Wednesday, January 31, 2007


So wonderful V helped me put up my new header graphic. I did make the graphic myself. Woot for me! Ain't that the purtiest purple power drill you ever saw? I can get by in Photoshop, but HTML makes my head spin. So, thank you, V!

I am feeling so good the last couple of days. Thanks largely to the support and even tough love of friends (Heidi, even though you say you're not reading) and family (my mom and dad are the best evah!) I think I am feeling good enough to quit posting so much self-involved emotional crap and get back to the recipes, books, funny stories and churchy posts that make my life good for me.

Hope you will like it, too.

PS: Please pray for my brother-in-law B. He is down and out in the hospital with pancreatitis. OUCH! Also for his wife, my sister M, who is pregnant and wrestling an almost-4-year-old.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Not afraid

Somehow in the last three days things have changed a lot for me.

I'm not scared anymore about what will happen with Z. In addition to assurance that S is not creepy or scary (at least for now, while she is clean) and S's promise that she would like to keep in touch if she is reunified with Z, I have simply been given a gift of peace. I know God is in charge. This cannot go any way other than His way.

And I know now that if we lose her, it will not actually destroy me. I will mourn, maybe even a lot, and then I will go on, and probably even take the same risks all over again.

I went back and read what I wrote before we were approved about Nephi's courage. I think I was right. If we have faith and start out to do what we think we can't do, the Lord will teach us how strong we really are. That is maybe the best application of His power, to bring us to know the best about ourselves.

Fostering kids is a big thing. I know it's not for everyone. A lot of people tell me they could never do it. The thing is, I bet at least some of them could. Or maybe they could do something else.

I wonder, what other big things might we do to make a difference in the world, if we set aside our fear? I think about one of my young women who went earlier this month to the Dominican Republic to assist her dad, an oral surgeon working on Operation Smile. I think about a Tongan elder who came to California to teach the gospel for two years. And there are so many other things -- ways to serve and change and do better.

I better go to bed before I decide to bury my car and burn my TV.

Friday, January 26, 2007


I am just cut-and-pasting this from another message ... it's not eloquent but it'll tell you what's going on.

Yesterday was HARD, it was a big mental shift for me to see her with her mom. I think it is the first time I have really understood in my HEART what our status with Z really is -- what it really means to be a foster mom. Mom "S" is doing really well in her treatment. And she is a nice lady and obviously really really loves Z. She is on the verge of being able to get a CNA job -- she had an interview yesterday morning that she said went really well.

I think, to be really honest, it's a 50/50 chance or less that we will adopt Z. But we'll see what happens. Really, everything will depend on the judge.

I told the social worker at the doctor this morning (yes, she did end up coming with) that I really do wish S the best and want her to succeed. But I don't trust her. And the SW said that's how it should be and that is exactly how the agency sees it.

Yesterday I was really really upset about this stuff -- just sick to my stomach all afternoon. But today I am doing better.

Z had 3 shots this morning but did really well. She is a trooper! And she talked and cooed at S all through the appointment. S was loving it, of course. But after the shots ... she only wanted me.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I think butterflies are the fad for baby girls right now. They're on everything. Blankets, crib sheets, onesies. G has been known to call Z his little mariposa. (She is half Mexican, in case you forgot!)

Well, today the little pink and purple butterflies have taken up temporary residence in my gut.

We have a visit with Z's mom this afternoon. I am going in to meet her, because she wants to go to Z's doctor appointment tomorrow, and the social worker cannot be there. So I have to decide if I can handle having her there with no supervision.

I was actually getting used to dropping off Z at the back door of the county agency and picking her up an hour later. Figures there is a new wrinkle. Heaven forbid I should get comfy.

Yesterday someone said to me, "More people should do what you're doing." (Fostering, they meant.) I replied, "Now that I'm doing it, I know why more people don't."

This is hard and scary. I'd love to have your prayers on my behalf today.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Dear Dr. G

G got a letter from a job he applied for. It was not a rejection letter. It was just a "make sure your application is complete" letter. OK, that was a relief.

It was also addressed to "Dr. G." Very funny! Very cool!

