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Posts Tagged ‘Nana’

Blitzen on the phone with her Nana last night:

‘Our new house has an elevator so you can come over all the time.’ True – we currently have steps that are a struggle for Nana and we’d love to have her over more.

‘But how do you know you are allergic to guinea pigs? Have you had an allergy test done?’  Ha – I believe my mother is also ‘allergic’ to the sweet little pigs if by allergic you mean totally grossed out.

Blitzen to her sister, Dasher:

‘I’ll put you on speaker and then Carrie can read a bedtime story to both of us.’

Seriously, this kid could not be funnier or cuter.  Also, Andrew and I have been noticing that Blitzen is much better at conversing than she used to be — her vocabulary, attention and understanding of another person’s dialogue and perspective — amazing.

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Said Blitzen calmly (although a bit grumpily) last night. It was way past bedtime and we had just returned from the circus which Blitzen barely noticed but enjoyed nonetheless. She mostly just wanted to eat an icee out of a cup that lights up – so be it. We went to the big top with Dasher and Nana. Nana enjoyed it a lot although it was a big outing for her — she has some mobility issues that make walking and climbing stairs challenging. All that to say, it was late, we were all a bit overstimulated and I, for one, just wanted to go to sleep.

Blitzen and I were in her room where she was supposed to getting into her pjs and choosing her outfit for the next day. She was, instead, standing in her underpants in front her mirror making faces. I understand, that is fun stuff right there. I often do it myself but likely for different reasons (damn those chubby thighs!). I was tasked, as I often am, with keeping her company but instead I was tidying up the Superfund sight, I mean her room.

At some point, I said something like, ‘Blitzen, let’s focus and get on with the night. We need to finish getting ready for bed so you have time for a little bit of play and a story.’ Blitzen then said, ‘I don’t think that you and Andrew are appreciating me. You always tell me to hurry up and to come on and do it this way.’ For the record, we rarely tell her to do anything any way but we do nudge her along quite frequently because she is a bit of a dawdler — lots of directing our focus back to the task at hand around here. I was impressed by her ability to express her disgruntlement calmly, given the late hour and the pound of icee-delivered sugar coursing through her veins. So, I asked her what she needed us to do to demonstrate our appreciation. And she replied, ‘You should let me make my own choices.’ Ok, fair enough. However, what she really means is that we should let her act like a sugar-crazy, tv addict that never has to get dressed, get anywhere on time or pick up her room. Hmmm, this is a tough one.

I simply said that I would pay more attention to this and reiterated that I love her and appreciate her. I did not state that there was no way in hell that she would be allowed to stay up all night every night watching tv drinking icees from a light up cup. Why start a fight?

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We knew it was coming. We’ve joked about it, worried about it. And it finally has happened – the big ask. Would we be willing to take Dasher and Dancer?

Andrew and I have suspected that we had a much better sense of the situation with Nana than either agency did and that she was getting burned out. She is elderly and frankly, just plain tired. Combine this with the ever deteriorating family situation and this kinship placement just doesn’t seem to be working. The many issues are being revealed and it is slowly coming to a head now that all of the children’s cases (except for one) have been transferred to our agency.

So they asked. And we said no. But with the caveat that if things got critical, they would come to us again before they went to anyone else. I suspect that they will and then I just don’t know what we’ll do. I guess we’ll say no again but I am not 100% sure. It would be very hard to do the jobs that we do (the way that we do them) with three children with such tremendous needs. I am not sure it would be best for Blitzen.

She gets a lot of attention now and she would get 1/3 of that.

She would love to live with her sisters but she also can’t be with them for more than two hours without completely melting down.

I don’t know if Dancer can shake her perceived role as mother figure and there can only be one mother in my house and it can’t be the 12 year old. I don’t know if Blitzen could manage it well either. If I had a penny for how many times she has told me that I am not the parent of her sisters. And if I had a penny for how many times I thought to myself, ‘well, not yet.’ I think it would be hard for everyone to establish new roles and relationships and figure it all out. And frankly, we have a year head start with Blitzen — falling in love with her and her wonderful, whacky ways. Wouldn’t the other girls feel bad?

We couldn’t afford to provide the girls with all the things that we provide Blitzen – like private school and a ton of extra curricular activities and our undivided laserlike focus and attention.

