Thursday, August 28, 2014

Random Goings-On

A couple of weeks ago, my new friend "TT" (the other single foster mom in my neighborhood) came over to visit with her 3-month old foster daughter "Twin" (I chose this blog name because she has the exact same skin complexion as Evie, and also has the same name as Evie's brother; I thought "Sister" might be confusing because she is not actually related).  I had taken the afternoon off of work to take Evie to school orientation, so we were home early and able to entertain visitors at a normal hour during the week.  TT went through a couple of boxes of infant winter clothes I had (thanks mostly to Becky, Amy, and Priscilla) and borrowed about half of them.  I'm glad that my semi-hoarding tendencies are helping a fellow foster mom out!  It was nice to have some adult conversation, especially with someone who understands the craziness of foster care.  TT seems like a very positive person (I try not to surround myself in any negativity), and I have a feeling that this is going to be a great friendship. 


The next Tuesday afternoon (Evie's first day of school), I got a text from TT saying that she was just told that day that she couldn't bring Twin to an adoption meeting she was going to that night, and asking if there was any way I could keep her for a couple of hours.  I was planning on taking Evie out for ice cream to celebrate the first day of school, but figured I could just take the baby along, too.  (I decided to go ahead and do dinner at the ice cream parlor, too, since it would be 6:00 by the time we got there).  I ended up meeting her in the parking lot at my work at about 5:15, and she said, "She'll be ready to eat about 6:00, and just so you know, she hates the car."  Twin screamed for the whole 15-minute ride to pick up Evie.  We went and had dinner and ice cream, I fed the baby while we were there, and I must say I handled the juggling like a champ.  ;)  Twin was much happier on the way home, probably because she had a full belly. 


I usually go to Zumba at the gym on Friday mornings, but a couple of weeks ago I decided to sleep in (or go back to bed after taking Evie to school).  Instead, Evie and I went to "Family Zumba" that evening because my favorite Friday morning instructor was also teaching that night.  She had a great time, but complained that she was tired after about 40 minutes of class.  The instructor totally called her out on it, though, and then she picked up the pace again. 


I had to take the afternoon off again this week to pick up Evie from school at 2 and then return for preschool testing at 3.  We went and visited my friend in her classroom at the intermediate school next door in the interim.  The testing only took less than 30 minutes, so I looked at the gym schedule and I saw there was a dance class for 3-11 year olds, so we headed over and she had a great time at the class by herself while I ran on the treadmill upstairs.  They started and ended the class with "Let it Go", so I'm sure that that helped.  Afterwards, we went over to visit TT and Twin.


Speaking of Let it Go, THIS.


Evie has pretty much had a constant cold for the last almost six weeks.  She'll get better for about three or four days, and then the coughing, sneezing, and yellow snot is back.  I'm now wondering if it's more allergies than cold.  But whatever it is, it has sent her into asthma flare-ups, and she has been on three rounds of steroids to control (once at pediatrician, once at pediatrics after-hours care clinic, and once in ER - at 2 am after coughing every 1-2 minutes for two hours). 

We have also made an additional trip to the after-hours clinic when one Sunday at the grocery store Evie's left eye began watering constantly and the skin on her entire forehead and cheek around the eye turned red.  When she complained that her throat also hurt, I started worrying that maybe she was having an anaphylactic reaction to something and didn't know how to articulate that her throat was closing up.  Freaked me out.  They said it was probably a sensitivity to something she touched in the grocery store, and sent us on our way with allergy eye drops and a prescription for Zyrtec.  It all cleared up by the next day. 

THEN I got a call from the school yesterday to go pick her up because she had a 100.6 degree fever.  I brought her home and the fever was down below 100.  She slept for 3 1/2 hours, and the fever was back up over 101 when she woke up.   She still had a little bit of a fever this morning, so I kept her out of school again today.  She has mostly felt fine today, but her temperature has fluctuated a bit, so I'm not sure what's going on. 

We have an appointment with the pediatrician in the morning to discuss if we need a different control plan for the asthma, to discuss the possibility of this being allergies vs head cold, and also now to see if we can figure out what the cause of the fever is.  I actually have an inkling suspicion it may be walking pneumonia because her breathing is crackly, too. 


