Archive for January, 2006

Isaac won’t like this…

I splurged and bought a pair of these Dansko clogs everyone raves about. They truly are quite comfortable! I really needed something without ties, I can slip on in a hurry.

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But, Isaac is not going to be happy. We always have a “race” to get shoes on, and he loves that all my shoes have laces, and his don’t. Seems to me, I’m going to be doing some winning…and then I’ll hear, “Mommy, lets just get our shoes on without racing this time.”

Ten years too late?

We bought this absolutely fabulous children’s book at Goodwill. It’s educational, funny and really a blast to read. Its called A Dinosaur Ate My Home Work, by Ray Nelson, Douglas Kelly & Ben Adams. The lines read like poetry and the cartoon characters are a crack up.

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I googled the authors to try and find more titles, as listed in the book:

The International Adventures of Donovan Willoughby (health and Anatomy)
Greetings From America… (U.S. Geography)
The Seven Seas of Billy’s Bathtub (Ocean and Sea Life)
Connie and Bonnie’s Birthday Blastoff (Astronomy and the Solar System)

And others. Apparently, these books, produced by Flying Rhino Books, were written, bound and distributed in Portland, Oregon to be used in schools in 1994. They cannot be found anywhere now, except used.

I am so bummed! I did manage to order a used copy of Wooden Teeth and Jelly Beans, a book about the U.S. Presidents.

If you can snag one up, I’d recommend it. (Unless you’re die hard against punitive punishment in literature…the dinosaurs did end up with detention and sentences 😉

A Charter School is another option

This one is close by, and looks very interesting. This whole school thing has been giving me pangs of anxiety for the last three years. Now that Isaac is quickly approaching five, its time to get serious about making a choice.

1. Local public elementary
2. Private school
3. public school at home
4. Homeschool
5. Charter school

I’ve vaguely heard the tern “un-schooling” but haven’t looked into that yet. Am I missing an option here?

Public homeschool! Public School at home

I’ve been researching Isaac’s options for kindergarten and have started the preliminary enrollment process for a public homeschool public school at home. Yes, that’s right, I said “PUBLIC” homeschool. Amazing, eh? The idea of homeschooling is appealing to me, but the idea of choosing a curriculum and buying a ton of things I am unsure of is intimidating.

When I learned they have a public homeschool school at home, I was all over it. Because its public, all curriculum is provided, as well as a teacher support who calls or visits. The program must meet all the same requirements and testings of any public school. The only difference is, I am the teacher and the classroom is our home. Best of all, we don’t have to send our kids to some overcrowded institution, prey to fundraisers and child predators.

Unfortunately, enrollment is limited, so I am still crossing my fingers we get in.

We just did our Kidergarten Assessment Test today, and it was fun. And I learned we need to work on Isaac’s reading comprehension. And, writing of course, but I thought his comprehension was better.

Thank you Chris O’donnell for setting the record straight.

Day two, back to two kids only

The first day, I basically made up a lot of missed sleep. The house was sooo incredibly quiet. No loud crying, screams, or fighting. The house got cleaned up a bit, and we all got dressed.

There had been so many days, the kids or I remained in pajamas all day long…that Isaac resisted getting dressed. But we all got dressed, and I took the poor, neglected dog to get bathed and groomed. Omi did a great job!

Then all three of us took a long afternoon nap. After our usual bedtime routine, with the kids, Jason and I relaxed on the couch and watched “Country Boys” on PBS. Interesting reality-type documentary of some hicks, in an alternative school. I enjoyed it a lot, lol, and will be watching the finale tonight.

This morning, I woke up and the first thing that popped into my head was Michael’s little face. And I was sad, thinking maybe I had just needed a day of rest? But then I remembered our day in a life with Michael, and realized we made the right decision.

Party pics

A very nice, simple gathering for Xander’s celebration. Since Xan is only two, and he’ll love any cake I get him…I got the “All American Chocolate Cake” from Costco, that I love so much. It was all about me, poor guy. It is HUGE and will be in my fridge for a while, eaten one sliver at a time.:)

He blew out his two candles like a pro!

Me, sitting with my boys…and my mom, showing her party spirit.

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Xan was able to rip open his own gifts this time, and got a cool “Saxoflute” toy, that lets him connect pieces to create his own instrument. Very cool! Jason and Isaac got into that one.

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He also got a three pack of cars, and a set of two phones that are walkie talkie-ish. The phones look fun, but we haven’t tried them out yet.

And that was it!

