Sunday, November 17, 2013

the incident

I keep getting asked about Foster Care and what’s it like. Well, obviously I love it or I would have made up an excuse to quit. Like, “Sorry. I already have 3 kids under 4.” But I am a person that doesn’t feel like I’m doing my part until I’m stretched like a rubber band. And that’s what makes me happy. Knowing I’m being 100% utilized. Not to mention the exciting joys of children. From the tender little expressions of love, like Brooklyn bringing home her M&M’s and telling Co Co and Bry, “sit down, guys! I saved ALL the blue ones for YOU because I know that blue is your favorite color.” And the boys taking turns bringing Brookie gifts because she’s a princess. And my little men asking me to dance with them, sing with them, put make up on me, asking Brookie to paint their toenails blue. They are precious. I love to listen to them pray. Especially Bry. His prayers usually go like this.

“Heb’n’ly Pawder. Thankful dis da-ay. Dat Co Co tooked my mon-ter tru-yuck. Dat I told him no. Dat Co Co told me ‘ain’t’ and dats not ni-yice. Dat Daddy can’t just leeb me to go work. Dat mommy can’t just tell me I can’t sleep in da ni-yite ni-yite. Name Jesus Chri-yist, Amen!”

Brooklyn’s prayers are heart- felt and bring tears to my eyes almost every night. (Either tender tears or tears from holding in laughter).  “I’m just SOOOO thankful that daddy got back to land and that… no alligators got to bite on him… and that Co Co is living with us and that please, Heavenly Father, help
Bry and Co Co learn to share. It just really hurts my little feelings when they take Chark Chark and Pretty from me (her stuffed dogs). And PLEASE, please. Help Boeing to be soft. He is just too rough.”

And Co Co. “Heb Pawder. Tank day. Tank mommie. Tank Daddy. Tank Bwookwen, Tank Bry, tank Bo-ee. Be ni-yice. Otter mommie. AYE-MEN!”

 My little 9 month old baby, Co Co’s brother, got moved to live with his grandmother. I won’t pretend that it’s easy to see my babies go, but I pray often and do my part to ease my emotional burdens. I wrote down EVERYTHING I loved about MM (my 9 mo old). I described how he couldn’t sit up, couldn’t hold his own bottle, couldn’t clap, couldn’t talk, couldn’t roll over when he came to my house.  Then I described each of his milestones as they happened rapidly. I wrote down his likes and dislikes. His favorite sleeping position, his favorite foods, things that make him laugh, etc. Then I sent a copy of that and an 8x10 pic I took of MM to the grandma. And that gave me closure.

And the other question. HOW do you DEAL with SEEING the birth parents??

Well. This is my 3rd go round with foster care and my first time to meet a birth parent. I think there is good in all people and you have to do your part to bring out the good. (Otherwise you’ll be like the other foster mom I met that was going off about “all the little brats” and how she can’t believe her home is under investigation AGAIN while she’s doing the STATE of MS an ACT of KINDNESS. All the while adding Call of Duty to an 8 year old foster son’s Christmas list).

The first time I met Mom, I was anxious beyond belief. I assumed I would be hated and demonized. And I'm sure the Mom felt the same way. If my kids were taken from me, I’d lie, steal, cheat, rob, murder- ANYTHING to get MY BABIES back. So, in that mode of thinking, I decided she was treating me like a saint. And I told her as much. I told her I can’t even imagine being where she is, and while it isn’t much comfort, I wanted her to know I LOVE her children and they have been an absolute blessing to our family. I let her know quickly that I didn’t think I was all that and a bucket of chicken in the mommy department. I told her about my mediocre skills in the kitchen and some of the funny stories that go along with that. Then I gave her a hug and told her that we pray for her every night. (And not in a belittling way).

