A daimen icker

Item – Hello. Life goes on. Aten’t dead. Tralala.

Item – Valentine’s Day was nice. H and I gave each other chocolate from the same fancy chocolate store (that was amusing, swapping identical gift-bags). We took the afternoon off and went to an exhibition, happily geeking out together. H gave me a sweet card. I wrote him a poem. (BTW, writing poems will get you laid on Valentine’s Day. Word). We are probably making you feel a little ill. Sorry about that.

Item – I didn’t go and get my oestrogen/FSH test on day 3 of my cycle, because a) it was still snowing (making public transport Officially Tiresome), and b) I still felt like shit. Next time, eh?

Item – My mother and I were invited to dinner by an old friend of hers (that, is, an old friend of my mother’s), ostensibly to see her daughter (I was friends with her at school but hadn’t seen her for about ten years (she moved to another hemisphere and got married, you see)) who was back in the country for a couple of weeks. My school-friend has a very beautiful toddler, who, despite the fact her body-clock was completely cockaleekie with jetlag, behaved adorably for the entire refusing-to-go-to-bed evening. And the scenario was, friend and I would talk incessantly with hand-gestures about all our old mutual friends and acquaintances, also our respective spouses and no doubt about the beautiful toddler, while our mothers talked about their respective mutual friends and acquaintances incessantly with hand-gestures also amiable grandmothering anecdotage. Good plan, eh? I was mostly uneasy at having to fend off the ‘where are your beautiful toddlers?’ queries while being stuck in a room with My Mother The Overshare Queen. Actually, in the end, what ganged agley was my friend’s mother, who talked so very much, so very dominantly, that the rest of us got not a word in edgeways. Not. A. Word. It was a bravura talkathon. I think she must have been breathing through her ears. And she talked exclusively about Fascinating Things She Did In Her Younger Days. Don’t get me wrong, they were fascinating things and she is quite the adventuress, but, I swear, the rest of us said nada. And I have no idea what my old friend is doing for a living, or how any of our mutual acquaintance are, or if she likes Doctor Who or anything and what’s more, she hasn’t a clue what my husband’s name is yet. I wish now I’d turned to her and said ‘I saw a pub just round the corner. Quick, let’s run!’ Eheu.

Item – Oh, wait, apart from the bit, a couple of drinks in, when my mother and her mother discussed all the adopted children (now grown up) they know of who have massive psychological problems. I have no idea how they got onto the subject (I had gone to the loo) and I had no idea how to get them off the subject, and, seriously? the issues? were nothing to do with being adopted, poor kids, and pretty much everything to do with having been adopted by jackasses. Point surprisingly hard to make, considering that my hostess was friends with a good handful of said jackasses. So I discussed Sesame Street with the beautiful toddler instead, and we agreed that Big Bird is really big, also yellow, and this is very funny.

Item – H and I are going to my mother’s for the weekend. Where we will do a dance workshop (the fuck? when did I sign up to that?), and also meet new baby cousins. As I am grouchy emotional Lord of the Dorks at the moment, I predict this will end in Awkward.

Item – I have nothing to say about IVF at the moment, not because I have no opinion, but because I have about 27 flatly contradictory opinions and 56 caveats to boot. I’ll have to get back to you on that.


35 responses to “A daimen icker

  • a

    Awww – poems, and cards, and chocolate! You two are so cute!

    Dance workshop? Well, if it were me, it would definitely end in awkward, regardless on anything else that might go on.

    The massive psychological problems of adoptees seems to be a major topic of conversation these days. This bothers me on several fronts. I have a cousin who’s adopted. He seems pretty well-adjusted…but then, he doesn’t talk much. At any rate, he holds a job, has a lovely family, and farms in his spare time. He’s actually just like my uncle. I have two nieces who are adopted. One may never be well-adjusted but I doubt that has anything to do with being adopted. She’s just a lot like one of my sisters – uncontrollable urges to do what she wants rather than what’s necessary or good for her run her life. But she is only 9, so we’ll see where life takes her. The other one – well, she would be pretty well-adjusted no matter what. She’s the star of the show in her own life, and very loving and lovable. Anyway, blah, blah, blah – I hate to think that adoptees can only ever be maladjusted, but that seems to be the prevailing theme.

