Friday, November 20, 2009

Update on Brooklyn

So for anyone who was curious, here's where we stand.

Brooklyn is doing *really* well. She just started walking earlier this week(Monday to be exact) - still a little shaky, but we've seen pretty rapid improvements in muscle tone which is what I think is allowing her to even try to walk - her arms and legs were really weak, but she's starting to bulk up - in more ways that one. She's gained another pound, and eats like a champ.

Thankfully, she has settled in nicely - she goes to everyone in our family now, and really doesn't even have a preference for me at this point. She and Lily get along pretty well, and she and Lucy still butt heads - a combination of jealousy because they are so close to the same age and differing needs for physical space (Lucy = none and Brooklyn = lots).

We're not seeing much in the language department - still no really recognizable words on a consistent basis, though she babbles a lot. She says no, but it doesn't mean no. And she doesn't say mama or dada either. This is my biggest area of concern for her - our Help.Me.Grow coordinator will be out today so maybe they will have some suggestions.

I might be overreacting too, because my girls were both EARLY talkers. Lucy, who is exactly four months older than her is already using SENTENCES, so that makes me more nervous for Brooklyn. I think she might still technically be just below the low range for normal, and she's definitely more interested in communicating now, which is good.

Brooklyn's mom is hit or miss. She didn't show up (or call) for yesterday's visit, despite the fact that it's been pushed back a 1/2 hour later in the morning and that we have court on Monday. The worker will be filing for TCC, which means (as we suspected) she will likely be staying around for a while.

I really go back and forth on this case. Brooklyn was clearly being neglected - not severely enough that she won't recover, but badly enough that she needed medical treatment. But to talk to her mom, it seems like she really loves her and wants to get her back. Which is inconsistent in its own right, since it doesn't seem like there's anything wrong with Mom that would explain the condition Brooklyn was in. And, she almost never manages to make it to her visit on time... She's been so late (i.e. more than 15 minutes) that we left twice now - well, actually three times but the people at the visit center called us 10 minutes before the visit time ended to bring her back on one memorable night. She was so late that PB had Brooklyn in the car and leaving another time, and I waited 45 minutes for her boyfriend to get there for one visit. Now yesterday, it's a no-call, no show? What's up with that?

I would crawl through glass to see my kids if I was getting a total of four hours a week with them. But the missing the visits isn't even my biggest issue. It's that NOTHING is EVER her fault. The bus took her to the wrong place, or the taxi didn't come when it was scheduled, etc, etc ad infinitum. This is the first parent I've had who hasn't been willing to take ANY responsibility (either for the situation that got their kid into care or for their own behavior during the case). And I think it's harder too, because she's not young - she's old enough to know better, and still acting like a 12-year-old.

So in short, I am working on finding empathy. I am loving the hell out of Brooklyn, and doing everything I can to get services in place so someone is tracking her when she goes home.

And I am in complete denial that Christmas is already almost upon us.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Two firsts

Last night:

For the first time, Lucy told me (in a totally unsolicited fashion) that she loves me.

Lily answered the phone and carried on a 10-minute long conversation with my mom without me even knowing it :-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I may have to finally just give in

and admit that I am overcommitted, stressed and generally low in the mental reserves right now.

That doesn't happen often, my friends. But it seems to have happened in a big way this time. After working about 70 hours last week (including two all nighters) I *barely* completed a big project on time.

Only to find out today that I fucked it up. Big time.

This is not something I typically do. I am sick to my stomach about telling our client. And I'm pissed that I busted my ass for two freaking weeks to fail in the end anyway. Fuck me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Drive By Linky Type Post

I am a big Disney hypocrite. I detest the Disney princesses and most Disney movies, yet I have this unbelievable desire to take my kids to Disney World. Doesn't make any sense, does it? But I LOVED Disney World when I was little and I think Lily would love it to.

Anyway, here is aforementioned link from sociological images

Princess Link

Monday, October 19, 2009

Questions to ask when you get a placement call

Crayon just posted a comment asking for advice on what to ask during a placement call... I think I remember someone else writing a post about this, but I couldn't find it with a cursory glance, so I'll try to cobble something together.

I should preface this by saying, I am a sucker for placement calls. I have a *really* hard time turning down placements, unless they are something we're clearly not equipped to handle (like large sibling groups, or massive medical needs). But, when I manage to take a step back and think, here are some things I normally ask:

1. Has the child been in care before?
2. Does the child have siblings? Are they in care and if so, with who (i.e. a foster parent, or a relative or what)?
3. Are there any known medical issues? Any known issues with food?
4. Is there any indication that the child could be violent with other children, family pets, etc...
5. If the case is drug related, I ask if the parents have a history of substance abuse and if so, how long.

And that's really about it. Like I said, I am a sucker. I don't even always ask all of these questions, obviously some of them don't apply to younger kids and sometimes they don't apply to every situation.

So, chime in here... what other questions do you ask when you get a placement call?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hmmm... how about an update?

So... Day started off with a bang, PB took Brooklyn for a visit with her mom. Which she didn't show up to, or call to say she wasn't coming until the time when it would be halfway over. Awesome.

Picked her up at PB's office and took her to a follow up app't. Went very well, she's gained FOUR POUNDS or MORE THAN 20% of her body weight when she came into care) AND the medical issue that was due to neglect is gone. Still concerned about her verbal and gross motor development, but she's definitely brightened up since she got here and is at least trying to play and explore.

Took Lily and Lucy to their gymnastics class, which can I just say they freaking adore? Especially Lily. Too cute.

Then went to work where it all went downhill. You can still love the job but hate the freaking client, right? Cause that's about where I am right now. Fun, fun, fun.

Not really sure where Brooklyn's case is headed. Mom has been pretty consistent with visits up until now, and I vaccilate between wanting to believe her probably totally false story about how Brooklyn came into care and not buying a cent of it. Brooklyn is clearly bonded to her Dad (who isn't her biological Dad but is in every other sense of the word). Just don't know what to think yet.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Well, now I feel like an ass....

Just yesterday I was writing this long post about things that have pissed me off lately. Then today I clicked over to Yondalla's blog and found a link to Cory's story, which is really more like a plea.

