Friday, March 26, 2010


Me: What did you drink with dinner last night?

Sabrina: Soda.

Me: What type of soda?

Sabrina: Grown-up soda.

Me: What color was it? Was it yellow, or orange, or brown?

Sabrina: Brown.

Me, unspoken: Aha.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Routine shmoutine

I haven't yet blogged about yesterday's play therapy appointment, and now seems like a good time. I met with the therapist for about 20 minutes before Sabrina met with her. Her big piece of advice was "You need to set a routine and stick to it." Yes, because when you stay at your dad's house from Friday night to Monday morning and then have to come back to your foster home for only four nights and four mornings a week, and one of those nights you have therapy and one of those nights you see your mom, it is really easy to set a routine.

We wrote down an afternoon/evening routine that didn't even make it out of the box yesterday due to a wild goose chase trying to find new school clothes. (Sabrina goes to her dad's house wearing her favorite school clothes and then comes back on Monday wearing clothes that she doesn't like. I'm not helping at all by agreeing that one of the dresses that she has come back wearing is hideous.)

And of course spring break starts tomorrow so Sabrina will be with her dad until a week from Tuesday. But I decided to give the routine another shot tonight.

I aimed for in pajamas by 7:30, stories, in bed by 7:45. We missed by about 20 minutes, but here's the key take-away--at 8:05, Sabrina was in bed.

Then she was "really really really really really really really really really really scared" (yes, she counted the "really"s on her fingers, so I know there were 10 of them) so I lay down in bed with her. She normally doesn't let me do that, so I relished the opportunity to be almost snuggling with her. Then this, that, and the other thing happened, and then it was 9.

I won't go into the rest of the boring details between 8 and 10:15, but at about 10:15 I was just about to lose it. Sabrina was just trying to engage me, so I explained to her that I had told her enough times that she needed to go to bed, so she knew it without me telling her. I said that instead of telling her that she needed to go to bed, I was just going to not talk to her until after she was asleep. I listened (in case anything really needed a response) but did not respond at all expect a few fingers pointing to her bedroom. About 15 minutes ago (11:00ish) she let me pick her up (!!) and carry her to her room. She has been there ever since.

I am filled with large amounts of doubt about whether this was the right thing to do. It was horribly guilt-inducing for me, and I can only hope that it wasn't damaging to her.

The adventure did produce some interesting Sabrina quotes. I didn't type (most of) them as she was saying them, so I'm missing a lot. But here are a few:

  • "I thought you was my friend!"
  • "If you're not going to talk ME, then I'm not going to talk to YOU."
  • "What did I do to you? I didn't do anything to you."
  • While bawling and one would, therefore, expect her to do not much more than call for Mommy and Daddy: "You hurt my feelings! You really hurt my feelings!"
  • "I want to make you laugh!"
  • "I need to tell you somethin'! Foster Ima, I need to tell you somethin'!* When's it gonna turn Friday?"

* It occurs to me that earlier in the evening (the event, actually, that provoked the bawling "you hurt my feelings") she called me to her room and said "I need to ask you something. When I go to my auntie's house, I'm going to give a piece of candy to my cousin and she's going to say thank you." I got annoyed because she said she was going to ask and then told. I wonder if she is confused about what is asking and what is telling.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More on the job front

I got the official job offer this afternoon. I knew that it would be a pay cut. When I looked at the pay scale for the job's categorization, I thought it would be like a $9K pay cut. (Yes, that is still big.)

Instead it's a $15K pay cut. And the HR person isn't the one authorized to do salary negotiations. So tomorrow morning I am going to call the boss and see what I can do to make sure that I at least am not making less than I was making when I started working for the city.


Today's concerns

1. I arrived at school to pick up Sabrina, and the class was watching Nickelodeon. (It does sound like they were just watching to keep them occupied and quiet during snack time, but still is not my happiest moment about her school.)

2. We went to the library after school, and the library security guard was hanging out on the for-catalog-use-only computer with YouTube and a few other programs open (I know this because I did sneak in to use the catalog) and was listening to music through headphones. Hello, are you paying attention to what was going on around you?

