The Food Thing

You may have heard that foster kids sometimes have food issues. This is true in our home, especially with our youngest, Z. In the early days, he would store food in his mouth, like a chipmunk. He doesn’t do that anymore, but here we are 7 years later, and in many ways still dealing with “The Food Thing.”

Most days I can take it with a grain of salt. Never in these 7 years have the kids gone without food. But I can understand that for them, you just don’t know. So there are mornings that I’ll wake up and find Z wandering in the kitchen. Or when cleaning his room I’ll find candy wrappers and empty chip bags hidden in a drawer or under his pillow. Ok, that’s typical of a lot of kids, you say. But you probably don’t have this:

“Can I have a snack?” Eat. Walk away. Repeat 40 times a day.

What gets annoying is that around here ya gotta be fast, or you’ll miss out on the good stuff. The other night while having s’more’s on the patio with my sister’s family, I went to the table to make my first one.  “Who ate all the chocolate?”

“I didn’t,” said everyone, while Z disappeared into the house. Then we spent the next 5 minutes counting what we ate on our fingers to figure out how much he ate, which was like 17 snack size Hershey bars. I, unfortunately, had none. That’ll teach me to wait around here when there’s yummy goodness out on the table.

But the culmination happened this week, as I realized we will never be the Latte family who looks all cute and put-together. Upon leaving the grocery store, one of them, (I don’t even remember who, it all happened so fast), insisted they were so hungry they just had to have a banana, right then and there, even though we literally live a one minute car ride from the store.

As we exit the store, I open the bag, and like baby vultures, they each grab a banana. Here I am, 3 kids in tow, standing next to a trash can while one after the other unwraps a banana for dear life and shoves it in their mouth. Z’s mouth is so full his cheeks bulge and white banana is protruding partly out of his lips like a Play Doh press.  As I take in a hover view of all of us, I am aware that we look like a starving family who just got some spare change and the first thing we got were these bananas! Around here that is not such an uncommon sight, so I embrace it and stand patiently until they are done and we can get on with our lives.

Maybe one day my children will realize that there will always be enough food here. Not because we are such great people, but because they have a Heavenly Father who promises He will always provide them food. Until they understand that, we will just keep the food coming, wherever we are. And I’ll learn to eat a little quicker.


Saturday’s Darndest Things

It was mostly a regular Saturday, with the bonus of a friend staying from L.A. who has come to mean a lot to us. He was with his adorable 2-year-old daughter while his wife was at a Women’s Conference. In the morning as we woke up, Angel asked him what a women’s conference was, and he told him it was where women get together and pray and learn about God. A responded coyly with, “Ohhh, that is like sooo weird….”
We had a lot of fun talking, playing with the kids, walking the beach, and of course eating together. That evening our friend left and the kids were put to bed shortly after. A while had passed when Z, our resident comedian, topped off the night by asking if he could come out from his bed and show us something. It’s one of his regular stall tactics, but this time instead of displaying his usual lego contraption, he got in front of us and proudly turned his back for us to see. Then he pulled down his underwear and revealed one large orange sticker on each butt cheek, exclaiming, “Look! I have stickers on my butt!!” Now that is sooo weird….

Radio Wars

Z. 6 years old. Sits in the very back of the mini-van. Mom. Forty-something years old, sits in the drivers seat of said van. Hallelujah. Song by Heather Williams comes on the Sirius station. Mom turns it up. It’s one of those songs that moves her to raise hands in praise, even in the car. Z, who because of past abuse has to control any and all situations, orders mom to turn the song down. Mom, just as determined to be in control, tells him she loves the song and if he doesn’t want to hear it he can plug his ears. Wrong? Maybe. But she’s been dealing with his controlling nature 24/7 for four and a half years now and is not about to let him tell her at what level she has to keep the radio. Both dug in their heels. Mom singing Hallelujah with passion. Z screaming continuously that she must turn it down, or off, or listen to him. And since she wasn’t, he was just going to ruin it by trying to scream over it. So, for 3 minutes and 59 seconds, mom exuberantly (o.k. maybe somewhat obnoxiously) sang and praised the Lord, and Z screamed his voice raspy. Pia and Al sat trapped, in the middle, silent and wide-eyed, just hoping the whole thing would end. It did end, finally, and mom turned it down, but she had stood her ground. And then the very next day while in the van again, Z barked out from the back like the ringmaster he thinks he is, “Hey mom! You can turn up this stupid song. Turn up this dumb song. I want you to turn it up!” Somehow…he still thinks he’s in control of that volume knob.

