Thursday, September 30, 2010


So... I know I should have been updating what's been going on with training. It just seems like there's been so much that's happened lately and it's left my head spinning. Here is my effort to nutshell the last 3 weeks as much as possible.

1. We had another weekend with Kismet and the boys together. This time, Kismet spent more time with Dweezil and they seemed to do very well together. It's good to see that these kids are getting along well, although I think Kismet's energy level was too high even for Frank. It'll take time for them to get used to each other.

2. We got through most of the training, although there was a little bit that we missed. Overall, I like the way the program works. The kids are on a point system and they earn positive points for good behavior and negative points for poor behavior. They "earn" the negative points so that it puts their behavior back on them. However for each time they earn negative points, they have an opportunity to earn back half of the points they lost by doing a role-play of how they should have acted instead. So even when there's a negative consequence for their actions, it's still turned into a positive thing. Their points are used for privileges, as they have a certain point level for basic privileges and then can earn more privileges based on the number of points they've earned. It's a pretty nice little system that works for the majority of the kids they use it on.

3. Kismet is NOT one of the kids this works on. We are meeting with our consultant tonight to go over a different treatment program for what we hope will work for Kismet.

4. We discovered that it did not work well for Kismet last week when we went to take her back to the group home after a visit with us and she refused to go, thereby causing us to miss one of our training sessions. It was very frustrating for us because we felt like our hands were tied when it came to things we could do to get her to agree to leave with us. She yelled, slammed a few doors and tore up a padded envelope but overall, was much more respectful of our belongings than she's been in the group home. We finally convinced her to go back to the home after we tapped into her emotions but it's not something I want to be doing regularly.

5. Two days later, she got into trouble at school, was taken to detention where she hit a few people, and was told she could stay in detention or go back to the group home. She chose to stay in detention so that's where she spent the weekend. We picked her up on Monday evening (the team wanted us to pick her up so we could experience one of her melt-downs first hand) and we believe she was all geared up for dealing with someone else and finding us there waiting for her threw her off-guard. She paced back and forth for a bit, we think she was trying to process the change, told us that she liked being in detention and she chose to be there because she wanted to see what it was like, then decided she was ready to leave, all without incident. We think that what she told us was something she'd rehearsed saying to someone else and since she was thrown off-guard, she said it anyway. When we got her back to the group home, she told her roommate that detention was horrible.

6. Also on Monday, we'd had a team meeting that included the head of the group homes. To put it simply, he was an offensive asshat who told us we were woefully unprepared for Kismet, that we were likely to be like other parents who promised to do certain things with kids they'd taken then didn't and bailed on the kids, and that Kismet needed to go back to hospital. I think everyone was stunned by his words and he pissed me of that he said those things to us. That's just not the kind of things you say to people, even if you think it. Certainly better ways he could have phrased things. We're moving on in spite of his concerns (like he'd be able to stop us) and I look forward to the opportunity to prove him wrong. I don't expect things will be simple with Kismet but we are committed to making this work and I hope for an opportunity in the future to gloat over it to his face.

Kismet moves in tomorrow. I haven't fully absorbed this yet. I'm pretty sure she hasn't, either. Sorry, not much of a nutshell. More later.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ice Cream for Breakfast

Sometimes I forget what kids men can be. I know, I know. You're thinking, "But Diana! How can you forget that? You're married! You have sons! You have man friends! Where is your head?" Honestly? It's easy to forget sometimes. Sometimes men are really good at hiding the fact that they are kids at heart. Then again, Brad takes great pleasure in using words that appeal to 4 year olds as his passwords, so, you know, forgetting seems kinda inexcusable.

Last night, I had climbed into bed, really ready to go to sleep. I take a sleeping pill to help me sleep because I have cyclical insomnia and have a hard time sleeping sometimes. And also because Brad fidgets in his sleep and snores like mad, which just makes it harder for me to sleep. So I had popped my pill and was groggy but waited for Brad to come to bed. He has a nightly ritual of wandering the house, locking up, getting treats for the dog, getting the coffee maker ready for the morning, and countless other things that seem, in my incredibly sleepy brain, to take him for-freaking-ever to accomplish. See? He's showing responsible, adult-like behavior. Although I do wish he'd start earlier so he wouldn't take so long.

