Monday, August 1, 2016

Need New Neuron Pathway (#microblogmonday)

There's a McDonald's near me with a sign advertising the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit.

They've abbreviated it, so the sign say: "BEC Biscuit"

I blame Ask A Manager, but every time I see the sign, I think: "Bitch Eating Crackers Biscuit?"


Thursday, June 9, 2016


This evening turning into an ... unusual  (? I guess that's the best word?) one. But this is a story I can't really tell in real life.

Susan is 14. She's on the autism spectrum, very much on the high functioning end. She got her first period last summer. It resulted in a cancelled trip to the pool with her aunt and uncle and she's been wearing pads when necessary ever since. I've repeated the sex talk we had a few years back, now that puberty is clearly setting in physically, and have provided Advil on request as well as steered Mr D and brothers away at certain times as she navigates figuring out the cycles of her body. We've also talked about the importance of tracking her period -- both so she knows when to expect it and because she will be asked at every doctor's appointment for the next several decades: "date of your last menstrual cycle?"

Recently, she asked me to buy her a box of tampons and teach her how to use them. There's a pool party coming up and we'd discussed the need to ensure that her swimsuits still fit in enough time to go shopping if necessary. She wanted to try on the suits, but is currently in the midst of that time of the month. (I think she was also concerned that the period might not be over before the pool party.) I agreed to buy her some and to talk her through the process.

That last part happened tonight. Mr D is out of town; Peter had taken Edmund with him to check out a nearby park where he might play soccer in the fall. After the little girls were down for the night, Susan and I had complete privacy, so it seemed like the perfect time.

The insertion part was a bit of struggle, but she got through it and (I think) felt confident that she could do it again when necessary. She did state that she'd probably stick to pads unless absolutely necessary. She confessed that, once inserted, she didn't notice the tampon, but she didn't like the process of putting it in and she was worried by the warnings on the package about Toxic Shock Syndrome. (That's my girl -- worst case scenario finder.)

It was the removal that she really, really struggled with. She said it hurt, pulling it out, and she couldn't do it. We spent about 30 minutes sitting in the bathroom, trying to find ways to help her relax enough as she said that pulling it out was hurting. (In the end, she suggested I talk to her about something to distract her and then pull for her. Whenever she tried to do that herself, she either got so distracted, she forgot to pull or stopped being distracted as soon as she started pulling.) She kept asking me if this was "normal."

Truth? I honestly don't remember. I've had IUDs since Edmund was born and it causes me to have virtually no periods at all. So, I don't think I've used a tampon in over a decade. And my "first time" use? Was about 30 years ago. All I remember was struggling to understand the printed instructions that came with them because my mother certainly didn't talk me through it like I did tonight with Susan. I'd told her it's normal to feel uncomfortable putting it in until you get used to finding the right angle for your body, but I can't recall ever having trouble with getting it out.

I'm pretty sure Susan is now hoping not to need to try this again any time soon.

Heaven help me when I have to do this with Lucy and Jill.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Dubious Milestone (#microblogmonday)

C (aka Jill) has her first ear infection at nearly 10 months old. She's coping pretty well so far with the antibiotic (unlike her sister who had explosive diarrhea and nasty diaper rashes with her first couple rounds of antibotics) and it certainly seems to be improving her mood!

Trying an idea I stole from Empty Arms, Broken Heart.  #microblogmonday

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Not Boding Well

Remember when I said Susan's IEP transition to high school meeting went well? (Bullet 5) Well...

At that meeting, we all agreed to make a specific change in one class that she's taking next year. (So, think of it as taking World History in 9th grade instead of US History.) There were good, long-term thinking reasons for the change and everyone in the meeting agreed to it, even though it puts her in a slightly harder academic schedule. We also agreed to remove a support class they'd inserted (without asking us. And her current teacher of that subject stated that a support class was not necessary) and talked about the elective options to replace that class in her schedule.

