Archive for July, 2011

July 27, 2011

Q&A: Notes

I had a reader ask if I could share more about the notes BM and I now write back and forth.  I had to mull over it for a bit (does that cross the confidentiality line? yes/no?) but decided that our last couple exchanges were innocuous enough to share.  So here’s a very good example about what our notes are like.  I share it in hopes that it may change a mind or two about BMs involved with the foster system – and to show the enormous return that can be gained when you work hard to build that relationship.  I can’t explain how much I treasure these notes.

BM:

We had a good visit today even though it was so hot.  Thank you for the pictures – very handsome.  RB is the biggest helper when she’s getting her hair done, she likes it a lot.  Daisy is getting so big and she’s happy all the time.  Glad the kids are learning to swim ’cause I can’t.  You guys enjoy the weekend and stay cool.

Love, T.

Me:

Sprout has had a great week! He earned 10 stickers at school and got to pick out a prize from the special box.  RB is also having a good week and is starting to learn to use the toilet.  Daisy has been her usual sweet self, but is unfortunately fighting off a fever and working on a new tooth.  Hopefully she won’t be crabby during visit.

Have a great day!

Love, E.

 

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July 22, 2011

Combat the “I wanna”‘s

First, another book recommendation.  I love, love, love How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk

Common sense parenting with tons of great real-life examples.  If you only ever read one of the books I’ve recommended, make it this one.  It’s a great choice for implementing right away with children ages 4+, but also a great read for parents of younger children to set the stage and start formulating your discipline plan and vocabulary.  Trust me when I tell you, it’s a good thing to have a head start on this stuff because it sneaks up fast!

Two of my favorite (and well used!) techniques from this book involve dealing with the “I wanna’s!!”  You know, the oppositional whiney demands of your child that just happen to be the exact opposite of your plan or what’s available.  And if I was a person who thought kids could be anything but sparkling angels, I might even refer to it as: the spoiled brat syndrome.  Or so I hear…because we’ve only got sparkling angels in this house.  All of the time.  Yeah.

Technique #1: The magic wand.

Problem:  Its later than our normal dinner time.  Kids are tired, hungry, cranky and thus, argumentative just for fun.  We’re grabbing a quick dinner at a restaurant.  “Hey bud, do you want grilled cheese or chicken for dinner?”  “I want mac and cheese.”  “Well, that’s not one of the options – grilled cheese or chicken?  You love grilled cheese, how about that?”  “I only want mac and cheese!”

Solution:  Breathe.  Unclench jaw.  Pull out the ‘magic wand’.  “If I had a magic wand I would wave it over this table and make a bowl of mac and cheese magically appear!” “You don’t have a magic wand”  “You’re right, but if I did…no, no wait! I would make the hugest bowl of mac and cheese in the whole world appear right here!! It would be so big it might not even fit on the table!!”  “Or maybe it wouldn’t fit in the restaurant!”  “Yeah!” “Yeah!”  “That was fun to think about! So what do you think? Chicken or grilled cheese?”  “Grilled cheese please” “You got it.”

Technique #2: The note.

Problem:  Its bath time but he’s not in the mood for a bath.  He wants to play toys.  Its getting late, I’m getting tired and I just want to get him in the bath and get to bed already.  “Sprout, its bath time, please put down your toys.”  “I don’t wanna take a bath! I wanna play toys!” “Well, there are toys in the bath so you can do both at once.”  “I want to play with these [not water safe] toys!”

Solution:  Breathe again.  And whatever you do, don’t get caught up in the back and forth.  The minute you start arguing, you have lost.  Go get a pen and paper.  “Can you say that again buddy?  I want to make sure I have it right for the note.”  ::Sprout looks quizzically at the paper:: “I said I wanted to play with Buzz Lightyear and Jessie” ::I write it on the paper:: “Tell me more about what you wanted to do.  Where did you want to play? For how long?”  “I wanted to play rescue Woody in the living room.  For 10 minutes.”  “Alright! I’ve got it all written down right here.  We’ll keep this note in a special place so we remember.  I’m gonna sign it. Do you want to sign it too?” “Okay”  And just like that we are back on the same team, his wishes are heard and recognized, and he hops in the tub.

Because at the end of the day, children understand that they aren’t always going to get their way.  They just want to be heard and respected. 

Seriously, grab the book.  It’s a good one!

July 20, 2011

The End of an Era

As I’ve mentioned before, A and I consider ourselves attachment parents and for us, part of that parenting style included co-sleeping (sleeping in the same room) with our infants.  We co-slept with Rosebud for 12 months at which point it was no longer allowed by foster regulations.  As much as I loved having her near and enjoyed the benefits (especially for my frequent night-waker), it was really kinda nice to have our space back when we transitioned Rosebud to her own room.

And that lasted all of a week until Daisy joined us!

Back to cosleeping it was.  There was no question about it – we wouldn’t be comfortable with the tiny little baby being anywhere but right by our side.  And it was just as successful for Daisy as it was for Rosebud.  The night feedings were a breeze and I loved falling asleep to the tiny grunts and sighs of my sleeping newborn.

But then the months passed and Daisy wasn’t really a newborn any more.  She was big and happy and attached.  And we, as a couple, were starting to feel the effects of a year and a half without any space to call our own.  So we made the tough decision to transition Daisy out of our room.  A decision that we were able to come to much quicker with Daisy than we were with Rosebud since it wasn’t into a room by herself – but into a room with her sister.

We’re still working out the kinks of the transition,  specifically bed time and Daisy’s still frequent night wakings, but overall its been easier than we expected. 

I miss her less than I anticipated I would. 