Monday, March 22, 2010


This post is, nominally, about Easter. And my Very. Large. Gripes. about celebrating Easter in public school.

But I have bigger fish to fry at the moment.

Sabrina brought a note home today from her teacher. It was dated today. March 22. And it said, essentially, "We will be making Easter baskets on March 19. Please send your child to school with a basket and a bag of grass no later than Thursday, March 18. I will provide the goodies."

Small fish to fry: why do I have to go and buy plastic schlock when Sabrina is going to get an Easter basket from her family anyway?

Big fish to fry: get your dates right, teacher!

Now, off to find the part of the regulations that says this is totally against the rules. (Because you know, the Constitution is such an obscure document.)

Good news!

I can't post about this yet on my non-anonymous blog because it isn't official (darn city human resources department), but I have a job! This is the job that I learned about back in August when I told the would-be boss that my job was being eliminated, and she immediately emailed her boss to ask if she could hire me. Yes, AUGUST. The vacancy was finally posted in November, I applied a week later, and was interviewed last Friday. The 12th, that is. They need me to start ASAP which could actually be on Monday. If HR ever calls me to actually offer me the job.

I will be replacing the only person who has ever held the job. He was in the office since its creation some 35 or 37 years ago.

And (here's the really fun part), I might hold the job for less than a month.

Crazy, huh? The possibility exists that I could get a promotion almost immediately. This is why they need me to start ASAP. One of the (very few) other people in the office just got a new job and is leaving. Imminently. So 1. they need me to start so that he can train me, and 2. his job is better than mine and better suited to my qualifications (it's actually an attorney job), so after he goes, they will want to slide me into his position.

But for now, am just waiting for my phone to ring...

Our new house?

Background conversation on the way home from school:

Sabrina: Is we home yet?
Me: Does it look like we're home? (We were about halfway between school and home.)
Sabrina: Yes.
Me: Really?
Sabrina: Yes. (With her adorable grin.)
Me: We live under that bridge?

And then the real conversation that I wanted to blog about:

Sabrina: We could live in a tree house!
Me: What would we do if it was really windy?
Sabrina: We could close the windows!

(She continued to describe our new house, with three bedrooms, but our beds will go in the living room and the dining room table will go in my bedroom. All of my stuff and her stuff will go in her bedroom.)

She's got great problem solving skills, that Sabrina!

B collage, expanded

Words that start with the letter B that I have found in pictures:
brussels sprouts

Words that start with B that I have found but thought were too difficult for a 4 year old:
Bartenura Moscato (really! a kosher wine advertised in the NYT Magainze!)

Today's plans

I was supposed to wake up with my alarm at around 6 this morning, enjoy a yogurt while catching up on blogs, then get ready for my day and go to my volunteer job early to get lots done before picking Sabrina up at school.

Since it's only 8:30 and I'm caught up on blogs and have eaten breakfast, I suppose I could technically go volunteer, get there early, get lots done, and pick Sabrina up.

But I got up around 7, caught up on blogs while standing next to my bed (have I mentioned here that my bed is 18 feet off the floor? it makes a great laptop stand), ate pizza (homemade) for breakfast, have watched an old episode of Mad About You, and emailed in sick.

Because I am either sick (oh please G-d no) or suffering my Big City's notorious allergies and either way, feel like doing nothing other than sitting on the couch knitting, or perhaps napping.

First, though, my educationally enriching plans for Sabrina this afternoon, which require prep work. She is learning the letter B in school. So I am going to look through magazines for pictures of things that start with the letter B and we are going to make collages.

Yay, scissors!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Big News

Oh yeah, forgot about this in the I'm-still-so-worked-up-about-my-terrible-evening-with-Sabrina-that-I'm-not-blogging-about-it fog. Wilma (social worker) told me tonight that the reason that Sabrina sees her mom so much when she stays with her dad for the weekends is that Mom and Dad are SLEEPING TOGETHER. Now. Still. Thanks, family.

