25 Apr 2018, 16:28

Fostering Tiny Humans - Step One

A couple of weeks ago I filled out the form on the Children’s Aid Society website indicating an interest to become a foster home. They sent back a message checking in with me, asking whether I was aware of the different religious and cultural based foster agencies in the city, and confirmed whether we wanted to proceed with them (we do).

So now we wait. Our next step is arranging a mutually amicable phone conversation - which I’m already nervous about, but also ready to do anytime. I’m not sure what the questions will be, but we’ll see! I am excited. I am nervous. I am curious.

Even before I had our son I knew that one day I wanted to foster or adopt. I feel like our little family is perfect just the way it is, but I think that feeling would apply no matter what. But I would like to be part of helping kids have a safe supportive home while their parents or families are working through some stuff. So hopefully we get approved to proceed, or realize early on (before being placed with a child) that it’s really not for us - either through talking with more foster parents, or as we go through the training.

I feel like I’m in that strange middle space where I’m filled with what ifs and too much information and simultaneously not enough information. I’m reading people’s experiences, and reading people’s opinions, and blogs and all of that, but I still don’t know what it will be like. Before becoming a parent, I read a bunch of people’s experiences, I played with the idea in my head, I consumed all the information I could handle, and while that helped prepare me, everything changed the moment we actually met our son. That said, I realize previous experience should remind me to remain flexible and curious.

The thing I’m finding surprisingly difficult is finding secular support communities for fostering, even locally. Perhaps we’ll find it while we’re actually doing things, but perhaps we will have to build our own. (though I am already getting ahead of myself.)

I’m hoping to post something regularly about the process and what we’re learning.

10 Mar 2018, 17:51

Sick Mama, Sick Baby

We’re feeling a lot better now, but we’ve been sick for about a week - before us it was my partner that was sick, then the rest of us caught it eventually. My goal was to take it as easy as possible - and to encourage my son to do the same. The weather was pretty mediocre as well, so it lent it self well to staying indoors for the most part.

Who knew how lovely it could be to feel crummy and to snuggle on the couch with a tiny human - I had no idea how cuddly and precious it could be. We spent a lot of time with books - both individually and separately, but also, eventually a lot of screen time in the form of puffin rock, a puffin documentary with the Nature of Things, and then more books.

I’m feeling a lot better today - and I think the tiny human is too, so we’ve already done more activity than we did on most days during the past week. It was an interesting experiment in screen time self-regulation as well, as there were times when my son asked me to turn off the television. But I am hoping we can get back to our previous level of not-so-much tv and lots of outdoor fun and I’m hoping we can have a nice adventure this weekend and make the most of it.

11 Jan 2018, 18:45

The way people treat children

I’m not alone in how I see children, there are people that inspire me to be better and more thoughtful and more patient - folks like Robin Enzig of Visible Child and Teacher Tom.  Having expectations are developmentally appropriate and fair make things a lot easier.  Boundaries are created and kept and gently supported. Feelings are allowed. Children are supported and set up for success instead of pushed towards one thing or another. Children are spoken to as people, not play things or cute puppies.

We tried a class today that ended up being vaguely stressful for me, and I don’t think we’ll do it again for a while. I’ve been curious about circus school with jumping and climbing and bouncing and stretching. But we went to a program for the under 4 set, and it was so structured and was full of false praise and expectations, and it seemed so out of step with reality. They were pretty flexible though, so they still seemed reasonable about it, but the words they used, the tone of their voice, their actions, and developmentally inappropriate expectations didn’t work very well for me. Or my son.

I’m not sure what the solution to this is - I can’t change the world, and I cannot change how I feel about disrespectful behaviour towards children, so we’re likely just not going to go back there - because for now, while I can’t change the world, I can change the world my son is exposed to and hope for the best.

I think of it as developing a framework of respect at home - you scaffold a positive sense of self - encourage empathy with others - and build on that. Once he’s a bit older, I hope our efforts leave him with a positive foundation to build up from as he interacts with more and more people. Together we make a good team, we interact, he seems to know that my rules and boundaries are not arbitrary, and have some kind of reasoning behind them. I find that I can remember how I felt as a child, and that has greatly influenced how I see things - maybe people have forgotten what it was like and are doing the best they can with what they’ve got, but so am I.

03 Jan 2018, 03:01

new year, same great us

Yesterday morning we bundled up and got ready for the YMCA. It’s become a regular thing, this guaranteed Tuesday morning visit to the Y - why? Because we have a regular cleaner now, and it’s nice to get out of the house and get out of their way. I’d rather spend time with the TinyHuman than spend anymore time organizing, cleaning, scrubbing, over and over and over again, Instead, we leave, and come back to a nicely organized, clean house - then it’s nap time, and I get to take care of dinner things or read books or watch movies or some combination of those. They’ve been coming for approximately 1 month, and It has been really really nice.

The Tinyhuman seems to like his visits to the YMCA - I take him over to the childminding folks (that don’t particularly like me - but they do like him, which is all that matters) and I get some time to run or weight lift or aquafit. Then I scoop up the kiddo and we go swimming together - something he really seems to love too.

A few things I’ve started to encourage in the house are random spontaneous dance parties. I’ll turn on a song on our Sonos, and declare a dance party, and go to the centre of the living room and dance. This will invariably (so far) encourage other members of the family to join me. It’s a fun break to occasionally sedentary time at home, while also encouraging silliness, laughter, and getting our heart rates up a bit.

07 Nov 2017, 04:01

We went outside and other things

The Tinyhuman had a swimming lesson this morning - he went with his dad, and I slept in until the glorious time of 9am. I’m getting pretty into these Saturday mornings where I sleep in, and then do some housework while they go play in the pool. In my head, I thought maybe I would start going to the gym, but I end up doing things I have a hard time doing while the kid is at home instead.

Maybe that’s fine. It doesn’t give me anything in particular to brag about, but I do get it done. I’ve been working on a 30 day declutter challenge from Clutterbug, and it’s already made a really positive impact on our house. I don’t think I ever thought I’d become so domesticated.

I’m hoping we can return to the gym together next week now that most of the signs of his cold have disappeared.  I’ve so missed Aquafit and I’m thinking of doing more weight training on future visits since I used to love it so much.

One thing that was great was putting together another For The North box while they were at lessons - this one is going to a low income parents support group in one of the Northern provinces/territories. I don’t believe in reiki or the like, but i still like to visualize a lot of good energy going into every one of the boxes I pack up. It’s been such a thrill to be able to do this. I hope it’s helpful.

The almost-1-year old we were matched with under the Northern Birthday Box project got her birthday supplies last week, it’s been eye opening to see how expensive things can be for people that live there - boxes of really basic cake mix or icing sold here for 1-2$ are 10-15/box. I’ve got a bit of a birthday complex, so it’s been deeply satisfying to be able to send people the things the need to celebrate a birthday. We’ve done two so far, but now they have more people interested in sending than they have applicants, so the next time is probably far off. I signed up to be a last minute box sender incase someone flakes out.

This weekend we went to a different forest than our usual spot, and explored a little. Our intention was to play in the playground, but wouldn’t you know it - the kiddo wanted to run in the trees. No surprise there! He’s wearing a new-to-us hoodie from Maxmorra I picked up from a mama on a BST group. I was excited, but he was even more excited, it was so darn cute. He really loves cars. And he was thrilled.

This time of year I’m a little at a loss as to what to dress him in - it’s kind of cool, windy, rainy, sometimes warm, sometimes wet. Snow makes more sense to me, winter makes more sense. Though we’ll see if I’m still saying that once January rolls around.