First Haircut

August 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families, Jillian Lauren

By: Jillian Lauren

As a Leo mom who is still technically a licensed cosmetologist in the state of California, I love Tariku’s hair long. But my fantasies of him looking like the newest member of the Jackson 5 have been at war with my dread of the daily battle to detangle. So we decided that we’d just take a tiny bit off the ends and hope that made it easier to comb through.

I’m not sure what traumatized me most about the experience. First, I showed up at the salon and was told by the stylist (after having cancelled on me last week) that she was running behind and I’d have to wait an hour. An hour. With my two-year-old. Needless to say I was heading out the door when the owner walked in and offered to do it. I threw caution to the wind and let her cut it. Tariku liked her and she did an okay job, though when I pick it out he looks a little bit like a lopsided bonsai. Plus it’s shorter than I would have liked.

T was a trooper and he was just happy that I brought his muppets DVD. He LOVES Miss Piggy. He doesn’t care one way or the other about his hair. I, however, have been randomly crying ever since.

I have to remind myself that it’s not the end of the world and that childhoods are chock-full of bad haircuts. But it was so hard watching her cut his hair and thinking that it had been a part of him for his whole life.

It’s also hard to explain the pressure that accompanies being a white mom dealing with black hair. It’s a loaded subject and everyone has an opinion. I have actually been stopped in the street by a barber who offered to cut it for me. I thanked him but told him that I’m kind of a hippie and my kid is going to go to hippie schools where no one is going to tease him because he has an afro.

As a mom, how can you always know that the choices you’re making are going to foster a positive self-image? I just want him to love his awesome hair. I want him to keep loving all of himself as much as he does today. I’m not exactly sure how to foster that kind of self love, but I’m committed to trying.

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Trains, Planes And Grocery Shopping

July 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families, Family

By: Jillian Lauren

Tariku, Jen (babysitter extraordinaire) and I boarded a plane to NY just as the second half of the World Cup was starting. People were gathered six deep around the TV screens at the airport bars. I enjoy the energy of events that draw people together in odd places, but I’m a terrifically fickle sports fan. I was routing for The Netherlands because they’re flying me out to do press for Some Girls in a few weeks, whereas Spain hasn’t even bought the rights yet. We found out the outcome when we approached the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and saw the Empire State Building lit red and yellow.

T and I aren’t going along for the whole tour this summer because it was too impractical, but we decided to rendezvous with Scott in NY for a week. When we got to the hotel, Tariku was so excited that we didn’t get to sleep until 3:15PM. Scott arrived from Canedaigua a couple of hours later.

In spite of being exhausted, the NY mojo inspired us to go on an adventure the next morning. We took Tariku on his first subway ride up to the Intrepid museum, which is based on a WW2 aircraft carrier. I haven’t been there since I was a little girl and it was fascinating. I’m hardly one for glorifying militarism, but it’s difficult to stand on the deck of the Intrepid and not marvel.

So, in essence, we took a CHOO CHOO (all-caps indicates Tariku screaming at the top of his lungs) to a huge BOAT with AIRPLANES all over it. What?!?!? Tariku will never forgive me for taking him back to L.A. That is, until he gets back to the BEACH.

Then Scott put T down for his nap while I took a much needed break by reading in the tub. I didn’t bother with the water part, as I had already taken a shower. I just lay down in the dry tub and finished my book while occasionally looking out the window over the downtown rooftops. I steal my reading moments however I can get em.

Jen took T while we had a romantic dinner and grocery shopping date and if you think I’m being sarcastic, I’m not. Whole Foods in Soho is actually an excellent date spot if you like people watching and pricey chocolate, which is kind of my equivalent of CHOO CHOOS and AIRPLANES.

