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Saturday, March 31, 2012

When Pigs Fly

Its amazing. Pigs flew this week.  I did something I said I would NEVER do.  Buy a minivan.  Yep.  I always thought minivans were uncool. I saw myself as an SUV Mom. Sporty. Cute. Compact. I especially didn't see myself driving a minivan at 30. I also never saw myself agreeing to drive to Disney World with 4 kids in tow. And yet somehow this week as we were discussing the drive to Disney World and how nice it would be to have a minivan and a DVD player we found ourselves seriously considering and then buying a minivan. 

Then something even MORE amazing happened.  The kids caseworker called me and told me she was cancelling the visit this weekend for LM and Gabby since JB has not yet had her family therapy session with Mom and she didn't want her behaviors to be worse because she was going to be left behind. Which means she actually listened to us on Monday when we told her excluding JB was a mistake and made life around here fairly miserable. I about fell over. One can only hope that this was a turner corned as with visits starting up next Saturday we've already begun to see the anxiety and fear start to let us know they've returned. Of course its mainly in the form of selective listening and attitude.  I've told attitude it can leave several times today. 

The first was while Gabby and JB were sitting in the new back seat waiting for me to turn the DVD player on and leave the garage.  The bickering got to me so I made everyone get out of the car.  Then I sat it in by myself a minute.  Then I got out.  Told them that there was no attitude allowed in the car. It was a new car. I only wanted to see happy faces, smiling, and to hear giggling.  And that we were going to get in and out of the car as many times as it took in order to get that result.  Then I got silly and introduced them to the new car.  I got giggles and smiles.  Even a happy dance from JB who had the biggest pout.  And then I didn't hear a peep from them.

Gabby is having an especially rough time.  She's been tattling at every opportunity. She's been quiet when not tattling.  In short her spark has disappeared.  Its really hard to watch.

JB has thrown a few tantrums in the last week. Which is always draining.  They have been somewhat short in duration and she's actually put herself in time out or chill time without being told.

Mr. Mohawk is having wetting accidents.  And he's doing the thing his sister does and mumbles when he's in trouble it is sooo annoying.  But he's been asking for food and we haven't caught him sneaking anything since Monday morning when Hubby found him in the bathroom eating a candy cane.  (I have no idea where he found the candy cane.  Probably the same place all my pencils go to.)

LM has been telling me several times a day that I'm the best Mom ever.  And to be honest it makes me uncomfortable.  Not because I don't want to hear it but because I'm afraid she's going to feel guilty for saying it and then take it out on me.  She even suggested I get a new license plate that says #1 Mom.  This made me sad. Mainly because I wondered what would happen if they went home and this was still my car and my license plate.  Would I think of it as a happy thing? I haven't really thought about them going home recently and it caught me off guard.  This happy little bubble where this was just our life and not some temporary arrangement burst. Then Hubby pointed out she probably wouldn't think the license plate was that great when she was 16 and driving around with it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Poll

Ok to drive a soccer mom minivan if your kids don't actually play soccer or totally lame?

Case Worker Visit

We have a monthly visit with the case worker. Somehow this monthly commitment escaped our attention in Foster parent training. Luckily she is able to come in the early evening. She picks the kids up and then they let themselves in the house. I genuinely like our case worker. She's sweet. But she has no kids. And she is not married. And while I don't think these should be requirements for case workers I think it helps your understanding. As I quickly found out last year, having kids in your life changes everything. And MAYBE just MAYBE she would understand WHY her lack of communication is an issue. Perhaps she would understand WHY I point out Bio Mom's biggest parenting issues. If she is to be successful and therefore the kids are to be safe and continue healing she can't keep making the same mistakes.

Case in point: family therapy this week. Bio Mom's answer to Gabby's demand of how she can know Mom won't hit her ever again.

"Because I don't want to lose you. If I lose the four of you I will have no real family."

Which on the surface might seem like a good answer. That's how Gabby took it. My Mom wants me. My Mom wants our family.

What Mom failed to do with her answer was provide actual reasons Gabby should believe her. She failed to take responsibility. She only recognized that she will have the consequence of being alone. She made it all about her.

And apparently no one shared this response with the case worker as she looked shocked when I relayed the information.

