Challenging is an understatement. I have been in the daycare and childcare profession for over 20 years so I figured when we became foster parents, and were placed with small children, I wouldn’t have a problem dealing with much. Well now that I have awakened from my blissful sleep and said “Boy was that a nice dream”, I am back to reality.
First we welcomed into our home two little boys. They were 1 month and 1 year old. The younger one was a joy but it has been a long time since I had to get up every three hours for feedings and diaper changes. To say the least sleep patterns were definitely interrupted. But all in all they were both a joy. The older one was used to screaming (loud, shrill, blood curdling, screams) for everything he wanted…so there was a period of adjustment for him in realizing that everything wasn’t going to be given to him when, where, why, and how he wanted. It is amazing how fast a learned behavior can be unlearned by reinforcing positive behavior. We had them for 13 days and then they got to go live with grandma.
Then last Monday, a very sweet little 22 month old girl came to us who has never been away from her mother. Henceforth, my challenging week. She has cried almost nonstop. The only time she NEVER cries is when we are in the car. When the car slows down to turn in the drive she says NO! NO! NO! NO! So here is the deal. Some of it is separation anxiety. That is to be expected. I guess she didn’t have much of an influence from *daddy* because from day one she called Richard daddy. Now, a week later is starting to call me *mommie*. This is not encouraged, but I am trying to figure out how to NOT let it happen because everytime she cries for them, we are there to comfort her. It is hard and very confusing for her.
The other part is that we find that she can be a very manipulative little girl. When she cries for no reason, we put her to bed. When she stops crying we get her out of bed. That seems to work really well for a period. Then I am not sure it becomes a game for her that she gets attention. I have dealt plenty in my life with separation anxiety from kids being left by there parents…but none where the child was literally ripped from mom’s arms and the child is just going “where is every one and everything that is familiar to me?”
I feel so bad for her. And so helpless. She is a beautiful little girl with dark hair and beautiful brown eyes. In addition to her eyes being beautiful, they are the saddest looking eyes I have ever seen on a child. It is almost like you can see all the way to her soul and that she is a very sad, very neglected little girl. Starved for attention, at least positive attention.
Councilors keep telling me that “this too shall pass”. It is the waiting that is hard. Because while she is crying and we are trying to show her we love her and want to keep her safe, it is also trauma to her little body, mind, and soul.
On a lighter note…our 17 year old and baby are doing great. She is a great gal to be around. Her daughter is a joy to our household. She is a one year old little girl who is full of energy and into everything. And the hair!!!! Beautiful RED hair! Guess that explains the fiery temper. LOL