As of today, it has been two weeks since The Queen and I were charged with taking in two new tricycle motors*. I thought I would take a brief respite from my workday to give you their story.
It was a bright and sunshiney (not to mention freaking hot – temps were in the high 80s low 90s) Friday afternoon. I had just arrived in the lobby of the building where I work to await The Queen’s arrival in her chariot to whisk me away to faraway retail establishments for purpose of selecting new clothes for work when, at around 5:30, my iLeash rang. It was The Queen.
The Queen said, “I just got a call from Robin (who is the director of our foster parent/adoption agency), and she has an eight month old girl and a four year old boy that need a home right away. What do you think?”
After all we have been through over the last couple of months with M&M’s situation, “What Do You Think?” is a loaded question to be perfectly honest. However, in a moment of blissful insanity, I didn’t bother to think. I said, “Tell her to bring ‘em on.” Sometimes, you just have to lead with your chin. Which would explain why my jaw is occasionally very sore.
So, further shopping plans were abandoned like a campaign promise after the election returns are in, and we hurried home to meet the new minions. I should point out here that “hurried” is a relative term when applied to Dallas traffic on a Friday afternoon when combined with The Queen’s luck with navigation. She has won the Magellan Award for Creative Navigation on more than one occasion; however, that is a story for another time. Suffice it to say for now, that The Queen was a wee bit flustered by the call, missed her turn(s) and had to backtrack her way to my office.
We made it home just about a half hour ahead of the CPS caseworker (a different one from the one handling M&M’s case) which gave us just enough time to do a hasty, whirlwind tour of cleaning and straightening through the house. As you may recall, the heat pump at the castle was most thoroughly and totally dead at this point, and the thermostat in the house read a (un)breezy 89 degrees inside. We chose to wait for the kiddos outside where it was a little more bearable.
CPS arrived (in three separate cars no less – why, I have no idea – our tax dollars at work) at around 7:00, and we met our new feral house monkeys. The four year old boy, who I will henceforth refer to as Mini Me because he reminds me a lot of myself at his age, was very shy at first. He clutched a bag of Wendy’s chicken nuggets and fries in one hand and a soda in the other. He didn’t want to look anyone in the eye, and didn’t say anything.
His little eight month old sister (half sister actually as we later found out), however, had plenty to say. At full volume no less. She came out of the car in her car seat screaming bloody murder which I’m sure included several not so kind words and thinly veiled threats in her version of baby speak. I would like to refer to her as SCREAMER!!!!!11!!!!! in honor of the cute little killing machines with handy dandy saw blades from the scifi movie of the same name starring Peter Weller (better known for his role as Robocop); however, that is probably an insult to cute little mechanized killing machines and doesn’t do her vocal skills justice. To say that this little girl is the polar opposite of M&M is an understatement (not that it is her fault). So, I will call her Little Miss Cobra instead (after the A.C. Cobra designed by the recently departed Carroll Shelby – ‘cause both go from zero to loud in nothing flat…and there might be other reasons too…like a shared name and the fact that she strikes quick…or not).
The kids arrived with a large bin full of clothing. Most of which turned out to belong to Little Miss Cobra. A second bin arrived a few days later after their first supervised visit with mom at CPS which had mostly Mini Me’s clothing in it.
We were told initially that momma had been on the run from CPS for three months, that dad was in jail and that CPS finally caught up to them at a hotel. We were also told that Little Miss Cobra was born positive for prescription medications and had had to go through eight weeks of Methadone treatment when she was a newborn. Most of that has turned out to be more or less true as far as we have been able to determine.
The Queen has met momma, dad/stepdad and grandma. The story that has unfolded is that Mini Me’s dad is in jail for reasons still unknown. Momma hooked up with dad/stepdad not long after Mini Me’s dad went into the pokie and has been the father figure for most of his short life thus far. As is the way of things, momma got pregnant 17 months or so ago. However, while she was pregnant, she was addicted to the pain killers she had been taking due to a back injury. I’m not clear on whether the back injury came before or after she got pregnant. That is what got her onto CPS’ radar in the first place.
CPS apparently allowed momma to take Little Miss Cobra home without a fuss. I assume due to the fact that the drugs were not recreational pharmaceuticals. All was apparently happy and joy for about five months until someone (grandma we think) called CPS on momma. The reason for CPS’ reinvolvement remain unclear as of this writing, but momma said she was scared for her kids going into foster care which is why she ran and tried to hide in hotels for three months. They finally tracked her down at a Budget Inn & Suites and took the kids.
