It’s a first for him

I came across a pair of Lightning McQueen pajamas the other week and hesitated…Carter loves the movie Cars and we scour the universe looking for the diecast characters he doesn’t have yet. AND you have no idea how many there are, or how hard they can be to find! Anyway, I usually do not buy character pajamas because they are usually a polyester blend. Well, this pair happened to be 100% cotton and have two short sleeved shirts and one pair of shorts. AND they happened to have McQueen and Wingo (which is one of the cars we call “Naughty” because he helps run Mac off the road) who are two of Carters all time favorite characters. I caved, I bought them.

Just the other night was the first night it was warm enough for him to wear them to bed and when we went to change him in the morning, he flipped out! He held his arms down so we could not pull the shirt over his head. He said, “Noooooooooo” I had to bribe him by offering to let him wear the other top that came with the set (also loaded with McQueen & Wingo pics), he had to be changed because he soaked through his diaper in the night.

So, yes….my son had a wardrobe preference for the first time ever…and it resulted in him wearing a pajama shirt all day.

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What Would You Do?

Here’s a little game I like to play from time to time called, “What Would You Do?”
All completely hypothetical (wink wink)…

Todays, WWYD…

What would you do if your foster daughter came home from a visit with her birth mom (first visit in over a month).

And your daughter is 18 months old…

And it is 36 degrees out and snowing…

That's right size 4! Reminder daughter is 18 months old

Reminder today in Wisconsin it is 36 degrees and snowing

Imaginary Conversations with Birth Mom Today…and Biological vs Civil Right to Parent

Z was supposed to have a visit with birth mom today. And we had a scheduled CST meeting. I knew there was no way mom would make it to both meetings. Because, well, when you are jobless and have NOTHING to do all day it is really hard to make it across town in an hour and a half…

yeah, that’s sarcasm

Once I knew she did not make her court appointed visit (second week in a row. Last week she cancelled because it was “too cold”. For who? This is Wisconsin. You mean you get the option of opting out of “parenting” when it is cold?) I started having all these conversations in my head about what I would say to her if she was at the CST meeting or if she came late which is usually what she does.

My big conversation would have been like this, (after she walks in her usual 30 minutes to hour late):

“I’m sorry, but in the world I live in, the real world we need to be places on time. The world does not wait for us to arrive. If you have a sick kid and a Doctors appointment at 3:00pm and you show up at 3:20, guess what? You no longer have an appointment…and your sick kid does not get seen. I know it’s hard for you, being responsible for just yourself and all. YOUR only responsibilities are to:

  1. Wake up on time
  2. Participate in some type of hygiene
  3. Get to your appointment on time

My responsibilities include:

  1. Waking up on time
  2. showering, brushing teeth, getting dressed
  3. getting my children milk
  4. getting children changed and dressed
  5. getting children fed
  6. letting dogs out
  7. feeding dogs
  8. getting kids out the door and to day care
  9. working a full time job
  10. dragging my ass to the ghetto to go to a CST meeting that YOU arrive late to!

Yeah, I was bitter today. I was not in a good place. I get so wound up over this, I want to be done with this. Two years with this family and I have about had it. Granted I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about them so I can tell the kids quite a bit about the people who brought them to us…even some good things.

My whole tirade brought me to a philosophy that will cause me to now piss off a lot of readers (if I even have a lot of readers)…

Light bulb moment….Having children is a biological right NOT a Civil Right…this is my new opinion…hear me out…

We require people to get a license to operate a car. We make them prove they can financially purchase the car (if you get a loan etc.). We make them have insurance before they can drive. We make them prove in a written test and by physically operating a car that they can adequately drive a car safely. We make them learn the rules of the road. And if you are medically unsound, you cannot operate a car.

All because a car can be considered a “deadly weapon”, something that could cause someone else great bodily harm.

BUT there is NO test, no license to prove you can parent.

WHY NOT?

Why do we wait until something BAD happens for ‘ services to step in? What IF, instead of Home Economics in high school, you had to take a few serious parenting classes. And I’m not talking, the “keep your egg alive” crap here. That you had to get a license to parent. And if you did not, BAM children’s services takes your kid at birth.

