Thursday, June 29, 2006

Just talking

Conversations I Never Expected to Have with an 8 Year Old
(or with anyone for that matter)

1. The prevention of skid marks and proper toileting hygiene

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

First Impressions

Thur - AV comes to stay with me

Fri - AV watches me do my makeup and hair in the morning. "You wear makeup?" "Yup."

Sat - We get ready to go camping that weekend. "Mommy, why aren't you wearing your makeup?" "Because we're going camping and I'm not out to impress anybody!"

Mon - AV watches me do my makeup and hair in the morning. "So who are you trying to impress today Mommy?"

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Fake Out

I fixed stir fry veggies for dinner tonight. Chinese peas, zucchini, asparagus - all from the local Farmer's Market. Yum!

So AV eats everything but the asparagus and starts complaining. "Do I have to?" "They're nasty! "I don't like these!"

And so and so on. Typical kid stuff. So I tell her she has to eat three pieces. She gets one, nibbles, makes a nasty face, forces herself to swallow, chases it with huge gulps of milk. "Do I have to eat more? You eat it for me! I don't like it!"

I cheerfully tell her only two more and studiously ignore her - trying to prevent a contest of wills.

She manages, with much vocal protest, to get the other two pieces down. Yeah AV! Good job. Very proud of you!

I'm sitting there, mentally congratulating myself on managing this parental crises, when I look over and see this child gleefully chewing while enthusiastically spearing as much asparagus as her fork will hold. For a moment, a very brief, shining and delusional moment, I wonder if I've wrought some sort of food preference miracle.

She bursts into giggles and laughter. "I love these! These are so good!"

What?!?! Why you little stinker! And I burst into my own laughter. Such drama - not over the asparagus but at tricking me! So no aversion to asparagus, just an evil flare for drama. Hysterical! =-)

Miniature Bombs of Nastiness

Something to laugh at… I unpacked AV’s winter coat and tossed it toward the door to be taken to the front hall closet. She gives a shout and runs over to the coat. I’m wondering why this coat is so important…she starts emptying out the pockets. Good for AV!

Until she says “Yup, they’re still there”. Chicken eggs… raw, now cracked, half baked from the sun chicken eggs. Why the coat pocket was a good place for chicken eggs, I wouldn’t know.

So I leave the coat there for a moment while we finish unpacking the box only to see movement out of the corner of my eye – my dog is eating the stinky, rotten chicken egg! Yell at the dog, move the coat to the bathroom to be dealt with later. Return to what I was doing only to see movement out of the corner again… now Seby has pulled the coat down from the counter and is going for the eggs! Yell at the dog – move the coat again and return to the bathroom to now clean up thick nasty yellow yolk on my rug, the counter, the sink…

Yup, being a mom is going great!

Friday, June 23, 2006

I'm a Mommy!

I got my first placement last night!

AV is a sweet 8 1/2 year old girl. She's been in foster care about a year and a half. I'm her 3rd placement. Her first placement was a year long and had to end because the foster mom got a job out of the country. The second placement was 6 weeks long and ended because the foster mom asked that AV be moved. The reason I was given for this move is that the foster mom is a sweet person but not touchy-feely. AV is very much a cuddle bug - lots of hugs and kisses. The foster mom was uncomfortable so AV had to move.

AV is definately a touch kind of person. Within an hour she was giving me hugs, blow kisses, holding hands, signing "I love you"... And since I have no problem with hugs this is all fine by me. (There may be some boundary issues to deal with in the future but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

She finished 2nd grade and is working at grade level though she is weak in her math and reading skills. So we'll work on that through the summer. She loooooves to sing. She sang to almost every song on the radio and then switched to Sunday School songs during the commercials.

DCFS arranged for her to be in the YMCA day camp while I'm at work and with clients. The social worker gave all the Y info to me and AV needed to bring a lunch, water bottle, sun screen, swim wear all in a backpack. And I didn't have any bread, meat, juice, water bottle, lunch sack, sun screen or backpack in my house! So a quick trip to Fred's and $50 latter (!), the child is outfitted for the day.