This particular job is a tenure track faculty position here in our region. The education/research profile they say they are looking for fits G perfectly, and they say they will accept an ABD candidate. (That means "All But Dissertation," which is where G is at this point. I didn't know that, either, until this year.) If he got it, I think I could keep my job at least until we were better established financially -- maybe until he got tenure or something like that. Plus, it's one hour closer to Disneyland!

I know that someone who is actually already done and has completed a postdoc or two will probably be the one to get it. But I can hope!

G had a great day yesterday -- I guess he finally got his data all plotted and discussed it with one of his collaborators at Livermore, and it's looking really good, showing some previously unknown scientific facts and stuff, which is what you are supposed to do to get a Ph.D. the way I understand it.

So, watch out, here comes Dr. G. I'm proud!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bouldering for FHE

We live close to a famous national park. It's a very lucky thing. Also lucky is the fact that it's G's Ph.D. research area, so he has a sampling permit. When we want to go up there, we just take his permit and a few empty sampling bottles and voila, free park day.

What the boys love most in the park is climbing on big boulders. Indeed, bouldering is very popular even for adults. The paranoid mommy in me is kind of hoping they stick with that instead of climbing the very very very big cliffs where you sometimes see climbers who have climbed halfway up one day, then pitched their tents by means of some crazy contraption holding them on the face of the cliff. I see those and my stomach comes just about up to my nose.

When my parents were with us for Thanksgiving, we spent our last day together up in the mountains. Despite frigid temperatures, the boys were all over the boulders under Yosemite Falls. They both slipped and got their feet wet. They were miserable, but G helped them out and we piggybacked them to the car so they wouldn't have to walk on their soggy, cold feet.

So when I was looking through the Friend last night for a quick Family Home Evening, this brought tears to my eyes. I knew the kids would listen and understand if I started asking them to remember their own experience climbing on boulders in a rushing stream, then introduced the painting in the magazine and the concept of relying on the Savior. It went so great. They actually paid attention ... for once. It is the biggest treat to me to see comprehension in their eyes.

The lesson was followed by a puppet show from S about sheep having a war. (Thanks for the sheep puppets, Grandma!) Treats were vanilla pudding cups with whipped cream left over from Sunday dinner. We definitely operate on the keep-it-simple principle for family night. It's so nice when it actually works.

When A said his bedtime prayer he asked that we could keep Z in our family, learn about Jesus and learn to read. I'm guessing that last one applied mainly to him. Anyway, so sweet.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Faith, fear, information and preparation

I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.
Doctrine and Covenants 38:30

Remember that Seminary scripture?

I, of course, only remembered the last phrase, "if ye are prepared ye shall not fear."

I've been thinking about this for a while. Very often we try to imagine worst-case scenarios so we'll "be prepared." As if, somehow, having imagined something terrible before it happens will make it less terrible when it becomes reality.

I am just not sure that's true. For example, when we lose someone we love, even if we have considered the possibility before -- even if we have known it's going to happen -- the loss still hurts.

When my mom's dad passed away in the spring of 1999, it had been coming for five years. He had Parkinson's and a head injury, and we all knew his death was a blessing for him. Still, on the day I heard the news, I drove home from work along 7th East in South Salt Lake and realized for the first time that I do the same kind of work he did -- he was a long-time reporter for the Deseret News and the Church News -- and I felt a big, gaping hole right in the middle of me, and I sobbed big, wracking sobs. Frankly, I'm surprised I made it home safely.

Maybe it really would have been more painful if Grandpa had died suddenly -- for example, if the accident in 1994 that made everything go so far downhill had taken his life instead of just injuring his brain. I can't say what would have been. I'll confess that.

But let me bring this into the present. Right now I feel like some people want me to be prepared for the worst with Z -- for her to go back to her mom. I don't want to dwell on that. I want to be able to have some faith that God will find a way to keep her with us. I don't want to risk falling into fear. I don't want these chicken-crap prayers about "whatever is best for the baby." I want to envision the best possible outcome. I want to believe that's possible.

It is really hard work to do that. Because all the information I am getting tells me to be afraid. This is a scary situation. There are no two ways about that.

And I am not sure that what I am trying to do is really faith. As we tried to conceive biological kids -- years ago now -- I came to feel that faith is not about knowing the future; it is about trusting God and His plan for our lives. I still don't trust this positive-thinking, envisioning business as much beyond magical thinking, clap your hands and make Tinkerbell come back to life.

