Thursday, January 30, 2014


Sunshine turns three tomorrow. While I thought I was going to make her cake myself after bedtime, she declared this morning that she was going to "push the chair over and stir and stand and mix my cake!"

To Sunshine, who really does seem to see all things pretty Sunshiny, this cake is perfect. To me, it is the second cake (because the first one split beyond repair). It has CANNED ICING on the bottom border (because I ran out of my icing and don't have enough to make more). It's a little lopsided and crumby.

But it's pink. It's a birthday cake. It's chocolate inside. To her, it will be perfect.

When she opens presents tomorrow, Sunshine will get a baby doll cradle that a friend made years ago and happened to still have in his house, having not made it for anyone in particular and having not given it away yet. To Sunshine, this baby bed will be perfect. I imagine she'll stuff more than one baby in it and the cradle will be the envy of a certain four-year-old. To me, it is absolutely beautiful and handmade, but all I can think is "will it be taken care of when she moves?" It has a baby blanket in it that may have come wrapped around Chickadee the night they arrived. If not Chickadee, then Little Sister over three years ago. To me, it will not show her how special she is. To her, it will be perfect.

This is where I am. It is so easy to find the things that I am not doing well, the things that I am doing so right but that will not exist in their next lives, the things that I could do or say better, the routines and rituals that we have down to a science but that the next stop will not value enough to continue, the things they are not even having opportunity to do yet because their past trauma makes it oh-so difficult to handle much newness.

Sunshine, in all her Sunshiny-ness, is the perfect reminder: That I am doing, that I am trying, that they are healing and resilient. She is a reminder that she deserves hope that the next stop will make a lopsided birthday cake next year and give her a little present even if it was free. She is the perfect reminder that we are, all four of us, doing and growing as best we can.

Vagina Envy

or Muhgina, as some of us say.

Chickadee has started sitting on the potty. She sits, wipes, smiles, gets down, flushes, smiles, says "Bye Bye Pee Pee" to the nonexistent peepee, smiles some more, and we all cheer.

Last night, Speed decided to sit on the potty, rather than standing as he usually does.

"What are you doing, Buddy?"
"I sitting down. I pretend I got a muhgina."
"oh. um...Ok."
"Mommy Tammy, you wanna pretend you got a muhgina too?"
"No, thank you. I already have one for real."
"Oh. You lucky."

Wipe. Flush. Cheer.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Keep Austin (Names) Weird

While we are on the subject of names...

Conversation at a playdate recently when I used Sunshine's name. (We were playing with one of Speed's classmates, her sister, and her mother.)

"Their names are so.....CREATIVE! What made you think of them?"
"Oh, I dunno. They were #1 and #2 on the Social Security website's list of Top Names?"
"Just kidding. I didn't name them. Their birth mom did."
"Oh, I see. When I heard you use Chickadee's name the other day, I thought: Now SHE's keeping Austin weird! I mean, it IS Austin, you know...."

(For the record, my girls' names are NOWHERE NEAR the top of the social security website's list of names. I am doubtful they are in the top 1000. They ARE spelled correctly though. However, some people still ask me to spell Sunshine and still mispronounce Chickadee (HOW, people? How???))

Latin Names 101

A salesman came to our door the other night. He asked Speed his name. Speed, still learning to use personal pronouns and now sometimes OVERusing them, responded: "Me."

"His name is Speed," I said.
"Wow! Cool name, dude. Is that Latin?"


 Speed's real name is decidedly NOT Latin. As best I know, it has no resemblance to anything Latin. It is a name that reflects his culture and a name that is spelled incorrectly in order to confuse the masses regarding pronunciation and his gender. If bio mom had spelled it more conventionally, with an apostrophe for instance, the pronunciation and gender may not come up in questions regularly. (For the record, I actually LIKE Speed's not so Latin name, just not the spelling.)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Backseat Driver

Holey Moley, Sunshine is about to be demoted to the way back of the car. Here is a sampling of her impatient directives this week:

You turn right on red! Go right. Go. Right. On. RED. NOW!!!!!!
Why that truck not going? Light Green!
Green, Truck! GOOOOOOO!!!!
This way go Kathy house. Go left our house.

(for the record, she is fairly accurate, though not always, on left vs. right)

Why you turning on green?
Why you turning no green arrow?
Light green but we have wait our turn, right Mommy?
Why all these cars making it so long?

Maybe the fix is putting her rear facing again....