    • May

      We wallow in The Cute, here.

      Oh, there were glorious moments of ‘Awkward May is Awkward’. Luckily, a couple of other people were also rather less than graceful, so I see my role as helping them not feel so self-conscious. At least they didn’t hit their own selves around the back of their own head (I rock so hard (nope)).

      One of my grandmothers was adopted, and we know pretty much zero divided by zip about her birth family. My grandmother was a very well-adjusted functional person, and didn’t seem overly bothered about it (or, if she was bothered, didn’t let it run her life). So for my mother, knowing I am infertile, knowing her own mother was adopted, etc., to sit there even HAVING this ridiculous conversation at all, well, it made me cranky.

  • Amy P

    My in-laws, especially my mother-in-law, seem to breathe through their ears, too. Either that, or, like didgeridoo players, they do cyclic breathing…

    I can’t think of any adoptees offhand, but I know plenty of folks that were raised by their natural parents that are royally screwed up, so I don’t think being adopted messes you up any more than you would be anyway, assuming there’s nothing traumatic attached to the changing-parents-bit…

    • May

      Didgeridoo talkers! Ha!

      Exactly. Screwedupness is not a feature specific to adoption. It’s an equal-opportunites feature applicable to fragile people with jackass parents, regardless of how the parents came to parent. (NB – some people are screwed up because they’re extra-fragile, even though their parents did their level best, and some people are not screwed up despite colossally jackassy parenting, because they have extra resiliance somehow. I don’t think all people with bad parenting are screwed up and I don’t think you are automatically a bad parent if your child is sadly screwed up. It’s a crap-shoot. My adopted grandmama was very sane and together and with-it despite having a somewhat jackassy mother, and I know some lovely people who’s kid is… alas alack).

  • Hairyfarmerfamily

    The day I am not Conflicted about reproductive medicine, I will pack up my books and head for Tibet, on the basis that I am now ready to become the Dalai Llama. It is the HOME of cognitive dissonance. Repro medicine, I mean, not Tibet.

    Call me paranoid (and now and again, people do) but I’d be AWFUL curious about what got said during that trip to the loo to kick the subject off. I only know one adoptee, now in his early 50s, well. He is absolutely the least fucked-up soul I know, and is the first person I would head to if in trouble of any description. And we all know that single examples drawn from Ann’s personal experience Officially Prove The Point, so topic settled!

    We can haz dance workshop pics?

    • May

      And I shall come with you to Tibet and help you wear the special hat and it’ll be marvellous.

      According to my mother, who I grilled like a lamb chop afterwards, they were ‘just talking about people they knew’. Fine. OK. Right. Fine.

  • Womb For Improvement

    I love how older folk will cheerfully roll their eye say that younger folk (and I include myself still in that category) “Know everything now days” and then barrel in with a gross generalisation about how being adopted screws you up.

    My valentines day consisted of a card hastily bought at lunchtime saying ‘congratulations’ (because I couldn’t stand giving the slushy ones and wanted to hit home to him how well he chose when he picked a wife). Still got laid though.

    • May

      He chose excellently well. Go you. Congratulations indeed. Hehe.

      Yeah. Certain older folk – we know which ones – need to eat a plate of hush-face pie.

      Also, actually, I DO know everything. It’s my job to. I am well aware it makes me ultra-fucking-annoying. HAH.

  • Jenny F. Scientist, PhD

    My theory is that it’s confirmation bias. Well-adjusted people aren’t always harping on how they were adopted (though they may discuss it in a mature, rational, and appropriate fashion). It’s also a convenient excuse. My spouse has a cousin who was adopted and his family is always blaming his screwed-up-ness on the fact that he was adopted. No, it’s because he’s black and they’re all pasty white and the family told everyone he was ‘Caribbean’ or ‘just really tan’.

    …dance workshop? What kind of dance?

