Monday, February 27, 2012

Our Songs

Every kid in the house, even the cats, have their own "song." I am not sure what made each one the official song of that child, but they know their songs, they ask for their songs, and bless their little hearts, they even ask me to sing their songs. Over and over again.

Big Sister decided this was her song one day.  She calls it "When I was a little girl, you loved me". If we hear this song in the car, it is not unusual for either of us to interrupt whatever anyone is saying to yell: HEEEEEEYYYY Mommy! Do I love you???

My oh my.

GG's song was hard to come by. She's a bit picky and requested that I give her some choices for her love song.  This is the one she finally ended up with. She calls it "The apple in my eye song." The rest of us call it "GG's Home Song". She likes this video in particular because there's a little girl in it.

Tiny has a couple.  Actually, several made up ones regarding having a dirty diaper, though I have spared YouTube from my renditions of those songs.  Most often though, his love song is this one.  Everyone calls it something different, but mostly Tiny's Love Song, from a lullaby CD the girls listen to at night.

Little Sister's love song remains to this day the Pete's Dragon Song she used to sing when she was about 1 1/2. She sings it less now but makes me sing it every day.  I am not a very good sounding dragon.  She also has her "bouncing song" that we all love.  It's title came from Big Sister, who loved to watch Little dance as a 15 month old. All she did was bounce her diaper up and down.  She still does it on demand. (As an aside, the videos of this song seem really creepy to me.  The kids have never seen them, but here's the one with just the lyrics shown).

Her last song is the refrain from this one.  For those of you who know her real name, it's clear where it came from.  For those of you who know her personality, even clearer!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Let's Go Potty Now...

...everybody's learning how, come on and go potty with me."

I am not sure what the definition of fully potty trained is, but I am calling us finished.  Little Sister stays mostly dry, except for at the playground (in which case, who cares if there's pee in the sand?).  I will admit to actually enjoying potty training her.  We had fun. We have songs and dances and chants and cheers. Tiny claps every time I say: Little Sister went potty! We have a "hurrrrrrrrry, Sister needs to go pottyyyyyyyyy!" run that we do around the kitchen table. Do I think we are in the pee free zone? Nope. Poop free, maybe (and thankfully). But I actually am going to miss the time spent sitting in the tiny bathroom with her, making up stories about poop and pee, waving goodbye to them as they go "down the hole", and singing our handwashing song.

Next time I have to potty train someone, maybe I won't approach it with such trepidation.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Can I Test Out?

On our way to get five of us to three different places by 9am today, the girls asked me what I was doing today. I was off to do my annual training for behavior issues/restraining kids. "I have to go to a class so I can learn to be a good foster mom." I said.

Big Sis, damn I love this kid, did not miss a beat: "But you already ARE a good foster mom!"

Thank you, Baby Girl, I needed that today!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Don't Blink

They'll be walking out the door before you know it.

February 2011

April 2011

July 2011

September 2011

November 2011

February 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Wish

I found this in a draft of a blog from November 2010. Written the day after I dropped Little Guy off at his relatives.  I can only hope that this really did happen. And that the kids in the house now should have the same future:

As I was leaving, Little Guy's relative walked me to the door and said: We as a family want you to know that he will grow up knowing you were his second mother. We will not erase these months from his life.

Keeping It Real

As previously mentioned, I have no idea how to explain to a 2 year old that her mama soon won't be her mama anymore.  But I sure know how to get someone excited about having their first sleepover in their forever home:

 Overnights are starting. Exit date is set, although still unknown to the Sisters. 14 months worth of love to fit in these things.

I am not sure they are big enough.

The Secret is Out

With everyone transitioning in the very near future, there's so much talk about what things will be like. Big girls are very concerned about me...what will I do? who will I play with? will I be sad?  We were talking the other day about how other kids might move in here, which led us to talking about the days that each of them arrived.  Clearly, our lifestyle and what type of family we are is not a secret. Especially to us. Or so I thought.

"...then someone like (favorite caseworker) will call me and say,'Tammy, can you be a good foster mom for some new kids? They need somewhere safe to live for a while.' Just like she did when you came here."
"Wait. WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!? You're a FOSTER mom???"

It took 11 months, I guess, for the cat to come out of the bag.

Oh, Heavens

Conversation with GG the other day:

"What happens to your body when you die?"
"Your heart stops beating, you stop breathing, and your soul goes to Heaven so you can see God."
"We get to see DOGS!!????"

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Baby Brains

Four and a half years ago, I signed up to foster preschoolers to early elementary aged kiddos. I don't remember now what my rationale was.  Probably a bit of "babies are boring" and a bit of "I know how to work with preschoolers better." I dunno.  I do know that I didn't have the insight that I have now on what it is going to be like to say goodbye to the babies in the house and there are moments where I think that alone would keep me from doing this again. (Though I know in the end, it'll really do the opposite...MAKE me do it again).

So here it is.  Two kids have lived here literally HALF OF THEIR LIVES. I am their mamma.  They run out of the CPS office, from the arms of their mothers, into my arms screaming "MOOOOMMMMMMYYYYYYY." They contently go to their bio moms, yes. But they RUN to me.

The older girls "get" some degree, thanks to some very open discussions.  They understand why they are here, that it's a temporary thing, that soon they won't be here anymore. There is anxiety and there are worries. We can work through these because we can talk about things.

But how do you tell that to a baby or toddler who thinks you are IT?

You don't.

You hope in your heart of hearts that all that scientific stuff you read about neural pathways and developing connections and the ability to attach is right.  You hope that even though they won't remember your face or anything you did with them, they will remember the feelings they had living here--what it feels like to be loved, attended to at all times, adored. And you hope more than anything that someone will take up where you left off.

Surely There's Another Way to Put It?

Without disclosing too much of a family tree here, I was alluded to as so-and-so's "other baby mamma" today by someone who knows fullllllll well what my relationship to these kids and their parents is.

Pretty sure I've never been called a Baby Mamma before and needed the laugh. Thank you, Mr. Low Vocabulary.

Audio Dynamite

Due to a recent cleaning out of a cabinet, our world has changed. Drastically.  Because of this:

Not only have we learned the words Hakuna Matata and Chim Chim Cher-ee, we have learned "rewind," "fast forward", "no, you can't push the skip button", and "eject."

The girls are fascinated by this thing. Fas-ci-na-ted. It's been the topic of many discussions for over a week now.  I may have to hook up the VCR next.

Hold It!

Public service announcement to everyone who can't keep their opinions to themselves:

I think it is AOK for a four year old to be held.

I like holding all of my babies.  You know why?  For several reasons:
1. Little Sister holds my hand with one hand and my pony tail with the other when I hold her.
2. GG would like me to cradle her like a baby on a daily basis. I think she's a damn cute "baby."
3. Tiny now knows how to say: "hold me". How can I resist that?
4. Being held is a calming, soothing, "get my keel straight please" thing for Big. Why would I take that away from her?

But well-intentioned strangers, teachers, acquaintances, really..if you have children of your own, guess what? When they are 6 or 8 or 13, they aren't going to want you to hold them anymore.  Why not hold the 40 pounds while you can???

And what you may not know when you make your well-meaning comments to me is: I won't be able to hold these 40 pounds for much longer at all. Why would I not enjoy this? So please, dear stranger in Target, when I smile sweetly at you and say "Everyone loves a little holding, thank you for your concern." please know that I am thinking a completely different, not for 4 year old ears, message.