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Why are you so sad?

I’ve been a little depressed. I have been here a few times before and everything will right itself but it is a difficult moment on many levels.

So Blitzen asked me why I have been so sad. And then, in typical Blitzen fashion, she flashed to mad, and grumpily snapped, ‘It’s because of me, isn’t it?’

‘No, B, it is not because of you. I can’t really explain why I am sad. I just am.’

Blitzen retorts, ‘You know, just tell me. Everybody knows why they are sad – you’re just saying you don’t know. I do that all the time when people ask me, and I’m just not telling the truth.’

Hmmmm…that is interesting.

So I tried again, ‘Well, I feel like I am not doing my jobs very well. At work and at home, I want to do a good job and am having trouble with different things and it is making me feel bad.’

Blitzen got very still and quiet and whispered, ‘You got fired, didn’t you? You got fired and now we’re broke.’

I didn’t laugh because it was a serious moment but this did cheer me up because even though things have been challenging at work, I am soooo far from being fired, ‘I did not get fired and I am not going to be fired. And I promise, we are not broke.’

Poor Blitzen – could that kid have any more secret worries racing around in her head?

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Up / down

We’re back to a pretty up / down cycle. Blitzen and I are down, Blitzen and others mostly up. Or maybe it just feels that way.

I am starting to think that reunification is a lot like a very bad break up. You can see it coming and everyone involved is alternatively overly lovey and clingy or awful and distant.

Andrew, perpetual optimist, will point out that we don’t know what is going to happen. But man, I’ve been through break ups before and this all feels terribly familiar….

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Film Reviews, continued

The last post was a bit of a tease.  You can’t yet see Know How online or at a theater near you.  The film is playing festivals now; stay tuned for more info in the months ahead. 

While I’m in Roger Ebert mode, a terrific film you can download and watch online is Closure, the story of a trans-racial adoptee’s search for her birth family.  I’m thinking about showing it to Blitzen. 

Blitzen’s movie recommendations this week, by the way, would include Frozen (or course), Rent and My Babysitter’s a Vampire.

Blitzen’s reaction to Mr. Peabody and Sherman and its nasty, villainous social worker : “That’s wrong.  A worker cannot just take a kid from his home for no reason or because he acted up in school.”

 

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Quick advertisement. We’ve hypedKnow Howbefore, a forthcoming musical film created by and about teens in foster care. We don’t get out often, but we got a sneak peek of “Know How” and it’s one of the best films we’ve seen in years. Kids in care are often labeled, reduced and defined by others. In “Know How” they grab a mic and tell their own messy, nuanced, powerful stories. May their voices be at the center of the movement to transform child welfare.

We just got the following email from our good friend Juan Carlos, who collaborated with kids from the Possibility Project to make “Know How”:

Know How is up for Project of the Year and we’re in a tight race to win. I was wondering if you might be able to make a call on your folks to do a mass vote, all at once, thunderclap style! Would be awesome if you could! The URL is http://bit.ly/khpoy

Much love and I hope you can help!

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As mentioned, Blitzen is exploring an array of conflicted and heavy emotions right now. And it is playing out, as these things do, in just about all aspects of our life.

One of Blitzen’s odd triggers is cleaning the guinea pig cage. I guess most children who own guinea pigs argue with their parents about cleaning the cage. I get it, it is gross, creating how to videos is whole lot more fun, and you know, the whole childhood – you are not the boss of me – thing.

But with Blitzen, every day parental disagreements are so loaded. So, during our weekly cage cleaning, Blitzen got pretty mad at me. And I told her that I wasn’t interested in being yelled at so she could clean the cage independently or call me when she was ready work together without fighting.

Her response,’You always bail on me. You just walk away. You’ve been lying to me since I was 8. And telling me that I can’t be what I really want to be.’

And I said, ‘Blitzen, what is this really about? I don’t think we’re talking about guinea pigs any more.’

Blitzen yelled, ‘you told me I could never be a mermaid and all I want is be a mermaid. I believe it but you don’t.’

Carrie replied, ‘Blitzen, that doesn’t sound like me. I don’t bail on you, I am here, right now, trying to help. And as for mermaids, some people believe in them and some people don’t. But you can believe it in and I think it is wonderful that you do.’

Oh boy, my poor Blitzen. It really sucks to be in this in between, insecure place.

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Blitzen had a friend stay over. They are working on the series together now. And it is even more hilarious. 2 girls, seated at the kitchen table with an array of gaudy kiddie makeup before them, explaining and demonstrating its uses. Every once in awhile, they will give self-esteem advice as well. I cannot recount all of the hilarious tidbits contained in the latest round of videos but here are a few:

Apparently eyeshadow can double as concealer and foundation (if you don’t really know what any of those things are really for).

Don’t let anybody criticize your makeup, just be who you are.

Don’t ever tell anyone your makeup schedule.

The gold tones are for fancy days. If you wear tones that match your skin, it is for everyday a AND your mom won’t even be able to tell you have it on (oh, yes, she will!).

