We’ve been foster parents for a whole five and a half days, and boy have our lives changed! We thought we were busy before we had a nearly four month old baby and an energizer bunny disguised as a two year old boy, but that was nothing. Luckily, we’re both taking several weeks off from our busy work schedules to figure out our new normal and bond with the kids – and we’re loving every minute of it. Although, we admit we wish a few more of those minutes were spent sleeping!
We’ve barely had any time to take our feet of the gas pedal since we picked the kids up on Saturday. And that Saturday trip was a whirlwind. We spent only about ten or 15 minutes at their previous foster home, just enough time to exchange email addresses with their previous foster mom and load up the car with a couple bags full of their possessions. We snapped a photo of Sport and Sunshine with their previous foster parents, so they can have a nice photo to hold onto for down the road, then the foster mother, who was still confined to the couch after her knee surgery, started to cry and soon after the foster father’s tears came, followed by Meg’s tears. Then it was into the car and off we went. It was such a sad moment for the previous foster family, but at the same time it was also an exciting and happy one for our new family. Of course, the kids were pretty much immune to all of the emotions, since they really didn’t understand what was going on.
One of our first acts of parenting after we got Sport and Sunshine to their new home was putting them down for a nap: we failed miserably. We hoped this wasn’t a sign of things to come. Although, in reality we knew Sports unwillingness to go down for a nap was likely due to all of the day’s excitement. He had had his life moved to a new city and when he arrived he saw he had new toys, a new room, and two new dogs. It was a lot to put aside for a nap.
Sunshine, however, had no such qualms with taking a nap. She napped in our arms, in her new swing and in her new crib.
Thankfully our first bedtime was relatively painless. Sport loves the bath. He loves everything about getting clean; he loves washing his face, washing his hands, brushing his teeth, bathing, and he even licks tissues and scrubs his face. So, it was pretty easy for us to get him in the tub and changed into PJs, he wasn’t as keen on the idea of getting into bed and falling asleep but after a few stories we were successfully able to coax him into bed and he was out like a light only a few minutes later.
Then with Sunshine all we did was give her a bottle and she was fully entranced in a formula driven deep sleep. However, she is supposed to eat roughly every four hours so after we easily got her down to sleep we just as easily found her awake in the middle of the might for her next bottle. It wasn’t as easy on us. We never fully appreciated those eight hour nights of sleep we used to have.
Morning comes very soon with Sport and Sunshine. They both wake around 6:00 to 7:00 AM – so far it has generally been closer to 6:00 AM. The first morning we both woke at 6:00 AM to Sunshine quietly stirring for her early morning bottle and we were soon followed into her room by her big brother Sport. We’re not entirely sure if he was reacting to her crying or was just looking for his own attention, but it was cute either way.
We can’t help but fawn over how cuddly and loving they both are, but when we think about it, it’s also a little sad and troubling to know that this may simply be how they’ve evolved to cope with the changes of their primary care takers – of course this may also just be their natural demeanor, foster care or not. Every man they encounter is Daddy and every woman is Mommy. But still, what pre-adoptive mom doesn’t melt when the little boy in their care calls out “Mommy!”?
Our busy schedules are starting to feel a little more normal; waking up early, planning meals, preparing bottles, playing with blocks and balls and reading stories. We also like to think we’ve officially been baptized into the motherhood club because we’ve both experienced the storied “diaper explosion,” which brings up another change in our lives – a continuous flow of dirty laundry.
While it has only been a few days we’re thrilled with the bonds we’re starting to develop. Sport seems to find some comfort in knowing we’re there as he turns to us for comfort when he’s upset and smiles in delight when we praise him. Sunshine giggles and smiles in our arms and seems to be thriving. We now have two and a half weeks in our leave from work and we have a lot of exciting activities in store for these two kiddos.
So far we’ve gone to two local parks and a local farm and we have plans to visit our city’s public library for story time and sign up for toddler swim lessons at the YMCA. We know this is a special time and we intend on cherishing it the best we can – even if we are never able to move beyond the title of foster mom.