Last year I started things off with a confession. It's funny how much has changed in 356 days and how much as stayed the same....
(2012) I stink at making sure all six cherubs brush their teeth two times a
day. I especially stink at this on the weekends because I have to do the
brushing on the three littlest cherubs and I get tired of sticking my
fingers in their mouths.
(2013) I'm even worse at the brushing two times a day thing. I used to be pretty good at getting my older kids to do it on their own before they left for school. Now that we educate at home, it has totally disappeared from our morning routine. Thankfully Dude brushes his teeth at HeadStart. I have decided that I will be making an official change to our mornings AFTER court on January 7. Whether the littlest cherubs stay or go, I need things to get a little bit more organized.
(2012) My med box is almost never locked.
(2013) Now that Pumpkin is gone and I've got fewer workers coming in and out of my home, it's safe to say that the med box is never locked.
(2012) I'm lousy at filling out Pumpkin's med log every day. In one year of
care I have NEVER missed dosing her meds. But I have had to go back and
make up her med log after the fact.
(2013) Well, I don't have daily med logs to fill out anymore. But I do have a VERY detailed daily recreation log that I am to fill out. Not only do I have to write down what my cherubs do all day now, but I am actually supposed to write down WHEN they are doing it. (ie: 8:00am to 10:00am = indoor play / blocks / legos / dolls / etc.) I am literally supposed to try and keep track of and record all of their recreation time. I did OK with this for about a month. I moved the logs to a Word document and typed things up as the day went along. Now though, it's totally made up. And I've decided that for the days I completely lost track of in December I'm not even going to attempt making up the different times. -- This is simply an agency requirement so I'm not worried about CPS caring one bit. And since the end of foster care is likely to happen within a couple weeks, I don't give a rip about what my agency has to say either. The logging requirement is beyond stupid and I'm not wasting any more of my time on it. They can slap my hands if they want to. I don't care any more.
(2012) Not all my meds are located in my med box. I like to keep a couple
things at my desk. And there are meds upstairs in our master bathroom in
a few different places. I especially hate locking up all the
medications. It is a pain in the neck!
(2013) Even more meds are kept at my desk. But thankfully I have an actual desk (instead of a table) so I've got a drawer to hide them in.
(2012) I don't lock up my dishwasher detergent.
(2013) I still don't lock it up but I am in "official" compliance. I keep it out of reach on top of our refrigerator. This is one that CPS does slap hands with I guess and after the summer from Hell that I endured in 2012 I'm not taking as many chances with things CPS looks at.
(2012) I've been known to bathe Dude and Dolly together when I'm in a hurry.
(2013) Several weeks ago I did let Dude and Dolly take a bubble bath together. It's hard finding enough time to let them play in the tub and get in bed on time. For the most part though, I don't bathe them together because two separate baths is easier to manage than when I had to do three separate baths. However, I will admit to the fact that they get dressed in the same room most of the time. They both need help dressing sometimes and it's a pain in the ass to send one into another room. They are little. I will ALWAYS respect modesty when it's directed by the child. (TT decided he no longer wanted to be naked in front of anyone around the age of 3 or 4. Bart still runs around the house naked in front of everyone much to my chagrin.) But when the kids are little, is it really that big of a deal if they get dressed in the same room?! (Especially since these children never suffered any kind of sexual abuse?!)
(2012) Cherub 3 is helping Dude learn how to go potty standing up. They aren't
supposed to be in the bathroom together, but I'm a pretty firm believer
that boys learn how to go potty standing up by watching another boy do
(2013) For reasons that I never really knew or cared about, Bart only did this a few times. Dude never cared and continued to sit down. However, after starting school this fall, Dude did start standing up to go potty on his own. And, amazingly enough, I just realized within the past few days why Dude is peeing his pants all the time now. He is NOT having accidents like I thought he was. Instead, he's just not pulling his pants down far enough when he goes. (At least that's what I think the problem is. There are still accidents. And all the pee on the clothes seems to ebb and flow around contact with the bio family or when he's stressed.) I have told Dude that he has to start pulling his pants down farther or I'm not going to let him stand up to pee. Not that I could really follow through with this threat easily – but it seemed to have an effect on him. I would just love for him to not wet through as many outfits a week as he has been lately.
