Friday, November 27, 2015

I'm That Mom

I have always been a babysitter, daycare worker, aunt, therapist, mom, who feels strongly about fostering independence in children.  I love snuggling a baby, but also feel that it is important for him to learn to soothe himself when needed and be able to play independently on the floor or exersaucer while I am cooking.  I love playing games and doing crafts and having fun with kids, but also feel it is important for them to learn to play independently - spend time having tea parties with their dolls or creatively building with Legos, or looking at a book and making up a story.  I absolutely believe children need love and attention but also that they should not have to be held or entertained 24/7.

And now (at least at the current moment) with Elmer, I am the mom I never planned on being.  I hold him as much as I can (and often wear him in the carrier when I can't).  I often give him the pacifier to help him calm down (I have never liked pacifiers much and think they are VERY over-used).  I often jump up very soon after he starts crying to try to help soothe him.

Because that is what he needs.  He is not able to regulate his emotions.  He is not able to self-soothe.  He is often jittery.  I am trying to provide him with the comfort and security that he needs, and to provide him with the tools that he needs to self-soothe - and calm him myself until he learns to do so.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


On Tuesday morning last week (November 10th), I got a call about a six-week old boy that was going to be discharged from the hospital on Thursday.  He had been there since birth, so my question before accepting the placement was if he was medically okay to go to daycare the next week.  The placement worker said she would check on that and would get back to me.  End of the day Tuesday, I still had not heard anything back.  (Tuesday evening I went to a dance fitness class with an instructor that I know well.  I know all the routines, but I kept flubbing.  The instructor said, "I don't know what has gotten into you today!"  I thought, "I know exactly what has gotten into me - my brain is elsewhere!!") 

Wednesday came and went and still nothing; so I finally called the placement worker at the end of the day.  She still had not heard anything back from the caseworker about if daycare would be ok.  Thursday at lunchtime I got an email saying that yes, he could go to daycare; and that she would pass along my information for placement.  About ten minutes after checking my email, I got a phone call from the placement worker.  She said the caseworker had some unexpected things come up for that day and asking if I could go pick up the baby directly from the hospital. 

So after work on Thursday, I went to the hospital to pick up Elmer.  (He is another bald-headed light-skinned boy, and I figured one of these bald babies needed to be named after Elmer Fudd!)  It was at one of the sister hospitals to the one where I work, so the nurses were so excited that he was going to someone "in the family."  It was obvious he had been loved on - they had bought him clothes and a stuffed animal and had written him a super sweet note.  They brought me in to give me discharge instructions, and then put him in the car seat to make sure he was okay in it, and then signed me out, and we were on our way.  He cried in the car and then finally fell asleep and ended up staying asleep for two hours after we got home.  At some point during that time, I realized I hadn't touched him yet!  Things were so chaotic at pick-up and then he fell asleep so I just left him alone.  I swaddled him for bedtime and he slept really well - he woke up to eat every three hours, but always went right back to sleep.  (The last couple of nights, he has been sleeping one five-hour stretch each night.) 

He is settling in very well, and things are going better than I was expecting. 

And I have already fallen in love.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Then It Happened to Me

I have read many blog posts about people's opinions about this comment from others about why foster parenting is not for them: "I would get too attached."  The essence of those posts is always that the writer feels the implication is that THEY don't get attached. 

I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, so when I read those posts, I would always think, "I know that other person's intention was NOT to imply that the foster parent is heartless and cold and can just let the kids go easily when it is time for them to move out of the foster home... and the writer really shouldn't take it so personally that that's what the comment means."

And then it happened to me. 

An acquaintance had met Tigger a couple of times.  The next time I saw her without the baby, she said, "I just couldn't do it.  I am one of those people who gets really attached."  And then I took it as an implication that I DON'T get attached.  My response: "Well, I get attached, too." 

Now I understand.  Now I know that even if the conscious brain may know that the comment doesn't imply that the foster parent doesn't have a heart, the Mama Bear heart still takes it that way.