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As Jason put it: “Its over”

Jason summed it up nicely here. Michael’s things were packed up and his case worker came to take him to his new home.

He hung out in the playpen for a bit, since he was trying to get himself hurt…but then he and Xander looked out the window, as we waited for his ride…

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Mike tries to sneak in one last bite…

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And now, I think I’m going to cry…

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Happy 2nd birthday, Xander!!!

Its been a poorly planned celebration this year, as we still need to organize his party for his birthday yesterday, January 7th.

We had a wonderful snow storm two years ago, when Jason and I slowly drove to the hospital to welcome Xander into our family. After a quick two hour delivery, we held him in our arms.

For some reason, he looks like such a beef in this photo, but if you could see how extremely tiny those cloth diapers are, it would put it into perspective.

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My little munchkin, at six weeks, looking uber cute. This was about the time, I was freaking out trying to juggle two kids and still maintain my hip, social life, if you remember this terrible day.

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And here’s my pumpkin at about one year. Unbelievable cuteness! I don’t hardly go out anymore because we get harassed by model scouts…ugh!

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Someone please stop me…here he is at about 18 months, I’m guessing, sleeping. Mmmmmm, that little baby elbow.

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And a quick snapshot of Xander today. We’ll try to get more with his party.

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Let’s see. We still have Michael…

I believe it was Wednesday, the 4th, I sent the email to end our fostering experience. I did get a call fairly quickly that evening. Michael’s info has been sent to the “placement desk” and they are working on finding a home to transition him to. I was told it would probably “not happen in the next couple days.”

That means not the weekend either, of course. These things have a way of getting placed on the back burner, so to speak, unless you make yourself heard loud and clear. So I will be putting out another round of emails and calls, on Tuesday.

My mom offered to give us a night out on Friday, but less than an hour into it we were summoned back because Michael was too much. AAhahhahahhahahah!!!! In less than one hour she went from telling me how sweet he is, and that he does listen well…to next time “If you still have ‘HIM’ we should plan it for your house, that is more baby proofed.”

Its so sad. He really is the cutest little guy. I am going through so much guilt and doubt these past days. But, dang, he is soooo much work. And obviously its not easy to get someone else to give me a break.

I’ll be packing his clothes and toys the next couple days, mulling over what a rotten parent I am, questioning how I can abandon him like this? I keep thinking he needs to be the only child to get the attention he needs. What if they move him to a foster home with a load of kids, and he ends up too much for the next home too? That is my fear. That my transfer will be the start of many, for him.

So many mixed emotions, for my little Michael…

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I actually sent the email to end our fostering experience

And I am so sad, for Michael. No one can know what its like to foster, until you actually do it. The classes aren’t enough to help you understand, and know if this is something you can do.

A foster child is coming into care with a lot of issues, and needs a lot of extra love and attention. It seemed like something we could do, since we do it every day with our two. Our two children were, in fact, kind of low maintenance , and life seemed “boring” enough to want another.

But the day we got Michael, our life went from quiet to crazy, and I have barely been able to keep a handle on things. Xander turned into demon child. I barely get dressed on my days off, because I can’t go anywhere and I’m just trying to survive another day.

Anyway, here’s the email I sent, that sums it up a little more:

(Case Worker),
Two things:
The eye appointment, shows that Michael has Coloboma, in the right eye. The outward drift in that same eye, is apparently unrelated to the coloboma. It is something that might need surgery in the future, but will need to be monitored with another check up in 6 months.
Our other issue, is his possible attachment disorder. He is a very sweet, lovable guy upon first impression. But, after spending several weeks with him, it is apparent he does not want to be “cuddled” and avoids eye contact for more than a fleeting second. His “play” consists mostly of throwing things, and trying to break toys and books. This has been very difficult to differentiate between “normal” 19 month old behavior, and abnormal behavior…but it just felt like he is MORE in so many ways. After reading up on some attachment disorder sites, he does show many of the “red flag” signs.
We have tried to initiate some of the therapeutic recommendations, and I am sure, given time, these things might help him a lot:
Bottle feeding (as if he was a newborn), with rocking and encouraging eye contact.
Picking him up and cradling him back, telling him “I love you,” each time he is doing a “no-no” behavior,
But, with two young children already, it is turning out to be too much for us. Its been survival mode for us since day one. We gave ourselves until January first to decide if this placement was going to work. We had to be honest with ourselves, Michael, and DHS and admit it is not working out.
Please let us know how we can assist in a transfer ASAP.
Zoe