I keep being told Mom will have to take responsibility for her actions before the kids can go home. Don't statements like the above continue to prove that she is unable to do just that? Grrrr

Then we had a conversation about visits. They were up to 5 hours on Saturday mornings. Now the kids have to be split in two. The suggestion was made tonight to have visits for 2 on Friday afternoon and Saturday mornings. Mom works third shift. The case worker actually pointed out that she's going to be tired on Saturday mornings as she will just be getting home from work and that it might be better to have the older two on Saturday because they would be easier to handle.

I'm sorry did I just hear that? We are concerned at 20 months because Mom might be too tired to see 2 of her children? After work? What the huh? What about 4 on a school night with homework? And Jelly Bean decides she didn't get enough attention and Little Mama decided to provoke her and Gabby decides to interrupt and Mr. Mohawk decides to wipe his chocolate cake hands all I've the wall. Because that's a typical Tuesday in this house. Actually, Tuesday we also have 2 therapists who come. If we are worried that at 2 years she can't handle Saturday mornings with 1/2 her children what are we doing here?

Banging.my.head.on.the.wall...

I guess it's unreasonable to expect that this should already have been a parenting skill that was learned. Of course she's going to be tired. She has four kids!

We didn't discuss my emails to her supervisor and I didn't get a copy of the case plan I've asked repeatedly for and mentioned in said emails. Nor did she ask us how we were doing or acknowledge her failure to notify us.

We did elude to the fact that since Mom lives 6 miles from us if we saw her or the Bio Dad that is not on the birth certificate in our neighborhood we would be calling the police.

Oh and Gabby's Bio Dad sent letters from jail. When it rains it pours!

Monday, March 26, 2012

That moment when

You know everything you are doing is paying off. Kinda like in the dressing room when a smaller size fits because you've been eating salad everyday-but cooler.

We had a fun day yesterday. Headed to the park with a picnic to play tennis and swing. And climb. Because apparently my kids love to climb.

We came home to do laundry and veg. I was upstairs putting away stuff and I walked into The hallway to pit something in the kids' room and I overheard the following conversation.

Mr. Mohawk: But they will call me loser, loser, loser!
Little Mama: no they won't. But if you are feeling sad you should go talk to Mom it really helps.
MM: like the sticks?
LM: Well you could do that too but when you feel sad you can always talk to Mom. Sometimes I don't want to either but it ALWAYS helps.

I felt like my heart would burst from the love and pride I felt at that moment.

I did talk to him and he felt sad. We picked a stick. He got I am safe.

Yes he is.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Positive Sticks


A few weeks ago we were Jelly Bean's therapist's office. She had these positive thought cards and angel prayer cards that the kids really liked.  I loved the idea of having something tangible they could grab to think about.  I made a mental note to find something along the lines of the cards and forgot about them.  That was until my Pintrest addition kicked in and I saw all of these cute DIY activities for kids with popsicle sticks like writing consequences or chores or activities on them. Really its amazing what people can create with popsicle sticks! 

And Positive Sticks became my Saturday night craft project.  There is a little bit of a double meaning because positive thoughts do stick.  Jelly Bean told me Friday how proud of herself she was because she finished all her homework at day care all week! That moment was made possible by a year of positive praise at every turn.

Materials Needed:
Permanent Markers (various colors)
Popsicle Sticks (I bought the 75 count pack)
Container (for finished sticks)
Embellishments (if desired)
Positive thoughts, affirmations, or quotes. (You can get a great list here.)

1) Write positive thoughts on sticks.
2) Embellish with stickers, paper flowers, jewels, etc.
3) Place in container.

I chose bright colored markers and embellished with bling stickers.  The sticks can be as simple or as creative as you want to make them. Paint or decoupage would add color and texture and make them more interesting.  (My kids are behind in their reading skills so I wanted to keep them easy to read.) You can make double-sided and add as many as you want.  The possibilities are endless.  I plan on having the kids add to the pail as they get better at making positive statements.I am also going to throw in some of my favorite quotes from movies and books they will recognize.

You can do it!


Enough

The anxiety was building last night. We sat down to eat really late. Hubby worked late all week and the kids missed him so instead of coming home right away with them I took all 4 kids to the craft store with me to kill some time.

