March 13, 2010

How do you do it?????

I think that's the number one question we get. Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm no super Mom. I yell, and have my moments just like everyone else.

But .....

there are quite a few tricks that I've learned over the years of parenting, and foster parenting. I think the foster parenting has taught me the most.

Bed wetting: This happens quite often with the foster kids. Most kids under the age of 10 will wet the bed their first night here, so that's just a given. They have a hard time getting to sleep, and then when they do they sleep so hard they wet the bed. That is their one and only free pass. After that, it is explained to them why kids wet the bed and what to do when it happens. They learn that if they quit drinking after dinner time, and take a potty break before bed, they will more than likely never wet the bed again. Getting up in the middle of the night and drinking out of the bathroom faucet will almost guarantee a wet bed.
And if they wet the bed they are required to strip the sheets and put them in the washing machine. I'll add soap and start it. When it's done they put them into the dryer and I start it. When it's done they bring the sheets down and make their own bed. I help them that first time, and show them how it should look. After that they are flying solo. And it needs to be a good job so that they don't fall off.
You don't get in trouble for wetting the bed. However, if you come upstairs in the morning and sit all over my furniture with pissy clothes on - you will be getting a butt chewing right in front of everyone. So, it's best to be honest and upfront and take care of business right away. Thankfully I have leather and can Clorox wipe it down, but that is just beyond gross.
You would not BELIEVE the places I've found peed clothing in my house. Closets, under beds, even in my drawers in the bathroom vanity!!!!! That there gets you one big butt chewing! Especially since the foster kids' part of the house is in the addition and everything is new.

Speaking of pee: Boys and bathrooms, need I say more! The rule in my house is that if you can't aim then you better sit down because I don't clean up other people's pee. I've even had kids pee on top of the lid during the night! I have 5 bathrooms, 3 of which the kids can use. One is right outside the foster kids' bedrooms. If I go down there and there is pee everywhere, they are handed some Clorox wipes and I watch them clean it. It's hilarious watching the faces they make as they do it! Then I say "now imagine if it was someone else's pee". Then they look like they're going to vomit! I tell them, "I don't make you clean up my pee and I'm not going to clean up yours, so I suggest from now on you keep it in the toilet". It's amazing how that works :o) And don't get me wrong, I make my own kids do the same thing, but they're trained to sit so I don't run into that much. Ooh, and closing the lid, flushing, and washing are ALWAYS required!

Laundry: If it's not in the basket, it's not washed, and I do not check pockets. When it comes out of the dryer I will fold it, and they can put it away, as long as it's not inside out. I make piles of inside out stuff and they have to turn it right side out, fold it and put it away themselves. They quickly learn to make sure it's all right side out :o)
My kids also have a lot of clothes so that if I can't get to it each weekend, it doesn't matter.

Meals: You wash your hands, sit down, eat, and be quiet. You need to make sure you've used the bathroom BEFORE sitting down if you need to. Once you leave the table, you are done. You are required to use your manners. When your food is gone, you get fruit. When the fruit is gone, you get dessert. You are free to get down and be done at any time, but don't toss half your meal and ask me for a cookie because I'll just look at you and make some sarcastic repeat of your pleading case of the full belly that you just handed me!
And I always get those manipulative ones that like to tell me they don't like this or that, thinking that they can have something else. NOPE! And many have learned the hard way that if you tell me you don't like something, you won't get it again. If your "belly doesn't like popcorn" because you think you'll get something better, you'll never get popcorn again. If you can't eat sausage at breakfast, don't ask me for sausage pizza! NOPE! I remember these things :o)
They also know that we eat 4 times per day. 3 meals and a snack, that's it. We don't munch, haul food around the house, or eat whenever they want, and they don't help themselves to anything. If you don't eat your meal, then you better be ready to be hungry until the next one.
Many kids are just in awe of the food we make. We eat all natural, so a lot of it is homemade. Something most of them have never had. They've never had pizza that didn't come out of a box, or even pancakes that weren't either frozen or out of a box/bottle.

Behavior: Manners are required in my house. We use manners with the kids and show them respect, and they need to do the same. Most of the foster kids have never had to use manners. I always laugh when I remember one of our regular kids "helping" one of our newer kids get a cookie. The new kid had gotten done eating his food and fruit. He came up to the counter and said "can I have a cookie now?" Right away, the other kid says "DUDE, you better add a please to that or she ain't gonna give you one. You don't get nothin around here without using your manners".
I make good use of the time out stool. I don't care how old you are, your butt will sit there or you can go to bed. I've also found the bigger behavioral issues with the older kids, so they are reminded when they are acting like a 2 year old. If they are going to act like a little kid then I'll call them on it. Privileges are earned here by your behavior, not your age. And your bedtime is ALWAYS on the line. NOBODY wants to go to bed early. How HORRIBLE to have to go to bed early when everyone else is up!!!! Especially since Saturday is movie night :o) Ooh, and the new kids always get to pick the movie, so it's special for them.

