Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Itty Bitty = Strawberry who should have really been dressed like a crab
Little Guy = Shark-turned-into-Shark/Superhero/Cat because his mom left the top part of his costume at school, so we had to improvise with pieces of Beignet's costume from last year
Night Owl = Ladybug Cat because she was envious of Shark/Catboy's whiskers

Regardless of what they were supposed to be or became, two olders had a good time figuring out what this thing called Halloween was all about. Sharkie hasn't stopped talking about the candy (yes, I let him eat a piece). Ladybug Cat hasn't stopped discussing the "monsters" that came to the door. "It no monster, Mommy. It only KIIIIIIIIIDS." Nobody but me was impressed with our pumpkin, or even wanted to touch it. And everything just may have been a little too new/different/unusual for Itty Bitty since she was not exactly the happiest, carefree kid all weekend. Maybe next year....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy Birthday

Dear Curly,

Today you are six. I wonder what you are up to. All of the older kids here have talked about their birthdays, but you, my friend, were obsessed with planning. So if all goes according to your plan, today you are having a Transformers birthday cake but with Ben 10 napkins. You will go to Chuck E Cheese today. You will get "so many presents" and you will blow out six candles, one shaped like the number SIX.

I have reread all of your stories today in honor of you. I still love you and hope you are having fun in kindergarten, with your family, and in your new house.

Happy Birthday, Buddy!
Love, Tammy

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lost in Translation

Sometimes you just need to know the context:

"Mommy, it water down there." = I peed the bed.
"Itty Bitty I don't like that shoe fly." = Itty Bitty doesn't like flies.
"I had fun day Dora." = I like Dora.
"CC no CC and no Stubby" = a cat
"Jumping shoes" = sneakers

FAQ #3

Actually, this one only gets asked every six months. In my living room. By my caseworker. While filling out some six month review to keep us all in compliance. Something to the effect of: How does the family feel about fostering?

The answer changes with the mood. With the day. With the recent entries or upcoming good-byes. It is fluid. I can never give the answer I want because it's asked while kids are wanting attention, while my brain is in 4 different places, while my caseworker sits beside me waiting.

Tonight, this would be my answer:

I’ve just watched a video of my 3 current kids pretending to catch flies at the dinner table. I watched it in its 20-ish second entirety no fewer than 25 times. It is the most simple game we created out of necessity after leaving the backdoor open way too long the other day. This is what I love about fostering. Over three years, I have fostered piƱata hitters, puppeteers, hair braiders, skateboard riders, thumb suckers, ice cream lovers, dog petters, stroller riders, Capital ground hill roller-downers, cat feeders, story book readers, footie pajama wearers, laugh-till-you-pee-your-pants-ers, and yes, pretend fly catchers. I love that we are a family. Though who we are changes, what we are doesn't. I like to think that the difference between my family and any other family is just the descriptor that sits in front. I love that sitting at the dinner table with three kids still makes me, at least once a week, get up laughing and say: Hang on, let me get the camera.

A week ago, having processed again the idea of Little Guy leaving soon, I was NOT a fan of foster care. There are times where I hate the idea that this constantly changing family is my life. That when I say Hello, I know there will be a Goodbye. That there is a need for homes like mine. That kids ultimately grow in their skin here, become secure, happy little people, are embraced by the community, are adored but then they have to move again. That I watch a variety of children have a single birthday and then watch them leave.

Tonight though, having watched the fly saga happen at the dinner table and in the tub, after reading over and over again a story I have written for the kids to prepare them for Little Guy’s transition, after playing This Little Piggy with 30 little piggies while putting on three pair of pjs, while patting Itty Bitty back to sleep, I am on board. Though it changes with the kids, with each backstory, with court dates, visits and transitions, it is home for me.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Year Three

I am pretty sure that three years ago, I did not spend my Sundays lip syncing to Raffi and performing puppet shows with bath toys over the top of the curtain so that I could stay in the shower just a few more minutes. I think I may have read books with more than 10 words to a page. I may even have finished a project a little more time consuming than building a lego tower.

Year Three has been filled with ups and downs, hellos and goodbyes, firsts and lasts. It held the first child to be adopted from my home, the first to be reunified, the first to be the third in the home, the first (and second, and third) to not speak English, the first (what I consider to be a) baby. It's held long, carefully planned moves and very quick barely-time-for-good-bye moves. It's held arrivals with a few days notice and arrivals with 30 minutes notice. It's held very easy kiddos and tough nuts to crack. It's held much, much joy and much, much heartache.

Entering the fourth year, we are approaching the disbanding of our little United Nations. Soon, a little toddler bed in the corner of the room will be vacant. There will be no kissing good night Puppy, Bear, Panda, Flower, Water and Little Guy. There will instead be an emptiness in our family which I imagine will be filled with another story, another hello, another set of firsts, favorites, and fun. The girls, as long as they are here, and I will continue on our ride, ready for the next kiddo who needs a good stop for a while.