They did my favorite thing EVER which was to point out to me all the things they hoped I would buy by showing me how "cute" and "cool" things were.

We got home and heated up some corned beef and cabbage and all sat down with Dad for the first time since Monday. Then their manners began to disappear. Gabby stabbed at her food so that an entire potato rolled onto the floor followed by her carrots. JB dropped her entire sandwich in her lap and ate like a cave woman.

Visits had been on Saturdays. 7 weeks ago was their last visit. The judge ordered visits reinstated. They are to have a family therapy session prior. LM and Gabby were told Tuesday night that they would have this session on Wednesday. (I was not informed by the case worker. And hit my breaking point with her. Pulled up the Foster Parent Rights and highlight all the ones I think she has trampled on. Then had a series of emails exchanged with her supervisor laying out all the reasons her failure to communicate and include us are ultimately hurting the kids and their mother.) JB was not included.

And like me, the kids were wondering if Saturday was going bring an unannounced visit. Because we of course are the afterthought in this case. And after the final exasperated "oh my gosh!" from JB I told the kids enough. Enough. We get it. We know you are nervous. There is no plan to see your Mom tomorrow. So everyone needs to relax. And if you need to have some extra time with Mom or Dad let us know with words. And I watched as Gabby relaxed her body language. LM sat up straighter and JB started crying.

She asked really good questions about why she's been left behind. And then magically I had my sweet kids back. LM even came and talked to me and told me she was feeling ignored because JB was trying so hard to get my attention since the therapy session. It was a great talk and I pointed out to her how far she has come! She fell asleep on the couch next to my husband. It was pretty heart warming.

Apparently there was no visit today. My plan is to head to work, get my hair done and spend some time alone because I need it. I've had a full week of all Mommy all day and I need to recharge my batteries. I spent some time this morning reading funny stuff on Pintrest (my link is on the left) and watching House.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A list as I'm not feeling like worrying about grammar

- I'm congratulating myself on staying calm and out crazying the crazy.
- It may only last a few more minutes.
- I don't know how much more trauma triggered behavior I can take today.
- I was it today. Hubby has a crazy work schedule this week and since the surprise family therapy session with two kids that excluded the third there target on my back for negative behavior is quadruple the size as normal.
- I'm not happy with the case worker and sent a rather pointed and lengthy email to her supervisor.
- Jelly Beans last words to me tonight "Were oh my God I hate you"
-My response was a happy thank you for sharing your feelings with me I love you good night.
- I assigned sentences today.
-I had to check to make sure the car door was working properly. Someone slammed it and after 10 times of me opening and closing the car door it NEVER slammed. Imagine that!
- I must stop writing because a certain little boy is playing in his bed and I'm pretty sure this is why he's a crab in the mornings.
-I might ground the dog too

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Organic Fruit Collective

So about 2 months ago my husband decided we needed to start eating healthier. We had been doing Weight Watchers and he was trying to think of ways to make healthy choices easier. Enter the Organic fruit and vegetable collective. The conversation went something like this:

Him: So and so at work does it. Every week get they get a box of organic fruit.
Me:That's nice for them.
Him: Organic would be healthier.
Me: And more expensive.
Him:Yeah but if its healthy it could be worth it.
Me: I'm not driving 3 towns over and picking it up.
Him: Its no big deal.
Me: Good then you can go every Saturday to pick it up. Is there a commitment? Can we stop it at any time? What happens if we go out of town?
Him: I'll find out.

So in his true analytic style he researched. Asked questions.  No commitment. Each week they send out an email with a list of what is in the box. There are different size boxes. We could get vegetables too.You can say yeah or nay.  I said we'll try it.

So the first week we get a small box. We ate it in 2 days. Oranges, apples, kiwi, and mango. The next week we get the large box. Oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, avocado, lemons. So then we figure out (OKAY..Hubby figures out) that for $3 more we can get 2 of the small boxes and more quantity.

