Yesterday we took a day off from school and went to the zoo. The weather was perfect, the zoo is educational, and we all needed a break.
Apparently, the rest of the world felt the same way. The zoo was, well, a zoo. So when lunch time came around I just fed the kids some snacks I’d packed and said we’d get lunch in an hour, after the lines died down a bit. An hour later the lines were as long as ever, so we just got in one and waited and waited and waited.
Something like this wait for a referral, but not quite.
So, anyway, when we were finally the third family in line, Midge announced that she had to go potty. Super duper. Luckily, there was a restroom within my line of sight, so I sent A~ off with Midge and my ever-present travel sized can of Lysol (a must for parents of girls especially).
We continued to wait. And wait. And wait. It’s not like the menu had a thousand items from which to choose, you know? I have no idea why it was taking so long. Maybe it was zoo employee Act Like a Turtle Day. Finally, we were the second family in line. Only one family in front of us!!! We were arriving!
As my spirits were being buoyed by our new line position, Tank Boy says, “What’s this? What’s this?”
I looked down just as he was extracting his hand from somewhere behind him to hold it aloft, for all the thronging masses to see . . . Interruption . . . hmmmm . . . where was I? Oh, yes . . . to see the poo that was covering his fingers. I really should have known better than to let him drink juice in the morning, because juice always does this to him. Total blowout.
We left our coveted spot in line and headed to the aforementioned restroom. I left the girls out with the stroller while I cleaned up my son. This involved stripping him of all clothing since it was poo covered at this point. When we were finished I marched him out of the restroom clad only in his red socks, brown shoes and white diaper. Attractive.
Now, to the adoption-type thing. I, as quickly as possible, put one of his sisters’ jackets on him to cover not only his redneck state of dress but also the mongolian spots that go across and up his back. And by that, I mean they start on his bottom and go up and across his back. And by that I mean his bottom is almost entirely shades of blue. Much like this picture:
I haven’t seen much, if anything, about this in blog land. I’m hoping all of your agencies, social workers, etc. are explaining mongolian spots to you. They are generally described as flat birthmarks resembling a small bruise, usually found at the base of the spine. They are common to all races except caucasians and, despite the description in my last sentence, they can be huge and numerous and make it look like you beat your child every day just for the heck of it. Tank Boy falls into that category.
I have made sure his mongolian spots have been well documented by our pediatrician. This is a vitally important thing to do since, as I said, they are not common to caucasians so most caucasians will think, “AAAaaaaaa call 911!! That kid is a victim of child abuse!” Our pediatrician’s office, however, is about 2 hours away from the zoo and I don’t carry the number with me on a regular basis, so I was terrified someone (meaning some white person) would see what looks like numerous bruises on his back (thank goodness his butt was covered by the diaper) and find some zoo equivalent of social services to sick on me.
This has only happened on other time, at church. He had a blowout, but luckily the onesie kept it off of his regular clothes. So there I had him, standing in the middle of the bathroom completely naked while I walked the few short feet to throw the onesie in the trash can (I know, wasteful) when someone walked in. Without even knowing if she noticed my son’s beaten-looking butt, I start explaining mongolian spots to her. Yes, it looks that much like he’s really been thrashed.
So, when you finally get your baby, don’t automatically assume the orphanage staff have been beating him/her. Make sure you get the spots documented. Make sure you explain them to any and all babysitters or day care providers you may use. Don’t worry, they aren’t painful or harmful, nor are they indicative of some underlying condition. Not all internationally adopted children will have them, but many will.
And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt says hello.