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Posts Tagged ‘foster parenting’

So Blitzen has figured out how to facetime from her i-touch.  For long time readers, you will know that Blitzen has long had a tremendous amount of angst about the fact that she doesn’t have a cellphone and can’t call the people that she loves.  Keep in mind that she can call the people she loves whenever she wants because she is always with an adult that has a phone.  The overwhelming desire to reach out and touch someone most often comes at homework time, guinea pig cage cleaning time or shower time — she is not allowed to phone her relatives when she is supposed to be tending to her responsibilities.  This has caused many a disagreement – ‘You never let me call my mother! I could call her if I had a phone!’ she will wail.  To which we reply, you can call your mother as soon as you sit down and do your homework. And you still couldn’t call if you had your own phone because you still wouldn’t be allowed to use electronics during homework time.

But I digress.  This week Blitzen has begun facetiming me, right after school, to inform me of things.  ‘Carrie, I have a stomach ache.’ she informed me on Tuesday. I suggested that she ask the babysitter to get her a gingerale.  ‘Ok, Carrie. I will.  I’ll see you tonight.’ she replied.  And then yesterday she facetimed me again and we had a comical and typical Carrie and Blitzen discussion.

Blitzen, ‘Carrie, I am not coming home after.’

Carrie, ‘Yes, I know, you are going to M’s after school, right?’

Blitzen, ‘But I am spending the night.’

Carrie, ‘Yes, I know, sweetie, M’s mom talked to Andrew before she invited you.’

Blitzen, ‘Oh, ok.  I just wanted to call you so you would know where I am.’

Carrie, ‘Thank you, honey, I appreciate that.  That was a good thing to do.  Have a wonderful time.’

Blitzen, ‘Ok, Carrie.  I love you.’

Carrie, ‘I love you too.’

Darn that kid is adorable..  And these discussions are always even more hilarious because I am always in a meeting and Blitzen is always so earnest.

 

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Blitzen is teaching a special course at her school again – she is working with the music teacher and teaching a group of 2nd graders how to write songs.  Blitzen is quite the lyricist, by the way.  I am sure that no one is surprised by that.  I can’t wait to hear the future hits this group produces.

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Andrew and I worked a bit late last night so one of Blitzen’s babysitter extraordinaires took her to the hair braiding place to get her hair done.  Just as they were leaving the salon to head home, it started to pour down rain – not misty, not drizzle, more like monsoon.  And no umbrella.

Blitzen burst through the door, happy and laughing, telling the story of how they ran all the way home and showing off her wet, soggy clothes. Smiling, giggling, giving her babysitter a hug goodnight and moving along into the evening routine.

Now some people are all – so what?  Lots of kids like the rain.

And I am thinking back two years to our first spring with Blitzen when we got caught in a similar downpour and the child simply ceased to function.  Hysterical, sobbing, unable to move — not a cab or dry awning to be seen.  It was awful.  We practically had to carry her home — she just came completely undone.

I will try very hard to remember this triumph of emotional regulation and happy embrace of childhood wonders the next time Blitzen balls up her fists and growls at me (her latest thing).  I’ll remember that even the growl is an improvement, heading toward a much more socially acceptable expression of negative emotion.

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Last night, after about 30 minutes of bedtime reading, I concluded a chapter and said, ‘That is it for tonight. I’ll read more tomorrow.’ To which Blitzen replied in all seriousness, ‘You’re refusing to read to me?!?’ Keep in mind that the 30 to 40 minutes of reading that she and I do each night are followed by 15 or more minutes of Andrew and Blitzen story telling in her room as part of the tuck in ritual.  She and Andrew are ‘writing’ a book together and they tell a new chapter each night.  I have never met a kid that loves a story as much as Blitzen. I really enjoyed books as a kid and still do – it is my main downtime activity by far – but Blitzen just craves stories.

It has been fascinating to look at the many many ways books and being read to have positively impacted Blitzen.  Even going back to the very beginning when things were so tough and Blitzen couldn’t slow down — we’d go to the library every Saturday and she would make me read 2 or 3 storybooks right there (after complaining the entire way to the library about how much she hated the library) and then we would go to the park and run around for hours.  Finally when she was just about to fall over, we’d go home and she would lay down on the couch, almost falling asleep, and listen to books for 30 minutes or so while she recovered.

Engaging with a book is clearly one of her best calming, connecting, coping strategies.  And of course it has been amazing to see her vocabulary and critical thinking grow and how much is learning about the world and people through stories.  I hope that this is something that she carries with her throughout her life.

 

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I won’t go into the details but in the middle of it all, Blitzen yelled at me, ‘I suppose you are going to tell the FBI on me.’  Now, it was bad but it wasn’t that bad.

 

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And no parents, no kids lawyers yet. So I glad that I am not there.  I sent him the following email:

Is there an algebraic formula that we can use to figure out what time we are actually supposed to come like 9:00am / x (y+1) = z – 30/ n2

In other words, come 3 hours, 49 minutes and 34 seconds late.

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I’ve decided, for my own sanity, to no longer participate in things like IEP meetings and court.  Andrew has agreed to take these tasks on.  I feel a little guilty, these jobs suck.  But the more time goes on, the more and more I am aware that I  simply cannot do these things.  If I use up my patience on these endeavors, I have nothing left for Blitzen.

There was an IEP meeting yesterday. Or I should say there was supposed to be an IEP meeting. It was rescheduled to yesterday so that Blitzen’s mom could come – everyone worked around her schedule.  And she didn’t show up. So they didn’t have the meeting.  Yeah, that is right.  And I just can’t.  So I am not.

Court is scheduled for Friday – we’ll see if anything happens. I am not going.

 

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So, I left the house early for a meeting which I explained to Blitzen but that she didn’t quite digest.

First she called me, crying, and said, ‘If you think a half hug that you give someone when they are laying in their bed is a real hug, I don’t even know why you became a parent!’  This, I hear, as I am riding to work in a taxi.

Then she calls me again to say that she is sorry for yelling at me but she can’t stick with it and gets mad at me all over again.

Finally, she video texts herself getting ready for school and says, ‘I thought it was going to be a happy day but it is going to an upset day. Because of you, because you never learn.  So now, I am going to wear high heels and makeup to school!’ Well, that will show me, for sure.

I remember back in the day before all this crazy technology. If I got mad at my mom in the morning, I just had to stay mad all day and tell when I got home from school. Or, more likely, forget about it before lunch time.

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Blitzen was chatting with Andrew as she was drifting off to sleep last night, talking about the fact that her little sister Dasher is kind of having a rough time.  She is ‘acting up’ and often ‘on punishment’.

We all went to see Aladdin on Broadway this weekend – Blitzen, her older sister Dancer, Andrew, me and Blitzen’s mom (yea, I know, but it was actually a very nice night) – but Dasher couldn’t come because she has been having so much trouble at school – throwing tantrums, lots of anger and uncontrolled emotion pouring out and creating behavioral issues in the classroom and I suspect at home with Nana.  None of this is surprising although it is quite sad.  And Blitzen, upon sleepy reflection, said to Andrew, ‘Dasher is having a lot of trouble controlling her anger.  She should stay with you and Carrie for awhile.  You guys really helped me when I was angry all the time.’

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‘Sure, B, that is fine.’

‘Can I listen to one my shows – no, wait, wait, LISTEN to the voices of one of my shows on my ipod while I am in the shower?’

‘Well, Blitzen, that seems an awful lot like watching tv – you’re just not looking at the pictures.’

‘When you read a book, isn’t that just like watching tv without hearing the voices because it is all in your brain?’

‘Go take a shower, Blitzen.’

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