Sunday, January 26, 2014

Psycho Sunday

I am going to blog. If I can stop TWITCHING long enough to TYPE.

You KNOW your Sunday is going to be FABULOUS when your husband leaves you first thing in the morning to go fix a sewage leak for his renter. Leaves you with five kids. To get ready for church. BY YOURSELF.

I was NOT going to let Starling's absence stop me from getting to church on time. If anything, getting the children fed and clothed ran smoother because I wasn't telling Starling what to do every 3.4 minutes to "help" me.  I had all the clothes laid out and dressed the little darlings with lightening speed. I got them loaded into the Expedition, buckled up, and mentally prepared to leave when, OH- The KEYS are missing. Who drove last? Well, DUMB question. If "I" would have driven last, the keys would be EXACTLY where they GO. But NO. Starling drove. And I looked in EVERY pair of dirty blue jeans, every jacket, on every "drop and go" surface.... NO KEYS. Because this is a DAILY occurrence with my husband, I got livid IMMEDIATELY. I called him. FOUR times. No answer. He was APPARENTLY too busy being covered in RENTER poop to answer MY emergency.

Did I mention I was wearing tall hills? No because it was irrelevant up until the RUNNING, RUNNING, RUNNING through the house. I can't RUN in hills, I can barely WALK in them, so I was mentally yelling at Starling with every TWIST of my dang ankle.

I finally GAVE up, slammed open the car door, and gave the orders in a deep, FIRM, partially psychotic voice, "I want you to unbuckle your seat belt, RUN to the van, REBUCKLE as FAST as you're little body can buckle, and WITHOUT talking. GO!"

Surprisingly, 8 little legs bolted for the van. Boeing, of course, needed assistance. The Expedition, or commonly named Gas Sucker,  is fairly tall. It has the little step up ledge to assist entry and exiting. I climbed on the ledge. I unbuckled Boeing and tripped on the ledge. Because I'm a total and complete klutz and have next to NO coordination, I am used to falling off the ledge. Unfortunately, when I tried to do my normal "leg spread and body catch," my legs wouldn't spread because my skirt was holding my knees together. SO. As you can only IMAGINE, I gracefully busted my BUTT. I slipped on my hills, slammed my hip on the side of the car and skidded to a halt once my butt found the cement driveway, and NOT before I mangled my hair- do across the car seat.

SO. I arrived at church a few minutes late, with fury burning in my eyes, bruises making walking painful, and a head full of tangled up hairspray. With FIVE kids in tow.

I found a pew. We sat in the pew. But only for half a millisecond. Boeing immediately started yelling, "Wan DOW-WON! Wan DOW-WON!!!" Breonna stood up and started checking out what the people in front of us were doing, Kolten did something that cause Brighton to start crying, then climbed UNDER the pew for good measure, while the Sacrament was being prepared. My nerves reached a new level of tension. I was snatching children up like a burglar in a jewelry store. "Sit!" I kept hissing. "STOP!!!" I kept whisper yelling.
I turned around and Boeing was HALF way to the front of the church, STILL during SACRAMENT. (Sacrament in an LDS church is similar to Communion in other churches).  I hobbled as fast as my knobby legs could waddle, tripping over myself, my shoe falling off halfway to Boe. I grabbed the giggling one year old who was thrilled about the fun new game he'd engaged me in, and shoved a banana in his mouth to get him to SHUT UP while the prayer was being said. MIS-TAKE.

In voices one might use to yell to an outfielder on one's baseball team, Breonna and Kolten started, "I WANT a BANANA!!!!"

"NO.SIT!" I mouthed with as much FORCE as a SILENT voice can shout.

"But WHY?" asked Breonna.

"BUT I'm HUN-GRAY!" protested Kolten.

Despite the fact I fed them GOBS of food RIGHT before we walked through the church doors.
While I was trying not to have a full blown conniption, Boeing grabbed the banana from my hands and shoved the entire thing at his head. He mashed and mushed until no part of his upper body was UN-banana-d. The bread was passed. Then the water. Kolten grabbed several waters and put them back where people could re grab them. I tried to remove the cups and dispose of them all the while holding back Boe, Breonna, and Kolten who were acting like taking the sacrament was synonymous with BUFFET.   I threw packs of crackers at the kids and pressed my finger to my lips until it left an indention.

