Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Guess what you get when you combine an adorable, scampish three year old with first time parents/grandparents/great-grandparents/aunts/uncles/great aunts/great uncles/great cousins? Witness the insanity that was my parents' living room. However, to be fair,they weren't all for Huckle.

In all, it went well. This is Huck's fourth Christmas, but last year was in another foster home, and the years before that he was too young to understand if there was or wasn't a Christmas, so for all intensive purposes, this was his "first" too. He unwrapped his presents first. We don't do a rotation in our family, we just all wanted to watch him.

We emerged unscathed, unless you count the two inch cut to the palm of my hand from when the kitchen knife slipped as I was slicing English muffins/poaching eggs/slicing avocados for Christmas brunch at our house. Multitasking on mimosas=bad.

This above photo shows Huck unwrapping the Rock and Ride Lucky my mom and dad climbed the produce aisle for -- Lucky is also the reason for the puke decorating our family room curtains. Huck loves this bouncy/rocky pony so much that we've had to put a moratorium on the bouncy-rocky unless he's got an emptyish stomach. My idea of a good morning does not include scraping omelet off the drapes.Huck was wired and wiped by the time we left my parents' house on Christmas Eve, and asleep in the car before we hit the highway. No time for "Twas the Night Before Christmas" this year, no sir, just a full-tilt run for the tree. (More on SD Three, btw)My family arrived around noon, and the first thing my mother said was, "What happened to your house?" Yes, there had been a toy explosion, fueled mostly by my mother herself.

Now I'm ankle-deep in Little People circus, preschool, and zoo pieces, Littlest Pet Shops, and remote control cars. I've been ignoring it as best I can as I learn to do a double crochet stitch. Yay merino wool on sale for $3 a skein. I'll figure this stuff out yet.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Almost there

Huck is doing much better than he was, even though he's sore from the two shots (one in each leg! Had no clue that kind of stuff went on) and the holding-down it took to administer said shots. He woke from his nap around five and and let me cuddle him (!) and make a nest on the couch, complete with chocolate chip cookie and white grape juice. he dozed for a little while with Finding Nemo on in the background, and he wiggled his toes against mine as he snuggled in.

I know he is sick and that is bad, but it was nice for him to relax into me, to be calm, to drop his barriers a little more. He so often rejects me. In fact, the only other time he's wanted to sit in my lap is when it is occupied by other kids.

I sent Hubs back to the ER to get the medical provider paperwork filled out. He talked to the doc again to find out if he'd done a strep test. The doc said no, and that it would have been negative until tomorrow anyhow, and that he's been doing this long enough to know not to make someone come in two weekend days in a row when he could just prescribe antibiotics. Guess we can thank Dr. F for a slightly-not-as-frantic Christmas.

In holiday news, I've made and packaged four kinds of hot chocolate mix (very easy, actually, just make the base and then add peppermint or more chocolate or spices or whatever), peppermint twists, chocolate covered oreos, and peppermint bark. Babywatch last night derailed the plans for truffles, but maybe I'll start those soon. If not, meh. We've already told everyone we're not shopping for presents with Huckle in tow, so gifts for everyone beside Huckle comes down to sweets and cash, maybe checks if we can't get to an ATM. We're still facing a bit of uncertainty regarding The Hub's job situation (fack you very much, Hooz Allen Bamilton for forcing out the little fish before the buyout turned him into a big fish), so no balls-out consumerism. I'm a very impatient shopper under the best circumstances, and retail irks me to no end, so saying, "Here, eat candy," is no skin off my back.

Merry Christmas, if that's your bag. Be well.

Home again

They're home. Whatever is wrong with Huckle is nasty, but in the early stages. Maybe strep, maybe bronchitis, but nothing pinged. We've got antibiotics in him, a prescription for robitussin to pick up, and aside from shots in the legs, he's not too worse for the wear. He came home so tired that he snuggled into my body when I picked him up -- usually the only time he truly relaxes into me is when he's just woken from a nap. I put him in bed, tucked the covers around his chin, and asked which stuffed animal he wanted. Huck's only response was a snore.

102.5 is high, right?

Blah! Grrr!

Huck woke up last night with a 102.5 temperature. We gave tylenol and liquids, wrapped him in wet towels for a bit, rocked and sang. I took the first shift, The Hub took over around 6 am. I woke up at 11:30 to a quiet house. Hubs and Huck gone, my car gone, both cell phones sitting in their chargers, a website for an urgent care clinic up on the laptop. My mom first tried calling us at 10:30 (Last night was my first sick-baby night -- I wanted to take him on a midnight trip to the ER, my mother talked me down.) and there was no answer, so they've been gone at least that long -- 3 hours as of now.

In the written shift change instructions from me to Hub, I specifically stated that I should be woken immediatley when he was able to get ahold of either Huck's doc or the urgent care clinic(figuring they'd either open at 8 or 9 on a Saturday), and I even made a little chart with times on it where he could track Huck's temperature and note any further doses of tylenol. Leaving with the baby but without his cell or the state's stack of paperwork was NOWHERE in my instructions. And no, although the thermometer is sitting here next to my computer, he did not fill in the helpful and informative temperature chart.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Random Aside

(Huck is stealthy, as I've mentioned before, and I swear that he knows what time my alarm is set for and he wakes up three minutes before it goes off -- I've tried moving it back.)

Most mornings, I wake up to a little voice saying, "Mommy, I'm huuuuuungry."

It still takes me a moment to realize he's talking to me. The same joy and panic wash over me every morning. I still wonder how I got here, looking back at the last three years, the last ten.

By noon, though, anytime a kid calls for his or her mom, my head snaps up, even if Huck's holding my hand.
Huckle's social worker is transferring to another city, and likely won't see him again. She and CPS consider his case closed, even though we're still in the appeal window, and at some point we'll be transferred to an adoptive caseworker.

Huckle's social worker has been on his case for a bit over a year. She loves him. She adores him. But she also identified with his mom, trusted her too much, and because of that she feels that she failed Huck. Add that to the 3-moves-in-2-weeks drama that Huck might blame her for, and she was wary of coming out to the house to visit with him one last time. She really wanted to see him, plus there were gifts from CPS and a bag of clothing from his family to be given, so she suggested that we come into CPS.

Huck freaked the minute the building was in view. I did the best I could throughout the visit, and I don't think it was as bad as it could have been, but he clearly associates the building with a number of scary things. He asked at least five times if he'd be going home. He asked where our dogs were. He asked if he had a bedroom. He told his SW that he wasn't tired and didn't want to take a nap (he's slept on the floor of her office before). He had a "sit down potty" accident in his pull-up, the first he's had since The Hub let him drink a pitcher of apple juice in one day.

After about five minutes of face-burying and behind-leg hiding, the SW's boss said, "Oh, he's scared you're going to leave him here!"

I was not amused.

There has been much reassuring in the past twelve hours, including a suprise visit to my parents' house to drive home the idea that he's here to stay and that there are lots of people who lurve him. But his brain is overloaded, the old panic is back, and there've been more tears today than in the last two weeks. It took him three hours to fall asleep. He's crying in his sleep as I type this.

I should have just stopped the car the second he said, "Me is not going in there!" instead of telling him his SW had presents for him. I shouldn't have hyped the visit, or how much fun it would be when his SW came back around to see him. As much as I've told him that he's styaing with us, that he's safe, that he won't be going anywhere, his brain rejects those ideas, rejects me, and goes with what he knows.

It is rough.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

In Search of Bob the Builder

Today was the last day of preschool before the holiday break, and tonight was the recital. Huckle sat in the front row, took his costume off three times before his teacher gave up and let him go hatless, and he was a wiz at shaking the bells. Thankfully, his school kept their recital short and sweet -- five songs on stage, then a ice cream social for the students, parents and guests. Somewhere around song two, Huck decided sitting wasn't for him, and he laid on his tummy, head in hands, feet swinging back and forth to the music. Tell ya what, he was the most involved of all the three year olds. Most of them ran into the audience looking for their parents, lifted their skirts over their heads, or picked their noses. Yes, it was adorable.

The Hub and I got our first Christmas present from Huck. In class today, the teacher took polaroids of the kids and put them in cards the kids made. Underneath the photograph, the teacher wrote a message to the parents from the child. When she asked Huckle what he wanted to tell us in his card, he said, "Mommy left my blue truck at Grandma's house." He's got his priorities, you know, season's greetings aside.
The post from last night was a reaction to all our Christmas party goings-on. When we began adopting, we thought that telling just our closest friends was enough, we didn't want thousands of people asking us, just dozens, blah blah blah. As a result, we've had some explaining to do when we show up with a child. And the ladies at Huck's preschool! What a bunch of biddies. Things I thought would be kept in confidence between me and the director regarding our safety cnocerns are all over the school. I didn't share much, but I did have to tell the director that NO ONE other than The Hub or I should ever be allowed to pick him up, call the police if someone tries. Because of the added paperwork, it was fairly clear that he's in foster care. Blech.

Yes, Margaret, it is fun. Muzzling my inner June Cleaver is good. Welcome back, Calamity Jane.

