Monday, January 28, 2008

The Privilege of Hair Space

Seinfeld of the day: "Should we be talking about this?"

Perhaps you were wondering where I was going with this baby-touching post. I hope I can throw some thoughts out without sounding too nutters. I may need my favorite college soc major to help me out.

As y'all noted, people like to touch babies, even if they don't know them. That's understandable to some extent, depending on the situation.

The skin thing I can let go because it's usually just a hand, which baby herself reaches out or could pull away, and it's usually baby-loving adults talking about how soft baby skin always is. If someone seems amazed at the softness I just smile and with my best Queer Eye for the Straight Guy voice say, "Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!"

But I have really been noticing the head-touching lately and it's starting to bother me. It's just really, really too much like petting sometimes. I love her curls too, but she's not a poodle, people.

I let a lot of things go because it's teenagers who are the most frequent offenders--probably 75 percent--and I know they just plain don't have much sense of certain social graces like personal space and baby boundaries. Let alone, here where we live, extra sensitivity to how it might look and feel for them to be so grabby with the only black child in sight or the knowledge that just because she's black doesn't mean she'll grow the kind of massive disco-funk afro they think would be flippin' sweet.

And now I think that's exactly why I need to not let it go so much: lest they think it's okay to touch a black baby's (or any baby's, actually) head without hesitation or asking, and so think it's okay to touch a black three-year-old's head/hair any old time, without asking. And then a ten-year-old's hair. And a fourteen-year-old's hair. And then that poor only black girl on her dorm floor's hair (because I recall this interview I did at my 90% white college with the school's minority student representative and how she mentioned how while the black students were all for talking openly about race, it gets awful tiresome to have everyone wanting to feel your hair all the time). And God forbid they develop some kind of embarrassing Barbara Walters pawing compulsion. Newsflash: Black people don't like random people touching their heads. (Also, this just in, parents don't like random people touching their babies!)

So why did I ask this on MLK Day? Well, first of all, it was just on my mind because I'd noticed a lot of head-patting on our last outings (and yes, it's starting to mess up her hair), and I was wondering how to politely discourage this. Then I wondered how other parents deal with this and realized that it probably wasn't a major concern for most of my white friends with white babies. Of course, as your comments noted, we all deal with the touching to some extent, because people just can't seem to keep their hands off of babies. But I'm telling you, it's like her hair is magnetized for some people. And here, I think, is the important difference: If your child is white, you never have to wonder if people are touching her because she's black. (You also don't get hair care questions or all those afro jokes.)

When you don't have to think about a problem that other people have to deal with, that's called a privilege. In this case, an example of white privilege. I'm not mad about it or anything; obviously we signed up for this, and it's more of an observation than a problem at this point. I'm just a sociology nerd who found it interesting that while some people would say this privilege doesn't even exist, here I'd found an example to add to my personal list (right after inability to purchase inconspicuous Band-Aids).

Maybe you think I'm thinking too much about this. Maybe you're thinking, as Peggy McIntosh puts it, "my chief worries about [my white children] do not concern others' attitudes toward their race." But that's my point: they don't have to if your child's in the majority. I'm just saying that if you've never thought about how people react to your child's race at all--never wondered how to keep well-meaning curiosity from one day turning into a lot of burden for a little girl to bear--well, isn't it a privilege that you don't have to worry about that on top of all the other worries about creepy grabby people in general and plastics leeching into food and the icecaps melting and yada yada yada?

All I can tell you is that from my observation, people touch my girl's hair a lot. So the next question is, how do I reverse this trend? I think my new rule might be if you're not holding her, don't touch her (head). If she reaches her hand out to touch you, that's different, of course. But I've never once seen her thrust her head at someone. And I'm just sayin', there's a difference between needing one of these:
and also needing one of these:

We'll take one of each, please!

Postscript disclaimer: If you're a friend or relative reading this, don't worry, I probably don't mind you touching my baby.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Illustrated Guide to Baby Care

Where was this before I had a baby? I could have been saved a lot of anxiety had I simply had this handy visual guide!

What's your favorite? I think I might have to go with the fish tank.

