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Husband has been working so hard with Aaron and spelling, and it’s really starting to pay off.  (Well, I have been working a lot with him too, but somehow that feels like it should be a given.  Oh, the mother/father dichotomy…)

Anyway, for the sake of this post, let’s say Aaron calls my husband Dad.  They had been working on some three letter phonetic words, and Aaron was just not getting the word ‘fun’.  Husband got frustrated, ceded lesson time to me, and left the room.

We worked and he seemed to have successfully sounded it out.  I proudly sent him in to Husband to spell the word.

He walked in, and announced “Hey Dad, F-U!”

 

RIGHT before I started dinner

RIGHT before Daughter was dropped off from a playdate

THE SAME NIGHT Husband had to work late

Allie came running in screaming, followed by Junior with a panicked look – “Allie put a bead up her nose!”

Sheeet.  I’ve actually never had this happen before.  Is this a 911 worth thing?  Straight to the ER, or do I call the physician’s exchange, because it is 5:05, of course, so the offices are closed.  Even more, where is her doctor’s phone number?  (They’ve been lucky enough to stay with the same pediatrician for most of their lives, so we are keeping them there, rather than switching them to ours.)

Allie was still screaming like a banshee, so I mentally crossed off 911 because at least she was breathing.  I started scrambling through the mess of papers all over the desk, looking for the one that I know has her doc’s phone number on it.  And then Daughter pulls up, so I tried to get her in the house ASAP while still maintaining some realm of politeness:  “Yes, thanks for the playdate.  We’ll have to do it again some time” – Aaron opens the front door to reveal Allie’s screams of pain from in the house while he asks if he should get her a blanket.  I tried to explain the situation, but I bet that mom added me to her list of ‘iffy’ households to not let her daughter go to.

Rushed back in after they leave, decided to search the internet instead and I could not find the right website, even after several minutes of searching different combinations of clinic names and doctor’s names.  Oh my gosh.  It was like I could not function with Allie’s screaming right next to me.  So I decided instead to calm her down, which took some time, but she eventually just cried instead of screaming, with a few whimpers of “Mommy” (she calls me Mommy too sometimes, so I’m really not sure who she was wanting – probably real Mom.)

Eventually, I did find the number, got the nurse on the phone, and like I suspected she said to go to the ER.  Luckily, some wonderful neighbors of ours were very happy to watch our three (I took Aaron with me just to avoid chaos at their house, because they have their own five kids.)

By now, she’s not even crying anymore, so we calmly parked in the garage and meandered over to the ER right about 6:00.  The kids were excited because I told them we might have to eat dinner at the ER (which Aaron kept calling the RE) so they were jabbering about that.

(Funniest part of the night:  I was at the check-in desk and the kids were on the other side of the crowded waiting room.  Aaron yells over to me, “Did we bring the bead?” and without thinking, I called back “Yes, it’s in her nose.”  And that made everyone in the room laugh.  Like I said, Aaron can be a comic relief sometimes.)

We were sitting, waiting to be admitted, when Allie told me she could feel the bead.  I thought she meant way up in her sinus or something, because when I looked at home, I couldn’t see a thing.  She pointed to her nostril instead, and I peeked, and sure enough, I could see it.  I held down the other nostril, had her blow twice, and the bead came right out.  And then they called us to be admitted.

Evening disaster averted!  We strolled out of there at 6:28, went back to get the other kids, who had already even had dinner, and got home well before I expected.  It was almost even a normal bedtime.

And we all learned that important lesson – NOTHING goes in your nose.

I did find out later she put it there to keep it away from Junior.  Logical enough.

I am worried though that this will reflect poorly on me.  I reported the trip to the caseworker even before we left the house, and then let her know how it played out, and she didn’t say anything negative, but was I negligent in letting a 5-year old play with beads?  (To be fair, it was a necklace that Junior made that broke, so it’s not like I left piles of beads sitting around.  And this is a kit designed for ages 5 and up.)  I don’t think so, but the state certainly is more conservative about parenting when it comes to other people’s kids.  I guess I’ll have to wait and see if I get a comeuppance.

Mark let me cut his hair!