Yesterday was our monthly foster parent meeting (through the agency), and it was held at an indoor playground. Two hundred foster kids might not sound like most people's idea of a good time, but I loved it. It was surreal to recognize so many kids from the state photolisting, I'll admit. However, they were kids being kids. Foster kids or not, they run, jump, play, laugh, chow down on pizza and fruit punch, and open Angel Tree presents just the same as any child. At one point, a little girl got the wind knocked out of her, and she laid on the floor for about twenty minutes while she recovered. She recovered without too much intervention, don't worry, but in a way it was nice to see the nearest thirty adults rush to her and care for her. I know this little girl, and three months ago, there's a good chance no one would have acted if she'd been bleeding from the head, but in this environment, even though she doesn't really belong to any of us, she's all of ours.

More happy news for the foster family Huckle was with for a week while we did visitation with him: they've taken placement of two brothers, ages 7 months and 15 months. Their future is uncertain, of course, but if they aren't reunified, they'll stay with this family. Yay for the "one child, one placement" motto and seeing it (potentially) work out.

And now for the "Learning Self-Control" portion of my post. On Thursday, we have another foster parent meeting and holiday party. Present at this one will be the foster family that had Huckle for eight days, then threw him out. They said that Huckle was unadoptable, wild, cruel, non-verbal, and that the only way they'd keep him is if he were put on a variety of medications. Huck's social worker told them to, um, Blow Her, that Huck was traumatized from being removed from his mother again, and to give him time. The next day they basically put him out on the front step with three t-shirts and a pair of shorts and said, "Come get him out of here." I met these people last month, but I didn't know they were That Family until the next day when Good Foster Mom called me (she'd been at the meeting too, her hubby is the president of the group). How do I keep from punching them in the face? Should I request his toothbrush and the toys they didn't send along with him? Maybe ask for the package of pullups they kept? Inquire about the emergency clothing allowance they received? Really, I'm leaning toward punching them in the face, though.

And regarding trauma: I'm still sort of waiting for Huckle to melt down. He's been through so much, how can he maintain? Admittedly, I have no firsthand experience of what it is like to go through what he's been through -- maybe repression of memories is the best for him now -- but I'm waiting for something to happen. Maybe this is still a honeymoon phase, though he doesn't seem to have any trouble stating his mind. Maybe I was just prepared for so much worse that I don't yet believe that this is how things are.
I've hit my limit. After five weeks of (perhaps) well-meaning but unbearably nosy people asking questions or making inappropriate comments about Huckle and his circumstances, including a nurse who said, "Oh, you poor little abused boy! I bet you're happy now," I'm done.

I was raised in the tradition of Minnesota Nice, with a dash of Southern hospitality, so my response prior to today was, "Isn't that an interesting way to look at life?" or, "Hmmm, you know, we just don't have that information," or, "Pardon me, but I must go feed the dogs/pick my nose/poop in your shoe."

Now, not everyone who pries says terrible things, but the questions and comments come often enough for a canned response, so I've come up with one.

Starting today, my response to the worst offenders, those who lack any sense of decency, is now, "Blow me."

So far, I've said it twice, and it felt good.

I'm sure I'll regain my manners in a day or so. But until then, the people around me will learn to tread a bit lighter than they have been.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

My parents are totally outdoing us on the dedication-to-mass-consumerism version of Christmas.

Example 1: Last week, my mother asked me what sorts of things Huckle would like for Christmas. I told her he likes dollhouse style things, like barns and castles and stuff. The next day, she showed up with a castle, pirate ship, dragon, and a small cavalcade of knights on horseback.

Example 2: The day of the above phone conversation, I took Huckle to the store with the intent of walking him down the toy aisles and seeing what he liked. We don't usually take him to the store, things just show up here, and he doesn't pay attention to television commercials, so we had no clue. After saying "no, not today" for the fiftieth time, I decided my foolproof plan was pretty stupid. Basically, he wants everything, and I'm the big schmuck. I didn't even buy him Moon Sand.

Example 3: Yesterday, my mom read about some of the "hot toys" this year, and decided that her grandchild must have one, specificallly a plush rocker pony named Lucky. Mom and Dad went from T0ysRus to Targe7 to Targe7 to Wa1mart in search of Lucky. At the last store, they were directed from the toy aisle to the produce section (dunno, have no clue). When they got to the fruits and veggies, they looked around, and another woman asked them if they were looking for Lucky, too. While wandering, my dad spotted the last Lucky on top of the lettuce watering cabinet thingy. My mom boosted him the four feet it took to reach the box, he pulled it down (without breaking any bones, I might add), they threw it in the cart and hustled toward the checkout. Just as they deposited Lucky in their cart, the other woman came round to the lettuce section with a store employee and a ladder. Mom and Dad hauled it out of there, trying not to make eye contact.

Example 4: We haven't bought him a single thing.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Last night the hub and I went out to dinner and shopping while my mom watched Huckle. We got home at 9 PM, and were suprised to see Huck's bedroom door closed, his light on, and my mom nowhere in sight.

I opened the door very slowly, there was Huck wide awake on his bed, my mom laying next to him.

Maer: Hi Huck! What are you guys doing?

Mom: Well, he told me he likes to sleep with the light on. But I don't know, we've been in bed for an hour.

Maer: (blink, blink, pause) Would you also have believed him if he told you he sleeps in the family room with his eyes open while Nemo is on?

Mom: I just got played, didn't I?

Maer: Oh, yessirree.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thanks for all your comments on that last post. It made me feel a lot better.

My first reation when he says/asks those things is to throw up in my mouth, quite honestly, and I've been scared that I'm causing it by something I've been doing wrong. It is so hard to hear him say that I hate him. And it was scary to mention it here. Perspective was hard to come by.

I agree with y'all that he's a smartypants, of course. Maybe that was part of the big shock this all was -- I wasn't expecting that stuff to come out of a three year old's mouth. Hard to remember that six weeks ago he was labeled as nearly nonverbal by the foster parents that threw him out -- look what love and attention and nutrition does to a child. That he's thinking these things and able to make himself understood bowls me over, but I guess that at three, he's not developed a filter -- he just says what he's thinking when he feels like saying it. This works in ways that don't horrify me, too, as he asks to be held, he asks to be fed (it started when I began scooping the last few spoonfuls of yogurt out of the container, and he really likes it), he wants us to stay in bed with him while he falls asleep, whenever one of us is gone (and when he's at school) he asks where we are even though he knows, he asks for hugs, he wants to call my mom on the phone and tell her about his day, he insists that we sit down at the table with him while he has a snack, and he loves to feed ice cubes to the dogs.

I showed him the photograph of his mom again today after my last post. I talked with him about her beforehand and asked if he'd like to see it. This time he was into it. This picture frame has been at his bedside for most of the last three years, from the time his mother was investigated and he was placed with a family member for the first 18 months of his life. It went with him to foster homes, it went back to his mom's with him, and now it is here. It is a talking frame with a short recorded message. He pushed that button at least thirty times to hear her voice. When he started to lose interest, I told him to say bye bye to her and give her a kiss. I put it away in a safe place (he's three, it is made of glass, I dont want it broken and I'd feel horrible if the message were erased) and told him he could ask me for it anytime. He seemed satisfied with that. For the next few hours, he called me by my first name instead of calling me Mommy, which I think is a pretty good way for him to reconcile the dueling moms concept. That picture frame and the photos of his mom have been with him ten times longer than his mother has. I think he associates "Mommy" more with those photographs than with the person, if that makes sense.

So, yes, thank you for your comments.


While Huckle has not yet asked outright about his mother or grandmother, he mentions them in his own way.

We were at the store a few days ago, he was in the cart, and I couldn't push it between the clothing racks, so I was out of eyesight for about fifteen seconds while I found his size on the clearance racks. I talked to him the entire time so he could hear my voice, and when I reappeared, he said, "You hate me and you going to leave me." I assure you, I tell him he's safe and loved.

Later that night, he got grabby with the dog, and I told him to be gentle (words I repeat about twenty times a day -- he's three) and not pull the dog's tail. I don't think my tone was any different than usual, but he stopped and asked, "You hit me now?" I assure you, the most painful thing he's experienced at my or my husband's hand is scrubbing dried tomato sauce off his forehead.

My mother spends the day out here once or twice a week. When Huckle first moved in, he would scream bloody murder whenever she left. After a week or so, after another traumatic departure, he was finally able to say, "Mommy won't feed me." I assure you, I make food for Huck once an hour, and there is always a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table, should I be in the bathroom for more than forty-five seconds.

I know all this, and the other instances I haven't listed, are his way of asking for reassurance. He's testing me, and I just have to keep on keeping on. But it breaks my heart. It has escalated in the past few days, ever since I showed him his mom's photograph, and I'm kicking myself. Here's me, serving my traumatized boy a mindfuck in a black plastic frame.

OK, something just occurred to me after writing that -- maybe I didn't debilitate him with that photograph, maybe I made it okay for him to talk about her and his past, and that's what he's doing? Maybe he's starting to work it out, and in 3 year old terms, this is how it happens?

If only I had the time or energy to reread all those adoption books, but I can't even remember to wash the conditioner out of my hair during my shower. Quick, someone give me a page number.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Before Huckle came to us, we weren't planning on using daycare, since my work is done from home. Actually, we weren't planning on needing daycare or preschool because we were focusing on kids in the 6-16 range. So when Huck came around, we had our own little paradigm shift.