About 15 minutes after the first speaker spoke, Starling texted me to see if I'd found the keys yet. That just made me want to smack him.

I turned to wipe Breonna's nose, and reached back for Boeing. He was gone. Vanished. In less than TWO seconds. In the time it took me to look left then right, back then forwards, Bro. Hinton, who was speaking, said, "This must be a Johnson baby." He'd already made his way to the pulpit.

Brad Kelley, a mercifully DEAR friend of mine, looked at me. I gave him the eyes of a pleading squirrel about to get snatched by a hawk. I was mentally saying, "PLEASE- save my child. I am about to die." (If not from a predator, than from severe nerve damage). He grabbed him for me. And kept him. And when Boeing started crying to come BACK to me, dear Elizabeth carried him out until he fell asleep. And I didn't want him back. I couldn't HANDLE him back. I was in OVER my HEAD. VERY DEEP OVER my head. I was swimming in blue jean overalls with steel toe boots.

I dropped the kids off to their unsuspecting teachers for Sunday School, trance like, and grabbed a vacuum. I sucked up half a pound of ground in the carpet crackers. Brad KEPT Boeing, and I sat in my Primary room sucking up oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide in slow motion. I needed to look over my lesson for the next hour. (Yes, our church is 3 hours. Sacrament, Sunday School, and in my case Primary because I'm in the primary presidency. It's the class where all children 3-11 go third hour). I did my second hour duties. Kind of. But the hour break from my children wasn't enough to prepare me for them again.
Breonna. Was. AWFUL. If you can picture a Jack Russel pup on speed.... bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce...   Or donkey on Shrek. "Pick me! ME! ME! ME!" And after she was "picked" to help, "Pick me! MY TURN!!! WHY AREN'T you PiCKING ME AGAIN??!!"

No matter how many times I said, "EVERYONE has to get a turn before you can go again...", nothing consoled her. Tantrum. Tantrum.

She answered every question before the question was asked. Ran to the front of the room every 2 seconds, and would NOT sit still.

When primary ended people lined up to console me like I'd just experienced a death in my family.

As soon as we walked into our house, Breonna said, "CAN we have CANDY now for being SOOO GOOD!!!??"

I walked away. I just had to walk away. Starling came home. I told him, "Your turn." And I shut myself in my room.

Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow has to be better. I'm doing really good about going to the gym everyday to get my two hours of child care in. I mean workout in. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

The new additions

I'm still torn up about my Conner. He went to VISIT his non biological grandparents, and when it was time to come home, to my house, the social worker said he would just stay with them because "that they have the brother."

But, I'm still praying that God's will be done concerning my little man, and I have faith that He'll get done what needs to be done. (And I will drop everything and DO anything to assist in THAT, if need be... which I hope I get the opportunity to do)!

IN THE MEANTIME- I got a phone call from a quite stressed out social worker needing placement for two "very hyper, probably ADHD" children. EEK. For the FIRST time in my life, I said, "Let me talk to my husband and call you back." (You know it's bad when I don't just SURPRISE him. When he reads it on FB).  

"Two more kids is too crazy. We need to have ONE kid at a time. And if the social worker is already TELLING you they are nuts, you can't handle them. You know they always sugar coat things."

I nodded in agreement, relieved that Starling said no, so I could tell the social worker, "I absolutely want to take them, but MY husband... he's just not the saint I am..."

 "Let's pray about it." That would give me the ultimate OUT.

So we did. Brooklyn, who had come in on the conversation joined us.

"Oh... how do you feel about taking them?" I asked.

"Fine," he sighed.

"Me too," I muttered with a inward shutter.

"I am SOO EXCITED TO HAVE A SISTER!!!" Was Brooklyn's response.
So in they came. Like a nuclear explosion. Within two minutes of their entry my house, which we CLEANED before they came, had self imploded. It had literally thrown up ANYTHING within reach of a five year old. ON a STOOL. Including blankets, storage, etc.