But I don't know what else I can even try to do. And what if? What if it is really true that the power of my mind can make a difference? What if I really do have some power and some say, not just a choice whether to submit or not? I wouldn't want to screw that up.

If we lose Z, it is going to flatten me, no matter how much I've tried to prepare. So maybe I can just try the opposite.

If only I could get all the professional type people to quit trying to bust my pixie dust bubble.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Somebody talk me down

Well folks, it's Thursday once again. You know what that means: freak-out about foster care day.

Actually we did not have a visit with Z's mom today. Instead we had a visit at home from the case supervisor. We have not met her before because apparently this is a new thing, this idea that perhaps there should be a caseworker who we can contact consistently throughout the entire process and have her know what is going on. Imagine!

So, she's nice and all. But she's brutally honest. She thinks Z's mom is doing really well and has a good chance of getting Z back.

DAMMIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes I think people forget that the system is supposed to be on the side of the child, not the messed-up parents!

Z's mom, let's remember, is in inpatient rehab. So of course she's doing great. She doesn't have to deal with life. She doesn't have to deal with her druggie friends, dysfunctional mother, financial realities. Honestly, I am just extremely skeptical about her ability to stay clean long term. I'd be happy to see her succeed. But it seems so unlikely that it will last long-term, and I am loath to put Z at that kind of risk.

The case supervisor also said she thinks this inpatient program is for 6 months. That is a LONG time to be in inpatient! Going back to the time someone I know was in an inpatient program, it was 30 days and it cost that person's family in the neighborhood of $30k, if I remember correctly. And that was 15 years ago.

So who pays for 6 months of inpatient rehab for meth addicts? Anyone? Anyone?

Oh yes, that's right, it is you and me, the American taxpayers. At least that is what this social worker told me. And we do it so they can take their babies back from good stable homes and then go back to using whenever they feel like it.

Not patient with the system today ...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I like to take my time

Are you singing and thinking of Fred Rogers and getting that good old PBS-style warm fuzzy feeling?

Good, because the story I am about to tell you ... sucks.

Last night Z's babysitter was so kind and brought her to me on campus at 5:15. I took off in a rush to go get the boys.

I rushed so much that when I went to turn left at one of the busiest intersections in town, I ran into the median. Blew out my tire and ruined the rim. Called G in tears. Spent the next 45 minutes waiting for roadside assistance.

I will never ever ever go without roadside assistance. Blown out tires aside, I do enough dumb tricks like locking my keys in the car and leaving my lights on that roadside assistance is an absolute must. We get ours through our insurance. Yes, I really do like them enough to give them a link. They do a good job. I have had it ever since we bought our first car in 1996 (and yes, that was 3 years after we were married) and I have never regretted it.

But enough about that. Moral of the story: don't hurry.

The other thing I will never go without (I hope) is a rock of a husband who is never mad when I do these dumb things, just concerned that I am okay and composed enough to call my visiting teacher to go get my kids before the after-school program calls CPS. (Which they will do if I am later than 6 PM. Crazy!)

Today is a darn big day at work. No hurrying. No mini-explosions. It's bad enough I am driving on a donut.

I like to take my time and do it right. Thanks, Mr. Rogers.

Oh, and I ditched Mutual. And the kids fell asleep in front of the TV watching that fiasco of an American Idol debut. Why did they show all the kooks? It's like rewarding their weirdness. Let's hope this season gets a lot better.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Time management challenges

On a lighter note, how would you manage this schedule?

5:00 PM meet babysitter on campus, get baby, drive to afterschool program
5:20 PM pick up boys at afterschool program
5:30 PM pick up dinner at McDonald's for boys as a reward for completing their homework at the afterschool program ... I HOPE
6:00 PM ransack house looking for papers for Mutual
7:00 PM Mutual with three kids, two game boys, a bottle and a desperate prayer
8:00 PM ditch stake YW meeting in favor of putting kids to bed
8:00 PM American Idol

See my conflict there? I KNOW FOR A FACT my kids are going to want to stay up and watch Idol. I would let them stay up until 9 but it goes until 10! And it is going to take me half an hour to get them to bed! And I cannot work my VCR!