I absolutely cannot fathom having to separate yourself from one child in order to protect your other children.* She asked anyone who read her blog to spread the world, so distribute this post as you see fit.


**I generally have very mixed feelings about adoption disruption, because I think that re-abandoning traumatized kids is adding insult to injury. In this case, I can't see what else COULD be done, for the well-being everyone involved.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Look Ma, I'm blogging

Turns out when we have a foster child I have things to blog about. To whit:

Still no visit from Brooklyn's worker. Our worker came out within the requisite three days, but we're well past a week now with no word from hers

How can 3 girls have SO.MANY.APPTS? Really? This week, we've got OT, follow up med for Brooklyn, Help Me Grow for Brooklyn and at least one, maybe two visits for Brooklyn. Well, wait, I guess it's just foster children who have a ton of appts, huh? Poor Brooklyn, I'm sure she is tired of being examined.

Am torn about Brooklyn's mom. She called to check on Brooklyn last night and we had a really good phone conversation. She definitely loves her daughter with a ferocity that matches my feelings for my girls. She says that everything in the report was blown out of proportion, which I actually can kind of see. Basically, everything that she's telling me dovetails with the sketchy information I have. If she's telling the truth, this will be a short(er) case. But I think there will still be medical neglect to deal with, and I'm not sure how long that takes to resolve. I do think she feels comfortable with us caring for Brooklyn (as she put it, she doesn't want her anywhere but with her, but if she has to be somewhere she is glad that it's with us), and I'm really happy about that.

So I don't know. If she is lying, she's the best liar I've ever encountered. But if she's telling the truth, I don't understand why they didn't put services in place rather than removing. And the worker who I spoke with painted a much different picture of mom's state the night I picked her up.

I think the first couple of screenings mom does will shed light on the matter. Right now it's too soon to know.

PS - No lice right now!!! YAY!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

First Visit

One visit down. Brooklyn's mom seemed very happy to see her and was very emotional.

Brooklyn went to her mom easily. She wasn't happy to see her, exactly, but she definitely wasn't afraid of her, which is good. At the end of the visit, she came back to me easily, which is also good, if we're going to have her for a while.

Too early to know what's going on, really. Mom was pleasant and I assured her that we were taking good care of Brooklyn. I know that doesn't make things better or easier for Mom, but I hope that at least she won't worry about what kind of people we are, specifically.

At the end of the visit Brooklyn had lice. AWESOME! Lily and Lucy didn't have them yet, and Brooklyn didn't have them at intake so I suspect they came from the visit room. I HATE the facilities where they do visits - they're gross.

Brooklyn seemed to settle in more this weekend. She is much more open to other people holding her and seems to have realized that we will be nice to her. I still hate that she came into care at this age, but hopefully with enough consistency she will start to trust us.

No word yet from Brooklyn's c/w. Was supposed to set up a time to come out Thursday and Friday, but couldn't swing it. Left a msg Friday saying she wanted to come out today. I left her a vm this morning with my work number to call, and have heard nothing. Shocker.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Update

Brooklyn is doing... OK. Not surprisingly she is having severe separation anxiety and seems to have imprinted on me. I don't know if it's because I picked her up from Intake or what. But if I am in the house and I leave her sight, the poor thing screams. I am holding her as much as humanly possible because I think she just needs the reassurance. Plus, I have to admit that it's secretly refreshing to have one of the kids in our house prefer me - Lucy and Lily are complete daddy's girls.

Her reaction is, I think, a combination of two factors. First, she is at a terrible age for placement. Being removed is traumatic at any age, but she is old enough to know she's been removed from everything that was familiar to her and not old enough to have any idea what's going on.

Second, I think she has some attachment issues. She relates to me as a classically insecurely attached infant would - she is very upset when I'm gone, and when I return she's actually angry with me - looks the other way and does not engage for a few seconds. She wants to be held, but not necessarily snuggled, if that makes sense, and what little I know about her case so far smacks of pretty extreme neglect, including incontrovertible physical evidence of this neglect that I've seen with my own eyes. Lest you think I not be approaching this case with an open mind, or putting too much faith in social workers :-)

We have our first visit with Brooklyn's mom tonight - our county is piloting a program with all kids 0 - 3 where visits start much more quickly and are organized at the intake level. Additionally, at the first visit, foster parents and bio parents actually... gasp... are introduced and exchange information about the child in care. Both of these are very, very good things and I am pleased to report that the c/w is also doing the supervision outside of normal business hours so PB and I don't have to take time off to be there.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Here we go again

On Sunday night at 10:30, we got our first placement call in just a little over 2 years - since Lily came to us.

I am a placement call sucker, so despite the fact that we have two daughters 2 1/2 and under (both of whom are still in diapers) we are now the proud foster parents of a 14-month old girl, whose blog name will be Brooklyn.

She is flippin' adorable people, and she looks enough like my Lucy that she could be her sister.

Even though this is *so* NOT the direction I want this case to go. And by that I mean permanency with me. From the little information I've heard so far though, permanency with someone other than her biomom definitely sounds like a good idea.

The details:

14 months, 4 months (to the day!) younger than Lucy
Does not walk or talk yet
Can shakily pull to stand
Just under 18lbs (so tiny!)
Seems to have not been to a doctor since January (when she would have been 6 mos)
Older brother in care with an aunt, who was called to take Brooklyn but said sibling is too high needs
My first trip to intake at 11:30 at night - I think that officially makes me a veteran
FREAKING ADORABLE (SERIOUSLY PEOPLE!!!)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

What I love right this minute

The way that Lucy says "OUCH", indignantly, whenever the slightest thing touches her, kisses included.

The way Lucy says "mama hit me" or "papa hit me" or "puppy hit me" whenever any person or animal touches her (again kisses included).

The way Lucy bounces, and skips and hops when she hears music. She can't not dance, people.

The way Lucy says "I no can't find it" or "I no can't see it".

The way Lily's first reaction is automatically no, even when she means yes - I know it's a phase, but it's so cute to see her do it the same way Lily did she she was little.

The way Lily smiles. She's so cheerful and adorable, that kid.

The way Lily peeks into our bedroom, opening the door just a crack, after she's supposed to be in bed for the night.

