Home Sweet AnnaBelle











{March 4, 2011}   My Insensitivity and Apology

Over a year ago, I gave an unsolicited gift. It was a gift that was not terribly outputting to me, nor was it expensive. However, I failed to put myself in the shoes of another to recognize how that gift might impact them in their current state.

I believe that this damaged our relationship permanently, and for that I am sorry. I have previously apologized, but perhaps I did not take adequate responsibility. Then, this person addressed this issue on her blog a while ago, and when I read it, I felt ashamed. Again. And a little afraid to make contact.

I want to say, if you are reading, and know that I am addressing you, I’m sorry, again. I value you as a person, and as a teacher to me, and never intended any harm. It was thoughtless, and I hope I can be more sensitive in the future, if you give me the opportunity.

So, if you are reading, I am so very sorry that might have harmed our relationship, and it was never my intent.

Be well.



{February 28, 2011}   $hit My Family Says:

“Hm. You look kinda thin. And not in a good way.”

“Can you call these bill collectors and tell them I’m in a women’s shelter?”

“Mom and Dad weren’t alcoholics. They were just bar flies who drank at home when they got older.”

“You and your Dad will always have music. He loved the others, too, even though they were tone deaf.”

“You look like your great grandmother. My God, she was a bitch.”

“You sing like your grandmother. My God, she was a bitch.”

“Well I don’t know what happened…? You all have the same dad, fer Chrissakes, you just got the only tall gene!”

“You know what would look really nice on you? Make up.” [Said by my sweet, well-intentioned sister, who really didn't understand why I looked incredulous at her "suggestion". It's like someone "casually" suggesting gum, deodorant or soap.]

“I totally forgot you had freckles. Mom wouldn’t let us mention them anymore after ****** said they were ugly and you cried. Loser.” [For the record, I was 7.]

“Can I borrow some money? My heat was cut off.”

“Can I borrow some money? My phone was cut off.”

“Can I borrow some money? My mortgage is behind.”

“Can I borrow some money? I can’t pay for my son’s braces/school clothes/school supplies/haircut/tuition?”

“Can I borrow some money? I just got outta jail.”

“Well, I don’t know why they always asked you for money either, fer Chrissakes. It’s not like you have any. You’re just the most gullible, I guess.” [Thanks, Mom.]

“Glad to hear your wisdom teeth came out fine. Hey, did they give you any percocet?”

“I can’t drink coffee without Bailey’s….What?….No….Bailey’s isn’t REALLY alcohol. More like a sweetener that warms me up.”

“I just hope when I kick off, you kids won’t totally disown your sister.” [No promises, Ma.]

“It’s OK. Tall girls can carry off big feet.”

“Yeah, you should probably stuff your bra to wear that shirt.”

“It’s OK. Your Dad’s expectations weren’t unreasonable. After ******, he just prayed the rest of you would hold a job and not steal.” [Hey! For once, I'm ahead of the game! I feel your pride shinin' down on me, Daddy-O!]

“Whatever, at least I don’t keep garbage on my counter.” [My sister, referring to my kitchen composter.]

“If you don’t have a microwave, how do you cook vegetables?”

“I AM eating healthy. Peanut M&M’s have protein.”

Coming Soon: My Mother’s Mother-isms. Stay tuned, Kids.



{February 27, 2011}   The Depths of my Rage…

So, I’ve disappeared a bit. There are reasons for this, and while I can’t get into particulars here, I want to discuss a few things that I’ve had the dubious honour of learning over the last 3 months.

First, the foster care system where I live SUCKS. Just…SUCKS.

Aboriginal children are treated like possessions, paycheques, and houseplants, at best.

No mind is paid to attachment. NONE.

Respite caregivers are helpless, even if they’ve known a child their entire life, and been a steady caregiver throughout.

Our system is more concerned about saving money than saving children’s lives, or saving families. You’d think they’d be able to strike a happy medium, right? Yeah, well, hope springs fucking eternal.

Foster parents are nothing more than vendors and have no power to advocate for the best interest of children. Zero. The courts and any other powers that be quite simply don’t GIVE A SHIT.

Even in the face of a reasonable solution that will provide minimal disruption for the child, Children’s Services will opt for the option that makes the least sense, and will turn a kid’s world upside down. EVERY. FUCKING. TIME.

Foster parents are naive, but it’s often not their fault. We ask questions, but those questions go unanswered in an effort to cut foster parents off at the knees and keep them quiet. I wouldn’t ordinarily say something so brazen, but what I have witnessed recently shocked even me, and I am not easy to shock when it comes to anything pertaining to foster care. Really.

