We are having FUN now!

I hope this post does not come across too strong.  Any time you operate with limited sleep, smaller tasks can really frustrate you.  At times, they can frustrate you to a point that is not commensurate with the actual task.  It happened to me today.

This is a car seat and a stroller.  The great thing about this car seat and stroller is it only requires two small adapters and the two can become one!

This is incredible, right?  Well, the vital part is the two small adapters.  You see, I have a very bad habit of throwing things away.  I don’t know why, but few things bring me joy like throwing something in the trash.  I am not certain, but there is a strong chance two months ago, I threw away these adapters.  Easy solution: I got online and ordered two replacement adapters for $19.99.

As all of you parents know, you often wait until your kid is sleeping to work on projects like this.  The replacement adapters came in the mail yesterday so, I thought it would be a good time to put everything together.  I read the instructions…only two steps required.  Push down and listen for the clip sound.  After a few minutes of trying each adapter on both sides, watching a youtube video, downloading and reading the owner’s manual… I came to the conclusion that these were the wrong MOTHERF**KING adapters! (Aside: I would never use this kind of language in real life.  It is used here for literary purposes only.  There was no other way to express my level of frustration and sheer anger towards a car seat company.  If you make a 2015 model and a 2016 model with the same name why would you not differentiate that they use different adapters on your own website. Sorry Mom.)

It was at the very moment when I grabbed the L sided adapter, lifted my arm ready to fling the plastic across the house, that I had an almost TV-show-like flashback.  The harp music played and I looked up at thought bubbles…

I specifically remember a moment in my childhood where my sweet mother must have experienced the same level of frustration.

Here is the back story.  As a kid in Abilene, there is plenty to do on the weekends.  You can go look at the creeks, go look at the lake, sit in your parents lap and drive the car in the Food Lion parking lot, walk around the mall, but the ultimate form of entertainment in my family was a trip to the “little store”.  That’s right. Every Saturday and Sunday my mom would make a trip to Skinny’s for the Dr. Pepper Big Swig.  As a six year old, I would be laying on the floor of my room staring at the wall trying to make out shapes or figures in the dry wall texture and one of my parents would yell out “Who wants to go to the little store?!”.  I would always jump in the car because this meant you had a free-for-all on one item.

Ok, backdrop is set.   On this one particular trip to Skinny’s, I made my selection, a Ms. Baird’s apple fried pie.  My mom got her Big Swig and we got back in her car.  (A white Honda Accord, cloth seats, of course, and windows with absolutely no tint.)

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I am sitting in the backseat behind the passenger seat. As we start to head home, I made a few small requests to my mother which did not sit well with her.  I have no doubt she was suffering from the same lack of sleep I am currently suffering, because my little sister had just been born.  This lack of sleep caused a reaction from my mom that I did not see coming…

After hearing my requests a second time, she turned around, while driving down Buffalo Gap Rd, and kindly took the Ms. Baird’s fried pie out of my hands.  Without saying a single word, she rolled her window down and chunked the unopened apple pie out the window.  She rolled up her window and didn’t say a word. 25 years later, I am experiencing her pain.

Side note: She is a great mother and only threw one of my Ms. Baird’s fried pies out the window of a moving car.

 

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Scattershooting with Blackie Sherrod

Blackie Sherrod died today.  In honor of Blackie, this post will follow his Scattershooting format. Look him up if you are not familiar with his work.

I have been struggling with what to write. Do I write about washing bottles, the sound of the dryer, trying to find just one of five pacifiers in the house, my weak swaddling, or sleep?  The past week has been zombie-like in our home.  We are on the 3 hour rotation of eat, burp, spit up, sleep, dirty diaper.

When shopping on Ebay for some killer baby Patagonia jackets, I made a very obvious (now) mistake.  Let’s just say, for example, it’s late April, and you have a baby named Brisket who wears newborn-sized clothes…  When buying said killer baby Patagonia jacket, you would not buy a newborn-size jacket for said baby.  You see, that baby will not be the same size in six months, when it is perfect time to wear a killer baby Patagonia jacket.

You are home alone with the baby.  Baby is securely sleeping.  Is it acceptable to go get the trash can and check the mail?

Do all couples compete with each other?  Who can feed the baby with the most burps and least spit up?

Brisket and I play this fun game together.  It goes like this:  Who can wake up at 2:30 am and scream bloody murder first? Brisket-5 Buddy-0.