Song lyrics by way of a 4 year old

Hokey Pokey:

You put your finger in, you put your finger out, you wiggle it all about. You catch the hoke and [mumble mumble]. You do the (shouted) Hokey Pokey!

It is then very important to add at the end "Don't smile!" when the grown up with you thinks you are unbelievably adorable and smiles.

Patty Cake:

Panna cake, panna cake [something something]
Bake it, and bake it, and mark it with a "S"
Open the oven for Sabrina and me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Big sigh

I am a grumpy old troll today. In fact, I'm surprised Sabrina hasn't called me a grumpy old troll. Mr. Crankypants stopped by for a visit this morning and had so much fun he decided to come back after school.

I'm not sure if Mr. Crankypants was visiting me or Sabrina.

I'm despairing of ever being a good blogger. Only because I am reading a great knitblogger from the beginning (I'm in June 2005) and she is hi-larious. I want to be her.

We read the shortest book that Sabrina owns (digression: she has a counting book that she got from the dentist that is shorter...but there aren't words in it to read) and That. Was. It. No complaints, wow-o, but she's not quite asleep, 20 minutes later, even though all signs pointed to one exhaustified Sabrina.

We had play therapy today. I was a little distraught to find that there was only one adult in the building, the therapist, so when she and I talked, Sabrina was by herself. It wasn't the most comfortable, child-friendly place (hello? play therapy office? can we have a comfortable sofa maybe?), and of course Sabrina doesn't like to be left alone.

And OH the traffic. It took us 45 minutes to get home. The office is 6 minutes from school, school is about 20 minutes from home, but OH rush hour.

I had a professor in college who told us, I swear to all that is holy, that she had worked as a telephone psychic. (This was not all that she told us. She told us about her cat peeing on her bed. And she asked me, in her office, to read and critique a love poem she had written for her boyfriend. It was not a poetry class.) I mention this because I am really falling down on the psychic job. I just can't figure out what "mmm mmm mmm mm mmm" means when she has her toothbrush in her mouth, what "THIS!" is when she is vaguely pointing all the way across the room, or what "mumble mumble like yours" is when she refuses to repeat "mumble mumble" because "you heard me!" Any psychic tips gladly welcomed.

Off to cleanse myself of the grumpies.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What's your vote?

Hijacking my own blog (not like I've never done it before) to seek personal advice. Background: I'm doing a major cleaning job of my bedroom. (Major = $500 at IKEA, yikes! plus one severely injured far.) Of the many things that I don't know what to do with, here is one:

The shmancy folder that my undergraduate diploma came in. (Actually, the shmancy folder that I was handed when they called my name at the Arts & Sciences graduation event; I had to pick up my diploma later, and it was in a plastic bag.) My diploma is framed very nicely and is in my linen closet. So, do I throw the folder out? I never look at it except when I'm cleaning and the diploma is safely stored elsewhere, but it's also not your run of the mill manila folder either. So: toss it or keep it? What's your vote?

Play therapy

Sabrina has her first play therapy appointment tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday). I haven't told her about it yet. Any suggestions for how to introduce the topic to her? "After school we are going to meet a lady named Sarah, and you are going to play with her..." Help?


From Sabrina! Really and truly!

I think she finally got jealous of her classmates hugging me and decided it wouldn't be too bad.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I wondered what I would do if...

...something important got left at Sabrina's dad's house after a weekend. I actually was pretty nervous about it this week, since I sent her with her winter coat and spring jacket...and if she had come back without her spring jacket we were going to have p-r-o-b-l-e-m-s. After all, it took six stores to find a jacket in her size.