The way Lily said, last week, after aforementioned peeking, "Wathca doin' in there, guys?" and, for the record, we were watching TV :-)

The way I taught Lily to say "bring it on" last night. And she extended it to "Bring it on, kiddos"

The way Lily wants to drive our car, and tries to put a key (any key) into the ignition.

The way Lily takes great delight in hiding under blankets

The face Lily makes when she is pretending to be mad (which I think is the same one I make when I am pretending to be mad)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The big reveal (photos removed)

Allow me to introduce you to Lily (my middle name) (biological last name) (PB's last name):


EMAIL ME AND I CAN FORWARD IF I KNOW YOU. SORRY. AM STILL SQUEAMISH ABOUT PUBLISHING PHOTOS HERE.

Monday, August 24, 2009

T minus two days and counting

In less than 36 hours, this whole ordeal should be over. Keep your fingers crossed that no one forgot to submit key paperwork, regarding you know, our training hours or where we store our cleaning products :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A whirlwind of activity

So, Tuesday at 4pm, one of our clients decided they wanted to hold focus groups, this Saturday and Sunday.

Fun!

I've spent the last two days organizing a (IMHO) logistical miracle in that a) the groups will actually happen and b) I will actually be there.

But, those are some of the most expensive one way tickets I've ever booked in my life.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Ears - additional info and Sorry!!

So I had no idea that I wouldn't get an email when there was a comment needing moderation. I clicked over here to test it out and realized there were many comments for me to approve. Sorry about that.

Re: Lily's ears. First, she is not adopted yet, so nothing can happen until then. But she's been asking and asking and her adoption day is August 26th - you know, hopefuly unless the agency fucks somthing up, which really? would not be that surpsing. Anyway, there is a possibility that the ear piercing could be tied in as a sort of celebratory, yay, finally ours, thing.

Second, I am not really worried about the cleaning / maintenance thing. I'm more than happy to do that (see below).

Here is my general pros / cons kind of list:

Pros:
  • Doing it now means I handle cleaning and maintenance, which I think will work better (unless we put it WAY off, which I know I won't happen. I couldn't really say no to her for another 10 or 12 years)
  • Doing it now means she will likely not remember it, if it is a nasty experience, or at least not the details.
  • She wants earrings. A lot.
  • She wants earrings, "like momma's" which, I'm not gonna lie, melts my damn heart.
  • I have to admit I think it would look flippin' adorable.

Cons:
  • Um. The pain. There's that.
  • Am concerned about her messing with the earrings - not in a pull them out kind of way, but more in a wow, these are so cool I wanna touch 'em kind of way
  • If she does this, I know Lucy will want to as well. I am uncomfortable about piercing a child who doesn't really know what they are having done, but I know how things work around here and Lucy would want earrings if Lily has them. Plus, Lucy would also look REALLY FREAKIN' CUTE with earrings. And if I'm going to take care of both their ears, I'd rather be doing it both at the same time.
  • Let's face it, as brilliant as I think my kid is, I don't think she can REALLY understand earpiecing and give any kind of consent. Yes, we've told her it means holes in her ears and yes we've told her it will hurt, but she doesn't really GET it. Is it wrong to make a decision like that for her?
  • The right of passage idea - since my ears were pierced when I was like 18 months old, this didn't occur to me, but is a really cool thought.
  • The gender thing: What I was writing here is enough for its own post. Suffice it to say I am not sure how much I want to confirm the "Look pretty! Wear jewelry and makeup and ruffles" message that girls get in our culture, but I also don't want to tell her she can't do that. Just that she should only do that if she wants to.
I know I'm overthinking this, but hello? We've met before, right? If we do go ahead, I think the both ears at one time thing is a good idea. I also have to figure out if they make "purple" earrings in surgical stainless steel.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Ears

Lily has told me, repeatedly and in no uncertain terms that she wants earrings, like mine. At first she specified pink ones but now she wants purple. Stick on stickers were not enough. This child is convinced she wants her ears pierced.

I told her it would hurt. She responded "A little bit, Mama". She is undeterred.

Thoughts on early ear piercing? Not something I EVER thought I would do. But she's asking. BTW, I'm sure if Lily gets hers done Lucy is soon to follow - that's just how things work around here.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Putting yourself where?

So I have been thinking a lot lately which is always a dangerous thing (and probably the byproduct of literally our first free, at-home weekend all summer). This means I may have some things to post about. No guarantees expressed or implied about whether they will be interesting.

Anywho... so I'm sitting in fat class today (that's my term for the weight loss program that PB and I are participating in, somewhat successfully) and while I was busy trying not to puncture my eardrums with my pencil (due to the rambling old ladies talking about canning and third husbands and wrinkles assocated with their lady bits) (no really, I'm not kidding, I wish I were) I did manage to hear one message loud and clear.

You've got to put yourself first.

Errm. Yeah. Let me be the first (haha) to say that I have, in the past, been seriously into putting myself first. In fact, that's one of the main reasons why I used to think I would be a terrible mom. I was very into myself and had firmly planted myself at the top of my own priority list. There really wasn't room for a wriggly, squirmy, pile of need that cried and also couldn't use the bathroom independently (maybe that explains why PB loves our dog more than me - poor Gibby was acquired in the middle of the me phase).

So there have definitely been times when I put myself first. And there still are. But as rule, time for myself is pretty much nowhere near the top of the list when it comes to my day-to-day life. Rather, it is kind of my scheduling buffer. In other words, when there is time and when I can think of something to do for myself I do it, but normally this is really the only liquid part of my schedule and it gets consumed by the suck of the vacuum that is the rest of my life. Not suck in a crappy sense. Just in the busy, efficient, Dyson-vacuum that never loses suction sense.

The astute reader surely asks: If it's about time how come you would have (easily) qualified for fat class back when you weren't working full time?

That's where motivation comes in. I am pretty motivated at this point. I want to be healthier and I have learned that that is very unlikely to happen for me through eating alone. I just don't like a wide enough variety of foods to live for long periods of time eating only healthy stuff. So I need to work out and I want to work out (a lot of the time). I just came to the realization well after I lost the flexibility I used to have in my schedule.

According to everyone in my class, working out will happen when I put myself first, and schedule time for myself and stop taking care of other people.