So…I just want to say, if ever there is a foster parent reading this post:

PLEASE advocate. Don’t rely on your worker to tell you the whole truth. You MUST, MUST, MUST continue to ask questions, attend any court dates you are permitted to attend, and fight TOOTH AND NAIL if you believe a child to be in peril. You MUST, because it is your moral obligation as a foster parent, and a human being. Please do not simply “accept” what you are told by the system. Get lawyers, escalate complaints, write letters and be tireless.

Children die. Child abuse is not going away, but common sense IS. It’s NOT OK to send a child back to abuse without a fight of some kind. It’s not.

Children’s Services needs to remember who they work for. CHILDREN.



{February 15, 2011}   I know. I KNOW.

It’s been months.

I couldn’t begin to explain what’s been going on in my life, so I’m not going to try. Sigh. But…Things are on the upswing, I think. I hope.

If I have failed to return any emails, etc., I profusely apologize, and hope that you will not take it personally. I have 1500 emails right now in my inbox. Not. Kidding. UUUUUUUGGGGGHHHH. But, I will be spending the next couple of weeks going through them and catching up.

On the upside, I got a new computer! Yay! My old one bit it…BIG TIME. It’s a Mac this time around. Thank you Air Miles! :-)

Peace.



{November 30, 2010}   She’s BACK!

I haven’t said anything on my blog about this, and still won’t say much…

But a friend of mine who was away for a little while is back, and I’m so happy. Hopefully her time away was recuperative and constructive, and she can continue to inspire, as she always has.

I’m ecstatic for her return, as are many others.

So happy to have you back, Girl. You were missed. <3



{November 18, 2010}   These Are The Days…

…or rather, the nights, I will one day wish I had back.

Tonight, LB awoke from his slumber at about 1am with a loud wail. He never wakes up anymore. Since he was about 20 months, he’s been a good night sleeper. By morning, I find myself itching to go get him, missing him so much. LG doesn’t give me much of a chance to miss her, I’m afraid. She’s up quite a lot. ;-) Though, I almost don’t mind, because I know that she will probably one day sleep like LB, and I will miss her the same way, so I am trying to relish it. But, I digress…

Tonight, I bounded to him, sad for him that he was sad, but thrilled that I got to hold him, soothe him and snuggle him.

And play with him.

And tickle him.

And give him a banana and kisses at 1am.

And then watch him drift peacefully back to sleep like a  wee babe, while gently curling a lock of my hair around his finger.

I love him so much, it hurts.



{October 27, 2010}   One HELLUVA Week

I’m usually pretty calm. I mean, I’m a little high strung about some things, I suppose, but I’m UBER calm with my kids. Even on my worst days, I’m proud to say that there is very little they can do to push my buttons, or freak me out.

However, a 105.1 degree fever is definitely enough to make me almost shit my pants. Not at the fault of the kid, obviously, but at 4 am when baby is screaming and her temperature is up to 105 degrees, it definitely borders on new-underwear time. Let me back it up…

So, Friday night was pretty rough…Clearly LG (Little Girl) was having some issues when she went to bed, but nothing huge. She just wanted to be held (happy to oblige) and cuddled a bit. However, she woke up a couple hours later, and was pretty unhappy. Even after being fed, bum changed, rocked, sung to…Nothing. Inconsolable. Usually, she’s pretty easy to settle. She’s good at letting me know what she wants and getting her needs met. I quickly figured out that it was probably her teeth giving her trouble, though I couldn’t feel anything for sure. Gave her some homeopathics, and finally got her settled enough for bed at a very late hour.

Saturday night, all hell broke loose. Up all night, I was, until I finally just pulled her into bed with me. She was fine, as long as some part of her was touching me. As soon as she couldn’t “find” me, in her sleep, she’d whimper and cry. I’d take her hand, or cuddle her, or rub her back, and she was immediately back to sleep. I woke up at about 2am, wondering why my arm was on fire. Only, it wasn’t. My kid’s was. OMG.

I took her temperature, and at that point, it was 103 degrees. Yikes. I checked her mouth. Gums on fire, and a molar about to erupt. Neat.

Still stumbling in delerium, I called our local “Health Link” number to talk to a nurse and find out if I had to take her to the ER for the fever. Fevers are important for fighting infections, but let them get too high, and you risk seizures/brain damage. Both my children have a propensity for those things already because of their medical histories.

