Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Where things are with Sabrina's family

Yesterday was the administrative review meeting at The Agency for Sabrina. I was inappropriately anxious about getting there early and needing to talk with Sabrina's family members without agency people there. It turned out when I got there, I was the first person to arrive. Wilma showed up 20 minutes late. No one in the family came. The GAL didn't come. It was just me, Wilma, and the person doing the review.

I learned interesting things, like that the removal was based on a positive drug test when mom went to the ER one day (CPS was called, and they did an interview that led them to believe that mom shouldn't parent her, and then the decision was made to remove her). Mom is still using. However, Mom has apparently decided to wean herself off her drug of choice by switching to pot and alcohol. Mom had an assessment that recommended that she do an in-patient drug treatment program, but she refused so that she could take classes to become a massage therapist. But she doesn't go consistently to her out-patient program, either. (Can I just say that I hope any massage therapist I go to isn't high on PCP?)

The goal is reunification with mom, though with a sidetrack to dad having custody. Today was the disposition hearing, and while I didn't go, I did get a prompt report from Wilma. This was necessary because the judge could have ruled on dad's custody petition. In advance, Wilma didn't think he was going to, but just in case, I needed to know if I was going to be the one picking up Sabrina from school or not! The outcome of the hearing was that the judge is waiting on the outcome of the ICPC paperwork before ruling on the custody petition. Dad reported that the social worker from his state is going to his house on Friday. So fingers are crossed that this crazy 4 nights with me-3 nights with dad situation will end soon. I love Sabrina but this is just not good for her.

Why there has been less blogging from the Foster Ima household

Did I mention that I started a new job? Four weeks ago. And this has wreaked havoc on our schedule.

6:30 wake up. (Aspirational.)
6:50 actually wake up.
7:45 leave for school. Note that this leaves less than an hour of actual time for getting ready for school.
8:15 arrive at school.
8:30 (at best) I leave school; I have no idea how it takes 15 minutes to get her with her class and leave.
8:45 I arrive at the parking lot to the subway station that is literally across the street from school. There are five traffic lights between school and the parking lot. Today I was stuck at one of them for three cycles of the light.
9:10 Arrive at work.
5:00 leave work.
5:40 at best, arrive at school. (Today it also took me three red light cycles to get out of the subway station parking lot.)

5:55 in car to go home.
6:30 arrive home.
Dinner, bath, get ready for bed.
7:30 (I wish) bedtime.

So you see, we have very little time together these days, since she spends weekends with dad. More on that, too...


At the beginning, Sabrina made a big deal out of our different noses. I don't have the stereotypical "Jewish nose" but for whatever evolutionary reason, it is true that her nose is flatter than mine. Plus of course it is smaller than mine :-)

Just a few minutes ago, she pinched my nose (not meanly) and said "our noses are almost the same." Awww...

Last night I said "Good night, I love you" when I left her room. She responded "Good night, I don't love you!" Much better than her previous common responses of "don't say 'good night'!" and an angry "I don't love you."

I went on a shopping expedition a few weeks ago. Most of what I bought was purely for Sabrina. (A bike helmet, sunglasses, an umbrella.) I also bought one of those teeny tiny window garden kits. I told Sabrina that it was for both of us, and she totally got that it was "ours." It was the first thing that she accepted as being ours, instead of hers or mine. (And she is completely and totally excited by the tomato plants.)

Another exciting first was an umprompted "I like the things you bought me." She has been reluctant to like things that I get for her. (I understand why. But that makes it all the more exciting when she realizes it's okay to like things that I like, etc.)

She now wants me to sit on her bed right next to her as she falls asleep. This is a little frustrating as it limits what I can do while I wait for her to fall asleep (no blogging) but is very sweet to have her lying right next to me. At first I had to sit next to her bed. (Confession: at the moment I am sitting next to her bed while she falls asleep. We're having a rough night and she is exhausted but refusing to sleep.)

More to come.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Big day tomorrow

Sabrina finally fell asleep about 20 minutes ago after about an hour of complaining of various ailments. I don't doubt that she felt bad, but she also spent a good two hours being very chipper despite reporting that her throat and stomach hurt. I am now completely stressed about the possibility that she is sick. If it were a normal day, there would be no problem keeping her home from school, resting, etc.

