…and other thoughts on foster care.
I’m going to skip, for now, the parts about how kids are gross and loud and don’t ever let you fucking sleep, as well as the finer political and social aspects of the system, in order to focus on the part where kids are hilarious. And cute.
The little one almost immediately started calling Jamie “Mama”. As he only knows about three words (Also “stop” and “popop” – which, depending on the context means either “Grandad” or “puppy”. I suppose the latter is probably “pupup”, but he doesn’t enunciate the difference well.) Anyhow, as his vocabulary is limited, he doesn’t refer to me at all, but we generally assume that in his head i am referred to as “that bitch that lives with Mama,” judging by how he shrieks at the top of his lungs if i pick him up, and sometimes simply if i touch him or deign to be in his general vicinity. Oh yeah, and especially if i am getting snuggles that he wants. Which is any of them.
The three year old simply referred to Jamie as “her” for the first week or two – despite that he does know her name – but has begun calling her “Mama” as well. I, on the other hand, am exclusively referred to by name, or as “him”. A source of endless amusement.
He has also been terribly confused by the fact that my place of work is a converted house, leading him to ask “him’s going home?” every time we got in the car for the first week, as well as the doubly-cute “him’s going to home to work?” now that he has half a grasp on what’s going on.
In other news, kids’ clothes are adorable, but inefficient – in that skin is so easy to clean, and cloth fairly difficult. Hence the title situation, in which the child decided that a diaper was so totally overdressed for the ride-on bulldozer, while simultaneously announcing “i need to poop!” Fortunately for the bulldozer – but unfortunately for the potty-training efforts – that hasn’t the least to do with his actual need to poop, but rather has to do with his love of talking about poop, real or imagined.
Step 1. Approved to foster. Possibly this is step 301, but we’ll start here for simplicity.
Step 2. Miss placement call because we use crappy go-phones. Panic because it seems a lot more real. Panic that they called like two days after we’re certified. Panic that we missed the call. Don’t hear anything else for a few weeks.
Step 3. Get call from panicked “little sister”-type-person who thinks she is pregnant. Because she is. Work through options with her.
Step 4. Decide to adopt an infant in about 8 months. Turns out that you don’t actually have to be the one growing a baby to be nauseous during pregnancy.
Step 5. Get placement call from the agency, who clearly understood “one kid between 3 and 5” to mean “two kids, how about barely three and twenty months.” Say yes.
Step 6. Puke in shoes. Which may feel less and less like a figure of speech as time goes on.
So? How has your week been?
That'd be a Firefly reference, not a song.
Points of note:
- I chopped my hair off last night. Not all of it, but it’s about chin length. It needs a bit of cleaning up, but i’m pretty happy about it. I decided to just cut off the ponytail when i realized that, basically, no matter how it turned out i couldn’t dislike it any more than i had grown to dislike my long hair.
- We are officially certified as foster parents. We don’t have a placement now, but it’s all set up. I’m so tired of how dragged-out the process has been that i’m almost not terrified nor excited about it at this point.
- I was thinking about our money recently, and i realized that once Jamie is working full-time again, we can probably pay off the house in three years. It’s not exactly a short-term plan, but it’s not long-term either – assuming the best (that is, jobs), that puts us about six years away. It’s funny, i’ve read so much financial advice, and the wisdom is that paying off your mortgage early is unreasonable because you can make more interest investing your money than you pay interest on your mortgage. But, as Jamie pointed out, that assumes that the point is to make the most money, whereas the real point is to have the most freedom. And i am boggled by the freedom that owning our house would give. We will have to wait and see how feasible this is in the end, but it’s an appealing idea.
"The Weight Of Lies" - The Avett Brothers
I am quite pleased. Now, on to planning out next year’s garden, so that perhaps i can grow some of the tomatoes for canning.
"Up So Close" - Cake
Hey, my birthday was last week. It was awesome. I am not really a birthday party kind of girl. I think it’s got something to do with being the focus of things; kind of freaks me out. That, and sometimes parties just kind of freak me out due to numbers of people (mind, our definition of a party isn’t much, but sometimes i’m just not up for more than about two guests…which even i don’t call a party).
But i hear the lack of party was upsetting to a certain 7-year-old boy who was spending the night. As was the fact that i don’t really like cake. But he was appeased; we have a fire pit, so obviously we could have a s’mores party!
And we did – though we have been calling it my pinwheel party. I am told the pinwheels were the boy’s idea as well. There were pink-and-purple pinwheels, and pink-with-white-polkadot pinwheels, and blue-and-red pinwheels (a last-minute addition, “because Brett likes boy colors”). It was quite lovely; there were four children and three adults (and two dogs), hotdogs and kabobs on the grill, and of course pinwheels and marshmallows (i don’t actually like s’mores either, but i love a good roasted marshmallow, and the distinction doesn’t seem worth troubling the poor boy with).
