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Day of Rest?

Today was anything but restful. We had a nice day playing inside (we went out for a bit but MAN was it humid!), taking a car ride, visiting with the neighbors, and getting a great visit (and some dinner to boot!) from my cousin and his wife. Honestly, I’m too tired to be witty and thought-provoking, so here are my daily thoughts:

  • E is so fun to co-parent with. I love watching her with Monica. She is definitely already influencing the little nugget’s interests … she got her to watch a little bit of baseball today.

watching baseball

 

  • Monica keeps amazing me with her awesome personality and temperament. The few things that she doesn’t do quite on-target developmentally (crawling, pulling up, cruising, holding her own bottle) she keeps pushing towards. She doesn’t even get mad when I put her toys out of reach. She just lunges and rolls toward them like a champ. She’ll be moving around and forcing us to baby proof in no time.

standing tall

  • E and I definitely feel attached. We are fully aware that that is important and good for Monica, and also very aware of how sad we’ll be to see her go. Of course, we’ll be thrilled for Monica that she’ll be back with her family when she leaves us, but we’re preparing ourselves for the emotional pain that we will feel when that happens. She’s such a little ray of sunshine, it’s impossible not to love her!
  • We’re excited to be thinking about our trip to see family for the 4th. We got permission to take Monica out of state for the weekend. What’s really hard is not knowing for sure if she’ll still be with us on Thursday – it makes it difficult to make plans and get the things we need when there’s the chance it won’t happen! Selfishly, I would love for Monica to meet the whole extended clan and really hope she is still with us then. And then after I think that I feel guilty for hoping that she stays in foster care longer. I know that the fam will be disappointed if they don’t get to meet her either! As it stands, the next court date where her placement could change is scheduled for after the holiday weekend, but there’s a chance it could be moved up. Just another lesson in rolling with the punches!

I’m excited for a Monica and K day tomorrow while E goes to work. It’ll be nice to have a weekday at home to follow-up on the business end of things – scheduling a follow-up with the doctor, calling DCF, working out daycare, tying up loose ends with paperwork, working out daycare, getting updates re: the court date, working out daycare … Can you tell I’m anxious to go back to work? It feels like I’ve been a stay-at-home foster parent for a month. Has it really only been 3 1/2 days?

 

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Day 2

I’ve been trying to write a “day 2” post for a half hour without typing even a word … I’m tired! Today went well. Little Monica slept through the night again, and has continued to be such an easy-going, happy, social little dream. She makes it easier to deal with the stress of the system. Our current stress? Daycare. When we took Monica in, we were told they would coordinate emergency daycare (a local organization offers 10 days of emergency care while a more permanent solution is being worked out) to start on Monday. So E and I both took Friday off to get to know the little nugget and adjust to parenthood, and were thrilled we would have the weekend to continue that. On Friday, I was in contact with DCF and the organization, and they told me they were on it, and would be contacting me by the end of the day with details.  Well, I never heard from them, so I called back a little after 5pm, and got through to the on-call supervisor. She had to track down the woman in charge of the program that works with DCF on her cell, and I finally heard back from her today. The news? You guessed it, they weren’t able to set anything up for Monday. This is supposed to be emergency-based! My assumption is that they do this all the time. What went wrong? I’m certain that it made things difficult that next week is a vacation week for a lot of people, and maybe daycare providers. But, unfortunately, that puts us in a bind. We’ll figure out a way to split the day or take turns (who knows if things will be worked out by Tuesday), but it is certainly annoying, and is our first real frustration with “the system” so far. First of many I’m sure.

