Sunday, February 28, 2010

School fundraisers

I need to say, first, that I think that school fundraisers are a waste of money. Parents and neighbors spend an unreasonable amount on so-so products, resulting in a few dollars for the school and even more for the fundraiser company. If each person who wanted, say, an apple pie just bought the pie at the grocery store and gave $3 to the kid's school, that person would spend less and the school would get more than if the person spent $19.95 on an apple pie through the fundraising company.

Now that I've got that off my chest, I have a specific complaint about the fundraising package that I got for Sabrina's school. Sabrina goes to a school in a neighborhood where people are not at all well off financially. So why is the school using a fundraiser where the least expensive item is $13? And requiring payment by cash or money order? (Actually I totally understand the cash or money order requirement, and the people in that neighborhood are probably used to it. It's my friends who don't know how to buy a money order and never carry cash.)

BUT, now that you know how I really feel, I'm going to hit you up. Because there is also an online option. Here's how it works:

Go to Put lots of overpriced goodies in your cart.* Then when you check out, enter the participant code 003626. That will apply your purchase to Sabrina. Your order will then be shipped to you.**


* For those who keep kosher, obviously it's not even worth looking at the pizzas. Most of the "Elegant Desserts" are O-U or circle-k; you can verify which by checking the product information. In the "Treats and Sweets," the apple dumplings and pumpkin roll are O-U, the chocolate eclairs are the vaad of somewhere in New England--I don't remember which vaad it is but they are acceptable--and the cookies are triangle-k.

** For those concerned about Passover, I don't know what the timing of shipping is for orders placed online.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Am I being neglectful if...

...I let Sabrina get dressed in the morning without me smearing her entire body with moisturizing cream for her eczema? The past two mornings I have left her room while she has picked out her clothes, and she has shown up in the living room maybe five minutes later fully dressed. Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth (that IS the expression, right?), I haven't told her to go back to her room and take her clothes off so we can put on cream. We still put it on at night (though last night that led to quite a struggle) and I'd rather plop her in front of Max and Ruby for an hour (an hour, really!) while I wash dishes than have to sit in her room while she very carefully lays out her clothes exactly as they would go on her body (underpants in the tights, tights in the socks, socks in the shoes...) for 30 minutes and then spend another 25 minutes trying to smear cream on her and then then another 20 minutes getting dressed and then 10 minutes while her toothbrush plays and then we're late to school.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

To-do list

I know, I know. You don't really want to see my to-do list. But I'm feeling overwhelmed and just want to share it with you, my imaginary (and in a few cases, not imaginary) friends.

1. Sabrina did a few more cute things that I want to blog about. If only I could remember what they were.

2. Sabrina made goodie bags for her class. I need to put the twist ties on each of them.

3. I need to make my own goodie bags (mishloach manot) for my friends. This is going to involve cutting shapes out of paper, gluing them to paper bags, and then filling the bags. And bringing the rest of the things I bought at C0stc0 in from the car.

4. I'm having people over for dinner tomorrow. So I need to cook. Actually, I need to figure out what I'm going to serve. And I think I need to buy more peppers, since I only bought three.

5. I took an hour long nap this morning. That's not a thing to do, but it got in the way of the things I need to do.

6. I'm supposed to be doing 4 hours of volunteer work each day. I am doing it from home today, but since I took that nap and am now blogging and have played a bunch of Lexulous and and and, I have about an hour and a half (at least) more to do. And I don't wanna.

7. I need to figure out who I should complain to about the atmosphere of anger in Sabrina's school. This morning one of the teachers was yelling into the microphone at the kids because they weren't being quiet. Following up, another teacher said something just this side of "shut up." I don't remember what it was, but it was mean. A while ago the aide in Sabrina's class actually did tell the class to "shut up." And the other day she said to "sit down or I'm gonna get you."

8. I'm knitting socks and I'm trying to finish them by the end of the Olympics. I don't actually know when the Olympics end, but I'm only 1/2 an inch above the ankle, so I have a ways to go.