However, the nurse on the phone, while helpful, definitely raised some questions in me. First, she did give me some good, current first aid info about fevers…The protocol seems to change so often. I’ve taken Infant/Child First Aid on 4 different occasions (had to for previous jobs), and the recommendations for fevers have NEVER been exactly the same every time. Evidently, you are no longer supposed to give them baths, or do too much to try to cool them down, because if they begin to shiver, the fever will elevate more rapidly. Hm. Interesting. Good to know.

But she did say something, almost chuckling as she said it: “The Canadian Pediatric Society has determined that there is no link between teething and fever.”

Pffft.  “Are you kidding me?”, I blurted out. Whoops. Guess 2am is not my finest hour.

“Uh, yeah,” she said, barely stifling a laugh. “It seems odd to me, too. I raised 4 children, and they always had fevers when they teethed, but hey, who am I?”

I like this lady.

“Yeah,” I said. “I guess thousands of years of mothers are wrong, eh?”

“Guess so!”

After running through a checklist intended to rule out possible serious issues/infections, she also told me that until the fever reached 105.8 degrees (OMG!) that she should be treated at home with Tylenol. No can do, said I. My kid can’t have Tylenol. Ibuprofen then. I conceded that if the fever got bad enough, I would, indeed, administer Ibuprofen, but preferably not before, since drugs sometimes do as much unseen damage, in my opinion, as they do good, if they do any good at all. LG has some tendency for tummy troubles, and I didn’t think it would help to exacerbate the situation unnecessarily.

LG’s fever got up to 104 degrees that night, until finally, at 5am, I checked her temp., and it was down to 100 degrees. At 5:45, it was down to 98 degrees. Thank the flying spaghetti monster. The kids and I slept late that morning, including LB (Little Boy), who’d been kept awake by the commotion, poor gaffer.

Monday night, however, things only got worse. Not only did she have a wicked bad fever that reached its height at 105.1 degrees, but she screamed, and screamed, and screamed in discomfort. She was up every half hour, and was absolutely miserable. This time, I did pull out the Infant Advil, unfortunately (a hard thing for a crunchy mom to do, trust me!), as well as using homeopathic teething remedies and putting some nutmeg on her gums, a remedy my Dad always swore by for tooth pain. At this point, I just wanted her pain to stop. In spite of the Canadian Pediatric Society’s claims, my baby is making it blatantly clear that her teeth are the root of this particular problem, including incessant chewing, drooling and rubbing her cheeks. Plus, during the day, she’s totally OK. Tired from her long nights, but otherwise OK. Active, eating well, drinking, etc. Teething tends to worsen at night. Quite the friggin’ coincidence, wouldn’t you say?

Last night, I staged a preemptive strike, and gave her Advil before putting her to bed. No temperature. Tonight, so far she is OK, but I take nothing for granted. The night is young.

Just as a rundown, on top of LG’s long nights, I am packing for the four of us to go on vacation in another country, trying to clean, hire a cat/house-sitter, and dealing with a particularly fearful situation with regard to my son, which I can’t share here. I can’t do anything but wait it out, but let’s just say, I’m glad to be getting out of the country for a few days.

I’m getting a facial while I’m on vacation, Goddammit.



{October 18, 2010}   They’ll Tire Out Eventually!

Aaaah, the well-meaning words echoed to new mothers everywhere, as their babies colic, teeth, fuss and sob.

I truly wish someone would explain to me the appeal of letting my child “cry it out”. It is a suggestion I get over, and over, and over, by mothers of all different levels of experience. I am working on dissecting it a little…Trying to understand it while not attaching judgement. I am trying to look at it from a strictly pragmatic position.

Let’s break it down by using some rationalizations that I have heard from others:

“You’re no good to them if you’re tired and frustrated!”

Frustration. I get this. To an extent. Many of the advocates of the CIO method have touted it as some kind of child abuse prevention method. I have to admit, this is hard for me to understand. Not because I’ve never been tired, frustrated, or crabby…My daughter’s first few months were rough. She was a sick kiddo, and cried a lot. But because hitting my kid would simply be counterintuitive to me. Ask me again when they’re teenagers. ;-)

“You can’t be with her every second…You need ‘you’ time.”

Okey doke. So, while my child is screaming in the next room, I’m supposed to put up my feet and enjoy some bonbons? If my child is crying, I am stressed. It is physiological for women, I think. Even if it’s a stranger child on a plane, the sound of a baby crying raises my blood pressure and makes me want to jump up and tend to them. Maybe it’s not physiological, and I’m just a creep. I don’t know. But babies crying stimulate a response in me that I have seen in many, many women, with and without children. Point being, I won’t be relaxing anyway. I might as well be with her.

