As a trained facilitator in Love and Logic, I should know better. I should know that talking less works better. Letting consequences speak for themselves is more effective than lecturing. So…I am taking a deep breath and offering some advice based on my recent mistakes.
When M. (9 year old girl) created a library in the girls’ bedroom (this involved blankets and pillows on the floor, nearly every book in the house on the bedroom floor–not a small thing. I could open a children’s bookstore.) I didn’t need to respond in exasperation. Instead of asking, “When would this ever be ok?!” Yes–I admit–I said it. I should have just let her know that I would serve dinner as soon as the mess was cleaned up. Then she would have picked up, we would have had a pleasant dinner and I wouldn’t have suffered from high blood pressure.
When K. (10 year old girl) pulled everything out of their closet and brought it all out on the floor I would have saved myself some trouble if I would have had the same expectation. That she could have free time as soon as it was cleaned up. Instead, every time I went back upstairs to check on her progress, it looked worse instead of better. No kidding! Very frustrating.
However, what Love and Logic would say is that by sparing kids from the consequences of their mistakes we rob them of a chance for learning to take place. So, I will refresh my memory and study the techniques of L & L, thereby creating a more peaceful home and more responsible kids. It’s a win-win situation!
We look forward to Friday Family Fun Night each week. It’s pretty simple: usually a movie, popcorn and candy. The secret to a great night is the catchy name, the anticipation of a night with no set schedule…and snuggle time!
During the week we have a tight schedule of homework, dinner, bath time, story time and bed time. If we don’t start each activity by the predetermined time we don’t get children in bed by 8:00 pm. If we don’t get children in bed by 8:00 pm, they don’t get the rest they need and then it all goes downhill from there.
But on Friday nights–Friday Family Fun Night to be exact–we take the night off. We lounge together on the couch with our snacks, blankets and pillows and enjoy a good cuddle. It doesn’t cost much, but the time spent in each other’s company is priceless.
It seems that everyone is adjusting well to the new arrangements. Four biological kids, three foster kids, and two adults make for a busy household! Thankfully the kids get along very well. The four are modeling the routines and expectations for the three, so that is incredibly helpful.
There are some practical things that we anticipated would be an issue:
Hot water–we have to wait for water to heat up between showers
Shower availability–only one shower in the house is functional right now
Laundry–Nine people wearing an outfit and pj’s each day, plus bedding, towels and B’s gym clothes…yikes!
But, hey, if this is all we’re worried about–no big whoop! Nothing that a new water heater, repaired shower, and an additional washer/dryer set won’t fix! In the meantime we are trying to make sure that we are showing Christ’s love in what we’re doing. Teaching all seven love, gratitude, and kindness.
And how am I doing? I’m tired, but joyful. There is so much happiness in the house, it gives me energy when I’m running on fumes! A generous amount of coffee doesn’t hurt, either!
It’s official! We became a family of nine today after the long awaited arrival of three little darlings needing a foster home. This was a planned move, but due to new regulations in our state we had to be re-fingerprinted and our information uploaded into the new data system. Forty-six long days later and they are finally with us!
We had already established a relationship with these children over the past year. We had provided respite care for the previous family and the kids attend school in the same district in which I work. To say that it was important to us that they be able to maintain consistency by remaining in their home school district and with their friends is an understatement! On a more personal level, though, it’s hard not to fall in love with these kids. But in my opinion, if you don’t love them you’re not doing it right.
While the kids will miss the family that was their short term placement, they are excited to be here, knowing that they will continue to have visits with the previous family. Our families will trade roles by making this home and the previous family would like to be involved as grandparent figures. A win-win situation.
How did the kids handle the first day? M. said that it’s like a sleep over–but we don’t have to leave! When we said prayers she wanted to pray for a forever home. My daughter prayed that it would be ours.
Between our two families and the teachers and staff at their school, these children have a lot of people who love and care for them!
This Thanksgiving we will have the pleasure of having three little treasures joining us for the holiday break. Their foster family is traveling to visit family themselves, and we’re more than happy to absorb them into our brood for the week.
First, I asked everyone in my extended family if we could host the Thanksgiving meal this year. We need to maintain consistency for our guests and everything at our house is already childproofed! My brother was fine with that (they are expecting their second child) and my sister responded, “Yes, please!”
While I’m excited about it, there are arrangements to be made that will make things go more smoothly for everyone–these little ones in particular–but for my own children as well. The kiddos are young so we always try to greet them warmly with a small gift like a stuffed animal. With young children sometimes it’s helpful when they aren’t attached to you and need a cuddle. Picking something out for each of them helps my own children to look forward to meeting them and helping prepare the bedroom space for them. They like helping care for them and get excited to show them our toys.
So, we do have a Thanksgiving meal to plan, but more importantly, I’m thankful that we are able to take on the responsibility of caring for these little ones and sharing our love with them during the holiday.
As a school counselor I know that when I take a little time to care for myself I’m better able to care for others. It’s a pretty simple concept, but not always so easy to implement. We get busy. There is a to do list–or multiple to do lists–and we get pushed to the bottom. Well, today I took time to have breakfast with my friend, Molly, and then we got our nails done. Now, this is something that I seldom take the time or money to do. But after just a couple of hours away I feel refreshed. I am meeting the challenges of the day with a smile. Make sure that every once in a while you take the time to do something that makes you feel special. Not only will you benefit from it, but the people in your life will benefit from it as well.