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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What kind of adult beverage goes with MacNCheese and Hot Dogs?

I posted this on my facebook this week and got all kinds of fun answers. Ultimately, this tired, edgy Momma decided on a glass of Reisling to wine down.

Work has been really hectic lately and I was just drained on the way to get the kids. Because its spring break they were especially whiney/out of control/in trouble. Jelly Bean got a written report that she accidentally kicked someone and then told me she had no idea she got in trouble. Which led to me telling her she was lying and her screeching in the car. Words kid. Use your words. And until you can - off to your room. If you are going to act 3 instead of 7 thats what happens.

And if I wasn't worn out enough at the beginning of the week I came down with the stomach flu on Wednesday. I actually threw up at work then came home met with the kids case worker and then proceeded to puke my guts out for the next 6 hours. Even though today is Saturday I'm still experiencing symptoms of my stomach not being right. I can only pray the kids don't get this.

And on to the wonderful joys of foster parenting. The caseworker told us Mom has a new apartment thats been approved and that the kids will resume visits there. She told us she thinks they will be starting therapy as a family soon and that she would guess they will return home in December. In the same conversation she asked us to be involved in the transition and starting it early so it goes as smoothly as possible.

I had all kinds of reactions to this. Of course we love these kids we'll be happy to help them. Then the hope that I am to be a Mom forever flew out of me and I just got really sad. I know that these are not "my" kids. But when you are the one in the middle of the night waking up with them, refereeing their fights, soothing them because no one has kept them safe its a little hard not to feel like they are my kids. Then the thought was another lousy Christmas. Full of loss. And then I cycled through and put back my "one day at a time" cape.

So maybe I was just overly hopeful that at their visit this week things would go great and all my concerns would be calmed. Until it was 45 minutes past the time they should have been home and I called their driver's service. No one told me that they were going to be there an extra hour to make up from the February blizzard - which I thought they had already finished making up. We've had some alleged issues with the service and drivers and car seats and kids not being in seat belts and kids not feeling safe and drivers getting lost. And I know the guy doesn't speak English and I know that my Jelly Bean is loosing speaking her Spanish I have a real concern that she won't be able to communicate with him. Mr. Mohawk may understand it but he does not speak any words in Spanish. So I was rather miffed when she informed me that their mother only speaks Spanish. And they they have to understand the language they grew up hearing their whole life.

Excuse me? Umm she beat the hell out of them and so they have been living with other people for the last 9 months. Has she met these kids? Does she take them to school? Does she handle their bed wetting? So how is it she thinks she knows them better than me? And she kept saying "well if this is really how you feel and a concern why are you on;y now addressing it?"

Deep breath. I thought I had addressed it with the case worker. Until they went missing for 45 minutes and I had to call you. And fine defend your employee I get that but your customer service skills are lacking some if all you can focus on is defending a guy that scares the crap out of little kids, has gotten lost using a GPS, and rear ended another car while at a stop light becuase he was yelling at the kids.

So when the kids actually arrived home they of course were covered in candy. And Mr. Mohawk was wearing completely different clothes - shirt, pants, underwear, socks - than when he left for school. And of course no one would tell us what happened. And his clothes he had been wearing (his favorite underwear and brand new shirt and jeans) were not in his backpack. Grrrr. Upon further discussion we found out he got put in time out and somewhere he wet his pants (So why the need for new shirt and socks I'm not sure). And were they wound up.It was very hard to keep calm with the behavior. So I am supe glad their therapist is on her way this AM.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rollercoaster of Love

You give me that funny feeling in my tummy....

Ahw sh.., yeah, that's right huh

Rollercoaster of Love say what
Rollercoaster yeah (oohh oohh oohh)...

Oh baby you know what I'm talking about
Rollercoaster of Love
oh yeah it's Rollercoaster time

lovin' you is really wild
Oh it's just a love rollercoaster
step right up and get your tickets

1-Your love is like a Rollercoaster baby,baby
I wanna ride yeah (awawaw)
(repeat 1)

2-Move over dad 'cause I'm a double dipple
Upside down on the big dip dipper
1,2, 1,2,3 I've got a ticket come ride with me
Let me go down on the merry-go-round
All is fair 'n' a big fair ground
Let's go slow, let's go fast
Like a liqorice twist gonna whip your ass
(rpt 1, 1, 2, 1...)