Huckle's a very social kid. We've yet to meet another boy his age in our neighborhood, just frilly little girls who look at trucks like they're the devil's rollerskates. The park is waaaay too cold right now to spend six hours a day there like we did a month ago. And Mommy is boring.

Hello, preschool! Two days a week, from 9 to 2:30. He starts today. We know he's enjoyed daycare before, so we're not too worried about his reaction. We spoke with him about going to school (he's very upset he won't be riding the schoolbus, but he needs something to look forward to at 5, right?), and so far, so good. The curriculum is based on the project approach from Reggio Emilia, Italy. We're going on the reccommendations of three PhDs in education, so if it sucks, I have someone to yell at.

I have no idea what I'll do with alone time. I can't tell if I'm looking forward to it or dreading it. Maybe I'll go back to the antique store we took a hopped-up-on-wassail-Huckle to on Thursday and buy some things from the nice people who didn't make us pay for the things that came-a-tumblin'-down when Huckster ran headlong into a display.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I've gone through this blog and hidden a lot of posts. Hiding 100 or so posts took a long time all by itself, I'll work on editing or transferring them at another time when it isn't 3:30 in the morning. I got some strange blog action yesterday, and the timing of it was unnerving, Mr. or Mrs. SWBell kinda freaked me out, I guess.

The long and short of it is that I have a family to protect, and the sheer number of times the word "fuck" came up might lead to creepy search engine results, or whatever. Right now, I'm skittish, a worried filly.

And in total dischord with that above statement, I feel badly that someone took me off their links. She was a waiting a-mom, SDT was there the last time I browsed her blogroll, and now I've been removed. Silly that that hurts -- it is as if I thought we were pals or something. Isn't that goofy? I worry too much, clearly.

Good Monday to you all.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

One Month In

As of today, Huckle has been here for one month.

I can hardly believe it.

We are so lucky to have him here with us. Huck's spirit is amazing. He is resilient, loving, considerate, and smart. The bonding and attachment is coming along so well -- The Hub went to the butcher today, and Huck wondered about him, sang "Daddy's shopping," to the Frere Jacques tune, I went shopping later and when he heard the garage door open, he ran through the house screaming, "Mommy's back, Mommy's back!" My family members are his favorite toys, to be sure, but they can now leave our house without causing a full-blown anxiety attack. Huck's learning that all of us come back.

Have I mentioned what a sneaky little bugger he can be in the mornings? During the week, he'll often wake up when The Hub takes a shower, and I'll notice him crawl into bed next to me. There've been times when I open my eyes and see him sleeping, then there are times I wake and there he is, sitting up in The Hub's side of the bed with a dozen stuffed animals set up all around me. The second I open my eyes, he says, "Mommy, I'm hungry for yogurt now," and pats my hand. See? Stealthy. This morning we woke up to find him sleeping between the two of us, under the covers and everything, with a hand touching each of us. (When we notice him getting into bed, we bring him back to his room, by the way. He does get past us sometimes, but we don't encourage him to sleep in our bed, we're always fully pajama'd, and we try to reinforce that he is safe in his own room.)

Huck hasn't asked about his mother or grandmother. He hasn't asked about any of his other foster parents, not even the ones he was with for a year (I am so grateful to them, by the way). On Thursday we received a package from Huck's mom (via CPS) -- a talking frame with three photographs. Huck recognized the photograph of himself at 15 months, but didn't say anything about his mom's pictures, just seemed to lose interest. It didn't look like the pictues upset him, he didn't get quiet or sad or angry, he just wanted to read a Carl book and snuggle up.

In unrelated goings-on, one of my girlfriends is very upset with me. She and her husband have been trying to have a baby for over 2 years, and around the same time we started fost-adopt training, they began paperchasing to adopt from China. My friend and her husband haven't even been able to get all their paperwork together to send to the CCAA yet, and now we're on track to finalization. I think it is too much for her right now, that she chose the "safe and stable" path (why is the China program touted as that? It changes just as much as any other program) while we were the crazy risk takers, and now here we are with Huckle (the most wonderful child to ever exist, of course), and there she is waiting on a dossier translation. So I guess I'll just wait until after the holidays. Christmas is rough when you're sad.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Part of the master plan

In another freaksome turn of events, it appears that The Hub will be getting his PhD while overseeing a research project for his current company (to figure out ways to apply a currently military-only technology to the private sector, essentially) at the school he received all his other degrees.

Not tracking? S'ok, I'm not either. Very confusing, especially since his current employer is being purchased by a very very large F500 at the new year, and it seems to me like there's not much of a shot that his current company can make that promise, as the technology he'd be working with is one of the reasons for the buyout by unnamed large company. *cough* N1m1tz-class @1rcraft carriers *cough* N3w Iraq! @rmy *cough*

Anyhow, if it all happens the way it is being presented, we'll keep two homes. Four days a week he'll be here (and oi, working from home), three days a week he'll be 170 miles away. IF it works out the way it is being presented, I can handle it.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Today has been alternately happy and sad. I'll let you know lots more soon, but the question asked most often has been -- What Now?

Now, The Babe stays here. Once 30 days for appeals is over (behavior at trial today makes the an appeal a not-a-shot-in-hell sort of thing), his case is transferred to an adoptive caseworker. After 6-12 months in our home, we'll be able to adopt him.

The waiting period isn't a big deal to us. What is important to us right now is that, barring The Hub and I both being killed in a fiery plane crash, The Babe will stay with us.

From here on out, it is the three of us. The days of Mae and The Hub are really, truly a thing of the past. Freaks me out.


We have termination.

The family members that showed up for the hearing this morning were supposed to testify after the break, but they never came back. Their lawyer didn't even come back.

We have TPR. We have it, we have it, we have it.

I feel like I'm not getting enough oxygen to my brain. I've never inhaled airplane glue (well, with the purpose to get high, I mean), but I bet this is about what that feels like. Oh, I know, this feels like the time I had to use the really nasty Kilz primer to put 3 coats of primer over the wallpaper in my parents' laundry room and I almost fell off the ladder, I was so dizzy. Yup, that's about it.

Round Two

We're about halfway there. Because this is merits, the judge wants as much information as he can gather before he makes a decision. The fact that he's the one who ordered The Babe back to his family a few months ago isn't lost on him -- he's said already how disappointed he is to see this case back so soon.

The court heard the case for about 40 minutes before calling a recess, as other cases were waiting. If everything is on track, they've now been back at it for twenty minutes, and I'm expecting the phone to ring again before noon.

There are many unbloggable things going on right now. Some of them might mean I have to go dark/scoot around/hide lots of posts, as our family's physical safety has become an area of concern. Terroristic threats in a court room do not make for a good impression on the judge, and right now I'm glad I didn't show my face. As hard as it is not to hear everything as it is spoken, the nuances aren't worth the risk.

In summary: nothing for sure yet, but CPS's case is strong and persuaisive.

And Now, We Wait

Today's the day.

I can't recall whether I've mentioned this before, but today's the day.

The earliest we'll hear anything is ten o' clock. When I know something, I'll pass it along.

It is just past midnight as I write this, and I'm doubting sleep will come tonight. The Hub sacked out while putting The Babe to bed -- he doesn't keep stress alive in his brain the way I do. Lucky bastard.

Good thing Alias is on TNT from midnight to four on Thursdays, or else I might clean the house, iron clothes, or do something else productive with my reactionary insomnia.

I've calmed down since last night. Can't change the past, look to the future, can't make a horse drink, blah blah blah. Right now, we don't have to look past today. Soon enough, of course, we will, but right now today is our goal.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Today I Lost the Guilt and Found the Rage

I have felt terribly the last few days. I felt like I was kidnapping The Babe from his family, from people who want him, from people who love him.

After hours of meetings with many people involved in The Babe's case, those feelings are gone. Instead, I am furious.

As far as I'm concerned, the hearing can't come fast enough. I won't be going to the hearing. My attorney will be there, three social workers from my agency will be there, The Babe's attorney ad litem will be there, The Babe's case worker and two of her supervisors will be there. We'll get word right away -- my lawyer has three cell phones, one line goes to a phone that is courtroom-permitted because it doesn't have a camera.

My emotions tonight are ugly. I'm proxy-mummy enraged. There are MANY extended family members with the stability and ability to raise The Babe, but none of those people want to do it. As far as his relatives who desire to parent him, the least objectionable is a person who is currently jailed pending trial for a "third strike."

The Babe will never be (all sorts of horrible things deleted). I might be making this mommy stuff up as I go, and sometimes it feels like I really suck at it, but even at my most-clueless, this child will be safe. We will protect him. We will love him.


I will regain my equanimity. I do want the best for The Babe's family, but now, and for the last three years, they haven't put him above themselves. I am so sorry this is happening to them, but I am more sorry for the things that they have done to (and not done for) The Babe. I wish this weren't happening, that things hadn't happened, but now I need to focus on what is, in my and the state's mind, the way to keep this child safe, and his family cannot do that. They've treated him worse than a junkyard dog, and they can't even see it. Mom thinks that, since The Babe was only removed from her (this last time) five weeks ago, she's still on vacation time before she begins to work the plan again in another seven or so months. She wants to be a mom for two months out of every eighteen, and she's about to be (most likely, that is) disabused of her perception that CPS is some sort of live-out nanny.