Monday, January 21, 2008

My MLK Day Survey

On this MLK Day, I have some questions for all you parents out there. I need your input, so please comment here or email me. The question of the day is . . .
When you are (or were) out and about with your baby (or one-year-old and beyond), do people touch your baby? And more specifically, do they touch your baby's head?

And on a related note, how about stroking your baby's skin, such as on the arm, and admiring its softness?

Finally, for, uh, statistical purposes . . . what is your baby's race and what is yours?

I am thinking here not of people you are close to, who would be holding and playing with your baby, but acquaintances and even strangers who would approach while you're holding or standing/sitting with your child.

Hit me with your experiences and then I'll hit you with my thoughts. Thanks.

Meanwhile, unity is the great need of the hour.

Uh huh, pretty soon I am going to need one of these.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Remembering Lila, Promoted to Glory

April 16, 2007
We prayed in the room off the sanctuary before church, and she lingered in the room. My husband went to her, "Lila, can I have a hug?" "Yes!" she exclaimed in her old-lady voice. "I love you..." She held him as long and as hard as her ninety-one-year-old arms could, until I barged in for my turn. "I need a Lila hug too."

Lila does not hug briefly, carelessly. She embraces. She stands firm, and time stands still. In comparison I am a quick embracer, and the hug might have gone on much longer had I not kissed her cheek and pulled back to look at her. Lila also looks, sees, fearlessly. Her old body wavers now, her watery eyes struggle to focus, but they never leave my face. "I love you," I say, pleased to have beaten her to it. "I love you," she says, but not as an ending--she seems to have more to say; she does not lift her gaze. She takes my face in her soft, wrinkled, precious hands. "You are so precious..."

I am taken aback, though she has heaped such kindness on me before. I want to say, Why do you love me so much? What have I ever done to be precious to you? It makes no sense, the passion with which she cherishes me. She once told me, "I loved you before I knew you!" Why? I have no words in response, but today I feel tears coming to my eyes. My heart aches with love for this old saint and the thought of losing her, aches to see her growing frail and to know that behind her constant smile--honest and sincere though it is--lie more frequent losses in the battle to keep her body going strong.

We stand face to face for another minute, me groping for words, she contentedly searching my face as though seeking to remember it forever. But it is I who must remember.

Someday we're going to lose her. And she's so, so precious to me.
Last week we lost her, and today an overflowing church gathered to remember. Two weeks ago at church we knew she lay in the hospital, waiting to go home, and the weight of it hung over the congregation. I couldn't hold back the tears when Terry sang "Give me Jesus" (have I ever not cried when Terry sings this?).

She was more with us today than that day, for she sits now in the third pew of the great cloud of witnesses, grinning her ever-present smile and swaying and bobbing her head to the music. But her hands and eyes and voice are strong again, and next time I am sure to bring Anna over to see her, she will be strong enough to hold her in her arms, take her face in her hands, and jubilantly proclaim, "I loved you before I knew you!"

And she did. Lila loved and prayed for many, many around the world--vast networks of missionary friends from her days in missions in Peru and a lifetime of remembering and entreating others to remember in prayer those hungry for the gospel and those setting it free all around the globe. And she loved and prayed for us, before she even knew us, for our little piece of gospel-work here in humble SmallPort. And she loved and prayed for Anna, before she even knew her.

In May we had a garage sale with many items donated by friends to help raise adoption funds. Lila told me before the sale that she was looking for an adding machine that printed onto tape. I was tickled to find one in a box of donations and present it to her at church the next week. She said, "I will give you 25 dollars." I laughed and said, "Lila, you don't have to give me anything! It's only worth 25 cents." In the mail the following week I received a check for $25.25 and this note:

I posted it on my wall to encourage me through the difficult final weeks of our process. I think it will be a long time until I can bring myself to take it down. We miss our spunky, gracious, encouraging, ever joyful Lila already, but this good and faithful servant has earned her rest. As our pastor and his family members always say, I want to grow up to be like Lila Smiley. Which is really just another way of saying, You can have all this world--Give me Jesus.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What We Did on Our Christmas Vacation Trip

EDIT: Now with photos!

Long overdue tales of holidays past . . . (for more photos see previous post).