Let’s move on to some positive things, shall we? I continue to be SO floored, humbled, amazed, and blessed by our friends, family, and community. I feel the need to give internet props to at least some of you. But I know in doing so, I will definitely miss someone. So a BIG thank you to everyone who has reached out with advice, compliments, and support through words, messages, phone calls, visits, and things over the past few days. We wouldn’t be sane without you. From visits to food to gifts/loans of toys, clothes, bottles, high chair, diaper bag, booster seat, portacrib, Baby Bjorn, books … dropped off or even shipped. There’s a CHANCE I’m feeing overwhelmed with all of our blessings. Thank you thank you thank you. Also, look at this beautiful blanket Mel made!

mel blanketIt’s the Very Hungry Caterpillar on one side and numbers on the other! I’m in love with it. So beautiful. One last shout out … thank you to all of you. Seriously, this blog is giving me a chance to sort out this instant parenthood business without going crazy or running away … the community of foster bloggers – you remind me that this is all in a day’s work, and all you readers, lurkers, commenters, family, and friends – you keep me honest and give me a reason to write it all down.

In Monica-related news … she’s such a good baby! She only cries for a reason, loves people, and generally goes along with whatever happens. She went down tonight without crying at all.  I mean, what?! The poor kid has a cold though, and has a love/hate relationship with tissues (it goes like this: she LOVES tearing them to little bits and trying to eat them, she HATES having them used for their intended purpose).  We are still trying to figure out the whole eat/sleep/play/poop schedule, but I think we are starting to get there (and by that I mean we’re starting to just let go of the hope for any type of actual schedule). Monica makes this all worth it.

My honest emotions/thoughts today: What have we gotten ourselves into?, Man, this is fun., Is everything about to fall apart?, We are insane., She is perfect and so worth it.

Sorry no pictures of the nugget today. It’s hard to get pics without her cute face in them!

 

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First Day

OK we’ve officially gone viral (thanks to Facebook) – 232 visitors and ~700 views in 7 different countries today! Insane.

So Monica is napping right now. She slept through the night! And also through the morning! Poor thing was exhausted, and didn’t wake up until almost 9:00 this morning. E got her out of bed and she immediately stopped crying and flashed a big smile. She enjoyed her breakfast of fruit and puffs, and we took a little walk to Starbucks (much needed for E and me – we didn’t sleep as well as she did last night!). We came back and played with our neighbor’s 20 mo. old daughter for a little bit, then came back home for a bottle and nap time. She did cry a good amount when we put her down again, but eventually fell asleep and was out like a light in her weird, folded-in-half style.

On the docket for today: buy a few key items (socks, clothes, PJs, bibs, food), pick up some more key items (high chair, monitor, more clothes, toys), and generally make it through the rest of the day. We are so lucky to have such an amazing community of support. It really does take a village! Our friends and neighbors have jumped at the chance to lend/give us things, which is so wonderful. We don’t want to go out and buy a million things, in case she leaves us in 2 weeks. It makes things so much easier to know we won’t have to feed her meals on our laps like we did this morning! Or that we can give our arms a break with a Baby Bjorn (if she likes it) (yeesh she is heavy!). Seriously, you all are so fantastic.

Basically, so far so good. She is babbling (that’s for you, fellow SLPs) a lot, has great eye contact/is generally social, has a cute little pincer grasp (that one’s for you, OT friends), and was able to get some food into her mouth that way. She did get a little frustrated when things fell, etc – it seems like she might not have too much experience feeding herself (she mostly was opening her mouth and moving it toward things, waiting for us to pick them up and feed the to her). We haven’t seen any independent locomotion yet (PTs …) – but she hasn’t had too much of a chance. She definitely sits up well, sits up from lying down on her own, and can stand up holding our hands (but doesn’t love this). She likes balls, books, throwing things, hitting things, and feeding her food to Sheba (oy). And here’s a cute picture of her playing:

photo-5

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Baby Makes Three

I’ve felt like a bad blogger lately, but there has been nothing to post about! After those first two calls, we went two weeks without hearing a word from DCF.  Just last night I was trying to come up with some witty and thought-provoking topic to post about (I came up empty).  Then this afternoon, we got the call.  And now our house has things like this in it:

Image

I think my writing will not be so eloquent tonight, so bear with me while I report the facts.

My phone rang this afternoon around 1:45, while I was with a student.  Luckily, I have an intern who I was able to leave with the kiddo while I answered.  As I’m sure you can assume, it was our family resource worker, who said “I have a beautiful baby girl here and I thought of you.”