The next visit went TERRIFIC. I took Mom 8x10 pics of both her boys. (They look SOOoo handsome)! And she was so pleasant and grateful. She said, “You are so kind!” Which meant the world to me. I don’t much like being hated. And she played with her boys and loved on them. And we talked like old friends. And she asked Co Co if he liked living with “Mommy’s friend.” And she gave me a picture of her and Co Co that I put in his room. And she brought me stuff for the boys. She told me all her friends were asking if I was a total Bee. And she said, “I told them, ‘No! She is actually a normal person! Like someone I’d go have drinks with!” And despite the fact that I’ve never touched alcohol in my life, I was sincerely happy to hear her say that. It ranks up there with top compliments I’ve been given.

And the next time I go I’m giving her a CD of all the pics of taken of them. The candid funny ones. AND have I got a story to tell on CO CO!

So, the potty training has its ups and downs. I’ve basically told my boys, if the pee goes ANYWHERE other than the PANTS, it’s a GO!

WELL. Today at church I was yapping my gums, something “I” rarely do. (Lightening, do not zap me. It WAS a JOKE). Boeing is walking like a champ now, so he’s pretty much going to be the death of me. I’ll need to invest in a leash immediately. But I’d managed to get all four of my hooligans in the same vicinity. They each plastered themselves against a glass door and were watching the cars drive by. I, thankfully, was watching them out the corner of my eye while I RAILED on Starling and Aaron about their exaggerations of their little adventure in the Everglades. (Which they insist the story I heard was a MILD version; the mere CLIFT NOTES. –well MY adventure that “I” had while they were gone for 6 days has YET to be TOLD).

I saw movement and turned as the church door opened and Bry and Conner ran out. I was on their heels. “What are you- OHH!” Co Co turns to face me with his weenie hanging out of his pants. He has caught the attention of EVERYONE in the foyer watching wide eyed for the next segment of “Wendi’s World; Season 1.”

“Put that thing AWAY!” I tell him as he simultaneously lets loose. RIGHT in the MIDDLE of the WALKWAY, under the OVERHANG!  ON the CONCRETE! RIGHT in the MIDDLE of our congregation trying to LEAVE. This kid starts peeing like a keg of water that just lost his cork. It may be that time was altered, given my awkward circumstance, but I SWEAR the kid peed for 11 minutes. And I’m just staring at Starling, who’s watching, mouth agape from inside. I’m flailing my arms at him like he can perform some sort of miracle and make Co Co stop peeing mid flow. Starling FINALLY, in his Starling Johnson time frame of SLOTH, reached us and said, “No! You can’t just-“ and I stopped him short because Co Co was SOOO excited that he just peed OUTSIDE and NOT in his underwear.

“Let’s try to pee in the grass next time, buddy. Good job, though!” and I shoved all the kids at Starling who was shaking his head mumbling, “Talk about desecrating the church…”

In my moment of confusion and utter humiliation, I filled up Boeing’s bottle with water and dumped it on top of the pee. So the desecration was, at least, diluted. OOOOOOHHHH the joys of CHILDREN!!   

Potty Training

I have been blog deprived for LONG ENOUGH. Seriously, when a girls gotta vent, a girl BETTER vent or next thing you know her husband will be missing an eyebrow. (Passive aggressiveness MAY run in my family). And maybe just plain aggressiveness.

 I have been showcasing my little 5 kids under 4 years old circus for a while. I play the clown that juggles. (If ONLY I had to JUST juggle FIRE). My juggling act usually consist of something vomit worthy. Like- at what point do little boys decide, “Ya know. Crappin my pants was fun and all… but I think I’ll move on to graffiti art with mom’s paints or hoarding cookies under my pillow.” Every time one of them, ages 3 and 2, has an “accident,” or a moment of quick decision that leaving the comfort of the outdoors to poo in a toilet is completely absurd, I make them pull down their OWN pair of pants. Make them wash their OWN poopy undies, and make them wash their OWN brown butts under the shower. They gag and/ or vomit EVERYTIME. (As do I). But stop doing it? Heck no. That would be completely ludicrous.