I have already detailed the travel endurance trials portion of our journey and the physical and emotional recovery period. I should note that once we got back into our routine, Anna got back into her easygoing nature, although we did have one heckuva long night last week with a very unhappy, nonsleeping, teething babe. Not that more teeth have made it through yet.

As far as what all our trip included, well, it could be summed up in the word PEOPLE. People people people everywhere wanted to meet Anna. And meet her they did. With our Christmas Eve travel delays, we had no day to decompress before we hit the ground running. Christmas Day is always a full one for us since we stay at my parents’ house, go to Aaron’s parents’ for Christmas with the immediate family, and then go to his grandparents’ for the big extended family dinner and gift exchange (and wrapping paper whipping contest).

We went to his parents’ as usual and had time with them plus Aaron’s brothers and their lovely ladies and daughters. Anna and her two-year-old cousin Autumn shared a sweet minute of holding onto each other and staring and then a big kiss from Autumn. This year things were a bit different in that we had dinner there instead of with everyone at his grandparents’—the big dinner was called off because of his grandmother’s health. Grandma S. was diagnosed with cancer not long ago and sadly it is a type for which they can do basically nothing at this point. She is at home receiving care from family and hospice. We did all gather at their house for time together and gifts, though, and I suspect that Grandma summoned great energy for and from having everyone together, as you probably would not have guessed she was sick had you not known. She is a wonderfully kind, sweet, yet strong woman. She tells us each time she sees us and in notes that she prays for us every single day and always wants to know specifically how to pray. I know she prays for Anna too so we were grateful that she and Grandpa both were able to meet her that day.

For once I was grateful the drive from there back to my parents’ is long since Anna needed the nap—more family waiting to meet her! My aunt, uncle, and Grandma H. had driven over from the Detroit area for the day (my brother and his wife had arrived the day before). Grandma wanted to hold that baby on her lap right away, finally! (Anna is the first great-grandchild on my side.) We had dessert and there were plenty of packages for Anna to rip open, now that she was an old pro at that game. My parents got her a walker/ride-on lion which makes music and emits a comical giggle/roar. She bends her knees and bops her booty as soon as she hears it, and she figured out fast that it’s pretty fun to shove around. Busy day!

The next day we didn’t have to drive anywhere, but more family descended: grandparents, aunt, and cousins from my mom’s side also arrived from the east (though being warned in a dream, some returned home in other directions). Papa wore his natty holly bow tie, my cousins as usual brought great comic relief, and my aunt provided lemon tarts and made a fantastic Ethiopia-to-U.S. map wall hanging for Anna. My mother tricked us all into decorating cookies in the traditional retro-psychedelic style and ridiculous quantities for which we are known.

The next few days were a little more relaxed, attempting to leave Anna time for at least one good nap a day (normally she is still a two-napper). We had meals out (or in) with friends and spent time with our families. Friday we got some beautiful fresh snow. Saturday night we were at FunnyWriterMommy and Beau’s house and their two-year-old was showing Anna how to run around like a crazy girl. For about a week Anna had been taking a few steps between us or objects when coaxed, but suddenly she saw that big girl walking around with a toy and thought I’m going after her! She took off on her own and then got brave to walk farther and farther distances across rooms. She loved practicing and soon really got the hang of it. Now she’s walking all over the house all the time like an old pro (okay, like a clutzy old pro who falls down a lot, but falls like an old pro too). Wow! (And yikes!)

By Saturday night Anna was getting my cold and didn’t sleep well because she was congested. She kept waking up needing to be patted or picked up to go back to sleep, but then it would only last a half hour (hmm, come to think of it, she gave us a reenactment of this last night). Finally we found our infant motrin and brought her into bed with us, and we she slept the rest of the night (guess whose pillow she always drifts onto?). We decided we needed to skip church and get some rest, though, since we had a big evening ahead. That day was the worst I felt throughout my cold. Anna perked up fine though.

Sunday night was the big “come meet Anna” open house there at my parents’ house. This really turned out to be a good idea since a lot of people were able to come and we could not possibly have seen them all otherwise. There were tons of kids running all over the house too—good thing Grandma seems to have a toy factory in her basement!

