Wednesday, July 27, 2011

FAQ #6

"How do you do it?"

This comes from people who are really just acknowledging the four under four thing. They shouldn't have a clue by looking at us that we are a foster family.  Most people, I would guess, assume the bigs are twins and the littles are far enough apart to have come from the same momma. It comes from people in parking lots, sprinkler parks, and waiting rooms.  It still comes from people who have known us as long as we've been a family of five.  It just seems to be coming so much lately.

How do I do it?
...not always gracefully
...with a blind eye to dust bunnies under the beds and weeds in the garden
...with a sense of humor
...and some patient children who are mostly really good listeners
...with camera in hand
...with as much sleep as four kids allow
...and as many M and M's as my hands can hold at times
...prayerfully but maybe not always sensibly?
...knowing that we won't always be us
...but wishing we would be
...with endless support
...and with much appreciation for the people who believed that we'd be fine.

Stop Lights

There are two stoplights in our daily lives that I hate.  First, because they each take about an entire song to get through.  Second, because they are not in the best areas that we travel, so I end up answering lots of questions about what we see.

For instance, yesterday on the way to daycare, we sat at a light while a lady outside stood begging for money.  Well, actually not begging, but yelling at us.  "Yo! Yo! Yo!"  "Why's her yelling at us?" asks the Glamorous one.  "Because the light is green now." And off I drove.

Today, we sat waiting to turn near the CPS office.  A woman was on the median talking to a police officer. I am not sure wasn't obvious by looking around...but she was there, with no car and no other people. Just the officer and the lady.  "Why that lady's talkin' to that cop?" asks Big.  "Hm, I don't know, I can't really tell."  "Maybe her was running too fast." "Why would a police talk to her about that?" I wonder. "Cuz her doesn't have a car so it can't be cuz her was DRIVING too fast!"

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hand Signals

"MOOOOMMMMY!  Look what I can do!" she screamed when I picked her up from school:
Why is this noteworthy?

Because for seven months now, it's looked like this:

Not sure who felt the inclination to fix this.

In other hand gesture news, two big girls have learned to sign "I love you." Big Sister reminded us all in the car tonight: Mom, remember last night I kept loving you? I was loving you so so so much with my hands like this? And I kept saying 'Mama, look. Look. LOOK!!!!"

"Yeah, I remember that."
"That was pretty funny, wasn't it?"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Yet Another Perspective

There was a little girl in the restroom at a restaurant we were visiting today.  She didn't even have "big girl" teeth yet, so was what? 7? 8 tops?  Looks at me and my kids and says: Wow! Isn't four kids a lot for one person?

Friday, July 8, 2011

FAQ #5

It's pretty uncommon for someone to figure out what kind of family we are and not ask the #1 FAQ: Isn't it hard to let them go?.  It's becoming increasingly common for people to just say:  Isn't it hard?  I'm not always sure what "it" is when asked this.  Is "it" parenting 4 kids? Is "it" fostering? Is "it" dealing with a 3 year old throwing a tantrum in the middle of Target?  Is "it" being a single parent? The true answer to all of those interpretations is "yes".  It is hard.  The truth is that there is an aspect of this life that is so unnatural, so completely unbearable, that I can only bury myself in the stuff that is fun.  The truth is there is not a night that goes by that I don't wonder how 18 other kids are doing and if they are being treated right. Or a night that goes by that I don't stand over at least one kid's bed and wish that I knew they'd be here in a year.  The truth is it's terrifying to know why kids were pulled and to know that is what they are going back to.  The truth is that visits three times a week and DNA tests are things that no child should have on their to-do list. The truth is that it occurred to me today that the girls don't seem to realize this is a temporary gig and that one day the two who have become inseparable best friends won't see each other again.

But the truth is also that if I can get myself to participate in the moment rather than anticipate the ending, we are having a damn good time. The truth is 30 minutes playing with masking tape, dinner in cow costumes, crazy storybook routines that are exactly the same every night, and a 20 month old who sings the dragon's refrain from Pete's Dragon's I love you song is fun and rewarding and so worth it.

But yes, it is hard.

The Favored Auntie

Usually our favorite aunties come in the form of our friends who eat with us at Chik Fil A.  If not them, then it's the mom of our church family.  With these guys though, our favorite auntie is their caseworker. All four kids have the same worker and we see her twice a week.  You'd think as much as she is talked about that she is their best friend.  We spend time wondering what our caseworker is doing, who she is playing with, what she is eating for breakfast.  We have debates regarding how long her hair is, if she has one dog or two, if her cat wears a shirt, and why she doesn't work on Saturdays.  We want to go to her house, have a sleepover with her, and invite her to our birthday parties.  I have been asked what color Miss Caseworker's toothbrush is, what kind of jammies she is wearing, and what her middle name is.  There have been multiple discussions over why Miss Caseworker's last name is that of a common, everyday object.  I think the sheer fact that not a day goes by where she is not mentioned is a compliment.  The highest compliment for her though comes from Big Sister today:  Mom, if I can't live with you, I want to live with Miss Caseworker.  Her's nice just like you.  It ok I love her too?"
Of course.

Milk Jugs

Two milk jugs on the counter.  One's a half gallon, one's a whole.  Big Sister says: Why does that one (1/2 gallon) look like a tall person standing up straight with a hat on? It's skinny like you."  And then: "Why does that one (whole gallon) look short and fat like my teacher with a hat?"

Let's keep that to ourselves....

Little White Lies

Two three-year-olds have discovered the art of lying.  They are not very good at it.  My favorite this week was when a topless Glamour Girl climbed out of bed and said: Mom, my shirt was too big so it fell off in the middle of the night.

Sure it did......