Hi guys! As usual, I have several half started posts in my drafts that have been interrupted for one reason or another, and never finished. Right now is one of the sweet spots in the day, so let’s see what happens!
I think a lot of you follow me on one social media platform or another, so you know we have had a baby the last month or so. She was placed with us at 5 days old, right out of the hospital. Parenting a newborn the second time around has been infinitely easier, but harder in some ways, than the first time. Taking the hormones and the exhaustion from the birth itself and breastfeeding out of the picture has made this sooooo much more enjoyable. I’m not gripped with anxiety and on edge about everything, which is more comfortable for everyone including the baby, I think. I know every baby has a different personality, but man. She sleeps, she eats, she stares at things, she rarely fusses or cries, all a far cry from Ali’s babyhood personality. Overall she’s just a little dream baby, such a wonderful little addition to our family.
The hard things revolve around us not having any maternity leave. When she first came to us, I was finishing up the on boarding process for the hospital I work at, so had lots of extra hours I had to work. At one point I averaged 60 hrs per week while taking care of a 2-3 week old. It sucked, and there was a lot of guilt around leaving her with a sitter that young. Thankfully that’s over, and I’m doing my normal amount of hours. We struck gold with our sitter, she’s amazing, so I feel a lot more comfortable with sending the baby. Plus she’s a little bit older which makes a difference.
So, about the baby’s case. Is she going be a keeper? Who knows. The mom is pretty low functioning MR, so she won’t be placed back with her mother. Side note, what kind of man has sex with a low functioning MR woman? A piece of shit rapist, that’s who. The family knows who he is, but isn’t giving up the name to social services. (I get a bit of the inside scoop from a coworker who is a distant relative.) Anyway… mom isn’t an option, dad apparently isn’t interested. There’s a great aunt who said she would take the baby ‘someday when she’s a little older’. So, I guess maybe someday she will go back to family? Who knows. I just try to live in the moment and enjoy the snuggles while she’s here.
The other kids are doing well. Ali turned 4 last week, I can hardly believe it! She seems so big, and mature these days. Well, she is objectively big, it’s true. She wears size 5/6 in clothing, and the 5s are pretty much too small after this most recent growth spurt. Man, keeping this kid clothed is expensive! Once you get out of the toddler section, the prices really jump up!
Thankfully, Ali seems to be pulling out of the horror show of three year old emotions. The adjectives angry, mean, and defiant apply to her less and less these days. I’m seeing a lot more cheerful, easygoing, and sassy. I like it. I feel like she’s going through a lot of emotional and academic leaps right now. She’s still Ali. She’s still strong willed and wants things a certain way, but she’s more open to reason and logic now. She can wait for whatever it is she’s trying to get/do and it’s ok. She’s a lot more compassionate towards her siblings, and I willing to slow down and help them if they need it. She often helps Kasey put his shoes on, and will feed the baby when we are rushing around in the morning. And she seems to like being a helper, that’s the most surprising part! Academically, she’s doing some cool stuff too. She knows all of her letters and their sounds, and is working on sight words. The Montessori model offers work/lessons in all the areas, but let’s the kid choose where they focus their energy depending on their interests at that time. Right now she’s interested in words and language, so she’s doing some amazing things with it! Kurt, on the other hand, is more interested in the hands on, mechanics of things, so he’s working on handwriting. It’s cool to see how the Montessori stuff plays out now that they are doing more academics and less play. I mean, I get that play is super important, all that pouring and scribbling strengthens muscles and promotes hand/eye coordination, etc, but as a trained elementary teacher I like seeing how the reading/writing/arithmetic are built.
Kurt continues to be the easiest and the hardest kid out of the bunch. He’s super compliant, he will do whatever you tell him to do pretty much right away. He’s a follower by nature, so it all depends on who he’s following at the moment. Last school year there were some wild, rowdy boys in his class, so he fell in step with them. There were lots of meetings with teachers about aggression and rudeness. It got to the point where I would go in and sit in the classroom occasionally when he was acting out a lot. We also got a behavior specialist to work with him as well. This year, things are 1000% better. Maybe because he is with older kids who aren’t as wild? Maybe because there aren’t many boys in his class? Maybe the specialist is working? Maybe he’s just grown out of it? Whatever the reason is, I’m thankful. The trade off is that he’s become majorly whiny. Like, whoa. It’s to the point where I tell him not to talk to me until he can use his normal voice. That probably doesn’t go very well with the compassionate parenting thing, but I don’t care. I hate whining. Here’s hoping this phase won’t last too long!
What can I say about Kasey? He’s still just the cutest damn thing. He’s friendly and affectionate, loves helping with the baby, loves wearing dress up heels, loves pretend play, and loves all the animals. He’s very concerned with justice and fairness, wants things just a certain way (maybe even more so than Ali!), and loves antagonizing the older kids. I often find little scenes he’s set up with his toys around the house.