New Year’s Eve we had one last hurrah with old friends. The sweetness makes it that much harder to say good-bye. It was good we didn’t stay any later, though, because it was snowing like heck all the way home. Watched the ball drop at my parents’ but should have focused more on packing, because the next morning got frantic (sorry again Mom and Dad). It was kind of like how we left Ethiopia (yes, that tale will come in time). All to get to the airport and stand in a line for an hour . . . which brings us back to our return home (brings us back to 'Doh!') and the end of this scintillating saga. What travel or celebration tales will the next installment hold?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Politics (Addiction) As Usual

I am an on-and-off political junkie. I had been disconnected from the news and not thinking much about the presidential race, but I fell off the wagon (is it off the wagon or on the wagon?) the moment I saw the Internet headline “Obama Wins Iowa Caucus.” I immediately turned on CNN and experienced violent West Wing cravings.

My nerdiness waned but then peaked on New Hampshire primary day. I broke my own rules to keep the TV on with Anna wandering about able to watch (“Honey, too close. I know he’s pretty, but don’t kiss John Edwards.”).

First I heard Mitt Romney give, I'm sorry, a horrid speech. What a schmoe. How did I ever think he was a serious candidate? Clearly without having heard him.

Next, John McCain, and I thought, Dang, he’s presidential. Okay, maybe mostly in a "The state of the Union is boring" kind of way. But did you know that at age 71 he is older than the state of Alaska?

Later I saw John Edwards speak. Preach, brother! I like that kid. He’s a good storyteller.


Finally came Hillary Clinton, and I thought, Damn, she’s smart. Who’s crying now? (Answer: Wolf Blitzer.)

Who's going to win? Beats me, but I’m not ashamed to admit I like watching the game. ’Cuz at the end of it, don’t blame me, I voted for Bartlet.

Happy primary day, Michigan. Too bad you only half count.

Reporter: In addition, Mike Huckabee can draw on strong pro-life support from a very large Dutch community.

Jon Stewart: I always knew Huckabee was in the pocket of big wooden shoe!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Colds and Kids Hanging On

More on Christmas festivities and Ethiopia soon, but I wanted to just write a quick update.

I am really sick of being sick. Or as Aaron carefully put it as I hacked in bed, "I'm glad you don't get colds very often." I am getting better, though--or at least feeling better due to near-narcotic levels of cold medicine. I really need to get back into a regular routine, though a certain little person's BIRTHDAY (what?!) is sure to distract.

Along with the cold hanging on, Anna has been hanging onto us a lot since we've been home. She was amazing, really, with all the new people and places and experiences over Christmas. Not until the last night did she get unwilling to sit with new people and more wanting mom and dad. But the day after we got home? Super cling-on, and kind of generally fussy. Sometimes we can't even leave the room without her whining. Crying or grumpy after afternoon naps. She's been pickier about food too although I'm not suave enough to quite know what's maybe teething and what's tiredness or early-onset toddler-ness. But the not wanting to be left alone is the most definite.

I know this is the age where separation anxiety is common, but given the timing, I think it's more attachment related. Like I said, she just went through a whole lot of "new." She met dozens of new people (probably 50 percent of whom held her) and slept in a new room and drove in a new car to new places and heck, even the ground was a new color. She liked most of it, but it was a lot, and not a lot of routine or naps to go with it some days. I was actually amazed how well she did for so long. So I'm not surprised that she's showing a little "anxious attachment." We have to remember that she still hasn't been with us as long as she was bouncing around orphanage care. Of course she's not completely, 100 percent securely attached--we feel she's doing well, but we have to keep working on it.

Meanwhile, well, I guess I'll be the Velcro, you bring the birthday cake!

If you're interested in attachment/adoption/people (oh how I sadly see this in teenagers!), check out this detailed article: "Attachment 101: A Primer for Parents: How Attachment Relationships Impact Brain Development."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

2007 in Lyrics


If there’s no one beside you when you soul embarks
I’ll follow you into the dark

The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters but no pearls…

It’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe

Maybe this year will be better than the last

Can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself

To hold on to these moments as they pass


Waiting for you to arrive,
Where does the time go?
Where does the time go?
Where does the time go?
Where does the time go?


