‘Tis the Season

I was going to actually leave the house without the kids and go waste some time at target or something, but here I am instead! I’ll get to feel like something more than a toddler/preschooler chaser tomorrow when I go to work, no need to rush things…

We did all the holiday things this year; crafts, cookies, santa sightings, a mischievous elf, overdecorating, looking at lights, and playing in the snow. It took me a while to get in the spirit, I definitely had to fake it until I made it, but it ended up being a great week.  

 
  

Looking back, my grinchyness lifted when my semester of school was over, the nursing program is freaking killing me. I swear I’m going to burn all my school shit and cuss the burning pile out when I’m done with this hell next may. But, anyway, Christmas was pretty fun this year. I hosted a big fancy Christmas Eve dinner, with table linens and napkin holders and expensive cuts of meat and children at their own separate table. It was lovely! There was excellent food and tasty beverages and lots of laughing over dinner, it was really fun. Even my crazy nephews zooming around, tearing up the house and being loud and crazy was mostly ok because I run a pretty tight ship and have no problems with pulling out my mean voice when the kids go too far. I have very few rules, but the rules I have are set in stone and there is zero bending no matter who you are! And you know what the best thing of all was? We actually got to stay home and do Christmas morning on our own with the kids! They had a blast opening everything up and playing with their new stuff all morning. Our big present was a play kitchen for them, but of course the $10 puzzles stole the show.  

    

Aside from the holidays, there has been some good stuff and some not so good stuff happening around here. For the not so good stuff, we had court for the boys the other day, and it didn’t exactly go well. This was a big one, the one where the judge was going to either change the plan from reunification with parents to termination of parental rights. The child welfare department and the guardian ad litem (the kids’ legal advocate) were all recommending changing the plan to termination, which would put our timeline to adopt the boys at about 3ish months from now. Buuuut, the ding dong lawyer for the kids had forgotten to do some paperwork he was supposed to have done at removal, so this whole situation is put on hold for 6 more months! Which puts our timeline for adoption at about a year from now! So, another whole year of dealing with the parents and social workers and all the rest of the stuff that goes along with fostering. Their mom is pregnant again, so I guess maybe the universe is prolonging this so we don’t have to start over when this next baby is removed? Or maybe that lawyer just really sucks at his job…

Don’t worry, I’m not being a shitty baby snatcher by assuming we will get her next baby. The level of neglect and violence these kids experienced is really really bad, not something someone can just have a change of heart and do better with. Click on kwashiorkor and RAD if you want a little taste of what was done to the boys, it’s not pretty. 
Now for the good stuff, the kids!

Ali is as silly and charming as ever. More often than not, she goes about her day narrating every detail in song. I’m starting to have little glimpses of the ‘big kid’ days to come, where we can have real conversations and enjoy doing stuff together. Not that we don’t enjoy ourselves now, but Jen and I spend most of our time with the kids managing their behavior/teaching them how to act. It will  all pay off in the end, but for now it’s a lot of work and not a lot of relaxing.  

   (I think unicorn is the only real word in this particular song)
Kurt is having the time of his life lately. First his birthday party, then all the Christmas stuff, he’s in heaven. He’s the one of the three of them that is super sensitive and has a hard time dealing with a lot of stimulation, so we have to build in lots of downtime and/or a space for him to retreat to when things overwhelm him. We seem to have done a good job with that because he’s been happier and better than we were expecting. I’m not sure if I’ve talked about this here before, but I struggle with my relationship with Kurt. Before semi recently when he got the diagnosis of reactive attachment disorder, I always felt kind of crazy trying to explain his behavior and our relationship to the professionals we work with, especially since he reserves his weirdest stuff for me. Telling people your not quite 3 year old is emotionally manipulative, and lies about weird stuff, and sneaks around the house day and night to stand stock still in a corner glaring at you sounds like I’m crazy, right? I was really thinking that I was either exaggerating normal kid stuff or subconsciously trying to sabotage him somehow. It’s really a terrible diagnosis to have, but now I know and can seek help with people who know what they’re doing with this kind of stuff. On a more positive note, he and Ali are two peas in a pod lately! They bug each other like siblings do, but he’s become so kind and affectionate with her, is always concerned with how she’s feeling and what she wants, and even wants to be a gentleman and hold doors open for her or put her coat up for her or whatever. It’s so neat to see.  