This morning she woke me at 5:30am. She said she had been up reading and coloring "for a long time!" So I'm really hoping the early morning is all about the excitement and a new place and not a regular thing! I put her to be about 8:30 last night so maybe I need to push bed time back a bit.

Oh, and I didn't tell you that AV's long term permanancy plan is adoption. Not that I'm ready to adopt less than 24 hours after meeting her! But, AV will not be returning home (baring the unforeseen) and the social worker is moving to terminate parental rights in September. So the social worker is looking for a long term placement that could possible become an adoptive placement. And adoption is part of my long-term dreams...

The frustrating part is that we don't know if I'll be the long term placement. This all happened so fast... The social worker called me directly but the Placement Coordinator (a different person) had another foster family in mind for AV. Who's to say if that will make a difference. As you can tell, I'm pretty enthusiastic and practically falling in love already. I am trying to hold back a bit and work on a reality check. The future is very uncertain.

AV is very aware that she is not going back home and knows that the social worker is trying to find a permanent placement. I feel for her - tough place to be for an 8 year old kid.

I guess that's it for the moment. Now that I've gotten all this out of my system I hope I can focus on work!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Her X-Powers

KC and I went and saw X-Men III this weekend. Very good movie!

So at the end of the movie the credits start to play and we follow the crowd and begin to file out. Three rows below us, a pretty 20-something turns around an tells the stranger behind her "TV said there was something to see after the credits!"

She was lounder than she intended. The entire theater paused their exit strategy, turned, applauded her and then sat back down! It was amazing!

But even better was the following 5-10 minutes. The credits kept going and going and going... I was sure someone was going to get disgusted with themselves for listening to a stranger and delaying their own rush to relieve overly-full bladders.

But nope - everyone stayed put. This girl had the entire theater in her thrall!

Finally, the credits cleared and a very important little scene did play!

I saw her exiting with her friend and she remarked she has been getting very nervous as the credits continued to drag on. I told her she must have her own mutant power to be able to hold a room full of strangers at her command!


The weekend with KC was good. A very nice kid. Incredibly energetic but very polite. He voluntarily took out the trash and made his bed! Cool!

He also believes himself completely invincible. This was very weird for me as I have always been more cautious and never break the rules. KC , on the other hand, was bragging about diving over a 4 ft tall hedge and seriously wounding his elbow, showing off scars and bulging torn tendons...

He loves Mt. Dew and told me about some guy who burned a hole in his stomach from drinking too much Mt. Dew. True or not the guy was KC's hero! Gack!

I'm not sure how I would deal with this. I'm not sure if it's a young male thing, a unhealthy symptom of stress being in the system or some sort of combo.

At the end of the weekend, I asked KC what he thought about staying with me. He told me he really wanted to stay with another foster dad but this other foster home hadn't renewed their license. The other home is near to where KC currently lives and many of his friends, so it's understandable.

Don't know what will happen from here. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Foster kid

So I have a 16 year old boy this weekend for respite care. His current guardians (a more permanent status than foster parent) are moving out of state and KC wanted to remain in the area so he could continue to visit his mom.

So we're doing a trial weekend. If it works out, KC will come live with me.

I got to say a 16 year old boy is a far cry from the 7-10 year old girls I thought I'd get! =-)

BTW - so far he seems very nice and likeable. We share an interest in TV, movies and books. He even likes some of the same fantasy authors I do!

Will keep you posted!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Stop Now and Save Yourself

"If we get a deadly strain of bird flu it may in fact kill all those who
attend church. The larger the Church you go to the more risk of death of all of
your family. Also small churches may kill off all their people."

Article here.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


I was feeling super restless this weekend. My clients have all dropped away and I'm finding myself with way too much time on my hands.

So Friday night I realize I will go completely nuts if I just sit home all weekend with nothing to do. So I decide I need to go to the beach.