Within 3 hours Brooklyn's head was bleeding from being slashed with a toy sword and Boeing had a bloody nose. (I was foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog about to eat people and Starling, the most patient man on planet Earth, had a twitch and was clenching and unclenching his fists, while trance talking "Not going to work. This is NOT going to work").

Let's just say... GOD and I had a LOOOOOOONG talk.

The next day was much better. We went to church in Jackson, attended my nephew's baptism, then played with cousins. Nothing TOO insane happened. Except the house imploding. Again.

Monday, while the kiddos went with their social worker for a doctor's appointment, I performed the single most important act of my cleaning career.
I bagged, canned, boxed EVERY SINGLE TOY my kids own. Seriously. And I stuck them ALL in the school room. Which, by the way, is LOCKABLE! Then I vacuumed up the mounds of crackers CRUNCHED into the carpet (despite the fact I do not allow food or drinks AWAY from the kitchen table) and when the children got home, we had a little chit chat.

AND things have been a MILLION times better. If they would LIKE to play with something, I get it out of the school room. If they would like something ELSE, they return to me the CLEANED up toys, and I give them something new.

If anyone breaks the rules of the house: No Hitting, No Standing on the kitchen table, No Pushing, No Holding the puppy upside down, by one leg, or pinching it with pliers, No leaving the doors wide open, No throwing food, No stabbing the table with forks, No drawing artwork on the walls, etc. They stick their cute little nose in the corner. And a timer is set. The corner gets used. A LOT. But it takes the stress off me. I no longer have to get angry. I don't have to figure out a punishment. NO smiley face and Time-out.

"What happens when you dump your sister's cereal on her head?"

TRAMATIC, "I-I-I go to da COOORNEEEER...." Wailing, gnashing of teeth.

"Yup. Get there."

And Starling and I decided Kolten needed a push in the right direction. So we named him "Mr. Careful Man." (Since he is reckless and out of control). We told him stories about "Mr. Careful Man" and he now walks around saying, "Look! I bein' careful! Cuz I Mr. Careful Man!" And the girls and boys have competitions (between themselves- not provoked by ME) on who can keep their rooms the cleanest. (The boys have NEVER won. Bless their hearts). But the girl's room is currently immaculate! They even made their bed.   

I have a little dry erase board that has all the kids' names on it. When they clean their room, they get to draw, under their name, a SMILEY FACE! (Wow- I know. Pulling out the Big Guns). When they finish eating AT the TABLE, and take their bowl to the sink, wipe the table and chair and FLOOR, they get to draw another SMILEY FACE! (You would be AMAZED at the things I'm able to get my children to do for a dry erase marker to draw a circle with some dots). And periodically, when the kids do great things to help me or on their own, I reward them. (You guessed it- with a SMILEY FACE)! And when they get FIVE smiley faces- they get to pick something from the treat box. So. "Congratulations! You cleaned your room, kitchen, living room, bathroom, Mommy's room, and yard! Here's a hershey's kiss. ENJOY!"

The other thing the kids absolutely LOVE is high fives and KISSES. Kolten said "thank you" and, since it's something we are working on, I said, "Oh! You said thank you! That makes me so happy I have to give you a kiss!" My five little darlings, YES Boeing included, said "thank you" over and over until my kisser was bruised.

Kolten, who came here rough and tough, says, "M-Mrs. Wendi, I gonna share my crackers with Boeing and you have to give me a KISS!" And then he grins and acts like it's the most humiliating experience of his 3 year old life to have me kiss his cheek.  

Now, if I can only get the food situation under control.. We normally buy groceries once every week and a half or so. Or longer. We have gone full blown grocery shopping twice. THIS WEEK. We need a separate fridge JUST to hold milk. I've never seen kids put away so much food. And so OFTEN.

"Okay. Here's your third helping of Lasagna and 5th glass of water."

"Thank you! When I finish eating this can I have a bowl of cereal? I'm still hungry."

"Here's your second bowl of cereal."

"Thanks! When is snack time?"

SO. That is my new project. Figure out how to stop LIVING in the KITCHEN. It is my LEAST favorite place in the whole HOUSE, after all.