Thats what I call early intervention. Because I am really sick of the state fighting for ‘parents’ civil rights to their kids. Because really, they likely never were a ‘parent’ to begin with. And I think once we got all convoluted in our thinking that just because our bodies CAN reproduce (our biological right) that we should fight to protect the parents rights before we fight to protect the childs rights.

DO YOU HAVE ANY idea how expensive it is for a state to go through the ‘ services route with a family? The number of professionals, lawyers, specialists, assistance that is provided? Do you know how long kids are left in limbo?

I know, I know, people are going to get all “But we need to be careful because the state could just come in and take our kids from us. There is nothing to stop them from making us a victim…blah blah big brother,blah blah.”

Bullshit! Children’s services does not take children for no reason. They do not have the money to do what they do now…they don’t work on commission, “Hey, Betty…how many babies did you detain today? ‘Seven!’ Wow, you totally are going to get the big bonus this month!” They are under paid, highly stressed people. Who want nothing less than to enter someones house and detain their “child”.

And I  am grateful to the birth mother of my kids, because out of her loss I gained. That whole paradox is still hard to grasp. But I think there are a whole lot of children who would be better off if we all had to be licensed like I do.

I have a license in my file cabinet that proves that my house is warm and safe. That I have utilities, running water, heat. That I have a refrigerator and food in it. That I have safe cribs for my kids to sleep in. That I have smoke detectors in every bedroom and on every floor of my house. That my closets and basements and garage have been inspected (every month for two years) to make sure I do not have exotic pets or torture devices in them. That I am emotionally, physically and financially able to provide. That I have insurance on my car. That I have health insurance for myself and my children. That my pets are all current on their rabies vaccinations. That I have a fire extinguisher. That I have emergency numbers posted. That I have locking bathroom doors. That I have bedrooms at least 8×8 wide for the children to sleep in. That I have a planned and mapped evacuation route for our house.

And I am not complaining…because really? Shouldn’t we ALL? You mean providing the above type of home is not on everyone’s list of “must do” or “must have”?

Driving a car is a privilege not a right.

Being a parent should be the same way!

The Children’s Court System Blows…

DEEP BREATH….EXHALE!

So, Staci takes off of work today, which for a college professor is not easy to do. We pack up our laptops, snacks, etc. and get prepared to hunker down for a long LONG day at Children’s Court, as you never know when you will get called, even though your stuff says 10:00 am. We get there, do some searching for which courtroom we belong in front of, I ask the lovely lady who you know had a crappy job and has to deal with crappy people asking her dumb questions all day long, if we are scheduled in this courtroom. She recalls the name from last week, Yes I tell her, there was a pre-trial last week. She then tells me the Jury Trail was rescheduled for May….MAY! No one told us! This by the way, is the third time court has been rescheduled!

This has it’s advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages:

  • Mom has more time to screw up, miss visits, etc.
  • We don’t have to think about it right now.
  • It will make the 2 year mark closer (children in foster care have to have permanency by 2 years).

Disadvantages:

  • We want to move to California and cannot do this until Zoe is officially ours.
  • The waiting is painful.
  • Technically gives mom more time to get her crap together.

So  much of me is so angry with this system. I get so angry because it is so painfully close to my heart. I get angry because children are involved. I say to Staci that so much of me wants to wash my hands of this system completely once this is all over…the other part of me feels like I need to stay involved to try to make a difference. What to do?

For now, breathe in…breathe out…repeat…

What a Day This Turned Out to Be!

