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Preview: Mutterings and Musings on Mommyhood

Mutterings and Musings on Mommyhood



A mom figuring out how to be a mom and a grown-up after her baby goes to school.



Updated: 2015-09-16T12:04:40.075-05:00

 



0 Comments

2012-01-17T10:24:13.968-05:00

My baby is 10.5, 5th grade, and for now, all things are moving smoothly for her. She constantly amazes me with her poise, wit, and musical ability. She can write the most amazing stories full of evocative prose, interesting characters, and hand-drawn illustrations. She seems to be comfortable with her adoption story for now--she has a warm and loving relationship with her first father, and a perplexed yet accepting understanding of her first mom's abscence. Braces, impending puberty, and all the social interactions that are supposed to define a girl this age are in full swing. She's amazing and I can't imagine my life without her as my daughter.

And here the focus changes. Just as I can't imagine my life without my daughter, I can't imagine my life without my mom, either. But that is what I'm going to have to do. Last week, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. We have yet to learn stage, exact type, prognosis, treatment or palliative plan, or anything, but reality says it's going to be a long, painful year--if we're lucky enough to have a year.



And again...

2010-01-23T18:22:58.102-05:00

No dinner company tonight. Mitzie and her boyfriend cancelled, once again, at the last minute. No real explaination this time, just "really busy." Sigh.
.
She hinted as maybe after February 4th, but I won't be telling BabyGirl about it until there's a knock at the door next time.
.
My poor Sweet Pea was in a foul mood all last week, with lots of shouts of "Nothing EVER goes the way I want it to!" at the smallest disappointment. It's funny though: her acting out was at school this time, rather than at home as it usually happens. At home, aside from minor skirmishes, she's been practically angelic. She expressed her gratitude frequently. After screwing up something (picking up dog poop, not cleaning her breakfast dishes, etc.) rather than throwing a snit, her response was, "You're right. I forgot. I'll take care of it right away."
.
Was she being especially sweet with us because she was trying to "get back" at Mitzie? Was she worried that if she acted out, would we make an adoption plan and send her on to someone else?
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One of the worst parts of being a parent by adoption is never really knowing if certain behaviors are adoption-related or just kid-related. I hate that part.



Sigh

2010-01-20T08:05:39.762-05:00

It's been pretty quiet here for the last few months. After getting a good dose of courage from Barb over at http://www.kaldiboo.blogspot.com/, I decided to try once again to bring BabyGirl's first mom back into her life.
.
We texted a bunch of times, BabyGirl sang a Happy Birthday video on my cell phone and we sent it over, Mitzie and BabyGirl have texted back and forth. After a doing this since Thanksgiving when Raoul gave us Mitzie's latest cell phone number, we took the plunge and invited Mitzie and her boyfriend over for dinner. BabyGirl got excited, made plans, cleaned her room (!), created special artwork; Mr. Handsome and I planned a lovely meal. We were all looking forward to seeing them tonight.
.
And she cancelled this morning for what seems like a reasonable reason. But still.
.
It's so heartbreaking for BabyGirl.
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Her behavior has completely gone to hell and it'll be that way for the next few days as she processes her disappointment and pain. In the quiet moments, we'll get to talking about what's really bothering her, but until then, she's going to be a giant pain as she feels this new pain so acutely. We'll cut her slack because she's got a lot on her emotional plate right now, but we still, nonetheless, have to hold her to behavior standards.
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My heart breaks for the both of them: for BabyGirl who feels rejected and betrayed again, for Mitzie who just can't seem to step out of her own pain and disappointment to reach out to the extraordinary girl she helped create.
.
Hopefully, our rescheduled dinner for next weekend will happen. Fingers crossed.



