Thursday, June 25, 2015

Girl's World

I haven't been blogging much recently. This is mainly due to the arrival of Twinkle who, while lovely in many ways, brings our family to a level of 'interesting' that means that there isn't much time or brain space left over for other things!

Twinkle is the 7th child I've fostered, but she is the first girl I've had who wasn't a tiny baby. I have discovered that in some ways, little girls really are different from little boys. It's been quite the steep learning curve:

Clip and Bobbles

I have had little in the way of hairdressing to do previously. OB doesn't even really submit to having his hair brushed and I let that battle go a long time ago. And the babies tend to be on the bald side. But Twinkle has a full head of girly, curly hair. It requires clips. And bobbles. Lots of them. More than I thought, in fact, because they have invariably slipped (or been pulled!) out of her hair within 30 minutes of me painstakingly putting them in. I've lost count of the times I've sent her to nursery with several clips strategically placed so as to have maximum staying power (who am I kidding?!), only to pick her up later and find that nobody knows where they are. It's possible that somebody is planning to open a clip shop in the near future. I'd send her without, but clips in her hair are apparently a deal-breaker for her mum, so on we go.

Pink Things 

I know that all little girls are not into pink things, but Twinkle definitely is and, even if she wasn't, I reckon it's virtually unavoidable. My house is full of pink plastic all of a sudden. Massive unwieldy plastic prams with a selection of truly awful dollies. I don't like dolls - they freak me out a bit. And stickers. All the sparkly, sparkly stickers.

Disney

Le' i' goh, Le' i' goh . . . 
Up to this point we've totally avoided anything Frozen. OB has barely heard of the film and never seen it. Not so Twinkle, who seems to have more than a passing knowledge of all things "Le' i' goh". Meals need to be served on the "Le' i' goh plate", drinks in the "Le' i' goh cup". The soundtrack of our every breakfast time is "I wan' mah Le' i' goh poon!" Oh, and on a semi-related note, we also have a selection of One Direction accessories in the house. Twinkle has no idea who they are.

Footwear 

OB's footwear needs are pretty basic. He has nice shoes and trainers. In the winter we add wellies. In the summer, sandals. That's it. And his shoes are robust and last for ages - at least until he's grown out of them anyway. Not so with Twinkle's shoes. She's been here less than two months. She's already had six pairs of shoes. And most of them are stupid. There are bows and flowers and butterflies stuck all over them, practically begging "pick me until I fall off"! She destroyed one pair on the second time she wore them by letting her toes scrape on the floor while in the pram. They wore through to her socks in a matter of moments. And while I'm talking about socks, seriously, how filthy is it possible for a garment to get? Boys' socks tend to be in dark colours, patterned, dirt-hiding. Girls' socks are apparently all pastel coloured. Lovely. Now most of Twinkle's are permanently dirt coloured.

Sprinkle-free Tinkle

Here's an unexpected plus point of girls, as I see it. When Twinkle goes to the toilet, everything she does just goes straight into the toilet. Those of you who have boys will understand my delight!

Skirts and Dresses

I've never dressed a child in a skirt before - they're not always so practical for tiny babies. And apparently not for Twinkle either, who can't get the hang of what to do with it when she goes to the toilet, so she just takes it off, leaves it on the floor and comes out semi-naked. Dresses look lovely on her, but when she goes to the toilet in those she tends to fail to lift them up sufficiently. Yeah. Some unpleasant moments there.

Tights

Aaaaaaaaggghhhh! 'Nuff said!

Friday, June 12, 2015

So, Let's Start Protecting Our Foster Kids Then

I've written this post over and over in my head since the first episode of 'Protecting Our Foster Kids' aired. I've been through the programme's events, wondered at the bits we weren't shown (I'm sure there was a lot left out!), wished so hard that things had turned out differently for those sisters, and rebutted many of the naive, judgemental and sometimes downright insulting comments I heard and read about those foster carers.

I've written it so often and so eloquently in my head that I'm not going to bother writing it all again here. I'm over it. Instead, I'm just going to say this:

If you watched that programme and thought those foster carers weren't good enough, that they failed those children, that the children deserved better, that the system is broken or that you could have done better, then go and apply to be a foster carer.

I'm not being flippant.

What we saw in that documentary was the sad reality for so many young people ricocheting around the foster care system. Apparently 25% of teens will have had 4 or more placements. This is why I metaphorically roll my eyes when I hear people talk about 'permanence options' in the context of long term foster care. Often, there's nothing permanent about it.

So, maybe you watched that programme and thought you could do better. Perhaps you could. Call your local authority or a voluntary agency near you and enquire about becoming a foster carer then.

And if it's not for you, now or ever, then that's ok. It's not for everyone. But let's remember this: whatever else we might say about those foster carers, their commitment, their experience or their abilities, at least they stepped up and tried to do something. They made that call. They stepped into the unknown. Nobody goes into fostering to let kids down. Most people don't go into fostering at all. Let's give a little credit to those who at least tried to marry actions to their words.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cracking Our Toilet Code

It's Foster Care Fortnight so really I should be posting something heartfelt and yet insightful about fostering, but after surviving our recent camping trip relatively unscathed, together with all the effort of packing/unpacking/packing/unpacking that comes with it, not to mention a massive laundry pile, I just really don't have the energy.

So, yeah, fostering is great - you should definitely give it a go. That's all I've got.

In the meantime, here is a handy list of things that the urgently uttered phrase "I need a wee!!" might really mean in our house these days:

I really need to distract you!

I don't like the way this conversation is going!

I don't want to sit at the table to eat my meal!

I don't want to do what you just told me to do!

I'm hoping the implicit threat of wet pants will make you stop the whole 'time-in' thing immediately!

I want to get out of the pram!

I want to get out of the car seat!

I don't want to go wherever you want me to go!

I really want to sabotage someone else's attempt to have a wee because it's a competition of course!

I was hoping this strategy would work but forgot I already had my bedtime nappy on!


Very occasionally it might also be a signifier that somebody actually does want a wee, but I've never yet been wrong in predicting when that actually is the case. So if you see me out and about, adamantly refusing to let a cherub-faced toddler go to the toilet despite insistent requests, please don't call Social Services!