“When wuz you pregnant wit her?”

I’m a “pink” foster mama.  Baby Girl is our precious dark chocolate 2 year-old princess.  We have had her in our home since she was 6 months old and she hasn’t known anyone else, but us as “her family,” since that time.  We have encountered several people who have questions about the fact that we don’t “match” in color or who look at us with a questioning look when we’re out and about, but most of the time everyone just goes about their business and we go about our’s. When we go to the city park; however, we are kinda just asking for it.  The other night it was HOT!  So, I loaded the kids up in the truck and we visited the Splash Pad at our city’s park.  Tons of kiddos were running around jumping and splashing in the water that shoots from the ground!  Everyone was having a great time!

I see her out of the corner of my eye.  She is watching us.  She is taller than my youngest biological daughter, so I’m guessing she’s about 8 years old.  She makes a beeline for us.  She looks at me, looks at Baby Girl and blurts out, “When wuz you pregnant wit her?”  Okay, so I then realize she may be younger probably six, her height threw me off.  “I was never pregnant with her honey, she grew in another mama’s belly.”  The little girl looks at me like I’m crazy.  We keep playing and she goes up to Baby Girl to look at her more closely.  The little girl says to me, “I was standing over there thinking, when wuz you pregnant wit her?”  I smile.  This should be interesting.  “I wasn’t,” I say, “another mama carried her in her belly, but I’m the mama who takes care of her now.”  The girl looks at me again, she is NOT convinced this is “right.”  She runs up to my son who “matches” me.  “Is dat your sister,” she asks.  “Yep,” he says not missing a beat and running in the opposite direction.  I look around, I see who I think is her mama and she is laughing.  She is totally happy to let me handle this.  I smile and laugh to myself.  This precocious little girl just can’t figure this out and I really don’t know how much I’m wanting to or willing to share.  Then, the little girl spots my middle daughter who also “matches” me.  She runs to her and says, “Is dat your sister?”  My middle girl says, “Yes, she’s my sister,” and runs up to Baby Girl, picks her up and runs to play.  The little girl takes one more look at me and shrugs her shoulders.  She’s satisfied.  Once she had the same story from all three of us, apparently that was enough for her.  She went off to play and didn’t give us another look.

These things are going to happen.  We don’t “match.”  We look different, but I guarantee you that if that little girl had asked Baby Girl, “Where is your mama,” she would have run straight to me.  And, to me that is what counts.

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We’re not easy to be friends with anymore.

So, my husband and I have come to the conclusion after being foster parents for over 13 months now, that we’re not easy to be friends with anymore.  We used to be!  We would invite friends over all of the time and we’d have lovely get togethers where the adults would hang out in one room and the kids would all play outside.  The two or three families would eat pizza, play board games, watch movies, and swim together.  We would hang out late into the night, well past our children’s bedtimes and when it was all said and done nobody really wanted to leave, but at about midnight they’d have to, so that they could all wake up the next morning and not be grouchy.  We’d walk our friends to their cars promising to do it all over again next weekend and we’d all be sad that it was over.

Um… that is a thing of the past!  It wasn’t on purpose.  We didn’t try to run our friends off.  It just sort of happened.  There are still two families that have stuck by us through our growing pains of becoming a family of seven.  They still come over.  We still play and swim and eat together, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is “easy” anymore.  There is usually yelling and some crying.  Kids accidentally get hurt.  Children are always throwing things and someone inevitable will get bit.  Yes, I said it… they will get bit.  It is horrible to admit, but we just aren’t that picture perfect family anymore.  We don’t party into the night because we have babies that have a strict schedule to keep unless we want all chaos to break loose for the next several days.  Nobody really stays much past 8 o’clock anymore.  Everyone starts to leave and as they do a part of me is sad.  We’ve lost something.  We’ve lost the ability to be “easy” friends.  We just aren’t.