Mom gave me permission a while ago, but Mark refused, and I wasn’t going to force him to submit.  As the days got hotter, and the hair got shaggier, he started to reconsider…

I have never actually cut a decent boy’s style, and I think it looks pretty good.

In Mark’s ideal world, he would play uninterrupted all day, and then talk to Mom for an hour or two right before going to bed.  Basically, his conversations with Mom are his lullabies.  (He would also get pizza and cake for all three meals, but that’s another story.)

So when, like yesterday, Mom has important classes to attend at his bedtime, and he’s forced to choose during the day between playing and talking to Mom, he gets perturbed.  And when bedtime rolls around and it really hits him that he CAN’T talk to Mom FOR REAL, he gets even more perturbed.

And then morning comes, and the camel’s back can’t take it anymore.

So that’s why Luke spent 45 minutes this morning screaming.   And why I had to carry him out to the car wrapped in a towel at the waist.  And why he was an hour late to school.

NOT because I wouldn’t let him change clothes in the bathroom this morning, like he’s been told not to do.

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And on another “Now THIS is foster parenting” topic, Mark and Nikki’s sister, Eliza (preteen), alleged something yesterday about her foster family that is pretty gross although not technically enough of a reason for them to have their license removed.  Mom is pissed off and probably going to push for Eliza to be placed elsewhere.  There might be an aunt or uncle who could take her, but if not, I know I’m going to be mighty tempted to offer our home.  There are many more reasons to NOT do that than there are to do it, and I don’t even know if Marge would allow it, but I know I’ll be tempted.

I’ve been thinking about our family life now.  Mark and Nikki have been here a month today, and they are about 95% integrated into our family.  The big differences right now are just

  • food – and Nikki has really improved a lot.  She actually told her mom she loves broccoli.  Mark still has a lot of hang-ups, but he now expresses a preference for cauliflower and plain lettuce, and has also eaten raw carrots.
  • church – and that is certainly okay, and not something we expect to change.  At Nikki and Mark’s ages, if they were our children, we would be trying to teach them a lot more of the details of our faith life, the whys and hows, and also more about Jesus.  But we know that is the responsibility of their own parents, so while not shutting them out of our faith routines completely, we also can’t fully engage them either.  And it’s tricky because they ask lots of good questions, especially after church!

Otherwise, they are just like our kids.  They play like our kids, dress like our kids, read like our kids, study like our kids, whine like our kids, and get in trouble like our kids.  It’s so underwhelming, it’s…overwhelming.

Unless something really crazy happens, Mark and Nikki will be with us until at least July.  That’s the earliest Mom and Dad can complete their case plan, so it could also be a lot longer.

Knowing that, plus how seamlessly they blend with us, feels strangely heavy.  There are no more big mysteries to solve (except those accidents of Mark’s), no vague uncertainties.  They are here with us until they go home.  The End.  (That’s certainly dependent on how Mom and Dad will do, but based on their actions so far, I think they will work as hard as they can to get those kids home as quickly as they can.)  So I don’t know why the whole situation makes me feel so weird.

I guess I could be used to more unpredictability, from our other placements.  With every single one of our other placements, there were reasonable wisps of thought in the back of my head about issues, problems, TPR, adoption, etc.  I just didn’t know for sure where anything was headed.  It’s funny to think I actually got used to that so easily.

And now I’m here in Monotony-ville, and I’m getting itchy.  I’m sure this will pass, and I’m super-glad for Nikki and Mark that they have such committed parents.  I just need to get my head back in the real world and do what I can for them while they’re here.  Six months seems like a long time to me now, but I know it will fly by once I stop thinking about it.

Last Friday afternoon, K. and S. came to stay with our family!

S. will be 5 in less than two months, and K. will be 4 even sooner.  Besides a few items, which I’ll note later, I have been rather underwhelmed.  I guess our training dwelled on the worst case scenarios.  These brothers almost immediately settled into our house and home.  Like, seriously, if my kids get taken into care, I really hope they are a little more traumatized than these guys.  It’s weird.

They do talk of missing their two siblings (in a different placement) and mom, but S. also already told me he likes it here, he wants to stay, and he doesn’t want to go home.  Pretty sad.