But I don't really know how to do that, or if I even want to. I have to have a full-time job from a financial perspective and beyond that, I value my career. It comes with a typical schedule which takes 40 hours of potential me time a week, at best and 65 hours a week when things are busy. Weekdays are pretty much non starters when it comes to squeezing out more time - the only option is really to wake up earlier (which, hello? anyone who has seen me on less than 7 hours sleep KNOWS that's a bad idea).

And the other part of the current equation is my time at home. I honestly don't have any desire to take more time away from my family. I don't mind there not being as much me time anymore. I've willingly put my two mini-mes there instead. In fact, being around them is purely selfish, I love (almost) every minute of it, and so in some sense, it IS me time.

But it's not workout time, and that's the rub. I don't know how to make working out feel important enough to leave the girls during the four hours per weekday when we are both awake at the same time. I think I may have to bit the bullet and condition myself to be a morning person.

Anyone up for 5am cardio and yoga with a bitch? Cause that's most definitely what I am at 5 in the morning.









Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So... yeah

Every time I go to write a post, I ended up thinking something along the lines of this....

Happy.... blah, blah, blah, blah..... AMAZING kids..... blah, blah, blah, blah..... Never enough time..... blah, blah, blah, blah..... miss my friends.... blah, blah, blah, blah..... how is it possible that I STILL have no money?.... blah, blah, blah, blah..... did I mention amazing kids?

That's about all I have right now. I've seen a few other bloggers write about how they post less when they're happy, or their blog has served it's purpose and they should close it. I can't bring myself to do that yet, but I'm feeling just... well, plain, for lack of a better word.

I'm a mom. Who works. A lot. With a great husband and two beautiful kids who are the funniest little people I've ever met. It's kind of gross, really, how well everything is going. Aside from the money issue which I don't even want to hear myself whine about anymore.

So yeah, sorry about this. I'll hopefully post something more interesting soon, but I fear I am dangerously close to becoming that-blogger-who-only-talks-about-how-great-her-kids-are.

Who would have EVER thought I'd end up here?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hey! I just remembered!

I never posted Q & A 3. Here goes:

From LBC:

How much do you enjoy having two of the same sex? In a few more months, I will have a second little boy on my hands. I keep trying to tell my toddler he has a brother on the way and I don't think he wants to "hear" it.



Hmmm.... I've not had two of the opposite sex at the same time before and to be honest, I'm a little baffled that I ended up with two girls, given that one (and only one!) son was the only kind of child I could picture myself with for many years.

But, so far, it seems to be working pretty well. The pros are shared clothes (BIG PRO), and despite my best intention at not gender coding my kids (which are made of MASSIVE FAIL) shared toys. So right now, two of the same gender is OK.
I think about 10 years from now I will HATE having two teenage daughters so close in age. Cause I'm thinking that in addition to normal teenage drama angst, especially teenage GIRL drama angst, I will also have additional teenage girl fighting angst to deal with, right inside my own home.

Awesome. SO bottom line? We can swap stories in 10 years.

From Dream Mommy and Robin:


How's Lily's case coming? no news is usually good news in foster care because it usually means no drama.


Yes, in this case no news = no drama. The subsidy / adoption process is going smoothly (so far!) after a lot of intiial delays from the county. My favorite is that Lily was only recently issued a social security number and her original birth certificate (Issued for BABY GIRL "Lily's lastname) was missing.


But! It's been found, paperwork is in and we're just waiting for the hearing date.

Post more about the scary Cookie Monster. That made me laugh.

From Robin:

Did you use an adoption agency for Lucy?


Yes. We used a branch of Lutheran Social Services in our state which is actually no longer working with first moms. Lucy's mom was their last. Probably because their fees were modest and not on a sliding scale based on race.


They do still offer supportive services for international adopters, I think.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

This is just sad...

So through sociological images I came across this post about divergent prices on black and white dolls of the same variety:


Assuming the tags are actually accurate which they may not be, the worst thing about this is that if you are privately adopting an actual, living breathing child, the disparity is actually much larger. I'd say the black "doll" would only be about 10 bucks - more than 1/4 but definitely less than 1/2 of the white baby, right?

THAT'S what's gross.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Two word sentences abound

Lucy has *definitely* started putting together her own two word sentences... Today I've heard:

I stuck
That's funny.
All done
Puppy's sleeping.

and, wait for it...

"Love you, mama" - which I may or may not have actively encouraged / cajoled / forced out of her.

Other words she's saying these days:

eat!
lily
baby
binky
nana
no
yes

Thursday, July 02, 2009

We have liftoff

An official court date for Lily - August 26th :-)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

What will we do next?

It's been over two years now since we got a placement call from our agency.

That's a long time to go without even being asked if we wanted another placement. There are a lot of reasons. First, we take kids 0 - 5 and that's the group that is most well-covered by our agency. Second, our county is piloting a new program that frontloads services to families and does less removals. Third, we have (until very recently) had two children under two, which I think is a deterrent to place with us.

With all of this in mind, we've been talking (read: PB and I have had brief conversations which I obsess about) about what to do regarding foster care. I would really like to keep doing it, it's always been our plan, but the motivation to keep up on our home studies and inspections and classes is hard to maintain when it doesn't seem like there is a need for us.

We've talked about switching to a private agency, but those tend to be geared more toward families where at least one parent is at home full-time. Plus, most private agencies place through our county, so the number of placements likely won't be any higher in our age group. We've also thought about switching to a neighboring county (where PB and I are both from and where my sister and BIL are currently getting licensed!!) but that becomes a logistical nightmare. The upside there is they do seem to need homes for younger kids more often - well, that's not an upside, but it would make us a better fit.

The final option is switching to older kids, especially teens, and more specifically teen moms. Not as scary as it might have been a few years and tempting, but I'm just not sure we're cut out for it, schedule-wise... J. watches the kids at our house, but it would be a lot to ask her to help with appointments and transportation for a teen, who's likely to have more out of home services.

I don't know. Maybe it's not realistic for us to do care if we both work full time. Our pseudo-plan was to have PB quit his job eventually, but he actually seems to like this job, it has great benefits, and to be perfectly honest? We need the money.

