Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Letter

Dear Anonymous Caller,

I have been thinking about you so much lately--about what you heard, about what you did--in early May. I am curious if you have wondered if your call made a difference in the lives of three children. I wanted to assure you that it did.

I wonder if you thought twice about sharing the information you were told with authorities. While it was an anonymous phone call, the information provided would point to one person. And that person was you. Did you weigh yourself into the equation or did you just know what needed to be done? Did you care that your actions could damage your relationship with others?

I want you to know what happened after. I wish there was a way to tell you that you would really see. What happened after was a flurry of activity. It was three very damaged children being brought to safety. It has been over two months of physical and emotional healing. It will be a much longer journey to make them confident that they are safe and to readjust their idea of normalcy.

Isn't it a shame that safety is not a God given right?

I want you to know that these children whom you do not know have flourished. That they now speak and smile and most recently, test limits. Know that a three year old saying "I don't want that" and a two year old throwing an all-out stomp-your-feet-scream-so-loud tantrum has become a beautiful thing. They have a sparkle in their eyes that wasn't there before. And you were the first to help that sparkle shine.

Dear Caller, if I have the privilege to know these children in the future, far enough in the future where they are old enough to fully understand their story, I want you to know that they will learn that someone who didn't know them, but knew of their situation, was the first to take steps to make their lives better, safer, happier. That someone is you.

Thank you for being brave.

A Foster Mom

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Splinter Skills

Admittedly, the speechie in me screams on a daily basis these days. Two kids have minor language delays, articulation errors like crazy, and a dialect mixed in. Speed has a very limited vocabulary when it comes to naming things. Sometimes he knows a word in the morning, but can't remember it at night. The guy is a puzzle.

Two months ago, Speed thought all animals were called "dogs." We started small and over a few weeks added "cat" and "bunny" to our vocabulary. We still struggle with the difference between a bird and a fish.

Also two months ago, we started reading Duck on a Bike. Nightly. Each page says something like this:

"And Duck rode past Cow. "moooooo" said Cow. But what she really wanted to say was "A duck on a bike? Now that's the silliest thing I've ever seen!"

The book has a duck, mouse, cat, dog, horse, cow, goat and two pigs. We name these items nightly. We talk about what sound they make.

Today in the car, Speed started a question game: What does a (animal) say?

"Mommy Tammy, what a cat say?" --Meow
"Speed, what does a dog say?" --woof woof
"Mommy Tammy, what a mouse say?" --squeak squeak
"Speed, what does a horse say?"
--I don't know.
"What does a chicken say?"
--Hey Duck! Watch where you're going!!


Well Said

Conversation with a man at the pool today:

Him: How old are your kids?
Me: Speed is 3, Sunshine is 2, and Chickadee is 1.
Him: Those are great names. They are cute. When did they join your family?
Me: May 9.
Him: How lucky you and they are!

And that was it.

Please note the lack of the following:
Where are they from?
Did you plan on having them so close together?
Do you know how to do their hair?
Did you adopt them?
Are you their babysitter?

I wanted to hug this man. No one ever has conversations like this with me. I suppose he may have been curious about us, but he didn't ask. He just acknowledged their utter cuteness and our "family-ness". Thank you, Sir.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Ones That Never Came

A year ago, there were some crickets chirping for a good long while. Only beyond the crickets, some work was being done so that I could retire from foster care. So that I could end this part of the journey at 25 kids.

Last summer, I drove five hours to a small Texas town and met the kiddos who were supposed to come to stay. I was supposed to drive back to Austin with their belongings. I would have put their belongings in the rooms that had been freshly painted for them....2 girls in one room, 1 boy in another. I would have then waited for the next weekend when they came for a visit here. And then for that next week when they came to stay.

Instead, I came back with no belongings. I came back at the start of a very long decision making week that would change the plan for all four of us. I came back with photos of an awesome weekend with three wonderful children who I knew I would adore and who were so much fun, but whose needs I knew I could not single handedly meet for the next however many years.


Sometimes the best thing to do is to acknowledge that I can't do it all.

One year later. Six kids more. And counting.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Living with a Speech Therapist

Overheard in the playroom today:

Speed to Chickadee: "You want up? Say 'up!' 'Up!' Or you say, 'help me please!'"

As an aside, he was helping her climb in and out of a diaper box. Why buy toys when you have diaper boxes?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Never Say Never #2,367,410

I swore I'd never be one of those crazy people who wears her babies all the time.

Monkey See. Monkey Do.

The Not-So-Terrible Twos

I may have mentioned before that Sunshine is learning to be two. I've had an 8 year old that acted like a 20 year old before, but have never had a two year old who didn't throw tantrums. Or cry. At all. Or spill. Or whack someone from time to time.

While this not acting like a two year old is can really be EASY, we don't really want her skipping her terrible twos.

So an internal party was had last week when Sunshine cried over a toy for the first time. And then we gave it to her. Another party was had when she spilled her food on the floor and didn't immediately hop down and pick it up.

This is our definition of progress: Sunshine learning to be a kid, learning to be two, learning that messes are ok, disagreeing is ok, and fun can be had.

Happy 1 1/6 Birthday!

to Chickadee.

What a difference a month makes.

Chickadee is now:
blowing kisses
waving bye-bye (with both hands simultaneously)
dancing (oh my, how the girl can dance)
taking things out of drawers/boxes/bags
and making her siblings push her around incessantly in a tonka truck.

She's also:
wiping her nose on my skirt
and running away for diaper changes.

Now we just need to work on:
following directions
more words
less snot
and some teeth.


We've spent weeks working on remembering basic vocabulary words.
Dog. Cat. Horse. Car. Truck. Motorcycle. Pig. Macaroni.
We've just started colors and ABCs.

But give the boy a brownie and he'll never ever forget that word.

My kind of guy!