Tuesday, November 28, 2006
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
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
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.
Meanwhile, more peanut butter playdough at my mom's house.
And more puppy playtime, too.
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
Thursday, November 23, 2006
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
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.
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.
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
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
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
Friday, November 03, 2006
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.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
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.