Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Little Bit's Ten

10. Claimed that she twitched her nose to make the lamp go on. In reality, it was a light timer. Also in reality, I don't think she ever KNEW it was the light timer.
9. Insisted that we do "This Little Piggy" on both feet at bedtime each night.
8. Anytime she forgot part of a routine, would hit her head and say: "I gof' about it." But if she remembered, she would say: "I bemembered. I'm a good memberer."
7. Was an expert at pretending to be a cat, down to playing with a catnip mouse, crawling around the floor meowing, and pretending to eat from the cat dishes.
6. Chased a plastic sea horse in circles in the tub, leaving little water IN the tub by the end of each bath.
5. Apparently had the counselor at school teach a lesson to her class about getting along one day. If she picked up on tone that Sass and I were having a "discussion," she would pipe in: Using words, using words, you have to talk about it!
4. Got a stuffed cat from Build A Bear for her last hurrah. She named her Tessa after a classmate yesterday, but today changed his name to CC.
3. Asked almost daily to have her hair put into "dog ears," aka piggy tails.
2. Called her new glasses "eyeballs." When we forgot said eyeballs at home one morning for school, she told the crossing guard: We gof about my eyeballs and had to go home!
1. Snuggled in fast and deep into loving Sass and me. Bit didn't let a day go by without telling us both that she loved "her Sass" and loved "her Tammy."


Making it "all about the airplane" was the only way to go for Little Bit's exit. I tried hard to make her want to move forward. We got pictures of her relative. We called said relative on the phone. We talked about the cousins she might get to play with. All of these attempts were met with resistance. With "Why can't I stay here?" With "But I want to call YOU my mommy." With "I am NOT going to like it there!" The draw of the airplane was our ticket. Relative said on the phone last night: "Oooooh, you are such a brave girl!" as Bit beamed. We drove down 71 over the weekend to see the planes. We looked at pictures of planes. We talked about seatbelts and potties and chairs and snacks on planes. It worked. At least up to the point where she went through the security gate and I went to my car. Little Bit followed her CPS caseworker through the metal detector, stuffed cat in tow. Here's hoping it was a smooth landing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sass' Ten to Remember

10. First showed her ability to be a kid when watching the turtles at UT and when playing in the fountain in front of the LBJ library.
9. Devoured books. Came in reading "a" and "the". Left reading "Henry and Mudge."
8. Was aptly described by a friend as being LOQUACIOUS.
7. Used phrases such as "first and foremost" and "It's my understanding that...." on a regular basis.
6. Had an adoration for rocks. Sass could not walk by a bed of rocks without putting one in her pocket.
5. Called Stubby to the couch every night so that he could sit on the back of the couch, sniffing her hair to "be sure I washed it good" while listening to her read.
4. Though it was difficult, Sass accepted Little Bit into our home and treated her like a little sister.
3. Spent three and a half months telling people I was an aunt, stepmom, real mom. Spent the last two weeks fessing up during her transition.
2. Adored going to church. When she heard there was such a thing as daily mass, she gasped: Really? Why don't we do that?
1. Came in like a lion who thought she was 20 and left like a lamb who, more often than not, knew she was eight.

Exit Strategy

7:45 a.m.: Wait on couch with shoes and jacket on for 11 a.m. pick up.
8:00: "Is it almost time?"
8:30: Pack forgotten toothbrush and hairbrush.
9:15: "I really can't wait to live with my aunt."
9:20: "Is it almost time?"
10:00: Lie on sidewalk near curb so as not to miss caseworker's arrival.
10:56: "Is she on her way?"
11:01: "Why isn't she here yet?"
11:26: "Yaaaaaaay! She's here."
11:34: "Bye Tammy, Bye Bit, I'll miss you."

And she's off.....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Giving Thanks

Sass wrote two thank you notes tonight. She decided on her own that this was the thing to do. The first was to her therapist: "Thank you for your help giting over a situation that was hard giting over." The second was to her new caseworker: "Thank you for moving very quickly giting me to live with my aunt." She is now able to recognize the progress she has made and is able to see people in her village that have helped her. For that, everyone who loves her gives thanks.


Sass once drew a picture in therapy of herself holding a suitcase. The suitcase was supposed to represent all of the feelings she has been carrying around during this fostercare experience. She said that there was loyalty, sadness, anger, and a little bit of happiness in there.

Our house is suitcase-laden today. Both girls have received their green lights. Sass will hit the ground running on Saturday when she moves to her aunt's. She is--to put it lightly--ecstatic. Bit will hop on a plane with her CPS caseworker on Tuesday or Wednesday. She is--to put it lightly--horrified to be leaving.

