Thursday, June 6, 2013

these are the days

You know how we've always been busy.
It just keeps getting busier around here.
We've settled into a new normal, which took about 8 weeks. We're a day away from 10 weeks as a family with four kids.

All four kids see themselves as part of a complete unit. Generally the younger three spend time together and Mr. Noah is in and out of their play as he sees fit. I asked Noah early on how he felt about now being the oldest of four. He was very positive in his response. I asked him again more recently and he was confused. We realized that he sees this as all normal now, nothing to think about, it just is. There is a lot of fort building, "let's play house", and most recently swinging as we now have our swing set here. The next big yard project is setting up the trampoline.

We've learned that Child B and Child C need fairly constant supervision. This has been learned the hard way from the usual "he hit me" to discovering a pile of toys that have been thrown from a second story window into the wet dirt and bushes below. So now kids stay downstairs with a grownup. We've had lots of exploring around the pond seeking frogs. Then we had trouble keeping track of shoes and nets and now we're taking a break from the pond. In ways we have two babies who act like teenagers and are trapped in 4-year-old bodies. Some behavior confuses us but we then realize that a lot of the behavior is fueled by an ingrained distrust of grownups, having minimal experience with trustworthy grownups. So we have to earn their trust every day by meeting their basic needs and consistently treating them with respect and dignity.


My mantra is: every day is getting better. It's louder and messier and more chaotic around here. But it's also more exciting, more joyful, and there are a lot more snuggles.
At a recent visit I saw another foster parent scold an older sibling who is not with us. The original "regular" mom was there and I cringed to think how hard it must be to listen to your child be reprimanded by another grownup and be unable to step in to mediate.

When fostering you're always concurrently planning for adoption and for reunification. The further the case progresses the more clear the outcome becomes, although it can change right to the end. It seems more and more likely that adoption will be the outcome of this case. If this is happens there are older siblings, currently in other foster homes, that we need to consider. It's so hard to KNOW what the right thing to do is for all involved - the kids AND the grownups. Sometimes the big picture is overwhelming. But what's important right now, is RIGHT NOW. The day-to-day. So we read books, we snuggle, we make "vanilla ice-y milk", we set the table, we milk the cows, we remind children to use their regular voices, we marvel at "fairy wings" - seed heads found in the yard, we build forts, we vacuum, we wash dishes, we feed the animals, we ride bikes, we visit grandparents ...


Spring and warmer weather means more photo shoots (Child C one night said at bedtime: "wait! you didn't do a photoshoot today!"), a garden to be planted, baby chicks have arrived (and then 90 of them were taken out by a weasel), a sow is getting very close to farrowing, new fences to be built, farmer's markets to participate in, weddings to shoot, two extra cows have created a legitimate herd ... ). Del is almost done with school (phew!) and while dropping her off recently an acquaintance saw us and said: "are all of these children yours?!?" And so it starts :)

My favorite part of the day is evening milking when the light is beautiful and four kids are romping in the yard - swinging, riding bikes, running, getting dirty in mud, building sand castles ... I just think: "what a life!".

It's not easy or all perfect light and delicious milk. But it's our life and things like golden light and delicious milk and new sidewalk chalk and hugs with a sister are something to focus on and relish. And that's what we're trying to do.


Angela Campany said...

I just checked out your blog a couple of days ago and I'm really enjoying it :) The more I read, the more I think we are kindred spirits... Plus, some of the things you say make me snort out loud and cover my mouth so I won't wake the kiddos (since I'm generally reading in the early morning before everyone is up). It's nice to see another Mom just taking it one day at a time natural/healthy/holistic/antiestablishment-style. I'm inspired by your loving willingness to open your home to these kids!

lovermont said...

I'm so glad you are enjoying my blog - and that you found time to sneak in some reading. I'm sure life is VERY busy for you right now! Thanks for commenting, it inspires me to write another post :)