(because I know this page will grow!)
A Week in the Life of an S.M. My life as a single mom, with a definite "Cyber" theme
Did Then...Do Now a humorous look at how my life has changed since becoming a parent
A Time to Sleep, a Time to Wake Up Wish you could sleep in? So do I!
Picture Perfect My efforts on creating the perfect "home"
Someone to Love You A very short essay on an adoptive mom's worries (mine!)

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A Week in the Life of a S.M

Cyber-space is a world of abbreviations and acronyms- as anyone who has blundered into the Internet without benefit of a cheat sheet knows. But after you learn the language, things are pretty consistent. The initials S.M stand for Single Mom when used in most parenting web sites. I know this because it’s where I spend much of my limited alone time, a world where I am simply Legan45, S.M. In this label I have revealed my name, parental status, marital status, and my 40+ age. If only things in the real world were that simple. In the course of just a single week, S.M. has many meanings, reflecting the chaos and joy that are the reality of motherhood.

Sunday, I am Saint Mom. Before becoming a mother, I attended church only on Christmas or other special occasions. Now, as a parent, I dress my daughter and myself in “anything except jeans or shorts” (a rule originated by my own saintly mother) and head off to church almost every Sunday. Sandwiched into a small space dubbed the cry room, which is appropriately named, we fulfill our weekly spiritual duties. Paramount to this process is getting our offering into the collection basket before we have to bail out, so the priest knows we were there.

This particular Sunday, it is Halloween. That night, while we begin our quest for treats, I admire the award winning costumes created by Sewing Moms. My daughter is, for the third year in a row, wearing a costume purchased by Store-bought Mom. This year she’s a witch, and despite the fact that she’s so cute, I play along and pretend to be Scared Mom. I also mention Halloween because that day, and for many that follow, the phrase, “I want candy” will haunt me from morning until night. Even though it will make her bounce off the walls, I will reluctantly dispense it as Sugar Mom.

After Sunday, inevitably dawns Monday, a day I wear the tag Sleepy Mom or Snoring Mom, depending on the time of day. This is related to the recent daylight savings time switch and the fact that we were wide awake at 4:30 am. I get a second wind, but become Stressed Mom after drinking several cups of strong coffee at work. This makes it very hard for me to perform my job duties as Supervisor Mom.

At about 5:30 pm, my exhausted child nearly falls asleep at the dinner table. I manage to keep her up until the new 6:30, which is really the old 7:30 so she will sleep until the new 6:00 am. By this time, I am so confused that I decide to go to bed myself, even though it is only eight o’clock!

Tuesday, I become Stoic Mom. After work and prior to picking up my daughter at daycare, I have an appointment for a breast biopsy and aspiration of multiple cysts- a problem associated with being Legan45 rather than Legan25. This involves about an hour and a half of being poked in both breasts with long needles. While this is going on, I have absolutely nothing to do but lay there and admire the radiologist (he is really cute). I am so relaxed that I almost doze off. The tech assisting in the procedure is amazed "You're falling asleep!" I reply, "This is nothing, compared to dealing with my 4 year old!" Yes, it's true, I would rather have needles poked into my breasts than be with my child in one of her moods. They could even throw in a Pap smear and some dental work and that would be fine too.

Super Mom takes over on Wednesday. We oversleep because the effects of the time switch have finally worn off and in 30 minutes I: shower, dress, realize clothes are a wrinkled mess, undress, iron, redress, wake up my daughter, let the dog out, feed the cat, bag up the garbage, make breakfast, help daughter get dressed, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for preschool lunch, help daughter pick out different clothes, put the garbage out, help daughter pick out different clothes again, let the dog in…

When we finally arrive at preschool, I discover that my child is barefoot. This is not a problem, because it’s happened many times before. I become Scavenger Mom and quickly rummage through all the leftover stuff in the car- things I don’t want to bring in the house because I will actually have to put them away. Under piles of books, swim fins, half-empty juice boxes, and about twenty stuffed animals, I find two mismatched socks and some sandals. I decide that with socks, sandals are OK for November. While I am looking, I realize I left my daughter’s lunch at home. Again, this is not a problem-I easily find enough loose, somewhat sticky change on the floor of the car to buy her a hot lunch. As we make our entrance into the preschool room, all eyes turn to Sad -excuse- for- a- Mom.

