Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Aftermath of the Home Visit

I've always hated the day after the visit. I don't think I'm the only foster parent who feels that way.

Usually, L adjusts back to us and our routines pretty quickly, but the day after is always full of drama-queen behavior and she spends the day being reminded that I don't play the drama game. O needs a few days to be reminded that I mean what I say, that I have different rules than Mommy does. and that drama does not get him more attention from me.

This week was a doozy, though. And it started even before the visit this time.

To back up -- BioMom asked if I would send several things with the kids to her home for this visit, all of which I sent because they all sounded like either good ideas or at least reasonable ones.

She asked for:
  • a copy of our daily schedule/routine, so that she can keep things as consistent as possible for them.
  • a list of our house rules, for the same reason as above. Also, she said she was going to be creating a list of rules to post at her house, and I suspect she wanted to use mine as a starting place.
  • a set of pajamas for O and maybe for L. The kids will be getting back from this visit after bedtime, and BioMom wants to give O a bath and send him back ready for bed. She said she'd leave it up to L whether she wanted to do the same, which is why the pj's were a "maybe" for L.
We'll see if she ever does anything with the schedule and rules, although the cynic in me suspects that she took one look at them and scoffed that I'm too strict and regimented with her precious babies and I don't understand how sensitive they are.

Sorry. I'm feeling a little bitter and overwhelmed right now. These kids -- contrary to all of the examples I learned about in training -- appear to believe that everything they do is perfect and wonderful and cute and their mother appears to think that misbehavior by a 4 year old is cute and drama fits by an 8 year old are funny or endearing.  O uses affection to get out of trouble--he always asks for a hug or a kiss when he's done something wrong, in a way that is clearly intended to divert my attention from his misbehavior. L will scowl and stomp and sob as long as she has an audience.

As for the pajamas, technically, she needs to provide them with clothing. But, she's been sending everything she buys for them to me, so that they can wear them; the clothes she has at her house are a year old and too small. And this wasn't intended to be an overnight visit, for which she would be expected to provide their needs. So, I was fine sending the pajamas. (In fact, the supervisor told me that she'd told BioMom she needed to check their sizes during this visit and make sure she bought what they needed for the future; I told the supervisor that BioMom doesn't really need to buy them more clothes; they will be coming home with a fully stocked wardrobe made up entirely of clothes that belong to them already. BioMom shouldn't have to waste her money by buying another pair of new pajamas for children who already have 6 or 7 sets that fit them fine!)

The night before the visit, when I tucked O into bed, I started to say my usual, "Tomorrow is Tuesday and you get to see Mommy!", intending to throw in "and see her house and your room and meet the dog!" He interrupted me to say he was going home to Mommy tomorrow. Uh, what? I explained that he was going to see Mommy tomorrow at her house, but he'd still come back here that night. After I had him settled for the night, I realized that the pajamas had confused him. He heard her request them and knew he was bringing pj's to Mommy's house and having a bath there. He was certain that this meant he was sleeping there that night.

In the morning, he was still insisting he was going to sleep at Mommy's tonight. This time, I explained the plan to give him a bath and send him back to my house ready for bed and I think he finally believed me.

They got home so late from the visit with Mommy that they went right to bed.

And today -- the day after -- the behaviors were out of control.

L was in full drama queen mode--everything was huge and all about her and the end of the world. (And that is one of my buttons, so this sort of thing does not go well for either of us.)

O cried at breakfast because we were out of Froot Loops. He cried at lunch because Edmund had finished the leftover ham casserole and there wasn't any more left. Worse than the hair-trigger crankiness, he was back to not accepting No for an answer. "Can I do this?" "No, that's break this rule you already know about." "But I want to, so can I?" "I said No." "But WHY????"

They are both back to talking about "when we leave" and "when we go home." Will we take this with us? What about that? Mommy says the house is ready, so we can go home now, right? When will we? When will you know? Why don't you know?

No one had much to say about Mommy's house other than that they liked it. No comments about the pool, the "huge" yard (which the supervisor says is not that big), the treehouse....AND my bitterness is showing again.

L said somewhat wistfully that she "thinks Mommy's house is a trailer" (which it is).

Tomorrow will be better. But, today? Ugh.

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