We went up to Greenville to visit a friend of mine last weekend, and then went to an apple orchard in North Carolina with her and her three girls.  The trip was the same day as the ER middle-of-the-night visit.  I decided to go ahead and go because she was feeling better and had steroids to control the wheezing, and my friend's husband is a pediatrician so I knew we were in good hands up there, too.  The girls had a great time together, and Evie was fine.

 She didn't end up going to sleep Friday until almost 10:00 - when regular bedtime is 8:00 - but still got up at normal time of 7.  So she ended up falling asleep on the way home from the apple orchard, and slept for almost FOUR hours, when I had to drag her up out of bed.

And the girls put on a dance show.  So fun.


Evie LOVES school.  Last Sunday (the first weekend after she started school), she said no less than ten times randomly, "I'm so glad/excited/happy I'm going to school tomorrow!" And often tagged on, "I miss Miss A [her teacher]!"


Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Day of School

Evie had her first day of school on Tuesday.  We had been to Orientation last week so she met the teacher and saw her classroom.  She was very excited about going.  I took her to school and told her that she would ride the bus to daycare after school, and I would pick her up after work from there.  She said she wanted to ride the bus to get to school, especially when she saw the bus in the neighborhood.  I walked her in, took a picture with her teacher, she sat down in the hall with the rest of her class, and I was off. 

I meant to call the daycare in the middle of the afternoon to check to make sure she got there ok.  But around the same time (also running between patients), I got a text from the other foster mom in my neighborhood (she's going to have to get a blog name because I'm sure she will keep showing up) saying she needed a last-minute sitter for her baby, so I was trying to coordinate with her about that. 

When I got to the daycare, the director said that Evie was on the wrong bus, but that the driver of the "wrong" bus brought her to the daycare anyway and all was well.  When I investigated the situation, here's how it went down.  I looked at a bus route list at Orientation, which said she was supposed to be on Bus 25.  Bus 25 was what was written on the tag on her bookbag (telling everyone where kids are supposed to go), and that was the bus she was put on.  However, at some point between Orientation the week before and the first day of school, the routes had changed and Bus 25 no longer went to her daycare.  I understand that things change, but there has to be some process for letting parents/teachers know what the changes are.  The teacher said a new list was put in her box, and she got it on Tuesday afternoon; and that no changes were highlighted, it was just a list.  I called the bus company today, and asked what their process was, and the only thing they could say was that the principals had the new lists on Monday.  I will be writing a well-worded letter in the next few days to the bus company and the principal to see if they can come up with any better process than that, so four-year-olds don't end up on the wrong bus in future years. 

Overall, she enjoyed her day at school, and she is already singing a bunch of songs that she has heard there (and making up the words/tune when she can't remember them).  She said she cried on the bus the first day (I don't think due to the route error, just because she had never been on a bus by herself before), and that she didn't make any friends the first day (I think because she didn't know any of their names).  But she loves it after a few days, and is very proud that she has walked into school by herself the last couple of days. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Where Do Babies Come From?

Evie started 4K today.  Full details coming. 
But in the meantime, here's a funny story from this weekend. 
We were driving in the car, and randomly/out of the blue, Evie said, "I wonder who brought me to my mom."
She has periodically mentioned the investigator who removed her from the home; and asked who is going to take her back to her mom and how the process will be.  So I thought she was referencing this in some way. 
So I asked, "What do you mean?"
"Well, I think it was either Jesus or a bird [I'm assuming she meant stork], but I don't know." 
Made me laugh.  Kids are so funny even when they are not meaning to be. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Master Artist

I found this the other day:
Evie colored it in the first few weeks she was with me.
It really floored me.  I had forgotten that this is how she colored. 
It made me also remember that when she first came, when she would draw, it would be a bunch of random lines and scribbles.
Now she draws flowers and butterflies and people and cats and houses.
And writes letters of the alphabet.
And she colors like this:
Look at all the different colors, and how she stays in the lines. 
And that post-it at the top of the page?  It's covering up where she wrote her name.
I can't believe all the changes she is making!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Music Monday: The Best of What's Around