Chickadee's First Joke

Chickadee thinks she is really funny (she is). Last night, while waiting to do her breathing treatment, she climbed on my bed, put her head on the pillow and said "night, night." Then she popped her head straight back up and squealed: MORNING!!!!

Then she fell back on the pillow and laughed at herself for a good long while.

The girl is a ham. And she knows it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

On Permanency

We found out a little bit about the kids' case this morning. Which is to say we found out not very much. Which is to say we still have no idea where this case is going. Which is to say we are EIGHT months into what should be a twelve month process and little progress has been made.

All I can think right now is: Any gain will be a loss.

If they return to their family, they lose security and safety.
If a dad steps forward for one, they lose each other.
If they move on to extended family, they lose familiarity.
If they stay here, they lose knowing their birth family on top of already losing the safe and happy place in a birth family everyone should have.

Any gain will be a loss.

Raw Chicken

Speed, while watching me prepare a whole chicken for the crockpot:

"Mommy Tammy, why you hand in that chicken butt?"

And that sums up the EXACT reason that I hate cooking raw chickens.

The Key Master

Phone message from Speed's early intervention teacher yesterday:
"Hi Tammy, this may be an unusual request but I'm looking for a lost key and was wondering...."

Speed LOVES keys. He loves them so much that we have at least four sets of pretend keys and he has a few "real" keys he's allowed to use. He loves them SO much that we have a rule in our  house that no one is allowed to touch Mommy Tammy's keys except Mommy Tammy herself. He follows this rule so well that, if I drop my keys while getting Chickadee out of the car and he is right there at my feet, he will not pick up my keys unless I give him permission.

The boy LOVES keys.

So I was not at all surprised, or offended, when I was asked to search my guy's belongings for the missing key.

As it turns out, he didn't have it. They found it later on the playground. Yet it wouldn't have surprised any of us to see it in his backpack.

Speed was the first logical guess.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A True Friend...

...goes with us to the unexciting 24 hour breakfast place near daycare for dinner, spends so much time cutting up Speed's pancake that I am sure her meal was cold (mine was, as I did the same thing for Sunshine), holds Chickadee while I finish eating, gets thrown up on by said sweet baby, and then insists on treating us all.

We are so blessed with a huge village. One villager in particular, our church mama, has certainly loved on us plenty lately! How lucky I am to have people sharing this journey, vomit and all, with me!

It's A Small World

I've been feeling guilty lately. My kids have not been to Sea World. Or the Nature Center. Or the Waco Zoo. They've only been to Chik Fil A twice and McD's a few times when we trade off the Sisters. We've only been to an actual PLAYGROUND a handful of times.


Because they like it small. They like it comfortable. They like it familiar. Two of them don't roll well with new and unusual. If it's not small, one of them crawls inside herself and the other one sorta freaks out a bit.

So we are spreading our wings exxxxxxxxxtra slowly. We've ventured successfully to a new park (and by "successfully" I mean no one peed, no one threw an unexplainable fit, and no one covered his/her eyes and ears in response to a new sound). We've gone to the same few restaurants a handful of times each, enjoying them more each time. We went to the Chuy's parade at Christmas though that was a bit much and made me reel it in for the rest of the Christmas season.

That we are this stay at home-ish made me question if I am doing this right. The professionals are saying "yes, keep it small. Keep it familiar."

So we're keeping it in the playroom with legos and tea parties and the same 3 diaper boxes we've played in since June. We're keeping it in the cul-de-sac with bikes and trucks and sidewalk chalk.

Maybe one day we'll make it down to see Shamu. Maybe we won't. Maybe one day the one who isn't affected by outings will want to spread her wings and we'll hire a sitter for the other two. Maybe we are just destined to grow big in the same small spaces for now.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sign of the Times

Speed, pretending to see what the weather is going to be by looking at the back of the newspaper:

"Oh, hang on. Need my glasses so see."

Then he got up, found some sunglasses in the toy bins, put them on the edge of his nose, and told us:

"'Morrow be sunny. Not chilly."

Smart boy.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Close Enough

It appears that living with a speech therapist is not a cure all.

We have friends who just recently had twins. I was showing the kids pictures of the babies on the computer, and then pulled up a picture of a very pregnant Miss Katie.

Speed: Miss Katie have big boobs. Very big boobs.
Me: What??
Speed: Her boobs is big.
Me: Show me.


Me: Oh, you mean BOOTS! Yeh, her boots are really big.