Zoe did not have visits with her birth mom until she was 8 months old…and now for the past few months “mom” has decided that it’s really fun to play dolly with Zoe and has been having 2 hour visits, supervised for the past few months…skipping a few, when you know, she oversleeps (being jobless and all it’s hard to get places on time). She has been saying she wanted to take Zoe on her visit her birthday week to get photos taken. And she actually followed through this time. So the visit worker drove her to what I am assuming is Wal*mart, etc. Well, her visit is from noon – 2:00 pm, at 2:30 day care called me to tell me Zoe had not returned yet. My stomach dropped, my pulse shot up! I called my caseworker got voicemail saying she was out for the day. Called caseworkers supervisor, got his vm and he never returned my call. I tracked down the company that does visits and got the cell phone of the worker, called her, and she did not answer. I jumped in my car, sped off and had every intention of sitting in the day care parking lot so that when she DID return with my daughter I could bust out the biggest can of WHOOP ASS you have ever seen…I called day care on my way asking if she was back yet…she was, Staci was now there too and I said, “You tell Staci that she is NOT to leave until she finds out where the Hell my daugher has been and why she is late!”

Welcome to the foster system! You can never reach someone in an emergency. I didn’t know what to do, I left ranting messages on my caseworkers voicemail, tomorrow should be interesting…

I went on about responsibility, accountability, professionalism…and how in my world you don’t get to just be late…be unaccountable for your actions, be unprofessional! How am I supposed to be comfortable on thursdays knowing that when my daughter is not in day care and not with me she is with a “professional” who cannot keep on schedule OR pick up a god damned cell phone and tell someone they will be late…that for 40 minutes my precious cargo was unaccounted for.

I work with dogs for a living and I can guarantee you that if I were to be late bringing a dog home, I would call…CALL! I would apologize for being late, I would not blame it on the proximity of the photo place chosen. (Because, fyi, it doesn’t take more than a half hour to get anywhere in Milwaukee, so that is a load of shit!)

I don’t think anyone has any clue the thoughts that ran through my mind today…or how glad I was to see my little girl when I got home…

or how pissed this Mamma bear can get when you f*$! with her cubs!

My Kids Melt Me…

Zoe's 1st cake! & Our First Glimpse of Zoe

Our first glimpse at Zoe

Zoe's 1st cake!

Yesterday my little girl turned 1! I now have two 1 year olds (that is until Carter turns 2 in two weeks). It’s weird when you look at it that way. I also realized the other day that I keep thinking of Zoe as much younger and smaller than she is…all of the sudden she is 1! I have not been doing things with her that I did when her brother was her age, and I think I figured out why. She was such a difficult baby, that until she was about 8 months old we never really knew who she was. Literally, nothing made her happy until we finally did a major diet switch with her GFSFCF (Gluten Free, Soy Free, Casein Free) that changed her over to a happy child within 24 hours. If you would have asked me what she liked, I could not have answered the question…asking me her strengths or positive attributes, I could have listed none, other than tenacity. So for me, Zoe kind of got stuck in infancy, because I really feel like I am now finally getting to know her.

She is beautiful. I know all mothers are biased, but this kid is stunning! She is strong willed, and will make a mean business woman someday. She loves to dance and sing (or more like scream). She loves her big brother and tries to emulate him. She is trying to walk and says “Mama” and “Dada” and when I say…”No no, we don’t have a dada” I swear she thinks its funny to mess with me and she then shakes her head and says “dada” and laughs!

Today one year ago we got the call that our little girl we were waiting for was born. Tomorrow marks one year ago that we drove to the hospital and plucked her from the nursery. She was so tiny and really looks nothing like she did then, now. Parts of me miss the baby days, especially with Carter who is becoming so independent (he now puts his own nebulizer mask on and turns on the machine, and sits and watches Caillou while he gets his treatment…when he feels no more is coming out he turns it off.).

I think I will feel even more nostalgic in a few weeks when it is Carters birthday. A friend asked me if the excitement feels the same with the second child and for me honestly, it didn’t feel the same…it felt different…I have to admit, Carter will always hold the key to my heart…not that I love Zoe less, just differently. I know my mom feels the same way about me:)

Last night we sang happy birthday and had cake with Carter and Zoe, just the four of us…it was small and sweet and for a moment it was just us in our own little world…they held hands, Carter sang sweetly…and they picked frosting off the cake. Hands stained blue from frosting, life couldn’t be better…

and I wish the conservatives had a peek into my window last night to see the sweetness, the normality…the completeness…