I am selfish, I am wrong
I am right, I swear I’m right
Swear I knew it all along
And I am flawed, but I am cleaning up so well
I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part


Anna begins.

Down among the reeds and rushes
A baby girl was found
Her eyes as clear as centuries
Her silky hair was brown

Never been lonely
Never been lied to
Never had to scuffle in fear
Nothing denied to

Born at the instant
The church bells chime
And the whole world whispering
Born at the right time

She takes the blame
She covers the shame

Removes the stain
It could be her name

It's a name for a girl
It's also a thought that changed the world
And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything

When she goes to work
You can hear her strings
Grace finds beauty in everything

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty

Out of ugly things

Grace makes beauty out of ugly things


O great God
Be small enough
To hear me now

There have been moments when I could not face
Goliath on my own
And how could I forget we marched
Around our share of Jerichos
But I will not be setting out
A fleece for you tonight
Just wanna know that everything will be alright
O great God, be close enough to feel me now

All praise and all the honor be

To the god of ancient mysteries
Whose every sign and wonder
Turn the pages of our history
But tonight my heart is heavy
And I cannot keep from whispering this prayer:
Are you there?

And I know you could leave writing
On the wall that’s just for me
Or send wisdom while I’m sleeping
Like in Solomon’s sweet dreams
But I don’t need the strength of Sampson
Or a chariot in the end
Just wanna know that you still know how many
Hairs are on my head
O great God

(Are you small enough?)
Be small enough to hear
Me now

Tuesday night at the Bible study
We lift our hands and pray over your body
But nothing ever happens

Oh the glory that the Lord has made

And the complications when I see his face
In the morning in the window

Oh the glory when he took our place
But he took my shoulders and he shook my face
And he takes and he takes and he takes

The only way out is through
The faster we're in the better
The only way out is through ultimately


This far will you come but no more.
This far will you come but no more.
Who holds back the raging sea?
Who keeps trouble far from me?
This far will you come but no more.

I lift my eyes up to the mountains
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from You
Maker of heaven, Creator of the earth

Oh how I need You, Lord
You are my only hope
You’re my only prayer
So I will wait for You
To come and rescue me
Come and give me life


I feel your fingers trace the scars
I thought were hidden from your view
I am surprised to hear you call them blessed
And say they brought me here to you

You sacrifice your skepticism
And me, I sacrifice my fear
But I insist it wasn't pain, no -
It was grace that brought us here


This barren July
We both wake up so dry
That no more tears can leave us.
And all we've found
Are roads we can't go down,
Eyes on a day we can't see. . . .

One friend came in
Out of nowhere, with lit

Sparklers in both her hands for me,
And saved the day
When I had run away
To envy and black feelings.
And the world at night
Could see the greatest light.
Too much light to deny.

July, July,
The man I love and I
Will lift our heads together.
July, July,
I've seen the greatest light.
Too much light to deny.

But I would not give you false hope, no
On this strange and mournful day
When the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away

This looks familiar, vaguely familiar,
Almost unreal, yet, it's too soon to feel yet.
Close to my soul, and yet so far away.
I'm going to go back there someday.

Sun rises, night falls, sometimes the sky calls.
Is that a song there, and do I belong there?
I've never been there, but I know the way.
I'm going to go back there someday….

There's not a word yet for old friends who've just met.
Part heaven, part space, or have I found my place?
You can just visit, but I plan to stay.
I'm going to go back there someday.
I'm going to go back there someday.

This time when kindness falls like rain
It washes me away
And Anna begins to change my mind
And every time she sneezes I believe it’s love

And O Lord, I’m not ready for this sort of thing
She’s talking in her sleep, it’s keeping me awake
And Anna begins to toss and turn
And every word is nonsense but I understand it and
O Lord, I’m not ready for this sort of thing


Listen how fast my little girl’s heart beats
When she sees me

We hold each other so close

We dance around and around
She likes the music that I play
She wants to bust out laughing
She's learnin' how
She wonders if I'm home to stay
Listen how fast my little girl’s heart beats
When she sees me


It's undeniable how brilliant you are
In an unreliable world you shine like a star
It's unforgettable now that we've come this far
It's unmistakable that you're undeniable

'Cause I would take a bullet for you
I would take a bullet for you

I would cross any line, I'd swim across the sea
I would take a bullet for you
I would take a bullet for you
I would lose it all, take my fall
To show you it's for real


Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999.