I've always thought it sad to live in a place but never know it. And I always day dream about weekend trips and seeing what there is to see. I've even talked with a couple friends and made definate someday plans.

But I never go anywhere.

So I decided I had a free weekend and I was going somewhere, damn it! Well, after making lots of grandious plans, I kindof chickened out of a 6 hour drive to the coast as a spur of the moment trip. Especially since I don't want to spend money on a hotel room. I thought I would camp and I found some great parks but I don't yet own a sleeping bag, tent, lantern, folding chair, etc. You see the issue.

So I woke up late Saturday and thought, Duh! there's got to be something around the area I can go see!

Enter Palouse Falls. I gathered a neighbor child and her friend and the two dogs and the five of us drove just past Washtucna, WA to the Palouse Falls state park.

What a great place! You follow this super twisty, curvey country road, turn off to a dirt road and travel between hay fields wondering WTF?!?!?! And then, as you pull into the parking lot, you can hear a low rumble. Down a short path, and the ground drops away from sheer cliffs and you see this huge waterfall tumbling down into a massive round cut into the ground.

It was very odd... You drive to this place going over gentle hills, and you kind of wonder where a waterfall could be. The land all feels at the same relative level. Then you realize you are standing at the top of a sheer cliff, looking down into a massive, round rent in the earth. The height of it was dizzying.

I didn't actually take the picture of this little guy. This is a Hoary Marmot at Palouse Falls. We saw three of them but all my pictures came out blurry and far away. And he's too cute not to be seen.

Next weekend is Father's Day. After that, I'm going to the coast!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The real perspective

My brother is in the Navy and is on a 6 month tour of duty - on a ship, away from his wife and two daughters.

Last week the ship was in Israel and he wrote several very enthusastic emails about how great that stop was. Loved the tours, the country, the history, the architechture - the whole 9 yards.

I told him I was glad he had such a great stop but it seemed kindof sad that the highlight of this tour might have come in the first month!

His reply?

"As far as it being the highlight, I will have to wait and see about the rest of the time and places we go. And there is always one better highlight... returning home, nothing will beat that. Period."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

First Foster Care follow up

He was a nice 11-year old boy just at my home for respite (regular foster parents get 2 days of respite a month) so his foster mom and dad could go off for an anniversary weekend. He spent most of his time on the computer surfing the Lego Star Wars figures and outside fighting the neighbors with his lightsabers. He is seriously into Star Wars.

I did get really upset at one thing though... When I talked to the foster mom, she mentioned she knew it was my first time. (A bit of background - the social worker called me last month to take two sisters long term. We worked on it for over a week and then I decided not to take the girls. It was a tough decision. And then the social worker gave me new info and I felt I might have made the wrong decision. Arrrrgh. Anyway, I think the social worker thought I was feeling a bit gun shy about jumping into the foster parenting thing.)

Back to the story... I didn't mind the social worker telling the foster mom so much BUT the foster mom then told the boy that he had to be really good at my house because he was the first child I had. AND if he wasn't good and I didn't have a good experience, I wouldn't do foster care.

OMG!!! What a load to lay on a poor kid!!! I was sooo mad. I did talk to the boy and several times through the weekend told him he was doing good, my decision didn't hang on him... etc. I think he got it by the end of the weekend but still! I did tell the social worker who thanked me for the feed back. Hopefully this won't happen again.

The joys of working in a government system...

Stretching the lunch hour

For all of us who've always wanted a bit more lunch hour...

The Lunch Clock

Saturday, June 03, 2006

First Child

Well, I have my first foster child. I'm doing weekend respite care for a 11-yr-old boy. This weekend is his foster parents' anniversary so all 5 (!) of the foster kids are in respite care. His foster father dropped him off Friday just before dinner and will pick him up on Sunday night.

So fare it seems to be going well. I've made the first parental sacrifice - no sleeping in on the weekends! The foster parents requested I keep him on his schedule - 8pm bed and then he wakes up on his own at 6:30-7. Fortunately he slept in as well so I didn't have to get up until 8am.

So a happy weekend to all of us!!