I just got a little angry again while typing that. I've been holding it in so I don't worry the baby. On Monday I cried in front of him, and he thought it meant he was leaving ("No go! No leave me!"). I've got family coming tomorrow, which will give me a few hours on my own so I can work on really releasing or reforming these feelings.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Strawberry Crap Milktoss

I want to crawl into a hole and ignore the entire world for a little bit.

After carrying a 67 pound dog from car to vet's office, then being pooped all over by said scaredy-cat dog, after The Babe dumped 12 ounces of strawberry milk all over himself, his carseat, me, and the windshield (he took the top off and threw it at me while en-route to the vet -- the kid has range from the backseat passenger side, I'll tell you that), after crying for 45 seconds on the phone to my mom and then realizing I have to Buck Up, Buckaroo for my darling Hubby, after not being able to get The Babe's attorney ad litem on the phone, after being lectured by the vet tech on the distemper vaccine the dogs are overdue for, after an hourlong wait at the post office to pick up a stupid copy of a form we picked up our stupid selves three weeks ago, after putting together, wrapping, and shipping 15 special orders, I've decided that, yes, moms can make themselves a vodka and frangelico with a twist of lemon at four o' clock on a Monday.

Then I'll see about getting the strawberry milk off and out of my iPod. And the steering wheel. Maybe I'll even go so far as a shower to really wash the dog poo off my arm -- I can't see it, but I think I got a whif.


The letter from CPS was only a copy of a medical eligibility form, which we'd already gotten.

My social worker's opinion was that I should go to court, just in case the judge would like to hear from us.

Now that The Hub doesn't have to worry about slacking on the job, he'll probably come, too. Before the "no job" news, we were worried about already using 15 hours of personal time in the last month, but now that there's only three months max left to use 130 hours of sick leave and 107 hours of vacation, well, party on, Wayne, carry on Garth.

Now I'm going to go earn my Mom Badge and get two dogs and a three year old to the vet. I've got strawberry milk in my bag o' tricks, so fear not. We've already survived an hour-long trip to the post office today. Wonder how much longer my luck will hold.

Oh, holy crap

The Hub's job just disappeared. Poof. Gone by February.

DC is the last place I want to move right now, but to stay with the company he's been with the last five years, that's where we'd have to go. Without The Babe. DC is not going to happen.

A month ago, I would have agreed to two households for a little while, but with The Babe I couldn't do it.

There are a number of firms within an hour's drive that he has relationships with, the feelers are being put out, he has some leads already.

This is a shock. We will be fine.

But, you know, Shit.


The Babe's court date is coming up. Soon.

The state is asking to terminate rights on the parent who still has them.

Relatives have come forward and stated they would like to gain custody, but they have failed to keep The Babe safe over the last three years, and The Babe was actually removed from their guardianship (not The Babe's mom's custody) and placed into foster care way back when.

It is up to the judge. I know this judge. I've been in his courtroom a few times for work -- but I have no clue which way he'll go.

My family's lawyer will be attending the hearing for us, if only because I'm the first person he'll call when the judge issues a decision, and also because his spending a morning sitting in court for me will pay off some of his debt to us. I wasn't going to go to the hearing, then I was going to go, and now I'm not sure. Maybe I'll just go to my mom's house with The Babe that day and try to "sit tight."

I thought I was handling this very well, but I'm a shivery bundle of nerves right now. What if I get a phone call saying, "pack him up, I'll be there to take him home in two hours." I want to throw up on my keyboard just thinking about the possibility that might happen.

I'm just getting used to this "mommy" thing. The new espresso machine seems to be the key to parenting. Those of you who are childless and waiting, you need an espresso machine more than you need a carseat. Without a carseat, you just can't leave the house. Without an espresso machine, you can't leave the bed when "a night's sleep" = 37 minutes.

Nothing in The Babe's case has changed in the last month, but it still feels like a crapshoot now, whereas 33 days ago, it seemed like a sure thing.

And while we were out Saturday, the mailman tried to deliver a certified letter from CPS. I can't get it until 9 AM Monday, and it has me a bit stressed, the not knowing what the letter is.

I have to tell myself that whatever happens, it will be for the best. If The Babe goes home, I hope it is because real, lasting change has occurred in the last five weeks. I hope he stays home, and does not re-enter the system. I hope that if he does re-enter the system, he will be only a little more damaged than he is now.

Crap. I was going to write a bunch more, but now I'm quite-a-bit upset, so I'll just sign off instead.

Good morning, dears. Have a good Monday.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cool Things About The Babe

When he goes down the slide, he waits for the dog to move out of the way.

He gives leg-hugs.

Tonight when I was putting him to bed, he reached out for my hand and put it under his cheek.

He's remembering that he was once toilet trained, and if his little arms were longer, we'd be set.

His hair looks like it will curl a bit if we let it get long.

Making six duplo elephants made him squeal with happiness.

He loves the book Caps for Sale, just like I did.

When asked what noise a monkey makes, he tickles his armpits and says, "Oo oo ah ah."

He insists on kissing the puppy before going to bed.

He's the first person to say "Bless you" when someone sneezes.

He likes his boy-pron, his bibs, his alligator, his doll, all the things I make for him.

Every time we walk or ride by the neighbor's house, he hugs their four-foot plastic Santa.

His ABCs go, "a b c d h i j k l m n o p q r s q r s q r s t u v won't you sing with me."

He climbs onto the armchair, and when he jumps off, he yells, "Wee-haw."

The elbows to my trachea are rarer.

He now calls out, "Mommy," instead of, "Help me," when he's scared at night.

He loves penguins and hippos and monster trucks and monkeys.

On his list of favorite things to do are brushing his teeth, washing his hands, taking a bubblebath, and making up songs about tractors and cows.

The difference between The Babe today and The Babe three weeks ago is amazing. His eyes are bright, his hair is shiny, his cheeks are filling out, he's gaining muscle tone, his skin isn't ghostly pale, not all the veins in his body are visible, the black eyes are fading, there are ridges in his fingernails where they're growing out thicker, his balance is better, his coordination is improving, he can breath through his nose, his energy level is higher as his body is adjusting to being able to be active, he's retaining information, he's asking questions, he tries out the words we say to him, he loves riding in the cart at stores, he treats fresh fruits and veggies like candy, refuses kid staples like Chef Boyardee or Pop Tarts (but will eat half a cheese pizza if given the chance), he laughs freely and often, he throws the balls for the dogs, and he's only scared my heart into skipping a beat two times so far (both times involved running and falling over his feet and going headfirst into the ground -- he's not used to being able to move around a lot, and the running can be a bit tricky when he gets excited.).

We have a ways to go, of course. This stuff is just the beginning. The last reunification was hard on him, the removal terrible. But compared to the little boy who would cover his head with his hands and cower when we said his name to the running, jumping, kiss-blowing, book-page turner that's he's become, and we feel like we're on the right track.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'm on the fourth day of the flu that seems to be taking a turn toward bronchitis.
And the menstrual cramps just kicked in.
Normally I'd mix Nyquil and vicodin, but this month I also have a wildly energetic, scarily clingy, separation anxiety addled three year old who's taken to throwing things at the big dog's head while she sleeps, which makes the drug cocktail much more difficult to adjust.

But yay, The Hub is home, today wasn't as bad (mostly because the kid slept for two hours this afternoon) as I'd expected for the first full just-the-two-of-us day in a week, and I've got reinforcements covering me tomorrow if/when I start fainting. Woohoo vasovagal syncope!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

At Play

The Babe has only been here for two and a half weeks, we only learned about him on the first of the month, but already I find myslf thinking that he'll be here for good.

That may or may not be true. The state is asking for TPR the second week of December. All we can do between then and now is wait. I can't drive to The Babe's mom's house and convince her to get her life together, I can't wave a magic wand and erase his father's convictions, so we'll make plans as though the three of us have a future together.

I'm also trying to figure out how to incorporate Oz's family into our lives. Visits and invites to soccer games will most likely be out of the question for a number of years, as we would like our home to not be burned down (and lest you think I'm exaggerating like a freaky adopter scared of The Babe's parents, Houses Have Been Torched. Recently.). I don't know how we'll work it, what we'll initiate, if there'll be a response at all, but we have to try. To be honest, at the rate his parents are going, we'll have to do something soon, as one or both of them likely won't be alive by the time he turns 18. Maybe not even 8, actually. And that breaks my heart, that after more than three years of state intervention, things have only gotten worse. But The Babe will be safe. And that's the point of all of this, isn't it?

Meanwhile, more peanut butter playdough at my mom's house.

And more puppy playtime, too.

One Fake Tree Reports to the Living Room

My parents tempted us into town Saturday night with the promise of a family dinner and a few hours of babysitting. The Hub and I spent some time alone, went out to have drinks at the place we met, thinking that we'd be back to my parents' house in time to scoop up The Babe and have him in his own bed by ten. When we returned, my father administered many, many festive and frothy beverages to the two of us, and an invitation to spend the night was extended.