Sometimes, I mope around about it for a while.  I complain that we don’t have any friends that like us anymore.  I feel sorry for myself for a little while and then I realize something.  I WOULD NOT CHANGE OUR “NEW NORMAL” FOR ANYTHING.  So what if we aren’t easy to be around anymore.  I don’t want to be easy!  I want to be us.  I want to be the family that we are now.  I don’t know how long it will last.  Little Man and Baby Girl’s cases are nowhere close to being over, so it could be a while or something could happen tomorrow to change everything.  All I know is that I love our new family.  We’re a little rough around the edges.  We are sometimes difficult to be around because of all the chaos, but we’re a family and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

11 months

In just 3 short days, it will be the 11 month anniversary of the day the babies came to live with us. This blows my mind! 11 months?!? Really, has it been that long?!? I am sort of in shock. Partly, because there has been little to no “movement” in their case and partly because on some days I totally forget that we do foster care. I seriously, am just a mom to 5 children. That is it. They all feel like “mine.” I know in my head that they aren’t, but my head and my heart rarely get along.

So, to commemorate this joyous anniversary, I will give you the top 11 most absurd things I have said to my children over the last 11 months!

1. “We do not throw Bibles at each other!”

2. “Stop putting sand in your ear.”

3. “Get her foot out of your mouth!”

4. “Don’t touch your poop!”

5. “What is in your mouth?” (Put my finger in and scoop out SEVEN acorns!)

6. “Please, don’t lick the car!”

7. “No, you don’t need to take your sword to bed.”

8. “If you put your finger in her mouth again, she’s going to bite it, AGAIN!”

9. “If you let him hit you with a baseball bat at home, he’s going to think that it is okay and try hitting a friend with one at PRESCHOOL!”

10. “Stop eating the dog’s food!”

11. To the checkout guy at the grocery store when he asked me if I knew who won the football game… “Um, no! I have five kids the youngest two being 2 1/2 and 17 months and my husband is deployed, I have NO time to watch t.v!” (He gives me a blank stare! Did I say too much?).

Car Seat stress

I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been absolutely terrified to deal with car seats. I don’t like buying car seats! I don’t like putting together car seats! I don’t like washing car seats! I don’t like installing car seats! So, when I knew my soldier would be deploying, I was totally afraid I would have to deal with some sort of car seat drama during the 10 months that he was gone. Before he left I made sure that he washed the car seats and reinstalled them properly again, praying that nothing would make it so I had to take those seats out of the car again before he got back. So, this morning when Baby Girl’s diaper exploded in the car seat I was horrified! I would have to take apart, wash and reassemble this car seat all on my own! Should I take pictures of how it’s put together? Do I need to download a manual from the Internet? Should I call someone to help me with this? I decided that I might be being ridiculous. I took it apart all on my own. I made sure to do it slowly, watching where each piece clicked into place. I washed the seat cover. I dried the seat cover and I put it all back together by myself.

I did it!!! I can’t believe I did it! I feel like such a grown-up! I guess car seats aren’t that scary after all!

Baby, don’t force it!

I walked into the boy’s room last week to put laundry away and found what used to be their closet doors in such an awkward position that I had no idea how the boys got them that way. I called my oldest son into the room and asked, “what in the world happened here,” pointing to the closet doors. “I don’t know,” he said. I gave him “the look!” He then says to me, “Well, the doors wouldn’t shut, so I just kick them and kicked them and kicked them and then that happened.” It look all that was in me to not burst out laughing! “Um, well you better crawl in there and try to push them back out this way to fix them,” I said, leaving the room. Needless to says, they were not fixed easily and it took a very nice neighbor coming over with tools to put the doors back in working order. Thank goodness for handy neighbors!

Then yesterday, I return home from taking the babies to get their pictures taken and my middle daughter and her best friend greet me at the front door with bright yellow rubber gloves on up to their elbows! “Mom, do NOT go in the back bathroom,” were the words that were squealed as they ran towards the back of the house. “Goodness! What happened,” I asked when I saw the water all over the floor and the overflowing toilet. “Well, I used too much toilet paper,” said my daughter’s best friend, “so we just flushed it and flushed it and flushed it, trying to get it to go down,” added my daughter! This time I couldn’t help it, I burst out laughing!

I am really starting to think I need to call a family meeting… The topic for discussion??? When something isn’t working out the way you’d like… Don’t force it!!!