I'm too lazy to look up the minimum standard word for word right now.
You'll just have to trust me.
Our state has several standards that cover where children can sleep. Children under six can share a room with the opposite sex. (Pumpkin won't have a problem sharing her room after her birthday next week as they do consider "developmental" age.) All children must have their own bed. Only children under 1 year can sleep in the same room as a foster parent. And foster parents can never sleep in an upright position holding a foster child.
These rules sound good on paper. They help keep kids safe.
However, have you ever had a sick two year old with a fever of 104° that does not want to be left alone?
Fevers don't usually freak me out. A fever is there to do a job. My brother (a marvelous family doctor) taught me a long time ago that you treat the level of distress -- not the number on the thermometer. However, when my little guy woke up last night with a fever of 014° that would not go down after being dosed with ibuprofen, I had to take him to the doctor. I haven't met any of the lawyers or CPS workers involved in this case yet. And since court is tentatively scheduled for Friday, I knew I'd have to answer to all of them this week. I decided to get the virus diagnosis out of the way early.
So, we headed off to the ER at 11:00 last night. We were lucky and were out of there with a script for Tylenol at 12:30. Unfortunately, no one slept well once we got home! Dude kept waking up. TT woke up and wanted to sleep on the floor in our room. I think Dolly even woke up once too.
Dude was the challenging one. He wanted to be held. He was burning up with fever and was scared to death. In fact he grabbed on to me so tight several times I couldn't have put him down if I wanted to.
So, I held him.
Now...I've got SIX children to care for. One of them has seizures when she gets sick. I knew I had to take care of myself too. That meant I couldn't stay awake all night. I had to try to get as much sleep as I could.
Eventually I just put Dude down on the mattress that is on the floor of our room. (TT has permission to sleep on it when he gets spooked out in the middle of the night. It helps his anxiety and it keeps him from waking me up - most of the time.) I decided I didn't give a damn about the minimum standard. The kid needed to sleep. I needed to sleep. Everyone was safe. Rules be damned!
It helped a little. At least I was there to grab him when he cried. I would have given anything to just pull him in bed with me like I did with my kids when they were that age. I figured that was pushing things a bit too far though. Stupid black and white rules.
When everyone woke up at 7:00AM I thought I was going to die. I was so hoping that Mr. Amazing would be able to take over for me. Unfortunately, he had already thrown up at least once and wasn't in any position to tend to five small children. My head was killing me but I managed to get everyone dressed and fed.
Dude wouldn't let me put him down all day. Literally. If I managed to get him down on the couch asleep, as soon as he woke up he would scream until I held him again. Yeah for the bonding. Boo for the incredible boredom as I just sat there on the couch all day.
By around 1:30 or so I was drifting in and out of sleep on the couch. Dude was asleep. I decided to break the rules again. Dude and I went upstairs to my room so I could properly sleep while Mr. Amazing held down the fort in the living room.
I'm not too worried about the rules. In reality I'm sure the people involved, if it were to come up in conversation, would understand. Of course I'm not going to broadcast what I did.
I guess that's another thing they don't teach you in the foster parent training. There are a lot of rules and it just isn't possible to follow all of them perfectly. Especially since some of them don't take into account the actual needs of the children. They are so black and white and allow for no wiggle room. I know it's to keep the kids safe. I know it's because somewhere, sometime, some stupid foster parent screwed up and hurt a kid. But it's more important to me to meet the kids where they are at. And sometimes that means holding them while everyone sleeps.