The Queen reports that momma seems like a nice person (which, coming from The Queen, is a pretty good endorsement), is sincerely distraught about losing her kids and very much wants them back. The Queen counseled her to do exactly what CPS tells her to do, and she will get them back.
The kids appear to be in overall decent health. There are some obvious nutritional issues that had to be dealt with right away. I previously mentioned Mini Me’s request for a sippy cup of soda. The dentist took one look at his mouth and immediately referred him out to a pediatric orthodontist for major work to repair his severely eroded teeth. He is not looking forward to going under the knife so to speak. We have had to guide his food and drink choices (would you like apple juice or water?) instead of giving him free reign with the kids’ menu. Little Miss Cobra has some allergies which necessitate that she have a certain type of pre-mixed formula. She is eating baby foods and some solids (she has a thing for Cantalope we discovered last night).
Personality and behavior wise, Mini Me warmed up after a little bit. We had a little defiance the first night over bath time which is to be expected in a four year old. He found out the hard way that trying to hide in the closet while whining doesn’t impress us. He’s been caught red handed in an outright lie. The incident would have been cute were it not for the seriousness of the issue:
Me: [walking into the kitchen to throw something away only to discover the Candyland game box in the trash can] Honey, did you intend to throw away the Candyland box?
The Queen: No, why?
Me: Mini Me, come with me please. [we walk into the kitchen and I show him the trash can contents] Did you throw that away?
Mini Me: Uh uh.
Me: You mean “no, sir”. Are you sure you didn’t throw that away?
Mini Me: [nodding his head vigorously]
Me: I don’t think you are telling the truth. [The Queen] didn’t do it, and I wasn’t here to do it. That leaves you. Did you throw it away?
Mini Me: [nodding his head and turning away]
He got a very simple but firm explanation of just how important the truth is in our house and why that is important. So far, we’ve not had a repeat.
Aside from that and some ongoing training in politeness that is required for many children his age, Mini Me is a really good kid. He is extremely helpful with and loving towards his sister. He loves to play and laugh. I’ve enjoyed having a boy to torment (counting ribs is always a hoot). He misses his mom dearly, and he really does not like the CPS lady. She’s “mean”. I can see why he would think that. She did take him away from momma. He seems to grasp that The Queen and I are not the enemy which is helpful.
Little Miss Cobra, on the other hand, is a whole different ball game. I’ve mentioned the SCREAMING. It really is piercing…it literally interferes with rational thought. She despises being on her back for any reason…which makes changing diapers a challenge. She and I fought tooth and nail for probably 30 or 45 minutes over a nasty, poopy diaper change on the first Saturday we had them (which, as you will recall, was when we still had no AC in the house). After the first fifteen minutes, I had to relocate us from the hot, stuffy bathroom where I had been trying to change her to the living room floor because a) there was no air circulating in the bathroom and it felt like a sauna, b) we were both hot and sweaty and I feared losing my grip on a slippery infant who is thrashing around while trying to roll over on the bathroom counter we use as our changing table and generally escape my grasp, c) did I mention how loud and piercing her SCREAMING can be?, d) especially in a hot, stuffy, 80 square foot bathroom with lots of reflective surfaces, and e) it seemed like a good idea at the time. This hatred of all things reclined extends to her car seat making trips in the car an absolute joy until we can get her to pass out.
Fortunately, all with Little Miss Cobra is not negative. She does like to be held (upright, not reclined). She is crawling and pulling up. She will walk with assistance for short distances meaning we will have a toddler on our hands sooner than we originally expected. She has what I think is an adorable habit when she gets tired. If you are holding her near night, night time (and she is not SCREAMING), she will fall asleep on your chest after head butting you several times in the chest to find the most comfortable spot. She will do the same thing in her crib if she is not already sound asleep when you put her in.
The Queen and I seem to be adjusting to the new circumstances fairly well. After our experience with M&M, we have held back a little emotionally with these two. We still care for them as we would for any child, but we are not allowing ourselves to become bonded in the same way we did with M&M. Part of that is due to the fact that the kids already have a strong bond with their momma and we don’t want to interfere with that. Part of it is for our own emotional protection. The Queen and I discussed the issue of adopting these two briefly amongst ourselves, and we both agree that we would if they became available. However, we’ve not mentioned it since, and we probably won’t even think about it again until after there is confirmation that momma’s rights will be terminated and there are no other viable family members (which is too early to tell right now).
At this point, we have no idea how long they will be with us. There was mention of an aunt who might take them; however, she has to get a job and an apartment before that can happen. As far as we are concerned right now, they are with us until they aren’t.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have some ribs to go count.
* A term for small children shamelessly stolen from conservative radio talk show host, Neil Boortz.