I was bummed that we missed Weezer playing on the Jumbotron in Times Square today, but we settled for the Electric Mayhem (The Muppets band) on my laptop instead, as this it what it looked like outside:

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Be The First On Your Block

April 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families, Family

By: Jillian Lauren

Can’t wait until the April 27th release date of Some Girls? I’ll be signing copies at The LA Times Festival of Books this weekend. I’ll be with Tony DuShane at the Book Soup booth on Saturday at 5pm (booth 330 in zone C). Come by and see me. Tariku will be there tossing books at the heads of passers by.

Also, at 8:30 AM on Thursday, you can hear me do a heavily caffeinated interview on The Peter Tilden Morning Show. It’ll be streaming live at www.kabc.com.

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Don't Wear High Heels On A Soggy Lawn

March 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families

By: Jillian Lauren

sf-view

When the inimitable Dolly Parton gave the above-mentioned advice, she was no doubt on tour in San Francisco. I don’t have any pictures from the Mountain View show because I was busy stumbling after the baby while wearing- you guessed it- high heels on a soggy lawn. Or more like a slippery backstage deck area. But there is something gorgeous about rock in a rainstorm. Seen from backstage, the rain catches the stage lights and intermingles with the smoke amidst an amphitheater full of undaunted fans in ponchos and it feels like something extraordinary. Which it always is, really, but sometimes it’s easy to forget how lucky I am to regularly witness the transformative potential of live music. My friend Gina (wife of Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz) once told me that she always feels fortunate to live in rock-wife liminality- not exactly an audience member but not a performer either. My friend Danica was in the audience and now has a massive crush on Rivers, which probably would have happened anyway, but I think there was a little extra magic in that rain.

The guys still have the San Diego and Irvine shows left to do, but writing this from my desk at home, I feel like the hard part is over. And the hard part got pretty hard for a minute there. I skipped the Seattle show due to a raging migraine and schlepped all of our stuff through the airport the next day wearing sunglasses and barfing in trash cans (which, I suppose, is about as rock as it gets). The worst part was that I missed seeing our friends, but you can read about the show (and more about Ethiopian adoption, if you’re interested) on my friend Karin’s blog.

Things soon looked up, though. Our hotel room in SF was awesome, to the point that upon entering I felt it was necessary to grab Tariku and jump on the bed for a few minutes while laughing diabolically. Tariku ran laps around the Yerba Buena Gardens all evening while I tried in vain to convince him to go see the vogueing competition at the neighboring Center for the Arts. He was totally uninterested in the men walking by in glittery drag, preferring the eternally captivating delights of shuffling through dry leaves.

The next day I met up with my SF gal pals, one of whom happens to be the manager of exquisite corset shop Dark Garden. I used my iphone to bribe Tariku into compliance while Andrea fitted me with a gorgeous corset, coming soon to a Halloween celebration near you…

candy

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Jillian Lauren

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Tour Truants

March 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families

By: Jillian Lauren

ferry

We had a few days off before the Seattle show, so we decided to try to get away from it all and rent a house out on Bainbridge Island.

Here is what I learned:

1. Bainbridge Island is quaint and lovely and has a charming indie bookstore.
2. It is wonderful to sleep with the sound of waves breaking right outside your bedroom window.
3. There is no such thing as “getting away from it all” when you have an eighteen-month-old in tow.

I believe I expressed this sentiment in a less articulate way last night. It went something like the following (imagine this punctuated with desperate sobs): I am NOT going ANYWHERE EVER AGAIN. When we get home, I am staying there FOREVER.

What happened to your circus gal, your Gypsy pal? She was felled by a migraine and a wee lad. All I can say is that he’s small but he’s cunning.