Well, not exactly. I theoretically know how to record a show. The real problem is that we don't have cable, just broadcast (which supposedly limits the amount of TV we watch although you would never know it by the way I was glued to Super Nanny last night) and if I hook the antenna to the VCR the reception does not come through well on the TV.

So you see, I know exactly what is wrong, and I know what to do; I am not losing my Ms. Fixit nerve. I am just not willing to get cable to fix this particular issue.

Because then I would do nothing but watch Food Network and HGTV all day, every day. I would lose my job and my family would starve in squalor.

Ha! I am a dork! Seriously, I need ideas.

New court date

Officially, the court date that was originally scheduled for today has been "trailed" to February 6 for paternity testing. Trailed, as far as I can tell, is a technical legal term that means delayed or rescheduled. (Speak English, you legal people! Geez louise!)

Thus we have a new date on which to focus our prayers, meditations, positive thoughts, magic spells. Whatever you do, we'll take it. Here's what you should aim for:

1. We want the alleged father with the sister who wants Z not to be Z's actual biological father. Would-be auntie needs to go bye-bye, out of the picture, adios. I don't feel bad about that at all.

2. We want the judge to bypass services for Z's mom. I mostly don't feel bad about thinking she doesn't deserve another chance to clean up at the taxpayers' expense. She has blown that before.

3. We want some kind of magical thing where we can keep Z without her mom having to fail. I just cannot think of what that is.

Woo, magical pink thoughts.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Purses for Haiti

From my friend Heather:


On March 23rd I'm traveling to Haiti with 18 others for 10 days to work with Healing Hands for Haiti. This is a non-profit organization that has set up a rehabilitation clinic in Haiti providing help for the disabled citizens there. Because I'm not medically trained, I've been asked to be the director of the Care Givers School. This is a four day course teaching orphange workers basic skills that can actually save the lives of the children living in the orphanages. I'm sending you this e-mail to see if you could help in any of the following three ways:

#1 In order to try to raise money to pay for translators, I have designed a Valentine purse that I will make and send to the first 10 people who donate $40 or more to Healing Hands for Haiti. Shipping will be extra and not tax deductible. Could you please send the following link to anyone who you think might be interested in donating and would like to receive this purse in time for Valentine's Day? This offer will end Feb. 2nd. Here's the link:

#2 For those of you who live in the Pleasant Grove area, the team will be packing all of our personal belongings (except for mosquito nets) in a carry on bag leaving our two suitcases free to bring over critically needed supplies for the orphanges and clinics. Top priority are vitamins and pain relievers (Ibuprofen, aspirin and acetominophen). Could you please look through your cupboards and see if you have any vitamins and pain relievers that you could spare? Open bottles are okay.

[If you want Heather's information for this purpose and feel confident you can convince me you are not a creepy stalker, email me.]

#3 I need your creativity. After the orphanage workers have finished this four day course they are presented with a certificate. You would think they have graduated from college they are so proud to receive this "diploma". I've been asked to come up with some ideas to make the graduation ceremony special for these graduates. I'd like to present each person who completes the course with a small gift. I can bring the raw materials over from America and have lots of volunteers to help assemble the gifts in the evenings when the clinic is closed. Each graduate will have their picture taken, and I'd like to do something with the pictures as well. Any other ideas you have as to how I can make the graduation ceremony itself special will also be welcome.
To give you just a brief snapshot of what Healing Hands for Haiti is about, I created a short 1 min video available on the web for your view. Please take the time to see it, (no need to download it onto your computer) and share it with your friends. Be sure the volume is turned up on your computer. And I have found that when I click the bottom right hand corner of the pop up window the movie will enlarge to fill the window. If you own a Mac you won't be able to see the video, sorry.

Click here to view the video. The last picture in the video is of graduates of the Care Givers School from two years ago.

For more information about Healing Hands for Haiti, you can visit their website at

Thank you for helping me be a healing hand for Haiti.


Batten down

A woke up this morning, sat up in bed, and called out, "Happy birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr. in heaven!" (So he's not calling him Saint Luther King anymore ... but is it just me, or does this sound almost deific?)

Still, I love Dr. King and I love it that we have a holiday in his honor. What a great example of how a human person with flaws and foibles can do amazing things for the world. I love it that we can honor him in spite of imperfection. See, it's not so hard to do (all Joseph Smith haters out there, take note).