But tomorrow is an "administrative review" meeting at the agency. I need to be there. So what do I do if Sabrina is sick? Yikes.

So yes, tomorrow is a team meeting, the first I've been a part of. The disposition hearing is on Wednesday, and I have no idea what the chances are that the judge will rule on dad's custody petition. I'm trying to prepare myself for the possibility that Sabrina will go home from school on Wednesday with her dad, while at the same time not trying to let Sabrina in on the possibility. I don't want her to be caught completely by surprise, but I think that's better than getting her hopes up and then dashing them.

We'll see what happens...

Oh how I wish...

...that I had a video camera. Of course, I know that if I had one, it would never be around when I need it. Like today. Sabrina was having trouble with her soap dispenser (I have NO EARTHLY IDEA why it works, then doesn't, then does) so I was fiddling with it trying to get soap out.

And I shot soap all the way across the bathroom.

Sabrina looked at me and said "Foster Ima!" in the most adorablest tone of voice EVER. Then she laughed. And I laughed. And she didn't complain that I was laughing.

Oh how I wish I could have gotten a video of the way she said my name.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Consequences, again

My computer tells me that there is already a post entitled "Consequences." I haven't looked back to see what it is about or when I wrote it.

The other day Sabrina was eating an apple in the car on the way home from school. "Ima, what will you do if I throw this out the window?" "Well, I suppose I wouldn't let you eat in the car anymore. No more snacks on the way to or from school." "But what else?" I wonder what she thought I would do.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bear Hunt

I kept Sabrina up late tonight so I could go to a friend's bridal shower at our knitting store (I couldn't find a babysitter). I really thought that she would sleep in the car on the way home.

Instead, among other things, she sang/chanted/recited "We're going on a bear hunt." Very cute. And even cuter when she said: "Look over there, look over there, it's a candy factory..." Not in the version I know!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Sabrina was telling me a crazy story about a boy in her class and his teeth. After she told me that the school nurse took the friend's teeth out and then put them back in, she told me that his teeth were red, pink, green, and blue! Four year olds :-)

So I asked her "what would you do if YOUR teeth were red, pink, green, and blue?" Here's where the milestone comes in. She said "I would tell my mommy, or my daddy, or you." Really, she would tell me!

Second milestone: I made flounder for dinner. I breaded it and pan fried it, but didn't expect her to like it. Boy was I surprised when she ate everything I gave her, asked for more (the first time she asked for seconds!), and then said "thank you" after I gave her more. Then she asked for thirds. Amazing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Holy Woah.

A friend of mine sent me this:

This is so not cool. Not cool at all.

In my training class, we had a conversation in which a vegetarian was criticized by our trainers for not being able to serve culturally relevant foods to her prospective child. (I supported her and said that my house is kosher, and that's just the way it is.) My psychiatrist implied that the fact that I wouldn't take future foster children to McDon@ld's was some big problem.

Maybe I was lucky to be licensed?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I hate using the word "defiant" to describe Sabrina's behavior, but some of it I do think is willful, and other bits I just can't figure out how to summarize for the title of a post.

I'm looking for some advice.

First, the therapist suggested that I very consistently give Sabrina a time out every time she hits, bites, or pulls my hair. We talked about it a little bit in the car today and she definitely had that "I'm embarrassed that I do this" tone of voice. Not that it helped when she started hitting me this evening!

Other friends of mine have said "of course no kid is willingly going to go to time out. I have to physically move my child to his time out chair." Well, I can't physically move Sabrina. One thing that I was thinking about doing is printing out a picture of a sad face and having one in each room; when she hits, she has to sit on the paper. I haven't done that yet, though, so do any of you brilliant and more experienced parents have any advice?

On a related note, this evening's hitting came after she was supposed to be in bed. She came out to the living room and I don't even remember why she started hitting me. If I had the sad face paper, should I have given her the time out in the living room, where she was, or made her go to her bedroom because it was an hour after her bedtime?

Also related, what should I do when she starts hitting or the like and we are late to school?

Done with the time out questions.