Well, that's some of it. All and all, we manage to keep some kind of order around here. Most people think we have the weekend off when they come and visit because it's so quiet. I just had my foster baby's Grandparents here today to visit her. They were in my living room playing with her and kept noticing kids walking by. She finally asked me "may I ask how many kids you have here." I told her "8 including the baby". Her eyes got big and she said, "ooh my gosh, it's so quiet though". I told her, "well, there's plenty of room, and they have things to do, plus they know that if they want to act like they are outside they will be sent outside to burn off their energy."

What I find amazing is that the same kids who follow all of these rules for me, act like animals at home. It's all in the expectations!!!!!

Ooh, and follow-through! If you say it, mean it, and do it!

March 10, 2010

I could write a book

but it would be too depressing.

A book about all the hell my foster/respite kids go through. Not only do most of them have mental/emotional deficits because of their Mother's alcohol/drug abuse during pregnancy. They have so many things that they have to endure, for so many years, it's a wonder they're alive. The older child is always the caretaker. The one trying to keep the family together, making sure the littles get some food, trying to keep the parents happy, and losing their own childhood. Then there are the littles, who are so powerless, unable to even care for themselves, but trying to survive in garbage heaps with no food, clean clothes, etc.
The kids are removed, for only several weeks, and in that time we think people can change. People rarely change. As much as they think they love their kids, they love their habits even more. They squeak along, working on this or that, just to stay out of the radar. The kids are stressed because they know their parents are failing, so they'll run around like maniacs cleaning the house whenever someone enters it. They'll stand in shock, wondering if today is the day. But they know there's a better life out there!
They're torn!
They live for the days that they can come and stay here for the weekend. Some try to be "good" so they "get" to come, and others will be "bad" so they will "get sent" here. (I put it in quotes because these are the things they believe, not the truth) But they still love their parents. And why can't their parents be "normal" like their foster parents????? Why can't they live like we live????? Why can't they have a clean house, food to eat, and someone to pay attention to them. Someone who gives them hugs, asks them what they want to eat, and bakes cookies. Why do they have to wonder when they'll get to eat again. Why do they have to get themselves up and ready for Kindergarten in the morning? Going hungry because there wasn't much supper last night and there's no breakfast.
I remember going to Sam's Club and coming home to find kids in awe of how "rich" we were! HOW do you buy so much food???? "You're RICH with FOOD". They want to know what I use THIS for, and when are we going to eat THAT! Can we have some NOW? They get so overwhelmed that I learn to bring the food in when they're in bed or the other room.
At first they can't eat so much of it. Their stomachs are so small that they can't eat enough to keep themselves full for very long. After a few weeks they're eating great, but it takes time. I have to MAKE these kids finish their food in those first weeks because they get full so fast. They'll feel sick because their bellies aren't used to being stretched. They'll ask when we're going to eat again and what it's going to be. So if we aren't going to eat again they can save some - because they have a hard time trusting that the food's going to keep on coming.
They're skinny! I'm thankful for adjustable waists! Bathing them makes me cry! I feel like I'm going to break them when I dry them off.

What is a toothbrush?????

I help them the fist time and they are scared when they spit and there's blood - or brown stuff. The brown stuff is from rotten teeth. Brown spit and rotten teeth bring horrible breath. I have to take them to the dentist where they are terrified because they've never been there before. Only to find out how many teeth have to be pulled and how many have to be filled. And this child needs to be put under to do it because there's so much work that needs to be done.....
the child is 5!
When baby teeth have to be pulled out before the big teeth are ready to come in, you have very few teeth left.
Kids will have ear infections that are so bad they can hardly hear anymore. How could that be? The child was just in for an ear infection not that long ago..... You ask the child if they took meds for it. No, but they went to the Doctor for it. I look at the medical records and see prescriptions for meds. Ooh, I see, Mom probably took the meds because she's an addict. The child is suffering with pain and hearing loss for months because Mom took her meds. We go see an ENT who sucks out the extensive amount of fluid to see that her drum is deformed and she now needs a tube.
We go to the eye Dr., because one child has a horrible lazy eye and he remembers having glasses but they broke about a year ago. Child is legally blind in that eye and the other eye isn't so hot!!!!!
Child is failing in school!!!!!
Child can't see a DAMN thing!!!!!
But Mom has her drugs!
and her ear infection meds!
We get him some RAD glasses - they're blue :o)
I see the child 6 months later and his glasses are "broken". Probably lost - because they've moved 3 times since then.
Ooh, and another new school next week!

They don't complain!

I KNOW!!!!!

Hard to believe isn't it, but they don't. My own kids complain all the time, but these kids don't complain about anything they've been through. Most of the info I get from them has to be brought out in a round-about way. They are not looking for a pity party. It's almost like the roles get reversed. Their parents complain non-stop. Everyone is out to get them, they've done nothing wrong, they need this and they need that. But the kids just go with the flow.
I hear about how "clean" my house is. (Again, something they believe, but not necessarily the truth :o) They call their house "messy". I wouldn't call a landfill messy, but to them that's normal, and it's actually supposed to be that way.