 
And then there’s this dude: 

 He is just so very two! He wants what he wants when he wants it, and lord help us all if we either can’t figure out what it is or if its not an option right then. I will say that this is way easier the second time around. With Ali, we would get all worked up along with her, and try all this stuff to calm her down and talk to her about it. With Kasey we are more amused by it all, we are just like oh crap, there he goes again! How much do we care about eating 2 bags of chips at 9a? Enough for this fight? Not really, there you go buddy. Or maybe it’s a yes really, we do care. We can have a hug and read this book, or you can run away and rage it out for awhile, whatever you gotta do to get over it dude. Either way we don’t have this sense of anxiety and urgency about the whole thing, it’s easier to see how short of a time this really is.  

 Isn’t he such a ham!

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Hello!

Looks like it’s time for my quarterly post! 

So things are exactly the same and also totally different from the last time I checked in. The boys are still here and there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that we will be adopting them sometime this coming year. Well, the birth parents (is birth parents the pc term these days? I’m trying to read some adoptee/adopter blogs and it seems like it’s controversial?) might think things aren’t heading that way, but the rest of the team does. For some reason the boys’ mom and the one dad involved think they can scramble and put forth a tiny bit of half assed effort into services they are supposed to participate in at the last minute, all the while continuing their spice/alcohol/weed/opiate habits, and will get their kids back no problem. I don’t get it, but whatever. Jen and I are still nice to them, I accepted mom as a fb friend, albeit on a restricted list, and I pack a lunch every time Kurt has a visit with dad even though I’m not supposed to, dad is supposed to feed him, and I don’t complain to the social workers about anything, I send mom pics and updates whenever she asks and sometimes just because, I shrug off the weird lies they come up with about us and when they badmouth us to the kids and social workers. I’m trying to go high when they go low (thanks Michelle Obama for the great quote!). It ain’t always easy, but I’m trying. 

The boys are both doing great these days. We had a few bumps in the road when Kurt started supervised visits with his dad again after not seeing him for about four months. Things have evened out and we are just resigned to having a new normal with his behavior and accepting that Kurt is just occasionally going to be aggressive with other kids and withdrawn at home until visits stop again. It’s frustrating that dad’s right to see him trumps Kurt’s right to feel safe, secure, and happy.  His therapist has commented more than once that she’s never seen visits with a parent impact a kid so negatively before, but what can you do? Another instance of children being second class citizens I guess. Aside from all that mess, Kurt is such a great kid. He’s really thriving at school, we often get reports of how smart he is and how good he is at figuring things out and working with his hands. Oh, and he’s totally potty trained! I’m so proud of him (and me) for getting past the diaper thing. God I hate diapers…

Our little dude, Kasey, is also doing well. He’s 22 months, and is entering stinker mode right on schedule. The only delay he has left over from his previous life is language, and we are right on the edge of catching up there. We have had problems with getting his insurance ironed out, but finally got it and was able to get him in to see a specialist who deals with the physical aftermath of abuse and neglect. Poor dude may or may not have some lifelong issues in a few areas due to malnutrition/abuse, but if he does they will thankfully be minor. He too is doing really well in school. He loooves his teacher and has a little girl who is his best friend, I guess they are always together hanging out. He’s entering the ‘me do it’ independence phase which can be challenging, but is also pretty cute. Thankfully his language is catching up so he can sort of tell us what his tantrum is over when he’s throwing one. Silver linings, right? 