Doing something good

2009-10-15T14:55:55.257-05:00

My friend Kelly over at www.mochamomma.com works at a school at which many of the high schoolers are struggling in many way. The girls are limited to purses that are smaller than a piece of paper because of safety issues, no one can carry a backpack.
.
Because many of the girls simply can't afford buying a decent purse, she's organizing a Small Purse Drive. She will collect small purses that are in good shape and then sell them to the girls for $5.00, or simply give them to the girls if they can't spare $5.00.
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Please, start looking in your closets for small purses that haven't seen the light of day in forever and dust them off. Kelly is working out the details as to where to send them, how to make a PayPal donation, etc. so stay tuned.
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In the meantime, go read Kelly's blog and dig out those purses to get them ready, ok?



When it rains

2009-09-27T11:28:57.193-05:00

So, just as we're getting settled into the idea of not having our AJ back, our beloved Bouvier des Flandres dog, Am. Ch. Amron's Zora from Eatonville, died unexpectedly yesterday morning. The emergency vets worked hard to bring her back from two cardiac arrests and to rectify an unknown abdominal issue, but to no avail. The feelings of loss hang heavily over our house.
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Zora was only 9.25--our last Bouv was 14 when he died--so Zora's death is completely out-of-the-blue. We always said she's the dog against whom all other dogs will be judged, meaning, that while every dog has its own personality, we'll always look back on Zora as the one great, perfect dog for us. Protective without being threatening, dignified, smart, well-behaved, and very well loved, she was a really good dog.
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Zora helped Mr. Handsome and me through the loss of our three babies, she watched over BabyGirl as she came and stayed, she kept me safe when Mr. Handsome was on his extended business trips, she provided a quiet presence and dignity. And she kept the backyard free of squirrels.
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She will be greatly, greatly missed.



August

2009-08-22T14:16:09.737-05:00

Well, it seems like grandma is going to keep all three of the kids.
.
Of course, she hasn't said anything to us either way about it, but Foster Care Woman said she can speak with authority and say that AJ ain't coming home to us.
.
I'm really disappointed, heartbroken, and heartsick about losing him again. And, truth be told, I'm also really relieved since taking on an emotionally/physically/possibly-mentally damaged 4-year old really wasn't on my list of things to do right now. Of course, if he'd come home, we'd take him into our arms and do our very best for him because that's what parents do; nonetheless, we also know how much work that would take.
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At least one thing is good: living the life of open adoption (BabyGirl and her daddy are at her first-mommy's family reunion this afternoon) has given us plenty of opportunity to hold two conflicting emotions at the same time!



The latest latest

2009-06-20T09:18:10.750-05:00

From LawyerFriend:
.

Peggy's sentencing was today. Judge Brown sentenced her to two
years of probation in which she must pay: $68 in state fees,
$60 victim's fund fees, $960 court supervision fees, $728 in
court costs, and $650 in attorney's fees. She must continue
her employment. She was sentenced to 1 year in the
Washtenaw County Jail (credit one day served). She may serve
the sentence over a period of thirty weekends and if she does
so, the balance of her sentence will be suspended. She must
also serve either 80 or 180 hours of community service (I am
not sure which number the judge said) which will entail her
telling various groups about what she did and the repercussions
of her actions. If she violates any term of the probation she
could face prison time.
.
For the first time since I have been following this case, I actually
heard Peggy speak. She said that her parental rights had been
terminated (the way she described it, the termination of her
parental rights had been an "unselfish act of love" for her
children--as if it had been her idea). She said she had ended
her relationship from AJ's father. She is taking parenting/anger
management classes and volunteers at the Hope Center . She
cried openly when describing what she had done to AJ and to
the relationship with her children generally. I gathered that
there was, on her part, some expectation of no jail time. She
explained to the judge that if she were jailed, she would lose
her job as (I think) assistant manager at White Castle and
"she would be right back in the same bad situation as before."
Apparently Peggy’s attorney stated that jail time was not
warranted because there were no “serious or permanent
injuries” involved. The prosecutor then rebutted this with a
reading of AJ's injuries aloud in court: acute and chronic subdural
hematomas consistent with shaking, broken ribs ([the injuries]
2 weeks old at the time of treatment), pelvic fracture ([the
injuries] about 10 days old at the time of treatment), a broken
arm--a total of 8 broken bones altogether which a doctor
described as being like "torture". A couple of people in the
courtroom actually gasped when the list of injuries was read.
I think this played a big part in the judge's decision NOT to
waive jail time. The prosecutor said that AJ was in therapy
and didn’t want to talk about his mommy.
.
This matter seems over for a while—I am not sure if Peggy
will ever be able to have her parental rights reinstated. I
think it’s safe to say that if she screws up probation, she
probably won’t. I am sorry you guys didn’t get AJ, but
let’s just hope Peggy’s mother stays healthy long enough
to raise the kids.