Because it’s a little awkward to call each other “mom” and “dad” for a baby that’s not really ours,  I have implemented “Lady” and “Buddy”.  Lady is not trilled but, has not offered an alternative. They both flow well with “get my bottle Lady”  or, “come wipe my ass Buddy”.

Please do not send any more clothing.

Brisket and Buddy managed to use 5 diapers in one changing. Diaper 1 wet. Diaper 2 pooped on while installing.  Diaper 3 got extra poop on it while trying to remove Diaper 2.  Diaper 4 peed on.  Diaper 5 successful install.  At that point I wasn’t stopping no matter what happened.

We continue to plug along.  We have had tons of great support from friends and family, which has made this a blast for us.

 

Strawberry Wine

It was the summer between 6th and 7th grade, and the organized all-school dances had just broke on the scene with “Jr. Assembly”.  I vividly remember when Fearless Fernandez played Strawberry Wine for the first time. I watched as people literally swayed from left foot to right foot much faster than the beat of the song.  This was dancing?  Easily enough.

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At least three times over the past few days I have been holding Brisket, trying to rock her back to sleep, and caught my self humming:

“Like strawberry wine and seventeen
The hot July moon saw everything
My first taste of love, oh, bittersweet…”

Right after I catch myself crooning to Deana Carter, I play some Ryan Adams (on vinyl) to redeem my hipster dad status.

This post might seem all over the place, which is consistent with my current state of mind.

Another prominent musical number lately has been a play on The Isley Brothers’ Who’s That Lady.  After being informed that calling Brisket a “Sexy Baby” was weird, I have been forced to modify the lyric to, “Who’s That Baby, Hungry Baby”. I have also mixed in a “Sleepy Baby”, “Angry Baby”, “Dirty Baby”… the options go on and on.

The highlight of today was the following situation:  T is at home with Brisket and I am at work.  I get a text that read “Are you real busy?” , my answer “whats up?”.

“I just fed Brisket and am trying to keep her upright so she doesn’t spit up, then this happened:”unnamed

Poor T was working hard to prevent a baby throw up and was forced to watch an old lab in a thunder shirt throw up at point blank range.  So, much of that lunch break included Googling “how to clean a jute rug”.

All that to say, I wouldn’t change a thing.  That is not true.  I would change the fact that my 13 year old lab acts terrible in storms and still up-chucks in the house on a pretty regular basis.  Other than those two things, I wouldn’t change a thing.

After presenting my 2016 baby rankings to T, she quickly told me I was not allowed to post it anywhere.

The missing post.

It’s a good thing I take criticism so well.  If I didn’t, I would spend a lengthy portion of this post talking about how most of you have nothing better to do with your life but moan and groan about how I promised 3-4 additional posts about what happened between the hospital and the nipple post.   If I wasn’t so open minded, the constant chatter by you people might rattle my creative process.

Anyway, think back to the hospital.  We thought we were close to bringing Brisket home one Friday, but she had barfed up just enough food the doctor wanted to keep her another day.  We then learned hospitals rarely discharge babies on the weekend when CPS is involved because they don’t like to work on the weekend.  Sunday night rolled around and the nurses gave us the option of staying the night in little B’s room.  We slept on a sofa and rocking chair, but it was our first night with her.

The next day, I witnessed the most chaotic exchange ever by four “professionals”.  The professionals included: doctor, nurse practitioner, CPS worker, and Hope Cottage worker.  It went something like this:

Hope Cottage worker : I heard Brisket is going home today.  Me: Oh really, they told us a few more days.

Nurse Practitioner:  Brisket looks good.  Me: When do you think we will get discharged?   NP: Not sure.  I need to talk to the doctor.

Doctor via text: Did Brisket get discharged?  NP: Not yet.  Doctor: Are the foster parents going to room in?  NP: They slept up here last night.  Doctor: So are we going to discharge her today?  NP: Sure.

CPS worker:  If Brisket gets discharged, can someone call me?

So yeah, this all took place in about 10 minutes via text, email, and good ole fashion talking.  Up to this point, we had been told that once B was discharged, CPS would more than likely take the baby to our house to do paperwork.  Nope.  They looked at me like go get the car and I hope you have the carseat installed properly.