Last week, school got out for the summer. I happened to meet with one of the high school counselors about something else to do with Susan's schedule for next year and she read off the entire course list to me. The support class is gone and has been replaced with Susan's third choice elective (because the first two were already full by the time we got her out of the support class we never asked for or needed. Grr.). But the "history" change hasn't been made. I expressed surprise. I was told that the counselor couldn't change the schedule of a student on an IEP and I would need to follow up with the IEP caseholder (a rule that I'm sure is in place to prevent IEP caseholders being left out of the loop). Of course, we don't have a high school IEP caseholder yet and the counselor said I should contact the person who represented the high school in that transition meeting.

So, I did. He's not responding. I've also copied her eighth grade caseholder who is WONDERFUL, and she has forwarded that on to some others who she says can "hopefully get this corrected before school starts." I'm not OK with "hopefully...before school starts." I want it done before she gets her official schedule the week before school starts so she can walk her schedule and figure out how to get to each class. (We even talked in the IEP meeting about how she should do that --familiarize herself with her route and figure out the best times to take locker breaks. We can't do that if her schedule isn't right.) Today is the last day of post-planning, although the person I'm trying to reach is supposed to be working all summer as well. I tried calling today to find out when I might be able to catch him in the office. I got told that email is really the best way to reach him and he was already gone for the day.

This is not a good start to high school scheduling issues.

Monday, May 23, 2016


Lucy is learning the concept of numbers. For a long time, every time she saw a group of things, she would announce there were "two" of them. So, the collection of 5 horses in a field was "2 horses," the row of 3 birds on a telephone line was "2 birds," the long line of traffic coming the other way on the road was "2 cars."

We tried substituting "lots" for her -- "Oh, that's a lot of cars, isn't it!" -- but it didn't take. So, we took to counting them. "2 horses? Oh, I see... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 horses!"

She's getting there. Now she sits by the window in the car and "counts" with numbers in random order, but still generally ends on "two!" "One, three, five, two, three, four, one, two, three, two cars!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Miscellaneous updates

  • I still check up on the girls' birth mother periodically. Kayla went to jail in late November and stayed there until very recently. She gained a significant amount of weight while incarcerated (and complained about that on Facebook), but was so very thin before hand that I suspect she's actually closer to a healthy weight now than she was. She also commented about the weight being a result of being sober. I hope that her time in prison helped her break her addictions. What remains to be seen is whether her social circle is such that will support a lifestyle change to stay that way.
  • We're half expecting a DFCS call in about 9 months telling us there's another baby. (To which we will have to say: thanks for letting us know, feel free to share our contact info with this one's foster/adoptive family. There's just no room at this inn.)
  • Peter got his driver's license. There's a 15 year old Toyota Camry in my driveway that is "his to drive." Having him able to get himself (and his siblings over age 2) places has simplified life a bit. In our state, he's not allowed to drive friends for the first 6 months (and then only 1 at a time for another 6 months). (The not-driving-littles is a family rule which he is perfectly okay with obeying. They're just too distracting as passengers.)
  • Lucy has learned how to say "help", which is awesome for letting her tell us when she needs us to step in and when she wants to work at it and figure something else. She's also taken to saying "helper" when she wants to do something for you that she thinks will be helpful. Like pick up the Cheerios that Jill has dropped out of the high chair.
  • Susan will go to high school in the fall. We've had a meeting with her special ed team at the middle school as well as a representative from the high school to talk about the "transition plan." It all sounds pretty good. The real test will be next fall when she gets a whole new crop of teachers to work with and we find out how well the IEP gets enforced at the high school level.
  • Lucy has begun saying "stop it!" Eek. I wondered and guilted myself and struggled to remember -- do I say that to her too much? I don't think I've heard others say that particular phrase much? Then, I heard it come out of my mouth. And realized I do say "stop it" quite a good bit . . . to the dog. (She jumps at the television whenever there's any kind of animal on it and I scold her to "stop it!" She barks at the UPS truck making a delivery across the street and I fuss "stop it!" She growls at the bird in the back yard and I snap "stop it!") 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Doctor's Visit

I love my pediatrician's office. Today, I was reminded why.