Good thing we brought the kid's pajamas. Sadly, though, he did wear the same clothes two days in a row.

This afternoon, while The Babe demande all of my sister's attention, The Hub and I did our ornament shopping. Yup, another trip to Targ3t, in search of the 76 piece "unbreakable" ornament set, and maybe some more Tord Boontje stuff. Freakin' jackpot, internets. I heart this serving platter. The only thing we're on the lookout for now is a tree topper.

Friday, my sister came out to pick out fabrics for aprons to give to her friends for Christmas. While I waited for her to figure out the bias binding tool, I made three of these stockings to hang from our mantle. The Hub and I had matching stockings, but I figured the three of us need similar-looking ones. Yah, the Christmas colors in the house are blue and white this year. I haven't decided if I'm going to monogram the stockings or decorate them any further, I'm just going to spend a few more days looking at them.

I'm still in love with the bibs I made out of quilting cotton, washcloths, and ribbon. Super-absorbant, and once he's done eating, I wet the bib and use them to wipe off his face and hands (and pants, from time to time), then wipe down the table, too.

My in-laws left for home on Friday, too. Their monthlong visit was very tense this year. When we told them we were working on adopting from foster care, they had somewhat of a hissyfit, with most of it directed at me, the batshit crazy girl bent on ruining their only son's life.

My mother-in-law and I had a chat a few days after The Babe moved in, and the things that she said confirmed everything I'd been hoping was a product of my hyperactive imagination. That it was her attempt at making peace frustrated me further. According to The Hub, she knew as she was speaking that every sentence was coming out wrong, and she wanted to try again. Considering the fact that the first conversation included her mentioning she'd once overheard me talking dirty to The Hub during sex, I wasn't inclined to rehash a damn thing with her during this last week.

I'm still very hurt by them right now. Over the next few months, if their attitude toward The Babe improves, I'll get over it. Meanwhile, these wooden ornaments from Germany make me happy. They won't be going on the tree, since they're not made of plastic and labeled "unbreakable," but I'll be looking at them nonetheless, and maybe they'll sate my sad little soul.

Friday, November 24, 2006

And I got a headstart on Christmas decorations

I asked The Babe today if he knew what Christmas was, and he said that he did. However, when he's in a good mood, he always says yes, so it may just have been the time of day. Anyhow, we're going to begin decorating this weekend, since he's become very fond of reindeer (they're all over the everyday play tablecloth, so now he's enamoured with them, and snowmen). I'm not sure how we'll do everything yet, but I'm starting with a bunch of Tord Boontje stuff from (of course) Targ3t. Never knew a bunch of packs of paper garlands could make me so happy. Swans! Rabbits! And The Babe loves the window clings. Tomorrow, felt reindeer-palooza at my house.

And here's the Fuzzypants giving The Babe's alligator some love. I think they like the mouth feel of felt. Might have to wire those ornaments on hardcore. I've already had to rescue this thing from the backyard four times today.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tramping up Thanksgiving

Even though this is our third Thanksgiving together, The Hub and I had not hosted the holiday before today. Three months ago, when my in-laws announced their Autumn traveling-to-our-town plans, we suggested they push their dates back a week and stay for Thanksgiving, since my grandparents would be coming down from the midwest. Somewhere around there, I said to The Hub, "Oooh, we should have Thanksgiving at our house!"

I drew up plans. Tablecloth, napkins, place mats, table runners, place cards, napkin rings, aprons, and a centerpiece were all on deck to be assembled after last month's big show. I had it under control. Materials shopping day was November 3, cutting November 4th, and so on, until done by November 10th, at which time I would finish up a few things for the pre-Thanksgiving show that happened last weekend.

Enter the kid. Not so much with the shopping day, the cutting day, or the days behind the sewing machine, the embosser, the powertools, or anything else. Skipped the show, too, since two days away from home was not in the cards.
I think I actually forgot that Thanksgiving was coming up until Tuesday, after my grandparents arrived.

So, anyhow, all of a sudden it was 6 PM Wednesday, and even though all the food was under control (we did the turkeys, pies, rolls, cranberries, and drinks, all the other things were covered by our guests, yay), I realized that we had exactly 8 matching dinner plates, 8 sets of silverware, 8 wineglasses, and 8 water tumblers. We were expecting 15 guests. The Hub tried to make it better by telling me we'd just use paper and plastic.

Although there are times when I am happy to paper-and-plastic my dinners, for Thanksgiving, that was a bit too far from my original vision. Store-bought pies because the kid won't allow me out of arm's reach? Yup, that I'll do, but self-assembly wine glasses, not so much.

So I did an emergency shop. First up, since we only had 6 chairs for the table, and 4 from the old table in the attic, I wanted to find some wooden fold-up cafe chairs. Instead, I came across these for $14 each. There were people renting pickups and loading them up faster than the five guys assembling them could put em together. Feeding frenzy at the PB outlet. And they stack!

Back at Targ3t, of course, to double the stoneware plates we already have, and to get 8 place settings. While I was standing in the silverware aisle, I could have sworn that the stuff we already have had a brushed finish. Not so much, but oh well. There was no chance of matching the setups we have, so the new ones are very basic.

Next, I stood in front of the seasonal tablecloths, kinda cranky that my table would be done by The Home collection. This one looks good enough, though, and the coordinating napkins weren't too matchy-matchy. It also doesn't scream "Holiday," so bonus.

After the tablecloth was selected, I was delusional enough to think that we'd need Christmas ornaments tonight, and I spent about an hour trying to decide if my tree's theme would be "Onyx and Ice" or "Rustic Red." I put about a million things in the cart, but after a while I put it all back and figured that anything made of glass would just die a fast death at the hands of The Babe, but I did buy a few beaded birds with feather tails, which gave me an idea for a centerpiece. I didn't think to take a picture of it on the table before guests arrived, as I was to busy giving the kid a faux-hawk and cajoling him into wearing a tweed jacket "just until the grandmas can see you." The centerpiece is a bit tarty, kinda flashy, and not at all natural looking, but what the heck else are you going to put in a cage with beaded birds? They were begging for hot pink feathers, I promise. The Babe loves the birds, and each time he walks by the coffee table, where it now sits, he asks if he can "touch gentle."

Speaking of The Babe, I did have time earlier this week to make him 8 bibs out of quilting cotton and washcloths. They're the right size, they absorb like crazy, and when he's done I can use them to wipe off his hands, face, and the table. I also made him a boy-pron, since he likes it when I wear mine. I used a really neat three little pigs wind up toy fabric.

After all that stress, after the nutso last-minute shopping and encroaching panic attacks of this morning, it went very well. Turkeys were fried, along with a few kamikaze hornets, the Minnesotans got some Southern-style sweet potato action, and my grandmother whipped up her stuffing. Along with the chain-store decorations, I used a mix of my great-grandmother's glassware and serving bowls so even though she's gone, she's still here.

I know that we still would have had a nice, lovely dinner without all the stuff I had to have, but it made me happier to have it put together, even with three different styles of chairs (those are The Hub's old "bachelor chairs" that I recovered and repainted when we moved. They live in the attic now.) and a card table "leaf" at the end of our dining table. Last night, I was terrified of "sucking at Thanksgiving" my first time out. Silly, silly girl I am. Even though I forgot to take the cranberries out of the fridge until I was putting leftovers away, we did it up well.

And now for my favorite piece of refrigerator art. My sister brought a stack of scrapbook paper and a pound of stickers, and we've been collaging it up. Here we have a busy city street with cement mixers, dirtbikes, pawprints, a mod dots sun, and a monster truck.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Four-day recap

For those of you following my hair drama, I'll just let you know it took a team of 4 people figuring out what to do, and one girl 6 hours to turn my hair from eggplant/brick/blonde/chocolate to strawberry/light brown/ultrablonde/blonde.

My poor stylist's jaw dropped when I told her I needed to go blonde. Tell ya what, that purple was a pain in the ass to get rid of.

The kiddo seems to like it. He'll touch my hair now when I hold him, he likes to grab handfuls and flop it around now, he even smells it.

In six weeks, I can get it lightened even more. Right now, the overall look is dark blonde, but my boy likes 1980's Texas Blonde. And it isn't just the adults -- he follows blonde girls around at the playground if he has a choice.

The seven year old girls love him.

Friday we had an appointment with our family doc. The babe held it together almost all of the two hours they kept us waiting. At the end, after the two snacks and 20 oz. juice were gone, I just let him yell. I felt like yelling, but figured it was easier to unleash him on the halls of the exam rooms than to actually get down on the floor and pound my fists myself. It was a long time to wait for the doc to listen to his heart and lungs, check for descended testicles, and look in his ears and throat.

The ear infection is better now. Day 4 of zithromax was Friday.

His breathing has improved. I haven't heard him stop breathing while he sleeps during the last few nights. The doc figured that had to do with congestion.

Even with the anti-histamines, he's getting hives. And sometimes from things that hadn't given him hives before -- carrots seemed to do it yesterday.

Saturday was a guy's day. I had a lot of work piled up from the last week and a half, so The Hub took The Babe to the hardware store (yay for MDF! makes setting those trains up on carpet a lot easier) and then the park. The Hub ran the kid for 6 hours. It was good to work uninterrupted, to be able to leave the wasabi peas on the kitchen table, and to turn up the naughty word music.