When Sabrina doesn't want to do what I'm asking her to do (put on her pajamas, or brush her teeth before putting on her pajamas, or wipe after using the toilet), she won't look at me. As in, I ask her to repeat what I asked her to do, she completely ignores me, I ask her to look at me and she keeps her head down or will actively turn her head away from me. Is this usual four year old behavior? Do you have any techniques for me to get her to listen to me? (I feel I should add that while some of this is a little bit "selfish" in the sense that I want her to get out of bed in the morning in less than 45 minutes because I want to get to work on time, but there are some real safety issues, too, like when we took the subway--at rush hour!--and she wouldn't hold my hand and wouldn't move away from the edge of the platform.)

Thanks for any advice you can share!

Monday, April 12, 2010

She's eating WHAT?!

Yesterday I made eggplant lasagna for Sabrina and myself to eat for dinner tonight. Keep in mind that this is the girl who will not eat pizza or chicken or peanut butter. She will eat: strawberry yogurt, string cheese, turkey slices, and apples.

But it was worth a shot, right? She ate it up. Happily. Here's the recipe:

Slice two small eggplants lengthwise (for some reason the grocery store had only teeny tiny eggplants). Salt them and let them sit a while too ooze the bitterness out.
Then saute the eggplant slices in olive oil.
When the eggplant is cooked, do the following:
In a loaf pan, spread a layer of pasta sauce.
Follow that with a layer of eggplant.
Spread ricotta cheese on the eggplant.
Cover with grated mozzarella.
Spoon sauce over the cheese.
Bake at 425 or so for a long time until it's cooked.

Serve to your incredibly picky 4 and a half year old foster daughter and sit back in amazement as she eats it.

A case of the Mondays

Sabrina and I were together today (pre-falling asleep) for a grand total of 2 hours. We drove home, had dinner (more on that to come), took a walk, ate some more, and then got ready for bed, and all of it was just a little tinged with the Mondays. "Hold my wrist, not my hand." "I'm not talking to you." "Be quiet." "When I say 'be quiet,' you be quiet." But it was okay. I could tell it was just the Mondays talking. She enjoyed her dinner. We got about a half block into our walk and she just started holding my hand. She still didn't want me talking to her so much. And then things fell apart when it was time for bed. So we didn't take the bath we were planning to take, and she didn't brush her teeth (yikes!), and I got a bit yelled at. But tomorrow is another day. And it isn't a Monday.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Little One's Lexicon

Things I need to learn to say/not say:

Okay: All right. Not okay: Okay.
Okay: What do you want? Not okay: What's up? (In response to her calling me.)
Okay: Yes. Not okay: Yep.

To be continued...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I have a friend who is a pediatrician. She assures me that the itching private parts are most likely due to poor hygiene and probably no one is abusing my sweetheart. Phew.

In my effort to forestall future moments of dehydration, I am trying a spearmint. (That is infantile-Foster-Ima for "experiment.") Snack size zipper bag, filled with water, three drops of food coloring, stick in the freezer. Snip off a tiny corner and voila, a cool-looking but flavor (and sugar) free ice pop. (Voila, stain in a bag. Hm, hadn't thought about that...)

More butt kicking

Her vagina itches. Fabulous. Eczema? Maybe. Probably. I think so. I hope so. I hope nothing worse.

Fate, kicking me in the rear end.

[Note: I'm not really sure it's fate doing the kicking. But my brain isn't on 100% at the moment. And my rear end really is getting kicked.]

Let's just start with the minor stuff, shall we?

First, there was that huge lack of sleep thing last night.

Second, perhaps because of the lack of sleep, this morning we had a Sabrina complaining of an upset tummy (my diagnosis? she was tired). Then my brain was befuddled and even though the time 8:15 was sticking in my head, it was sticking in my head as the time we needed to leave, not the time we needed to be at school. So we left 15 minutes late when I realized I was being stupid.

Third, after I dropped Sabrina off at school, I was on auto-pilot and turned the wrong way on the busy road nearest her school. So I had to drive around a few blocks in a not-great neighborhood that I'm not familiar with.

Then (fourth) I got thoroughly and hopelessly lost trying to find the parking garage at the subway station by Sabrina's school. It took a half hour to find. (I should add that the subway station is literally across the street from her school. But the school is on a cul de sac that has a cut-through to the street with the subway station, but the cut-through is supposedly only for emergency vehicles.)

Work was fine. Really and truly fine. A bit stressful because I was trying to take a deadline seriously and the person who is training me wasn't there, and I didn't have access to the system that I needed. But fine.