Rollercoaster say what
I will be there for you I will be your man
Lyrics by the Ohio Players


Ok so the context of the song obviously is not kid freindly but the song popped into my head tonight as I tried to articulate to my husband how I've been feeling. Up and Down and Up and Down. And it won't get to level ground anytime soon.

We met with the Guardian Ad Litum or Attorney for the kids this week. Which went ok if you can ignore that fact that both Jelly Bean and Mohawk decided to clam up and lie to him.

Do you have friends? No.
Will you speak Spanish for me? I don't know.
Mohawk, Can you count to ten. No.
Do you have friends? No.

To which I'm doing everything in my power to not scream - YES! YES the know it. Yes they have made friends. They are smart. I have no idea why all of a sudden they've decided to act dumb. I felt like a bad Mother - even though I'm not their real Mother and I didn't do the damage to these kids that caused them to totally freak out in this attorney's office. I know why they clammed up. They know this guy has something to do with the fact they are not living with their Mom and sisters. And they are concerned that anything the say will hurt somebody. And it will. If they say they want to go home they hurt us. They say they don't want to go home it hurts their Mom.

He asked Jelly Bean to draw a picture of her house. She drew a single flower in the middle of grass. And my heart broke.

And this is the hard stuff. This is what no amount of PRIDE classes or blog reading or forum chats can prepare you for. The heartbreaking moment where you realize you love these kids and that you are actively working to help get them back home which in one way makes you feel great and in the other awful because you want to protect them forever. AND you are doing it blindly because NO ONE WILL TELL YOU WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN BEFORE THEY CAN GO HOME. THE GAL wouldn't tell me what is going to happen in June. He said it was up to the judge. OK but you seem like a smart guy you've gone to law school. Give me your best guess. OR tell me what you are going to recommend because then I can prepare. Prepare to get over the loss. OR prepare for the backlash of anger that will be headed my way.

Because I do love these kids. And everyone asks me "Won't it be hard when the go back?" Yes. And my answer is "Better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all" but today is a day when I'm not sure. I'm not sure that I can say goodbye to them and be happy they are going home. And that is so totally against my grain that It makes me angry at myself for thinking it.

Maybe God is trying to teach me some new lesson but for the life of me I have no clue what it could be other than your heart can break and break and will become whole again.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?

My son. T.E.R.R.I.F.I.E.D. of the local hockey team mascot. They have face painting and games for kids before games and while we were standing in line for the face painting the Wolf came out to greet everyone. Now Mr. Mohawk was excited about the wolves. He wore his wolf shirt. He made sure to show everyone how wolves howl (oow, oww wooo). And pointed excitedly - Ooh Mommy there’s da wolf. But the minute that wolf came within 15 feet of him it was clawing and scratching to get up in our arms.

Now I was prepared for this. We are taking the kids to Disney World. I am re-reading my trusty Unofficial Guide to Disney World and actually reading the chapter on Disney with kids. (Sadly, we’ve always gone with adults. HA!) And one BIG warning was that 60% of preschoolers are afraid of the characters in costume. Some of the tips were not to force the kids on the characters and to try and show them by example that the characters aren’t going to hurt them by having an adult approach.

So we tried this technique. Mommy went up towards the wolf and declawed my son’s hand from my jacket he was screaming “No Mommy don’t go in there. He’s going to bite you!”. Its too bad I can’t show the pictures because the face on him and me trying to express that the wolf was friendly are hysterical. So after several tries of getting closer to the wolf we just dropped it all together. We did tell him the wolf was cousins with Mickey Mouse so of course he wouldn’t hurt us but that will probably come back to (forgive the pun) bite us in the butt. Once the wolf was a safe distance away though he was very happy to watch him go about his business and howl at him.


Now at this point you may be wondering about Jelly Bean. Well lets just say her attitude/mood was less than stellar on this day. She came home from shopping with Grandma bouncing off the walls and acting silly which may have been because both adults thought the other had given her her ADHD medication. Which was because she had told one of them she already took it (Of course denied by said child.) Or it could have been because Grandma got her some cute stuff and now she thought she could do no wrong. Either way, I could have done without the pouting and whining for the entire night. I thought for sure we’d be fine as when the kids came home from their visit the night before we played Go Fish and worked as a family and they seemed to be ok. This continued into Sunday and despite spending over an hour explaining to Jelly Bean what behavior was acceptable and not and that its up to her how she reacts and discussing that no amount of bad behavior was going to get her sent back to live with her Mom (until the judge said so) or to another foster home. That we wanted her here and we’d like it best if she was giggly happy Jelly Bean instead of Tudy miss attitude. My best guess is that these are boundary/attention seeking behaviors and I know it just takes time but I was like COME ON!