    • May

      His family said WHAT? I mean WHAT? WHAAAAAAAT?


      We have a bit of this in my own family. A couple of generations back (mind you, A COUPLE OF GENERATIONS back), a lady fled from her brand new husband, pregnant with their first and only child, because she discovered he had black ancestry. And then told said child his father was dead. Except, when he was 20, he found out his father was NOT dead. Just… ‘really tan’. Oh, the fucking fuck.

  • Bachelor's Button

    Thanks for making me giggle with the recounting of dance workshop plans, adoption twaffle talk and BIG BIRD. Re the IVF conflicts and caveats. I think we all have those but in the end it is just a case of biting the proverbial bullet and going for it…. Atlhough if you get hooked by the dancing, the jabs wont help with your ability to move your legs or shake your rear so you may have to add this into your conflict…. Hx

    • May

      Thanks for the thanks!

      I am unhooked by the dancing. I enjoyed it, but the muscle aches the next day…oy very vey indeed.

      Yeah. I feel I am going to have a Great Big Wail about all the caveats and then do IVF anyway. Because. Bullets. Must be bitten.

  • Korechronicles


    Go for the dancing. Dancing does wonders for stress. Exception is Life Partner who always developed migraine by lunchtime on the day of our regular class. Which is why I now am Tap Dancer Extrordinaire. With sequins, fishnets and cane and partners are redundant. And remember, Awkward is always part of the learning process. And if you don’t believe me on that then fish out the photos taken when you were learning to walk* Practice is what dispenses with the awkward!

    And I appreciate the story about your mother’s friend as I strongly suspect (and this comment will only confirm it, in the written form) that I may end up as voluble Old Bat who never lets anyone else into the conversation. I also talk to think, which is massive social burden if the eye rolling and mass exodus from my vicinity by the three males in residence at Villa Kore is any indication. Exhibit One: Old Bat Who Talks to Herself! At length!

    Big Bird is my favourite. So happy, so positive, so funny. We need more like him!

    * I was going to use first sexual experience as an example but I am old fashioned enough to hope that there are absolutely no photos of that anywhere. Unlike a regional city to my southwest where the bored students over the summer holidays discovered a video of their media studies teacher having kinky sex with his partner, who just happened to be an ex-student of the school. Vid went viral, government would not sack said teacher, parents and co-teachers threatened to remove children/not work with him and the idiot was in the paper yesterday after he finally did the honourable thing and resigned, whinging about how much pressure they had been under and how, perhaps, putting the video on the internet had not been a good idea. But, dear readers of May’s blog which I seem to have hijacked, do not worry about his future. He and his girl have opened a Happy High Herbs shop in regional city that specialises in herbs to enhance sexual performance and enjoyment. It was at this point I almost longed to have been born in the non-liberated early 1900’s.

    • May

      I’m quite used to being the voluble middling bat, myself. On the way home, my mother looked at me and said ‘you only said two words!’, and I said ‘yes,’ and she said ‘Good Lord!’. So there you go.

      Footnote anecdote made me chortle. Also, how can a MEDIA STUDIES teacher be so amazingly media-klutztastic as to put his sex-video online and think no-one would find it? I mean, REALLY. Too many happy herbs already. Heheheheheheh.

  • Korechronicles

    OMFG! Footnote is longer than comment. *Slinks off to allow conversation to resume*

  • wombattwo

    I’m not sure it’s being adopted that causes issues so much as the abuse, neglect and general care system beforehand. Besides, who’s to say what maladjusted is, and isn’t everyone in some shape or form?
    Good luck with the dancing, and the baby-meeting x

    • Katie

      Although if the adoptees are now adults, they were likely adopted at birth, but everyone said “don’t talk about adoption and ignore their birth families”

      • May

        In these particular cases, one was adopted at birth, one at the age of four, and one at the age of six. And all three were told over and over again that they were SO LUCKY to be adopted, yes! Whereas the poor mite who’d been dumped in a bus station by her birth family and spent a year living on the streets in Nairobi might well beg to differ, actually. But no. She was SO LUCKY. Cognitive dissonance not good for adult stability.