So, Andrew is looking for recruits. Honey – you said earlier this week, you felt the nudge. Well, I am nudging, baby. Tell the worldwide interweb your plan :)

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What a difference when Andrew takes Blitzen to the visits.  It is just a whole different thing.  We really won’t be outsourcing this to Nana anymore  – just not worth the resulting post-visit drama.  Not that I am foolish enough to think that us controlling the visit transportation will resolve all post-visit angst and anger but I think it will significantly cut down on the stewing and brewing which so often ends with an explosion.

Also, the LG made it to this week’s visit and spoke to all of the children.  I am glad that the conversation with LG happened in that context so that Blitzen really understood that the lawyer was speaking to everyone, that each sibling’s voice would be heard and that it wasn’t all on her.  Blitzen carries a lot of guilt around, she didn’t need the burden of thinking that something happened because she spoke to the LG.

Interestingly, she now is really pressing Andrew and I on the adoption issue.  We’ve always been kind of vague – it is for judge and family and you and us to all decide together.  She has gotten it into her head that we just need to tell everyone that we want to adopt her and it will be done.  It is so confusing for all of us, really.

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As I mentioned, we invited Nana and the girls to the Poconos.  They said yes, as I knew they would.  Then Nana called back to say, so sorry but she has some appointments and can’t go but we could take the girls without her, as I knew she would.

Andrew was firm, kind of, and said, no thanks, we’re not even remotely interested in babysitting your kids for a 4 day weekend BUT we’ll pick them up in the morning, take them for a day trip and then bring them back late that same evening.

So that is a hell of a lot of driving for Andrew but he’ll have music to keep him company.   And he is, he says, happy to do it because the girls will enjoy it and so will Blitzen.  In reality, a day is about all the Blitzen can manage with her sisters at this point, anyway, so it is all working out for the best.

A part of me feels a tiny bit badly because I know that Nana needs a break but there is an undercurrent of manipulativeness in a lot of our recent interactions and boundaries are just not something Blitzen’s Nana always seems to grasp.  Although, I know I should just SHUT UP about the boundary issue whenever I read Fosterhood.  At least Nana is not texting me with instructions to pack an egg and cheese sandwiches for everyone’s breakfast.

Rebecca — hoping you all make it!!

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We’ve invited Nana and the girls to join us for a day at the Beach House Not at the Beach.  They have tentatively agreed.  Could be great.  Or not.

I think Blitzen will love it until she doesn’t, of course.

We are looking forward to swimming and hiking and maybe kayaking and jumping in lakes and looking for bugs and being with other families.  Woo-hoo.  I can’t wait to run away.

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Thank you, internet, for all the well-wishes last Monday and caring queries about how it went.

I still haven’t blogged about the IEP meeting that we had in early June.  Let me just say that I didn’t think, following that meeting, that I could possibly attend a more disorganized, unprofessional and frankly, illegal meeting ever again.  Oh, well, I was wrong.  The FTC meeting was NUTS, I mean crazy, bizarre, whacko, infuriating.  And not because of bio-Mom or bio-Mom’s partner.  They stayed relatively cool – they had their heated moments and it is clear they are angry.  But they showed up, they had their documents and their notebooks and they were ready to participate and engage.

I’ve mentioned before that we are a tale of two agencies.  The agency that we work with (not perfect by any standard but relatively communicative, professional and on the ball) and the original agency which still manages 3 of the children, bio-mom and the permanency planning.  Agency number 2 is a mess.  And I witnessed it for myself after being told this for months by various sources.  I can’t give details but they were disrespectful, uncooperative, abrasive and rude.  It made me want to believe Nana’s cockamamy theory that they are falsifying documents just to be sure that bio-Mom fails.  5 minutes in and I could see it was a set up, a recipe designed to create a disaster. How could bio-Mom possibly succeed with these people as her supports and advocates?

Much like our joke of an IEP meeting, it reminded me of high school.  Do you remember your first job?  Was it at a fast food establishment or low end retail outlet?  Did you get to watch, on your first day, a really silly video where some employee did the exact opposite of what one is supposed to do?  Maybe it was a video of a slovenly, inattentive young person deep-frying his name badge along with the french fries or someone wondering around a clothing store with their open cash drawer, asking a customer to ‘just hold this money for me for a minute’ — all very Goofus and Gallant with a major emphasis on Goofus.   It was exactly what everyone says is awful about the child welfare system.

All of that aside, I had a really nice conversation with Blitzen’s mom.  But the extended family is as fractured as I thought.  Bio-mom no longer thinks Nana is the right placement for any of the kids.  Oh boy….

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