So for the last few weeks we've been chowing down on beautiful, fresh organic fruit. The kids love apples and oranges. We've discovered that Mr. Mohawk and Gabby like grapefruit (yuck) and that they all enjoy kiwi fruit and blueberries.  The last 2 weeks we got 6 lbs of pears and 6 lemons each week so that presented a challenge of what to do with them. We've had fresh home made guacamole and fruit salad.  As the box has come with both avocado and mangoes I've made my favorite salsa. 2 Mangoes, 2 Red Peppers, 1 Tomato, 1/2 red onion, and 1-2 avocados some salt and lemon juice.  Fresh citrus salsa perfect as a topping to tacos, chicken, fish, or tortilla chips.  Here below is a picture (sans avocado as ours were not ripe enough). I love this so much I eat it without the chips!

Fun Fact: That bowl is a berry bowl that belonged to my Great Grandmother. The dishes came with her first furniture set she bought in the 1920s.  My Grandmother had them in her antique booth and they didn't sell.  When Hubby and I moved in and we had no dishes she asked me if I would use them.  We use them every day and they are the perfect size for snacks.



Monday, March 19, 2012

Back to Reality

So it looks like our vacation from visits is over. The hearing to reinstate visitation was last week and of course visitation was granted. Thankfully they judge (and the caseworker) took the advice of the kids' therapists and will require that visitation happen only in the community or at the DCFS office and with a supervisor more equipped. The other suggestion was to have at least 1 family therapy session prior to and split the kids up at visits.

So the part of me that already hates the schedule we have is really irritated by the dual visits. I have to be reminded that not being able to control all 4 children together for 5 hours and having visits moved to only 2 kids and in public doesn't look good. Especially at almost 2 years in. And that the kids will be more safe this way. And hey on the bright side transportation will be easier as Mom moved to our town. (Please read this as sarcasm.)

And now a word about attornies. Infuriating. Mom's attorney claims Mom was using a bear hold she learned in a parenting class during the incident. She stated that since Gabby didn't want to go to visits it was convenient that she is the only one who witnesses anything. And after all Foster Mom herself has had to restrain Jelly Bean at times. (So this is where the adrenaline completely took over and burned up all of the anti-anxiety pill I took.)

Excuse me? 1) of course your client denies any responsibility and blamed the kid. That's her MO. That's why they've been living with me. Shirk the responsibility and blame someone else even if it is your kid. 2) Gabby would have no way of knowing that visits were going to stop for 6 weeks. 3) Gabby doesn't lie. She may omit but her details were clear, reasonable and repeated the exact same way several times. 4) There is a big difference between a foster parent the child trusts restraining a child banging her head against furniture and walls to prevent her from harming herself and an abuser picking the child she abused up out of be in anger to force her in time out.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I had this moment on my honeymoon. We took a Carribean Cruise. I was sitting at a table across from my husband of two weeks waiting for our delicious dinner. He was wearing the tuxedo he wore to our wedding and Cannon in D came on. I flashed back to me walking down the aisle to the same song and I instantly had tears in my eyes. I loved this person so much it brought me to tears.

Tonight as I was pulling into the garage after a really tough day at work the door to the house opened and Mr. Mohawk and my dog peaked their heads out. The smile on their faces was so happy and full of love. I started to tear up right then. It was the same feeling I had on that boat. Pure happiness. Unconditional love.

Then I walked in the house to my Jelly Bean with her 103 fever, LM with her bloody nose, and Gabby with a major attitude... Attitude because her sisters were sick and that's one way she gets attention -sharing her boo boos and hurts (and warts and discussing her hemorrhoids...her poor therapist). But her sister were actually hurt and I asked for a minute to take care of them before I tackled her math homework. Because that's what life is like with 4 kids. Finally, I looked at her and told her I knew she was upset that I took care of others before her but they were actually bleeding and on fire (my rule for interruption) and if the attitude wanted to get lost at any time that would be fine with me.

About 10 minutes later she apologized for her attitude. I love that we are at a point where I can tell her that and she can adjust. It used to be she run crying to her room and stay there for 30 minutes.

I don't know if this is the last day of peacefulness. We have the hearing tomorrow about visitation. Most interesting is that the case worker never notified me but the GAL requested I come. I'll wait until tomorrow but then I plan on scheduling a discussion with her supervisor about lack of communication and failing to include us as part of the team. I will never understand why foster parents are the last to know anything when they have the most vulnerable population in their home and in our case have 4/5ths of the family to schedule. (I'm sorry but Mom who isn't working and isn't parenting should get the least amount of say as to when appointments are.)