  • Kylie

    I am on the crap parenting causes adoption issues bandwagon. My MIL was adopted, she was illegitimate child of a family friend, who she knew as Aunty May while growing up. She did get to find out who her mother was, eventually, but to this day doesn’t know her father, despite the fact that at least some of his family knew. When she had my husband, a couple stopped her on the street and commented on his resemblance to his (biological) grandad. She has major issues around this.
    Australia in general has many issues around adoption disasters ( the domestic and international rate of adoption has been dropping for years and the number of domestic adptions in 2008 was about 120), and most of the issues are around the f#%king stupid way it was handled in the past. Like giving white families aboriginal babies ( probably half white ones, because they were often taken away) and NOT telling them that they were aboriginal. Resulting in a child that didn’t look like their ” family” and a family not prepared to have a child that wasn’t white ( yes Australia was/is very racist). Not to mention that the family probably didn’t tell anyone They were adopting.
    Not bitter about this at all. The only way I will be able to adopt is if I dust off the US passport and try to convince someone there to let me adopt their baby.

  • Valery

    mhmm, when they translated Sesame Street into Sesam Straat Big Bird was called Pino and turned blue (http://www.nps.nl/nps/sesamstraat/).
    Maybe you can tell they babycousins about the dancing so the awkward gets a bit mixed up…

  • twangy

    Glad to hear life continueth. How about your friend’s mother,eh? Am so in awe of that sort of fluency. And on zero oxygen! My words all crowd together and then run out abruptly.

    Yes. The opinions on adopted peeps are many and frequently offered. I just firmly think: a.confirmation bias and b. We know much more about attachment disorder now, and how to address it, we have learned a huge amount from adult adopters.. so. You know.
    Also a bit of I can’t heeeeear you no doubt.

    • May

      Yeah. Big Bird and I can’t HEEEEEAR you deffo the answer. She didn’t hear me when I said yes please to the coffee offer either. Harrumph.

      Exactly. We know better now. Unless we’re talking so much we’ve stopped breathing.

  • Laurel

    Needless to say adoption is a very complicated subject indeed, as the redoubtable Julie of A Little Pregnant has often pointed out, but it seems to me that in the vast majority of cases, a child who was adopted will have a vastly better life than had s/he grown up in a situation that might range from completely neglected, to abusive, to perhaps more caring but simply not prepared to have a child. And some of them may have issues because of what happened before adoption, or because of attachment challenges in some situations, or as you mention because of the “nurture” effect of jackasses, but that only increases my gratitude and respect for the many great parents who put their heart and soul into adopted children, and those others who work to make adoption as good as it can be. As for the particular conversation you recount, I … well. This is your mother and family, after all, but I wish they’d been more thoughtful and kinder, and kudos to you for your stoicism yet again.

    About IVF, also seems a very complicated subject indeed, deserving of multiple opinions and caveats. Looking forward to hearing them all!

    • May

      Oh, yes, good point, that’s why ELSE the conversation bugged me. It didn’t acknowledge in the SLIGHTEST all the adoptive parents who put so much heart and soul and effort into parenting, and make something good come out of such a rough start. ANd that’s MOST adoptive parents, right? Exactly. Just because Talking Lady knows rather too many over-privileged jackasses (sorry – jackass is Word of the Week) she can’t see that over-privileged jackassery isn’t the norm.

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    *waves a paw to say that first comment is in your Awaiting Approval place*

  • Bionic Baby Mama

    wait, wait, wait. back up to “dance workshop,” please, and elaborate.

    Being Adopted By Jackasses is indeed a bad start on a happy life, much as Being Conceived And Parented By Jackasses is. funny, that.

    • May

      It was a very weird and YUUUNEEEK sort of dance workshop, and my mother arranged it, so I daren’t mention its actual name right here in case this week is the week she learns to google. I may have changed the names for this ‘ere blog, but the story is pretty recognizable, so, um. Yes. You can always email me if you are consumed with Desire To Know.

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