Teens

Parenting lesson #6283

You will think it will be cool to lounge on your teen’s bed and hang out with them. You will laugh, giggle at Facebook posts and just enjoy them. You will trade quips and inside jokes. You will feel hip. Part of their generation. You might relive stories of your youth. All be well.

You will then attempt to get out of said bed and your teenager will be standing at the same time. She will then clock you in the head with the boniest elbow in the known universe. It will feel like being stabbed with a crooked tree branch at a high velocity. You will see stars. There will be pain.

Laughing will commence. Belly laughing will prevent her from moving so you will both be stuck on the stairs until she is able to stand while giggling.

I promise, you will make it down the stairs. Both teens will laugh. You will inform your spouse of said incident. He will just yell some insult at you from the basement and you will swear, while searching for that glass of wine, holding your poor sore head, that you are throwing them all out and getting more cats.

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The dreaded last minute permission slip

Lesson #568 in parenting teens : You will tell them 15,735,896 times to have you sign stuff for school the night before. They will still whip papers out of their school bags like some of jet fueled Mary Poppins 8 minutes before they have to be in school on the day said papers are due. It will be like a military grade ambush.

You will be pre-coffee. Inevitably it will be on a morning after you worked til ridiculous o’clock the night before. This is where all of those poker games will come in handy. You, if you have teens, should have mastered the most stoic poker face known to man.

It is too early for wine. You will probably have to go work yourself. Of course it probably won’t be one paper. It will be every paper they have hoarded from the dawn of time.

Since it is pre-coffee, finding a pen let alone using a pen correctly might be beyond your scope. A brief thought will cross your mind. No you won’t be able to hide the smell of vintage merlot on your breath no matter how much coffee you drink to cover it.

However, you will be ok. Papers will be signed somewhat legibly. You may have to break the land speed record (except for the school zone) to get them to school before the first bell. But you will do it and you will do it with dignity because you are a parent. I won’t say that in your head you won’t curse them with 16 children just like them. You will also probably go to work and count down the hours until you can wine. But that is neither here nor there.

To be fair though – if you have a new teen addition in your home, they get a pass the first 14,733 times because they have to do all the first day paperwork in 24 hours mid year.

So practice your poker face. Learn doctor style chicken scratch and return home at a legal speed to your glorious cup of steaming coffee. Love every minute of the never ending craziness because if they are teens, your time with them is short and someday you will miss the antics. On the upside, you will probably drink less wine. Maybe. #parenting

Prepping

Car seats in the car, locks installed everywhere, yummy stuff in the fridge, lunches packed for tomorrow, night night music cued in the tv, blankets and sheets washed and ready, toys disinfected and ready, floors swept and bleached …… this is like prepping for a disaster 😂😂😂😂

9 days …. it is only 9 days and you would think I was prepping for a lockdown of epic proportions 😂

Four different schools to go to tomorrow morning before 8am and before I go to work

And I was just informed that they like to flush everything they can find down the toilet 😂

God help me … my husband will probably be teaching them the toilet paper trick ..you know – the one where you put the end of the toilet paper in the toilet while it is still on the roll and flush 😂

They don’t like to eat anything … there went my good food habits 😂

Additionally – Mr Nubs is already standing guard at the bedroom door … I swear he knows what is coming.

Everyone from foster mom to the worker to the casa have said to call them if it is too much 😂

The baby is coming with an ear infection – poor girl 😢

FYI- we are probably not the best house to send your kids too – we will teach them all kinds of whimsical stuff so those of you thinking of sending your teens to us in Maine for a summer ..they might come back with piercings, tattoos, knowledge of the moose and a some new tricks of whimsy 😂😂😂😂😂

thisisfostercare

Holy hell – what I have gotten into this time

Just spoke to my youth. After the events of last night, we have decided to try the divide and conquer plan to handle the next 8 days of these kiddos.

Let’s keep it in perspective. We are the umpteenth home these kiddos have been in within a short range of time. We are strangers. And they are only here for respite. A short blip on the radar. They are in a loving and supportive foster home that truly acts in their best interest.

This is not easy – there are extremely challenging behaviors that are displayed despite their age. I have told people for years that working with foster kiddos is not all rainbows and unicorns.

Everyone always wants the littles – trauma is trauma no matter the age. How it manifests in littles is usually absolute defiance, extreme physical aggression and emotional meltdowns that could rival any hurricane.

Dude – teens are least able to tell you how they feel instead punching you in the side of head with a pink plastic teacup when you ask them to put on their shoes.

The difficulty with littles is that they can not explain the flight, freeze or fight aspects of their lives. It is intangible. Yet so obvious when watching their behaviors. Pushing every boundary gives them control.

They need control in their out of control lives. I get that. I applaud their resiliency. I know that most people don’t view challenging behaviors in a positive way, but really, when working with traumatized kiddos – you HAVE to reshape your thinking. To see life through their trauma lens.

And since we have an understanding of that – the boundaries were absolutely pushed last night because we pick our battles. We don’t have many buttons to push. Which led to even more extreme behaviors and some outright uncontrollable emotions in an attempt to get a reaction.