Thursday, my daughter is in one of her inquisitive moods, inspired by recent Circle Time topics presented at preschool. She poses several questions. I start out as Scientist Mom, giving a satisfactory answer to, “What is photosynthesis?” but quickly regress to Stumped Mom and finally to Stupid Mom when attempting more in-depth responses to “Why is the heart all slimy?” and “What keeps your feet and hands on your body?” After this interrogation I must look depressed, because she gives me a hug and calls me Smart Mom.

T.G.I.F- even non-web surfers know that one. Not that long ago, in my childfree days, I would have gone to a happy hour with co-workers to usher in the weekend. This Friday, I am simply Sober Mom. Later I wish I’d had a few drinks, especially during the excruciatingly slow process of getting a four-year-old to sleep. At bedtime, my daughter decides she wants six books read by Story Mom. She then wants six songs sung by Singer Mom, six hugs, six kisses, and six trips to the bathroom. Since I am not sure what is prompting this fascination with the number 6, I play along, even though it prolongs our already lengthy bedtime routine. I am hopelessly unaware that Stupid Mom has made another appearance!

When she finally goes to sleep, I start an evening of Friday night TV viewing and I am quickly hypnotized into zombie-like Somnolent Mom. When I finally retire for the evening at 9:30 PM, I realize I’ve become So-dull-Mom.

Saturday is so frantic, I feel like Schizophrenic Mom. I start out the day as Swim Mom, at the Puddle-Jumpers introductory swimming class. Here, its taken my daughter eight weeks to learn to put her mouth in the water for exactly one millisecond. Silently comparing her accomplishment to other children in the class that still wouldn’t even go in the water, I confess I am Smug Mom. This feeling quickly evaporates when the instructor informs me that my star swimmer will have to repeat the entire eight-week session.

After swim class we proceed to the grocery store, where I evolve into Shopper Mom. This is a role best performed solo, for obvious reasons. After taking a little too long in the candy aisle, the usual 10 AM meltdown occurs in the checkout lane rather than in the car. I attempt to calm her while waiting to pay, but finally ditch our groceries and take her for a long time-out in the restroom. Here, I am finally forced to act as Straightjacket Mom, which proves to be quite effective.

We then continue on to our local discount store. Even though it’s only the first week of November, all the toys and decorations are out for the upcoming Yuletide season. Because of this, my daughter is confused and thinks I’m Santa Mom. After the umpteenth “Not today, Honey, maybe for Christmas” she dubs me So-mean- Mom. Marching her back out to the car, I sound like Sergeant Mom.

Returning home, we have lunch. After eating my low calorie convenience food, Scavenger Mom re-emerges, eagerly awaiting my daughter’s leftover macaroni and cheese. As a result of this behavior I’ve become Slightly-overweight-Mom. During her naptime, while I would really like to take a nap myself, I crank out 20 minutes on my treadmill as Sweaty Mom.

By the time she falls asleep that night, I have also been: Swing(me) Mom, Silly Mom, and my most favorite of all, Snuggle Mom. The only thing I am not, and perhaps never will be again, is Sexy Mom. That night, I look around at my messy house, overflowing laundry hamper and dirty dishes, and then down at the shining hair of my daughter as she sleeps. As I reflect on my week- in a life much altered by motherhood- a peaceful feeling comes over me. I realize what I have in my real world is all I will ever need. I am, above all else... Satisfied Mom.

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"Did Then..Do Now"
When I set out to become a single mom through adoption, the thing I heard most often, both from friends and almost strangers, was…”Boy, is your life ever going to change”. Nodding, as if I seriously appreciated this wisdom, I was secretly thinking, “They must think I’m stupid, of course it’s going to change!” I was lying, even to myself, because I harbored the illusion that because my life was pretty simple, any change would be minimal. I wasn’t a wild partier, went to bed early (even on weekends) and was a very organized person. Now, after almost 4 years of motherhood, I look back on these early expectations, and think, “I WAS stupid, has it EVER changed!” However, still being an organized type of person, I’ve made a list (for anyone I know contemplating motherhood). I call it: Did Then……Do Now!
Did…go out line-dancing two nights a week. Do ...the Electric Slide in the living room to "Peanuts Country Classics on Toys"
Did…talk on the phone for hours. Do...not.
Did…drink a nice cold beer on a hot summer day. Do...enjoy a "Juice in a Box" as a way to unwind
Did…excuse myself politely in social situations. Do…announce to ANY group, “I have to go potty!”
Did…eat popcorn for dinner, on my lap, while watching TV and reading at the same time. Do: real meals, with the basic food groups included, at the table, after saying grace.
Did…watch R rated videos. Do…have the ability to sing ANY song EVER sung on ANY children’s video.
Did…eat bran flakes, granola, and other “high fiber cereal.” Do…enjoy separating the marshmallows from my cereal and eating THEM first.
Did…read a new book at least once a month. Do the SAME book EVERY night!
Did…go to aerobics in cute exercise clothes 3 days /week. Do...a 20 minute walk on my treadmill, by my bed, at 5 AM, WITH my bra on OVER my PJ's.
Did…vacuum the inside of my car regularly. Do… check for MICE if the car windows are left open overnight
Did…go to the bathroom WITHOUT company. D0…not.
Did…eat yummy sandwiches on healthy, gourmet bread. Do…eagerly wait for leftover bread crust from PB&J sandwiches.
Did…go to bed most nights without a kiss and a hug. Do....well, YOU know!