9. I want to blog about Sabrina's ridiculous homework.

10. And I'm hungry. Today is a fast day (the fast of Esther, commemorating her fast in the book of Esther in the Bible) and while I need to remember to focus on the "I have plenty of food and I know that this fast/hunger will end at 6-something. Other people experience hunger every day and don't know where their next meal will come from," in the moment I am thirsty and wanting to eat some of what I just made for tomorrow's dinner.


Okay, John's not coming back as a babysitter. As I left my building, I met his girlfriend, who came to babysit with him. I don't mind the girlfriend. (Well, I do, kind of.) I mind that he didn't ask if she could come. I spent the entire 24 hour period prior to him babysitting prepping Sabrina. And in all of our conversations, we only talked about John. So Sabrina had no clue. And I wasn't even still there to introduce her. NOT COOL. Ever, but particularly with a foster kid.

Also, John came at 6:30 and Sabrina was in her PJs and telling me that she was tired. Did I tell John "okay, Sabrina doesn't have an official bedtime but you should start the bedtime routine now?" No. I said "Sabrina is tired so you can start the bedtime routine now." I got home at 9:00 and John said that Sabrina had been in bed for about a half hour. Woah? Now I know to be more explicit. (I guess my full page, bullet list explanation of how bedtime works wasn't good enough.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lots of great stuff today

Sabrina is making goodie bags to take to school on Friday. (We went to C0stc0 yesterday to buy things for mishloach manot--gifts given on Purim--so we are giving mishloach manot at school, too.) I originally thought she could decorate the bags for MY friends, but now I think I'll have to do that myself. Instead she is decorating bags for HER friends. Stickers. Who knew she would do it SO CAREFULLY. The amount of time she is spending to pick out the stickers is crazy. [As I was typing that sentence, she asked for help. So I will as soon as I finish typing today's cuteness.] Anyway, she is talking about how all her classmates love her and that is why she is giving goodie bags. What a sweetheart!


In the car on the way home from school Sabrina asked me if we could stop, but we had just gotten on the highway. I said "no, we just got on the highway." Her response? "Where is the down-way?" "The down-way? Oh! Because this is the highway?" "Yes." What a clever thinker!


A friend is coming over tonight to babysit. I'm completely stressed out about it. So is Sabrina.

We've been talking about how John is coming and is going to put her to bed, and then I'll come home while she's asleep. She has been asking who is taking her to school tomorrow, and where John is going to sleep, and if John is going to be here forever...


We took a bath right after school today. I have no idea when her last bath was because I neglected to call her dad over the weekend. Honestly, it could have been WEEKS since we missed our bath nights last week. And she was stinkeroo. Pretty amazing for a 4 year old to smell bad. But she got in the bath with no complaints and then afterwards let me put on her cream and then put on her pajamas. She asked to go to bed. It was only 4:45, so I said no. I can't get over how adorable she is.


Okay, off to help Sabrina with the goodie bags.

I can't believe I'm asking this, but... any of you who live in states where medical marijuana use is legal know whether use may be approved for kids in care? Or does the state want to stay far, far away from that thorny issue? And do you know if there are problems where parents using medical marijuana are having their kids taken away?

If you don't want to make public the state that you live in, you can send me an email: frumfostermom - at - gmail - dot - com.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm going to knit a dress...

...for Sabrina. (Big mistake, looking at knitting patterns for kids' clothes. Too cute.) I showed her the picture and asked if she liked it. Then I asked if she wanted it in colors that she could wear to school, or if she wanted it for other days. Also a big mistake. Okay, not the biggest, but still.

Anyway, I mention this because I am now torn. She wants it in pink and purple and green and white (a combination that I can probably handle), but I don't know when she ever wears dresses other than at school. So I really want to backtrack on my offer to make it in the other colors, and instead make it in really cute blues so that I know that she will be able to get use out of it.

What do you think I should do?


After this afternoon's adventure, Sabrina was really tired. We basically spent two hours in her bed reading. Now she's not tired and she needs to go to bed. Oops.

Rough afternoon

There's something good in every bad situation, right? Today's good is that I came up with a good attribute of Sabrina (not the only good attribute, she has tons of them): she's tenacious.