I told ya I could write a book about it. You'd be surprised to know how many families this is about.....

March 7, 2010

A fun weekend

We are having such a fun weekend. Our 3 foster kids from last Summer are here for the weekend for respite. They are such wonderful kids and it's so fun to have them here. Our kids were just jumping up and down and screaming when they arrived, lol!
I really hope that we get to see more of them. We were planning on taking them camping with us one weekend this Summer, but seeing them now is even more fun. As I write this, Hubby is off to the pool with 5 of the kids. P stays here because she does aquatherapy on Fridays and it gets too crazy there on the weekends because of all the other kids there. I also have the 2 year old visitor here :o) They are having lunch right now because the 2 year old was starting to doze off and I want her to eat before her nap so she'll sleep well :o)
The weather is still just fabulous, although I could do without the mudd! Never fails, kids are like magnets to water and mudd, lol! Plus dogs with muddy feet do wonders to clothing! It's supposed to be even nicer this week, up in the middle to upper 40's! But it's supposed to rain 3-4 of the days, sooooo - more mudd :o)
I really feel for those that are going to get flooding this year again. This extra rain and mild weather aren't helping any :o(
Well, back to the laundry :o)

March 4, 2010


Today was an interesting day. We had a family come and meet us so that we can do respite care for the kids. It's strange to invite a stranger into your house, but I understand her wanting to meet us first. It gives me a really good reason to get my house cleaned up good :o) Now we have 15 kids that we do respite for, so our weekends are quite exciting to say the least.
My 15 passenger van has been in the shop for the last week and we finally got it back yesterday. I really missed it because it's tough to get them all into a minivan all the time. Especially now with the new booster seat law we have. It's nice to have enough room that everyone has enough space to be able to get buckled up without running into each other. It's not fun trying to get P up into the van, but I'm going to get her a step stool so it will be easier.

Tomorrow our foster kids from last Summer are coming to spend the weekend with us. We are very excited to see them again. They were such sweet kids :o) Hopefully we'll get to start having them more often.

On a homeschooling note. My kids are trying to figure out what kind of schooling schedule they would like better. Right now we do school from 9-11am each day. My son told me today that it would be really nice if we could do school for 2 days per week and have 5 days off, lol. I told him that we do 10 hours per week and if they want to change it to 2, 5 hour days that they could do that. However he needs to talk to his sister about it and get her ok also. We'll see how that works out :o)

I do think we are going to start doing year round school this year though. That way if I have another baby we can take time off then if we need it. They don't do much in the mornings during the Summer anyways, so we might as well learn something. That way we won't have to review everything they have forgotten by Sep.

The weather has been SO beautiful the last couple weeks that most of our snow is gone. March makes me nervous though because it's the month when we usually get the MOST snow each year. Hopefully this year will be different, lol!

March 3, 2010

As my blog title says...

I've been one very busy Momma :o) Sorry I haven't been on here much lately, heck I didn't even get Christmas letters out this year. We got 4 high maintenance foster kids on Dec. 10th and it's been busy, busy since then. They were here until the end of January, but apparently the word got out that we are very flexible with our schedule, so we've had respite, crisis nursery, and some free babysitting(because social services wouldn't pay for it and the child needed it, but that's another story) going on quite regularly. Every weekend is booked up with anywhere from 2-6 extra kids, and the weekdays vary depending on the needs. Right now we have a 10 month old for the day.
We've also been doing a lot of extra curricular activities. The kids love going to homeschool gym time with their homies, and the older 2 are taking basketball at the local public school also. P is back to aqua therapy each week and is loving it. She walks around that pool like she owns it now :o)
So, the mornings are filled up with homeschool, and the afternoons are spent running around here or there, or doing my phone calls/paperwork while the kids are outside playing. The weather has been wonderful lately :o)
I've also had quite a few Dr. apts too because we've decided to maybe have another baby, or a few :o) We were going to adopt more kids but are finding that the greater majority have more issues than we are prepared to deal with on a lifetime basis. We already have 3 with developmental issues and don't feel we should take on more. Granted, if we were to have another special needs child we'd be fine with that and take it in stride, but we don't want to do it voluntarily. So we'll see how it goes. It's going to take some major planning because our foster/respite care will have to come to a quick end if/when I get pregnant because my pregnancies are like something out of a horror movie :o) We're quite excited, and our kids are flipping out with excitement because they LOVE having a house full of kids, which is good because that's what we want :o) And having a house full of kids that don't all have FASD/RAD/drug withdrawal/etc. will be even more fun :o)
So that's a little of our update :o) I'll try to be better about getting on here and also answering some of your questions. I know quite a few have been asked and I haven't had the time to get to them. If you'd like to add to my list just email me or post a comment :o)
Have a wonderful day ♥