Thanksgiving marked our first full week with Ms. Bee. I would have liked to write an update sooner but my hands have been pretty full. A year ago when we were thinking about reopening our home as foster parents, I didn’t think I wanted to parent another baby. I was hoping for a child older than Alianna. God heard my heart and we got 2.5 year old Buzz Lightyear. It was hard; really hard. The closeness of his and Ali’s age; the fact that he was grieving and angry and missing his mom; the fact that they were both close to 2 years old; it was our first experience parenting two children…it was a very challenging season that ended up being very rewarding. We’re thankful we were able to support he and his mom during that time. By the end of it, I was starting to think about babies again. I take back what I said…I want a baby again. My fellow Facebook and Instagram foster mamas understand this as “foster baby fever.”
Again, God heard my heart and we got Bee. Jason and I are both really, really enjoying having a baby around again. I actually said to him the other day, “Maybe we should only foster babies. They’re so much easier.” This time around is much more relaxed: we’ve done baby before, we’ve done parenting two kids before, we’ve done the foster care system before. It’s taken a few days to figure out how much Bee needs to sleep each day and how much formula she drinks and how often. We’re gently nudging her towards a schedule we prefer. She sleeps well: 10-11 hours most nights and takes 3-4 naps a day. It’s kind of amazing how much more laid back we are as parents this time around. Oh, and babies are so easy to love and attach to! Jason and I are already smitten with little Bee. We’re pretty sure her stay with us will be short term but that doesn’t stop us from falling completely in love with her.
Alianna’s transition into big sisterhood has been the biggest learning curve. We’ve seen jealously and regression. We weren’t able to prepare her much for this experience. I’ve told her many times that Buzz’s bedroom would soon belong to another child and we’d have someone else come and live with us for a while. I only had an hour warning about Bee specifically and I knew that even with that, it wasn’t a guarantee that she was coming until her case worker called back to say, “We’re leaving the office now.” That gave me about 15 minutes switch from, “There may be a baby girl coming here tonight,” to “Ali, there is a baby sister coming here tonight. She’s going to stay with us for a while just like Buzz did.” The second day I heard Ali tell Bee to go away a couple times. She asked me if Bee was going home to her mommy. We’ve explained many times that Buzz is home with his mommy so I’m not sure if Ali was hoping Bee’s going home with her mommy (now) or if she’s asking the bigger question that we’re all asking, is she going to leave?
I believe the jealousy and regression have a lot to do with the sudden influx of baby toys, products and contraptions. Within a day or two we had a bouncy seat, Bumbo, swing, Johnny Jump Up and some kind of activity center jumping unit. In addition to that, we have bottles, bibs, burp cloths, blankets, rattles, teethers, toys and crinkle books. I can’t blame Ali at all for being jealous and for wanting to try out everything and be a baby, too. A mom of three confirmed my hunch that we should both indulge and discourage her behavior. Allow her to check things out and pretend to be a baby but keep reminding her that she doesn’t need those things anymore because she’s a big girl now. She’s been pretty good about helping me, especially getting a new diaper and wipe and taking the dirties to the trash can. She loves Bee and most of the time wants to be near her, gives her kisses, asks were she is and what she is saying. I can confidently say that after a week things are feeling pretty normal.