Picture of Mr. Mohawk and Sidsey. The Mohawk made an appearance for the first time in a year.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Looking Back



I heard the song "Seasons of Love" today.  It made me think about all that has transpired in the last year.  We pointed out to Gabby this weekend that next month she will have live here a year.  (After an argument she thought we were going to call her caseworker and have her moved.) I found this post that I wrote the first time we spent any real time with all 4 kids. 

So how would I measure our lives since that post? 525,600 Minutes. A year in our lives...

In toilet paper, number of laughs, number of tears, bed time stories.  In visits, tantrums, anger and fear.  In homework, in baskets of laundry. In 525,600 missing matching socks. In vacations and Mickey Mouse Ice Cream bars.  In turns on roller coasters. In time outs. In inside jokes and silly questions. In showers and towels on the floor. In hugs and kisses and in love. Definitely in LOVE.
We have become 6 people in love. We've begun to measure our life by it.  Good days are days we are feeling love.  Bad days are days we aren't so sure.  And its hard sometimes wrapped up in the 525,600 moments to work on fostering the love.  It gets really tough when the threat of having that love moved gets remembered but we are doing the best we can. I read a question on a forum a little while ago.  It was something to the effect of is it possible to love older children in foster care.

Absolutely, unequivocally - YES.

Thank You Readers

Dear Readers,

Thank you.  Thank you for building up my self-esteem. Thank you for adding me to your reading lists.  Thank you for your comments. In my world its really little things that may seem of no consequence that light up my day. This week I picked up a new follower AND I had a new comment - on an old post! And I am just overjoyed.  I realize your time is valuable and that anyone chooses to read what I write is a big deal to me.  (Just ask my husband - who I proudly inform when I get a new follower. One day he'll stop mocking my numbers...)

So thank you for being here. Thank you for caring about my family. Thank you for the positive vibes you send our way.  I hope that I continue to write about things you want to read.  I have learned a ton from the other blogs that I follow and I hope I can just give a piece of that back to you. 

I also want to say I appreciate those of you who have gone back and read about our journey. I go back and read old posts at times and it reminds me just how far we've come. As I was sitting here typing this Jelly Bean was finishing up the last of her spelling - FOR THE WEEK.  She did it AHEAD of time.  As she sat with the dictionary open finding the words herself she said, "I'm really proud of myself. I got all my homework done at day care for the last 5 days in a row.  I responded with lots of positive praise but in my head I was picking my jaw up off the floor.  I vividly remember that first night of homework and the tears and thinking that we weren't going to make it through first grade.  Now we are juggling 2nd, 4th, and 6th grade. And in 6 months we'll add kindergarten to the mix. YIKES!

So from the bottom of my heart thank you!

R

Friday, March 9, 2012

OH YES I DID

So you know those parents who think their child is perfect and can do no wrong? Yeah, I'm not one of them.  I will fight for my kids to get what they need and I will make sure they know I will protect them and stick up for them but hide their mistakes and prevent them from suffering the consequences of their choices - not on your life.

It wasn't intentional but I totally ratted my kid out to the principal. Jelly Bean's daycare told me that she got off the bus this week in tears.  Apparently, she slapped another kid and the bus driver pulled the bus over and blocked traffic coming out of the school parking lot.  So the school police officer came on the bus to find out what happened.  This was triggering for her because she thought the police officer was going to take her to "juvie" and then she was teased all the way home.  Participating in the teasing? Her sister, Gabby. So several issues:
  1. She didn't keep her hands to herself.
  2. The police officer triggered her.
  3. She was made fun of. Which she can't handle.
  4. Her sister participated. She already thinks she's unloved.
So the next morning on the way to work I call the principal - anticipating that he'll call me when he gets the write up from the bus driver. I got his voicemail so I left a message explaining the version of the story I heard and that I was going to stand by whatever consequence he saw fit.  So when he called me at 5pm that night I was surprised to learn that he hadn't gotten a write up. We spoke about the police officer being triggering and if there was a way she could get to know the ones at the school. He told me he would investigate the bus incident and let me know his decision.