It took us an hour to get in the car after school today because Sabrina absolutely 100 percent refused to let me do ANYTHING for her. She wouldn't let me untie the knot in her shoelaces, lift her over a pile of snow, help her after she fell in the snow, or, most relevantly, buckle her seatbelt. She refused to sit back in her seat, and it was raining, so I told her that I was going to sit in the front until she was ready to sit properly in her seat.

I pulled out my knitting and occupied myself as she grumbled a bit, and then decided that she was going to buckle her seatbelt herself. First she tried pulling it while she was sitting, but she discovered that while she can unbuckle her seatbelt while sitting in the seat, she can't reach to buckle it. So she climbed out of the seat and spent 15 minutes trying--and ultimately succeeding--to buckle the seatbelt over the booster seat. She then climbed in (bet you didn't realize that was possible), and all would have been well except that the lap belt (and the shoulder belt, but that was of less immediate concern) was over the arm rest, rather than under it, so the seatbelt wasn't secure enough. I said that I was going to fix it, and in response, she unbuckled the seatbelt and began again. This time I told her that the straps of the seatbelt needed to go under the arm rest. Ten minutes later it was buckled, but she couldn't get herself between the seat and the seatbelt. Then she had a meltdown, at which point I learned an important lesson:

If you have only one child, and that child sits on the same side of the car all the time, do not engage the child locks on both sides of the car. Yes, I got myself stuck in the backseat with Sabrina and no adults to open the car. I climbed into the front, then realized that I could have unrolled the window and opened the door from the outside that way. But better not to have gotten stuck in the first place.

Finally, she tried again and ultimately was able to get the seatbelt buckled and then into the seat secured by the belt. I really didn't think it was possible.

Now, to make sure that doesn't happen again...

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Look, I love Sabrina, but I really was planning on having her home at 7 and putting her to bed.
I was NOT planning on her 4:30-6:30 visit with her mom being shortened to 3:30-4:30 (mom can't get there until 4, hence the change in start time to 4:30) and her getting home at 5 after only getting a half hour. Add in that she is being picked up and dropped off by some random person at the agency, not by Wilma, and we have the recipe for a bad night.

This random person will also undoubtedly get lost trying to get to my apartment. That'll be really fun.

I don't deal well with change.

My name is...

...Foster Ima, and I'm a workaholic.

You'd never guess it, I think, from my five months of unemployment. But I started a volunteer position today, and it just confirmed that I suffer from this disease.

I volunteer from 10-2. This schedule allows me to take Sabrina to school, return home, and then go to the office by public transportation, and then do the reverse to pick her up. Because she gets picked up by her social worker on Thursdays and her dad on Fridays, I have a little bit of leeway at the end of the day. So today I arrive (late, oops) and work away until 2 pm. But it just felt "too early" to leave, and I still had work to do. I forced myself to leave at 2:10 so that I don't get in the habit of staying later than I can, but this could be a problem. No one leaves work at 2 pm!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The best birthday EVER

So I had this big idea that I was going to be mature about my birthday this year and not go around telling everyone it was my birthday, but I didn't succeed, and boy was that a good thing!

On Friday I went to my favorite yarn shop (which happens to be owned by a friend), and when I mentioned that my Hebrew birthday* was the next day, she said "oh, and you get the birthday discount." What birthday discount? Wow!

And of course I got an emailed coupon for my annual free ice cream at Baskin-Robbins.

And two (not-actually-kosher) baked good treats from different stores.

But the exciting part is when I went to get my annual hair cut today, I told the stylist it was my birthday, and he gave me a free waxing, too! (Sorry to any guys out there reading this.)

But even those aren't why it was the best birthday EVER. Here's why it was the best birthday EVER: I took Sabrina out to dinner at a restaurant. We had to walk to get there because the parking situation by the restaurant is abominable even when there isn't snow on the ground. When I walk by myself, it takes 15 minutes. With Sabrina, it took 40 minutes. She was walking in the snow (and got her feet VERY wet and cold!) but she held my hand without complaint the entire time, she responded to all of my requests except for "please stop kicking snow back onto the sidewalk", and she was just all-around fabulous. Then we got to the restaurant, and she told me she'd never been to a restaurant like it before. But even though I hadn't prepped her on restaurant etiquette, she was delightful. She sat quietly, enjoyed her dinner, and was adorable.