I think the highlight of our island excursion was actually the ferry ride over. Bainbridge Island is about 35 minutes from downtown Seattle by ferry. It was T’s first time on a boat and it was so great to watch him screaming with delight and running headlong into the crazy wind. Here he is posing as the new Adam for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

t-n-scot-on-ferry

n-between bouts of panic and dread, I did take a moment or two to enjoy the clean sea air, the lush evergreens all around and the views of snow-covered Mt. Ranier from the beach outside our pad.

beachflower

We also went to visit a little Norweigian-themed town called Poulsbo- kind of the Pacific Northwest’s equivalent to our Solvang. It was cute and touristy and had lots of viking dolls and lingonberry jam. I dubbed it “Little Ikea.” Here is the window of the town pirate store. Every town should have one.

ships

And for those of you who saw the Vanity Fair blog I wrote from Japan, you’ll appreciate that I was somehow hypnotized into buying yet another faux-fur Doctor Zhivago hat. That one was grey and this one is off-white and brown, so they’re apples and oranges, really. Plus, it was made by a local artist and was called a muffette or a muffalette or something, so I had to buy it.

I have no pictures of it, since its purchase preceded a rather unpleasant exchange. Why don’t men understand that an LA girl simply can’t have enough faux-fur cossack hats?

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Tour Day 16: Denver Slowly

February 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families

By: Jillian Lauren

tyler-larsen

market

Tariku woke me at 6AM and I blearily bundled him off to the back of the bus so he wouldn’t wake anyone else. Unsure of what time it was, but sure it was pretty fucking early, I lifted the shades to smudges of clouds the color of orange creamsicles and the full moon still hanging over a little white farmhouse. Fields of sunflowers turned their expectant faces to the horizon.

That kind of sunrise is God’s gift to farmers and baristas and mothers of wakeful babies.

Later we cruised the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market in the parking lot across from the hotel. Visiting farmer’s markets is one of my favorite things to do in cities not my own. I met a fellow crafter named Tyler Larsen who makes adorable onesies under the name Baby Lux Designs. She turned me on to Craft Hope, an organization that shares handmade crafts with those less fortunate. Tyler donated a hand crafted sock monkey. The question is, is there anyone out there who would actually want one of my many ambitious-but-often-ugly scarves?

Which leads me to why I craft. And why I shut myself in the back of the bus and just look out the window while the insomniacs in the front of the bus compulsively scan Craig’s List. I love knitting my lopsided baby blankets because it’s a slow process. The Slow Movement is a really interesting website that addresses issues of “time poverty” and supports a “growing global shift toward slowing down.” She says as she blogs.

Unrelated (or maybe not): here is a picture of Tariku on a giant waffle in the Cherry Creek mall. If you think that’s gross, you should have seen the sausages.

waffle

Jillian Lauren

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Tour Day ???: Kansas City… Babies, Buses and Boobies

February 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families

By: Jillian Lauren

babies-and-buses

It’s reached that time of the tour when I no longer know the date, the day of the week, or how many days we’ve been on the road. The tour has become its own little universe and all I know is how many hours are left on the bus before we reach the next stop.

Kansas City was rainy and chaotic, but the friends abounded and the rock was epic and the guys got treated to some impressive booby-flashing while they were on stage, so we can safely say that Kansas City had a little something for everyone.

T had a tour bus reunion with his friend Ezra from the care center in Ethiopia. This will make the third family that we’ve been able to reconnect with in the eight months since we’ve been home. I can’t adequately express how moving it is to see these kids grow and thrive. This little guy was the youngest and the smallest of the babies from our travel group and I carry a vivid memory of his face as we said goodbye to him at the airport. Then, his face was all scared, huge eyes. Now, it’s all chubby cheeks and laughter. I’m proud to say that Weezer was his first rock show. He fell asleep.

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Jillian Lauren

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Cleveland Rocks

February 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families

By: Jillian Lauren

Chronicles of the Weezer Tour 2009

w

We had a couple of unplanned days off in Cleveland and spent one of them at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Grandma and Grandpa, who drove in from Toledo. It was more interesting than I expected. I wanted to take every fabulous costume home with me. Tariku was running around and dancing to the music and having a grand ole time, but he was making the security guards a little bit nervous and a few started following us from room to room.