I was listening to this Dave Matthews Band song last week, and one line really struck me. 
If you hold on tight to what you think is your thing, you may find you're missing all the rest. 
I've always liked the rest of this song
"Turns out not where but who you're with that really matters"
"And if nothing can be done, we'll make the best of what's around"
"See you and me have a better time than most can dream"
I've always been one to make the best of the situation, to believe that everything ALWAYS works out the way it is supposed to in the end, to surround myself with positive people like myself who would make me laugh in a terrible situation rather than help me stew in my misery, and to truly love and enjoy life. 
But that one line If you hold on tight to what you think is your thing, you may find you're missing all the rest hit me the last time I heard this song. 
I have always believed that one day I would have a husband and kids.  (Side note: I have never felt an overwhelming desire to BEAR those children.  I always knew that kid[s] might come to me in a non-traditional way.)  Maybe I still will have that.  But my vision of kids linked with a marriage prevented me from taking the leap into foster parenting for a long time.  I felt like if I made the decision to do the "kid" thing without a husband, I was also actively making the decision to give up on the dream of having that husband.  But what if THIS is the wonderful life that was planned for me?  And better yet, what if THIS is the path that leads to the partner that is meant for me?  What if I would have missed out on the best part of life ("all the rest") by not making this decision ("hold on tight to what [I] think is [my] thing")?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Was That ME Talking Just Now?

I have had two instances today where I heard myself talking out of my child's mouth.

Evie was fixing us some fake sandwiches with her M*elissa & D*oug set.  She told me she was putting tomato on mine. 
Me: "But I don't like tomatoes." 
Evie: "But you have to eat them.  Remember I had to eat that red stuff [peppers]."
Me: "Yes, sometimes you still have to eat things even when you don't like them."

Evie was brushing and "braiding" my hair.  Of course it got tangled in the process, and then she pulled it really hard with the brush.
Evie: "Did that hurt?"
Me: "Yes"
Evie: "I'm sorry.  But we have to get the tangles out."
[Oh, how many times I have told her that while brushing her hair... especially in those first couple of weeks!]

At least she's listening!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I Don't Understand

Evie had a visit with her mom today. 

Side note: From other blogs I have read, in some other states, the foster parent is required to transport the child to and from the parent visits that are supervised by DSS.  And/or the child is required to be at court dates, and the foster parent is required to transport them there, too.  Not in my state.  The social worker transports the child to parent visits, and neither the child (nor the foster parent) is required to be at court.  So for anyone looking into fostering, realize that every state is different in terms of what the foster parent's responsibilities are. 

First of all, her half-brother who lives in another state was there.  He is staying with his mom for the week (this is at least the second time this summer that he has been here to visit).  I DO NOT understand how a child is staying - especially for an extended period of time - in an environment that was deemed unsafe for Evie and her brother J.  I do not understand how DSS is allowing another child to stay there.  And I don't understand how Mom is okay with having her two kids watch their half-brother stay with her, when they aren't allowed to stay with her themselves. 

Second of all, Evie came back with about ten pieces of clothing from her mom, ranging in size from 2T to 5.  The child is almost five years old, and was in the 75th percentile for both height and weight even when I got her.  I understand if maybe you don't know what size your kid wears, especially because they haven't been with you for the last three months.  But why in the world would anyone think that a size 2T would fit the same child that a size 5 would fit?!  AND even though there is some variation in sizing between brands, etc, two of the items were the exact same skirt, one in size 2T and the other in size 4.  Common sense says at least one of these will definitely not fit. 

I guess having common sense doesn't usually land your kid in foster care.

You Live, You Learn

About a week and a half ago, Evie's daycare called me - at 3:30 - and said they didn't think she felt very well... that she hadn't eaten lunch or snack, had been coughing all day, and didn't sleep at nap because she was coughing too much.  When I picked her up, she looked and sounded pitiful.  She was coughing non-stop, her eyes were red and watering, and she could barely keep them open.  I took her to the doctor, she was having an asthma exacerbation, he gave her some steroids, and she was feeling much better by the next morning.  Just in time for me to end up with a low-grade fever and feel like crap all weekend. 

She had a follow-up appointment a week later (Friday), and the doctor said she sounded good even though she was occasionally coughing once or twice at a time. 