Got a big work week coming up, with DH planning to be out of town for the first half of it. So I'm at work today, battening down the hatches and trying to make sure I don't die the rest of the week. I will be counting on a lot of energy bars and maybe even my friend Diet Pepsi. I am mostly wishing I were doing more special stuff with my kids on this really special day.

Check V's blog for a YouTube link of the famous speech.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Poppin' pills like House

Have I mentioned how I love that show? My pills are just ibuprofen, don't worry. And tomorrow likely I will not need them, and I will have lost 3 pounds of bloat. That's a good thing.

So I just need to puke up all my racing thoughts so I can get to work here. I have a boatload of work to do. In fact it might be good to pretend that I am in jail like House for a while, because really I should not blog. Oh, quiet over there, you know I will anyway. I bet people blog from prison all the time. That would be an interesting thing to investigate.

So at Z's parental visit yesterday I talked to the social worker. Good news first: the county has definitely decided to recommend that the judge bypass services. That's the best thing we can hope for at this point. The bad news is that court date scheduled for the 16th (where the judge can decide to bypass services) will likely be delayed because she is not done writing her report yet. RRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHH ... I know delays are part of the game. But I keep forgetting.

Other scary crap: A sister of one of the alleged (incarcerated) fathers wants Z. They have to consider her. Even though the county is bypassing services, Z's mom can get her own services and will still have 6 months from the now-delayed hearing to prove that she has cleaned up. I never knew this. I thought bypassing services went automatically to TPR. And she is now in inpatient rehab.

Worst of all, best of all, she gave Z a very sweet card with a picture of her and Z together at the first parent visit when Z was only a week old, the one that nearly gave me a heart attack. And it is sweet. She's a person, darn it. How evil am I if I don't hope she can get her act together and make a good life for her baby? Why can't I be more like a Republican radio talk show host, all mean and hardnosed and callous, having no sympathy for people who make bad decisions in tough situations?

More pills, please. I have to get back to work.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What could be betta?

The ibuprofen has finally kicked in. Aaaaaahhhhhh.

On a related note (chemical dependency) I am about to go take Z in for a visit with her mom.

Notice me not using that clever name I thought of? Channeling good thoughts, positive thoughts, attracting good karma like a magnet. That's me.

On ibuprofen I can do anything!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A dollar an hour

That is how much I made on my garage sale last Saturday, if you don't count the time I spent setting up and taking down. I've been meaning to tell you.

Thankfully, no large talons were involved, and we were able to use the proceeds to fund our Family Night treats Monday night.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Z (I call her Zu now, like my great-grandma) in a new dress. She is of ambigious toddler age -- maybe between 13 and 18 months, maybe older. Her little jaw is set; she's tired of waiting. It makes her big, pink cheeks stick out even more than usual. A little mini ponytail of black hair is on top of her head with a white bow. The dress is white, too, and we're in the sealing room at our little temple down the road. Big brothers all in white look on from the sides. Her chubby little hand covers ours ...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Probably racism and blasphemy all wrapped up together

But what the heck, I will give you my true confession for the day.

I am working on a Web site with a very smart, together guy of Latino heritage whose name is Jesus. With the J pronounced like an h.

But when I type, "Questions for Jesus about Solar Thermal Research," I can't quit reading it as the name of Jesus Christ and therefore I can't quit laughing.

Although, you know, probably if I could get Jesus on the line about solar thermal he would have a lot of answers.

Premenstrual thoughts from the morning shower

  • At age almost-36 and just about to get a Ph.D. from a barely-prestigious school, what kind of chance does my husband really have for an academic career? Would it make up for past missteps if he got a postdoc at a really hot place and worked really hard to get some publications done? Would I still have to work during that? Either way, how would I survive G working really long hours? I depend on him SO much.
  • The boys go back to school today. I'm bracing myself for the calls from the teacher telling me that S is acting up. I so wish we could just be home together all the time. In spite of my griping it really is better than listening to other people complain about my beloved babies.
  • How am I ever going to get morning exercise and scripture study done when Z likes to stay up until midnight and I have to be at work at 8:30?

I know there was something else that really bugged me when I thought about it in the shower this morning. It's gone now. Probably just as well.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Work Watch is back

Scroll down and look on the right.