I also gave Sabrina a bracelet I made for her with her name in beads, and while she didn't say thank you, she did put it on and say that she doesn't want to take it off. What a cutie!

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts to try to fit everything in, we got home too late for Sabrina to take a bath. (She brushed her teeth without playing, let me put her cream on, and put her pajamas on without any delay, then she wanted to lie down while we read stories--normally she asks to sit up--and was FAST asleep within two minutes of being done with stories. She even admitted that she was tired. When a kid tells you she's tired, you know she's tired. So no bath.) I have no idea when her last bath was, since she was at her dad's through Tuesday morning, and tomorrow she has her visit with mom, which means two things: 1. I hope mom doesn't complain about a lack of bathing, and 2. Sabrina will get home too late for a bath again. I'll have to call dad and tell him that Sabrina is going to need a bath when she gets to his house!

Wow, I think that being outside in the cold for so long makes a person sleepy. I am sitting on the sofa yawning, and it's not even 9:15! Ah well, time for bed, I suppose!

*I was asked the last time I mentioned this "what is a Hebrew birthday?" So, here's the answer: Judaism operates on a mostly-lunar calendar, unlike the secular calendar which is solar. So the Hebrew date I was born on, the 29th of the month of Shevat, falls on a different date on the secular calendar each year. (But always falls just before the Chinese New Year, which is also based on a lunar calendar. I just realized that this year.) This is also why holidays like Chanukah and Passover fall on different dates on the secular calendar each year.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Saturday (well, starting Friday night) is my Hebrew birthday, followed on Wednesday by my regular birthday, which is also the half-birthday of my sister and my nephew. Tuesday is Sabrina's half-birthday. I have big plans for celebrating. Saturday night I'm having a party, not advertised as a birthday party, thrown together at the last minute: make-your-own pizzas and blanket-making for Project Linus. As of now, one person is coming other than me, one person is a maybe, 8 have said they are busy or out of town, and about 20 have viewed the invitation but not responded. (Thanks to evite for keeping track of those things.)

Then on Tuesday Sabrina comes back to me after more than a week at her dad's house, and either Tuesday or Wednesday we are going to go out to dinner. I want to celebrate and I want to make sure that she gets a real restaurant experience; I don't know if she has had one before or when she will get one again.

And Wednesday is the most exciting of all: my annual hair cut. Sometimes I get 2 a year. And sometimes I get off schedule when I look in the mirror and decide that there is NO WAY I can go out in public any more without a hair cut. But usually that doesn't happen. My hair looks very good when it gets cut, but then it continues to look good until one day it just doesn't anymore. That moment hit about a week ago, right about on time. I've made an appointment with "my guy" who does my eyebrows. He's never done my hair, but I like him so I figure he should get my tip money. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nope, not frozen to death. Yet.

Since school closed early on Friday and has been closed ever since, Sabrina is still with her dad. Even if there is school tomorrow (not lookin' so likely right now), I won't see her 'til next Tuesday since Friday school is closed for a professional development day. So without her cute-ness around, I haven't had much to blog about.

Instead, I have been knitting. And knitting. And knitting. Yesterday I was able to get out of the house and went to my local yarn shop -- which isn't terribly local, but is owned by a friend -- with my knitting to meet a friend. He and I knit for a while, I met his (horrifically ugly, but we won't tell him that) dog, and then when the snow started falling again, I headed for home.

This morning I ventured out to volunteer at a food distribution center. I don't know the technical name (not a food bank, not a soup kitchen, but the level in between), but they prepare food that is then delivered to shelters, and they run a culinary training program. It's a great organization, and with the awful weather, they were in need of some extra manpower. It wasn't so bad getting there this morning, though I missed the subway by all of about 15 seconds and had to wait a full half hour for the next train, but coming back my snot froze. Yes, you read that right. I used the word "snot."