We are talking a lot about what goes in our suitcases. Sass is piling in the art supplies, the books and the stuffed animals she has collected in the four-days-shy-of-four-months she has been here. Little Bit has decided that her animals can only be in the backpack, not the suitcase. Her suitcase will hold her fancy winter coat that she will need and her books and puzzles that she adores. My suitcase is different. Mine holds some sadness that they are leaving, some happiness that they were ever here, and some trust that they will be ok.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


The girls, our 7 year old foster friend, and I went to the Austin Zoo last weekend. Everyone loved it. We saw a lion roaring maybe eight feet from our faces. We saw llamas, cougars, pot-bellied pigs, and big, huge tortoises.....

One tortoise had two front feet (paws?) on top of the back of the other. He was grunting. He was groaning. And suddenly: Tammy, what is he DOING to that other turtle?

Yikes. Do I really want to explain this one? "um, I am not sure." I responded as a woman next to me chuckled. "Why is he making noises like a cow?" asked Little Bit. "um, I am not sure." I responded again, as the woman next to me chuckled. "Why does it look like the one on the bottom is crying?" asked our 7 year old companion. "um, I am not sure." I repeated and that darn woman beside me laughed one more time. "Maybe it's like the turtles at the UT turtle pond....he's just trying to climb on her back to get closer to the sun."

Seriously? That satisfied their curiosity? Awesome!

Sass brought some great artwork home from support group on Monday night. A beautiful picture of two tortoises...one on top of the other. Seriously. Awesome!


noun: an intermediate or transitional place or state, a state of uncertainty (Merriam-Webster)

This is our home right now. Two girls, well, I guess THREE girls, in limbo. One knows she is in limbo and her behavior shows it. One has no idea that this is our current place of residence. And I have no idea how much longer I'll get to enjoy these two critters.

Sass got news yesterday. We have a new CPS caseworker for her. As best I can tell, in the four days this lady has been on the job, she has done more for Sass than the previous caseworker did in 3 1/2 months on the job. She is working hard and is very honest with Sass. She knows where Sass wants to be, knows she has somehow fallen through the cracks, and has told us both that we will have an answer THIS WEEK on what the future holds for our girl. Let's see if that happens. I hope for Sass, who spends half of her time planning what we'll do here for the holidays and the other half wondering how she'll celebrate with her family, that we really will know more and can work our way out of state of uncertainty.

Bit, too, is in limbo with us, but has no idea. She trucks along day by day saying things like "I love you, Tammy." "I love my sister." "I so happy here." And she already calls this place "home." Her limbo is lasting at least through this Friday so that we can wrap up all of her medical appointments. Is CPS really planning on flying with her to her new home (far away from Austin) during Thanksgiving week? They'd be nuts. But it'd get Little Bit to her new home. Stay tuned.....

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Could you hear the screaming this morning? It was loud and clear. Little Bit had her 4 year old well check today. This was on the heels of three days of being not so well. Since she has been sick all week but today was better, she couldn't figure out why I was taking her to the doctor. "Well, I think they might have to give you a shot." "What's a shot?" Leave it to Sass to pipe in, "Oh, YOU'LL find out!" Turns out the word "A" was a bit of an understatement. Midway through the appointment, in walks Nurse Ronnie with her tray full of syringes. Then in walks Miss Dottie to draw blood. It took three of us, nine painful pokes, and about five ugly minutes to reduce our little girl to a pile of shrill screams, sobs of "This really hurts. This really hurts." and the flat out sad cry. She calmed down eventually, but on the way out of the doctor said: This makes me want my other mommy.

And news today is in. Bit still won't see her "other mommy" but her road here is coming to an end. Sounds like the next two to four weeks will bring a new home, in the form of a relative waiting with open arms, for my favorite 4 year old. And all I can do right now is agree with her words from today: This really hurts!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Miss Sassafras!!

Eight ways it's good to be eight:

1. Cinnamon rolls with candles for breakfast
2. "You mean I get MORE presents??! Awesome!!"
3. $30 worth of gift cards and an hour and a half worth of time well spent at Target
4. Texas Book Festival on a gloriously hot but happy "fall" day
5. McCallum High School Steel Drum Band
6. "Fancy" dinner of calamari and mozzarella sticks at the Olive Garden
7. Seven waiters singing "the Italian Olive Garden Birthday Song" while delivering an ice cream sundae
8. A long steamy bubble bath to round out the evening

Happy Birthday, Sass. Wishing you all good things and a forever home in the year to come!