The next day he called me with JB in his office and told me she was suspended from the bus on Monday.  Good.  She should be held accountable. She gets a lot of slack in our expectations due to her emotional challenges but hitting others - not acceptable.

Gabby was also held accountable.  She will need to do something nice for JB.

Side note: The same day as the bus Jelly Bean was accused of taking two books that belonged to another student.  One of the day care teachers (one that I'm not a big fan of) asked me about it as I was signing the kids in and I was running late for work.  By the time I turned around a book has been taken out of her backpack (by another teacher) and I was told it would be held on to until the matter had been investigated.  I emailed JB's teachers at school before I got out of the parking lot.  When I went to pick the kids up not one but two OTHER teachers asked me about the missing book.  I was soo annoyed. Then the director tells me about the bus and I'm thinking seriously? A book about food that's probably 10 pages long was so important 4 people had to tell me about it but the fact that my kid came off the bus crying only warranted 1 person? Lets just say my email forwarding the school's response that it was their book and they would like it back was very pointed and not on the nice side.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sleep Deprivation

So I actually had the thought this week that it's a good thing I've never had an infant because the sleep deprivation might have killed me.

Monday evening started off with a toilet that needed plunging. How something thy big comes out of a little girl I'm not sure but I have a new appreciation for my husband who went into the bathroom with the plunger like a champ.

Somewhere around 11:30pm I fell asleep. At 2:30am I heard a toilet flush. And then again and again. So I get up and find LM and Gabby in the bathroom. LM with Kleenex shoved up her nose and Gabby standing there watching her. In the background I hear Mr. Mohawk snoring. I get the bloody nose stopped. Take the dog out. Pit him in his crate because his paws digging into my back were not comfortable and I find Mr. Mohawk now standing at the top of the stairs. I send him back to bed and it's 3 am.

I lay down and try to sleep. But Hubby he was snoring. I try ear plugs. Nothing. Can't get comfortable. I toss and turn. Finally, I get up and move to the basement. I manage to watch a movie and at 4 am go to the bathroom noticing that the upstairs light is on. Some time around 5am I fall asleep. I get up at 6:15 to discover that Jelly Bean woke Hubby up at 4 because he heard a noise. The noise? LM snoring.

I'm too old for this...

Random Thought:Nun-ya and Needer-mind

Our life maybe temporary and chaotic at times but there are things that make us just like everyone else. I'm choosing to celebrate those things after a rough week on Mom. (Mainly because Mom did not sleep Monday night. Like at all. And still dragged her ass to work after dragging 4 kids out of bed and out the door.)

Today I am going to celebrate our inside jokes. As a group we can be pretty fun- ya know provided no one is feeling jealous, left out, or angry. We laugh and are silly. We make the car "dance". We sing obnoxiously loud along to songs on the radio. We bust a move in the back seat. Car Wash is one of my kids' favorite songs. But I digress.

The first night all the kids were here we were talking about house rules. Out of nowhere Jelly Bean made some comment about someone being allergic to animals and that she wanted to give that animal to that person. And hence the random thought of the day was born. At least a couple times of the week someone will point out a random thought. Now it's done with gusto. "Aaanndd the THERE goes the random thought of the day!" or "the random thought of the day brought to you by Gabby."

Always amusing to us is how Mr. Mohawk says things. Like right now he thinks he's not supposed to say the "x word". (He's got older sisters. Not much I can do about the "f" word.) Never mind is Needer-mind. This has become part of our vocabulary. And you can't help but giggle.

But my favorite is Nun-ya. As in None of your business. "Mom? Why do you need to pick up medicine from the pharmacy?" NUN-YA. Which effectively ended the conversation.

Tell me readers- what are your inside jokes?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

You have a Unique Life Situation

Questions are a part of Foster Care. I encourage questions as I think more awareness is needed about child abuse and how the system works - and how little sense it makes sometimes. New foster parents always wonder how to handle the questions and responses we get over and over. For example:
How do you do it?
Aren't you going to miss them when they go home?
Do they miss their Mom? Even though they have you?

We also get comments:
You're a saint.
I could never do that. I'd get too attached.
The kids are so lucky to have you.