On a separate note we realized the last 3 weeks of visits have not been at Mom’s home. Per the caseworker she moved. And needs to move to another home that is more suitable for the kids. And when that happens and the case worker signs off then the visits will resume at home supervised. I don’t think this is a good sign. Especially, since she allegedly told the kids they were going to move back in 6 weeks.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

UrINe or Your Out

I have waayyy toooo much Pee going on in my life right now. I said this to my husband last night and his response was “I was thinking the same thing. With kids there is a whole lot more pee.” True.

But I couldn’t help but be annoyed because it seems to me that I’m the only one actually DEALING with the urine. I’m the one who gets the kids up and dressed so he can take them to school. I figure I must mutter a variation of “did you go potty” at least 50 times a day. I also pick the kids up from school and get them home. Reminding them that its probably time to go potty. Again.

Have I mentioned that we are also trying to help Jelly Bean stop wetting the bed and have purchased a bed wetting alarm? And because of the nature of her abuse history and her age I have to be the one to help assist with the sensor and middle of the night wake ups. Most nights she gets up 2-3 times. (Except for last night where she slept through the night AND woke up dry!) And Mr. Mohawk he goes to the bathroom at least once during dinner and twice when we are out to eat.

*Side note We are going to Disney World in May and I was re-reading my trusty Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World (www.touringplans.com) and for the first read the chapter on Disney World with kids. And there was a paragraph about kids being able to ferret out bathrooms wherever they are while parents are pouring over the maps and I actually laughed out loud because this is so true.*

And its not just the kids. I’m also the one taking the dog potty because he’s “my dog”.

Do you know I work at a Urology Practice? My office is across the way from the patient bathroom. So besides answering the phone asking questions about stranger’s ability to pee I’m also listening to nurses ask for urine samples. ALL. DAY. LONG.

And still some days I make it to lunch and realize I myself haven’t peed. And that I need to go “peed” as my son says.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Power of Words




We took Jelly Bean and Mr. Mohawk and their sisters; Gabby, and Little Mama to Wisconsin Dells this weekend. In case you don't know what that is its the water park capital of the world. Since we did have to say no to taking the older girls as a placement we felt strongly that we would try and have all 4 kids spend time together. In our infinite wisdom as 1st time parents we figured a 2 day trip out of state would be a good way to do that.

Yes of course that is sarcasm. We did have a lot of fun but the weekend was not without the choas of caring for 4 children let alone two who don't know you, one with a 103.9 fever, and the last without a place in the group.

Lots of feelings came out. There were some alarming behaviors (like the girl who took off her pants in front of my husband while the group was sitting in the living room; and purposeful pushing in the water). There were also some really great memories and lots of pictures taken. Unfortunately, for this blog the kids love the camera and I only got 1 shot without a face.

I will write more later this week about the trip itself. Today, though, I want to write about the moments where you just look at these little faces and think how much did these adults do to traumatize these kids so badly that they do x, y and z.

Little Mama is 10 and the oldest of the group. She was a great help most of the trip but in some instances the cause of consequences. When we finally got to the water park and it was time to take cover-ups off she froze. After much coaxing she told me that she didn't want to take the cover-up off "because my Real Mom told me I'm stupid and don't look right and that I'm ugly.".

Crack. That was the sound of my heart breaking just a bit more for these kids. Verbal abuse so bad that removed from the situation 6 months she can't have fun at a water park. Of course the younger girls had followed us and were standing behind me as she was sharing. I dropped down to my knees and gathered them around me and told them while I wasn't positive I was pretty sure the words were spoken in anger. That if they learned nothing else the whole trip that I cared for them very much. That they were all beautiful, special, smart, funny girls. And that while sometimes they may not feel book smart or smart in school they are way smarter than any other girls I had met in other ways.

This soothed the nerves and she got in the water and did have fun. Later that night Gabby was chattering away and repeated to me what I had said. That she wasn't always smart in school but that she was smart in other ways. I could only hope at that moment that they hear the good as much as they hear the bad.

And finally, I was able to find one other picture from just a few weeks ago when our area got hit with a blizzard. I love this picture because Jelly Bean is helping her brother up the mountain. The one she didn't think she would get to the top of....