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"A Time to Sleep, a Time to Wake Up"

A dream of mine, and many other parents of preschoolers, is to sleep in on the weekends. For purpose of clarification, I define “sleeping in” as any time beyond my normal weekday rising. My first realization that this was most likely a pipe dream came to me when I discovered “Gullah-Gullah Island “ with a target audience of preschoolers, was on at 6 AM, ONLY on WEEKENDS

With my dream unfulfilled, I am dragged (literally) out of bed on weekends due to my 4-year-old daughter’s habit of waking at 5:00 AM. This is puzzling because she sleeps until 6:15 or so on weekdays and I have to wake her up. My efforts to correct this behavior have included: duplicating her weekday schedule on weekends, keeping her up later, putting her to bed earlier, eliminating her nap, and purchasing blackout shades for her windows. None of these strategies succeeded and she still awakened early, raring to go.

Noting my exhausted and depressed face, my well meaning friends advised, “Just tell her NOT to get up and wake you until after 6” (yeah, like THAT would work) and “My 2 year old nephew knows the number 7, and plays quietly in his room until he sees it on his clock”. Finally, at my daughter’s birthday party, I overheard her little friend telling her “I can’t wake my Mom up until 8 on my clock”. Imagining the lucky parents of these children, I began my last (and least successful) campaign to sleep in.

My plan was formed after I realized that I must have neglected something in my daughter’s education, because she had no concept of time-she still thought it was a new day every time she took a nap! Since she could not see the wall clock in her room in the morning darkness, I went to the local Wal-Mart and bought a digital clock for her room. I planned on giving her a crash course in identifying the number 6. (I thought I’d start with 6 am, then gradually adjust towards 7…more dreaming!). I picked the one with extra large numbers, figuring it could also serve as an extra nightlight. Wisely, or so it seemed at the time, I plugged it in on a Sunday night, because she would sleep ‘til past 6 AM on Monday morning…then I would show her the number 6 on the clock and she’d somehow GET IT....

The clock looked gigantic, like a big neon sign in her room, She of course wanted to know why it was there, so I gave her a quick explanation. She immediately panicked “I can’t tell time!” “What’s a six?” I made a six on a piece of paper and she went to sleep clutching it like it was a lifeline.

Exactly one hour later, at 9 pm, she wanted to get up (the paper was upside down). She became very upset, so I decided that the clock was not a good idea and unplugged it. Ten minutes later she was hysterical, “I CAN’T SEE MY CLOCK!!!” I turned it back on. All that night, she woke me up about every hour and a half asking “Is it six yet, I want to get up” I could not turn it off without her getting hysterical. She last awoke at 4:45 am, 15 minutes before I had to get up. She then went back to sleep until I had to wake her at 6:26. We noted the two 6’s on the stupid clock. Her first (and last) words going to bed the next night were “Don’t take away my clock, Mama, so I know when to wake up.” It’s still in there.

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"Picture Perfect"
When I was preparing my portfolio for Guatemala, the social worker told me to provide a few pictures of the outside and inside of my house, including the nursery I had decorated. I looked around and got a little frantic-it just didn't look much like a "kid" house. I was worried that the officials would take one look at the pictures and say- "no baby for her!" or something like that.

So I quickly went to work. I bought some toys (after all, I'd need them anyway), a beanbag chair, a toy box, , a few Disney videos, stuffed animals, etc, etc..and carefully arranged all my props in the living room. I even put a crucifix up on a wall where there had not been one previously. I put up a Little Tykes desk and toy box in one corner- to show she would have a "spot" to color, draw, and be creative.

The nursery already had the bumper pads, comforter, matching sheets, mobiles and changing table already, but I added some of the stuffed toys here too.