So that's where we are. A lot is up in the air right now.

Oh, and an update on Lily's case... we heard from the subsidy department who is playing nice with us this time around, but we can't get them to return our calls to set a time to do the paperwork. We're ready to file a court date on our end, but have to get that cleared up first. The wheels turn slowly.






Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Lucy's a chatterbox too.

Poor, poor PB. Seriously. Anyone who knows me know that I'm not the most... reticent... of women. And, anyone who's met Lily knows that she acts just a smidge like me.

Turns out, Lucy might be developing that way, too. It's starting to get WAY loud at Chex Psychic.

Here are the "words" Lucy has right now. I used the " because they might not be recognizable to others, though she does use them consistently:

  • Puppy
  • Mama
  • Daddy
  • Stop It
  • Yucky
  • Hi
  • Bye Bye
  • Night Night

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm leaving on a jetplane

Bags are packed but not so sure I'm ready to go... it's hard to leave Lily for much time these days - she's aware that you're leaving and talks about you leaving and misses you when you're gone. Tonight, when I gave her an extra long hug before bed and told her that Mama was going bye bye for a few days tomorrow, she asked to go with me. Repeatedly. There's some mommy guilt for you.

The upside is that she will be fine. She might miss me and she might ask about me, but she'll be fine.

The other thing is I have to be at the airport at an ungodly, inhuman hour. And I can't really even bitch about it, because I made the travel reservations myself.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Q & A Part 2

From Rebecca:

1) What is the one thing about being a parent that you never expected to be so great/fulfilling/wonderful,etc?

Honestly, there was part of me that sometimes wondered if any of it would be great, fulfilling, wonderful, etc. I had some *serious* doubts about whether or not I would be any good at this and if I would like it. I don't know about the good at part, but I am amazed at how much I really enjoy being a mom, especially how much I love the little things - watching them sleep, taking them to the park, etc.

I am also surprised at how much fun it has been to watch PB become, probably, the best father I've ever met. Don't get me wrong, I always knew he would be good at it, which is why even when I wasn't sure if we wanted to have kids, I always knew it would be OK. And I expected to learn a little about him in the process. But I didn't expect, after all those years together, that I'd see a completely different (and amazing!) side of him.


2) What is the one thing about being a parent that didn't expect to be irritating/hard/difficult, etc.?

I didn't expect it to be so damned hard to raise a kid who is crazy advanced. I was always afraid of what I'd do if I had a child who had delays, since patience is NOT my strong suit. I never thought about how hard it could be to deal with a two year old who speaks in 5 word sentences. I can't wait for her to be reasonable... if that ever happens.

And also? How crazy and far reaching the mommy wars are. I am amazed by the extent to which women, especially privelaged women, invest themselves in being a mom so much that they begin to compete and judge one another to be crowned best mom. And to actually answer your question, I am amazed at how irritating dealing with that can be, especially since I really have contacted with a limited number of other moms IRL.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Q & A Part 1

So I am going to answer the questions I invited you all to submit. Here's installment one.

Silje asks:

Your favourite thing in the spring?

My favorite thing in spring is the weather isn't ass hot like it is here in Summer and it's not icy cold like it is here in Winter. Also, spring feels... cheerful... to me for some reason.


What makes you feel that finally spring has sprung? 

Tulips. My grandma LOVED tulips when she was alive and I always think of Spring (and her) when I see tulips sprout.


Easter traditions? 

Pretty mundane - we color and hide easter eggs, and we do the bunny brings candy thing. Lily colored eggs for the first time this year... that was an... experience. Let's just say she thought the best way to color eggs was to color everything (and everyone) within a 6 inch radius of the egg :-)


What the kids are up to?

Ooooh, thanks for asking. I never get tired of talking about my kids :-)  They are, simply put, amazing. Lily still  mostly amazes me with the way she talks - she is genuinely intersted in having conversations now, and will chime into the middle of our conversations, just to be involved.

The funniest thing she has said / done in a while involved our neighbors and their trampoline. Lily has, not suprisingly, been obsessed with birthdays lately. We had a small party for Lucy on her first at my parents, because we wanted her to have something on her own for her first birthday. Then we had a joint party for both of them closer to Lily's birthday, and in between, we had visits from different family and friends who didn't make it to either party for whatever reason. To shorten this up, March was pretty much a birthday-stravaganza for the girls.

So anyway, we have been having a lot of conversations about birthdays. Lily wants her birthday to be everyday and was very disappointed that it was a long, long time away. So then we talked about other people, and when they're birthdays were and finally made it to the fact that PB's birthday is the next one we'll celebrate (at the beginning of June).


A couple of days after this conversation about birthdays, we were outside and our neighbor's were jumping on their trampoline. Here's roughly how our conversation went.


Lily: Girrrls, mama, girrls on tramp-lean!

Me: Yes, the girls are on their trampoline.

Lily: Iyunt (i.e. I want) a tramp-lean.

Me: Ok. But I don't think we're getting one.

Lily: Tramp-lean my birthday, mama?

Me: No, you are probably not getting a trampoline for your birthday, baby, because you are not old enough for one. Besides, your birthday is a long, long time away.

Lily (with a devilish little grin): Tramp-lean Daddy's birthday, mama?

I have to admit, I laughed out loud at this one. Heartily.


Lucy is holding her own in the language department. She uses mama and daddy mostly appropriately, and also says "Up" fairly clearly. She is very into saying "Puppy" and oddle enough seems to attach it only to dogs. 

It is so funny to watch the two of them together. They usually play pretty well together, though unprompted hitting, biting and toy snatching occur on a fairly regular basis. The thing that I adore is watching Lucy try to do *everything* Lily does. This morning, after I shamelessly bribed Lily with candy to let me do her hair, Lucy jumped up into the chair as soon as Lucy was done and started gesturing to her hair. Too cute.


I'll do more Q & A soon. Thanks to anyone who is still out there reading :-)

Checkups

On Saturday, the girls had their 1 and 2 year well baby checks. They were a month overdue. Here are the stats:

Lily @ 25 months: 27 lbs exactly. Yes that's up 5 lbs from her 18 month well baby. And, wait for it, we are now in the 50 - 75Tth percentile for weight!!!! Yay. At 32 inches tall, she's still short, but we're not complaining :-)

Lucy @ 13 months is 20lbs, 2oz and 28 inches long. She is at almost exactly the same percentile for age as Lily.