Ali is three now, do I even need to say anything more? Total threenager all the way. With her, the highs are higher than ever before and the lows are lower than ever before. She’s simultaneously the sweetest, most thoughtful little girl and the meanest, sassiest little girl I know. She kisses her brothers’ boo boos and cheers them on when they are struggling with something and grabs them snacks and drinks before getting stuff for herself, right after she knocks them down and steals their toy and refuses to let them sit anywhere near her and tells them they stink. The balance seems to be shifting more towards nice Ali and away from evil Ali, but her evil side still takes over some days. If I’ve learned anything these 3 years parenting it’s that nothing lasts very long, so at least I know this too shall pass. 

Apparently someday I’ll forget all the unpleasant stuff and look back on the toddler years with rose colored glasses and nostalgia, just like I’ve blocked out all the sleepless nights and nipple pain of the newborn phase when I wistfully wish for another baby.  And I’m totally wishing for another baby! I want one more, but I only want to take a newborn so it may or may not be difficult through the foster system. If I wasn’t so darn old and if I didn’t loathe being pregnant, I’d just go ahead and do IVF and have another one. 

And what about me? How am I doing? Mostly ok. All the separate pieces of my life are amazing and fantastic, put all together it’s a little overwhelming and exhausting. I love learning so school is good. I really love my job, I’m discovering that I’m an ICU nurse at heart which is super cool. The kids are so much fun, I’m loving the new adventures that come with not being babies anymore. My marriage is solid, we spend a lot more time laughing than fighting. It’s the schedule I have to have to fit all that in that makes life a slog sometimes, school all week and working all weekend doesn’t leave a lot left for loafing around and spending time together as a whole family. This is another area where I have to keep the ‘this too shall pass’ mentality to keep myself going. And, unlike the nebulous sometime soon that accompanies stages with the kids, I have a specific date when things will change. Come on May 2017! 

   

  

  

   
   

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Hi!

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…

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    Slow down!

    I’m going to break my long silence to complain about the weather. Seriously April?! I’m freezing my butt off because I’m in denial about the below freezing temps and refuse to wear more than a hoodie. Hopefully the temp goes up before I bust out the short pants and flip flops, if not I’m really going to be miserable 😉

    Let’s start this update with my favorite little lady.  She seems to have come to terms with the fact that the boys aren’t going anywhere, and has slowly gotten back to her hilarious little self. Giving it time has probably been the biggest thing that has helped her attitude, but we did realize that she wasn’t getting enough sleep since her nap was often cut short and her bedtime pushed back a little. It’s really hard to get your crap together and stay on schedule with 3 little kids! Ali needs a solid 14-15 hours of sleep a day to not be a wreck, so we have made that a priority and it’s helped bring her back to normal. Speaking of sleep, you probably know by now that I like to just rip the bandaid off when it comes to changes with her, I never do any gradual drawn out or kid led processes. I’d rather deal with a short time of pure hell than a long time of mild hell. So, a couple weeks ago we stopped the cosleeping cold turkey style. Jen and I got a new bed and put our old one in Ali’s room, which I think made the transition easier for her, but she’s done surprisingly well with it.  Zero tears or tantrums and she stays in bed all night. There is one tiny problem though. I hate it! I miss her and I’m a little embarrassed to say that I have gone to her bed in the middle of the night a few times. This is the first ‘big girl’ transition I’ve had trouble with, I don’t know why.  I couldn’t have cared less when she outgrew clothes, I couldn’t wait for her to get crawling and walking, stopping nursing wasn’t a huge deal, taking her to preschool didn’t bother me, I was ecstatic to get her out of diapers. But this, this is killing me.  

     Not the greatest pic since it wasn’t very bright in her room, but as you can see she loves her bed. 

    Aside from time and sleep, another thing that has made a difference is in our general approach with how we encourage her relationship with the boys. We were trying to frame this as her being our helper and encouraging her to be gentle and nurturing with the baby and big sister/role model for K. Giant fail. Ali is not a nurturing person, at all. This feels kind of weird to say, but she’s also not especially kind by nature. She doesn’t give a shit about hugging babies or comforting a friend who is unhappy, she thrives on a different kind of attention. Objectively I’ve known this for a while, but I guess I was pushing my stereotype of how I think little girls should act on her.  Once we backed off and let her find her own boundaries with the other kids, she improved her attitude quite a bit. 