What I didn't expect was for her to come back with her jacket, but not her inhalers. So imagine my dismay when Sabrina starts with an asthmatic cough, and I discover, no inhalers! I call dad: "Is it possible that Sabrina's inhalers are at your house?" (I should add here that Sabrina told me she had stayed with her Auntie this weekend. So there was a reasonable possibility that the inhalers were not, in fact, at his house.) Me: "How should we get them from me to you?" Dad: "I can take them to her school tomorrow." Me (not out loud): "Are you crazy? She's having an asthma attack NOW, you fool!" Me (out loud): "Well, she needs them now, so can we meet somewhere in between us?" After a lot of hemming and hawing and trying to figure out a place to meet, me: "Okay, let me just get directions and then we'll be on our way." Dad: "Oh, I can't leave out for another hour."

Hello?! My point in meeting in the middle is that Sabrina is supposed to be getting ready for bed Right. Then. and was in the beginning of an asthma attack. I figured that each of us in the car for a half hour was better than me driving the full hour to his house. No dice.

He gave me his address again and for some reason, Google Maps didn't recognize the address. I now know that this is because he did NOT say "Zeft, z-e-f-t" but "Vest, v-e-s-t," even though I repeated the spelling multiple times because "f-t" didn't make sense to me. So I counted on my memory to get there. It was dark and raining, and we got lost before we even made it out of the city. At least I had a map for that part. I had to call three times for directions once we got closer. Street signs in dad's neck of the woods are not easy to see in the daytime, let alone at night.

Two and a half hours later, we finally got home. Sabrina slept in the car on the way home, but not there. She's still coughing a bit, but hopefully will be okay.

I hope I never have to do that again.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Parenting other people's children

Not a post about Sabrina.

I got to spend last night with one of my favorite families. I think I've blogged about them before, but am too lazy to go look. They have four boys, the oldest three within three and a half years of each other (12 and a half, almost 11, 9) and the youngest 3 and a half. As you might imagine, there is quite a bit of sibling rivalry, noise, and stress in their house. As much as I like my friends, and as much as I know that I only see them at isolated points in time, nevertheless I have issues with how they discipline their kids. Lots of yelling. And I can't help but interject myself when I'm with them. I know, I know! I even apologized last night.

Still, as bad as it is, last night I got some really good snuggle time with three of the boys. (All but the oldest.) Most importantly, with the almost-11-year old. He has a lot of trouble with his brothers and is very very sensitive in a way that reminds me of me at his age. Last night he couldn't sleep and when he came downstairs, his dad didn't exactly yell, but had some strong words about how he was going to be difficult in the morning because of not getting enough sleep. But not much sympathy for him not being able to fall asleep.

I was able to take him into the den and rub his back while he told me about how he can't fall asleep if he doesn't take his (psychiatric) medication at the exact right time, and then he opened up to me about his brothers and school and all sorts of stuff. I was glad I could be there for him.


Just taking a few seconds to share with the world my gratitude for hot water. Remember those consequences yesterday? Well, there was still no hot water by 5:15, at which point I was desperate and tried taking a shower. Word to the wise: cold showers in March are not refreshing like cold showers in August are. I wouldn't even use the word "bracing." I think the best word to describe the experience would be "oh-my-G_d-that's-effing-cold-get-me-out-NOW-damn-damn-damn-I-have-soap-on-me."

I started washing dishes after Shabbat and the water never heated up, though it at least did pretend to be hot (coming out of the tap with the faucet turned to hot), so my slimy hair and I were nervous.

The sink in the bathroom had blessedly warm water, so we are off to do a thorough washing of my hair. Ah, the simple pleasures.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Today has been a big day for consequences, and it is only 10:30!

Consequence #1: if you get dressed and ready before 7 am, you get to watch Dora! Yay! And maybe even TWO Doras! (Or the same one, twice. I had better get this song out of my head before my interview.)

Consequence #2: if you refuse to put the yarn down when I ask, and refuse again after I tell you that I will turn Dora off, then I will turn Dora off. Boo.

Consequence #3: if you (the parent) follow through on a consequence, you will feel lousy when your kiddo starts bawling.

Consequence #4: if you (the parent) follow through on enough consequences, your kiddo might finally have a bawling tantrum instead of hitting and biting.

Consequence #5: if the kiddo has a bawling tantrum, she just might let you pick her up and carry her to the car.