My family visited today, all 5 of em. The Babe caught sight of a moonwalk-style blowup thing on a neighbors yard and jumped in it for three hours. We brought him home, fed him dinner, and he fell asleep at the table, his little hand splayed out in the ketchup. We were having a conversation at the time, and midsentence his head fell onto his arm. For a moment, I worried that he'd had a bad reaction to the mustard or goldfish crackers.

I did what any good mother would do -- I took pictures, then brought him to bed, where I managed to get shoes, clothes and pull-up off and swapped for pajamas and night diaper. He opened his eyes once, but other than that was o-u-t out.

This might sound strange -- this is tough, but not as bad as I'd prepared myself for. (Except for the exhaustion, of course.) I'd expected our first placement to spend half the day crying in his bedroom and the other half breaking things or putting things in the outlets or some such. His mommy-rejection stings, but I figured we wouldn't hit the mommy-rejection stage for another three months or so -- I was assuming we'd have that long of him rejecting both of us so much that we wouldn't be able to tell who he liked more. I do know that we could be in the honeymoon phase still, but even the ear-infection version of my boy is nicer, more fun, and sweeter than each three year old girl on the block. My kid even shared his puppy today (He learned how to "pull Maddy" on a leash. hahaha), brought presents to little girls (i told him girls like presents when they're cranky, so we passed out a few bunnies), and even when he was passing-out tired, he still used his napkin. Impressive, I say.

We're learning more about each other everyday. Among things we figured out about The Babe this weekend are: he likes simple-looking foods -- mac and cheese good, ravioli bad; he can count to 20 (we'd only heard as high as 10 before), he can identify lots of kids' TV and movie characters, though he doesn't really like to watch tv; he thinks that running headlong into walls is good fun, even though he leads with his head.

Sometime soon, I'll update the private blog a bit more. I've got some foster-lineage to discuss, as I will need a bit of advice from those of you who aren't sleep deprived. Also how to handle my in laws without hurting The Hub. There's been so much big stuff going on, so much more new information, but it hasn't all settled in my brain yet.

Take care, and have a good day.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

So, tomorrow I go under the bleach to see if MommaMae-rejection is based on haircolor or on deeper issues. Honestly, I'm not holding my breath, and if my roots weren't grown out two inches, I wouldn't bother. It may have made a difference if I'd done it before we met him, but there was only a day to prepare for that, and the girl who does my hair is booked until after Christmas. I begged for an appointment with a new girl, and am praying that Andrea is around to pick out colors.

My mom was here today, and instead of sleeping or going out and doing something, I washed laundry, brushed the dogs, filled prescriptions, and spent most of the time being upset over how he clung to my mother and told me to go away.

Our SW warned me that this was likely to happen (based on his mom's situations over the last 3 years), I expected it, but it still hurts.

As I think I've said before, if it is just me and the babe, we're cool. He's a hip ornament. But if someone else (someone he knows, not strangers -- haven't seen any mommy-shopping) is around, forget about it. It will just take time.

I've let The Hub take the helm tonight. I need a recharge.

On the bright side, we've gotten every prescription filled, I discovered flushable butt wipes, and the antibiotics and other ear infection drugs seem to be working, thus improving everyone's moods.

Quick question

When the baby sleeps, it seems like he stops breathing for a moment, then takes a huge breath that seems like it startles him (though he doesn't wake, at the most he changes sleeping positions). In adults, that's a symptom of sleep apnea -- in kids with allergies, is it pretty common, and does it go away as allergies are brought under control?
How can I be exhausted all day long and still be awake at 2:30 AM? Surely my desire to watch Tivo'd episodes of House and Friday Night Lights isn't that strong.

I think I should publish a pamphlet called, "Answers to the Questions Medical Professionals Will Ask You." The answers would be either "yes," or "I don't know," but it would be helpful to have those oft-asked questions and a cheat sheet. I've now called our agency twice regarding Medicare -- the first time was to ask if the babe is on traditional Medicare or one of five acronymed derivations of Medicare (this was important because with traditional Medicare, doctors will take you without waiting for referrals from PCPs), and the second time was after the pharmacist asked me which three prescriptions we wanted filled with Medicare and which we wanted to pay for, at which time my head promptly spun around four times and then I whipped the cell back out, introduced the pharmacist to our caseworker, and then went on my merry way. I'm thinking that CVS hasn't gotten a lot of foster kids in the two weeks since it opened.

Now that I'm nearly twelve hours removed from the very horrible, no good day with doctors and blood drawing and too-quickly eaten granola bars, I do have to tell you that I'm amazed that The Babe held it together as well as he has, not only today but for the last week. The last time I remember someone having an ear infection, I recall that it took some poking around with the otoscope, some searching for fluid or discoloration. With The Babe, the doc barely turned the light on before he jumped back and said, "Oh, that looks like a pretty rough ear infection!" Either it came on very quickly, or he's had it for a week or more. The first day I met him he pulled at his ear, but that was eleven days ago, and his (very experienced) foster mom and all the caseworkers and other professionals missed it too.

This kid is a trooper.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Baby! Now with an Epi-Pen.

So, no more wet sheets. He came from his last foster family wearing a leaky variety, whereas we bought the most expensive thing on the shelf because that was our only clue as to quality. Foster mom called me the next morning to tell me that her husband had bought the wrong brand, and to not let the kiddo sleep in em, cause then we'd have to wash the sheets. I found it funny.

Today is a day I hope he doesn't log into his long term memory. After the very long drive to an allergist, the wait, and eating all his snack before we got to the examination room, turns out he's got a raging ear infection. That explains today's "I'm the maddest kid on the block" attitude. He wasn't rubbing it, didn't say his ear or head hurt, and I took the all-day-long No-fest for general sadness and settling in pains. After the exam, during which I procured a stack of prescriptions (exchanged for a grocery bag full of meds soon after), we were off to the phlebotomist to have many large vials of blood taken for allergy testing (since he's never been to an allergist before, and because we can't feed him any fruits or veggies without his face breaking out in hives, and because he wasn't given his Singulair during the last reunification). Holding him down while they drew blood... well, it sucked. Hard.

He's a bit angry with me, still. I was able to get four different medications (antibiotic, pain reliever, ear drops, and allergy) in him, though (I'm the Heavy, Hubby's comic relief), so he can be as mad as he wants. If he were Buffy, I'd be black-haired Willow, not The First.

My mom keeps telling me I'm doing just fine. I'm going to believe her. But I am so tired, the baby was so hard today (even before the doctor, and yah, I know that's because of the ear infection), The Hub gets to be the fun guy for the two hours a night before bedtime, and if it just the two of us, I can't go outside of eyesight without the baby having an anxiety attack (fifteen seconds and the bloodcurdling screams begin), but if there's anyone else around, I'm the last person he goes to. I'm not worried about any of this right now, it will be okay, and that all I really need right now is more sleep.

Enter Grandma tomorrow morning. Also, enter a blonde version of MaeMommy. The kiddo has a thing for blonde girls, and my lowlight/highlight combination (with red for good measure) just isn't doing it for him.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

My Ass? Officially Kicked.

After being too excited to sleep, I finally dozed off around 3 AM.

4 AM, screaming baby, leaking pull-up, soaked pajamas and sheets (thank god I insisted on that waterproof mattress pad), two barking dogs, and I too was soaked when I picked him up.

Stripped the bed, realized all full-size sheet sets are in spacebags, improvised with blankets, stripped the baby, washed the baby, redressed the baby, redressed myself, started the laundry, laid back down with the kiddo (he won't go down for sleep alone), listened to the baby sing himself songs about taking bubblebaths and eating strawberries.

Sleepy beddy-bye again at 6 am.

Good Night

He's been here for 7 hours. I can't sleep. I tried to stay in bed, I really did, but I also feel like I have to keep checking if he's still really here.

The meeting with the SWs (mine and his) lasted two and a half hours, which wouldn't have been so bad, but the boy and his caseworker were stuck behind an accident for an hour, so everyone's timing was off. Poor thing went to bed two hours later than he usually does, since there was no way he'd go to sleep with a house full of chicks from the state.

When his SW arrived at his foster home to move him here, I'm told he shut down. Wouldn't look at anyone, wouldn't talk, didn't cry, stiffened when he was picked up, no response to anything whatsoever. His FM called us after they'd left, told us how he'd reacted. (I can't blame him one bit -- his SW has been in his life for over a year, and until three weeks ago she was counted as a pal. Now, she's shown up and moved him three times in as many weeks. I'd hate to see her coming if I were him.) The Hub and I sat on the front step, waiting for them to arrive. He smiled when he saw us. The Hub brought him to his room, played on the floor with his favorite toys, and got him to say a few words. His SW joined them, and it was back to zombie-land. After a few minutes, she decided to leave them alone and we women started on paperwork. Within ten minutes, the little guy was running through the house laughing. After an hour, even his SW got a smile and a high-five. I don't think everything's forgiven, but, damn, is this kid resilient.

The general situation is even more strange, and heartbreaking, than we thought. Each time we talk to another person, there are more layers to his story. You know how they construct a time line on crime shows? We'd need many, many whiteboards. Times like these, I'm glad for my legal background and connections. Just knowing what the abbreviations mean saves hours.

