Hey guys, let’s serif I can actually finish a post, and not have it mysteriously disappear like my last one a did! I had to actually look at my site to see when the last time I posted was, I can’t believe it’s been so long! I guess having 3 kids under 3 and learning a new job takes more time than I realized…
I have lots of thoughts on the continuing problem of police shooting and/or killing black people, and how scary that is to a parent of non-white children. Every time I think it may be calming down, another story hits the news and I realize this problem is here to stay. Other people have made much more eloquent posts about the fears and feelings that come along with this so I won’t delve into it much, but my wife and I have definitely adjusted some of our parenting decisions because of it. We are a no gun house anyway, but now even pointing a stick and saying ‘bam bam’, or making a gun shape out of Legos is not allowed. K in particular was doing that, he must have picked it up from his parents somewhere, but now it’s majorly taboo. Another thing that may have been tolerated or at least been something we let slide here and there is any kind of challenge of authority. I kind of feel bad squishing their spirits so much, but learning to not run your mouth with authority figures could save their lives some day. It’s freaking sad that we have to think of these things, and think of them now when they are toddlers, but that’s the way it is right now. Those of you out there raising white kids, boys especially, please do better than our parents did! Talk about race! Acknowledge white privelage and institutional racism! They can be better than we are, but it’s up to us to raise them to be better.
Now, an update on the kids in bullet point form!
- Ali is almost 3, can you believe it? Every day she seems a little more pre-schoolerish and a little less toddlerish. She’s still a giant, and is close to growing out of 4t shirts, but is so skinny she can wear 3t shorts. Pants shopping could be interesting this fall, we may be investing in belts this year. Her current interests are painting/drawing, puzzles, board games, dancing to music, and learning the alphabet. The dancing and the alphabet are the best, we have some serious kitchen dance parties together and I can’t wait until she can read. I know that realistically she’s at least a year away from being able to read, but if her interest stays I think she will definitely be an early reader. On the subject of academics, I think we have hit that point of the summer where she’s bored and needs the stimulation of school and her peers. We keep busy, we have gone camping a couple times and have hit up beaches and museums and libraries and parks regularly. We also spent a couple days in Chicago soaking up the big city atmosphere, but it’s not the same. 6 more weeks until school starts! She will be in a pre-school room at the Montessori school this year, I’m excited for her. They have kids from 3-5 years old in that classroom, and I think she will really enjoy being with bigger kids, and will rise to the higher expectations and the greater focus on academics.
- The older boy, let’s call him Kurt, is still with us. We have been told from the beginning that he would be going to his dad or another family member in a month or a few weeks or a few days. Well, long story short, he’s not going anywhere, he’s staying with us. On the one hand, it’s so sad that every single person who is biologically related to him has chosen drugs or violence or plain just doesn’t give a shit about him and have all walked away. On the other hand, we love him to pieces, and by being our son will have a chance to break the cycle of poverty and addiction that his biological family is in and that he very likely would have continued if he grew up with them. For about a month or maybe month and a half, Kurt was spending the weekend with his dad and had weekly supervised visits with his mom. He was an absolute wreck and started exhibiting severe violent behavior, to the point where we weren’t sure we could keep Ali or his brother safe, not to mention I was pretty sure he was going to kill the cat sooner or later. Luckily, we have a great team of social workers and lawyers who actually listened to us, and we were able to successfully make the case to a judge to get visits stopped. There’s a pretty long list of significant problems that have popped up with mom and dad, so right now we are looking at termination of parental rights and being able to adopt both of the boys. The plan hasn’t officially changed to termination yet, that won’t happen until December, but the social workers and lawyers all say there isn’t really any chance of either parent regaining custody. I know anything can happen, especially with this kind of stuff, but right now I’m cautiously optimistic about it all. Now for the good stuff! Kurt has stopped all of his crazy behavior now that he doesn’t see his parents. He’s actually a really sweet, caring boy by nature. He loves rocking and feeding and caring for his baby dolls, and he hugs and kisses Ali all the time now. He is day potty trained, and is veery into the ‘I do it myself’ phase with everything. He sees a play therapist once a week, and is doing great there. She isn’t seeing any red flags for any organic disorders, which is a relief. Kurt isn’t very strong in the academic area, he struggles with colors/numbers/etc., but he’s pretty amazing at figuring out mechanical things. This dude can open any latch and take apart any object and work any remote/phone/tablet you put in front of him.
- Last but not least, there is little dude. Let’s call him Kasey. Mr. Kasey came to us this skinny little thing who couldn’t even sit up without support, was barely 15 pounds at 12 months, and never smiled or made any kind of noise. Now he’s chunky little dude who runs around, climbs everything in sight, smiles and laughs in his sleep even, and basically never stops talking. He doesn’t have many words yet, but the few he has are on constant repeat! His family update is more or less the same as Kurt’s, they have the same mom and his dad is unknown. Kasey wasn’t having the same type of behavior when there were visits with mom, but he was having trouble sleeping and was super clingy and weepy a lot of the time. All that has stopped as well now that visits have been terminated. Right now he’s exactly 18 months, with all of the cuteness and stinkeryness that comes along with that age. He’s a busy little thing, always getting into stuff and climbing stuff. He’s also starting to have an opinion on what he wants, doesn’t want. Diaper changes have become interesting, so has bedtime and mealtime and any other time when he feels like we are interrupting what he’s doing. We haven’t gotten to full on tantrums like we had when Ali was this age, but I see them coming. Man I hope he doesn’t enter toddler tantrum hell before the other two are out of it. If he does, I don’t know how we will handle it. Lots of wine and picking up shifts at work maybe?? Other than those little glimpses of the toddler to come, he’s a sweet little boy just like his brother. He also loves rocking and feeding the dolls. When he sees Jen or I in the morning, he runs over and hugs and kisses us, he’s also always hugging the dogs. He’s very concerned about fairness and justice, everyone has to have the same thing, in the same amount, or he’s upset. He has to do the same things as the other two as well, which doesn’t always work out much to his dismay. Poor little thing is always trailing behind the other two trying to catch up. Although he isn’t talking much, you can tell he’s a sharp kid, he reminds me a lot of Ali at that age. He’s always watching and you can just see the wheels turning. I’m curious to see what his strengths will be when he gets a little older. I didn’t mention it above in the Kurt section, but both boys will be starting school with Ali in August. They will both be in toddler rooms, I’m excited for them start branching out socially and academically. The transition will definitely be rough on Kasey, he’s really shy and we don’t leave the kids with anyone besides nana and papa once in a great while, but it will be good for him. They picked the perfect teacher for him, she’s just a ray of sunshine and you can tell she loves the kids she works with. Kurt I don’t worry about, he’s pretty laid back and super social, but little Kasey is more sensitive.
- So that’s the kids. What about Jen and I? We are good, nothing much to talk about with us. The strain of 2 additional children and me going back to work was rough on our relationship for a while, but now we have hit a groove with life and are back to being good. There’s not a lot of time for ‘us’ with the kids being so young and needing so much attention, but we talk and make sure to check in with each other. Jen is going to start seeing a therapist, mostly to deal with the hateful feelings she has towards the biological family members of the boys, and I think I’ll join her for couples sessions after a bit. I’ve never been to a therapist, I’ve never had a problem that alcohol with friends couldn’t fix, but it’s probably a good idea to have a space with a professional and without the kids present for Jen and I to touch base in.
So that’s pretty much everything, I think! Now let’s see if I can post more often than once every 3 months…