Le-Go My Legos!

I don’t know if it’s because we live a mile from Legoland, or it’s just their age, but my kids are OBSESSED with Legos. Believe me, I am grateful that they have something that can keep them busy for at least 10 minutes straight, but seriously, there has got to be some limits. It started out with a couple tubs at Christmas and now has grown to an amount that is out of control! I know what the problem is; it’s those little Star Wars or emergency vehicle “kits” we keep buying as cheap rewards. What’s the point of these really? First of all, dad is the one who actually has to put it together, and then in less than half an hour, it gets taken apart, only to be mixed in with the millions of other Legos, never to be made sense of again as that police car or jet fighter. But the worst, I mean the absolute worst, is the fact that Legos plague my very existence. I can’t get away from them. They are everywhere. They show up in the washer, the garden, hidden in the shag rug, under the couch cushions. Today I found some in the bottom of our shoe basket, and yes, I’m not gonna lie…once we were interrupted by one in our bed…ahem. So if anyone should hear me screaming from the boys’ room, it’s not because I’m trying to get them to pick up the tornado of those tiny plastics on the floor, it’s because I’m screaming in agony from stepping on another @#%&* Lego!

The Judge

In a follow up to my potty mouth entry…I have to admit I’ve eased up a bit on the seriousness of it. I mean, it’s not as if they are saying actual cuss words and there really has been nothing I can do to stop it. So I’ve been trying a more subtle approach. Like this morning, as the boys ate their cereal and I snuck into the bathroom. Sure as day, I overhear “The WORDS” that I so despise. Followed by hushed giggles as though they had just gotten away with a Vegas heist. What was heard next was my echoing voice from the bathroom, warning them that I can hear them. Upon my exit from the bathroom I immediately launch into a diatribe of “Don’t think just because I’m not in the room that you can do things you know are wrong, it’s not me you need to worry about, God still hears you, and He is the judge, He’s the one you’re going to have to answer to…yada yada yada” The silence lasted a few seconds as I sat down on the couch to enjoy my last sips of coffee when I was answered by A, in his methodical, overly-intelligent tone…”Well if God is the judge, who is Jesus then…the lawyer?”

Potty Mouth

Let’s just get this straight. I am a girl. I am the youngest of 3, and my only brother was 8 years older than me. I do not understand boy humor. The words poopy, toot, fart, diarrhea, buttcrack or penis are not at all funny to me. Nor do I enjoy hearing A and Z repeat these words over and over to each other like they’re doing a performance at the Comedy Store, followed by outbursts of uncontrollable laughter. My husband tells me it’s, “just boy stuff.” Well, that’s fine, if they want to do it, they can do it out of my earshot. Not in the car where I am held captive. Not at the table when I am trying to eat food, and not when they are supposed to be quiet and going to sleep. And it seems the more I try to correct it, the funnier the words become to them. I would like to believe my boys will soon, or maybe eventually grow out of this…but I think I have to face the grim reality that my husband is often the one who gets them going. And then my hopes were really dashed on Easter when they talked to their “papa” on the phone and his first words were shout outs of poopy, and a continuation of other words. All my hard work undone. “Fart!”

Oh Boy! Toyota!

Toyota…you have a problem, in the form of my kids. My kids love to watch the news with their dad, afterall, that’s his job. So we do a lot of news watching around here. They ask questions about what they hear, and we tell them the truth about what’s going on, but in simple terms they can understand. We explained that something went wrong and people got in accidents that caused people to be killed. Well, this struck a nerve of some kind and is now of great concern to them. We have a recurring conversation in the van. It usually starts with this from Z, “Oooh…there’s a Toyota, A! Why they have a Toyota??” And, “There’s another one!” And then A chimes in like Rain Man, “Toyota’s kill people.” He even went up to a guy in the store aisle and announced, “Toyota’s are bad you didn’t know. Some people died.” So think about what this means for Toyota. Talk about a P.R. nightmare! How can they ever recover from this? I mean, we’re talking generations now who will never buy a Toyota. I’ve seen some ads with offers of huge incentives to buy one, and our joke is that they can’t even give them away. Although…if they wanted to give me one, I might take it. But then, how would I explain that to my kids?