Compiling it this afternoon has allowed me to feel somewhat productive while procrastinating writing a couple of stories. If you're brave you can now go immerse yourself in what I do all day, when I'm not blogging. My prediction is that you won't stay long. I enjoy it, but I'm kind of a weird person.

Good shtuff

Products and places I love lately ...
  • Buchanan Hollow Nut Company: A local farm for organic nuts and dried fruits. I got some Christmas gifts here for my dad and G's dad. Also a couple of big bags of organic pistachios for our family. Fun place! Yummy treats that are actually kinda good for you!

  • Beyond Bedding: The ebay store where I got the cute purple crib set.

  • Crown Galleries: A new place for cheap bling.

  • StumbleUpon: If you already waste too much time online, don't go here!

  • NewEgg: An interesting place to shop for tech products. Got a screaming deal on a 2GB flash drive for G here. Time to get serious about backing up that dissertation, G!

  • Kaleidoscope Toy: Hideously good online time-waster.
That is all the craven commercialism I have for today, folks!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Forget yourself and go to work

That famous piece of advice was, of course, given to President Hinckley by his father when he was a discouraged missionary.

It also applies to an anxious mom taking a foster child in for a parental visit. Last week and this week I have filled that hour with errands. It is so much better than coming home and twiddling my thumbs! Strangely exhilarating, in fact, to cram in as much as I can before picking Z up at 3 on the dot. Today I stopped at home, gassed up the van, paid the rent, and mailed a package. Last week it was Christmas returns. Too busy for that nauseating nervousness. It's a good thing. Plus I can look on the bright side and be grateful for the chance to do errands without lugging around the baby bucket.

When we took foster parent education they told us that parents will strip the kids down and look for injuries, marks, anything they can use against the foster family. Today I know meth mommy did this because she asked about a mark on Z's thigh. She thought it looked like Z had been pinched. How I wish I could have been the one to tell her ... YOU DID THAT. It was one of those blisters her little body made to get rid of the toxins she was exposed to prenatally. Now it's a little, dark-red scar. I talked to the social worker about it, and she's down with that ... we've talked about those blisters before. Finally, five weeks later, no new blisters are appearing. Thank heavens for that.

Another element of heartbreak today -- m.mommy gave us a bag of 0 - 3 month clothes. Some brand new but some that have clearly been worn and carefully laundered. I imagine these were baby clothes worn by her other children. She lost them to their father (a different father from Z's) a year ago. It's so sad, as I look at them. I realize Z has these family members she may never know. I wish it could be different.

Maybe most of all I just wish today we could have a clean break, not so many lingering uncertainties and sad memories.

Less than two weeks until the Jan. 16 court hearing. Is everybody praying?

American Idol starts that night so maybe if things go badly I can at least feel better by mocking the ridiculous auditioners.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

More about S at 2

I was writing this as a comment at Bek's blog. It got so long I am just putting it here. Forgive my longwindedness ...

Once S dumped a whole bottle of liquid laundry detergent on my bed ... on my new handmade quilt and Scottish wool throw that my parents brought back from their vacation. Not easy stuff to launder and impossible to replace should I have ruined it. Fortunately it survived but geez!

Once he covered the living room rug with honey and crumbled saltines. I was so discouraged I just rolled up the rug and took it to the garage. Unbeknownst to me, DH cleaned it. He is so good.

Once he dissassembled an entire box of tampons -- unwrapped, popped out, unstrung. This is sad, but I truly didn't have $5 for another box of tampons and it freaked me out. That time I did remember to get out the camera, specifically with blackmail in mind, but I cannot find the picture now. Sad, huh?

Many times he locked us out of the house. Once DH was so frustrated that his "knocking" on the window got a little out of control. He broke the window. And you know if I didn't have $5 for tampons it was a little tricky to come up with enough money for a new window.

He could overcome any babyproofing device known to man and climb to any height. It was impossible to get him to stay in a time-out. (The therapist later said, "Isn't your husband an engineer? Why can't he just install a locking doorknob backwards on S's door?" My husband is not that kind of engineer. He's a hydrologist. I installed the doorknob with my lovely power drill. Vroom!)

He once screamed -- screamed -- for 48 hours solid. If you think that's a joke, it's not. I was so tired and freaky myself that I literally, honestly thought he was maybe possessed. I called my mom to come get him before I killed him. She had gotten enough sleep to realize he needed to see a doctor. I was too close to insanity to figure that out. He had a raging double ear infection.