“They need to learn to soothe themselves to sleep.”

When was the last time you found it soothing to essentially scream yourself to sleep? How did you wake up feeling the next morning if and when you have cried yourself to sleep? I know I end up feeling like garbage. Puffy eyes, headache, hoarse voice, fatigue. Sounds restful, doesn’t it?

“They’ll learn to manipulate you if you go to them every time!”

I don’t think babies manipulate. I think they’re very clear. They want their moms. There’s no hidden agenda there. They want love, affection, food, a change, whatever. It’s not manipulative if the kid needs love. Instead of thinking of it as a “scheme”, why not just give them the affection they are seeking? Is that really a bad thing?

“They have to learn to be away from you!”

Really? Why does an infant need to learn to be away from its primary caregiver? They’re infants. Their entire existence is based on the need/relaxation cycle…Having their needs met when they express them. I’m not sure I can buy into the theory that depriving my child of her needs is a way to make her somehow stronger.

Here’s the other thing that I wish others understood. My children (siblings) are adopted. We are adopting them from foster care, and were not expecting to have children so young placed with us. When they were, it definitely took a lot of adjustment, not just for us, but ESPECIALLY for them. Children grieve. I truly believe this, though my friends who are not involved in adoption in any way think I’m a crackpot when I say it. Even babies understand when those with whom they are familiar are just…gone. Because we were expecting older kids, it was a little tough for us to know how to express to non-verbal children that they were safe. That we weren’t going anywhere. And that we knew they were hurting and wished they weren’t.

My son was 16 months old when he came home, and lost everything he knew…His foster family, his home, his pets. Everything. He was afraid. He grieved openly. He didn’t sleep for at least a couple of months. He was confused.  He had suffered 2 MAJOR losses in his life already. His First Mother and his foster parents, to whom he was very attached.

Our daughter, while only 10 weeks at the time, had also suffered two losses in that short period of time. Her First Mother, and then her foster family.

Kids don’t just “forget”. Maybe cognitively, but not physiologically. They remember those losses, and their grief is locked up in there somewhere. It’s my job to respond to their needs so they know that they CAN trust. So they know that they WON’T lose us. I don’t know if it will get through, but I know that NOT responding to their needs won’t get it done. I tend to be verbal (shocker), which is why I do so well with older kids. I can talk to them, and I can often get through. Babies were a huge challenge and learning curve, but I knew that what I couldn’t express verbally, I could express with consistency, nurturing and unconditional love. It’s really the only tool I have, so letting them cry, in my view, would really send them a glaring message, wouldn’t it?

In the end, I think it worked out. I can’t say for sure it was because we didn’t use CIO, but I think it’s probably a good bet that they feel secure that their needs will be met. Both kids are very affectionate, expressive, and have healthy attachments to us. Hopefully, as they get older and work through their grief, they will be able to express it (not necessarily to us, if they don’t want to) because they have not been made to feel unsafe in expressing emotions, even difficult/negative ones.

I am not writing this to judge other Moms. We all have our way of doing things, and while I may disagree with another mother’s methods, I am certainly in no position to be sanctimonious, and I hope that’s not how this post reads. I am just really trying to understand what, if any benefit is to be reaped in allowing an infant or small child to cry his/herself to sleep. Because I am at a loss.



{October 14, 2010}   You Know What’s A Bitch?

Getting passports for kids not yet legally adopted for a trip you don’t particularly want to go on with people you really don’t like that much.

More on that at a later date. Thanks for listening.



{October 14, 2010}   Just Like This

I hope one day, when I’m joyful

I can remember what it feels like to be

Just like this

Aching, recoiling, withdrawing

Missing, hurting

Grimacing at daylight

Praying for sleep

I hope one day, when I’m lonely,

I can remember what it feels like to be

Just Like This

Babes in arms, small dimpled hands tugging at my pantleg

Needing, Wanting, Loving

Chaos everyday, phones and doorbells and noisy toys

Neighbours needing eggs

I hope one day, when I’m wealthy,

I can remember what it feels like to be

Just Like This

Adding water to the dishsoap and turning off lights

Coupon scouting to save

Spurred by the momentum of wanting better for them

Inspired by them

I hope one day, when I’m peaceful,

I can remember what it means to be

Just Like This

Impassioned and angered

Righteous Indignation

Finally speaking my mind after decades of silence

Gagged with white knuckles

I hope one day, when I’m enlightened,

I will remember what it feels like to be

Just Like This

Fumbling, negotiating my self-concept

Trying to define “normal”

Trying to define me without judging others

With Loving Kindness



et cetera
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.