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I’m taking some time off.  And this time I’m officially giving it to myself, rather than just feeling sheepish about not posting anything.

I’ve decided to come back September 20th.  It’s enough time to get refreshed, get into the school routine, and most importantly, figure out for myself what direction I’m going to take in my posting.

I’m over the morning sickness, but I’m still exhausted a lot, so I also hope by September 20th, I’ll be starting that fabu 2nd trimester zeal!  (Please, oh please, let me have zeal.  I know I’m parenting 5 children and I’m running myself ragged and I’m feeling physically way older than my 29 years…but please let me have zeal.  Amen.)

So then, I’m signing off for a sabbatical.

And honestly, I’m already looking forward to coming back.  That’s a good sign, eh?

I have a real reason to have not posted lately.  Besides just worn our end-of-the-days.

I signed a new contract.

It’s a privacy contract.

And it effectively forbids this blog.

So I’m not sure what I’m going to do.  The contract doesn’t explicitly say ‘no blogs, anonymous or not’ but it says not to share confidential information with media, including on the internet.  And I am publishing a blog.  Okay, maybe that is pretty explicit.

Before I signed this contract, I knew this blog wasn’t really jiving with my agency’s rules, but I reasoned I could claim ignorance if I was outed.  And I have tried very hard to make it anonymous – but I also want it to be real, and with those two somewhat conflicting goals in mind, lately I have veered much more towards being real.  If Mark and Nikki’s mom or aunt or Lulu found this blog and read more than one post, they would know who it was.

I’m an ethical person, and now that I’ve signed this contract, I feel duty-bound to honor it.  Plus there’s that $1,000 or year in jail for breaking it.  (Okay, that’s up to $1,000 or a year, but maybe they’d want to make an example out of me!)

And really, all jokes aside, I do care about the kids’ privacy rights.  They have no control over their lives as it is, so maybe I do need to be a lot more thoughtful about their personal details…

So for the time being, I’m taking down all my old posts and figuring out if and how I’ll be continuing this blog.  It’s been really helpful for me to have a record of events, but I’m not sure how much I’m actively contributing to the foster parent world.  Especially when I don’t post for weeks at a time.  I believe it is possible to blog about being a foster parent without compromising anonymity; it just takes a lot more focus.

So maybe when I have more focus.

Whenever that will be.

The kind that say, “Oh! I can’t WAIT til school starts!!”

I do like spending the day with the kids, and sleeping in, and not having homework and official functions to worry about.  (Geez, that makes it sound like I should homeschool…)

But there is a small part of me that is looking forward to cleaning the house without the big four undoing my work within minutes (and that is yet another post unto itself) and running errands with just Baby (who is really now a Toddler and I should rename her).

We met the kids’ teachers this week and got their supplies up to school.  If you mail order Pullups, they come in boxes of 4 packages, so imagine a box that big.  Mark, Daughter and Nikki each had a box that big full to the top with their necessary supplies.  Of course, the two boxes of Kleenex were a big chunk of that space, but still.  It was a lot to carry from the car.  Luckily, Junior just needs a backpack for his first day of kindergarten.  As it should be.

Mark’s teacher is a man, and he’s young, friendly, and he made a good joke with Mark right off the bat (rhyming his first name with something pretty clever) so I think Mark will like him, plus there is at least one boy in his class that he is friends with from last year, and I know this boy is a good kid.  Whew.

Nikki’s teacher seemed pretty friendly, but a lot more ‘entrenched’ – you know, she’s been a teacher for a while, and her friendliness seemed a lot less genuine.  I’m sure she’ll be a fine teacher, and Nikki is pretty happy with most adults, so, eh.  And there are several friends of Nikki’s from last year in her class, including the boy she’s sitting next to, so that makes her really happy.

All in all, the kids are excited to be starting back, and I just hope that enthusiasm can continue through to the second week!  (Once they realize it’s still hot, the pool is still open, and the work is harder than last year.)

Visited some friends at a cabin about 5 hours away, and we left Mark’s favorite blanket behind.  We’ll be able to get it back, but it will take several weeks.  This is a blanket his mom got him when he was 5 or 6, and he covers his head with it every night when he sleeps.  He hates when I even just wash it (which I only do when it smells really bad), so I’m not sure how to tell him it may be a long time before it comes back.

However, he has matured a lot since those first few rough blanket-less nights, so maybe it won’t be so bad.

Mom and Dad were granted some UNsupervised visitation in addition to their supervised.  I’m probably reading more into it than I should, but that looks like the court trusting them to me!

Means bullet points!  Yay for lazy thinking!!

  • Mark’s foot is getting better slowly, so he’s a lot less crabby than before.
  • We chipped away at some of the visitation we got behind on from going out of town, but now we’re going to a friend’s cabin this weekend, thus setting us behind even more.  Mom and Dad are being nice about it, but I’m sure it’s annoying to them.  And unfortunately, Edna is too busy the next few weeks to help out with supervision.
  • Had a good visit with me, Mark, Nikki and their mom to go buy school supplies and some new clothes.  Had a seemingly good visit with their dad at the pool, but then Mark got really hostile and defiant when it was time to go home.  He was expressing it to me AND his dad, so I’m not sure who he was actually mad at or why, and whether it was actually just because it was the end of the day.  Either way, it really got to dad.  He seemed insulted that Mark was acting that way.
  • Finally got the kids to the dentist.  No way am I going to do all the hunting involved to find a Medicaid-dentist, so I just take them to ours and pay out of pocket.  And to make myself feel good, I’ll even tell you I even splurged on the fluoride treatment and sealant.  See, I’m not doing it for the money!!  The best part was Mark giggling through the whole appointment.  He thought it was all really funny.
  • Mark has an OT/sensory eval next week.  I just finished filling out the pre-eval questionnaire, and his results were sort of erratic, but there may actually be a specific pattern there.  But I think it also could just be due to his background and upbringing.  I’m actually interested to see how they’ll tease that out.
  • Worse part of the last week:  two of our kids french-kissing!  All four of them were upstairs in the girls room, and the stories diverge from there.  Without going into details, someone(s) was definitely lying, there were boundaries crossed that (I think) should have been obvious to the older kids, and we now have a brand new rule: no kissing other children.  Perhaps I should add a few others, like no tongue touching, no tongue rubbing, no tongue licking, and no lips bumping.  You know, just so the bases are covered.
  • Mark’s counselor is going to keep working on the repoire for a few more weeks and then start talking about boundary issues.  It’s about time.