Monday, January 23, 2012

It's the eggs' fault

This morning Emma asked for eggs for breakfast. As I was making the eggs, she said, "I just want normal eggs, not scrambled up eggs."

I was not prepared for what came next.

"______ (the girl we fostered, who shall remain anonymous to protect her identity) loved scrambled up eggs, do remember you'd make those for her?"

We have not talked about the foster kids for a LONG time. And I mean long. I was really surprised she mentioned her. "Yes, I remember", I answered as I kept facing the stove, I didn't want to turn around and look in her eyes. Not sure why. It was just an awkward moment.

Not for Emma. She went on and on - and ON! - about the foster kids. "Remember when the baby did this? Remember when she did this? Remember when we did this together?"

For 15 minutes. I am not exaggerating. Of course by this point, I could no longer face the stove or those eggs would've been COOKED. I made her eggs, my eggs, and we had both eaten - and she was STILL talking about them.

Not sure why it made me so uncomfortable. I mean, it's not like we pretend like they don't exist. We don't forget that they were here. We just don't talk about them. We don't discourage the kids from talking about them - when they feel like talking, we let them talk. I've even brought them up when talking with Joe. Usually I bring them up out of the blue, too. It is all still so raw, so confusing as to what we went through.....

For almost 7 months now, we have all tried to process what was, what is, and what is yet to come. We know they weren't meant to be a part of our family. We know we were called to care for them for a short time. We also know that we never set out with that mindset. When we met those kids exactly 1 year ago, we met them thinking we'd be adopting them. When we brought them to our home for the visits, we did so with the intent to adopt them. We would have never "just" fostered, because we thought it would be too hard on all of us.

Life is full of surprises.

So while cooking those eggs this morning... For some reason, with every ounce of my being I just wanted to pretend like none of it had happened. And she wouldn't stop. I didn't tell her to, of course. But she just wouldn't stop.

And then the zinger. "So mommy, when we take care of different kids next time, I think I will be more responsible. I don't think I was very responsible with her because I wasn't always nice to her."

The next time????!!!!!!

Joe and I have talked extensively over the past few months. We're done. 2 kids is good. Perfect, actually. Just the other day while we were signing up for hockey, I actually said, "I'm glad we only have 2 so we can afford to let them do things like this." We are good financially. Really good. Joe is just a teacher, but we are doing fine. We are comfortable. Our house is perfect for 4. We've got our routine down and the kids have a great relationship. We have discovered contentment with our existing family. We're planning a huge garage sale in the spring to sell all of the stuff our kids have grown out of since we won't be needing it anymore. Not to mention we all fit nicely into a cruise cabin :)

But Emma's statement hit me like a ton of bricks. What if there is supposed to be a next time and we've closed off our minds to that??

Are we meant to foster more kids?

I can't get Russia out of my heart. I can't. Would I love to go back and adopt a toddler there? Maybe. Some days, definitely. There are days when I really am in love with that idea.

But then I look around at my content little life and my content little house and I'm not so sure.

I'm never making eggs ever again.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

You know you're growing up when....

Luke came running out of the bathroom, completely excited and almost out of breath.

"Mom! Great news!"
"What, bud?"
"I think being 9 means I'm growing up!"
"Yes, baby, it does."
"But mom, I have proof!"
"Yes! Look!" He puts his face right in mine and is pointing up his nose. "I think I am getting nose hair!"
"Wow, Luke. How exciting." I say kind of sarcastically.
"I KNOW!" he exclaims as he runs to show the evidence to his dad. "DAD! You're NEVER going to believe THIS!"

Pure joy. Pure. Joy.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The bookmark in her brain

At bedtime tonight, Emma said, "Mommy, do you know what I do when I dream?" "No, honey, what?" I mistakenly asked.

"Well, when I have a bad dream or even a good dream and I wake up and I see that the clock says it's 8:00 or sometimes 5 after 8 or even 8:20, I think okay it is time to get up now because it's morning time but maybe I had a dream and maybe I wasn't done or maybe I needed to go back to that dream or maybe I had a dream before the morning time so I just put a bookmark in my brain and I think I can go back to it tomorrow so now that it is bedtime I'm going to pull the bookmark out of my brain and bring back one of my dreams so I can keep dreaming what I was dreaming before and I hope I pull out the bookmark at a good dream and not at a bad dream because if I get a bad dream that won't be good so I'm going to try to pull the bookmark out at a good dream. Goodnight mommy!"

Whew. What?!?!?

Head spinning aside - if she can actually do that, that's pretty neat!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy (Early) 9th Birthday, Luke!

Wow. The big 9. How is that possible??? One more day left of 8 - tomorrow is Luke's birthday, but his party was today.

I swear he just turned 6..... Ahem. Sorry. Got a little choked up there.

Luke had a sports party at the sports center. It was 2 hours of crazy boy time. Hockey and flag football the entire time. What else does a boy need?

They did play tug of war for a little bit too. It was so funny. Emma and 2 of her friends (who are sisters of Luke's friends and are 3 years younger) wanted to tug. Whichever team they were on, that team won. The boys were not happy about girl power. ha.

Then all the kids went against a few dads. They loved that!