Consequence #6: if #5 works out on a Friday, the kiddo won't be able to take her bags full of underwear and toys to her daddy's house (because I just can't carry two coats, two bags, a purse, and a bookbag, AND a four year old). (Boo for her, yay for me.)

Consequence #7: If I say that you can have juice when you are seatbelted in the car, you can have juice when you are seatbelted in the car. Yay.

Consequence #8: When they are doing sewer work outside your apartment and frequently shut the water off during the day, don't put off your shower until after taking the little one to school. You will end up needing to go to a job interview unshowered. Yuck.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Big day

I have a job interview tomorrow. Please keep your fingers crossed or pray or do whatever your own worldview allows you to do. (And while you're at it, a few prayers that my suit fits me wouldn't be out of line either!)

Going with the flow, part 2

Sabrina got home over an hour early from her visit with her mom today. I'm sure everything is fine, and thank goodness I was home, but boy was I startled when the doorbell rang at 5:30!

I think it's all for the best, as I had been sitting on the sofa watching Big Love (season 3) and working on a KenKen puzzle, instead of cleaning. Nothing like the sudden appearance of an adorable 4 year old to get a person off her butt.

Science time

I have a real-life friend (as opposed to a friend who lives in my computer) who blogs about the activities that she does with her kids (ages 3 and 1). Every week has a theme, and they have a song, a craft, outings...the whole nine yards. I feel very inferior when I read her blog.

But last night I channeled her a little bit. Sabrina found some baby pine cones and wanted to bring them inside. (Yuck.) She said that they need water. At this point, I have visions of mold and slime. The non-inspired me would have explained that pine cones don't need water and we're not taking them inside. The inspired me: "Let's put them in a bowl of water and see what happens. What do you think will happen?"

Her hypothesis is that the baby pine cones will grow into big pine cones.

Here they are when they were first put into water:
See how they are all open?

Here they are after about an hour:
Now they are all closed up. But they haven't grown into big pine cones. Yet :-)


I'm going to regret this blog post, not because of its content but because of when I'm writing it. Normally at this time in the morning, Sabrina would be on her second of two "five minutes" of snoozing. I'm giving her a few extra minutes of sleep this morning, though, because:

Last night Sabrina's bath took close to an hour. We sang the alphabet song something like 57 times. In order to do this--

The picture quality is horrible because Sabrina insisted she wasn't ready for the picture and told me not to take it. We had a quick conversation before I took the picture about not letting people take pictures of us when we're not dressed, and I said that I was only going to take a picture of the back of her head. I'm pretty certain that she wanted to pose for me.

When Sabrina finally was done in the bath and in pajamas she was exhausted, but after one story and putting her head down and closing her eyes, it still took her a half hour to fall asleep. Seriously, I got up to leave her room after about 15 minutes, and one eye popped open and gave me "A Look." (Maybe my fault because I thought she was going to be asleep in 2 minutes, so I didn't bother to sit down after I put her book away. She noticed.)

At 12:30, in she padded to my room.

At 3:30, in she padded to my room.

At 4:30, in she padded to my room. That time, she took out a coloring book and said she wasn't going back to sleep. "I'll sleep at school." Sigh. I told her she could look at books but I needed sleep so was going back to my room.

At 5:30 my alarm went off.

In an hour and 22 minutes, we need to leave for school.

Time to get her up.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More than one kiddo?

No, not bringing another kid into the mix. But after yesterday's "conversation" with Wendy's dad, I started thinking about what would happen if Wendy and her little brother were removed from their home. (Please, oh please, let that not happen.)

Because Wendy has her little brother, none of my thinking would actually come to fruition, even in the bad situation where there was a removal.

But I started wondering: if one of Sabrina's friends needed a foster home, would mine be a good place? I should say upfront that the agency is not with it enough that I could tell anyone "hey, if there's a kid who goes to AKS Elementary, let me know." I've said that IF I decide to get my license changed to two kids, it would only be to have a sibling group. And would it be weird for two kids who know each other from school to share a bedroom?