I asked specifically if grandma stated she was going to adopt them, but haven't heard back yet.



What little I know now

2009-06-17T16:49:33.015-05:00

All I've heard so far is from Court Woman:
.
"I heard she released her parental rights as well. She said her mother was going to adopt the kids…I hope you can file a competing party petition if that’s the case."
.
But she didn't say "as well" to what!
.
Grandma is taking the kids to South Carolina on a vacation/family reunion tomorrow so that should give us time to figure out the competing party petition thing--if that's what we want to do.
.
I just wish there was some resolution to this whole thing already. I'm tired.



Hmmmmm

2009-06-11T18:26:31.559-05:00

CourtWoman said, in response to a question, "that won't be an issue...since [Peggy] isn't going to have the kids." (italics mine)
.
Well, they're going somewhere safe, anyway. That in itself is a relief.



Whew! ONE thing settled

2009-06-09T20:09:04.152-05:00

As of 8:30 tonight, the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case against Chrysler's sale to Fiat.
.
At least ONE thing in our lives is settled! My tummy is unknotting just the weensiest bit. Of course, that is no promise of continued employment, but at least the company won't get pieced out.
.
Now, only one more major thing to be settled. Next Wednesday. I hope. I hope something happens either way. I know how I'd like it to end, with AJ coming home to us, but any closure will be welcome at this point. I'm getting a little frayed around the edges and Rescue Remedy just ain't taking the edge off anymore.



Holding Steady

2009-05-29T10:06:27.188-05:00

Our paperwork is in, we've taken the classes, and our CPS worker is grinding through her part of the licensing process. Maybe a month, she said.
.
Peggy's sentencing is June 17, and I still don't know any more details on to what she made her plea.
.
The CPS worker said, based on a meeting she was in yesterday, that she thinks the grandma is going to keep AJ. Sigh.



Guilty plea!

2009-05-07T09:42:26.719-05:00

Peggy plead guilty yesterday, sentencing will be on June 17th. I don't know what that means, for sure, but I'm feeling hopeful for the first time in a while. Can't let the hopeful feeling stick around too long, though, because that only makes it worse when my hoped-for outcome doesn't happen. It's a very tricky balance.
.
LawyerFriend wasn't able to hear anything yesterday in court since it was all at the judge's bench and they had the sound machine on. He did learn that Peggy is to be in Family Court tomorrow on the paternity issue.
.
Thank you for all your good thoughts, prayers, and support.



Oy vey

2009-04-27T21:13:36.358-05:00

Peggy's brother was just arrested for posession of marihuana (as it's spelled in our county's court records), and grandma is in court with her ex-husband. At least maybe this "upstanding" family would be seen as less of a good home for AJ, should it all come to that, and regular-old mildly-dysfunctional us would seem like a really nice place for him. I have my fingers crossed, anyway.
.



Postponed. Again.

2009-04-19T11:14:24.277-05:00

Looks like it's rescheduled for Wednesday, May 6, according to the county court's website.
.
Peggy's Facebook for the first postponement day was, "Is Saying God Thank You 4 All You Did 4 Me 2Day.."
.
Grandma's was, "is very sad today.... :(" followed by "and it just keeps getting better..." the next day--she has a wonderful capacity for irony and that's how I read this second update.
.
We've been out of town and I haven't heard from LawyerFriend on what actually went down.
.
Whatever is going to happen, those babies need stability to know they are in their forever homes--either Grandma's or ours. This is getting more and more awful as each month grinds on. As more time passes, Peggy has more time to "demonstrate" that she's making improvements in her life; unfortunately, she's making the same "improvements" she said she was going to make at the time we lost AJ. I half have it in mind to just call the prosecutor's office and tell them just where I stand, but I don't know if that would be helpful for the babies or for us. I'll have to ask LawyerFriend his opinion on that idea...



