Author Archives: nutella

early morning portrait of an almost 3 year old*

Kitchen renovations are stressful, but they sure do produce a fantastic amount of boxes and packing material.

A curly haired boy takes a moment to enjoy some stickers in his box fort.

*Please forgive crappy cell phone photo.  The camera batteries are currently being used in the electric screwdriver.

Dental appointment report from the trenches

Our house will never be clean again.  At least, that how it feels in the midst of this kitchen renovation.

Curly did very well at the dentist today.  The hygienist was chipper and friendly and let him play with her “friends,” “Mr. Slurpee” and “The Water Gun”.  Surprisingly, he really liked “Mr Slurpee” the sucker tool and happily closed his mouth on it. I’ve always found it a little unsettling myself. He wasn’t a fan of laying back in the chair, so she kept him mostly upright.  The dentist wasn’t as great.  Very brusque, not warm, kept calling Curly by the wrong name.  And insisted that he lay all the way back, which resulted in some tears.  The counting of teeth and fluoride application were over quickly though, and we’ve got a clean bill of health and the news that braces will be in his future for sure (no surprise there).  Curly was thrilled to get a goodie bag, until he looked in it and saw there was only 1 sticker and assorted dental care items.  And honestly, why do dentists give out lollipops?  Especially when the kid has just had a fluoride treatment and can’t eat or drink for 30 minutes!

The lies we tell our children

Scene: Backyard BBQ on a lovely warm Spring Saturday.  People are standing around chatting with snacks and drinks.  There is a large bowl of bright orange puffed corn “cheese” snack on the table. Ima is indulging in this bad snack.

Curly, eyeing the bowl curiously: “Ima, what’s that?”

Ima, thinking fast: “They’re worms.”

Curly: “WORMS??”

Ima, crunching and licking the orange powder from her fingers: “Yes, crispy fried worms.  Do you want one?”

Curly: “NO, eww.”

I’m betting when he figures out they’re not actually worms, he’s going to be pretty mad.  But maybe he’ll still never want to eat them.

Cookie time

As many of you know, I’m a baker and a crafter and this weekend, I got to share both passions with Curly. About a year ago, I bought a little over a yard of a fantastic banana printed cotton remnant. Crafty people will understand what I mean when I say I just couldn’t pass it up.  I finally decided to make 2 toddler sized aprons with it (one for Curly and one for a friend).  I backed it with some royal blue cotton that I had in my stash.

I had mostly finished the project up on Thursday in anticipation of a trip out of town this past weekend to visit the family of the other little boy.  When that trip had to be canceled last minute, I told Curly that we could bake cookies together instead. He kept pointing to the little apron hanging on the back of his chair and saying “You made that?”  I gave him my Cookies for Kids Cancer cookbook and told him he could pick out any recipe he wanted.  Much to our surprise, he picked out the classic NYC bakery staple, Black and White cookies, which to our knowledge he’s never had before.  I guess the picture was compelling.

On Saturday afternoon when he woke up from his nap, I was all set up for baking on the dining room table.   He was SO fascinated and helpful.  I measured, then let him pour.  I even got out my rarely used 1/8 cup measure so that I’d need 5 scoops to make up the amount needed for an ingredient. Then together, we counted.  I even let him taste the dough, which has always been part of the process of baking for me, although I think he’s a few years away from full on licking the beater clean.

It was a very nice “full circle” motherhood moment for me.  I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t helping my mother in the kitchen. Those childhood memories are warm and sweet.  They smell of chocolate and vanilla and cinnamon and are full of love. I want those memories for Curly.  And I look forward to many more sweet hours of him wearing the banana print apron as we whip up tasty treats to share.

Oh, and the cookies were just ok in my opinion, although Strawberry loves them.  Curly enjoyed one but they didn’t seem to stick in his memory and he hasn’t asked for another.

Protected: Bedtime

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Little voice

Our Curly is a soft spoken guy.  His speech development is still a little behind his peers and a large part of the time we have no idea what he’s saying.  But he continues to improve and his teachers aren’t concerned.