Anyway, I just need to share my progress on the knitting front. I'm making a skirt, and the directions after row 10 are basically "knit, and keep knitting until it's long enough." (There are some rows with increases so it gets a little wider as the skirt gets longer, but that's just details.) And then the last rows are: purl 2 rows, knit 2 rows, purl 3 rows, knit 2 rows, purl 4 rows, done. I'm finally on the purl 3 rows section. The end is in sight!

Friday, February 5, 2010

A cute Sabrina story

Sabrina and I have been reading Dr. Seuss's A B C. I read all of the words and point to the letters, which she reads. She doesn't know all of them, but it's cute how she is picking up on the fact that the pages go in order, so if she read A, B, and C, then she can figure out D by starting the alphabet song.

I think this book really might be the gateway to her reading. We'll see. But in the meantime, last night when she could only have one story because it was so late, this is the book she chose. And then she decided to put it under her pillow while she slept. She's got her college study skills all worked out :-)


Let me start by saying that I learned (or realized?) something important about myself this morning. It is this: I am fine with being awakened by a small child in the middle of the night, but if that same small child tries to wake me up in the 20 or so minutes between the time that my alarm clock first goes off and the time that I stop hitting snooze, I'm a selfish little grump.

But once I realized that I couldn't get Sabrina to go back to sleep for a half hour (including a discussion in which she said she is afraid of the dark--the first time she has provided any sort of specific about what she is scared of), I banished the grump and we had an amazing morning.

Until she hit me in the nose with her shoe.

Seriously, though, we snuggled and she initiated all sorts of affectionate play. This was HUGE because normally she will only deign to let me touch her if she is sick. I don't know if part of it is that she's getting used to it now that I have figured out how to get her to let me put her lotion on (and thanks, by the way, to those who informed me that lotion is vastly inferior to cream; in just two applications her skin is smoother and she doesn't itch as much), but it was great.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More progress

Sabrina came home from her visit with a bottle of juice (as she does every week). The first thing she did after dumping her coat and bookbag was to say "I'm going to put my juice in the 'frigerator." Two weeks ago when I asked her to put it in the refrigerator (and after an initial "no" from her, explained that the juice would get spoiled if it stayed out), she said "it's my's and I can do what I want with it." Clearly, the lesson stuck, even if she was too stubborn to accept that I was right in the moment.

Visits and sleep

Sabrina had her visit with her mom today, and for the first time she came back smiling and even Wilma didn't seem resentful to be with her. Hooray for a cheery little one.

The good mood didn't last too long, however, because she hit the tired wall. Sabrina's visits are from 4:30-6:30 (why did it take this long for me to figure out that they are 2 hours long?) so she gets home between 6:45 and 7:00. We have been getting ready for bed between 6:30 and 7:00 and then having some stories, and then asleep by 7:30. Clearly, her body is adjusting to this schedule since as soon as 7:00 hit, she was yawning and rubbing her eyes.

I would have skipped her homework (I know, I know, she's only 4!) but she wanted to do it. We skipped the hardest of the FOUR worksheets (ugh!!) but in the middle of the last one that we did, Mr. Cranky-pants showed up and forced her to finish it even though I was totally ready to let it slide. The thing about Mr. Cranky-pants is that he is a slow poke and makes things take longer than they take without him.

Then it took 20 minutes (I might be exaggerating) to untie her shoes, because the teacher's aide tied them in a ridiculously tight double knot, and Sabrina insisted on untying them herself, even though she couldn't figure out how.

We read only one story and she was out like a light within 3 minutes of lying down. But it was already 8:20, so I think wake-up time tomorrow might be a struggle.

Hadn't thought of that...

Trial is Monday. Sabrina being my first kiddo, I hadn't thought about the fact that the judge could rule that Sabrina's mom wasn't neglectful, and Sabrina could go home with her. Wilma says that this is not a cut and dry case, so there's no way to guess which way the judge will go. If the judge rules in mom's favor, I guess I'll be packing her stuff for her. Exciting for her, though I don't know if the rats that Sabrina talks about in her "old house" mean in her mom's current house or if they moved in the last year, and I don't like to think about her going to a house with rats.

