Until a couple months ago, I used to write every day. Proud of my discipline, I couldnít wait to tap out endless GH paragraphs for my column, plus the occasional Snapshots or Get On The Bus stories. It wasnít burnout that overpowered my self-discipline, it was emotional overload that caused my brain to stop swirling in humorous patterns and made my fingers turn to lumps of unimagination.
I wonít go into long explanations but my oldest son and his girlfriend managed in five years to birth four babies. Yes, I am a Grandma four times and a darn young, fine looking one at that. For the record, I did teach the boy about birth control but he didnít listen and my grandchildren are the result Ė Destini (6), Cyera (4), Marcus (3), Tryniti (almost 2). Much has happened in the last several months and his children are now living with me. My husband and I still have two at home Ė Morgan (almost 17) and KaCee (10).
Last weekend we picked them up from the foster parents (they were in another state so we selected a place in the middle to meet) and changed overnight from a family of 4 to a family of 8. The reverberations to our life, our expectations and goals for the next few years, have only begun to rumble. I am not a saint, nor am I a martyr. What I am is a woman who believes that every person is called to step up at some point in life, in some difficult way, and this was the step up call for me and my husband.
My dilemma lies in time versus a need to communicate, a need to write, so I want to try a different kind of column. It will post under the Snapshots heading but it will be more of a journal entry type offering with some GH thrown in. Of course, I am still watching GH. I say that having watched the beginning segment for Tuesday about 5 times without finishing the episode or watching Wednesday or Thursday yet. However, my life is in a state of flux and adjustment and you can bet as I adjust, I will be making nap time around 2 p.m. so Mimi (as my grandbabies call me) can have her time out. 38 minutes of vacation Monday through Friday, thatís all I ask.
The first several entries began as e-mails to a couple friends.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
The First Night of the Next 18 Years or so
Well we made the trip up and back, about 550 miles, and relearned how busy toddlers and preschoolers can be. Tryniti, the youngest, is a live wire with her hands and whole body in motion constantly. Tomorrow I am going to Wal-Mart to buy some blocks or large lego type toy because that child is constantly putting together and taking apart. Marcus, just turning 3 this Wednesday, is all boy and very intense. Morgan put Spiderman on his little video player while we were driving back and as long as Morgan FF from one Spiderman scene to the next, Marcus wore a totally absorbed face. Cyera, 4, in contrast is all girl and obviously loves hair, clothes and anything girly. Sheís also big on cuddles. Destini, 6, liked the cuddles and was very verbal, but also extremely independent and confident. The world is her oyster and itís waiting for her to discover it. Those are my initial observations.
They all climb. It must be a dominant gene in our family. If ever I couldnít find my child, I learned to look up because odds were that theyíd climbed something, my grandchildren seem to be the same way. A potty break took about 20 minutes and lunch at MacDonaldís lasted over an hour. Each time we unhooked everyone from car seats, it took several minutes to climb back in and reattach all the necessary safety belts. These are the things that I have to readjust to.
By 8:20 weíd finished dinner, cleaned up, bathed including hair washing and teeth brushing, read bedtime stories, hugged, kissed and shed a couple tears. Tryniti cried herself to sleep in my husbandís arms. Mostly, I think, because she didnít take a nap and she was wound tight. We skipped her bath and laid her down in bed.
So far, so good. Iíll be crawling into bed in a couple minutes because 3:15 came mighty early this morning.
Monday, May 30, 2005
Oh my goodness, Iím turning into a Toys R Us parent again.
Geoffrey the Giraffe should be calling on me soon. We made our first Wal-Mart trip and bought everyone bikes. I felt like a spectacle at Wal-Mart but after years of slipping in, slipping out, itís probably just my imagination. Moms with tons of kids shop there every day, Iíve just never been one of them. Since my kids were born so far apart, I never had more than one baby at a time. Talk about Christmas in June, we walked out with 4 bikes, a baby seat for the back of a bike, a safety bed rail, sippy cups and miscellaneous groceries. Now I feel poor.
Itís definitely, summertime hot. All the kids have that sun kissed look on their cheeks after riding bikes this afternoon. I wish you could have seen us. We took up the whole street. A couple of our neighbors came out to help us push the kids on their bikes. Destini took off on her bike and immediately began begging to have the training wheels removed. Cyera and Marcus both have to build up their strength and learn the rhythm of pumping the pedals but they gave a good effort. Tryniti has a sort of big wheels tricycle type bike but she didnít want to be messed with. Her favorite part was the storage under the seat. Sheíd place her sippy cup into the storage area, climb on the bike, move forward with her feet, fall off the bike, lift up the seat, take a drink and then repeat the process. It made me tired just watching her efforts.
Kids in bed, dog begging for a run and 3 loads of laundry waiting to be folded on the bed. After almost 10 hours of sleep last night, I am doing OK right now. Of course, I may say differently after Iíve folded the huge mound of laundry sitting on my bed that I havenít had time to get to and taken the dog for a short run so she doesnít turn into psycho dog. And I havenít watched Friday or Mondayís GH yet.
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
It was a day!
Today was a busy day! My husband left around 8 to renew his license and we thought heíd return in about an hour. About 10:30 I was beginning to panic because I had to return the Tahoe we rented for the weekend to pick up the kids (big car, no space, Iíll be looking at minivans or Suburbans) and then drive to the next town over to fill out paperwork. He came home around 11 feeling pretty darn good because of a mix up at the DPS office. Because of a memo date mix up, they renewed his license for another 6 years and he didnít have to pay $75.00 extra for a background check or take a hazmat test. Cool for him!