We almost got expelled from childcare at the gym because he was so out of control with the other kids. Never mean, but just wild and physical. That was the low point that sent us to therapy. The gym was my only respite and the thought of losing it was extremely discouraging.

Where we went for therapy was The Children's Center in Salt Lake. We saw Dr. Doug Goldsmith. He was very compassionate and helpful. His main prescription was that I (mommy) find a way to get away from S (and A) for at least 3 hours a week. He recommended a part time job but was satisfied with my solution, which was having my dad come and stay with the boys while I went to the gym (since, remember, we were suspended from the gym childcare) and did the shopping by myself. It helped a lot. I was just tapped out. Dr. Goldsmith also assured me that S was not in fact a demon but an exceptionally demanding, difficult, and intelligent child.

We also took a Love and Logic parenting class through the Murray (Utah) school district that was helpful because it gave very specific words and strategies to use in the most frustrating moments. So much of this is about getting our own mommy emotions in check when our kids are out of control.

As for ADD/ADHD, I bring it up because Bek will get people making that amateur diagnosis and also people wondering if Cubby was a "drug baby" -- oh yeah, my favorite phrase. People will ask that, or worse, just assume it because he is black. A doctor or psychiatrist, though, will not diagnose ADD/ADHD until a child is 5 or 6, because the impulse control that is lacking in kids with the disorder (and for S it is the primary symptom) cannot be expected until between age 3 and 5. For those two years I was praying that S's impulse control would come in like a grownup incisor filling a gap-toothed grin. It never really did. I hear the next big step where he may be able to develop this is around age 14. We're crossing our fingers.

In the meantime I am sorely tempted to come kidnap Cubby for a couple of days. Do you think he would let me kiss his darling little cheeks?

S at two

Cubby at Ignore the Crazy is making his mama cry. He's 2. Oh, so 2.

I had a two year old like that, about five years ago, and a baby the same age as Bek's is right now. Two year old S made me cry every day, too. And worse. I yelled, I screamed. I am not proud of it, but I spanked. Eventually we went to therapy. It helped. He got older, and that helped. He got an ADHD diagnosis and some medication. That helped the most.

He looked like this.

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The rule about the piano was supposed to be only with fingers. Not that I consider a nice, sedate line of cars a major infraction. For major infractions, like the clock shattered with the baseball bat or the Sharpie all over the computer monitor, I was generally too freaked out to take pictures.

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We were enjoying Dr. Seuss's ABC at this time. Hence the Goo Goo Goggles.

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Some crazy mother thought fingerpaint would be a fun activity. At least I made him do it while restrained in the high chair.

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Such a good influence on his younger brother.

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Really, he tried to be a good brother. But the baby was so gosh darn BORING! Hitting was a lot more common than puppet shows, unfortunately.

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That is a swim diaper. Call it variations on a theme.

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This little guy was G's favorite ornament from childhood. S promptly christened him Christmas Lightyear and broke him within moments. Those crash landings can be rough.

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Can't let baby brothers have all the fun. So what if the furniture might get broken?

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Okay, irresistable. How could I have yelled at this kid? It is getting hard to remember.

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Crazy mother still tries to do craft projects with the children. I believe this one had to do with Fun Foam stamps and white paint on red and green paper. Not that too much paint actually made it onto the paper.

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Who's in charge of this detachment?

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It's hard work being two.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Nest feathering

One thing I did over Christmas vacation was working on a real baby room for Z via ebay bargain hunting. It's going to be mega cute.

I got this crib for $85. Will ship from the east coast for $30. Still a steal of a deal.

The bedding is the real bargain. Looky this! $75 for the whole shebang -- quilt, sheet, bumper, dust ruffle, window valance, diaper holder, accent pillow and toy bag! All purply and daisies. I love daisies; they were my wedding flower. I am so excited!

I am back at work today ... feels good, I have to say. G has the kids -- he decided he was going to have Z anyway so he might as well keep the boys, too. Crazy man. Really crazy.

Monday, January 01, 2007

I love ya, tomorrow

The boys go back to daa-aay-care!

Sing with me! I cannot take one more mess, one more fight, one more gross out, one more annoyance!