 HOWEVER, they go pee every five minutes to get a potty treat. Aka a choice piece of candy from Starling’s personal candy collection. (That he purchased the day after Halloween HALF price, which of course justified his buying an ENTIRE BUGGY of candy. Eh- at least if my husband MUST be addicted to something, it’s not crack cocaine). So. When I decided that the boys were a Kit Kat away from diabetes, I changed the potty treat rule. I even wrote it on the giant dry erase board in my kitchen. (The one I decided to purchase at Lowe’s on the windiest day in the history of MS, after discovering that dry erase paint is $75 dollars for a TEE-NINIE can. The giant board was $13. But it, of course, wouldn’t fit in my van because it was too long and too wide. SOOOOOOOO a nice man named Jose helped me GET the board TO my van, because the board flew away as soon I came out of Lowe’s. I, of course, was attached to the board and therefore experienced life as a tumble weed. And when I declined his request to let him FOLD it in half, Jose WAITED with my board and open van while I ran through Lowe’s begging for string. Of course when asked how MUCH I needed, I panicked and implored the little 20 year old to tie it for me. He told me to pull my van to the tie up station outside and he’d do it. THANKFULLY Jose, a frozen addition to the parking lot, at that point, was STILL guarding my board. And hadn’t stolen my van.  He drove the board on that rickety blue buggy contraption, ALL the way to the OTHER side of the parking lot, the wind blowing him to and fro, and I moved my van. Then Jose stayed while three brains attempted to plan a way to mount the flimsy board on top of my van so it wouldn’t take flight. Then Jose disappeared, but not before I thanked him repeatedly, told him he was an angel, the most blessed human I’ve encountered, and all but kissed his hand. Which may be why he left. That, or he actually went to Lowes to BUY something, not save Wendi: the great thinker. Then the other kid and I put our boy scout knot tying abilities to use. He wasn’t a boy scout and I’m a girl. So you can GUESS how that went. I did come up with a genius plan to let down my front windows, tie the board down with me INSIDE, then roll UP my windows to properly secure my loot for takeoff. I’ll have you know, I had to climb out the back of my van (since I was tied inside) when I got home, but honey- I MADE it home. And the board stayed put).

But where was I going with this? OH YES the changing of rules. So I wrote in BIG letters, for STARLING’s BENEFIT, since the boys can’t read, “REWARD SYSTEM: PEE PEE= toy from lock box; POO POO= potty treat.” (The lock box is another concoction of mine to make me feel good about my efforts as a maid and passively aggressively punish my children for being sloppy little turkey feet. When I notice the house is a wreck, with TOYS dropped around the house like confetti at New Years, I make an announcement. “TOY ALERT! TOY ALERT!” The kids have a small window of opportunity to put their toys where they belong. If they are trucking it, I let them have a long window. If they are playing with their toys, completely immune to my threat of losing every toy I see, I get my bags out and start loading up the toys to go in the “Lock Box.” It’s a pretty dramatic process. I make the toys scream in agony as I shove them into the bag and I announce EACH toy as it goes in. “BRY’S giant monster truck didn’t get put back on the shelf! ITS GOING INTO THE LOCK BOX!!!!” –manly gruffy voice-“NOOO not the LOCK BOX! WhY didn’t you SAVE ME BRY!!” Brooklyn cares. But none of her toys ever get locked because she’s basically a perfect child. Bry and Co Co sometimes help me fill the lock box bag. But now that they have almost NO toys to play with, I keep thinking they are going to understand they are getting PUNISHED for not CLEANING UP). Utter shock. My boys are having sugar withdrawals. “I don’t WANT LOCK BOX!!! I WANT POTTY TREAT!!!” Then put your poop in the toilet. It’s working. Pretty sure they both have hemorrhoids, but suddenly pooping in the toilet is a HUGE priority.