The exam was not a fun one. Lily got a shot and a blood draw, and Lucy got four shots and a blood draw. We left with two very unhappy children.

But they recovered quickly. It's a miracle what dum dums and a nap will do.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I do not = the awesome

It's been soooo long since I posted. We are all fine. We survived the birthday parties, including the first time that Lily's paternal biofamily and her maternal biofamily met, so that's a milestone, eh?

In the event that anyone is still reading this thing, I'd like to throw it out to you guys. Do you have any questions for me? Anything you want to hear. Like a lot of bloggers (it seems) I am struggling to come up with things to write about.

Fire away!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A few more choice quotes from Lily

  • I haven, Daddy. I haven - said while jumping up and down as fast as possible on a bench seat in a restaurant, in response to said Daddy's command to "Behave if you want to go to the playground."
  • Buckle, Mama. Buckle. Buckle Mama, too - yes I am already being nagged to wear my seltbelt. At age ~2. And yes, she is fond of repetition and inserting our names in between repeats.
  • I poop on bed - she didn't, and I have no idea why she claimed she did.
  • Cookie Monster scare me - regarding some weird dancing cookie monster that PB's parents bought her. My response? "Me too, baby, me too."

Sunday, March 01, 2009

That's five words!

Lily said her first FIVE word sentence today!!! 

It was 

"I jump Lucy's crib, mama"


Saturday, February 28, 2009

She walks!

Lucy is walking. Officially, now since PB and I saw it tonight. J. said she took three steps on Thursday but I chose to pretty much ignore that... Denial much, la la la?

Friday, February 27, 2009

She sorts!

I found out, quite accidentally, that Lily can sort! We were at the table this morning before I left for work, and J. said, "Hey Lily, can you find another clip that looks like this?" while she was holding up a purple hair clip. Before long, she had sorted all the hair clips by color. I don't know why this one seemed so cool - pattern recognition is important for lots of stuff, so I'm just excited for her.

She's also got the memory of a frickin' elephant, I swear. Every time she walks past the slider in our dining room, she tells me the story (that happened about 10 days ago) of how she "boomed on her butt" and fell and "I cried, Mama". Each time she tells it, she gets a sad little look on her face.  She also tells me constantly that her cousin S. is "cwazy girl at the window" because apparently, when she visited two weeks ago, S. was acting silly with some of her friends when they picked her up at school.

I keep telling PB that eventually she will hold a grudge like nobody's business. Who says that nurture doesn't matter?

Other cute Lilyisms:
  • What time is it? "Eight Ocwock" that's the answer any time and every time.
  • "Lucy upstairs self, Mama" - she is obsessed with tracking her every movement now that she's mobile.
  • "I want some sear-re-ral, mama." "sear-re-ral NOW... please?
  • NOT, mama. NOT. - in response to pretty much anything I ask / tell / attempt to cajole her to do.

lucy had a visitor!

This past Monday, Lucy's first dad saw her for the first time since the day they signed the TPR nearly a year ago. He was in town on business and asked to stop by.

It was a good visit - a bit awkward because it's been so long since we'd seen each other, but still good. The best part was that I think Lucy remembered him! As soon as he showed up she smiled and laughed, which is not something she typically does around people she doesn't spend a lot of time with. He said it must have been all of the prenatal bonding :-)

He stayed for about an hour and brought with him a Christmas gift that they didnt' want to mail - a little snow globe that plays "When you Wish Upon a Star" with an engraved part that says "We will always love you. - Firstmom and Firstdad." I think that could end up meaning a lot to her someday.

He said that Lucy's first mom is afraid to see her - she is in a fairly good place right now, according to first dad, sad but not regretful, and he says that it would be too hard to see Lucy. I told him that we wanted to follow her lead and if she ever decided she could see Lucy, we would love it. I am planning to send her a card next week with some new pics and reiterate the same to her.

I really hope that we can keep Lucy's adoption as open as possible. I sometimes worry about how she will feel when she gets old enough to realize that Lily still has a lot of contact with her biolocal relatives and that she doesn't. But then I also wonder what Lily will think when she learns about Lucy's first parents and the fact that they have been somewhat open with us, while her own have largely ceased contact. 

And ultimately, I can't control any of that, obviously. We are starting to talk about adoption more. The girls are still really little, but we talked with Lily about how Lucy's first dad was coming to see her.  And how she has a first dad and a first mom, too - mostly we talked about how they were related to Aunt A. and Cousin S. and Grandma K. She didn't understand any of it, really. I guess at this point, it is more practice for PB and I than anything else. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Misperceptions of CPS

So another issue that Octomom brings to the forefront is most people's lack of an idea of what CPS actually does. I've seen people online say they "hope" or "assume" or "bet" that CPS will yank the babies.

Let's be clear - CPS does not take babies because they don't have great, good or even passable parents. CPS takes babies whose parents can't provide for their most basic needs (e.g. food and shelter) or parents who are actively dangerous to this kids.

I've seen the pictures of the house and while I agree that it's cluttered, it doesn't seem to me all that horrible for a house where 6 kids and at least two adults live. To raise to the level of removing a child I think you'd need to see dangerously dirty conditions... not just clutter and no curtains.

Basically, from what I can tell, CPS is about protecting children in only the broadest sense - that is, protecting them from death or grievous injury. Until Octomom does something actively dangerous to or around her children, I don't think they'll be going anywhere - you can make poor decisions for yourself and your kids all day long - that's not illegal, and it's not going to mean the kids are pulled.

What's the point of this whole post, you might be asking? Just that I think if social service agencies would be more upfront about the real end goal - that is keeping children alive, it would be easier on them. Let's stop the talk about all kids counting, and keeping all kids safe and healthy, and let's be honest - CPS doesn't want any kids to die on its watch.

I'm not saying that's unreasonable - it is probably all we can expect from a governmental agency. But saying it - we want to keep kids from dying - makes clear their position. Do kids often end up in homes that are not good for them? Yep. Do kids end up in homes that will end up doing some damage? Yep - what home doesn't, really?