The dads won, so the kids demanded a rematch. The second time, the dads let go. The kids were hysterical laying in a big pile on the floor - and no one got hurt! I guess Dads have a hard time thinking through things too.... Huh. Thought that was an almost-9-year-old boy problem, but I guess boys never learn how to think!

Sorry, I digressed. Back to the party!

And then another hour of pizza and sugar time. Luke isn't allowed pop normally, so I bought rootbeer and orange pop for the party. Not one kid picked a Capri Sun. Sugar and sports - what a combo.

The room before... A popcorn and candy bar, cute decorations, a homemade cupcake stand with homemade cupcakes...

Boys care about how things look, right? Right?!? And the hours I took making the cupcake picks, Happy Birthday Banner, and all the thought and time I put into the candy bar - that was all appreciated, right?!? I mean, it's not just about getting sweaty and screaming and running really fast and.... Oh wait. Did you boys even see how nice the room looked?

The room after.....

Well, one thing's for sure... Bunny ears never get old.

Happy birthday, my baby. Yes, you are still my baby - like it or not!!!!! Even with your long hair that I promise will never get curly no matter how long you grow it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Do I have any other options?"

Luke woke up at 3am last night (after I went to bed at 1am), crying. His stomach hurt. Really bad.

"Do you have to go to the bathroom?" I ask.
"I don't think so."
"Do you feel like you're going to throw up?"
"I don't think so."
"What does it feel like?"
"It feels bad. Really really bad. Like the baddest ever."
"Well Luke, there's not much you can do for a belly ache, I'm sorry baby. You can go to the bathroom, throw up, or go back to bed."
"Don't you have medicine?"
"No, honey, there really isn't medicine for belly aches."
"I guess I'll go back to bed."

So I tucked him in again, told him to try to find a comfortable position, tried explaining that he might have gas and to try to get some sleep.

A few minutes later, he's up again.
"But mom, it hurts BAD!"
"Honey, I'm sorry, I can't do much for you. Do you want to try to go to the bathroom?"
"I guess...."

Nothing. Back to bed he goes.

A few minutes later. Deja vu all over again. And again. And again. And...

I try rubbing his back, sitting with him in the bathroom, talking him through what it *could* be. Unfortunately, I can't come up with a magic potion and we are going on 45 minutes of him being up.

Emma starts to cry. "I'm so worried about Luke, what's wrong? Is he okay?"

Back to bed. For everyone.

A few minutes later, "MOM, it is REALLY BAD!"
"Okay, Luke, get to the bathroom, just in case."
"Luke, you might be sick."
"But I don't want to be sick, can't it be something else?"
"Mom, it HURTS SO BAD!"
"Luke, I know. What do you want me to do? I told you, you can go to the bathroom, throw up, or go back to bed."

Other options???? It is now 4:30 and I am crazy tired. I'm feeling bad for him and all, but.... we all need sleep at this point. I'm hoping he picks the back to bed option.

And then Option #2 arises: finally, he throws up. Feeling much better, he goes back to bed. We all sleep in until 10am, except for my poor husband who had to get up at 6am for work.

Chalk up another reason why I am glad I am a stay at home mom. Sleeping in until 10am after a night of crazy: priceless.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Parent of the Year. Right here.

I had an a-ha moment. Maybe I'll blame it on the Chinese restaurant we went to last night. Luke's fortune cookie said something about listening to all the voices and getting frustrated. I wish I could remember exactly what it said, but.... Well, that was SO last night. ha.

So I started thinking. Everyone is always telling Luke what to do. Us, the grandparents, his teachers, his coaches... "Do this, don't do that." Poor Luke. What does HE want?

I wouldn't listen to a bunch of people telling me what to do, so why do I expect him to? Yes, I can argue that we're the parents and he's the child and that's what children should do - but I don't want to be a dictator either.

I want that loving relationship where we can encourage them to be all they can be.

So we had "the talk".

It was a rare quiet moment with the 4 of us. So I said, "I've been thinking. I want you both to think about what kind of person you want to be when you grow up - and daddy and I can help you become that person. Do you want to be kind? Do you want to be funny? Do you want to help others? Do you want others to respect you? Don't think about WHAT you want to be, think about WHO you want to be."

Dead silence. 'Oh good, they're thinking,' I think.

Then the silence was broken.

"I want to be a cat" says Emma.
"Very funny, Emma," I say, "I'm serious. What kind of person do you want to be?"
"Okay, Emma. I know this is a hard question, so you can think about it and you don't have to answer me right now."
"I said meow. I only meow now mommy. Meow meow meow MEOW!"

Then Luke says, "I know what kind of person I want to be, mommy!"
"Oh good Luke," I say, as I am clearly proven to be the biggest idiot on the planet. "What kind of person do you want to be when you grow up?"
"This kind!" as he turns around, sticks his butt up in the air and starts spanking himself. "Oh, yeah, look at me, I'm a grown up! Oh yeah, how do you like me now?" spank spank spank.

The spanker and the meower are now completely hysterical. Meow. Spank. Meow. "Oh yeah!" spank.

To my future daughter-in-law and son-in-law: I'm sorry. I tried. Really I did.
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