But trial won't actually be Monday. I don't want to give away too much about where I live, but let me just say that the forecast is for snow. So much snow that in a school system that has had no snow days in the last 3 years (even though every surrounding jurisdiction has had snow days) because of the belief that we shouldn't take away any instructional time if there is any way to avoid it, school is closing early tomorrow. If there really is as much snow as is predicted, court won't be open on Monday.

In the meantime, Sabrina's dad has taken care of his outstanding warrant, so the ICPC petition can be re-opened.

Things are moving forward...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Four more good things

1. Sabrina can consistently zip her own coat as of this week. Such a big girl!

2. Sabrina learned the first half of tying her shoes. I'm pretty sure that I'm the one who taught her, though it involved only one time talking her through it (well, I talked myself through it) until she told me to shut up.

3. Sabrina had a meltdown this evening complete with hitting and hair pulling, but while hitting me, she said "I'm mad at you." This is a step in the right direction. I'm really proud of her for using words.

4. I taught Sabrina "eenie, meenie, miney, mo." (I'm also working on teaching her how to spell "go," but even though she is regularly surprised that it is only two letters--"G-O, that's it?", she doesn't remember it from one day to the next.)

Must remember this

This morning, along with Sabrina's rendition of Jingle Bells (appropriate, perhaps, because of the snow?), we:

1. Got a sticker for taking her inhalers (both of them) without complaint and with breathing. Again, perhaps just because she knew she needed them?

2. Got a sticker for letting me slather lotion on her. Until the sticker incentive, I had NO IDEA just how dry her skin is. Especially on her stomach. (Hello, bad parenting on my part.) But she claims that the lotion (Eucerin) makes her itch more. Any suggestions for really good, effective lotion for sensitive skin?

3. Had some snuggle time when she climbed into my lap.

4. Did NOT get a sticker for getting dressed. Instead of getting dressed, she broke her Dora tent by flipping it around on all sides while in it. She did eventually get dressed.

5. Got a sticker for brushing her teeth and washing her face, though her Tigger toothbrush needed some convincing.

6. Got to school on time! Despite needing to clean snow off the car and school starting on time.

Sabrina-isms, part 4

Sabrina is eating breakfast and singing:

"Ring ring ring, ring ring ring, ring ring ring ring one horse open sleigh!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Great afternoon!

After school today I thought we might be headed for a meltdown. Sabrina asked me while we were still at school if she could watch TV, but I had other plans. My plans were this: we were going to go to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy cookie cutters (Tar-jay having not had any) and then to Costco to get my glasses fixed (having been pulled off my face a few too many times), with the ability for me to use ice cream as a "if you're good..." treat at the end.

Well, I told Sabrina that we were going to buy cookie cutters--she wants to make cookies for her mom--and she would have none of it.

But by the time we got to the car and she got right in and let me buckle her seatbelt (one sticker, right away!), and I told her that even if we didn't go to buy cookie cutters, we still needed to go to a store to get my glasses fixed, she relented and was totally cool with the cookie cutter part of the plan.

So I said, "we are going to go to the store for cookie cutters, and then we're going to a different store to get my glasses fixed, and if you are fantastically good, we can get ice cream at the end. Being fantastically good means holding my hand in the parking lot, staying near me in the store, and no hitting, no biting, and no pulling my hair."

And she was better than fantastically good! So we got ice cream at Costco; a word of warning: it is a LOT. We shared the ice cream, and neither one of us was hungry for dinner. Not my finest moment, nutritionally, but we had a good afternoon, so I think it was worth it.

She got a lot more stickers (she breathed when taking her inhaler! amazing! though this might have been because she actually was on the verge of an asthma attack and knew it) so I'm hoping that she will be excited to get stickers in the morning and we can actually get to school.

We had great story-time, too, and then... she started telling me that she doesn't like living with me, I'm mean, that her favorite part of the day was at school because I wasn't there, and the like. I'm fairly confident that this was because she had too much fun with me and needed to protect herself. I think that's a good sign.

Sabrina-isms, part 3

Sabrina to me just a little while ago:
"I'm a little tired, that's why I wanted you to do my homework. You have a lot of energy."