      
    The boys are doing well. Baby had a couple evaluations with the early intervention program and I’m super happy to say that he doesn’t have any significant delays.  He’s going to be evaluated by a speech and language pathologist in a couple weeks to look for structural abnormalities and see where they think he’s at language wise. I suspect there is damage from his penny in the throat incident or the few times he had to have a nasogastric tube put in.  He doesn’t vocalize a lot, and when he does his voice is pretty hoarse and raspy. If a raspy voice is all he is burdened with from his rocky start in life, then I’ll take it! We are learning more and more from doctors/social workers/family members about his home life before the removal, it’s a miracle he’s alive. The older boys basically lived with their respective dads or grandmas, but poor baby didn’t have anywhere to go so he just suffered. Drugs, guns/shootings, prostitution, major domestic violence, abandonment for whole days. It’s killing me that mom is still doing all that even though she lost her kids and she’s freaking pregnant! She’s not quite as far along as the social worker initially told us, she looks about 5-6 months to me. I’ve seen her because she actually showed up for a few visits, and insists on coming in the wrong entrance every damn time so she comes into my waiting room. It’s pretty awkward. 

    Visits with her are hard. They are a giant pain in the butt for us, and are pretty hard on the boys. K has started swearing and saying the n-word all the time and he’s started trying to beat Ali up. Luckily she’s bigger and faster so no real damage has been done, but it’s hard. Baby has started being super clingy and waking up in the night screaming like crazy. I’m not sure how much longer visits will go on, out of 5 visits so far she’s no showed 1, been 20 minutes late to all, and admitted to being high on spice and heroin at the last one. I guess that’s the new thing around here now, people are smoking a spice/heroin combo.  This is probably a controversial thing to say, but what the fuck?! Why is it ok for this woman to possibly permanently damage another human being, maybe even kill them, and no one can do anything? Why isn’t she put in prison or a locked hospital or something until the baby is born? Everyone knows, social workers and doctors and a judge, but nothing can be done until it’s born. Sigh.

    Enough about that. Let’s talk about me!

    I totally only have 4 weeks left in my semester, hallelujah! I also just started my job in the MICU at one of the local hospitals.  I’m loving it, big time, but I’m also spread very thin right now. Very, very thin. I know an end is in sight, but I’m struggling with feeling like I’m mediocre at best in almost every area of life. My test grades have dipped down, above passing but still. Dinners are sad little rushed affairs or take out. My house is dirtier than I like. I have to shove the kids outside or in front of a screen a lot or my grades will dip even further into the abyss. And my poor dogs are just staring out the window wishing someone would come take them for a walk.   

     4 more weeks dude! That’s like, no time at all. Then I will have a little break before the crazy canning season. Oh I can’t wait for that! I used my last jar of tomatoes last week and am down to just a couple jars of jam and pickles for the rest.  I do have several jars of sort of gross chutney left, if anyone wants to take them off my hands feel free 😉
     

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    Break time

    I’m sitting, without children, in a quiet and relatively clean house! This is my new Tuesday thing now that my clinical hours are over for the semester and we have childcare for the boys. I probably should be doing homework or laundry or something during these glorious couple hours, but blogging and netflixing sound like more fun, so I’m going with it.

    So, things are actually pretty good over here, all things considered. Having childcare for the boys has been a life saver, and as a bonus we really like the lady watching the boys and will keep her in mind for any future needs once these next 7 weeks are over and I resume my stay at home mom career for the summer. Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Sooner or later once the HR department gets moving, I’ll be working two 12 hour shifts a week at the hospital near me, so I’ll technically be a working mom. The shifts run 3p-3a, so we shouldn’t need daycare for the kids, my lovely wife will just have to do dinner and I will just be tired sometimes. But, if it turns out that I’m crazy and mean with that little bit of sleep, we will have our back up plan with having someone we like and trust to watch the kiddos! 