I pulled into an odd driveway and loaded up the Brisket.  T sat in the back all the way home keeping an eye on her.  We got home, did some paperwork with CPS and Hope Cottage and within 30 minutes we were standing in our 80 degree house with a baby.  Hilarious detail: our A/C went out and that particular day it was 80 degrees.

My very first thought…what do we do now?  We did our best for the next 24 hours to duplicate more or less what we had been doing at the hospital. T’s folks and sister stop by for a few days to cook, clean, and shower Brisket with attention.

As of today, we have had baby for 1 week.  One completely insane week.  I have no doubt week #1 of any baby is nuts and I probably should apologize to the 10 years of co-workers who have been telling me incredibly boring details about their kids.  I now constantly catch myself telling someone how Brisket gained half a pound in a week and realize a short time ago that I would have been rolling my eyes thinking, “oh my gosh, who cares?”.  Well you know what? My baby is much more important than all the rest of your babies.  I am considering a blog post where I rank my favorite babies.

Our baby is now 9 weeks old and weights 6 lbs and 5 oz.

Obligatory picture in order to meet mommy blog rules.

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Girls, Girls, Girls.

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I know what you are thinking,  grow up.  This post will entirely be about nipples.  That’s right.

The last few days of my life and been about nothing but the perfect nipple.  There are big nipples, small nipples, natural shaped nipples, and even orthodontic nipples.  After coming home from the hospital with the cheap freebie bottles and nipples, we soon realized we needed to make an alarmingly difficult and important choice.  What brand of bottles will we use and which size of nipple is right?  3 days.  I spent 3 days trying various shapes and sizes before finding one just right…Ok, I guess this post isn’t ENTIRELY about nipples.

Miscellaneous thoughts and prayers:

  • Please remove whatever mother hex or stay at home mom voodoo you people are doing to my baby.  I am sorry I ever said it’s boring! It’s not boring, ok!?
  • When someone says, “congrats on your new baby”, do you A) say thanks and move on or B) begin to explain you’re a foster parent only at this point as an effort to minimize the uncomfortable discussion in 4 months if the baby goes back to her birth family?
  • Many of my readers were not happy with BG as a blog-only name for this little girl.  As a result, I will modify her name for the sake of my readership.  I will now call her Brisket.  This name is a nod to a long lost friend.
  • This week we had our first doctors appointment.  Overall, it went great.
  • This week we also had our first visitation with the birth mom.  Overall, it went great, and not so great.  Up to this point, the mom has been whatever we had imagined based on the worst things we could find in the one government form supplied.  Because CPS has removed a child from the home we have created a very ugly human in our minds.  The frustrating part of the visit was, we were wrong.  Sure anyone can clean up nice for a meeting but, based on T’s feelings after the meeting, it seemed genuine.  When T parted ways from the CPS office, the birth mom was in tears and thanked us for taking care of her little girl.  Needless to say, this resulted in a wave of emotion for all of us.
  • I am selfish.  The interaction with the birth mom served as my eye opening moment. We ultimately started the foster to adopt program because WE wanted to grow our family.  The focus was and has been on US.  We found a program we felt would fulfill a need we have in our life.  Operating this way has no question built up our potential for heart break.  Fostering was never intended to make me happy.  The focus should always be on Brisket.
  • One lighter note to end on.  The current pooped on count is 1, barfed on count is 3, and peed on count is 0.

This is the week 1 update.  We have a had a tremendous amount of support from family and friends which has made the change in lifestyle doable. Thank you!

 

Choose your own adventure.

As a kid i am sure you all read choose your own adventure books.  This was always my personal favorite.

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As a result of a wild week i have not been able to translate real world happenings into my one of a kind blog experience.  So here is the plan, if you want me to drag out the past week over 3 or 4 hilarious/tear jerking posts do not scroll to the bottom of this post.  If you are sick and tired of waiting on me to post what’s going on and want to skip to the good stuff then skip the fluff and scroll to the bottom of the post.

Ok so back to the 7 week old little boy.  While we waited to hear back from our case worker we received the baby’s common application, which is a CPS form outlining the situation and details about the baby.  After quickly reading the form i notice the writer had worse writing skills than myself because every where it should say he it said she.  My first thought was they cut and paste the form and forgot to go back and make the changes.  T had not picked up on it until i emailed her.  We asked for clarification by email and received “Oops that happens all the time… it is a girl”.