Waiting, waiting, waiting

Sorry folks for the 27th post today. This is one that can't go on Twitter because too long, and can't go on Facebook because involves one of the people I'm friends with, but I just want to get it out there in the world. (I clearly need a best friend.)

There's this job that I applied for back the week before Thanksgiving. I learned of the job when I was still working (late August? early September?) but it took a long time for the job to be posted. Then there was a round of interviews for people who had been RIF'ed (reduction in force) from the local government due to this year's budget issues; my job didn't count because it was a political job. This last bit of knowledge I got from my friend who is totally looking out for me.

Just now I called the boss (agency head) and asked how the hiring process was going and if there was anything I could do to ease her concerns about my overqualification (which I know is an issue; she told my friend mentioned above that I'm "too smart for the job"). She said that it wouldn't be appropriate to talk outside the context of an interview, but that interviews are going to be next week, and she thought that her chief of staff (the friend on facebook) had started making calls to schedule those. She said that I should expect a call very soon, which I hope means that at least I will get the chance to ease concerns about being too smart for the job!

Please keep your fingers crossed for me that I get to have the interview!


Today's successes (so far!) are the following:

1. I just called Sabrina's classmate's aunt to try to arrange a playdate. (I had to leave a message, but this has been on my to-do list for two weeks. I hate making phone calls.)

2. I got Sabrina's social security number from Wilma. (Why did Wilma have it when she wasn't at her desk? A bit beyond me, but at least she responded to that email, if not the longer one yet.)

3. And I emailed the rest of the information needed for our famous person building tour to my friend (well, his assistant), and just need his phone number or for him to call me so that I can pass along our SSNs.

4. When Sabrina lost her striped underpants this morning (don't ask how that happened, I still haven't found them), she didn't completely lose it.

5. I bought (finally) reward stickers. They cost an insane amount of money ($5.49 plus tax!) but starting tonight we're just going to plaster her with stickers every time she does something "right" (like brush her teeth with her toothbrush, instead of her finger, or breathe when she takes her inhaler).

Cute Sabrina story of the morning

Because you have to have a cute story every morning, and especially when you've been smacked around without any identifiable triggers:

Me (while Sabrina was busy arranging her clothes): I am going to the living room to get my notebook, and I'll be right back. I have to write things on my list of things I need to do today.

Sabrina: Like clean your room?

Do you think she's trying to tell me something?
(Actually, on my list is: "Clean up cr@p." But she was close.)

Completely without warning

So, we're getting dressed (slowly slowly s-l-o-w-l-y) and out of the blue she grabs my hair. Seriously, I hadn't even said anything. No "come on, you need to take your pajamas off" or "it's important to be on time to school." I hadn't tried to do anything for her. Nope. Just sitting there patiently when she comes over and grabs my hair.

Monday, February 1, 2010

More on this afternoon

Some details. I arrived at Sabrina's classroom only to find that she hadn't been at school. WTH? The other kids in the class were so cute about it and were happy to see me. As I was leaving, Sabrina's mom called and said "we're five minutes away." So I agreed to meet them in the front of the school.

While I waited for 25 minutes, I got to enjoy a bit of her world.

1. One of the security guards (I'm okay with elementary schools having security guards, by the way, since they are there to keep the kids safe, but Sabrina's school has at least three, and that's just not cool) threatened the kids that "if I see you with a snowball, you WILL BE suspended." I considered approaching her and telling her that I wrote the discipline rules, and while snowballs are serious, nowhere in the discipline rules does it say anything about snowballs, and suspension is never an appropriate first step unless there is really REALLY serious stuff going on, like weapons or sex, and definitely not for elementary school kids. But I was too chicken.

2. A dad showed up (late) to pick up his son. His son was waiting outside for him. Dad lays into him, grabs his arm and yells how he was supposed to wait inside and someone could snatch him and I don't remember what else but it was HARSH and LOUD and RELENTLESS.

3. Another dad pulled up in his car and told someone in the car (loudly) "roll down the mother-effing window!" A few minutes later he came back out of the school with one of Sabrina's classmates--one of my favorites--and her little brother.

But wait, you say. You said that Sabrina's mom said they were five minutes away. Why were you waiting for 25 minutes?