More to come later. Right now, I'm going to go listen to someone breathe.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Boy Likes Convertibles!

We spent a day with the kiddo, just hanging out around the house. We made it an early night, as The Hub and I have figured out that this is our last night as a childfree couple. (We'd made big plans for a fancy dinner out, but, um, I think we're actually going to order a pizza and watch My Name is Earl and The Office.)

Last night, there were tears and sadness over going back to his foster family (litle guy was sleeeepy), so today when it was time to go, we made a big deal out of a "guys' drive" in The Hub's car, which happens to be a red, turbocharged, two-seat roadster. The baby was thrilled, even with the driving cap we made him wear to keep the sun out of his eyes because we can't find child-sized sunglasses this time of year. I'm told he was happy to see the other kids, gave The Hub a kiss and a hug when he left, and that he knows he'll see us tomorrow.

Now, to veg.


The new clothes fit. So much for going with boys' sizes, back to the baby area of stores. His new hat is a bit large, but looks enormous when he's pulling the chin straps. He's entranced by everything in the house, and even though we're trying to introduce new things slowly, it is hard to put one past this kid. He's inquisitive, focused, and a bit overwhelmed. He mugs for the camera. He pets the dogs. I made him a ring for his finger out of playdoh, and when it got stuck to the piece he was playing with, he worried about where it went until The Hub made another. We peeked under the bed at the cat, and I said, "What's that under there?" He said, "A monkey!" Yesterday, he kept himself awake by sheer force of will, wouldn't nap, scared of "no be here," and when we told him that we had to go back to his foster family, he cried for the first time all day and said, "No, want stay." He fell asleep in his carseat, opened his eyes for a moment when I lifted him out, and stayed asleep when I tucked him into bed and covered him with his blanket, which is the only non-clothing possession he has.
The Hub and I are not as terrified. We're still figuring things out, and any moment he'll run through the front door for another visit, his last before the state moves him here tomorrow afternoon, but so far, so good.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

So. Very. Tired.

For anyone wondering, nine hours of parenting down, seventy years to go (if I figure the average age lived for the women in my family).

I know we're in the honeymoon phase, but this is one cool kid.

To Do:
Return each and every piece of clothing we've amassed for another size.
Run the heck out of the dogs before he comes over tomorrow.
Convince the border collie mix that the kiddo isn't a strange new breed of sheep.
Get the magnetic poetry off the fridge.
Drop the bedframe a few inches.
Trim the cat's nails.
Try again to contact kiddo's SW.
Cook huge batch of reheatable dinners.
Finish painting train set.

He's Here.

The day has gone better than I expected. Picked him up at 10 this morning, and we'll have to bring him back to his foster parents pretty soon.

Dogs aren't much of a hit -- the little pup hasn't realized that jumping up on a kid is different than jumping up on an adult, and the big pup is wondering what kind of strange sheep we've brought home. Nothing worrisome, though, just adjustments.

Kiddo's been glued to the hip all day.

All the clothes my family bought are too big. Back to the stores. Kinda happy about that, actually, since others had brought piles of clothing and all I got him was a tshirt that says he does all his own stunts.

Is poop often bright green? I couldn't believe what was coming out of this kid.

Monday, November 06, 2006


We're taking custody on Friday. We're visiting as much as possible between now and then, but Friday will give all the social workers involved enough time to do paperwork, make appointments, see the little guy and talk to him to explain what's about to happen.

The Wheels Go Fast, then Slow

Our social worker, our old (and maybe soon again) social worker, the director of our agency, the child's social worker, and his current foster parents are all working out a schedule and time frame for placement. Each time the phone rings I jump out of my skin. We've had two visits since Friday, we might have a few more in neutral locations with the foster parents too, I might take care of him in our home tomorrow morning, or we could already have him here by then. I just don't know yet.

I think we're as ready as we can be. We have laid waste to the spare bedroom, with all the glassware and other fragile items stored away, but then we put a doorknob cover on that door, so the mess can remain safe at least until Thanksgiving.

I'm. So. Freaking. Nervous.

I have the other blog up and running, spewed photographs all over it this morning. I've been up since 6 with little else to do than document this crazy thing and assemble some furniture and hang curtains, so that's what I've been doing.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

With Pictures! Send an email!

When I started writing this blog, it was because of the lack of foster-adopt blogs out there. The first one I found, back in June, was Suck the Marrow, and from there I eventually located others, found Chinese adoption and Russian adoption and Korean adoption blogs to be more plentiful, so I started reading those, too, especially the China blogs, since each month there was a new group of people getting referrals, traveling, and becoming families. I liked that. I still like it.

With this situation we've decided to pursue, there are... complications. I'm trying to decide whether to keep Spotted Dog Turn public for other fost/adopters in the future and to start another blog elsewhere, or to turn this one private (yarr, I did take my blogs private for 4 whole days this last week, my pal is working on new looks, and I figured things might be wonky so they went private, but then I had the need to blog, so back to public it went). I think I'll keep this puppy public and start another.

I'm very, very tired right now, what with the hours visiting will-be child then followed by dropping an assload of cash on kids supplies, but tomorrow I'll start the new blog. If you'd like to be added to the reader list-thingy, send me a quick mail at spotteddogturn at hotmail dot com. I know there are a bunch of people who visit regularly that don't comment or mail, so if that's you and you'd like to know whether will-be son is 1 or 17, drop a line. I'll try to remember to send out emails tomorrow to the people I know and love, but my brain is made of Quaker Oatmeal right now, so emails would be So. Very. Helpful. I've got Blogger Beta going on here, so if you have a Blogger Beta/Google ID, that would be the email to send from. But I'm guessing y'all are in a better place, brain-wise, than I am right now, so do whatcha can. Me=mush. For reals.
Also, I will NOT be able to do all this tomorrow morning/early afternoon if we take custody of him tomorrow. So, if I'm slow, I'm probably a mom.

Till then, here are pictures.
Two t-shirts from Target. They're the only place we can find short-sleeves right now, so even though Tarjay clothes usually fall apart after a month or so, that's all the longer they have to last.

Tablecloth, plastic on one side and fuzzy on the other (I'm sure there's a name for that type, but I don't know). Yay snowmen and reindeer! $3 at target, keeping the wooden table from scritchedy-scratches.

Also from Target, melamine plates, bowls, trays, and side plates that are very similar to our already-have stoneware plates and bowls. We figure droppable plateware is a good thing.

And, ah, has anyone else ever come within moments of having a nervous breakdown in the carseat aisle of a store? Just when I'd been all "hey, I picked one out! woohoo me!" six other people came around to tell me just how wrong I was. I let them hash it out, I went and picked out socks with flames on the feet and came back a bit later. I have no clue which one we ended up with, but I'm thinking it made the majority happy.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Its a boy!

We met him. We get to see him again on Sunday. My parents have been unsworn from secrecy. The cat's out of the bag -- free range cat, if you will.

We'll be bringing him home this week.

Actual details will be given soon.

Friday, November 03, 2006

We're meeting him in two and a half hours. I'm a girl who couldn't fall asleep the night before the first PRIDE class, I got so excited, so right now I'm frazzled.

We're thinking we'll bring toys for all the kids living in the house (current f-mom has two children, plus the child we're meeting). We're not making a big deal out of why we're there, it is all supposed to be low-key. Our SW will be there, the one we started out with, the one that we liked so much that we chose this agency.

My mother has clothes, toys, and equipment set aside at no less than 5 stores, and she's even conned my father into returning to the attic (remember how well that went last time? ugh.) to find the Brio, Playmobil, and tons of other toys and books.

Even though there are some things about this child and this child's situation that are troublesome, even though there are more safety issues than we would have liked, we're looking at this meeting as a way to confirm our "yes." From what we know right now, we're moving forward.

I'm terrified.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Last Memorial Day, I said to The Hub, "You know how I want to be a foster parent, or adopt from foster care? I think we could actually do that now instead of waiting another ten or fifteen years."

Finished verification in mid-August.

Submitted our homestudy on many kids between then and now, only heard back about kids who were already somewhere along the matching process and were no longer available. The rest, who knows?

Only really started getting calls in the last month, with a flurry of activity in the last ten days. Three under three, a newborn, four and six year old sisters, a five year old, another newborn. We've said no.

Tomorrow, we're meeting a child. From what we know so far, we're saying yes. Depending on his social worker's preferences, he could be placed in our home tomorrow night.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Interesting development around here yesterday, must discuss...

A call came in at 3:00 yesterday afternoon asking The Hub if we would be interested in a three day old caucasian boy, healthy, voluntary TPR within the week. The baby was ready to be discharged from the hospital any time, and we were the first of three couples to be called (our social workers are fond of us). I was prepping a rack of lamb and didn't answer the phone when The Hub called me, since the number on caller ID was a strange name and I was up to my elbows in flesh. The Hub left work, the ladies in his office pushing him out the door and telling him to drive carefully.

I already knew that being asked if you'd parent three children under three will scramble your brain. Turns out, being asked if you'd like a newborn delivered to your door by dinnertime has the same effect. By the time The Hub got home, our twenty minute head start on other families was up, so we had to decide quickly.