Their vigilance was justified. Tariku turned suddenly, ran under the ropes and made a wild attempt to play John Lennon’s piano. I (with admitted reluctance) pried his little fingers off the ivories while Scott explained to the security guards that we’d leave peacefully and there was no need to 86 us.

Yes, we got kicked out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But not before we took this picture with the Weezer W.

I told Tariku we’d be back and they’d be begging him to play that piano.

Just you wait.

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Jillian Lauren

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Tour Day 11: Saratoga Springs

February 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families

By: Jillian Lauren

Chronicles of 2009 Weezer Tour

outside-of-buildings

Woke bleary and disoriented on a bus parked in Saratoga Spa State Park. T is teething again and, in spite of my efforts to keep him on rock time, he woke at 7. We took a family walk around the golf course and then had our first experience of getting the baby showered and dressed at the venue. Before I left for tour, I coincidentally read and loved Water for Elephants, which is set in a depression-era circus. I’m a sucker for anything circus, so I romanticize the whole “went to bed in Minneapolis, woke up in PA” aspect of touring. I imagine us a little circus family, and it makes an adventure out of holding the baby aloft under the shower so we don’t have to actually set him down on the shower floor, only to have him rolling around naked in dressing room dust piles five minutes later. So what if he’s a little dust mop. That’s show biz.

trolley

We took the trolley into town and cruised around all the preppy shops featuring high-drama hats for attending the races. You have to love that there’s place that women still wear elaborate hats. But can I please say that preppies make crappy paninis?

The big news of the night was that Travis left to attend DJ AM’s funeral, and he won’t fly (can you blame the guy?) so he’s going to be gone for a few days. A few show days. Including Saratoga Springs. True to the circus theme, the guys decided that the show must go on. So Weezer headlined the show and even though they offered people their money back, nearly everyone stayed. Weezer added four songs to their set and they killed it.

The Cleveland and St. Louis shows are canceled, so now we’ve got a few days off in Scott’s home state.

Jillian Lauren

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The Family That Rocks Together…

February 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families

By: Jillian Lauren

The Chronicles of Weezer 2009 Tour Cont.

scott-n-t

I love this picture because in Scott’s glasses you can see the reflection on the sky as seen through the bus window. My boys love to sit together and look at the sky.

35,000 fans showed up for yesterday’s show in Columbia, MD. The free Virgin Mobile Festival was held at Frank Gehry’s soaring Merriweather Post Pavilion, though I didn’t get much time to admire the architecture because I was too busy trying to keep Tariku from eating smooshed french fries out of the dirt and playing with used beer cups.

I was looking forward to this tour date, because my cousin Andrew actually organized the whole festival. Andrew is one of my fave relatives, though his wife Maria gives me a complex. She’s an MD who does research into women’s public health policy, while looking and dressing like a supermodel. I have a friend who was attacked in New York and woke up in the emergency room at Bellevue looking at Maria’s face. He told me that he seriously thought he was looking at an angel. Barf. I wish I had a picture to share, but T blew by everyone so fast I barely had time to give my family a hug. He made a mad dash for the barricades and I spent the next three hours chasing him while he romanced teenage girls. He likes to charm the ladies by pointing out airplanes, then he leans in and tries to bite their thighs.

me-shawnee-rich

We did catch Richard Branson’s parachuting escapade, which was impressive. We also got to spend some time with my old friends writer Shawna Kenney and guitarist/hubby Rich Dollinger, the self-titled baby roadies for the day. On most days they’re stars in their own right.

We missed the Public Enemy show, but T had his ‘fro tousled by Flavor Flav on Flav’s way off stage. In his short almost-18 months on earth, T has had his ‘fro tousled by Sir Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Flavor Flav, Jeff Lynne, the Blink guys and all the members of the Weez, of course. That’s a lot of icons to have up in your hair.

t-and-twirly-girl

My photographs are suffering terribly as a result of my mom duties. My iphone is all I can handle most of the time. At my friend Danica’s suggestion, I got this toy camera application, which puts random filters on pictures. Cute, right?

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