One thing to remember in foster care, everybody lies. Most often, it is well intentioned fibs. There were some outright lies, like he sleeps through the night! He naps. He eats everything. The caseworker will contact you.
Day 1: The boys are dropped off. Mason and the foster parents toddler begin tearing through the house. We lay 3 month old Lucas in the baby swing. Box after box of toys and clothes are brought in the house. The foster parents leave quickly. They had warned us they would. It is hard saying goodbye.
Mason won’t nap. He runs through the house like a tornado. Lucas cries and cries and cries. The swing doesn’t seem to work properly so we just manually get it going every few minutes.
Night 1: Lucas screams anytime we lay him down. I can’t get him in the bassinet. I walk outside and he finally falls asleep. As soon as I stop moving, he wakes screaming. I wonder if the neighbors hear.
Day 2: Mason gobbles down breakfast. Joe and I are exhausted. Lucas might have slept for an hour. The swing is the only thing that calms him down.
Night 2: Lucas cries nonstop. I’m not sure if I even tried the bassinet.
Day 3: Joe leaves for work. I want to cry. I have been unable to set up daycare for both kids. Lucas goes to one fifteen minutes away. I leave him, bleary eyed and guilt ridden. Mason’s daycare will take him Tuesday but they are technically closed this week for the break. I had no idea. I find myself having to help Mason constantly. Two sets of diapers is not fun and changing a nearly three year olds’ poopy diaper is pure torture. But I signed up for this. I pick Lucas up early and daycare complains that he is fussy.
Night 3: We realize the air conditioning is too low for Lucas to sleep. We raise the temperature and we are able to get him to sleep for two hours at a time.
Day 4: Transportation calls to set up visitation. No problem. I don’t remember much after this. I arrange to pick up a stroller the next day.
Night 4: Did I sleep? Did the baby sleep? Who can remember?
Day 5: I will never make another crack about maternity leave being a vacation as long as I live. It’s visitation day! Kids come home at 7, dirty and the baby slept during the whole car ride home. Great! The good news is Joe and I put together the crib while the kids were out. The bad news, the parents are complaining about dried blood in the baby’s ear.
Night 5: Lucas goes in the crib. Lucas goes back in the swing. Mommy lays on the couch. The neighbors must hate us.
Day 6: Parents complained to caseworker about the dried blood in the ears. She calls me when I’m an hour and a half away from daycare, with a compact car filled with baby stuff. I make an emergency doctor’s appointment, clear one spot for Lucas’ car seat, and speed to daycare, then an hour away to the doctors’ office. Apparently he has reoccurring ear infections and has to be on antibiotics.
Would some one please explain why you have to completely undress the baby at the doctor’s office and have to wait in the cold room for thirty minutes? Lucas threw up on me and I cried onto his bare back while the doctor said a prayer for both of us.
I drop Lucas at the visit, where Mason and his older sister are playing. Mom grabs him, frantic and immediately changes his diaper and prepares a bottle. Dad shakes my hand. Both are nice but dramatic.
They see I’m a person, not a monster. A very very tired person.
Night 6: Lucas spends the night in his room, bundled up, temperature raised, and sleeps for about two hours at a time.
Day 7: Joe is home. I take Mason out as he doesn’t have daycare. We go to the playground. I discover that I have to follow Mason on each piece of playground equipment, and convince him the big slide isn’t the best place to play. I am so unprepared.
Night 7: Two hours of sleep, an hour of feeding, two hours of sleep.