul Satres for everyone?  I think, therefore I am?  I'm reminded of something my doctor said last summer, can't remember the context, but it goes something like this:  What do you call the medical student who is last in his graduating class?  Doctor.

Melanie tried to shoplift last night.  We were at the grocery store and as we were rolling our way out the door, I noticed her hand behind her back.  I asked her what she had, and she shrugged her shoulders.  That's always a bad sign.  I turned her around and found the pack of gum I had just told her she couldn't have.  Last week she wrote all over her bookshelf with a marker (not the first time -- I recall an incident when we had our old house on the market, and she wrote in BLACK SHARPIE all over the wainscoating in the dining room).  I made a snap judgment right then to empty her room of everything except a bed and dresser.  No small task, that kid has more toys than the North Pole.  It seems to be working; when I put her to bed, she goes to sleep; no more playing until All Hours.  Quentin said it was a little extreme, but hey.  What else can I do that won't get me in trouble with DHS?  As I was cleaning out her junk, I found clumps of hair under the bed, next to a pair of purloined scissors.  Yep, you guessed it.  She's been chopping her hair off too.  She now has a very cute bob, not much in the way of bangs, since they're all gone.  I love that kid, but honestly ... sometimes ... The Thief

What am I to do????  Oh, and for the record, never mention your plans for a 5 year old's birthday party 6 months in advance.  Unless you want to hear, every day for 6 months, how many more days until my birthday? and have the kid invite every grocery store clerk, nurse and handy man to her party, which is in July for Pete's sake.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Did I Mention Kevin Costner?

No Way OutWe were standing on Tchoupitoulas Street (bonus points if you can pronounce that correctly!!) watching the Krewe d'Etat (which is one of the funnier, satiric parades).  The crowd wasn't too bad, just a bunch of happy people enjoying the warm evening.  Suddenly I heard a guy shout, "Hey, Waterworld!!"  I turn around and see Kevin Costner walking right behind me.  I mean RIGHT behind me.  He gives the shouter a "bite me" smile (guess he'd like to forget that movie, although I personally enjoyed it!) and kept walking.  He was with about six other guys, his band maybe?  (He rode as the grand marshall of the Endymion parade, and his band played at the SuperDome later that night).  They didn't really look like bodyguards, and they weren't around him, just with him.  Anyway ... those of you who know me know that No Way Out is one of my all-time, hands down favorites (that white naval uniform!  Running through the Pentagon!) oh, stop!  Sorry, but other than The Untouchables, any of his movies after that did nothing for me. 



Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mardi Gras Madness

Just got back from New Orleans.  Quentin rode in his first parade, and is hooked.  Here are some pictures that were taken from the float (and others too).