    Speaking of the kiddos, I think the last time I wrote there was some uncertainty with Ks dad, and we weren’t sure what was going on with his timeline with us. Finally Jen got sick of waiting for dad to get ahold of us, and just called him herself. After she broke the ice, things have been really good with dad, and he sees K every week, and keeps him for an unsupervised overnight visit.  As we are learning the hard way, situations can/will change in an instant, but as it stands we are looking at K going to live with his dad within the next month. Dad doesn’t have to do any evaluations or drug testing or classes or whatever, he just has to prove that he’s reliable and that he has a good relationship with K. So far, so good with that! K is happy to see his dad, unhappy to leave him when we pick him up, and has remained the cheerful little dude he’s been this whole time. On a personal level, I’ve chatted with dad for hours on end a few times and I really like him. We are an unlikely pair, a young black guy in his early 20s with his pack of Newports and his pants hanging off his butt and an old white lady in her late 30s with her Starbucks coffee and mom jeans, but we are totally buddies. Hopefully we can stay in touch at least enough to keep the boys in contact, assuming little dude stays with us.

    Like I said, we are learning that nothing is really set in stone in this foster care world, but for now we are still looking at little dude staying with us for the foreseeable future. Mom finally did get her visitations set up, so those start this week (yikes!), but this will be a long term placement at least, most likely an adoption. There are just too many things that keep popping up now that the social worker is digging into the situation, and there is a history of non-compliance/drug addiction/mental illness/neglect of all of her responsibilities, which I would be surprised if the mom overcame to get her boys back. For example, she has so many animal cruelty and neglect charges that she’s banned from owning a pet until 2025! If only the same thing applied to having children, right?

    And then there’s Ali. Ohhhh, Ali. It’s hard to tell if she’s reacting to having siblings, or if this is normal, shitty toddler stuff, but she’s driving everyone crazy. So much whining! So much crying! It’s not constant where every day is another day in hell like it was from 18-24 months, but I’d almost rather the tantrums than this whiny crap. I know, this too shall pass, and eventually Jen will come up with some other hippy crap I’ll roll my eyes at but that will work to help stop it, but until then…until then I will be annoyed with her. On the plus side, she has accepted and even come to love her temporary brothers. Her and K are always playing and fighting and hugging, and his name is the first word out of her mouth in the morning and the last thing she talks about before going to sleep. She also takes the big sister role with little dude seriously. I often find her reading books to him or feeding him sippy cups on her lap like you would give a baby a bottle. That cuteness almost cancels out the awful whiny parts, almost…

     

    BFFs

      

    They would all live outside if they could

      

    The return of toys on all the shelves and the exodus of all plants to high places

      

    This is what you find when it’s too quiet. Both stripped naked and Ali “washing the baby”

      

    Ninja turtles and skateboards! She was in heaven

      

    Indianapolis Children’s Museum is awesome 🙂

     

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    Family of 6?

    Man this foster care stuff has really started to snowball! We have known that mom is pregnant with another, but just got a call from the social worker asking us to take it when it’s born, since she’s already 7 months pregnant and who knows when this baby will be born. It’s totally insane, but how can we say no?! I always joked that we’d end up with a hundred kids when we started this process since we are both bleeding hearts when it comes to kids, but damn! 3 kids in like 8 months! We are going to have to do a little rearranging of bedrooms if this all works out to us taking all 3, out little queen is going to have to give up the big bedroom which may or may not go over well with her. 

    Oh, you thought Mr. K was going with his dad? Well, maybe he still will. At this point we are proceeding on the assumption that it’s not going to happen since all of a sudden no one can get ahold of him. I just don’t understand the thought process of these parents. I mean, I get it on some level. What 23 year old young black man wants the state poking around in his living space and his life pretty much constantly, and for the foreseeable future. The harsher side of me thinks that’s the price you pay when you’re irresponsible and choose not to use a fucking condom. Same with mom, I mean come on lady! She’s set up and no showed 2 visitation sessions. Luckily it’s been the evaluation session that we haven’t had to bring the kids to, but still. There’s no amount of damaged pride or hurt feelings or whatever that would keep me from seeing my kid if I lost her. At this point it’s been 3 full weeks since either one of the parents have seen their kids. I don’t know if that’s for the best or not. It’s way more convenient for us to not have to do a bunch of driving around and trying to fill the hours while we wait and dealing with the emotional aftermath of visits. Then again, it makes me a little sad for the kids that all of a sudden the people they know are just gone. Totally gone. 

