Browsing Tag

foster

Our run-in with law enforcement

November 18, 2016


Dear Deputy:

I know you remember me. I was the mom that walked into your office 15 minutes before the door closed for the day. I had the one-year-old that was eating dirt from the potted plant in the waiting room. I also am the mom to the boy that was sitting in the chair.

You may have realized that the older of the two boys called me by my first name. That is because I am technically not his mom. I did not bring him into this world. I, however, care for him each day and love him just as I love our infant that I carried for nine months.

How we ended up at the Sheriff’s office started a long time ago, but I will do my best to fill you in. At our house, we have one rule: Be the best you can be. Recently, that rule hasn’t been followed.

When taking things that are not ours (stealing) became an issue, we tried different approaches. We have tried taking away toys, eliminating time on electronics, time-outs, and rewarding positive behavior with coveted items. Although we will always continue to reward positive behavior, we found that taking away toys, has had the most impact. In addition, we implemented a three-strike system.

If we catch our son stealing, he gets a toy taken away and we also draw an “x” on the fridge to show that he received a strike. We reset the strike count on Sundays. On Monday, the strike count was already at two. Two toys had been removed and two strikes had been drawn on the fridge. We clearly stated to our son that if he received three strikes due to stealing, then we would be going to talk to a police officer, together.

Now, before you shame me for making the police out to be bad people, I will have you know that we paint a great picture of our men and women in uniform. At every hockey game and football game, we make sure to talk to every officer (and security guard) in our path. We wave out the car window whenever we see police, sheriff, or border patrol vehicles. On Halloween, we encouraged our son to dress up like a police officer because he has always been fascinated with the “trinkets” those in uniform wear each day.

Tuesday

When I picked up our son after school, I was told that he stole an item out of the office. Although, it was just something small, I took this report very seriously. Unfortunately for me, this was the third strike. If you remember, after three strikes, we were going to have to go speak to a police officer.

To be honest with you, I really just wanted to go home. I wanted to turn our three-strike system into a four-strike system. However, if I did that, then I wouldn’t be holding true to my words. To the police station we drove.

When we arrived at the police station, as a small-town girl, I instinctively walked upstairs to the sheriff’s office instead of waiting for a police officer. After we spoke to the attendant, we waited.

I prayed.

During that waiting time, I prayed. I prayed that you wouldn’t laugh at me when I told you our “problem”. I prayed that this would be an educational lesson on stealing. I also prayed that God would guide your words as they had the power to shape a young mind.

You see, I was out of strikes AND out of ideas. I needed a backup. Being a foster parent is so hard, and I felt like I was failing. I really didn’t know what else to do.

When you arrived, you knelt down to the level of our son. After a few minutes, he was able to look you in the eyes. Although you two only chatted for a few minutes, I want you to know that you made an impact on that little boy.

When we got in the car and I asked him what he learned, he told me three things:
1. “Police officers are actually really nice.”
2. “Asking is better than stealing.”
3. “If I do good in school, I can be an astronaut and fly to Jupiter.”

Thank you.

Thank you for helping me as a parent.
Thank you for helping teach our son that those in uniform can be caring and compassionate.
Thank you for taking time out of your day to make an impact on a little boy’s life.

Thrive or Survive? How we make our mornings easier.

November 11, 2016

Mornings at our house can be brutal. On mornings that the dog goes to daycare (don’t judge), it usually takes me 1.5 hours between leaving our house and getting to work… on a good day! The morning brings so many unknowns.

Will the dog run away?
Will our foster child, Little Man (LM), decide he wants to color our white carpet with green marker?
Will Jude poop the second I get him into his car seat?
Usually, the answer is yes.

When it comes to the “kids”, there are many things I don’t have control over. However, our mornings are remarkably bearable when I take the time to plan ahead, and line up everything I can beforehand. Here is how we thrive in the morning…instead of just survive.

1. Lay EVERYTHING out.
After the kids are in bed, I take at least a half hour getting everything ready for the next day. We are fortunate enough to have a heated garage, so I am able to put Jude’s socks, shoes, jacket, and diaper bag in the car the night before. (Previously, I put his socks and shoes on in the house, but he just takes them off when I am driving.) Little Man’s backpack and jacket are also placed in the car. In addition, I place my own items like my workout bag and food in the car.

2. Make Little Adjustments
The first week we had LM at our house, I forgot to pack a snack almost every day. After talking with the teacher, I found out that I could bring a months worth of snacks to be stored in the classroom. Problem solved.

3. Ask For Help
My mom drives by our house on her way to work in the morning. I usually check with her to see if she can help by dropping off one kiddo. Although it isn’t a very practical option, it gives me a little bit of a breather.

On days when LM’s school is closed, he goes to a daycare that opens up before Jared needs to be at work. On those days, Jared is on daddy duty so once again, I can have a little break.

4. Morning Checklist
I am not a morning person. I am more of a “hit the snooze button 90328482 times” person. I could sleep until noon if my little dictator  Jude would let me. To make sure we are awake on time, I bought LM an alarm clock. I love that it teaches responsibility AND each morning, the alarm clock gets yelled at instead of Jared or myself.

Once the alarm goes off, LM has a checklist to complete. When he completes all six items with no reminders, there is the option to play with a toy on the way to school. This has been a game changer! One day this week, I actually arrived at LM’s school before the secretary! If you can’t tell, I am proud of that!

I am always looking for ways to thrive instead of just survive when it comes to our morning routine. Do you have any ideas for us?

Let me know if you would like a copy of the morning checklist we use!
I have another copy that has a sun instead of the pill bottle to show that waking up is the first task to complete.

Weekend Recap

November 7, 2016

FriYAY
After work, we packed up the kiddos and went to the big town of Forest River, North Dakota for supper. Being it was the first Friday of the month, they had a prime rib special. Jude made himself at home in the bar resturant and both boys put on the charm. Jude even got M&Ms from our waitress in return for smiles and kisses. For this mom, plain beer and great company were the highlights of the evening!

Saturday
On Saturday, our foster-child’s sibling came over for a play date. I was extremely excited to see that our local movie theater, River Cinema, had a sensory-friendly showing of the movie Trolls. To make it sensory friendly, they keep the lights on, the volume low, and allow you to walk around. At one point, I believe there were 5 of us parents standing so that we could wrangle the kids running around the theater. I was so appreciative of this sensory-friendly option. With it, I was able to take three kids to a movie without any added stress. I hope this option continues to be available in the future! The kids said they loved the movie. 

Attention Parents:  If you take kids to this movie, bring a book… unless trolls farting cupcakes is your forte.

Sunday
Sunday was another beautiful day outside! We went to my parents’ farm and my mom took some great family photos of all of us. Although we will not be able to use photos of our foster child in our Christmas card, I am so happy we will have the photos to remind us of our journey as a family of four.

Monday Morning
When I was in college, I loved daylight savings because when the bars close at 2:00 a.m., it is really 3:00 a.m.! As a parent, I despise it. A 5:00 a.m. human alarm clock named Jude made sure that we had PLENTY of time to play before school. Uffff.

Happy Monday!