Felony Pretrial Postponement

2009-04-08T19:31:01.536-05:00

Yup. Another week. Next Wednesday now.
.
LawyerFriend said Peggy was represented by a law student (?) who immediately asked for an adjournment until next week.
.
Sheesh.



Felony Pretrial

2009-04-08T08:50:46.917-05:00

Peggy's pretrial hearing is scheduled for this afternoon at 1:30.
.
I'm asking--begging--for any and all prayers/karma/blessing/good thoughts go to the prosecutor's office that they have sufficient evidence to mount a solid case against her, that they conduct themselves with integrity, and that they follow both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution.



Happy Birthday, AJ

2009-04-06T19:14:33.014-05:00

You're four today! How can that be? How can you be four already? We never stopped celebrating your birth, the fact that you ARE.
.
I was remembering watching you be born, the slow-pokey doctors not coming even though we'd told them a number of times that you were on your way. How my bff, a nurse-midwife, had pulled on her gloves and was getting ready to catch you because you were coming whether or not the doctors were. I remember feeling small and vulnerable witnessing the miracle of your birth. I remember all that beautiful black hair and your incredible set of lungs as you took your first breath and let out your first yell.
.
I remember the honor of having a sleep-over with you at the hospital since Peggy didn't want to stay and I didn't want you to have to be alone. We wore our Family Jammies--these goofy South African/Keedo flannel jammies with wild animals all over them. Mr. Handsome and BabyGirl were wearing theirs at home while we wore ours at the hospital that night. I didn't sleep much because I kept waking to check on you.
.
In the morning, the rest of the family came to collect us and take us home. You didn't have to move into our house to move into our hearts. You were always there and you will always be.
.
Happy Birthday, Little Man. We love you and we miss you.
.
XXX,
Mommy



Postponement

2009-04-01T08:35:24.575-05:00

Since AJ's father is not the man Peggy always said he was, Peggy has been compelled by the juvenile court to provide a list of potential names of the father. She was scheduled to return to juvenile court last Friday (3/27) to divulge those names.
.
Unfortunately, the judge was out that day and it has been postponed until May.
.
Next Wednesday, 4/8, she's scheduled to return to civil court for a pretrial hearing on the felony child abuse charges. My LawyerFriend has volunteered to attend for us.
.
LawyerFriend, using his keen sense of snorting things out, also discovered that Peggy was in court on ANOTHER issue on 3/15, responding to a charge of driving with a suspended license. Turns out that event was in January 2008 and were finally coming to trial. $150 fine and she's back on the street. Well, she apparently never got off the street despite having a suspended license. What irks me is that she was driving illegally when she had custody of the kids.
.
And, lastly, I learned that while AJ will turn four on 4/6, the little brother will turn one on 4/11. Her felony pretrial trial is snuggled right between their birthdays.



Go figure

2009-03-19T11:40:27.592-05:00

Grandma just friended me on Facebook. I never would have seen that one coming. I'm not sure what to think.
.
***UPDATE***
After accepting it, I got to thinking. I sent an email yesterday, not via FB, asking if she intended to do that and to please let me know since the Grandma I friended didn't have a photo or any other details beyond the most basics.
.
When I hadn't heard anything by this morning, I sent another email saying that there was another Grandma out there with a photo and wall posts and evidence of activity that led me to know this other person was really her. I de-friended (un-friended?) the photo-less Grandma. If it turns out the photo-less Grandma is her also, we can look at re-friending.