Dammit.  So the baby is a girl.  I am thinking “Well i guess that does change things”  and T is smiling ear to ear.

We sat back and waited for the CPS worker to review our application.  It wasn’t long before we got a phone call asking if we could go to an area hospital to visit a baby girl.   This would give us an opportunity to meet the baby, talk with her medical team, and help with some of the small tasks.

This all started on Wednesday and was more or less the same for the rest of the week.  I will refer to the baby as BG for baby girl.  BG had a couple lagging items to check off the list before she could be released.  My lunch breaks now consisted of me driving to the hospital to feed, burp, and hold BG.  T and I tried to split up and make as many trips as we could during the 3 or 4 day window.

This will serve as a break for those who are choosing the adventure of reading 3 to 4 additional posts which will no doubt take me at least two weeks.  

Here is another good one.

Prisoner Of The Ant People-2

The Evil Power Master is gaining control over the entire universe by destroying selected planets. He has just joined forces with the feared Ant People, which surely will help him gain control with even greater precision. Your job is to stop them! You are a member of the Zondo Quest Group and your mission is to combat the Evil Power Master. When your team turns up missing, you are left to your own devices to carry out the mission and save the universe, but you need to find your friends too! Have they been captured by the Ant People? Find them! Free them!

 

BG is at home with us now.  She is eating, sleeping, and growing.  I am not going to lie.  It is pretty boring. 

 

 

 

Last week, part 2. 

We both woke up Tuesday morning feeling …

You could fill in the blank with any or all of the following: beaten down, depressed, confused, angry, bitter, guilty, and tired. I know at this point I was questioning the process.  Was this really the best way?  We both went to work and spent the rest of the day, much like the last several days, staring at the little blue icon with a white unopened envelope on our phones.  Seeing that little red 1 pop up has never created so much anxiety.  Most of the time though, it was an email that dog food was on sale, my toll tag is out of money, and don’t miss a chance save money at Domino’s.

About 3 pm on Tuesday my cell phone started to ring.  At that very moment I had one of my least favorite customers sitting across from me droning on and on about anything and everything.  I knew the phone number when it popped up on my caller ID.  I silenced the call and then pretended to listen as I waited for a voicemail to register.  Now, it was time to somehow thank this kind person for their business and usher them out to the lobby.

When I made it back to the office, I had an email and text from T saying “answer your phone!”.

I called the number back and no answer.  Called T back, no answer.  I have now screwed around and T and our caseworker were obviously talking.  I sat there for 5 minutes waiting for anything.  Finally an email popped up.

Emergency placement notice for a 7 week old little boy.  Of course it was a quick “yes” from both of us.  After saying yes, we sat and waited.  Both of us were in our offices just staring back and forth at work email and personal email waiting on what ever was going to happen next.

I could not help but take such pride in our plan.  Making a plan or goal is cheesy in a lot of settings.  We were both committed to the game plan we established.  The satisfaction is not just getting what we wanted but, for me, it is about dealing with confrontation or uncomfortable situations in a direct way.  In my job, and even day to day life, I notice people searching for the path of least resistance.  I am as non-confrontational as they come but, have learned the value of taking on a challenge head on.  We said “no” many more times than we said “yes” and we clearly upset our case worker.  But, in the end we made it to our finish line.  This is only the first leg of a very long race but, we are both feeling very satisfied with our situation.

I will try to catch up to the current moment soon.  I promise it’s worth the wait.

How do you delete a blog?

Ok not really,  I am sorry it’s been a while since the last post.  I don’t feel that bad because, of my 18 subscribers, I am pretty sure 6-8 of them are fake email accounts my mom made up.  I have no doubt her plan was to artificially increase my confidence in blog writing in order to motivate me to post consistently.  The problem is, I think everything I write is hilarious and great…until Tori reads it.  Then there is 20-30 minutes of yelling about “didn’t you learn to use a comma?” or “why the hell are you not capitalizing every I?”.  So, I want to make sure you 12 real readers (and my mom’s 6 accounts) appreciate each post.