The last couple of days, her coughing has increased and I have had to use the rescue inhaler in the middle of the night.  I decided to go ahead and take her to the doctor this morning to try to catch it before it turned into another asthma exacerbation.  He said she only had one little wheeze when he listened, it probably was just another cold, and just to use the rescue inhaler four times a day for this week. 

Then I picked her up from daycare today, and she was coughing non-stop.  This evening she looked exactly what she looked like a week and a half ago - her eyes swollen, red, and watering.  I guess there may be another doctor visit in our future tomorrow morning. 

I am not the kind of person to run to the doctor the minute there's a little something wrong with me.  I don't want to be the kind of parent to go running to the doctor unnecessarily, either.  But I don't want to mess around with the asthma... and obviously she needed to go the other week when she ended up on steroids.  Apparently trying to stay on top of things today is not going to prevent a doctor's visit tomorrow.  You live, you learn. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Foster Parent Association Meeting

Oh. my.  That's the best way to sum up this meeting.

I wanted to go to the meeting for several reasons:  I wanted to connect with other foster parents in the area.  I wanted to get continuing education hours (I was told when there are speakers at the meetings, you get credit for hours), and/or to find out where I could get hours.  I wanted to get any "inside" information to the workings of my county's foster care system. 

When I walked in and introduced myself by my first name, another girl asked me my last name.  She said, "Oh, you're the one who lives in my neighborhood!"  The licensing worker had told me there was another foster parent in my neighborhood, but couldn't give me her number because she hadn't gotten permission.  I had given her permission to pass my information on, but no one ever contacted me.  Turns out this other foster mom is also single, started her licensing process about the same time I did (but received her license about three months before I did), and lives about a ten-minute walk away.  We exchanged phone numbers and said we would try to meet up sometime this week. 

And then it all went downhill from there.

The meeting started about 15 minutes late, by Mr. GoodOlBoy President.  I gather that there were elections at the last meeting for secretary and vice president (but not for president and treasurer?  I'm still not exactly clear on this), and GoodOlBoy was saying that he would like to conduct business by the executive committee (i.e. officers) meeting and deciding things, and then conveying them to the association.  That didn't sit well with many of the members who said that any business of the Association should be discussed with all of the members.  He said for example, where and when to have the Christmas party just had to be decided by the officers because you will never please everyone.  (I agree; but feel that people still want to have input, even if that is not what is ultimately decided.)  I think people started saying that they would like to investigate some other possibilities for Christmas party venue for this year.  And the two DSS workers that were present (that are not "association" members) suggested to have it in the next town over (about 15 minutes away) to possibly draw interest from foster parents in the other end of the county (We live in a rural county that is spread out over about 1200 square miles.)  GoodOlBoy explained that he had connections and had already talked to them about helping out with the party; he couldn't just go back on them; and that if he weren't involved anymore, many of them would not help the Association anymore because "they trust GoodOlBoy President" (often referring to himself in the third person and by first and last names).  This went on for AN. HOUR.  I was never sure exactly what was trying to be accomplished or what was going on, but he kept saying things like, "You listen at GoodOlBoy President" and "I know what I'm talking about."  He said that if things got moved to a different location, "things would get corrupt."  (I have NO CLUE what he meant by that!)  Even though it was strange, and there was no direction, never did anyone raise their voice or walk out of the room or shake their finger at anyone. 

So after an hour of this, someone said to table this until the next meeting so that we could have our DSS workers do their talk for our continuing education credit.  After they were done, GoodOlBoy asked the DSS workers to leave.  He said he would never again conduct Foster Parent Association business with non-members (i.e. DSS workers) present, that they had no business saying things about trying to move the Christmas party venue, etc.  He said that "never in my 20 years of doing this have I had a meeting get out of hand like this one"; when someone asked how specifically he thought it got out of hand, he said that everyone was making random decisions about the party and stuff.  He said that "I'm going to have to do a lot of praying about this" and "I honestly pray you guys vote me out" (he has been part of the Association for 20 years, and I'm gathering president for a really really really long time). 

I kind of hope he gets voted out, too.  This is the first meeting I've been to, but it seems like this county's Foster Parent Association needs some change.

Again, Oh. my.

At least I got SOMETHING out of the meeting - I got connected with another single foster mom that lives in my neighborhood.