The problem with preservice and training, and most of the stuff we're told as foster parents, is that they stress that the focus is on the best interests of the child. Further, they constantly emphasize how important bonding and stability is for young children - that's supposed to make us realize that we are important as foster parents, but it also highlights what some kids miss when they go home. And, yes they say that reunification is always the first and best goal... but they don't say reunification is embraced at almost any cost and that what the system does best is make sure that parental rights (not childrens' rights) are not trampled.

Notice how I'm still not addressing the particulars of the Octomom situation? Yeah, that's on purpose... I'm struggling to not be all judgmental and condescending and annoyed. So I'll just talk about what I see as tangentially related to it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I have not chimed in until now...

Because in the end, it's not my business how many babies a woman decides to have, regardless of her decision making and likely mental state.

However, this quote from her father on Oprah:

"I say to everybody now: People, we do need help. Do not punish my daughter for what she had done and and do not punish the babies, because they were given by God."

is what drives me the craziest about women who have ridiculously large numbers of babies all at one time.

To be clear: while one might consider all children a gift from God in the loosest sense of the world, I think he'd be pretty pissed to be accused of having anyting to do with Octomom's latest foray into parenting.

It's like women who knowingly implant a lot of embryos and then say it's God's decision how many survive. Really, if God is in control and that's why you can't selectively reduce, then God is also in control when you can't have your singleton and that's why you shouldn't do fertility treatments. A moral objection to selective reduction is one thing. Claiming that having 8 babies in one uterus is God's will is an entirely different thing.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We're matched....

we had our official "match" meeting for Lily today. It was a low key affair since we were the only family considered, given our bond to Lily and that she has been with us since birth.

We did get some questions answered and it seems like they are trying to rush the process through. I guess that means it will happen in what? December? JK - should be sooner than that.

Lucy has *6* teeth now. Her front top teeth and two more bottom incisors appeared almost simultaneously. It's been a long couple of weeks for her, poor thing. Oh yeah, and last week, she started climbing up stairs. AWESOME.

Cute Lilyism's too share: She likes to call people crazy (like me). She told her cousin she was a crazy girl last night. She told me I was a crazy mama, too (which I am).

She also noticed a light was burnt out at Ba.ja. Fr.esh and said, "Batty dead, mama" which is Lily speak for Batteries Dead (i.e. not working) which we tell her about all her crazy, loud, lighty up toys.

On the less fortunate side she called a random stranger "Poopy butt boy" at a store two days ago, which PB thought was really funny. 


Monday, February 09, 2009

Hard questions

This is such a *great* post from a blogger I recently found. It's long, but well worth the read if you are an adoptive parent or anyone who wants to understand the experience of adoptees.

Party of 5: Thinking About Tomorrow, And The Past

What I love about this post is that it simultaneously acknowledges three things:

1.  Being adopted is hard, and the difficulty of it can start very early.
Both her boys ask questions, even at this young age. Both have obviously been impacted by this event, probably in ways they are just figuring out or just finding the language for. I have mused aloud before whether Lily's sleep disturbances aren't part and parcel of her being adopted. When I read here that once he had the language to articulate his nightmares, it became quite clear they were about abandonment, I had a full body shiver.

2. All adoptees experience adoption differently.
These boys are identical twins, who were placed in the same place in Haiti, at the same time, by the same first mom. They were adopted into the same environment at the same time by the same a-parents. But their reactions are MARKEDLY different.

3. As a-parents there really is only so much we can do.
I can't imagine any parents handling this better - the constant reassurances, the openness to any and all questions, the provison of honest, age appropriate answers. But, as she describes it, the infinitely deep hole is still there. Being a fixer myself, I have a really hard time accepting this, though I do believe it.

Anyway, food for thought.

Friday, February 06, 2009

I'm not all powerful

So, Lucy has an aversion to the sun in her eyes. I used to have a sunshade on her window but it fell down and I keep forgetting to buy another one for Lucy and it feels really bad to put one up for Lily but not have one for Lucy... and well.. anyway.... the kid doesn't have a sunshade ok? 

So, we're driving down the road and she keeps screaming, "No" and covering her hands with her eyes. Pretty funny in and of itself, because she's SUCH a drama queen. I tell her it's just the sun and to close her eyes. She does for a minute. Then she says "Sun off, Mommy."

She thinks I can turn off the sun. Love it. Wish she'd adore me like that for the rest of her life.*

Also - Lucy update - she has four teeth and is working on five. And she can stand on her own for a few seconds at a time now. No steps yet :-)

* Not just me she adores this way though. She also asked J to turn off the sun.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fun facts of the day

So you know I am a numbers geek, right? I recently came across a site (from another blog I read) where you can find out how many people in the US share your name. Well, sort of, they make an estimation based on census data of how common your first name is, how common your last name is and assuming there is no dependence between the two names (not really true, since Amanda is probably more likely to be combined with Smith, then say, Wong). But I digress....

Amanda is the 80th most popular first name in the US. There are 1,142 people in the US who share my full name. I know at least one of them shares my city because I've accidentally picked up her prescription before :-)

PB's name is shared by only 76 people - isn't he special?

304 people share Lucy's full name, but only people have Lily's full biological name. Only 1 person has what would be her full adopted name (i.e. same first name, PB's last name).

So, I am officially the "commonest" member of my household. Probably in more ways than one.


You can find out how many of you there are here:


Thursday, January 22, 2009

I missed it!

I just got back from 5 days in CA for business.

Apparently, while I was gone, Lucy became a fully mobile baby. Otherwise known as a rambling machine of destruction. But a pretty cute one.

She totally figured out the crawling thing and is perilously close to walking - she'll stand on her own for a few seconds when she doesn't realize that she has let go of something.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

obsess much, Amanda?

Here is an article from the New Yorker (via Broadsheet) that tells us a little bit about Barack and Michelle, before (OK, only right before) he was a politician. I like the photo, but more than that, I really like what they say about each other.

Check it out, if you're so inclined

Monday, January 19, 2009

Maybe Obama is dangerous...

Not in an "OMG, he is going to take away all my money and make us the Socialist Republic of the United States" kind of way, but in another way.