Pretrial hearing date

2009-03-16T10:50:01.058-05:00

Peggy has a pretrial hearing on Wednesday, April 8, at 1:30.
.
According to my trusty google search, a pretrial hearing is "a meeting with the judge that happens before trial, if the parties have not come to an agreement by that point. Usually, the judge tries to get a sense of how the trial will come out and nudge the parties to compromise along those lines." Another site says, "Your lawyer and the DA are trying to see if this case should go to trial or plea bargain out."
.
While I hope my lawyer/friend/spy finds a job of his own as quickly as possible, I sure hope he's free that day. It would be interesting to be there, just staring her down and giving her the evil eye.
.
AJ turns 4 on April 6th, three days after BabyGirl turns 8, and three days before his own mother faces the judge for beating the living daylights out of him. BabyGirl's birthday will always be intertwined with AJ's, since we just scored a perfect parking space at Zingerman's for a post-preschool celebratory 4th birthday lunch with Grandma and Grandpa when Peggy called to say she was at the hospital in labor.



Catch up

2009-03-13T10:13:10.303-05:00

Wow, did we have a great week in San Diego! We got to spend lovely time with our Dearhearts, got to meet their newest daughter, provide distraction when Mrs. Dearheart had to return to work, visited the ocean one afternoon, and squeezed in a trip to Disneyland, too. It was a very nice distraction..Until I got the email from the grandma expressing her "very upset" feelings at me. In the past, I'd asked her to share her social workers' names with me. She said she wasn't comfortable with that at that point. Ok, I'm good with that. I also told her that we feared, should he/they need an out-of-family placement, they could end up in the System and then we'd lose them, so I was going to find out what we needed to do to not let that happen. So, we got the foster care paperwork rolling..The hitch was how to reply and be conciliatory while still standing firm in the decisions we've made. .Oh Grandma, I'm so sorry for such a big misunderstanding. No, we are not trying to "swoop and snatch" and I did contact CPS, but certainly not to "inquire" about the case. I have respected your wish for privacy. I hope I also made it clear to you, though, that we were going to do what we had to do to let CPS know that we were interested in adopting him/them IF Peggy's rights were terminated and IF you opted not to parent. I think I've explained our fear that he/they could be thrown into the System and we'd never have the opportunity to bring him/them home, if that was what was needed.I called the general CPS number and was passed to FosterCareWorker; whether or not she is working with you, I don't know nor did she indicate either way. I gave a general explanation of the situation--asking no questions about the case, only whatwe should do if an out-of-family placement became necessary. I did not useyour names and, as far as I knew, she didn't know of the case. She said that to present anyone's name to the court, they need to be licensed foster parents because IF parental rights are terminated and IF "the grandma" chooses not parent, he/they will be placed immediately with other foster parents from the pool and it would be very, very difficult--if not impossible--to move him/them here at a later point. I don't know why she would have said that I was inquiring about the situation because that is absolutely not the case.I am doing my best to respect your privacy as much as possible. I'm not going to the public hearings. I'm not questioning friends who work in the court system. I'm not emailing you everyday. I do understand that this is difficult for your family, but please understand that this is difficult for my family, too. We have never stopped loving AJ, we have never stopped considering him the missing part of our family--as BabyGirl said, "since he left, there's been a hole in our hearts." When you told me that Peggy had been beating him to the point of potential brain damage, neural hematomas, and multiple broken bones, it was nearly as painful as when the judge initially found Peggy to not be an "imminent threat" and ordered him returned. No, my family may not be facing potential jail time, but we have our own kind of hell over all this, too.I am on your side on this, whether or not it feels like it right now. I absolutely defer to you when it comes to this situation, something I've tried to make clear to our CPS contact. But I was also not going to miss the opportunity to potentially bring our little boy home simply because I didn't make a phone call to ask for some general information. Again, I am sorry [...]



Foster Parent paperwork

2009-02-18T10:52:31.943-05:00

The meeting last night wasn't too bad, mostly a list of how to be nice to foster kids. And the start of the paperwork.
.
Paperwork Part 1 won't be too bad, easily knocked out by the weekend. Mr. Handsome is getting his fingerprints taken tonight, I get mine on Friday. Once those, and some other paperwork are turned in, THEN we get the Big Packet of Paperwork to complete.
.
No worries about our San Diego trip getting in the way!