When the social worker told me that the therapist recommended the kids be placed in a "therapeutic" home on Monday, I was relieved. "So they'll be with me like two weeks tops?" The sw said, "They'll be with you until you say, 'I've had enough; come get them!'" I smiled thinking, "So... less than two weeks."

BUT. They have grown on me. And on Starling. They have made AMAZING progress in the 6 days they have been here. And they have been SO receptive to learning. Breonna, (yes another B) especially, LOVES scripture and prayer time. She found a bell and said, "I found the Holy Ghost! Listen! It's that still small voice!" We explained that the Holy Ghost lives inside of you.

So tonight Breonna said, "I know that the Holy Ghost is inside of my heart so he can bertect me while I'm sleeping!" Kolten chimed in, "A-And he's inside MY heart TOO! I know b-because I can feel my heart beeping!"

And when we talked about "blessings," Breonna said, "Like it's a blessing you adopting us!" And Kolten said, "yeah! you is nice! I want to stay with you, too!" And we had to have the talk about how they get to stay with me until their daddy can get them. And how he loves them so much, etc. (THAT is the hardest part about fostering. I feel like I can't make a big enough difference by JUST fostering. And I hate sending them back to a bad situation).

And they LOVE doing school. Much more than my bio kids. They have an intense desire to learn, which is terrific since Breonna is five and doesn't know her alphabet. (She was simply never taught). But she's a super fast learner and loves Brooklyn to teach her. (And Brooklyn, as you can imagine, LOVES an eager pupil). Brooklyn reads TWICE as much since Breonna says, "Brooklyn! You are reading! You are doing it!" 

And then, Brooklyn will read a sentence and Breonna will repeat the sentence. "You did it, Breonna! You are learning to read just like me!"

Kolten and Bry get along, also. (When they aren't punching each other in the stomach, anyway). Kolten always asks, "Where my little buddy go?" They both like to play outside, which, for me is FANTASTIC. If only they'd STAY out and not flap the door like a fly swatter.  

The kid's dad will get them back when his bond gets reduced. Or when grandma can pass a drug test. So, unless something changes, we are keeping them until then. I love my little spastic, overflowing with laundry and crumbs, crazy life. Except when I don't.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dream Drama

Okay. Am I the only freak that totally takes dreams to the next level? Last night I woke up FURIOUS at Starling. I mean, CRAZY livid. So angry was I, that I attempted kicking him out of my bed. (And I don't mean saying, "Starling. I am angry! I want you to sleep on the couch!") I mean- I woke up and his arm was touching me and I took both my feet and started kicking the crap out of his back trying to make him FALL out of my bed.

After awhile of doing this, and Starling NOT budging, I realized that Starling had, in actuality, NOT tried to sell my little fluffy Cocomo puppy to some crazy dog lady for $150 bucks. While we were living in my Grandma's house. It was only a dream. Then I was relieved that I hadn't ACTUALLY beat him with a frying pan and told him, "If I NEVER talk to you AGAIN, it will STILL be TOO soon!!!" And I didn't set his four wheeler shop on fire. THAT was all just a dream, too. Can I blame that on vitamins??

 And as soon as I fell asleep again, I dreamed we were living in our old house. And I told Starling NOT to hang the empty hangers in his closet. HANG them in the laundry room where they go. And that fart head HUNG the empty hanger in his closet anyway, as if he didn't have some dumbo ears to hear. I grabbed our wedding picture and slammed it over his head.

Luckily, when I punched him in real life, it hurt my hand and woke me up. I think I'm having some serious unresolved marital issues. Starling might need to watch out. I'm just glad those were the only dreams I had last night. Sometimes I dream Starling is talking to some giggling bimbo on the phone. And I don't get UN-Pissed when I wake up. I can hold a grudge about something I "dreamed" happened for like 3 days. And Starling can't really figure out how to apologize for something he never actually did. And I can't seem to find a way for him to make it up to me, even though he has nothing to make up FOR. So I mostly try to dream about beating robbers and politicians. But. I can't always control those crazy dreams of mine. So I think for Valentine's Day I'll ask for a punching bag. And maybe a dart board.