I even sunk so low as to "cuten up " the outside of the house, adding some little plastic lawn bunnies in the yard, then mowing the grass to display a picture perfect lawn, just waiting for a child to run through it. ( I stopped short of actually putting up a swing set).. Then I snapped my pictures; confident I had created a house that looked like any kid would want to live in it. WRONG!!!! Looking back at those pictures today, and then looking around at my house, I just have to smile. NOW, this is the scene I would have created had I only known....

When I first walked through the door with Dasha in my arms-it was 4 am and she was sound asleep. I carried her to her wonderfully decorated nursery and carefully laid her down in her color-coordinated crib. Yes, my perfect picture was complete...NOT!!! ....starting with the crib and its matching comforter, sheets and bumper pad- too hot-out goes the comforter. Too much apple juice-.out go the sheets..Already 8 months old by the time she arrived- out go the bumper pads and mobile. The changing table? Never used it-wild child, safe only on the floor for diaper changes. Stuffed toys? Still worried about suffocation-out they went! My REAL nursery picture- a crib with sheet, a lamp, and a diaper genie.

The living room? Over the last 4 1/2 years, it has undergone a metamorphosis that would have rivaled any caterpillar. . My real picture, based on what I see today, should have looked a little like this....

In the middle of the living room is a Barbie tent-that is full of stuff I just threw in there to" clean up a little". Several large Rubbermaid containers are parked in strategic places throughout the room- full of unsorted clutter. The coffee table is covered with my computer paper- each sheet with only about three letters or numbers on it, plus several "family" pictures. Several crayons have been taken by the dog and chewed up on the floor. There are about 50 videos by the TV, most not in their cases. The TV appears to have lipgloss on the screen so the picture is a little blurry. The name Dasha can be found written on both the arm of the couch, in ballpoint pen, and on the front door. Every known species of beanie baby is hanging in a Lillian Vernon holder on the closet door along with a naked Barbie, and a few million Happy Meal toys. By the front door are several pairs of sandals, clogs, and Jelly shoes. The toy box is empty, and the little tykes desk has transformed into a vanity-covered with hair clips, pony ties, and lip gloss. The only part of my original living room picture that remains is the crucifix.

Outside-the plastic lawn bunnies are long gone, killed by the dog. Two moldy old vinyl swimming pools are hidden behind the house in a pile, along with a almost-never- used "Bubble Mower", and a cheap plastic sled.. My rake is leaning against the house, with a miniature purple rake leaning right next to it. A swing set is in the yard-with long tufts of grass growing around each leg due to lack of time to trim, and bare spots under each swing, worn down by little feet. A rock and pinecone collection is on the front steps, just waiting to trip unsuspecting visitors. On the porch is a plastic terrarium awaiting the next toad or snake that is discovered, and a Winnie the Pooh WELCOME mat greets our guests. The presence of a child in a house changes it forever, in a way that can never be predicted or duplicated-it just happens, gradually, in the most wonderful of ways. .... And I know I could never have imagined a more perfect picture..

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Someone to Love You

As with any parent, parents of adopted children want to protect them from pain -both physical and emotional. While the physical we can control (usually), the emotional can be a bit harder. I worry, perhaps too much, about the things I cannot see, in my daughter's heart and mind. I have always been very open with her about her adoption. I answer all her questions. She play-acts several versions of the actual events with her dolls. She does not appear to be bothered by the concept, in fact she seems quite proud of "being adopted". Could she have some deep, emotional scar in her subconscious mind, as a result of her separation from her birthmother? Sometimes things happen which make me wonder.....

You may have seen this episode of Barney , which involves an adoption theme. In it, an adopted girl is talking to a small puppy about how she was adopted, and found a home. Then she sings a rather poignant song, "Someone to Love You'. The first time Dasha saw this episode, I was in the kitchen, When this particular song began, this heart- wrenching sobbing erupted from my little girl. I rushed into the living room and sat with her on the couch, She wrapped her arms around me and just kept crying, yet did not want me to TOUCH the TV.

At the end of the song, she quit crying. When talking to her about it later(which she didn't want to do), she just kept saying, "it made me feel so sad.!" We have, on her insistence, seen this episode several times since in the last year (why, you may ask..well she can be very persistent and insisted "I like it". She cried EVERY time during this song, but in lessening intensity. She watched it last week, and did not shed a tear. She stated, "I used to cry during that song, but now I'm 4". I, on the other hand, am STILL crying.

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Favorite Photos
Guatemala Journey
Adoption Story
Christmas Memories
Birthday Parties
Friends and Family
Dasha's Place
De Colores
Witches and Goblins
Linda's Place
Other Stuff
Independence Day
Our Pets