Mama S here. I’ve written this post so many different ways. In my head and on paper and it just don’t seem to come out right. I will try my best and please ask any questions you have. Our little came to us not knowing many of the skills that you might expect an older toddler to have. One example is how to bathe. For the first few weeks she lived with us we just let her do what she was going to do and took notes of the outcome. Then we tried prompts before she went into the bathroom. Then we moved to sitting outside the bathroom door and gave verbal prompts of what to do. Then we washed her hair in the sink to show her how to do it and what it should feel like. Nothing was making a difference.
So I chatted with some social workers and her therapists and we decided that I would have to show her. We put on our bathing suits and jumped in the shower together. She watched with an intensity that shocked me as I showed her how to wash her hair. How to get her fingers inside the hairs and to massage in her cream shampoo. How to rinse out the shampoo from the top down and make sure that it was all out. Then, we washed our bodies over our bathing suits and talked about why it is important to clean behind the ears, the neck, armpits, toes, etc. It was a silly time for us, but also very serious. She is going to sleep away camp soon and was worried that she wouldn’t know what to do when we were not there giving her prompts.
That’s the reality of taking in other people’s children. Sometimes it is the times that warm your heart and make you think that it is something you could do a million times over. Sometimes it is the moments that leave you crying in your room while eating a pint of ice cream asking your loved one what would ever make you take this on. Mostly, it is meeting the child where they are, regardless of their age. Today, that meant putting on my bathing suit and jumping in the shower to show a pre-teen how to clean their hair and body. Last week it was cradling that same pre-teen in my lap with them all wrapped up like an infant telling them that they are safe and that we will love them through the hard moments. For the past year it has been holding the space so that she can explore her emotions and what she is feeling.
It’s parenting. Plain and simple. Don’t all of the traditional parents do these things with their kiddos too? Albeit at different ages, but don’t you do these things too?
I have enjoyed sharing these past 40 blog posts and starting next week I’m going to start posting about our parenting strategies more specifically. How we utilize positive discipline for successful outcomes and for a happier family. I will start to talk about some of the hard times that we have had and how we overcame them. I need to start writing our ENTIRE story down as I have been sharing the blog with new foster parents and I feel like there are so many holes. There are so many parts of our story that I hold back from sharing for one reason or another.
I am stepping into a volunteer role with our agency where I chat with new foster parents about what we are doing and how they can be successful with (almost) any kiddo that they take in. How to get supports, how to stay sane when they feel like ripping their hair out and walking away. If I’m going to share that info with them one on one, why not share it with all of you as well? All I ask is that, if you are enjoying my posts, please share them. The biggest compliment you can give a writer is to share their work so that more people can read it. The other ask is that you let me know what you want me to write about. Is there something you are curious about? Ask. If I can, I will write about it in the blog. If I can’t do that, I will reach out to you directly and let you know as much info as I can
Until next time,