Then I had to leave a little bit earlier than I planned because yet another person attempted (I haven't followed up on the outcome) suicide by subway and there were delays on the line I needed to take to get to Sabrina's school.

All was well for a few hours. Sabrina got registered in aftercare, I went to the grocery store, I went back and picked her up (she reported that they sat doing nothing for 2 hours, but I doubt it!), and she fell asleep in the car about 5 minutes from home.

And then.

Oh, and then.

She wouldn't wake up. Major freak out. I called 911, continued to freak out, but remarkably remained fairly calm. And about 30 seconds before the ambulance arrived, she opened her eyes. Her oxygen levels were fine, and she even got out of the car by herself, so I opted out of going to the hospital. (Oh please G-d let that have been a reasoned decision and not motivated by the milk and fish that were warming/thawing as this adventure was going on.)

My guess is that she is dehydrated, but I can't force feed her water or apple juice. She's (not quite) sleeping on the sofa and I have the air conditioning on full blast.

So much for taking a bath, and doing laundry (we have no clean underwear...well, I have clean underwear, but Sabrina doesn't). At least Sabrina is doing better.

Please, let day two of working parenthood be better than day one!

Day one of working parenthood

Hello, stress.

Today I have to do the following (besides getting Sabrina to wear clean underpants):
  1. find the parking lot at the subway station near Sabrina's school
  2. work
  3. enroll Sabrina in aftercare
  4. go grocery shopping (we need bread, milk, moisturizing cream, and I'm not sure what I'm forgetting)
  5. call Sabrina's doctor to ask about her allergies
  6. do laundry
  7. give Sabrina a bath
  8. make a healthy dinner
Not all in that order. Plus we both slept like cr@p last night (I'm mostly blaming my poor sleep on her waking up 6 or 7 times; I really don't know why she had to wake me up at 4:30 when her earring came out).

Today we see how well the "no coke" resolution goes.

Clean underpants

Sabrina is not wearing them.

I am currently being mean and not helping her to button her dress. I told her that I would help as soon as she puts on clean underpants. Since I'm not helping, I am mean. I am bossing her around.

I confess that it is my fault that she has only one clean pair of underpants. She wants to wear them on Friday. "Sabrina, you can wear them today AND Friday." "NO!!"

I personally feel that clean underpants aren't so much to ask, since I'm letting her wear a dirty undershirt and winter tights, and yesterday's underpants are kind of gross from some sliding down a concrete hill on her bottom, and I don't know if they were clean when she put them on (though I assume they were). However, she seems to disagree.

The part of this that is the funniest? They are day of the week underpants--for Wednesday.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring break

If you are like me, you have about 27 hundred foster/adoption blogs in your google reader and don't actually notice when any one individual blogger takes a day or two or eleven off. (Um, hi! I love you all, even if I don't notice when you fall off the face of the earth because your child has attempted to flush you down the toilet!)

But in case you, you know, are a better person than I am, I thought I should poke my head up for a quick hello.

Sabrina is with her dad for spring break. She comes back Tuesday afternoon; I have a friend picking her up from school since it is the last day of Passover and I am therefore unable to drive, and let me tell you, as much as Sabrina thinks it would be fun to walk home from school, she wouldn't make it the multiple miles and by the way, highway? Not so friendly for pedestrians.

I've decided I need to have guests for lunch on Tuesday so that I don't accidentally nap through Sabrina getting home, but half of my first batch of invitees have declined already. People! I have food! I want to give it to you! Oh well, their loss.

In actual foster parenting related news, I got a big envelope from the agency last week with a single sheet of paper (and we wonder why the city is having budget problems) telling me to save the date for a "Summit!" But it didn't say what the date of said Summit! is. Brilliant. (Or, for that matter, what said Summit! is.)

At least it isn't asking me for money. On Friday I got an invitation to join the local foster parent association. The one that I only know about because of my previous professional involvement with my agency. According to the invitation letter, it is a "time of great change for foster care" in our city and "it will take everyday citizens like you and I to assist in the change." The letter doesn't say what the association does, but I am welcome to pay $35 for the privilege of joining. I should send cash to the executive director who just happens to share a last name with the president. Sure, let me just get out my wallet.