I think you have to find what works best for you in order to deal with these types of responses to people finding out you are a foster parent. For myself, I have some standard answers:

We make it work. It's not without stress but it is totally worth the reward.
Of course I'll miss them. But we hope to be in their lives. And these kids gave me a chance to be a Mom and I might not get that again.
Yep they miss her very much. She's their MOM. She's all they know.

Usually to the saint or angel comment I fake humility. Other days I ignore it. And then the rest of the time I say- You give me too much credit.And to the I would get too attached I say - The kids need someone to attach to! They need to heal. I also have a very standard answer to the kids being lucky. WE ARE the lucky ones.

So now that I have standard answers to standard questions and comments I was a little thrown off this weekend by a co-worker and my new doctor.  My co-worker and I were not familiar with one another and she asked the basic getting to know you question of someone who is married: Do you have any kids?

ME: Yep. I have four foster children.  (Now in fairness it was loud in the bar we were in.)
HER: Are you serious? I'm talking about actual kids. Four? These aren't your dogs or anything are they?
ME: No I am serious. They are real live children and there are four of them.

My new doctor had seen my husband for the first time a few weeks ago and as I was describing my family he remembered him.  He didn't try to hide his opinion that this was a lot to take on for anyone and he was very candid about the fact that he was concerned this amount of stress could make my illness more pronounced.  Actually his words were "Stress isn't good for Sarcoid."

So when I told him I was concerned about my anxiety level and feeling a little blue he agreed that I probably needed some pharmaceutical help. And then nodded even more earnestly when I told him I worked full time.  "You have a full day."  During the deepest part of my illness and depression I was on an anti-depressant and it worked rather well.  He also gave me the names of two psychiatrists he likes and encouraged me to go back to therapy.  His parting comment about all this was that "You have a unique life situation that automatically sets you up for stress and depression.  We need to help you not take on too much."

Its a little too late for that.  I have to work full time to get all of our bills paid.  I have no ability to suddenly cure my incurable illness and while I might have the option to not have four foster children in my eyes that's not really an option either.  I''ll take the happy pills and learn more emotional coping skills and be on my way - thank you very much.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Week 4

So this weekend will be 4 weeks since the kids have seen their Mom. We've settled into a groove of sorts - running errands, knocking out doctor and therapy appointments, getting stuff done around the house and hanging out as a family.  Its been strangely normal.  The kids have kind of stopped talking about her, being in foster care, and talking about going home.  Its sad because they seem so defeated by this like somehow they failed.  Nothing has changed with their goal of reunification.  Its as if this entire thing is on pause.  But they see the writing on the wall.  THEY know that by now she should have her act together and she's cemented their suspicion that she hasn't changed.  Even Little Mama has seemed to have given up hope that her Mom can do enough to get them back.  Which of course means that they are questioning our commitment to them.  The question before bed last night: "Mom do you like us?".

We've had some regressive behavior.  Mr. Mohawk had a ton of trouble keeping his hands to himself and has been lying up a storm.  Little Mama is forgetting homework and claiming ignorance of knowledge.  Gabby and Jelly Bean have been clingy and needy.  I took a page out of Last Mom's book and put both of them in shopping carts this past week.  Partly to help their brains process through where they were emotionally stuck, and partly because it wasn't worth the stress to me. Let me tell you when you have ADHD and anxious children you are less likely to scream and tear your hair out and head for the vodka its a lot more peaceful to grocery shop if you can put them in something. That is of course if you can keep them from fighting. And ignore the stares of other people wondering what kind of mother you are letting your 8 and 10 year old children play around in a shopping cart. And I know that's what they are thinking because if I weren't living in traumaland I too would be wondering: What the heck is WRONG with that woman? There are times when I want to stare back and then say: You have no idea what these kids have survived or what we are dealing with as a family.  Let me tell you that by letting them ride in a cart at the store I am helping to heal their trauma and hopefully give them a decent shot at a stable future. And you know - I get how easy it is to judge but really we need to lay off one another. 

And as much as I love having the weekends with the kids, I need a break so my Mom is watching them Saturday while I go to the doctor and Hubby gets caught up at work.  She's really looking forward to having them and that makes my heart happy.