It wasn't an immediate yes. We leaned toward no, we thought about baby names, we called both sets of parents, we leaned toward yes, we called my sister's fiance to find out if they could bring the crib in my parents' attic to our house that night, maybe pick up a mattress on the way out, and I broke into tears because I didn't have a crib quilt made and because my husband has never changed a diaper.

In the end, someone else said yes first. They've had an empty nursery for many,, many years, and I am so, so happy that I was boning the rack of lamb, that I didn't answer The Hub's call, and that our house is forty minutes from his office, because all those things meant that our friends finally brought home a baby from the hospital.

My mom is slightly miffed at me because we didn't say yes right away, but she'll live. We're thinking we'll buy some baby supplies so next time we won't be caught so off guard, and so we'll actually be able to think of something else other than, "We Have Nothing For A Baby." And if we'd taken this child, I think he would have been referred to as The Baby for weeks, since we've never thought that we'd be naming a foster or adopted child and don't have any names on deck.

Anyone else getting the feeling our agency is babyland? Can you believe that people go through their domestic infant programs and wait for years, whereas we are foster adopt with the intent of adopting 5-16 and within three months we've been offered four littles? All of this makes my head spin.

Back to work. Have a roux to make and a nap to take.

Monday, October 09, 2006

In which I almost start singing the Rolling Stones

I haven't known what to write lately, so I haven't written anything. Right now, I'm eating a can of wasabi peas, talking to a few old pals on Ventrilo, and trying to decide what's next.

Making a lot of things has been very nice lately. It is good to be working with a looming deadline, filling the spare rooms with toys, baby bedding, blankets, and other things, and to know that -- if they're appealing to others -- they'll have another home soon. But even that -- the chance my things might not be chosen, more specifically -- is worrying me. That a number of things have been purchased lately makes me feel like I'm floating, but still, I get scared.

I'm a bit down. I'm feeling... over processed. Or burnt. Or just tired. When we started out with the idea of adopting, I felt so optimistic. But now, I think I've just read to much, learned too much, and had too many disappointments and hard decisions in too short a time. And I'm frustrated that we're missing out on future events because we've got no idea of our time frame. I'm tired of not knowing, I'm tired of questioning, and above all, I'm scared. I'm scared we might still be in this limbo in another six months or year, I'm scared to say yes to the wrong kids, I'm scared to say no to the wrong kids, I don't even know if I'd recognize the right kid if he came up and kicked me in the shins. I'm tired of thinking about the ramifications of becoming a transracial family, I'm tired of learning about FAS, I'm tired of worrying about future rages and explosions, I'm scared we'll have to give our dogs away, I really don't want to have to spend weekends patching drywall or taping windows over with garbage bags or driving two hours to an RTC to visit an out of control child, and I don't want to ever, ever make a choice that will ruin my bond with my husband.

I've been thinking lately that I've made a huge mistake by starting down this path. It hurts so much to see that written, but there it is. I do not know if I am strong enough, tough enough, loving enough, patient enough, or whatever other words that were or weren't in the song "Beast of Burden."

I think this will pass. I think it has just been too long without good news on this front, and it is making my heart shrivel up a little bit. I'm just feeling lost.

Say hi? Please?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The United Front

Things are returning to normal around here, helped about by a hefty dose of nitrous at the dentist yesterday. Nitrous makes me stupid. That happen to anyone else? The Hub bounces right back from it, meanwhile I'm drooling in my soup and stuttering. But, oh, does time pass quickly.

There are many reasons why The Hub's no was probably the right thing to do. It would have been an enormous undertaking. We've not ruled out the under-3 kiddos as a whole, but three would be too much, and after months of thinking 5-16 years, adjusting our mindset to an infant and two stair steps was too much to do in a weekend. Hub's main reasoning was that we've passed on applying for kids (the same ages as these three and slightly older) because they're too young, so we shouldn't rush into placements just because they're offered. Our biggest fear is disrupting an adoptive placement, whether because of the children's issues or our own limitations, and saying yes to something bigger than we'd anticipated just isn't the smartest thing we can do.

If one of us isn't ready for something, then we aren't.

There wasn't any big fallout around here. I was twisty-squirmy for a bit, of course, but we're a-ok. We get mad, we get sad, we get over it.

I'm getting excited for whatever's around the corner. Yay, looking forward.

Monday, September 25, 2006

At Least I Go Back to the Dentist Tomorrow

When we were first figuring out if we could/should adopt through foster care now or in 5/10/15 years, The Hub and I agreed on The Rule of No. Basically, if one of us says no, we both say no.

The Rule of No was put into action today for the first time.

That's all. I'm feeling deflated and sad and kind of angry, but I tell myself it is for the best. We are probably not ready for 3 under 3, and the kids deserve people who are over the moon about them.

My mom has been trying to cheer me up by telling me how hard it would have been, how everything will work out. It just makes me cry harder.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Station Break

I'd forgotten to mention this earlier, what with all the baby drama going on around here, but the sibling group of three older kids (the quince girl and her brothers from previous posts) have been matched to someone else. I'm so happy for them. More than a year after their original TV segment, they're going to be adopted. I thought I'd be disappointed, and I was a bit, as was The Hub (they'd done a number on him and he really wanted to be at least considered), and if the state had just said, "no, not y'all," then we'd be upset, but they were matched, which rocks my socks. What's also cool about this (for us) is that this might mean they're getting closer to matching on some of the other kids we've submitted homestudies on, since they all went in within a few days of each other.

That's if we're not already very very busy with three under three.

The Freak Out, Continued

If you've stopped by here anytime in the last 4 months, you'll know that babies were not on my radar. We are certified for ages 0-18, maybe, but our certificate says 5-16, and that was a-ok with me.

Now, 3 kids, who to my mind qualify as babies, although I guess one is a toddler.

None of my friends have babies right now. My friends either have no kids, or their kids are a few years younger than I am. I do know that such things exist as baby bjorns, slings, strollers, and rear-facing car seats, and I have Tivo'd every episode of Sesame Street since the new season began, but that's about where Baby Stuff ends.

How long could we get away with 3 PacknPlays instead of cribs? I wouldn't be able to work-at-home anymore unless we hired a nanny (a nanny!). We'd be putting the kibosh on Genetic Experiment: Bio Kid we're planning on knocking me up with in 3 years or so (cause 4 kids under 7 WOULD break me, if 3 under 3 hadn't already). Would I spend two hours crying in my closet every night? Do I have the patience to be Insta-Mommy to 3 babies? Shouldn't I be running around screaming out my excitement instead of knocking back Pepto?

From the information we know, I'm confident that these kids are someone's dream. But they aren't feeling like ours. If there were two, if they were a little older, if one were older, if it wouldn't mean maxing out our credit cards to buy 3 of every baby item in existence (We've saved money specifically for the buying-frenzy, but not 3 baby money, if you know what I mean. And we have 1 crib, bunkbeds that can be un-bunked, a full size bed, and a queen size bed available to us or already in our house -- what age do kids move out of cribs and into beds? My brother respected the boundary of the crib until he was 3, so my parents kept him in it, cause he didn't respect any other boundaries, so is 3 ok? Or 2?), hell, even if my dad hadn't fallen off a ladder last month and ruined his arms and my mom were able to help me out like she's always planned (she's been telling me for ten years that she's moving into my house for the first six months after I have a baby, and when we told her we were thinking of adopting, she said, "Get the Mother-In-Law room ready"), then maybe I wouldn't be so scared.

My mother refuses to have an opinion. This is uncommon.

What I'm thinking right now, after three hours of sleep last night and now sitting up watching Property Ladder, is that if we were going to say yes, we would have already said it.

But I'm not ready to say no, either. And we've got to make a decision fast.

Tune in later today after I try to sleep.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Full-On Freak

No real decision made yet. We think we know what our answer will be, but there are still a few things to consider.

If we'd said yes yesterday morning, the kids would have been here by the end of the workday. However, as these 3 are as young as you can get without multiple births, well, we need some time. And... we weren't planning on three at once. And... we weren't considering children this young. And I don't know if I could handle three kids in diapers, highchairs, and cribs. I'm really really scared, and we're waiting for the shock to wear off before we make a real decision.

These kids are someone's dream placement, but we're not sure if we should be their parents. They are fost/adopt, but TPR is already scheduled (very very very soon), they are little, there are girls and a boy, and they have never been in foster care.

In so many ways, it is good (sorry about being vague, but if you've been reading my blog for a while and you know the sorts of periphery things I think about and want, you'll get it.). At the same time, there are circumstances that upset me (having to do with mom and dad's situation). Meanwhile, things I thought I'd consider a dealbreaker (not speaking English, for a benign example) don't worry me a bit.
Did you know that you'll attract a lot of attention when you tear into Babies R Us in sweaty gym clothes, wild-eyed, cellphone glued to your ear, saying, "I might have three kids tomorrow, can someone help me find everything?" Yah, um, people drop what they're doing, and even the other shoppers will take you by the hand and introduce you to the options available in double and triple strollers. I hit about a million things with that little scanner gun, dudes.
And yes, I got the phonecall at the gym. I was on the elliptical machine.
This is a pillowdoll I made last night, cause babies need toys too.