Monday, 1 March 2010

Homemade MRIs

We've been home just over three months now, and  I feel very much like our transition phase is now over, and the rest of our lives has properly begun. And, like so many others who have been here before me, I feel like I'm in a phase of not quite knowing what to write. Endless photos don't count. After a little bit of musing, I think I've found out why. Is it because I feel awkward, writing about my new perfect life? Not so much. Is it because I'm just sooooo busy, with my new perfect life? Hmmm, not that either. No, I think it's this.  Here's my homemade MRI* of the inside of my brain, circa 2009:

*yes, i know that isn't what MRIs really look like. 
 See that one really big slice of pie? That gave me a lot to think about, mull over, and work through. Whereas now:

I am so totally not kidding about my new big slice of pie. It turns out that sadness was taking up an awful lot of space inside my head, and most of it just isn't there anymore. I don't mean that I've resolved every feeling of loss we ever had - far from it - but that big yellow isn't gnawing at me any more. And while I adore the babies, and love spending time with them, that feeling of happiness just does not take up as much space in my cranial area as the unhappiness did. Nothing sinister about that, in my opinion, and I've been making a conscious effort not to slip into anxieties or negativity about this new bit of our life, purely out of habit and reflex. Not saying that nothing is hard, because things sometimes are hard, but I don't want that pattern of thinking to be my default mode. There are definitely some things for me to be thinking about, in the short term and the long term. Do my children have developmental delays? Are they attaching well? Will they ever forgive us for adopting them? Really, I'd love to know, but it feels too early to be assessing much of it right now and I'm trying not to let the not-knowing automatically become panic.

Wow, don't I sound very zen about all of this. I swear, all I've drunk this evening is tea.

I'm looking at that 2010 graph again, and to be honest, part of it feels not quite right. Rather than a big area of empty space - a cranium just waiting to be filled - I sometimes feel like my entire brain has just shrunk. So much of what I'm doing all day - lots of rocking, lots of talking, lots of orange mush on babies, my hair and the floor, lots of singing - is wonderful, and important, and I'm very happy to be doing it, but it's using the instinct bits of my brain rather than the reasoning bits. And that's an odd feeling. Maybe some of that empty space should be re-labelled 'the not unpleasant mental torpor that comes from living at the pace of a baby, and also doing an awful lot of washing'.

About the mental torpor. I've been keeping a secret, guilty list of things that I now need to admit that I was wrong about, during all the time I spent over the last few years being angry at the people I knew who were parents (ie, pretty much everybody). I have something saved in drafts, but am having a hard time finishing it because of the mental torpor - which is ironic, because I'm pretty sure the mental torpor is on the list. (Wow, turns out that 'torpor' is one of those words that very quickly loses its meaning if you use it too many times in succession). I'm trying to think of a way to express myself that doesn't just end with me saying 'yeah, but I was right about ALMOST everything', which could potentially be construed as ungracious.  So, watch this space. But, you know, you could probably look away for a while without missing anything.

I think all I'm trying to say is that I haven't gone anywhere. It's just that the cogs are turning a bit more slowly at the moment. Please bear with me. And in the meantime, I'll probably keep plugging the gaps with baby photos.


  1. when it doubt, a chubby baby face pleases the hungry masses every time.

    that yellow part may eventually turn more purple. food will get bigger, because toddlers suck at eating in general.

    you make me laugh.

  2. I personally love the photos and think your words are worth waiting for. Why not enjoy the tropor while you can?!

  3. I read up every word of your posts and can't wait for more! But the pictures in the in between times are equally divine!

  4. I always love reading what you have to say and am looking forward to your future post. I'm very much okay with pics of your little cuties in between postings. (-;

    ps I heart your pie charts, but I'm a nerd that way. (-;

  5. Claudia, TOTALLY agree about the empty head - coming back to work was great for me as that empty space is diminishing :)

    My sleep area was/ is HUGE! next is food/ feeding - theirs, and then mine LOL

  6. he he... i'd hate to see my MRI right now. it'd have categories like this: "wanting son home", "how can i waste my time so i don't want son home so much?", and "what did i do with my life before i started the adoption process?", and "obsessive worrying that i'm being sinful in my obsessive worrying."

    along with a big slice for food... because, well, food deserves a big slice.

  7. I'd love to leave a witty comment, but that part of my brain has been consumed by things like "what are we having for dinner" and "when will I have enough non-torpor to sit down and pay some bills?"

    And yeah, I've had to make some mental apologies to parents who at some time in the past inspired me to mentally snort "I could do a better job than that!" It's harder than it looks...

  8. I totally understand. I went back to work after the kids and then decided to stay home. It's been about 18 months and I still have some empty space. Yes, I'm glad to be home and my kids are advancing because of the time I have to work with them. I'm not missing their milestones or firsts and I'm very grateful for that, but I still do miss my work relationships and my work and really outside adult contact. I have started getting more involved in a volunteer organization and that has helped a lot. So my suggestion is find something non baby related to get involved in even if it's once or twice a month. It helps me feel like a person other than my children's mother

  9. The MRIs have me cracking up. It reminds me of a similar graph I did of how I spent my time once upon a time. I might have to dig it up again for a comparison!

    And I really appreciate your line: "I've been making a conscious effort not to slip into anxieties or negativity about this new bit of our life, purely out of habit and reflex..." so true, isn't it?

    Baby photos makes everyone happy, so no need to apologize for not blogging. You did a great job here!


  10. hahahahaha! I would hate to document how much I think about food whether it is Jacob or mine. You are so funny!


Over to you!