Well, after 20 minutes I called mom back. "We're coming around the corner right now." This was possible, as there were three cars turning the corner at that moment. Well, maybe they were turning A corner, but it sure wasn't the corner at the school. Another five minutes...

Email to Wilma

The following is the redacted email I sent to Wilma this evening. The circumstances outlined in the email led to a meltdown in the car, such that 50 minutes after Sabrina was returned to me (that sounds worse than the circumstances were), she finally had her seatbelt on. (At which point she told me that she didn't want to listen to music or news, and she didn't want it to be quiet in the car. So I'm not sure what she wanted. Ultimately she cheered up and talked to me, and then started reciting Hickory Dickory Dock.)

Hi Wilma,
I need to give you an update on Sabrina's weekend with her dad. Our schedule has been that he picks Sabrina up from school on Friday afternoon and takes her to school on Monday morning. From what I learned this afternoon, I don't think that is going to continue to be a workable arrangement.

The immediate issue is that Sabrina didn't make it to school today, but spent the day with her Auntie (mom's sister) and mom. Dad took Sabrina to Auntie's house this morning but somehow couldn't take her all the way to school. Then Auntie's car didn't work and the mechanic couldn't come until 1, so Sabrina didn't get to school.

It seems to me that 1. if none of the adults in Sabrina's life can get her to school reliably while she is living with me, that she needs to be with me every morning that she needs to go to school. (I say this with complete acknowledgement of the fact that I sometimes have trouble getting Sabrina out of the house in the morning, so we are sometimes late to school.) And 2. as far as I know, Sabrina isn't supposed to be having unsupervised visits with Mom (or Auntie?).

I don't know what expectations have been conveyed to Dad about Sabrina's time with him. Please:
1. let me know what Dad has been told about his responsibilities vis a vis timing of visits and contact with other relatives,
2. let me know if you agree that a change needs to be made about the end-of-weekend transfer of Sabrina from Dad back to me, and if so, please communicate that to Dad, and
3. incorporating the request from the email I sent earlier in the weekend, let me know Sabrina's social security number for a visit to the [exciting building where famous people work].

Additionally, Sabrina was very disappointed that her visit with Mom had to be cancelled due to your illness on Thursday. (I hope that you are feeling better!) Is there not a back-up system in place so that situations like that don't have to happen?

Thank you,
Foster Ima


I'm going to have to post more later, after I email Wilma, but for now I am overwhelmed by cuteness and just need to share!

Sabrina and I read some stories and she was clearly very tired after a meltdown-full afternoon, so we went to her room at 6:30 to start getting ready for bed. We got ready and read a few more stories, and at about 7 I said it was time to lie down. She didn't let me lie down with her, but we did some talking about the day while I sat on the foot of her bed, and then I said "okay, time to lie down and be quiet." "I'm not tired!" (As she rubbed her eye.) "That's okay, but you need to lie down and be quiet, even if you don't sleep."

So she puttered around in bed a bit, talked to herself quietly, and then all of a sudden, I realized I didn't hear her anymore. (I'm sitting with my back to her bed.) I turned around, and she is sacked out on top of her covers, sideways across the bed. It is terribly precious, and if I knew how to mute my phone, I would take a picture.

Not related to anything, but...

I'm following Claudia's tweets as she suffers on a ridiculously long bus ride, and one of them reminds me of a story from college. So I thought I'd share, even though it is not related to ANYTHING.

Claudia tweeted: "Hey mister. If I wanted to listen to rap I would have put some on my own iPod. Did you know the earbuds go in your EARS???"

Sophomore year of college, my roommate and I barely tolerated each other. (Long story.) One day we were both in our room studying. She was on her computer writing a paper, and I was reading on my bed. She was listening to music, a Disney CD, through headphones. She was about as far away from me as was possible in our tiny room. And even though she was wearing headphones, I could SING ALONG with her music, it was so loud. But still, it had that muffled quality that made it frustrating to listen to. "Hey roomie," I asked, "since I enjoy the music that you're listening to, why don't you just listen to it without the headphones?" Roommate, in a snotty voice, replied that "I LIKE listening to it with headphones." I left to go to the common room to do my reading.