Morning in court

2009-02-17T11:36:45.372-05:00

Here's what we know:
.
Not knowing AJ's paternity is an issue (no surprise). The court will compel Peggy to reveal his identity or provide a list of possibilities at another juvenile court pretrial on March 27.
.
Child Protective Services has opted to let the criminal charges play themselves out before they go forward with terminating her parental rights.
.
Peggy has to deal with two courts: juvenile court at which CPS presents their evidence, makes recommendations as to the children's "best interest," and can request termination of parental rights; and criminal court at which she has to respond to the felony child abuse allegations and can end up in jail.
.
She has her criminal pretrial hearing on Feb 24. She is facing two counts of felony child abuse: 1st degree (...if the person knowingly or intentionally causes serious physical or serious mental harm to a child,...punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years), and 2nd degree (...omission or reckless act causing serious physical harm, knowingly or unintentionally commit an act likely to cause serious harm regardless of whether harm results, or knowingly or intentionally commit an act that is cruel regardless of whether harm results; punishable by no less than 4 years). Our attorney friend has graciously offered to observe that trial also.
.
Peggy didn't show at the trial this morning because she was "in custody" at the criminal court.
.
The guardian ad litem (GAL) said AJ's doing well, is gaining weight, is wearing a foot brace, and that he recommends a psychological evaluation for Peggy.



Tomorrow

2009-02-16T19:20:10.773-05:00

Well. There's a court date tomorrow at 9:30. I don't think it's the criminal abuse case, I think it's the juvenile abuse case--two separate issues. I believe tomorrow the court will begin the process of terminating Peggy's parental rights to one or all three of the children. A friend will be attending and taking notes for us. Despite how much I'd like to be there just to totally piss her off, it's just not the right thing to do. So I'll have my cell phone at the ready, waiting for the moment he calls.
.
Don't know if she actually did turn herself in on Friday on the criminal charge, but I do know that she was out and updating her Facebook page by Friday night.
.
My tummy's in knots.
.
We have BabyGirl coverage for tomorrow from after school to after-karate-and-into-bed. We will begin the next mountain of paperwork and red tape. Thing is, after so many adoption placements, I'm not really too torqued up about yet another homestudy. That's good, I guess.



the Latest

2009-02-14T12:17:25.416-05:00

I learned from CourtWoman last week that on Friday at 10am, Peggy was to have turned herself in to the police on a criminal child abuse warrant. I don't know if she did or didn't but I'm watching the local newspaper closely to see if they say anything about it.
.
A friend will be attending Peggy's preliminary trial on Tuesday to take notes and report back.
.
I also learned that the man she identified as AJ's father, has been proven by DNA to not be the father. This is the man who told her she "owed" him another baby because she "gave away this one." This is the man who denied paternity all along. This is the man who had an infant daughter with another woman the same time AJ was born. Well, at least that's one piece of the puzzle that we won't have to deal with.
.
We begin our foster care licensing procedures on Tuesday night. We're both really mixed-up as to what we want to have the end result to be. Is the older daughter--the one who is abusive to AJ after watching it happen for so long and the one, frankly, I never liked from Day One--a deal-breaker if the kids are kept as a package? What about the father of the little one? He says he wants him, but does he or is he posturing? What if Chrysler goes bankrupt on Tuesday when they have to talk to the government again, and what if Mr. Handsome loses our only source of income? What then? What if AJ is damaged beyond repair? Are we really willing to take on that challenge? Are we really willing to take on both boys? A damaged 3.75-year-old and an infant? At our ages? What are we, nuts?
.
What we do know is that we won't be allowed to make any choices or get any more information unless we've jumped through the foster care hoops. So we fill out the paperwork, get fingerprinted, and submit all kinds of legal documents, and we jump.