Respite

So, we have a new little one in the house - we're calling him Little Boy (LB) - and he's very little, only three months old.  Officially he's here on a week's respite, but actually things are a bit more complicated than that, and it's not entirely certain whether that week will stretch to two or three, and where he might end up after he leaves here.

As usual, everything was a bit last minute and rushed.  I received a phone call at around 11.30am as I was hanging a blind (I always seem to be doing DIY when I get these calls!), and by 4pm he was here.  This is quick, but actually it's more notice than I've had before.  So, it was a day of frantic phone calls, social workers populating the house drinking brews and wafting paperwork around, and determined unearthing of all the small baby equipment which, since I moved house, has been stashed away in some very random corners.

Amazing how the arrival of such a tiny person can
make your house seem half the size!

And in the middle of all of this I had to pick OB up from Playgroup and gently explain to him that not only would Mamy and Papy be arriving later that day, but also a tiny little baby would be coming to visit.  OB was intrigued.

"Do baby play with toys, Mummy?  Do baby like ice cream?"

I'm proud to say that OB has been a little superstar.  Apart from one wobble today when he didn't want me to put the baby in his old pram, he's been lovely with the baby.  We've been talking about a new baby coming for a while now, ever since he saw me moving NB's old cot into the new nursery, so it wasn't a complete shock to him.  Unlike me, OB could actually remember where the baby toys were stored - cue much grunting and shouts of, "Mummy! Elp!" as he dragged the box out from under my bed and tried to get it downstairs to share the contents with LB.

And LB is fascinated with OB's antics.  His eyes follow around the room as OB jumps, runs, plays, sings and generally puts on quite the performance. He's a contented baby, sleeping through already (amazing!) and mostly quite happy to sit around staring at everything.  In fact, I'd forgotten how much easier a tiny baby is than a lively, demanding toddler!

Even better is that, with wonderful timing, my parents will be staying here all week, so I have two very capable sets of helping hands around the place, I won't have to worry about cooking meals, and, best of all, OB will not lack fuss and attention while I'm having to deal with the baby.

As for LB, well, this is just one of what will probably be several major upheavals before his future is settled. Whenever I think about how children are moved around in foster care, I can't help comparing the suddenness of it all with the carefully-managed intros of adoption.  Little LB has come, without warning, to a strange house, with strange people and strange smells, and a carer who doesn't really know his routines and doesn't yet know him well enough to read all his signals yet, leading to a lot of experimenting for me, and uncertainty for him.

By the time he's been here for a week, we'll probably have got the hang of each other, and then it'll be time to move on again.  Every move is a disrupting experience for these little ones, shaking already fragile bonds of attachment.  But as I keep saying, these are 'on balance' decisions.  The moves are disruptive, yes, but probably better than the alternatives.

Meanwhile, we will get on with enjoying the new dynamic that LB is bringing into our lives.  Right now, LB is bouncing on my Mum's knee, slightly bobbly-headed, and OB is leaning over him surprisingly tenderly, explaining that his milk isn't ready yet and showing him the rocket cup we bought today.  Gorgeous!

Comments

  1. Oh my word - what a week. Overwhelming but amazing! The best of luck with the settling in and with strengthening those attachments.

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    1. Thank you - we're having a very pleasant weekend. LB is a real sweetie!

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  2. I just feel so sad when I hear about the pillar and post lives of these babies. Baby Spouse's birth mother had the choice of seeing him go into foster care or to us. She wasn't in foster care herself but she has friends who were and she decided she didn't want that for him.

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    1. It's more straightforward when adoption is the care plan, but when it isn't, foster carers are needed to bridge the gap when birth parents can't, especially in the 0-3 age group that I foster. It's much harder for older children, I think, when the chances of a real permanent placement are not so high and placements often break down.

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  3. Sounds like a busy household!! Sounds like fun though!

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    1. We are quite a bit busier than usual - from 2 to 5 people overnight! But I like it :)

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  4. I would love to be able to do what you do. What an amazing gift you have.

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    1. Thank you! But it's no big deal really :)

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