Lately, H has been refining his stalling techniques. Basically, you tell him it’s time to do something he doesn’t really want to do, so he decides to come up with something else to do instead. But that something else is generally important and cannot be overlooked.
Our Normal Bedtime Routine
So, bedtime is super fun. It goes something like this:
Me: H, it’s time for bed
H: Ok (stands up) Owwww! My foot hurts!
Then, we must examine the foot to ensure it is not actually hurt before proceeding to bed.
When the Truth Really Stinks
But last night, he came up with a new one. We brushed teeth, went potty, read a book, went through our “who loves you?” list and then it was lights out.
5 minutes later, I hear the door open. I walk down the hall and he says “I have to go potty” which is a pretty great new stall tactic because I’m not gonna risk it.
Off to the potty he goes and into the toilet he pees.
We go back to his room, I tuck him in again and close the door.
5 minutes later, I hear the door open again. Now, I’m irritated.
“H, you’ve gone potty twice! It’s time for bed.”
“But I have to gooooooo.”
“I don’t think so. Back to bed, buddy.”
“No, I have to go potty again!”
“Ok, I think you aren’t telling the truth. I’m coming with you and I’m gonna watch you pee in the potty because I don’t think you have any pee left.”
The other day, I got my first hate comment on a post. Basically, the commenter wanted to know why I didn’t treat H like “a biological kid”.
So, I’m going to address her comment and I’m going to say something that may be unpopular.
I don’t treat H like my son because he’s not my son.
Yes. I said it.
I care about H. I love him. Every day I fight for him. I want him to be happy. I want him to be healthy. This is why I cook almost every night rather than drive through McDonald’s on the way home. Fast food would be much easier, and a much faster cleanup, for sure.
It’s also why my husband and I tag team taking off work to make sure he gets to speech classes and doctors appointments and dentist appointments and the like. It’s why I spend way too much at Target because I cannot resist his smile when he sees he got a new dinosaur t-shirt that says 1,2,3 ROAR! on it.
But he’s not my son.
The Difference Between Bio Kids & Foster Kids
If H was my biological kid, he wouldn’t have 8 cavities. If H was my biological kid, he wouldn’t engage in self-harm. If H was my biological kid, he would have insurance that covered his appointments in the city where he lived.
You can love a foster kid as much as your biological kid, but you don’t and often can’t treat them the same. In some areas you may do a whole lot more, and in others you might do a whole lot less.
Last Monday, the case manager picked H up and drove him 3 hours away to a city that took his dental insurance. He stayed overnight with a foster parent in that city so he could get his rotten teeth taken care of on Tuesday morning. He was driven back to Tallahassee that afternoon and my husband left work early to pick him up and I took off work on Wednesday morning since he needed to be at home to fully recover from the anesthesia. (By the way, his bio mom was at the surgery center with him).
This is not ideal. It’s not what I would do for my biological child.
If it was my biological child, I would have taken off of work on Monday, driven to the city where the surgery was, rented a hotel nearby so I could be at the facility the next morning at 6:00 am, and be there when my kid woke up from surgery. Then I would drive them back home.
The Eternal Struggle All Parents Face
Some may say I should do that for H. I should do more. But as a parent, whether biological or a foster parent, you can always do more:
Every working mom should quit their job to spend more time at home raising their kids.
Every stay-at-home mom should get a job to teach empowerment to their little girls.
You should postpone buying a new house to enroll your kids in private school so they get the best education.
You should enroll your kids in public school so they know how to work with people in the real world.
But there’s another perspective here. I could let H run around in ratty clothes. I could have thrown my hands in the air and said “they’re only baby teeth” and not brought him to the dentist at all. I could have taken a trip to Hawaii (sorry Sophie, maybe next year) instead of spending the money on baby gates and pool fences and fire extinguishers, all needed in order to get licensed as a foster parent.
No, I’m not H’s mom. He has a mom. And I don’t do everything a biological mom does. But in other areas, I also do a lot more. And that’s enough.
One of the strangest parenting experiences I’ve had so far is the park. We’ve been going every weekend since H arrived, so I’ve been 6 or so times now. Each time, I find it stranger than the last.
“What is so strange about the park?” you may ask. Well, read on.
ONE: The parents don’t speak.
Being at the park reminds me of the subway in New York. Everyone is hanging out in close quarters but no one is speaking to each other. On the subway, however, it makes sense. You’re on it for an hour or so. Plus, you have earbuds in or your laptop open, which isn’t really conducive to starting a conversation.
You could find yourself at the park for 2 or 3 hours, however. And you can’t really focus on anything else (more on that in point 4) so you’re just huddled on the sideline with your coffee, not talking to the person 3 feet away, but not doing anything else either.
Now, I’m not from the south. Every time the cashier at Publix rings up something and then asks “are you having a party?” it completely throws me off because why is this STRANGER commenting on my groceries? But even so, I find it incredibly odd that you stand next to someone for hours and not say a word.
Part of this is on me, I’m sure. I could say something. But I’m the newbie (even if my kid is 4). I looked around for context clues the first couple of weeks and came to the conclusion that I would be the weirdo if I just struck up a convo. People just don’t do it.
TWO: Parents don’t play with their kids.
If I went to the park and no one was there but me and H, I would totally go down the slide and swing on the monkey bars. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable park behavior.
Instead, parents are expected to stand there while their kids get to run around. I don’t have any stats to back this up, but maybe this is where the obesity problem is coming from.
Even if I skipped the monkey bars and opted instead for some casual lunges around the park perimeter, it would get some stares. You’re unofficially expected to stand or sit there until your feet or your butt go numb.
The ONLY parents I’ve seen actually playing with their kids in the park are the helicopter moms who are SUPER concerned some bigger kid might knock poor Johnny over, so they literally follow around their kid like a shadow and (the worst part IMO) even make the kids go down the slide sitting between their legs.
I guess it’s in case the kid got a wild hair to LEAP off the slide, they wouldn’t be able to because the mother has gone to years of yoga and her inner thighs are like steel traps, the muscles specifically developed to keep kids from escaping.
THREE: You know the other kids’ names.
This kind of ties into the weirdness from point one. You have no clue who these parents are but I can tell you all about Gabby. She’s 3 AND A HALF. She has a puppy. Sometimes he pees in the house. She doesn’t like getting her shoes wet.
FOUR: Parks are super dangerous.
So maybe, just maybe, the parents don’t talk because they are watching their kids so intently since deep down they know they’ve brought them to a death trap that could mangle, maim or kill their child at any minute.
Seriously, who designs these things? I know they got rid of teeter totters and those metal spinning circles but I literally watched a 7 year old girl leap from the platform to the monkey bars, miss by an inch, fall flat on her face and get the wind knocked out of her for a good 2 minutes. She didn’t even cry she was so stunned. Just sat there gaping while I ran over and frantically looked around (where was the helicopter parent when you need them?) for a responsible adult.
After I sat her up and dusted her off as best I could, a dad came running up (surprise), checked her vitals and then (surprise again) didn’t say a word to me EVEN THOUGH WE WERE BOTH THERE for a good bit after the fall!
FIVE: There’s always a brat using the equipment inappropriately.
I want to know who keeps bringing their 11 year old to a park filled with 4-7 year olds. Sign your kid up for organized sports. Their motor skills are developed, ok? All they do is climb the wrong way up the slide, throw tennis balls and teach my kid bad behavior.
I’m going to scold them. Don’t put it past me. And you’ll either let me reprimand your kid for breaking the rules or it’ll force you to talk to me.