Oh sweet summer child – I have teenagers and an adult son … you are out of your league ….

Negative attention is always better than no attention.

This is why we are dividing and conquering. Each kiddo will get one on one positive and redirecting attention over the course of 8 days. It might not work. We might absolutely fail. It could devolve Into some Lord of the Flies chaos – but you know what, it is better to try than to not try.

Hopefully this plan of attack helps curb some of the challenges. The physical reminders of working with littles who have trauma are tangible. The emotional heartbreak of knowing that trauma is plainly evident in every foster kiddo is life lasting. We don’t forget that they are hurting or scared or confused or very very resilient.

We applaud the small things and when a four year old takes a chunk out of your forearm with her teeth because you asked her to brush her teeth, well at least she didn’t bite anyone else 😂 and you will learn to keep all parts of your body out of teeth range for the next 8 days

Tonight we tackle bath time and we are going to try to read a damn story before bed …. and maybe tonight, I will escape without a bruise or being being called “an ugly face” at the highest decibel known to man.

I have discovered that the pizza fairy is a viable incentive to promote positive choices – like not throwing your car seat at my face …. again … 😂

So tomorrow we will be having pizza. One cheese and one with pepperoni. Now I just have to remember to get pizza because the pizza fairy, much like santa, is always watching 😂 – look man – it was 2am and I was desperate … don’t fault me

I can say this – despite getting a booster seat to the face this morning, I did get a hug and a “don’t leave” when I dropped her at daycare five minutes after said booster seat took flight. Baby steps.

Wish me luck ….. because #thisisfostercare

PS: if you want to join me on this journey – I have foster parent training classes in Etown and Louisville going on right now … ❤️

The art of war – toddler style

Project Divide and Conquer day 1:

Initial results favorable. Physical aggression greatly toned down. Subjects muttering pizza pizza pizza pizza like a mantra every time a temper tantrum may arise

Bubble baths successful. Project manager additionally soaking wet and covered in bubbles throughout experiment.

Notes – toddlers will dance when changing diapers if music is playing in a 50 mile radius – making it near impossible to secure stupid Velcro tabs – duct tape suggested for future diaper adhesion … discard suggestion for legal reasons – dancing commenced

Furthermore – special magical berry juice can fix any wound including imaginary wounds from unidentified “stupid” shadows on the ground.

Results could be skewed based on proximity of subjects. However silence is emanating from their bedroom which indicates initial positive experimental results

Physical affection in the form of hugs and kisses were freely offered

Note for future reference – face masks may be a necessity for toddler kisses due to inherent nose goopy grossness mixed in with kisses

thisisfostercare

Flat bubbles

Funniest thing that happened tonight – I was succinctly told off by a very pissed off four year old because the bubbles in the bath tub were “flat”

Like what the heck does that even mean? And then when I laughed because it was absurd – she called me stupid and said I have stupid bubbles which made me laugh even more which pissed her off more until she gave up and played with her “stupid flat bubbles”

😂😂

thisisfostercare

Damn furniture

O’dark thirty lesson – don’t place your dining room chairs in a way that you could potentially trip on them on your way to the kitchen to get a cup of water for a screaming toddler. Especially if, in your haste to address the screaming, you forget to put on your glasses.

You will kick the chair. Your bare foot will not love that move and the toddler will still be screaming because of the injustice of an empty cuppy.

You might even run into it again as you make your way back to the living room where you have deposited the screaming banshee of cuteness. At that point you will utter several expletives which can’t be heard because of the squalling in the adjoining room.

At this point, you will push the dining room table, chairs and possibly the cats underneath across the room effectively throwing out your hip because you might not be a spry as you once were

However, once you clear the obstacles, make it back to the shrieking loon of a child, you will be able to give her the cuppy of water- and she will instantly silence.

Snuggle her and put her back to bed.

Throw a dirty look at the dining room, all of it, on your way back to your bedroom.

And, the next morning, if anyone even questions or complains about the noise in the middle of the night- you do have the right to look at them with the clear intention of possible bodily harm.

thisisfostercare

Demons

Have you ever seen a four year old wake up like she just arose from the pits of hell to destroy everything in her path only to realize that today is pizza day? It is probably the cutest thing I have witnessed in a hot minute.

Glowing red eyes, claws at the ready…. I approached the child cautiously … when she saw me and was about to pounce – because you know – I had to wake her up for school and little monsters hate being woken from their slumber –

I said, in the most sugary voice, “oh my goodness! Guess what today is!?!?”

Her claws retracted, scary eyes replaced with hopeful eyes, and she whispered with reverence “pizza day?”

Me- “yes ma’am it is but what has to happen today for that to happen?”

No longer demonic child “right choices!”

Me- “yup now let me help you get dressed”

Less evil entity of a youth – “yes ma’am”

It was like the stars aligned, doves of peace flew in and sunshine was abundant …. 😂😂

Oh and in case you are wondering – naked bananas (banana chips) are an absolute no no with this kid 😂
Only bananas with peels will do for her royal highness

I even got a hug and blown kiss before walking out the door of daycare and I swear she might have muttered “pizza” as she did it

thisisfostercare #onedayatatime #monstertamingspecialist