It was a lovely shindig – but that was my birthday-eve. My birthday was just me and my baby, which is far better. We had some very good fried rice, and amazing sex, and an odd, nice conversation about why i’m the only person i know who is entirely unconcerned about getting older; something that has come up a lot since this is my 29th (the theory is: as someone with no goals or ambitions, i don’t think “oh dear, i thought i would have achieved _______ by now,” which we suspect is what people really mean when they panic about being “old”).
So, happy birthday to me. I’m not terribly excited about birthdays as a concept, but i had quite a lovely one. And my baby got me a homebrew kit and some under-the-bed straps to alleviate the fact that we have no headboard. ‘Cause she loves me, obviously.
Except when we don’t (sorry about the mess, honey).
It’s simple – live food preservation. This works for veg that grow directly from the ground (as compared to ones that fruit off a vine, or grow underground or such). It’s just a smidge of water in a container that will hold your plant upright, add plant. Change water daily (otherwise you end up with a rot-mess that you have to apologize to your wife for).
So far we’ve done leeks and green onions (they’ve got roots, so just plop them right in – they also tend to dirty their water pretty quickly, so i cut the submerged part off before eating) and asparagus and celery (cut an inch or so off the cut end to give it something fresh to suck up the water, just like flowers) all with great success. Often they even continue to grow. I’ve kept asparagus fresh for over a week this way. A note – the dried up leeks in this photo were already that way when we tried this experiment – they held up wonderfully afterwards.
As you can see in the picture, i’ve also tried leafy greens (kale here). It’s less impressive – better than just leaving them out, but not a great success. I’m still experimenting.
As i mentioned, i am a bit boggled by the idea of becoming a parent (even if a temporary one). I wasn’t expecting this – overall, i mean, it’s not as if it snuck up on me; more simply that this is not the life i thought i would be leading. The difficult part to explain is that that is not necessarily a bad thing.
I have never been one to plan for the future. I was the kid who never knew what i wanted to be when i grew up. I was the teenager who left a blank page under the “where will you be in five years” project. I’d have done the same under the same question in our recent parenting classes if it weren’t for Jamie’s assistance.
While i could never wrap my head around planning my future, i think i always had some basic assumptions – things about my future life that seemed so obvious that it never occurred to me to articulate them. Like that i wouldn’t be a parent. I wasn’t adamant; i sometimes participated in “if i have kids, i’ll…” conversations, but i never ever said “when”. It’s not that i don’t like kids. I have always loved the idea of friends with kids. Even the rather terrifying prospect of my brother having kids is kind of exciting. But i had a half-rational fear of the effects a kid would have on your life. That is, i think i overestimated the number of things that would be ruined by a kid. And i probably underestimated a whole other set of things that would be ruined by a kid. To be fair, i always saw myself a consummate bachelor as well.
The above was all fairly obvious. The part that i was somewhat surprised to find out about myself is that i have always assumed that if i had children (that i was never going to have), i would adopt them. It never occurred to me that i might have kids any other way. I never really recognized this until i had actual discussions with Jamie about it, but once it did it was completely clear.
Jamie, on the other hand, has always wanted to be a parent. Probably more than anything else. While i don’t think i knew this going into the relationship, it was clear very quickly. She was never pushy about it – it wasn’t even articulated as a thing that she wanted out of our relationship. But (i hope) you can simply tell what your lover is passionate about.
I am entirely unsure how this never became a point of conflict – unless it is that we haven’t any of those. I think she gave up a little. Which is a bit tragic. But i think she decided to marry me despite the fact that i didn’t want to have kids. The thing that i think i failed to tell her until after the fact is that i could tell that it just killed her to give that up (we had never decided the issue, but we had discussed it). That’s not okay and not sustainable. And when i married her, i did so knowing that we would have kids. Because it terrifies me, but it is not a part of me either way, and i really feel that to not have kids would be to steal a real part of her self. Of course, i hadn’t quite figured out how to tell her this. We got married with this up in the air.
Because how do you tell someone “i love you, and i would do anything for you, even have kids,” without sounding like an asshole or a sycophant – or both? I don’t know, but that is the exact truth. I would be happy with her as the whole of my family. But only if she were happy too, and she won’t be. I think i’d be happy with her and some other folks as my family, and i know she would be happier. That is clearly the winning situation.
Explaining that to her (and she can practically read my mind) has been difficult enough – i don’t suppose i will ever be able to explain to anyone else that i am doing this for my wife and not for myself, but that it is still okay (good, even!).
And, to address the details, the one thing we do agree on is that we would both rather have a kid by adoption than any other method. The second thing we agreed on is that right now we would rather foster. We will talk about (and follow through with, i am sure) adoption in the future, but that is not where we are now. Which is another funny thing – she, who has always just wanted children, is in no real hurry, while i, who didn’t want kids at all, am afraid that i am nearing too old for starting parenting. (It’s just one of my many (many) crazies.)
"You Really Gotta Hold On Me" - She & Him