Nevertheless, when Sabrina was falling asleep tonight, I started thinking about how I would rearrange the bedroom to have two beds. Because really, kids in pre-k don't need a 5-foot long desk.

Going with the flow

One of the frustrating things about not knowing when Sabrina will go to live with her dad? I want to sign her up for gymnastics, but I don't want to spend the money to register her if she will go to the first class (or not even!) and then go to live in another state.

Oh well, if this is my biggest problem, we've done well.

(It isn't my biggest problem, my sink full of dishes is my biggest problem, but you get my point.)

Beautiful weather!

It has been absolutely gorgeous all week. Spring is definitely on the way. My building's resident ducks were sitting outside the front door this morning.

Monday after school we had to go to the grocery store, and we ended up going to my favorite strip mall (the one with the Dunkin Donuts in the parking lot, though we didn't go there!) to look for a spring jacket for Sabrina. We took advantage of the beautiful weather by walking basically from one end of the mall to the other and then back. With no luck finding a jacket.

Monday night Sabrina asked if we could get strawberry milkshakes (we have the book Pinkalicious from the library, and strawberry milkshakes are in one of the pictures). I said "no" but then Tuesday I thought about it and gave Sabrina a choice after school: we could go to the library and play on the computer, or we could stop at the library to return our books and then go to a bookstore to BUY books and also get milkshakes. The bookstore/milkshake plan was going to involve some walking around a cute and busy section of town. I was very glad that Sabrina chose milkshakes. (She then decided she'd rather have hot chocolate, and I ended up carrying two cups and 16 books at the bookstore. Oops.)

Today we could have gone to the zoo, but my shoulder and neck hurt so I didn't want to offer that as a possibility. I suggested going to the playground. Sabrina's response? "No. I'm never ever ever ever ever ever ever going to the playground. I'm never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever playing outside. Can I watch Dora?" Oy. I'm not terribly ashamed to admit that I bribed Sabrina to play outside. I told her that she could watch Dora after she played outside.

We went to the back of my building and blew bubbles and played with a tennis ball for about a half hour. I would have preferred to play outside longer, but she got some activity and she had fun, so hopefully next time she'll be more willing to go outside. The bubbles very well might be the best use of a single dollar for Sabrina.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This morning's scolding

It has happened. One of those things that probably happens to all foster parents eventually. A rite of passage, you might say.

Let me elaborate.

One of Sabrina's classmates is just the sweetest thing ever. (Yes, I realize this is heretical, to say that another child is sweeter than mine. But really, this little girl deserves the exaggeration.) Let's call her...Wendy (as in Wendy Darling, in Peter Pan).

Wendy always says "hi" to me when I take Sabrina to school and was the first of Sabrina's classmates to spontaneously hug me.

This morning, as Sabrina and I got to school forty five minutes late (ugh), Wendy and her little brother were getting to school with their daddy. Daddy called across the street to me (Sabrina and I were still getting out of the car) and asked me, in that I'm-using-words-that-should-be-a-question-but-it's-really-a-command tone, to talk to him if I have a problem with him or Wendy's mom, not to Wendy. Huh? I responded that I didn't know what he was referring to, but of course I would talk to him and not his five year old daughter.

He went on and on, saying that he knows I'm a social worker (which I'm not) but he has his life together and he's dealing with a lot from Wendy's mom and so on and so forth. He also told Wendy "tell her what you were just telling me." Wendy responded "I said "hi Miss [Foster Ima]." Her dad then made a comment suggesting that Wendy wasn't being an accurate reporter of what she told him. The whole thing made me wonder if someone made a report on his family to CPS. It certainly wasn't me. But Wendy was out of school for at least a week and a half, so it's possible that the school made a report based on educational neglect. And the only time I remember talking to Wendy about her mom or dad was when Sabrina started talking about playdates, and I said that Wendy or their other friend (blog name Faith) could definitely come over but their mommies wanted to meet me first.

I wish I knew what Wendy's dad was talking about, but I know that I didn't do anything harmful to him. I just hope that Wendy and her little brother are okay.