I was able to categorize the boys within 24 hours:

  • K. is the boss.  He takes what he wants from others, pushes limits, and occasionally hits – not really out of anger, more like excitement/mischievousness.  So far, he has only hit me and my husband; I hope it stays that way.
  • S. is sensitive, a bit whiny, but much more obedient and calm.  Sucks his thumb when he’s upset or nervous.

They both seem smart and generally developmentally on track, but I’m no expert.  They do have the cutest little speech impediments, except that it makes them incomprehensible.  They don’t pronounce about half the consonants!  I hope they stay long enough to get some speech therapy.

K. has a lot of trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep.  It is pretty rough.  He wakes up every few hours crying for his Mama, but luckily, he falls asleep again pretty quickly.  However, he has refused to sleep in his room (sharing with his brother), so he’s sleeping on a mat on the floor of our room.  I hope that’s not habit-forming.

They were dropped off Friday from a woman who wasn’t even their case worker, so I know zilch about their past, just the one incident that brought them into care.

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head, and I’ve been lucky to get this much time to type relatively uninterrupted.  I’m so glad I could document this!!!

And an unsuspecting robin is building a nest on the porch railing where we eat dinner every night, once it gets warm:Nest on porch railing

Somehow, when I first went looking for blogs by foster parents a few months ago, I found, oh, maybe two.  So I thought I would be the perfect person to fill that gap.  After all, I was looking for them, so must lots of others.  Now it seems that there are actually dozens and dozens, and I have no idea how I missed them.

Therefore, I hope this is worth it for me.  Here are some ways I’ve noticed our (my family’s) situation to be different:

  1. We are only fostering, not adopting.  Adopting’s cool, no doubt.  But we’ve got our own three, and it feels right to be able to assist multiple families over time – at least, I think it will.
  2. I’m not an evangelical.
  3. I’m not loud or curse-y.
  4. I’m not a very good blogger.

I started this blog with ideals: to document our day-to-day events and journal my own analysis of it all.  I do this mostly for my own sake.  If a case manager asks when a behavior started, I can pinpoint it AND I can vent anonymously.

If only I had something to vent about.

Today, when I picked up my daughter from school,  the grounds were swarming with children in green.  So that must mean it’s St. Patrick’s Day.  That would make it the 17th.  So WHY did my cell phone just today deliver me a message from the 12TH!  A message from Lulu, who had a pair of brothers for us!!

Somehow, just an hour or so after calling me about the 3- and 11- year old siblings, Lulu called back.  I was probably picking up at school, but I don’t understand why my cell didn’t ring.  Yargh.  FRUSTRATING!  (Seriously, I couldn’t even find the call in the call log.)

I emailed Lulu to tell her in the future, don’t count on me getting cell messages right away – because this does happen a lot.   I should’ve also told her to leave messages on our home answering machine, duh.  So now I have motivation anew to switch cell phone providers.

As for the brothers, all Lulu could tell me was that a plan had been put in place for them.  I guess I hope it works out for them… grumble grumble

Well, it’s back to waiting.

Before our licensing was finished, I compared my feelings to the feelings I had during the last weeks of my pregnancies: nervous, excited, in a hurry to begin but also enjoying the blissful ignorance of the present.

But now, with our license in hand for more than two weeks!, I am feeling more like I did when I was past due: angry, annoyed, impatient.  Unfortunately, this circumstance also involves a paralyzing inability to plan for the future.  Should I volunteer to help out in my son’s preschool class next week? No…we might get a placement before then.  Could we go to a show in a few weeks?  Probably not, but then again, I’ve been putting things off and declining events since January in anticipation of our licensing!  I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised.  This is a state-government agency, one not known for its swiftness.

So until P-day, I rush to answer every phone call between 9 and 5 M-F (it might be Lulu), I never go anywhere without my cell (she calls it second), and I try to evaluate every situation for my preparedness (how would I handle this if I had two extra children who didn’t trust me or feel any loyalty to me?).   Finally, I try as hard as I can, in spite of my impatience, to be grateful for the relative calm I enjoy now.