A few nights ago he shocked us by starting to quietly sing along to the last few words in the chorus of “Moon River” as we sang him to bed.  And the next night he did the same thing with “Rainbow Connection” and again the following night with “Goodnight My Someone” (these are our 3 main rotation “lullabies”).  It’s just so heart melting to hear that soft voice singing the “and me”.  He’s a long way off from singing a whole song, but we love to hear him finding his voice.

Sure, ask me anything!

Recently, I was contacted by a gay male acquaintance via FB.  A lesbian couple (close friends of his from college) had asked him to be their known donor and he was looking for input on what he should be thinking/asking about.  While this is the first time I’ve been asked this particular question, I’m a very open person and I’ve been approached  a few other times for various lesbian TTC, parenting, coming out, and general assisted reproduction and fertility questions.  I think it goes hand in hand with the invisible sign that appears over my head alerting lost people all over the world that they can ask me for directions.  Seriously, it happens so often we’re not even surprised anymore.  Anyhow, back to this instance.  Here’s some of what I wrote to him:

“I’m honored you would think of me. The fact that you are taking the time to think it through makes it obvious that you are mature enough to understand what is being asked of you.

Strawberry and I did not use a known donor, which is generally the term that this type of situation gets. We used anonymous donor sperm, which we purchased frozen from a bank. I was inseminated by a doctor. We have a detailed medical history and some personality questionnaire type info about the donor in addition to stats about his physical characteristics and education. We do not know his identity. When Curly turns 18 he can contact the bank and ask for the name and contact info of the donor and IF, at that time, the donor chooses, the info will be released to Curly.

For a known donor situation it is imperative that the expectations of all parties involved are laid out and agreed upon up front. Do they want your identity to be a secret to the child? To their families? Do they want you to be present in their lives in an “uncle” capacity? Do they want you to be a parent? Do you ever plan to have kids of your own someday? What about your current/ future partners? If so, how does that impact your decision? As you know, none of these are easy topics.

Once those questions have been answered, there are additional ones to consider if you decide to proceed. You will certainly need to speak with a lawyer (one for each of you, I can recommend ours if you need) and have a contract drawn up. Then there are the logistical questions and medical testing. Getting pregnant isn’t always easy or fast, you would probably want to talk about a specific length of time for trying and then say you can reevaluate. Do they want more than one child?

As I said, we did not pursue this route, but we do have a few friends who have created their families in this way and a few other friends who at one point were pursuing parenthood with a known donor but the situation did not work out due to fertility issues. All but one of these families have an open ongoing relationship with the donor as a special uncle type family member and the donor’s identity is openly part of their family story. In another instance, the known donor changed his mind after the child was born due to unforeseen circumstances and no longer wishes to be part of the family’s life.  As you can imagine, this isn’t what they were hoping and planning for and they are very sad about the outcome.

This is quite a lot to digest for you, but again, I commend you for taking the time to think it through. And if you have any additional questions I’m happy to help. If you’d like, I could try to reach out to my friends to see if anyone’s known donor would be willing to email with you.”

He has yet to reply, but I know I’ve given him a lot to think about.  Would any of your known donors be willing to email with him, just in case he wants that option?


Everyone in the Vermillion household needs coffee* to start the day.

*That would be 2 drops of coffee in a tiny mug of milk for Curly.


A few days ago, the Vermillion household arrived home to a surprise package on our doorstep. Who could it be from, we wondered? The return address indicated NYC, so I started going through the list of relatives who might have sent us something, but couldn’t reconcile the handwriting with any of them. Upon opening, here’s what we found:

It’s a jar full of sparkles and kisses!  From the lovely Mina and family over at Mina’s Musings.  Received as a gift from the 2011 Holiday Craft Exchange hosted by An Offering of Love.  It’s beautiful and festive (and did I mention sparkly!!) and I can’t wait to turn the contents into some of my favorite holiday treats.  Thanks Mina!!!

Happy song

All kids do cute things. They come and they go; this one started over 6 months ago and we never expected it to hang on as long as it has, but we love it. The prompting you see here is just so we could capture it on video. Most of the time, we hear this song from across the room as he plays by himself or he’s in the car seat.