Perhaps I should have known this before turning 33, but when someone says "excuse me" following a burp or fart, is there a polite response? You're excused? Thank you? Sabrina is usually pretty good about saying "excuse me" and I want to give positive feedback--so I need something to say.


Protecting the fish

Completely out of the blue--

Sabrina: "What do polar bears eat?"
Me: "I think they eat fish."
Sabrina, looking at the fish tank: "Then we shouldn't get a polar bear."

Monday, March 8, 2010


I don't think that Sabrina and I have had a day together this good ever. We went to Old Navy, TJ Maxx, and Tar-jay to find a spring jacket (hello, thanks for taking me by surprise, and see below for my rant about the teacher), with no success, but also with only smiles, holding my hand, lots of joking (anyone want 37 cats?), and no meltdowns when she asked for things and I told her no.

We went to the grocery store and Sabrina wanted a pineapple. I asked her if she promised to eat the whole thing herself. She said no. (Great restraint on her part.) So we didn't get the pineapple; I have a ridiculous aversion to it--I won't eat anything that has been touched by pineapple, though I like fruity drinks with pineapple juice, go figure--so I wasn't going to be eating any of it myself.

We got home, stayed up a little too late because I let her watch two Doras instead of only one, got ready for bed and were halfway through the second story when she said she wanted a snack. She doesn't normally do the typical stall-bedtime-by-asking-for-everything-under-the-sun routine, so I asked if she wanted a yogurt and she said yes. So we got up, had a yogurt, brushed teeth again, and then finished the story. And even though she was obviously tired, she held it together when I did obnoxious things like say "good night, sleep well!"

Okay, time for my rant about Sabrina's teacher. The temperature today was in the low 60s. Certainly not shorts weather (though I saw someone around lunchtime wearing shorts--and not to go running) but also not bundle up against the cold weather. Sabrina has a fleece vest that she likes to wear, and when I picked her up today she was wearing it zipped up and her winter coat still open. When she saw me, she started to zip her coat. (Which is absolutely fantastic. She knows that when I come, we're going outside, and when it is cold, we zip our coat.) I knelt down next to her and said that she didn't need to zip her coat because it was really beautiful and not that cold out. Keep in mind that she did have a fleece vest covering her chest already. But her teacher said "it's not spring yet!" "True," I said, "but I really don't want her to melt outside." To which the teacher reminded me that Sabrina has asthma, which I guess means that until it is too hot and humid outside to breathe, one needs to be sweating in eight layers. Ugh.

And a quick note on Sabrina's weekend with her dad. He just called me because he thinks that she got a tick bite and he wants to make sure that I monitor it. Definitely. I'm really glad that he called. My quibble, though? He is (legitimately) concerned that she could get lyme disease. He is (not legitimately) concerned about it because his neighbor said that he "got lyme disease three times last summer." Maybe the neighbor got bitten by ticks three times last summer. Maybe he even got lyme disease (which would suck for him; I have a friend with lyme disease and it is really debilitating). But it's not like a cold which you can get more than one of in a season. Oh well, off to check out WebMD.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


All that stress about Passover--how was I going to get Sabrina to school? Was I really going to have to host seders just so she could get a full night sleep? She won't eat regular food that I feed her, so what was she going to eat for eight days? What if she came home from school with cookies in her bookbag?

I checked the school calendar this evening. It's spring break.

Stress averted.

Friday, March 5, 2010

At my desk...

I totally shouldn't be blogging right now, especially not three posts, because I'm at my desk at the office where I'm volunteering, I got her a half hour late, I've been here an hour, and I've done almost nothing yet today.

But I just wanted to give you all a heads up that in my complete self-absorption, I've created another blog to consolidate all of my non-anonymous blogging in one place. My knitting stuff will be there, my crazy lawyer stuff will be there, and hopefully I'll add in some social justice blogging as well. If you are interested in reading there as well, shoot me an email so that I can decide if you are someone I trust to respect my foster parent anonymity while letting you in to the non-anonymous part of my world. FrumFosterMomATgmailDOTcom.