Maybe its the fact that A and I can once again talk and laugh until all hours of the night? Or that we can actually turn on a light when we head to bed? Or that we are able to(::ahem::) act on an impulse whenever it strikes?  I don’t regret our co-sleeping decisions one bit but it’s also nice to be able to reclaim an adult space in our kid-centric life.

In honor of the change, we treated ourselves to our first ever big girl set of bedroom furniture.  It makes me feel all grown up!

Here’s the before (except picture a crib where the dresser is):

And the after:

Adults do live here!

July 19, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

Rosebud recently moved up to the 2’s room at school and she’s loving being one of the big kids.  They made some sand art yesterday and hung it up on the wall.  She was really excited to show me when I came to pick her up. 

She enthusiastically pointed at her picture and shrieked “Good job Rosebud!!”

We raise ’em humble around here. 

*   *   *

Speaking of Rosebud, we brought her for a weight check yesterday (it’s difficult to keep weight on that ball of constant motion) and also plopped Daisy on the scale for funsies.  20lbs. 

20lbs?! Give her a  few weeks and she just might eclipse Rosebud!

Oh but I must say, every last ounce of chubby cheek and rolly thigh is pure deliciousness.  I could eat up that little baby!

*   *   *

Sprout was asking me when I was going to go on an airplane again for work (I travel 4-5x a year).  I explained that I was doing my best to get as much done from here so I could travel less.  His response?

“That makes me feel special mommy. Thank you.”

 

July 15, 2011

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July 14, 2011

Trials and Tribulations

The two older children came into care 20 months, 1 week and a few days ago.  Coming up quick on 2 years, huh?

And where do we stand?  Essentially the same place we did 20 months, 1 week and a few days ago.

TPR has not been filed.  Goal has not been changed.  Why? I don’t know. 

Frankly, I’m taking a big mental health break from it all.  I can’t live obsessing about the status of the case.  I don’t even want any details aside from: are they staying or are they going?  And no one knows the answer to that – still.  I can’t decide if this mental change is burn out or protecting myself from burn out.  It’s a fine line.

What I do know is that there is a trial involving the baby coming up.  It must be something big because the kids’ attorney called me.  For the first time ever.  (yes, you read that right)  Though I still don’t know what it’s about or what he needs since every time I call back, it’s just voicemail.  Typical.

What I do know is that in my professional life we avoid trials like the plague.  Because you can lose a trial.  

OMG. You can lose a trial.

July 12, 2011

There are moments

when its easy to forget that we aren’t a typical family. 

In between playdates, daycare pick up, sports camp, baths and bed time there is this space that’s so easy to forget that they aren’t mine, especially after all this time.

But then I pop into Ol.d N.avy on my lunch break to grab some killer deals on clearance kids clothes.  And I chat casually with the mom next to me doing the same.  I look just like her and all the other moms in the store.  Then she says it… “Isn’t it great to be able to stock up on clothes for next summer?”.  The innocent comment catches me in the gut. 

No.  I don’t know if its great to be able to do that.  I never buy more than a couple months ahead, not really knowing if I’ll have them more than that. 

I’ve been found out.  An outsider.

I hide my tears in the dressing room and call a friend.

“What’s it like to not worry about losing your kids?  Tell me what its like to buy clothes for next summer?”

Sometimes its easy to forget.  But then there are always these moments.

July 11, 2011

Catch Up

I keep coming on here, fingers hovering idly over the keys, staring at the blank box, then closing it and walking away.  Why is it that when I have the most on my mind, I find it the hardest to blog? 

In an attempt to get back in the saddle, I’m going to bore you with a bullets post.

– Sprout starts swim lessons today.  We tried the mommy and me ones last year and it didn’t go well.  The minute we hit the water he turned instant octopus and would.not.remove his extremities from my waist/leg/arm/neck/hair.  So I guess I should say that he starts swim boot camp today.  Parents aren’t even allowed to stay in the building during class.  I’m hoping it goes well – we spend so much time at the pool during the summer, its critical that he learns to swim. 

– Daisy is sitting up and she rolled over 3 times this weekend! Which is a relief because she nearly earned herself a referral to birth to three.  Apparently she’s just in no hurry to grow up and that’s perfectly fine by me.

– I’m gonna have to change RB’s name.  To Sassy. Or Feisty. Or Miss Divapants.  But then she’s got that smile that is just too much.  I get asked all the time, “Is she always that happy?” and I answer, “Yeah, until she’s not.” 

– I’m on a new health and weight loss quest.  I’m down 6lbs which feels like a nice start.  I’m determined to use my family as motivation rather than an excuse.  More to come on this!

 

July 1, 2011

What did I say?

Well, the question caught me so off guard that I don’t know that I answered it the best way possible, and I have to be particularly careful when I speak of adoption because things can sound quite different when relayed to bio mom through the voice and understanding of a 5 year old.  But I suppose it’s as good of a time as any to start the conversation.

So, I began by explaining that she wasn’t really calling him names because ‘adopted’ isn’t a name or a bad word, it’s just another way that God makes families.  I used our adopted pets as the example: 

“Lilly’s first mom was the mom that made her in her belly.  But she wasn’t able to take care of her anymore so Lilly needed a new family.  Mommy A and I adopted her and even though we weren’t the ones who made her in our belly, we are her mommies now.”

“Where’s Lilly’s mommy dog?”

“I don’t know.  There are lots of different reasons why kids and dogs and cats need new parents, but God makes sure they find families to keep them safe and loved.”

“Like being a foster parent?”

“It does sound pretty similar doesn’t it?”

“Yeah.  Wanna play play dough?”

And that was the extent of that…for now.

::whew::