We packed Tryniti and Marcus, the two youngest, with us and returned the Tahoe and then drove in our van in which the a/c barely works (making us realize that looking at newer vehicles really isnít a choice) to the human resources office to apply for Medicaid for the children only to be given several forms and told that we had to have a letter stating that we were not receiving any benefits from the state in which the case originated even though the kinship foster parent papers show a May date. In other words, come back tomorrow, in June. Bureaucracy at itís finest and I have to jump through the hoops and be nice about it.
We arrived home packed up Myronís stuff for the week and headed right back out with all six kids and Morganís girlfriend who became 18 for an hour. KaCee, Morgan and I had a dental cleaning appointment that Iíd made 6 months ago and no way were we going to miss it. They have a strict policy that no children under the age of 16 may be left in the waiting room alone or with anyone under 18 so I hired Morganís girlfriend to watch the kids while we had our teeth cleaned and informed her that she had matured by a couple years for an hour. She didnít mind at all.
Funniest thing, while we were waiting in the hall (to not disrupt the stuffy waiting room) Destini came and jumped up on me. As she slid down, I saw a little something out of the corner of my eye fly off. Turns out it was her loose tooth. Ironically, she lost her first tooth at the dentistís office which she promptly lost from her hand in the car. We had to write a note for the tooth fairy explaining what happened. Now I have to set my alarm to put money under her pillow because sheís asleep in KaCeeís room and KaCee and her friend Kristy are most definitely not asleep and also not ready to acknowledge that Mommy is the tooth fairy.
I wasnít able to watch GH today but I have it on tape for tomorrow. I knew I was really tired when I pushed play and didnít realize for several minutes that ďTeenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesĒ was playing instead of GH. We didnít make it home from the dentistís office until after 6 so everything was late tonight. Our appointment was at 4:10 but by the time we left at 5:10, ran to the bank, made a potty stop at the library so they could potty and I could pick up ďThe Killing ClubĒ and then stopped to buy a 2 liter of soda for a treat tonight instead of milk, the evening schedule was shot. After baths and bed by 9:10 they were still pretty wound up. I thought it was under control and I left to run the dog, but when I returned no children were sleeping and Morgan was valiantly trying to coral to the two little ones. He needs a bus driver look. I said, ďTime to sleep now. I am going to rest right here.Ē I laid down on the other bed and just watched them. Whenever one of them sat up, I pointed my finger at them and they laid back down. 10 minutes and peace reigned.
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Broccoli and Ketchup
Naptime. NOT. Marcus and Tryniti didnít want to come in from riding their bikes and take a nap even though they were grumpy and falling over with exhaustion. I can do this. I am an experienced Mom of three. Iím sure I remember how to lay kids down for a nap when they most emphatically donít want to slow down from the fun of their day and the other kids are continuing to play outside. Laying them down I kissed them, offered them their blankets and told them that they didnít have to sleep, only rest. Like a 2 and 3 year old understand the difference. Yeah. I stood outside the door as they competed, taking turns, for loudest yell. When that didnít work, Marcus asked for a drink. OK, that was a fair request so I took him his sippy cup. Tryniti was completely upfront with her issues, she simply sat in bed and screamed. It took about 2 minutes and 15 seconds and the cries tapered off and maybe another 2 minutes for a sound sleep to roll over them. I donít think that they were traumatized, but I was a little. My head knew that this was not a time to negotiate, but my emotions had a harder time.
Iíd forgotten that everything tastes better with ketchup. Not inclined towards vegetables, Marcus and I were on the road to a head bump. I knew I had to stick to my guns Ė everyone must take at least two bites of the veggie and two bites of meat, donít care about anything else on the plate, eat it or not. Marcus threw a look at me that was the 3 year old equivalent of not-in-this-lifetime when I said that he had to eat two bites of broccoli or he wouldnít be able to have any ice cream for dessert. I really, really didnít want to be the bad lady who didnít give him ice cream but my son Morgan saved the day. Without making a big deal, he squirted a dollop of ketchup on a little plate and proceeded to teach Marcus how to eat his trees with the yummy ketchup. It worked like a charm and I praised Marcus all over and upside down about eating all his broccoli. And yes, he ate ice cream. At that point I would have bought my son the ice cream of his choice for remembering how he ate food he didnít care for when he was younger. Since heís not a picky eater now, I have to assume that the 2 bites, dunk it in ketchup worked out alright.
Thursday, June 2, 2005
Dinner began around 7:10. We ate, the kids played outside while I cleaned the kitchen and then it was pick up toys, bathes, story and bed. Doing well, at 8:30 I left them tossing in their beds in the throes of presleep and took the dog for a run. Imagine my surprise when I returned with the dog and it was 9:56. Where did that extra hour go? I certainly wasnít out with the dog that long. It sounds funny, I know, but itís very disconcerting. Riding along with Alex in the quiet dark I was telling myself that I wasnít tired. How well I was doing. How organized. How on top of things. Pfft! How completely oblivious to reality. Really, where did that hour go? Because as soon as I knew it was almost 10, the tiredness hit. Plus, my good feeling, got-it-going-on-in-the-palm-of-my-hand mindset is completely blown.
A Cellular Affair
CHRISTMAS CHEERS AND JEERS
Ma'am, Is That A Salmon In Your Pocket?
Civilization 101 or 2 or 3
Finding My Senses
Wrestling, Garlic and Weddings
Treading through Emotional Quicksand