It’s been a tough day as a new foster mommy. Can I just admit that. Today was my first day taking Little Man to church with me on a Sunday. For those of you who may have missed it, I’m a children’s pastor and I spend a lot of time at church on the weekends. We have one service on Saturday nights as well as three on Sunday mornings. I took Little Man last night and he did awesome. Today I knew would be tough. Three services means I’m there from about 8am till 3pm. That’s a long day for a little guy. Especially when the other kids get picked up by their parents and get to go home, but he’s still stuck there. And then there’s the fact that he can still see me, because it’s part of my job to check on his (and every other kids’) class. By the end of the day he’s hungry (even though I packed him a light lunch and he had lots of snacks) and tired (cause he missed his nap). To add to that already highly combustable equation, he is surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of people he doesn’t know, but who know something about him. Now, I’ve never been a foster kid, but I’m pretty sure that would freak me out. I mean, strangers show up and you could suddenly be moving to a new home with a new mom the next day. It’s happened to him three times already in the past two months. So, crowded lobbies and hallways with people who want to gush over you, hold you, and talk to you is probably more than a little scary.
I’m trying to find a babysitter for him on Sundays, so he won’t have to spend the day there, but for today he was with me. He handled the services extremely well, but I knew the tough part was still to come. It was time to leave church and he started disobeying everything I said. (A pattern that would continue most of the afternoon and evening.) When he gets upset he throws himself on the floor and curls up in the fetal position. We needed to head out, so I was trying to balance a heavy two year old with a purse, diaper bag, laptop case, and coffee mug. We’d barely gotten in the car when he crashed and was sound asleep. But in just a few minutes I had to wake him up to go inside the house and eat a “real” lunch. And as much as he hates nap time, he equally hated being woken up when he was so tired. And yet, once inside he was awake again and there was no way he was going to finish that nap.
We spent the afternoon and evening doing a lot of playtime, but it was interspersed with lots of frustration. I could tell he had just as much as he could handle for the day, and now that he was in a somewhat familiar environment he was ready to push boundaries (including disobeying, hitting, hair pulling, running away, and screaming). A lot of normal two year old stuff, just amped up a lot because of all the chaos in his life right now.
And in the midst of all the crazy being spat at, having my hair pulled, and being slapped in the face, I thought “What did I get myself into?! Why did I ever think this was a good idea?!” And of course, then I feel incredibly guilty. I knew adjusting my schedule would be the hardest part of this process. Going from having total freedom in my non-work hours to having none is a pretty radical change. Not to mention that fact that the Little Man wants to get up before the sun!
I have way too much time alone with my thoughts these days. You might think that’s an odd statement, considering that I’ve lived alone most of my adult life. But I’m always occupying my mind with something else — books, tv, movies , magazines. It’s rare that I’m sitting in silence. Which is mostly what’s happening when my dinner partner/playtime buddy is mostly non-verbal. It’s a very one-sided conversation, which leads to lots of time thinking these crazy thoughts and then feeling guilty about them. I’m beginning to understand all of those mom’s who are always talking about hiding out in the bathroom to get a break. Right now I’m holding out for the hour and a half alone time that’s coming tomorrow while he’s at school.
Anyway . . . thats my ugly truth today. Anyone else ever been there?