Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Transitions

I'm tired today. But I've had several blog posts running through my mind lately. This might be all over the place but there were some thoughts I wanted to pass on.

I know a lot of people are super strict about only fostering/adopting within birth order. I've said it before, but it bears repeating, birth order gets messed up every time you bring a child into your home. Doesn't matter the age.

We're going through a lot of transitioning now. Not only do the bonus cherubs have to get used to life in our family. But my forever cherubs have to get used to being big brothers again. We didn't bring in an infant that is sticking around forever. We brought in three little people with very established personalities of their own.

Captain is used to being the big brother. So even though we stayed "in birth order" as most people would think of it - Captain's birth order is seriously messed up right now. He's not the biggest anymore. He's in the middle of a gaggle of six kids. It takes some serious transitioning to get used to that.

Bart simply adores being a big brother. And even though he loves it, it still takes a lot of time for him to transition back into the role. For almost four months he was the baby of the family again. Now, there are three cherubs younger than him.

You get the picture.

Transitions are hard on everyone.

One of the things I've done this time is tried to boost the "big brother" role by giving incentives.
This is what we call our "vacation jar". All our change goes in this. I roll the coins periodically and we use the money when we go on vacation. Right now the vacation jar is down a lot of quarters. But it's been for a good cause.

Every good parent knows that when the toys are picked up, children can often get engaged easier. They can see all the toys and they will play longer. The opposite is what I call "dump and run". Little ones love to dump and run. And once the toys are covering the floor, they can no longer get engaged in anything and playtime becomes whine time.

Pirate is a champion at dump and run. A record holder I'm sure. And from what I can tell, Captain isn't too shabby with the dumping and running during playtime either. So, as you can imagine, the play areas of the house get trashed pretty quickly.

Then there are things like the wooden trains. My boys know how to sort the straight pieces into one drawer, the curves into another, the connectors into another, and so on and so forth.
Quarters are coming in quite handy. I can discretely hand a quarter or two to one of my big kids in return for their help. If they do it right Pirate and Captain are all about picking up too. But this way, with the incentive, my kids are OK with picking up toys they didn't dump out and sorting train pieces they didn't use.

Then, after the youngest cherubs are in bed, they can discretely take their hard earned money and flag down the "garbage" truck. (Yes, ice cream trucks run year-round where I live. Several a day. Every day.) It seems a $.50 bag of Hot Cheetoes with cheese or a popsickle is enough to keep them picking up toys. It makes transitioning into being a big brother again not so rough.

Transitioning is hard on everyone. Captain, Pirate and Tinkerbell are doing pretty good. They're getting used to life in our family and all the different ways we do things. In general, it's going well. And the quarters are helping TT and Bart do their part to keep the household running smooth. Me, I just have to drag myself to bed earlier. I didn't last night and I'm struggling today.

We've got court tomorrow. The apple cart is sure to be tipped over as the bonus cherubs are going to see their mom and siblings for the first time in almost two weeks. We'll have to keep on transitioning as visits and family contact will be added to the routine. I'll let y'all know what happens in court.

5 comments:

VJ said...

That's a good point about fostering/adopting sibling groups; their birth order will be messed up, even if your existing kids' isn't. Glad you found an incentive system that works for your kiddos!

Rosie said...

After binge reading the past several years of posts I suddenly found myself caught up and annoyed that I have to wait to find out how this all turns out. :)

We had fostered for several years, though not a lot of placements as there are a lot of relative caregivers in our area.

During the adoption phase of our two kids we went on hold, turned out to take a lot longer than it would. A few months later, on the way home from vacation we agreed to keeping a kid for the weekend. Turned into 3 weeks with very sudden return back to relatives (2 hour notice when I didn't even know it was an option that day). We learned that 1 year difference in age from our youngest was not enough. (Though he dies very well with the kid I babysit who is 2.5 yrs younger.)

Fast forward a few months and I ended up taking our youngest out of public school to homeschool him - school was not set up to handle his activity levels or sensory seeking tendencies. We are working on those.

All that to say, I found your older posts, and comments, encouraging. Is that odd? A lot of the emotions you were/are feeling, and how you reacted, I can empathize with. Oh how I dislike the days leading up to court, though thankfully we don't have to take kids younger than 12. I could not have handled my two back then in that setting by myself; we have all grown a lot in that area since then.

With the current stresses we have in our lives, my husband said no new kids for at least 1.5 years. Right now that seems like forever. Though may be a good thing for our youngest, give him time to calm down and become more secure. We will keep our license as I do NOT want to go through the classes again. :)

This is all a bit crazy, and we signed up for it! What does that say about us?

Anonymous said...

Is it allowable for the children to get together outside supervised visits? I keep wondering if the other foster mother involved and you could combine forces and children in the future ... expanding your support circle. BUT, maybe that is not approved by agencies involved or possible due to transportation distances.

Cherub Mamma said...

Thank you so much for the comment Rosie. I always get a chuckle out of hearing from people that have binge read my blog. :)

I don't know what it says about those of us that sign up voluntarily for this crazy adventure. I mean...I know WHY I'm doing it. But yikes...it really does feel like I'm crazy sometimes.

And to answer the last question from Anonymous...
I met the other foster family. I really didn't get much of a read on them except they didn't seem interested in me or my three kids at all. And as far as visits go, the kids are already going to have eight hours of visits a week with their siblings and parents. I honestly am not willing to give up more time for more visits right now. They don't know the tiny baby at all (literally didn't even know his name when they came). And the 2yo is awfully small and didn't interact with his siblings at all during the court hearing. I think those eight hours will be enough each week.

Anonymous said...

Totally off topic, but thanks for sharing your train storage! We had our small set in a single small tub, but my husband (who spends a LOT of time building train setups for our cherubs) ordered a 100-piece set online and now the single tub doesn't work anymore. :) I think your storage solution would work for us! I may be picking up something similar soon!