It is amazing how much life can change over the course of 7 days.  On Monday afternoon we got our first emergency placement call for two boys who were being removed from another foster home and needed a place to go Monday night.  The boys were around 1 and 3 years old.  We started getting emails and phone calls around 4 pm and the case workers wanted an answer quick.  Up to this point, I expected the quick answer was because it would be first come first serve and you would need to act fast in order to gain approval.  I found the opposite to be true here.  The boys were with CPS and, from the sound of our case worker, we were the only option.  We stuck to our plan, which was not easy, given the level of guilt and salesmanship used by the caseworks.  More on this later.

Is it true that in a town or area of a couple million people there is only one approved foster home open to taking 2 boys under 3?  No way, right?  It’s true…kind of.  As we learn how the “system” works, there are, no doubt, massive flaws of matching a need and solution.  Since we live in Tarrant County, we feed into a different region than the one our case worker is servicing.  This, of course, never came up and at this point has only been a minor inconvenience.  However, the state would not allow our case worker to send us cases from other counties because the organization who manages Tarrant Co. has negotiated restrictions which are intended to leave foster homes open in Tarrant Co. in order to be filled by kids from Tarrant Co. when the need arises.

I am going to stop myself from getting worked up.  Instead, here is a picture of me and Tori from 2005 when I took her to see the largest piece of granite in Texas (Enchanted Rock).  Rather than dressing for a hike, she was prepared to basically stand on a giant countertop.  We didn’t stay long.

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Since I am the cynical one in the relationship, I really struggled with the pressure our caseworker and her supervisor put on us for the first emergency placement.  To be fair, the guilt was probably self imposed, to some degree.  It did make me consider how these small, understaffed organizations are funded.  I have done no research but, believe with each placement and possibly, with each kid, comes funding to the agency.  Like, in all other business, money has a funny way of motivating.  I have been happy with the agency we are using to this point so, do not want to trash them but, this was a glimpse of different side of the business.

So like i said a lot happened in the last 7 days and this post really only covers Monday and Tuesday morning.  More to come. If the post is any longer my proof reader will not cooperate.

Arrivals & Departures

Well, like I said, T had a short trip to NYC this week for work.  As per usual, I provided the Uber service for my significant other, and realized, I have never agreed with the Arrivals / Departure system.

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  • I am driving to the airport terminal so therefore I am ARRIVING.
  • I am picking up my wife from the airport to go home so we are DEPARTING.
  • My wife’s plane is ARRIVING from NYC.
  • My wife is going to NYC and DEPARTING from DFW.

Short story, my brain goes into complete chaos when ARRIVING or DEPARTING the airport.

This week has been the most challenging yet.  On Wednesday, we received an email informing us we had been selected by CPS as one of two final families considered for placement for one of the sibling groups mentioned in my last post.

My first reaction was excitement. As I read the entire email, I was imagining the first group of kids we ever saw.  The first broadcast we were sent has stuck with both of us for a couple weeks and now we are in the final two!  After about 15 seconds, I realized I hadn’t even read the kid’s names in the email.  I just assumed it was the two sisters.  I was wrong. It was a 5 year old girl and her 3 year old brother that we had also said “yes” to.  These kids were both incredibly cute, but not who I thought I was getting excited about.

I had imagined my wife in the middle of downtown NYC full of excitement as we were closer than we ever have been to have a family together.  As we worked through the various questionnaires, early in the process, we had agreed the 5 and 3 year old fit our profile.  Now that we were presented with two very cute kids the fear hit hard.  If we accept two kids at 5 and 3 there is a chance we will never hold a baby as parents.

Before we could get excited about the kids we had been selected to consider, we asked our caseworker if she could request an update on the sisters who had been stuck in our mind.  After a few hours, the email hit stating that we were not one of the families selected.  Before I could finish reading the email, I noticed a follow up email from T.  She wanted to know why we were not selected or if there was any feedback from the little girl’s case worker.  I could sense the pain and disappointment in her email.  She then sent me an email with only a “:(“.  There was nothing I could do to make it better. We were in a position where we should be thrilled and anxious about making the final two for the other sibling group but, unfortunately we weren’t.

Of course, during our training, we heard over and over not to get attached to one specific kid during the broadcast phase because there is so much uncertainty.  Well, we learned the hard way. We have said “yes” to two additional broadcasts since Wednesday.  We have also modified our profile to target a younger age group. This is more specific, and, will no doubt, slow down getting a placement but, after this we both feel strongly about having the chance to hold a baby as parents.

Much like my airport dyslexia, it has been very difficult to tell if things are coming or going over the past week.