Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Christmas Letter 2005

(abridged and adapted by the author)

Not much has happened to us this last year, so toward the end of this letter I’m just going to start making stuff up.

The cats have been horking up a lot of hairballs around the house. So we’d like pet stain remover for Christmas. Oh, those of you whom we’re going to hit up to adopt a couple of our cats, please disregard the last sentence. Those whom we plan to invite to our house in the upcoming year, please know that we have meticulously cleaned up all spots to date.

Benjamin is currently obsessed with (Australian children’s musicians and TV personalities) The Wiggles. He almost always refers to Jay as “Greg” and Rebecca as “Anthony,” and he usually answers only to “Dorothy the Dinosaur” (all Wiggles characters). Once in a while Benjamin rearranges the roles. I'm glad I don’t often have to be “Dorothy,” because it gets tiring speaking in an Australian falsetto all day. Don’t even ask about “Henry the Octopus.”

In addition to making “Fruit Salad (yummy, yummy),” serving “cold spaghetti, cold spaghetti” and other “Wiggly” househusbandly tasks, I've been spending a lot of time on my new hobby, cleaning up hairballs and other bodily waste. Not far off the topic, we attained a notable landmark this year: finally completing Benjamin’s potty training. Did I mention stain remover?

We are continuing the process of adopting our future daughter from China. We hope to travel next fall. (A specific child won’t be identified until a couple of months before that). Our most recent task in the process was getting fingerprinted for our immigration application at the U. S. Department of Homeland Security in Milwaukee. It’s very understandable. You’d be surprised how many couples smuggle in al-Qaeda operatives disguised as 1 year-old Chinese girls.

Shortly before that was our “Home Study”. It is a little strange to have a social worker interview you and come into your home to make sure you will be good parents, especially when you already are (parents, that is). Nevertheless, we didn’t get stressed out about it, except the inevitable scramble to make the house look like a dwelling of civilized people. Did I mention hairballs?

The home study went well. Of course, we tried to demonstrate how we’ve enriched Benjamin by having him show off. We asked him to tell the social worker what he would do if there was an emergency and he could not get an adult to help him. He said, “Call 911.” Fabulous. We continued, “What would you tell them?” His answer: “Me monkey. Me want banana.” He later vindicated us by spontaneously entering our phone number into a calculator and showing it to us all. Apparently, the social worker was impressed. The Chinese may not be as impressed, knowing, as well as anyone, that phones, not calculators, are for calling phone numbers and taking pictures and playing music and ….

My wife most likes her role as “Mama” — or “Anthony,” as the case may be. She still likes her job, too. One of the happier parts of her work is when she performs marriages. Well, usually happier. Recently she officiated at a wedding in which the bride happened to be Chinese. As happens at weddings, the bride began to cry. Well, my wife, already reminded of our daughter-to-be, started bawling along with her. (Mrs. OccupationDad had predicted she might not be as emotional with an adoption as during a pregnancy. Not so.) A simple explanation might have cleared things up, had the bride understood more English. As it was, she backed nervously toward the door, nodding politely, as if to hide what she was really thinking, “Please don’t hurt us, crazy lady.”

Well, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Oh, and the stuff about hairballs. I made it up.

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