(2012) I'm not sure it's possible to parent a two year old without having to swat a bottom at least a couple times.
(2013) After the Hell that was this past summer I DO NOT swat bottoms at all!!! However, as small cherubs are directed to corners when necessary I may be rather stern and I may or may not hold little shoulders rather firmly as faces are pointed away from me and in to the corner.
(2012) Out of all the things that have changed as our family expanded to eight
members – laundry is the hardest for me. Clothes stay clean, but I
totally stink at getting it all folded and put away. All my cherubs know
that most of their wardrobe is located in a basket on the floor of my
(2013) Laundry is piled high all over my house. Most of it is clean and sorted by child in their baskets. But I still suck at getting it folded and put away. I really should add folding laundry to the weekly chores by older cherubs have to do.
(2012) I am guilty of sneaking junk food at my desk while the cherubs are
forced to eat healthy food at the table during lunch. The Cheetos are
for me my little cherubs!
(2013) Yup. Still true.
(2012) I'm still secretly hoping that CPS is able to properly convey the fact
that they believe Dude and Dolly would be better off with us instead of
their grandma. It's an ugly thought that goes against every way The
System usually works. Kids are supposed to go with family. But I know
their worker wants them with us. And while they honestly have little say
in court, I'm still secretly hoping for a miracle.
(2013) Still praying for that miracle. I know that CPS is NOT going to be the one to help. But there is a small chance that the cherubs' lawyer will work this miracle next Monday. I'm praying!!!
(2012) I'm not sure how long I'll be able to care for Pumpkin after Dude and
Dolly leave. ('Cause as much as I want them to be able to stay, I do
know that they will be going to their grandma's.) It is so draining to
work and work and work on the most basic of skills with Pumpkin and see
almost no progress at all. With Dude and Dolly here I am motivated by
how they are just "exploding". Dolly was nearly a year behind with her
expressive language skills in her native language (Spanish). I believe
she is now nearly ready to be done with speech therapy in her second
language of English. It's awesome to see what a little exposure and
interaction can do. But Pumpkin wears me out.
(2013) I had to grieve a little when Pumpkin left. It was strange. I didn't exactly miss her...but yet I did. She was a part of our family for 21 months. That's a long time to care for a child. And when that child needs you as bad as Pumpkin needed us, well...it makes a lasting impact. I was grateful to stay in contact with her aunt after Pumpkin moved out back in September. But that contact is gone now and I'm not going to force it. I'm a little sad that they never contacted me after I sent Pumpkin a Christmas present a few weeks ago. I pray that Pumpkin is doing well and that her new family is getting all the assistance they need to care for her.
The next few days are going to be incredibly hard for me. I know this! I put a rather raw prayer request out on Facebook last night to my friends and family. Gratefully, I feel at peace more today than I did last night. But these days leading up to court are not going to be easy.
I'm not convinced in any way that a move to Dallas for my little cherubs is in their best interests. But, it is likely that they will be out of my home within the next two weeks. Court is Monday, January 7 and the decision will be made at that time. My absolute biggest fear is that they will remain in foster care. I believe if that happens we will continue to see more and more behaviors as a result. I pray that they either go to their grandma's house or that they stay permanently with us. We will take PMC (permanent managing conservatorship) if it is offered. No, it won't be easy. But at least Dude and Dolly would be out of foster care. We could move forward with termination and adoption at a later date as I'm sure Bio Mom will abandon them without the State there to push her.
There is so much running through my mind today that I could keep going on and on with this post. But I've got piles of laundry to tend to, tons of Christmas presents to unpack and put away, and a bunch of cherubs that need my attention.
I covet any prayers sent on behalf of our family. 18+ months is a long time to care for children as your own and then lose them to a stranger. God is bigger than all of this though. I regret nothing. And I know we will survive.
God bless all of you that care for "the least of these". Happy New Year!!