C, who I think I shall begin calling "Jill", had a well-child visit. We were 15 minutes early because it was the first visit since the adoption was final, so there was new insurance and a name change and I wanted to give the office staff plenty of time to get all taken care of before our appointment time.

They were running late. Way, way late. It was over 30 minutes after our appointment time before we were called back to a room. That's 45 minutes in a waiting room with a 9 month old and a 2 year old.

(That doesn't sound like a reason to love them, does it?)

Here's why I love them:
  • Front office nurse apologized for the wait part way through.
  • Nurse who called us back apologized again.
  • Second nurse came in to help distract Lucy with crayons and a coloring book while Jill's vitals were taken and intake questions were asked.
  • When the doctor came in, she apologized again.
  • And -- on top of all the apologies? -- the doctor's only response to Lucy's meltdown while we were trying to get through the exam was "that's age appropriate."
I know delays happen. Appointments run long, people arrive a little late, children don't cooperate. I've always liked that they never feel like they are rushing through the appointment to get to the next one. But today, I really appreciated the total lack of judgement when I was feeling embarrassed by my 2 year old's "age appropriate" behavior.

(Jill is doing fantastic, by the way. She's on the small end of the growth chart, but staying steady on her curve; development is right where it should be. That, by itself, makes for a wonderful doctor's appointment, given the way her life started.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Late post -- we are final!


I just realized I never did post an update after we finalized C's adoption.

It did happen in late February, we have pictures with the judge, her name was legally changed and we are just waiting for the state to send us an updated birth certificate so we can finalize all the paperwork. (I'm hoping the attorney will manage to "accidentally" get us a copy of the original birth certificate again, too.)

The home is officially closed -- I have no more bedrooms! -- but we have asked to be notified if there is another biological sibling. Birth mom is incarcerated (and has been for about 4 months), so I'm assuming we're safe from that all for a little while. I asked the caseworker, somewhat jokingly, if there was any news of another pregnancy already; she said she sure hoped not. I'm crossing my fingers that the jail would tell DFCS if they had a pregnant prisoner with a history with CPS, so that means she's probably not pregnant right now. I really have no idea what we'll do if we get that phone call; agency caseworker said (if birth mom was pregnant already), she would go ahead and decline the placement on our behalf to save us from ourselves. We'd still want to know of the child's existence, even if we couldn't take the placement, and hope to be able to set up contact if another baby ended up adopted. But that's all a bridge to cross when we get there.

Mr D and I went away for a weekend recently -- our annual just-us trip -- and noticed that "five" is apparently the number that makes people say "wow!" when asked how many kids we have. We heard it almost every time; that happened rarely when we used to say "four." I can't imagine what people would say if we ever start saying "six." (There I go again. I will not think about another sibling, I will not think about another sibling. I will not think about another sibling!)

It's nice to be down to normal business -- no more caseworker visits, no more documenting medications, no more asking for copies of visit notes from the doctor -- and I have a little less of the time-on-my-hands feeling that I had after Lucy's adoption finalized. A busy 2 year old and a baby starting to crawl will keep me quite well occupied, thank you very much. Also, there were never family visits for C, so that was one less thing that went away, so to speak.

It's a little strange to be thinking about colleges and preschools at the same time, but the age gap is really what makes this doable for me. I can't imagine having added two little ones when my original crew were younger and less self-sufficient.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Later this month? We think?

The lawyer finally got the packet of information from DFCS, so she can begin the process of getting a court date.

It's missing one key piece of paperwork that she had sent over specifically for us to sign, have notarized and be included. We signed it. I specifically remember a group discussion about whether it was like a mortgage document where you're supposed to sign in blue ink so the courts can tell whether they have the original or not. (Gotta love an inefficient caseworker!)

Luckily, it's not paperwork the lawyer needs to file with the courts ahead of time. So, she says she'll bring another one to the court date and we'll sign it then. There is one more adoption finalization date on the court calendar for this month and the lawyer is pretty sure we'll be on it.