And even more pre-k homework fun

In my most recent post, I mentioned that 98% of Sabrina's homework is the same. Well, last week was the 2%. She had two math worksheets that were both WAY above her level. One because she hadn't learned enough about the subject (graphing) in school yet, and one because, well, the level of thought required to do it went way beyond the skill it was reinforcing.

This second worksheet was about sorting. There are lots of great ways for parents to reinforce lessons about sorting at home. For example, our tub toys are letters, numbers, and shapes, and come in six different colors. We could sort them by any of those categories while in the tub. We could sort laundry (Sabrina's in one pile, mine in another). We could sort all of the goodies that I got for Purim. We could sort her legos. No. We had a worksheet. It had two squares, two circles, and two triangles on it. One of each shape was big, and one of each shape was small. The directions were to sort the shapes into two groups. If you were four, how would you think to sort the shapes? Right, you would want to sort them by shape. But that makes three groups, not two. If the directions said to sort by size, that would be one thing. But I don't think a four year old should be expected to think abstractly enough to figure that out.

Rant over.

Pre-K Homework "Fun"

After a week of deciding that going to the library and not getting beaten up on were more important than doing two worksheets on the letter "A," Sabrina was in a good mood after her visit with her mom last night, and I decided that it was time to do homework.

Like 98% of her homework, she had two worksheets with pictures on them. She had to identify which pictures start with the correct letter sound (this week was "A"), cut them out, and glue them to the top of the worksheet.

One of the worksheets had the following pictures:

Or, if you are 33, ant, apple, automobile, and alligator. Yes, I knew this was wrong. And I never would have complicated things for Sabrina by saying that there were two different words for car. And "automobile" doesn't really start with an "A" sound anyway. Not a pure one, at least.

But the bigger problem is this: if you are four, and you see a picture of an alligator, you very well might think that it is a crocodile.

These worksheets are dumb. But even worse are the people who decide that ambiguous pictures are appropriate for 4 year olds.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Alas, and ewww

No big special tour today. Sabrina is back in bed, and I am bracing myself for the clean up of the carpet and sofa where she threw up. Mmm, fun.


(Title of the post a teaser for Hazelmoon. Love ya!)

So, today is the big day, our tour of the specialest of special buildings in my Big City. Sabrina said yesterday she doesn't want to go. "I want to go with my Daddy." and "My Daddy took me." Poor thing probably doesn't want to have this special experience with me instead of her family.

We have to be there at 9:45, so we can leave a little later than when we go to school. I'm letting Sabrina sleep a little extra, but I'm nervous that we're going to end up having another one of her marathon two-and-a-quarter-hours-just-to-get-dressed mornings. She really is adorable, though: she woke up, came into the living room and asked for milk, drank a bit, then got on the sofa, curled up, and fell back asleep. If only she hadn't completely melted down last night when I tried to put her cream on, I'd be more confident about getting ready; if she weren't so completely desperate for her skin to be moisturized, she could get herself ready in about 20 minutes. Instead I'm going to have to balance her being awake enough to be rational with the fact that my involvement in getting dressed makes it take five or six or nine times longer. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stupid question time

How do I know if Sabrina's underwear is too small for her? Everything I bought for her is 4T (or 4, or XS), but she comes back from dad's wearing 2T/3T, and some of what she brought from mom's is 2T/3T... She's a pretty small girl, but I just don't know how to tell if her clothes fit.

Monday, March 1, 2010


...I'm feeling like I shouldn't have just sat on my sofa for the last seven hours looking at yarn and knitting patterns, and knitting and doing KenKen puzzles.

Today was a day off from school (parent-teacher conferences--why are they during the school day?) so Sabrina is still at her dad's. I had the whole afternoon and evening to wash dishes, clean up the mess in the living room, wash Sabrina's clothes. But now it's after 10 and I'm ready to crawl into bed.

Guess who is going to be getting up early in the morning?