Anyway, after waiting for what felt like an eternity for him to come to bed, with him taking longer than usual, he climbs into bed next to me, cuddles up with me and starts talking. I notice an unusual smell on his breath. I say, "Your breath smells like.... graham crackers?" He goes, "Graham crackers AND milk." I go, "Dude! I'm lying in bed forever, trying to stay awake, waiting for you to come to bed, and you're in the kitchen eating graham crackers and milk?!? Seriously?!? What the hell?!?" And he's all, "I was eating it as I was doing my rounds! It's not like I was just standing around." And I slap my forehead and sigh dramatically and he goes, "Sorry."

But don't think that's the worst of his child-like behavior. Oh no! That's nothing compared to what I stumbled on this morning. Normally on a work day, I get up and shower and do all my work-day preparations in our bedroom, only coming out after I'm all ready for work. This morning, however, I wanted to send a text message to Dweezil while I still remembered, so I walked out into the kitchen and Brad is standing there, scooping ice cream out of a container into a bowl. At 7:30 in the morning! I go, "Are you having ice cream for breakfast?" And he says, "Cake and ice cream." And I just stand there and look at it him and he's all, "What?" And I'm like, "I'm glad to see you start your day with such nutritious food."

And I know, I know, that he's only scooping this out at 7:30 in the morning because he didn't expect me to come up the hall and into the kitchen and catch him eating cake and ice cream for breakfast right then. Dudes, he was trying to hide it from me!

And you're probably thinking, especially if you're a guy, "What's the big deal? He's an adult, if he wants cake and ice cream for breakfast, he can." And of course you would be right, he is, technically, an adult and he does have the right to eat cake and ice cream for breakfast if he wants. Although he really shouldn't coz it's not the mature, responsible, or healthy thing to do. But the really big deal about it? He can eat like that and he stays freakin' skinny! And that is so unfair!

Sometimes I hate my husband.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Boys Meet Kismet

Last weekend, we decided it was time for the boys to meet Kismet. Brad and I had been disagreeing on how that should happen. He was all ready for an all-day adventure with Kismet, as he'd had her over an entire Saturday while I was out of town. But I didn't feel that the boys' first exposure to her should be an all-day adventure, since I wasn't sure how things would go. Not to mention that Brad has had more opportunities to spend quality time with her so he knows her better (and is also madly in love with her) and is ready to have her move in right now while the rest of us are still trying to get to know her.

We finally decided to have her spend a few hours with us in an informal fashion. We picked the boys up and then picked her up and took them off to Hollywood Connection to play. We got some food and played miniature golf and let the kids run around and get on some rides for a bit. Kismet connected with Frank very fast. Frank is adorable and charming (no matter what his siblings say) and interactive and girls just love him to bits, so he's used to a lot of attention from girls. Obviously, he loves the attention, too, and it goes to his head a bit.

Kismet kept hugging him and at one point, when she wasn't close by, he said to me, "I think she likes me." Of course, he meant LIKE like but I tried to downplay that a bit and just said, "Of course she likes you. She doesn't have any brothers or sisters and has always wanted them. She's excited about the fact that you're close to her age and will do the things she likes to do."

We then headed over to a mall for a little bit because Kismet loves to go. I was highly amused by the fact that she hauled Frank off to Claire's to look at girly stuff. He put up with it for a few minutes then decided he'd had enough and wanted to go look for hats. Surprisingly, she was game and the two of them went racing off through the mall to find a Zumiez so Frank could look at skater stuff, as he's a skater wannabe. As we were leaving, she made us stop at a bridal store so she could look at the prom dresses and Frank looked at me and said, "I'm not used to having a sister who's into girly things," to which I replied, "I know! I'm not used to having a daughter who's into girly things." (This because Moon Unit hasn't been into girly things since Frank was a baby.)

We eventually took her back home and she wanted to play tag with Frank, who would have been all for it, I think, but we had to end our day. After dropping her off, Dweezil made a comment about how Kismet seemed all over Frank and had more or less ignored him. I wasn't sure how that affected him, if it bothered him or made him jealous at all but he passed it off by saying, "I'd rather be underloved by someone I don't know than overloved by someone I don't know." Dweezil and Kismet will surely connect in time as they both have a deep-seated love of music. They'll probably be sharing their tunes and talking music.

In the meantime, I think I can safely say that their meeting was a success. As long as Kismet and Frank continue to get along so well, I think there's a good possibility of them being good friends. Frank has longed for a sibling as active as he is and who would do things with him and I believe that Kismet will be willing to do the things that Frank wants to do. She is every bit as active, if not more so, as he is and this could be a match made in heaven.

Foster parent training starts tomorrow. We are less than 3 weeks away from bringing her home.