I see skies of blue, clouds of white
Bright blessed days, dark sacred nights
And I think to myself . . . what a wonderful world.
I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know

And I think to myself . . . what a wonderful world


I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began

My life was in his hands

He knows my name
He knows my every thought,
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call

I have a Father,
He calls me his own

He’ll never leave me,
No matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call


Straight up, what did you hope to learn about here
If I were someone else, would this all fall apart
Strange, where were you, when we started this gig,
I wish the real world would just stop hassling me
Please don't change, please don't break
The only thing that seems to work at all is you
Please don't change, at all from me

To you, and you to me

What a beautiful piece of heartache this has all turned out to be.
Lord knows we’ve learned the hard way all about healthy apathy.
And I use these words pretty loosely.
There’s so much more to life than words.

And I’m dyin’ inside to leave you with more than just cliches.
But tell them it’s real. Tell them it’s really real.
I just don’t have much left to say.

They’ve taken their toll these latter days.
They’ve taken their toll these latter days.

All I need is everything.
Inside, outside feel new skin.
All I need is everything.
Feel the slip and the grip of grace again.


No money to spend
No ship comin' in

But we're gonna see it through together

Times may be hard
We're crippled and scarred
But we're gonna see it through together

Dreams of a lifetime
Way past the deadline
We're pushing up an incline
But I believe we'll be just fine

No money to spend
No ship comin' in
But we're gonna see it through together


Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence

Thank you India
Thank you Providence
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you nothingness
Thank you clarity
Thank you thank you silence


My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside;
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly;

Whose ev'ry promise is enough
For ev'ry step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace.

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace,
Whose ev'ry thought is love.
For ev'ry day I have on earth

Is given by the King;
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow him


Changes come
Turn my world around


And you ask me what I want this year
and I try to make this kind and clear
just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

'cause I don't need boxes wrapped in strings
and designer love and empty things
just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

I need some place simple where we could live
and something only you can give
and that's faith and trust and peace while we're alive
and the one poor child who saved this world

and there's ten million more who probably could
if we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

I wish everyone was loved tonight
and somehow stop this endless fight
just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

So take these words and sing out loud
'cause everyone is forgiven now
'cause tonight's the night the world begins again
'cause tonight's the night the world begins again

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Home from the Holidays

We are back home after a wonderful but tiring trip. We had a lot of fun with family and friends, although I will say it probably would have been a bit more fun had I not gotten sick right before we left, stayed sick the entire time, and come home sick. I hope to somehow find the missing ingredient--rest--and kick this cold soon.

Travel to went askew for us as for so many others. We intended to take the red-eye and go through Minneapolis, but the flight out was delayed until 2:00 a.m. so we would have missed our connection, spent all day in the Minny airport, and arrived late at night. So we opted to spend a short night in Portland, leave early, go through Detroit, and arrive in the evening, only 12 hours after we'd intended. All things considered--long flight and napping on the floor of the airport--Anna did wonderfully. My brother and his wife barely beat us to the farm, arriving 24 hours after they'd intended. (All things considered, my mother did wonderfully.)

On the way home all NWA flights were running late, so they threw us on a different flight so we'd make our connection. That meant hasty good-byes and no time to eat, go to the bathroom, or get water and make up a bottle. Aaron was left alone in row 2 with Anna and the diaper bag while I bounced around the back of the plane hoping he'd get my psychic message There's a pacifier in the front of the diaper bag. He didn't, but they both made it without crying. The second leg we were reunited and she slept a good while.

We are enjoying the quiet, eating soup, emptying bags, opening mail, and getting back to work. Before long I hope to unfog my brain and get pictures loaded and tales told. I'm barely sure what day it is, but 2008 seems to have started without us. Happy new year.