The details (well, the ones I can share online): she’s not quite 11 months old, white with blue eyes (race has always been one of the first details we get), and was removed early this morning from a hotline call.  Since she came into care from a hotline call, this is considered an “emergency placement” (AKA a same-day placement).  I think her blog name will be Monica – because we love Friends and this baby eats as much as Monica must have eaten as an 11 month old.

Children in the care of DCF have to have a health screening within 7 days of coming into care.  Monica’s screening was scheduled for this afternoon, and I was able to leave work to meet her there to do the hand-off.  It was nice to be able to sit in on the appointment (the social worker was going to do it on her own and drop Monica off with us afterward) – I got  to ask the doctor questions, and get some basic developmental info that will help us care for her.  Per the screening, she seems to be healthy.  In terms of the case, she was living with her mom when she was removed.  Dad has been in contact but lives in another state and may or may not be a suitable parent.  If he is, Monica could be placed with him as soon as the next hearing, which is in ~2 weeks.  Given the timing of this placement, there is always the chance that a suitable relative will come forward at any time.  If that happens, DCF will clear their home and do background checks / generally investigate (since there’s an open case, wherever she goes will be checked out), and then Monica could be placed there.  All in all, there is no way to have a good guess about the length of this placement.  It seems the chances are equal that we’ll have her for a couple weeks or for a year or more.  The goal for this cutie is reunification with her family, and we will be thrilled to see her go home to live with family who love her and can care for her.  Who knows when that will be.  For the time being, she’s here, and we are a little family of three!

So Far

I promise not to give a play-by-play of every minute with this baby, but it feels appropriate to say how the first night has gone!

After telling my boss I wouldn’t be in tomorrow/generally freaking out to my coworkers, I got in my car and called my mom. Things I asked my mom:

  • OMG, what do 11 month olds eat?
  • When do they eat? How often?
  • How often should I bathe her? (her response? “K, bathe her when she’s dirty”)
  • Will she sleep through the night?

I met Monica and her (temporary) social worker at the health screening. She’s such a little chunk-a-monk! And is pretty much totally bald. I’m going to need to velcro a little bow to her head or something, even the doctor (who had her chart in front of him) kept referring to her as “he.”  Awkward. Monica came to us with a carseat (phew), very minimal clothing which was all gathered from donations at the Department, and some formula/diapers purchased by the social worker to get her through the next few days.  We waited in the exam room for an hour before she was seen by the doctor, but he was great with her and helpful in general. Poor nugget had to get a blood draw after that. 😦 She cried while it was happening but recovered SO much faster than I thought! She was her smiling self by the time we walked out of the room.

I was officially on my own with her when we left the appointment. After such a long day, she fell asleep as soon as I pulled out of the parking garage. We didn’t get home until around 7:00, and I really wanted to get her into a routine immediately. She and E got to meet, and we introduced her to Sheba the dog.  Sheba will be something we figure out as we go – she got very excited/hyper and wanted nothing more than to lick Monica’s feet, which she was not a huge fan of.  It seems like the little nugget may not have been around dogs before, so we’ll do a gradual introduction over the next few days. When we got home, we started on the night-time routine of bath, books, bed. Monica is used to co-sleeping, and apparently has spent most of her time being held. As such, we were a little worried about how bed time would go. We are not certain that she has ever slept in a crib/room by herself. Still, we were set on starting the routine right away – so into the crib she went. She cried (slash screamed) for about 15 minutes, but I think she was just too exhausted to fight it. As I type, she is peacefully sleeping in the crib, and has been asleep for about 2 hours. Here’s hoping tonight goes well! When I went in to check on her, this is how I found her:

photo 3

What a chunker right?! Anyway, poor thing must have fallen asleep sitting up. Don’t worry, I adjusted her positioning appropriately, but not before taking a picture!

So that’s what’s happening. And here’s where I ask for advice! What do we do with an 11 month old? Any suggestions for activities/toys/foods/etc? Help these first time foster parents out!