I'm feeling a little guilty that I don't feel more excited at this news. Partly, I think, that's because we don't actually have a court date set yet. But mostly, it's because my frustration that the caseworker messed up again is overwhelming everything else.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


The local sports news is full of signing dates right now as various players "commit" to play football in college. We have a different -- much more life-changing --  kind of signing date coming up!

The county caseworker finally has all her stuff together and we will be signing the Intent to Adopt paperwork later this week. Once we've done that, the lawyer gets involved and as soon as she gets all the paperwork she needs and files it, we can set a court date. And the lawyer is fantastic, so I'm confident things will move quickly from that point on. She says to expect a court date in February.

C will turn 6 months old in February.

Whenever I get frustrated by the "delays", I make myself repeat the above sentence. 6 months old and legally adopted? That's ridiculously fast, even for a case as simple as this one was. We just got spoiled by Lucy's county caseworker who probably would have had us final before Christmas. 

One of the questions DFCS had for us recently was about whether we would continue to foster after the adoption. We gave the same answer we had after Lucy's adoption; in general, no, but we would like to be notified if another biological sibling comes into play and we would make the decision at that time about whether we'd be open to another one. Just typing that makes me a little terrified. I really, really don't see how we could make another placement work in the next 2.5 years. And after that? I don't know if I could plunge us all back into this system after having been out of it for so long. But, we will cross that bridge if (or when) it is before us. It's honestly hard to believe (given the girls' birth mother's track record) that there won't be another baby, eventually.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Random Updates for the New Year

  • We still don't have a finalization date for C's adoption. The new caseworker has a new reason every month for why she isn't ready to schedule a meeting for us to finalize the paperwork. (October: She has everything she needs, just needs to write this narrative. November: She's missing something, so agency caseworker forwards her the email (sent in early October) providing her (again) the items she's missing . December: She just needs to write this narrative. January: someone will be calling us soon with some questions (thought we did that months ago, too?) Wonder what the February excuse will be. At this rate, she'll probably be "missing something" again....)
  • Since DFCS has let this slip into the new year, I'm going to spend another clothing allowance. I was feeling a little guilty about that, knowing how thin the resources are in foster care; the case manager's lack of organization has gone a long way towards helping me get over that! I'll buy the girls both Easter dresses and some other "fill-in" items in C's next size up as well as in Lucy's. Lucy's next size up will be 2T and once we hit 3T, I have quite the stash of hand-me-downs. The clothing allowance may be for C, but she'll wear the things I buy for Lucy eventually and I still have all of Lucy's hand-me-downs from the last year or so so there's no point in trying to buy for those sizes.
  • Speaking of benefits I don't think we should still be getting, C's next WIC follow-up visit is next Wednesday, so we'll probably have another 3 months of her formula covered. At 5 months old, she's only just started eating some cereal, so there's still a lot of formula to buy in the next few months.
  • It's already time to think about preschool for Lucy for next fall. I love my church (and the preschool there), but we live 30 minutes away. Having an hour of travel time during a 3 hour class window drastically lessens the list of things I can get accomplished while the child is in school. So, we are researching closer options. And having to think about things like: 2 or 3 days a week? 3 or 4 hour days?
  • Lucy's favorite word right now is "No." Fun with the terrible twos and she's not even quite two years old yet!. (It would probably help if I could always resist the urge to laugh or smile when she's so matter-of-fact about it. I say it's "time to go!" and she replies, oh so sweetly and reasonably, with a smile: "No." )
  •  I googled their biological mother for the first time in a while. She was arrested just before Thanksgiving and tested positive for several drugs. So, the "surrendering rights to C so she can focus on getting and staying clean" plan hasn't really stuck. It makes me sad, because I keep hoping that she'll be ready and able to make that change in her life that will allow us to include her in the lives of her daughters as they grow up. Right now, the drug use makes her too unstable for any kind of contact to be an option.
  • Nothing turns up on google for their biological father. I don't know whether he's clean or just not getting caught. He's not interested in contact, so there's none there either.