Because our situation is unique, every fostering situation is unique. Why, you might ask? Because for the most part, you do not have a complete picture of the child’s history.
For example, when Nic came to us the first time, he wouldn’t drink milk. It became a little fight we had. Since we had in-home services, our case worker advised me to go slow with it, he was probably put to bed with a bottle (which is evident now based on how his teeth have come in) and/or allowed to carry a bottle around. He probably picked up a soured bottle. Once a child tastes soured milk they may not drink milk for a while.
One of the biggest things we are working on now is asking for help. I believe people who do not ask for help end up never moving past a certain level in life. We all need help at different points in our life. Sometimes we have a money shortage (yep, even the most wealthy people sometimes have money shortages…although much bigger amounts of money are needed than we have a shortage). When I think about the people I know who have been addicted to drugs and alcohol, they all needed to ask for help and didn’t. Sometimes we need prayer…sometimes we need a hug. Sometimes we need help putting on our underwear or pulling our pants up or down (think very young or very old).
I found out yesterday that as far as “thinking” skills go, Nic is behind in problem solving. Much of that may have to do with not having anyone to teach him basic things. He has had to figure out many things on his own. I am not sure how he managed to make it to the ripe old age of two and half.
As I have mentioned a 100 times in previous posts, my sister, Jenny and her husband, John went through a program called, “Growing Kids God’s Way”. One quote I often hear her say to her 5-year-old is, “You are being wise in your own eyes”. (Proverbs 3:7) So often we are “wise” in our own eyes…apparently, we do this from when we are very little. (Jenny also uses big words with her children like “disobedient” and I fully plan on copying her).
Nic can be so “wise in his own eyes” at times. He doesn’t want to ask for help. My speech training has taught me to wait. Just wait until he asks. If I wait without prompting, he will just look at me and NOT ask just keep looking at me. So I have to say, “Do you need something?” or “Do you want something?”. Sometimes, I still do not get a response. It is like something in his little brain isn’t working. But I know his brain works near perfectly because yesterday he pasted most of his tests and I know he is super smart. So I wait.
Waiting is good sometimes. Sometimes that is when we find out “we can”. Yesterday, while waiting for him to ask for help with his britches (that’s real, real southern for pants), after a minute or two of trying to unsnap them, he did it. He was able to unsnap, partially unzip and pull his down by himself. He accomplished it. I cheered. He still cannot take his shoes off by himself but we are working on it.
I had a moment of realization…. We moms work so hard to help our kids become independent. We want them to think and do for themselves. And then…they don’t need us any more. If we are successful at our jobs, they grow up and they don’t need us anymore and then we no longer have a job. We are in effect working ourselves out of a job. (This is hard for me to handle coming from my “corporate” background of guard your job with y our life – that’s another blog). And we are sad because we like being needed and because they aren’t little anymore.
So today after the 14th try of putting on his underwear (because he wouldn’t ask for help and I was waiting), I held him and prayed for him and told him that I love him because in a year or two or five, he won’t want to sit in my lap and give me a long hug….because he won’t need me anymore (hopefully) to help him put on his underwear.
While I look forward to the day when I no longer have to help him wipe, I also realize I will miss his little mispronunciations (like saying “all” for “ball”) and his little fingers and little toes….the perils of parenthood.