    I’m sure everything about Jen and Ali and I and the way we live is super different than what they came from. Different food, different smells, different ways of speaking, different clothes and beds. Different rules and different expectations. We are starting to see some of those effects in K.  He’s still a good listener and champion sleeper, which makes the days run relatively smoothly, but stuff is starting to come up. His eating has gotten weird. If it’s not a hot dog or chicken nugget, both drowning in ketchup, he just won’t eat it. Nary a fruit or vegetable has passed his lips in about a week. I’ve been joking that he’s going to get scurvy or gout or something, but I started putting vitamin drops in his drink so hopefully not! The food thing is weird but possibly normal toddler pickiness, it’s some behavior stuff that’s a little more concerning. He’s started this thing where he squares himself up and puts a crazy look on his face and tries to stare down everyone, it feels like a dominance thing. He mostly does it to the other kids and the dogs, but he’s done it to Jen and I when he gets redirected or whatever. There’s something about it that really raises my neck hairs, and I end up out staring him so I ‘win’.  I have no idea if that’s the right thing to do or not, and I want to seek out a professional opinion in a couple weeks or so if things are still looking like he will stay. That’s just one of the little quirks, but it’s the most annoying one. We don’t run a democracy here, the parents are the boss and the kid does things when we feel it’s time, like potty training or whatever. We make an effort to give appropriate choices each day, what to wear or eat, etc., but that’s it, we have never had the mentality of doing stuff when the kid is ready. Even though, this posturing thing feels yucky to me. 

    On a lighter note, baby K is a delight :). He just wants to eat and play and snuggle the days away. He is also a champion sleeper, which is amazing. He’s gained about 3 pounds since we got him, and has turned into a smiley, curious little dude that attempts to climb everything in sight. Little cutie! 

    I have some totally adorable pictures of the boys that I can’t share, which is killing me a little, but here’s some good ones of my girl.  

    FB repeat, sorry! I just love this one…

      

    peek-a-boo

     

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    My girl

    With all of the excitement over the boys, I feel like Ali has been shoved to the side lately. And she really has been. A few days ago I looked at her and realized that it was the first time in about a week that I actually stopped and *looked* at her, and wasn’t just rushing her through whatever task we were on or putting her in time out for the millionth time for being such a butt. Because she certainly has been a butt lately, this transition has been difficult for her. But she was looking at me too, with these big,sad eyes and I lost it a little bit. I don’t have any doubts about this being the right thing for our family, even though there are totally some bumpy spots, but it still made me feel a little sad to realize that as much as she’s gaining through this process, she’s actually losing quite a bit too. She’s losing time and attention, she’s losing her routine and her role in the family. Not to mention the littler stuff like having to share everything she has. All big things for a little person to deal with.  

     Things will be better for her, and for all of us with a little time. It’s already worlds better here at week 2 than it was even when I had my moment some days ago. 

    So let’s talk about the good stuff with miss Ali! She’s been potty trained for quite some time, but has pretty recently started going all by herself. She used to want you to go in and sit with her, now she just does her business on her own, doesn’t even say anything. There’s some work to do on wiping and flushing, but we will get there. 

    I got to see the first time (I know of anyway) that she made a big idea connection yesterday. It was early in the morning, her and I were having breakfast while everyone else was still sleeping, and we could see the moon big and bright in the sky. We are both early risers and we both love gazing at the moon, and she was commenting on it. Then this weird expression washed over her face and she said, “outer space!” She totally realized that the moon we see is a part of outer space that we read about, and was totally amazed and talked about how that is the moon and that’s outer space up there for probably 20 minutes. So freaking cute! 

    That’s not my picture, i totally ripped it off the internet

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