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Again, am I the only one who takes this seriously??

Last night, on the phone, their mom casually mentioned “they are trying to TPR us.”

I feigned ignorance, just to see what else she would say, but that was about it.  Just laughing off how they’ll have to move the court date because Dad can’t make it to the first one.

This is crazy.  Maybe that was just how she handles stress.  Maybe she didn’t want me to think she was capable of getting angry.  IT’S OKAY TO GET ANGRY WHEN YOUR CHILDREN ARE ON THE LINE.

 

Interesting to note, Aaron has only had one or two accidents in the past month.  And even those two were almost not worth counting.  Effect of meds???

I don’t know what the deal was today, but Junior and Aaron were just at each other – they would provoke each other, which turned into screaming, which turned into louder screaming, and Aaron was even getting physical with Junior – not outright hitting, but bumping, flailing arms at, etc.  Very unlike him.  They were both totally at fault for all of it, but the physicality from Aaron and the ridiculous screaming from Junior were really pissing me off.  It was more than just usual fighting.  Hope it doesn’t continue tomorrow.

Aaron DID do something great today.  He had to have blood drawn.  Last time that happened, he required two nurses to hold him down.  He FLIPPED OUT, kicking, yelling, squirming, crying.  It was bad, but he had no forewarning.  So today, we started talking about it first thing in the morning, we continued to talk all the way to the appt, we even did a few dry runs of how it would go, and he did great!  He cried, he tried to move his arm a few times and almost (impulsively) grabbed at the tourniquet, but it was a drastic improvement over last time.  I praised him a bunch, and hopefully he’ll remember that praise, because we’ll need to repeat these blood tests a few more times.

Finally, Allie was sickish this weekend, vomited a few times, and thank God, it didn’t spread to anyone else.  And it just so happened we didn’t manage to get a hold of Mom and Dad until she was better, so I didn’t have to listen to Mom obsess over it.  I dread having anything even slightly unusual to tell her, just because of the repetitive questions that follows.

Allie called her dad a few days ago, and insisted on playing checkers, and then chess, with him, over the phone.  It was rather cute and he did a good job playing along.

I think this is the first time I’ve actually been impressed by him.

 

Allie’s nightly phone calls are confounding.  Almost every night, she refuses to talk to her dad.  Dunno why.  Many nights, maybe not quite half, she refuses to talk to mom – often after talking about her during the day.  The other nights, she manages to spend 20 – 30 minutes talking about absolutely nothing with her mom.  Not kidding here.  Allie has a ritual of demanding, and I do mean demanding, of her mom to play songs from the radio to her over the phone.  To her credit, if mom tries to discuss anything substantial, Allie usually refuses to answer and continues to demand the radio.  It’s sort of pathetic.

BUT.

Am I just being culturally biased and judgmental or something?  Can this be appropriate bonding?  Is it what a healthily attached 5-year old would do with her parents?  Is there something inherently wrong with these kinds of phone calls?  I think so, and I suppose I will mention it to the psych team involved in the case.  It feels nit-picky, but if these phone calls are symptomatic of some sort of deficit in the family’s interpersonal relationship, then they should be addressed.

Ew.  I don’t like sounding like a psychologist this late at night.

 

Wow, have I been a crabby mama the last few days.  Some sort of ‘chest cold morphed into a head cold has’ taken over my brain, and I don’t want anything to do with my kids.  Any of them.  All I want to do is sleep or lay in bed and read.  Little children don’t facilitate that at ALL.

And throw in a three day weekend in our district, which might have been nice because Husband was home to take care of them, but that just made him crabby from pulling double-parent duty AND me being too tired/sick to make it in the sack.

So it wasn’t the best weekend.

There was supposed to be a visit set up for Aaron and Allie this weekend, but none of the workers involved ever called me about it.  We haven’t given Mom and Dad our phone number (I plan to do that after I hear how court went this afternoon) so they couldn’t call, and between Husband and I, we barely had it together enough to keep the house from falling over.  Hence, we made no effort to find out about it either.

Aaron and Allie do miss their family.  Allie has asked Husband a few times when the caseworker is coming back to take her home, and they certainly talk a lot about their siblings.  It’s so easy to overlook those feelings though because they’ve integrated very well into our home otherwise.  They’re little troopers, for sure.

You might not guess their feelings from their parental phone calls either.  Allie does an okay job on the phone, but she tends not to say a whole bunch.  She clams up and acts shy while her mom or dad ask her questions.  Aaron will blabber on and on, but about the most pointless things and almost always asking multiple times to talk to his baby sister, even when his parents have told him she’s asleep.  So his phone manners aren’t that great.  But he does have some cognitive issues, and obviously, his parents know that.

So, why does his dad speak to Aaron with a tone of snide contempt?  Aaron has figured out the speaker phone button so I can hear both sides of the conversation, and sometimes, I really don’t like the way he speaks to Aaron.  It’s a mocking tone, but Aaron can’t pick up on that, so it just makes it really pathetic and sad to hear.  Most of the time, Dad’s fine, maybe a little paternalistic, but those few times I hear that meanness come through, I cringe.

In general, that’s how Mom and Dad come across on the phone.  They say they miss the kids, and tell them they love them, but it sounds more like they’re on a business trip and they’ll be home in a few days than potentially facing TPR.  I guess everyone expresses emotions differently, but it still strikes me as odd how la-di-da they seem.

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.

So it’s the day before Christmas, and Nikki and Mark have been here a week (tonight).  I think they’ve settled in well, especially considering how different our rules and culture are from theirs.

We’re still wrestling with the food: last night, I made a ham, a side of beets, side of green beans, and side of cauliflower.  (Not just plain, but each with some sort of seasoning/roasting/ dressing, etc.  I don’t even like cauliflower, and I thought it was pretty good.)  To his credit, Mark tried a teeny bit of each side dish – sort of licking it- but he couldn’t manage to actually eat any of it.  Nikki flat out refused it all.  She tried to eat the salad, but didn’t want any dressing – see what I mean?  Their food refusals don’t make any sense.  Anyway, she didn’t get a second serving of the ham, and left the table in tears.  Not big dramatic tears, but quiet ones that I had to run after her to notice.  She told me she missed her mama, so I held her for a few minutes, and then we called her mom.

They’ve talked with her at least once a day since Monday, and the calls are very good.  The kids are happy and Mom seems happy (with mixed-in sadness at missing them.)  Mom thanked me a bunch for taking care of her kids and she told me she was so glad I was nice.  She seems capable enough of getting clean and working her plan.  She told me all about how normal their lives were, and I believe her, until a few years ago, she and their dad sort of slid into drugs.  But Mom’s been clean for a few months, so she’s got a good start.  There aren’t many other options available for Mark and Nikki; I hope she can make it.

Their relatives gave Marge two big bags of Christmas presents for the kids – great!! That helps a lot.  I’m cynical enough though that I’m unwrapping each one to check for appropriateness and smoke smells (the clothes she brought smelled like smoke, and so far, I’ll be setting aside one way-too realistic looking machine gun until Mark goes back.)  And then rewrapping it, of course.

So it seems like we’ll have a plentiful, and snowy, Christmas.  Praise God!