I've been watching / reading some of the (seemingly never ending) commentary on his inauguration, and one theme disturbs me - the idea that we are a "post-racial" America, this notion that because we've gone and elected ourselves a black president that, poof, racism is gone. It's all very self-congratulatory. But here's the thing.

Racism is not gone until young black men are pulled over at the same rate as me.

And poor, black children get the same education as my friend's kids who attend very white, very ritzy, suburban schools.

And no one thinks to ask me what race Lucy is - like it's any of their flipping business anyway.

And equal opportunity is no longer necessary.

Racism isn't gone until it's no big freakin' deal that our president happens to be black.

Of course it's wonderful that I got to pick between a black man and a woman in my primary, and I am proud as hell that we actually did elect Obama. We have done a lot to address race issues in our country (probably more than most of the European countries that like to point their fingers at us for being racist) and we've come a long way in the last 50 years. 

But we need to realize that this isn't the end of racism - it's just (hopefully) the beginning of the end of it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

When did I get so sappy?

I cried (in public) at the hearing on Wednesday. I also cried when I left the girls yesterday afternoon.

When did I become so much like my mother?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thanks!

for all the wonderful comments about Lucy (and for those of you who delurked on the post before that). I am going to makea good faith effort to include all of your congratulations in her baby book. I say good faith because said baby book has been purchased but never written in. Yet.

And, believe it or not, she was born with those cheeks :-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

So you know what this means, right?



PHOTO REMOVED - SORRY

yes, that's right, Lucy is legally ours!!!! The finalization hearing went well - more questions than I was expecting but our magistrate was super nice, my family was there, and two of my dearest friends also came out (one was our attorney!).

Get your fill while you can - I'll either password protect this or remove the photo soon :-)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ahem... you in the back

Rumor has it that today is the official delurking day for 2009. So, I'm asking you all to please delurk, just for one day, pretty please?

I love to see who is reading and also check out new blogs, so please comment away!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ahhh, the humanity

Lucy has suddenly decided (as I think I mentioned previously) that she is NO LONGER WAITING FOR ANYTHING DAMMIT. I don't know how or why this is happening - it could be developmental, maybe she's teething, maybe she already hates being the second child. Who knows?

But really, if that's my biggest complaint, then I am one lucky mama. Though I gotta admit the shrieking.every.second.until.someone.runs.to.get.her? That does make me want to scratch my eyes out sometimes.

That said, I keep forgetting to catalog all of the wonderful! amazing! adorable! things they do. Like:
  • Lily is forever kissing Lucy and hugging her (but this does happen with more frequency and with a raised eyebrow in our direction she knows we are watching)
  • Lucy is a great mimic. She makes sounds that are pretty good for her age and will gleefully repeat anything. Like "shit". Because I am a GREAT mom. For the record, she also still does the "yeah, yeah, yeah" thing, and will mimic mama, papa, Lucy and her own names. She took a stab at saying Gibson today, too.
  • Lily wipes Lucy's nose the same way I do - pushing back on the center of her forward and doing it as quickly as possible. She fed Lucy for the first time this weekend and it turns out she also does that universal baby feeding thing where you open your mouth when they do to try to get them to eat. One of the cutest things ever. She is really into feeding Lucy right now - offering her parts of her own food and everything.
  • Lucy kisses. Big fat sloppy kisses. Mostly me and my mom, but also carefully selected baby dolls.
  • My parents got us a digital video camera for Christmas, but I fear that all of our videos will be exactly the same - essentially Lily screaming "I illy, I illy" at the top of her lungs because that's what she does everytime we start taping - she wants to see herself on the camera. In a similar vein, "irror" is one of her newest words* because she wants to see herself whenever we tell her she looks cute. I have to admit we have probably created the vanity. Perhaps I need to cut back on telling her she is the cutest little human EVER?
  • Lucy LOVES my dad. Like lights up every time she sees him and actively prefers him to anyone except PB and I - yeah, my mom really loves that one.
That's all I've come up with for now.

*along with fire, but that's for another post.

Language development

So Lily talks nonstop now, which is really cool and fun. You know, especially when said talking involves multiple "No way, mama"'s and "I pooped"s. But this post is about some verbal mistakes that I think are adorable. To wit:
  • Our dog, Gibson, is is referred to alternately as "Gyspum" or "Gibsmum"
  • She calls syrup "sirpup"
  • Because we visit one Mexican restaurant WAY TOO often, she uses "diya" for quesadilla.
  • Oh, and today she thought one of the waiters was named "Hola" because he said Hola to her and we kept trying to get her to say it back. Everytime he left our table, she'd say "Where's Hola?"
  • She adds an a or ia ending onto any words that she uses to address others, like Mamia, Paaia, Grammia, Grampia, and "Lucy's real name"-ia.  

The first four are just cute pronunciation things. But the last one, I think could potentially be her puzzling through the relationship between her nickname (which ends with an ie sound) and her full name (which ends with an ia). I think maybe she is "formalizing" everyone's name by adding an ia sound to the end.

Or I could be making way too much of nothing. In any event, like a lot of things she does, it's damned cute.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Cruisin... and miscellany

and not like that terrible song from Duets.

Lucy cruised for the first time tonight... in the bathtub! She is also talking MUCH more now - still not real words except to mimic. She's also starting to be angry for the first time. While she used to get sad when she was bothered by something, now she curls up her little fists and screams until her face turns red. It's actually kind of funny because she does it when nothing serious is wrong - if she's really, truly upset about something, she still falls back on sad.

Lily learned the word "lost" today. She keeps telling us her binky is lost. She also is a big fan of Wii apparently - today she said, "I play wii. I wii, Mama".

Things are good around Chez Psychic - still on track to finalize Lucy's adoption next week. Lily's adoption worker visited for the first time today and says their goal is to finalize by end of March.

We also had a lovely visit with Lily's extended birthfamily on her dad's side. They are very sweet people and it's amazing how natural it is to interact with them. A good time was had by all!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Please stay this sweet

Yesterday, my mom texted me (yeah, I know, my mom texted me!!!!!) and said that she asked Lily if she was Grandma's girl. Lily shook her head and said, "No, I'm Mama's girl."

All together now... Awwwwwwwww.