Foster care, and Miss M

I just realized a few days ago that I am not a foster parent anymore. I mean, it should be obvious...but I guess I just really didn't think of it until now.  We got a (bulk) email from our agency asking for updates regarding what ages and genders of placements that we are willing to take.  They have like 60 kids living in the shelter now and are trying to find homes for them to go to for the holidays. I responded with tears in my eyes that we are not open to placements at this time. Part of my heart strings were being pulled...like maybe, maybe we could take an older boy, he could share a room with D, right?  We could get another set of bunk beds, D would love it, maybe it would be ok or even be fun.  But another part of me says no, now is not the time for this.  It is heart wrenching.  I'm crying now just thinking about it.
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Miss M is having some problems lately.  I mean she has always had attitude; from the time she was about 9 months old she would spit when she got mad about something.  Seriously.  The child is strong willed to say the least.  Shortly after that she began banging her head on any available surface when she got mad, whether it was cement or anything she didn't seem to care.  She hasn't done that in a while; I'm thinking maybe after a year or so of that she figured out that it actually does hurt her and it doesn't bother anybody else too much when she does it.  Not to sound cold-hearted; we just figured that if we don't let her manipulate us into being all "oooh you poor baby!" then she would suffer the natural consequences (sore head!) and quit.

Every day this week, and many other days in previous weeks, I have gotten notes home from her teachers about her behavior. She is biting other kids, not following directions, spitting at her teachers, etc.  Her teacher now was also Y's teacher when he was younger, and she is a good teacher. I think in all of the time Y spent in her class I got one note home where he bit somebody one time, and that was it.  I  know kids that age tend to bite, so that alone wouldn't bother me if I wasn't getting a note home about something every single day!  It seems to be getting worse, not better.

I'm really struggling with how to address this. I mean I'm not gonna lie, she is the same way at home.  We have pretty much a zero tolerance policy. Yesterday I caught her trying to bite Y (they were fighting over a toy). I wasn't close enough to physically stop her, but I clapped my hands really loudly and she got distracted when she was about 2 inches away from biting his face. Then she spat at me, and I sent her to time out.  This is how a lot of our interactions go.  She really enjoys pushing my buttons and escalating. I feel like I do a really good job of staying calm, I always give her choices, etc. so I'm not sure why it is so entertaining to her.   I try not to put on a "mad Mommy" show for her!

Every day before preschool I've been trying to have a chat with her and telling her to be good for her teacher, we don't bite our friends, etc.  She always is very solemn and agrees that she will be a good girl and won't bite her friends.  Well, that hasn't worked out so well.

A big part of me wants to pull her out and keep her home.  But I think if I did that I'd also have to do that for the other kids (since the state pays for their daycare, it would be a little weird to have one at home and two at daycare).  And would it be better, or would it be worse?  I honestly do not know. My life would be a lot harder, but if it would be better for her then that is really secondary.  I don't think I am in any way better than her teacher, but I do have tools at my disposal that her teacher doesn't have - things like her crib if she is having a fit, different privileges that can be taken away, etc. I think it is hard to do that in a daycare setting because you have 5 other 2 year old's to deal with and you are all sharing a 15 by 15 room.  But I am wondering if some tough love and some consistency would be good for Miss M.  I always thought she was a little spoiled by her previous foster mom, but now I am seeing maybe it's just her attitude/personality.

Another thing about keeping her home is that (hopefully) it would give us some more time to bond. I feel like I spend a lot of time being the bad guy, in response to her naughtiness.  And every time I do something nice it seems like it turns around on me; like if I sit and play with her then she likes that, but if I get up to do something else then she acts out.

One other thing that I think might be a problem is her sleep pattern. I'm pretty sure Miss M's ideal nap time is 11 a.m.  Which I know is a little weird.  That seems to be about the time the world starts falling apart for her, and on the few days that I have put her down at that time she sleeps longer than if we put her down at noon or 12:30 which is when the boys go down for naps. At preschool they all go down for naps around noon; again with lots of kids they just can't cater to each kid's individual needs.

So, I don't know. I hope this is just a "phase" but I really don't know how long a "phase" is supposed to last. Everyone that meets her once tells me how "sweet" she is...I'm like, are we talking about the same child here?  She is so smart, she has a great vocabulary for her age, she is already insisting on dressing herself. Yesterday she decided she needed to go to the bathroom; but didn't bother telling me (I was cooking dinner). I heard her back there and ran back, she had gotten the stool, turned the light on, moved it to the toilet, pulled down her own pants, taken off her diaper (a real diaper not a pull-up) and was sitting there on the potty. Whoa!  The child is barely 2!  If she wants to accomplish something she WILL accomplish it.  However, the opposite is also true.

Anyway, any advice is appreciated.  I suppose this is also something I ought to be in prayer about. I'm not sure how keeping the kids home would actually work. I do know that come this fall when C is in school it will/would be a lot easier.  And when the baby comes it will be easier for whomever watches our kids if the kids are in daycare too. Uuugghhhhh.  So much to think about.

Comments

  1. For what's it worth, if it's possible, I'd probably keep her at home and send the boys to daycare if it's possible. Sounds like she might need some one-on-one with you...especially before another brother comes

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  2. If Daycare is working for the boys then leave them in, but I think your gut is correct. Miss M needs some time at home. One of the reasons I did not push harder for the daycare route was because one of my boys really struggles under the care of others. He pushes every button and every limit. Then I get him back and he's in that mode and it is so stressful. It is harder at times, but I know it is easier overall.

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  3. I personally think all children act out more when they go to daycare,so if theres the option of keeping children at home I don't know why you would send them. I have read your blog for awhile now and really enjoy your writing.Congratulations on your adoptions. your children are ADORABLE!!

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    Replies
    1. I work from home, so when I was home with a baby, 1, and 2 year old it was extremely difficult to keep up on my work as well as my home responsibilities (laundry, cooking, that stuff) as well as taking care of all of them. It was a difficult decision to send them at all, but I was literally nearing psychosis trying to keep all the balls I was juggling in the air. Especially with C's behavior, and being unable to leave the house without him having a meltdown and having to be carried (You can imagine how hard that would be considering I had an infant as well as him and a 1 year old). I think now that they are older, his behavior has settled down, and I have more experience I *might* be able to do it. Maybe. It's just a matter of figuring out if I could do it or not, which is hard to know without making the leap and putting in notice at the daycare.

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  4. Congrats (late) on the adoptions! I loved seeing pics of your family, and putting faces to the names! They're all so handsome. Congrats as well on the new baby boy to be!

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