There is now a ‘how to eat and be popular’ series. I know you all have been anxiously awaiting this installment. Luckily, it involves consuming copious amounts of fairly healthful foods. If we can keep that value set going through puberty and into adulthood, I will feel like a successful parent.

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Big feelings

spilling out all over the place – just in time for the 2 week spring break.  ugh!

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Is making self-help videos on how to ‘be popular’.  This includes putting all of my makeup in a giant pink bag, dressing up and then pulling out the makeup items, applying them and walking around the halls of the house modeling her walk while Andrew or I record the action with the ipad.  There are a few ‘secret’ episodes that she has recorded on her own — I haven’t yet watched them…

Now, there are a whole bunch of things that bother me about this and Andrew and I keep talking to Blitzen about all the qualities that are important in life and to building meaningful friendships and relationships — all these things that have nothing to do with lipstick.  But she isn’t buying it.  This is one of those times when I wonder how this conversation would be playing out if Blitzen had always lived with us – would it be any different or would it be exactly the same?  I also really liked to dress up as a girl and my mother didn’t even own a single lipstick.

On the other hand, Blitzen being Blitzen, these videos are hilarious especially since she is not familiar with many of the products and is guessing at their usage.  I do wish I could post them here.  The kid has a very distinct sense of style, I will give her that.

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Andrew called and said, “What are you guys up to?”  I replied, “Buying vampire teeth, of course, what are you doing?”

We had an old friend from St. Louis in town for the weekend.  She has a lot of dietary allergies and so Andrew had been researching restaurants and had found one that we love that would be happy to accommodate her requests.  It is a very very very fancy italian restaurant and they said that they could do their pasta gluten-free.  But it is very fancy and expensive.

Andrew, “So, you want to come out to dinner?” Me, “With Blitzen? There?”

So I asked Blitzen, “Would you like to go a very fancy restaurant with Andrew and our friend? It will take a very long time, they are going to bring us a lot of different foods, we’re going to have sit for a long time.”

Blitzen considered this, “I’ll try-y-y-y it.”

Some highlights:

Blitzen peering down a marble staircase to the ‘basement’ and saying – “Why do they have all that beer in the basement.” That would be the wine cellar, honey.

Blitzen, upon being presented with the 4th of 5 courses, leaning over to me and saying, “Why do they keep bringing us food? I just don’t get it.”

Me, pointing to something on Blitzen’s plate and saying, “That is roasted cauliflower, you know.” And Blitzen saying, “Yes!” and literally grabbing several fingerful to stuff in her mouth.  Who can be bothered with cutlery when roasted vegetables are available.

Blitzen going to the coatcheck because she “needed” something.  Blitzen being ratted out by the coatcheck guy, “I remember you, you came by here an hour ago for the candy in your mom’s bag.”  ‘Cause she’s peckish, I guess, in the middle of our 5 courses.

Blitzen was engaged in the conversation and the food.  It was a marathon and amazing meal – more than 2 hours of wonderful food. She was patient and polite and stayed in her seat except when she went to 1) go see if she could find the pianist 2) went to look at a vase up close that she was pretty sure was shaped like the statue of liberty 3) went outside to see if it had started to snow.

And she only wore her vampire teeth between courses!

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And this is how I know that Blitzen has grown so much.

I ask her, once we are on the train, if she knows exactly where in Chelsea that she would like us to go so that I can be sure that we get off at the right stop.  She thought for a minute and said, ‘By M’s house.’  So we got off by M’s house and started walking toward her building.  Just chatting and enjoying the day.  When we were across from M’s apartment, I asked Blitzen if she wanted to share our destination yet.

And she said, ‘I want to buy vampire teeth.’

And I said, ‘Sure, ok.  Is there a vampire teeth store here near M’s?’

And Blitzen said,’Well I think so but I am not sure.  We should into CVS and ask if they have vampire teeth but they probably won’t.  Maybe you could ask where to buy some.’

And I said, ‘That is a very good plan.  I think you are right – they might not have teeth.  Also, vampire teeth are kind of unusual and they may not know where to get some but let’s try.’

So, we went into CVS and at this point in my journey with Blitzen, I am pretty good at spotting that salesperson who will not look at me like I have 2 heads. I locate a young but efficient looking employee and ask, ‘Do you sell vampire teeth?’  The young woman did not bat an eyelash, ‘No, sorry we don’t.’ I followed up, ‘Do you happen to know anywhere in the neighborhood that does?’  And she was so thoughtful, she thunk and thunk and then said, ‘Yes, actually, I think that there is a costume place over at like 6th and 21st.’

Off we went.  I told Blitzen that she needed to be in charge of finding the right  kind of teeth.  So, again, we found just the right salesperson who was happy to spend time with Blitzen discussing the merits of various models of fangs. We are now the proud owners of vampire teeth.  They look really good too.

Blitzen was so regulated, so able to articulate what she needed and wanted, it was really fabulous.  Then the day got even better.

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