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New worker, call her Mel, dropped off the kids last week after a visit, and stayed to chat – so technically, that’s her home visit.  (Still better than when the worker stays for the full hour just because she’s required to.  I don’t handle awkward silences well.)

And she just casually threw out that she’ll be filing for TPR next month.

I mean, I know this is her job, and she did just take over this case, but this is a BIG DEAL.  Please treat it as such.

She said the parents will almost definitely appeal, so that is probably why she didn’t act that concerned – this is not going to be done any time soon.

And meanwhile, I’m here with these innocent kiddos.  The kids who ask when they get to go back to their family, who cry for their mom, and who save things to take “home”.

I’m wondering if justice can be found in all this mess.

Like I suspected, Mark wasn’t sick at all, and because he had to stay home today, we went out in the morning and did some fun things around town.  He got to talk to Mom a little on the phone today AND I tried to explain to him last night why she can’t talk to him at bedtime as often.  I talked about addiction, drugs, and the classes she’s taking.  I doubt anyone, even Mom, has explained to him exactly what she’s doing to get him back home, so I hope it helps him feel more secure in his Mom’s love.

Other things:

  • Eliza’s allegation turned out to be true, so now Eliza will be moving in the next few days to a new house.  Concerning is that they’re a friend of the family’s.  I hope that works better for Eliza, but I’ve only read bad endings when friends try to take foster kids in.
  • Mom sincerely thanked me today for what we’ve done so far.  It was really nice to hear, and I told her so.  I bet it might have something to do with not being as gross as Eliza’s foster family.

The school nurse called to tell me Mark had fallen asleep at lunch, and then thrown up in her office.  I guess he wins.

(Or he might actually be sick.  The ever-helpful nurse told me “There is a stomach bug going around.”  She would say that even if he’d broken his leg.  That’s her excuse for everything.)

I tried really hard to help him calm down after his fit this morning.  He ate a good breakfast and was even giggling some.  I spent some time with him alone talking before he went into the class, but his body language wasn’t reassuring me.  He’s sleeping on the couch now.  Wait and see.

Today’s school day seemed to be another good one for Mark, but I sure wouldn’t have guessed that based on this morning.  He was crabby when he woke up, but things really got bad when I told him to change into his clothes in his room, and not the bathroom.  We only have one bathroom upstairs, so we place priority on those needing to use the toilet.  He didn’t like that, and after some arguing with me, started crying at the top of his lungs.  While all the other kids got dressed and went downstairs to eat breakfast, he stood in his room and cried.  This slowed everyone’s morning down, and we barely got out the door on time.  (I feel for you now, Foster Ima.)  I don’t even remember how I got him to get dressed; I think I told him he wouldn’t have time to eat breakfast or something.

(As a side note, when Mark has one of his crying fits, he cries like a tw0 year old!  The best way to describe it is really just crying at the top of his lungs – it’s quite amazing really – and loud.)

Then at dinner, we had soup and salad.  As usual, Mark refused to eat any of it – this time, it was because there were green beans in the soup.  I pointed out that Daughter, who refuses green beans because they give her goose bumps, was slurping her soup down, so the green beans couldn’t be that bad.  (Ever helpful, she enthusiastically agreed.)

As usual, everyone ate their fill, including Nikki, who by now hardly refuses anything.  Mark and I just sat there, in a stand-off (sit-off?) – he told me he would have to sleep in his chair, and I said I would too.  The thing that gets me is how forlorn he is in his refusals.  He’s not trying to be defiant;  it’s like he’s resigned to his fate of not eating anything I serve and nothing can save him.

Through the course of our negotiating, he came under the impression that if he didn’t eat his soup (we narrowed it down to three green beans and two pieces of potato), he wouldn’t get to talk to his mom.  I didn’t actually say that, I said something like “After you eat your soup, you can call Mama.”  And I didn’t bother to correct his assumption.  I thought it would give him a big incentive to eat the freakin’ three bites of food and get it over with.  WRONG!  It actually caused him to burst into another crying-at-the-top-of-his-lungs spiel.  After a few minutes of that at the table, I asked him to go up to his room until he could calm down and stop the screaming, so he stood in his room and screamed/cried for another 15 minutes.  Finally, he calmed down enough to come down, and he sat back in his chair, and sobbed out things like:

“I broke my Mama’s promise!”

“I’m so mean to my Mama!”

“I’m not Mama’s special boy anymore!”

WHOA, buckaroo.  Where’d that come from?  So then I realized he had all those thoughts pegged to his phone call with Mom.  I assured him he would still get to call his Mom, as I had been assuring him through the whole fit (he would respond with “But I can’t finish my soup!”)  That’s nuts!  The poor kid had that much emotion invested in his phone call to Mom, and he STILL couldn’t just finish those bites.  WOW.

Finally, I had to admit my plan wasn’t working, so I suggested calling Mom first, and finishing the soup after.  We did, and of course, no one answered.  But over the next ten minutes, as Mark sat in his chair, and I kept dialing, he did it.  He ate the part I asked him to finish.  He was very proud of himself – I pretended to fall down on the floor I was so surprised, and he really liked that.  But we never could get a hold of Mom this evening.  Mark took it better than I thought.  I guess two crying fits are enough for one day.

Today was the second visit with Mom for Mark and Nikki (the first was last Tuesday.)  Again, they seemed to have a good time, although Mark was described as “not quite himself.”  And then as everyone prepared to leave the building, Mom noticed Mark had wet his pants, and he started crying.  She got him cleaned up and in new clothes, and he still kept crying.  He cried for 20 more minutes in the car – loud sobbing for his mom.  It was rough.  Nikki was happy as a clam, oddly.  I think it was the McNuggets, which prompted her to say as I handed them to her “I thought you said McDonald’s was bad?”  I did sweetie, I did.  Now just eat.  Anyway, I think I can attribute the crying to

  1. being hungry (visit was 11 – 1, breakfast had been at 8:30)
  2. being embarrassed about his pants
  3. leaving Mom

He calmed down after eating his McNuggets, and was actually pretty good the rest of the day.

Tonight, four of the five kids refused to touch dinner (Rachel Ray’s Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie, and it was good!) and only Nikki finally managed to eat her serving after much whining.  And because first day back at school is tomorrow, everyone got baths, but while I was getting the first baths going, Nikki refused to clean up her Barbies and started throwing things.  I put her in bed until it was time for her to get ready for bed, which she fought but eventually just started screaming-crying.  And kept it up for 45 minutes.

This was an extended variation on the theme from yesterday, when she cried for 30 minutes in bed.  The 30 minutes was preceded by about 20 minutes of ever-increasing, more frantic and less logical statements of “I’m thirsty!”  Each time, I would say “Why don’t you ask for a drink, and I’ll get it for you?”  But that wasn’t really the point I guess, and I ended up sending her to her room until she could stop saying “I’m thirsty.”

I’m really exhausted.  And I’m not even the one dealing with the emotional turmoil.