The Things I Have Learned

Holy crap you guys. I mean, seriously. Have you ever felt like someone kicked your brain in the balls? No? Then maybe you should try this new drug they’ve got going around on the streets. I hear it’s called “parenting”.

It’s been almost a whole week since we got the boys placed with us and I can tell you, if I had any hair left I’d be pulling it out. Have I used that joke before? I CAN’T REMEMBER!

Okay, so it hasn’t been all bad. But it has been a learning experience. So since I’ve learned SO MUCH from an entire week of parenting, I thought maybe I’d share my insights.

1. Moms Are Heroes

You know that whole thing about how Mother’s Day is such a big deal and Father’s Day is just kinda meh. Well, I didn’t used to get that, but now? I get it, baby, I seriously get it.

Shortly before the placement Ashley quit her job and came home to work full time with our new foster kids as well as doing a little babysitting on the side. Imagine this if you will: she’s taking care of a toddler and an infant who also happens to be teething when our foster kids show up with all their luggage.

Luckily I was there that day, and I was able to help the boys get settled, and they were all pretty well behaved, but there is just something about being the same room with that many kids that drains the energy right out of you. By the time I left for work the next day I was glad to be leaving for less stressful environs. So to my wife I say, “Honey you’re awesome,” (Not that she’ll be likely to have the free time to read this.)

2. Kids = Conflict

You know that thing us writer types are always learning about how conflict is the motor that drives a story forward? Maybe you’re having problems with that in your story. Well drop a couple of seven year old boys in there and I promise you you’ll never want for conflict again.

The boys are constantly fighting. And don’t mean fighting fighting. Because those kinds of fights eventually end. I’m talking the kind of low-level, nonstop, petty bickering about action figures, and who said what first, and which one is better at Burnout 3, and on and on and on.

And when they’re not fighting each other, they’re fighting you. “Can I have a toy? Can I have some candy? Can we go look at the guns? Can I go to the bathroom? No wait I don’t really have to go.”

And let me reiterate. These are, by and large, good kids. They’re not pitching fits when they don’t get their way. But constantly saying, “No,” “Not now,” “Maybe Later,” and “That is not age appropriate, young man.” wears on you a little like sandpaper. After a while you just want to tell yourself to go to your room, so you can have a few minutes of peace and quiet.

3. But it Ain’t All Bad

Looking back over this post, I can see it must sound like a total nightmare having children in the house. And it is a challenge to adjust, especially if you’ve never had kids before, and suddenly you get a six year old and and an eight year old dropped in your lap.

But the other night when the youngest was sitting on the couch sounding out words from one of my books with me? That was possibly one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life.

And when we went out to swim in the pool and they tried to dunk me in spite of having a combined weight that is less than half of mine? Good times, ya’ll. Good times.

I hope I’m helping them. Not just by letting them stay in my house, but by providing them with an example of what a stable home can be. And when they eventually leave us, I pray that they’ll have a better grasp of what life is all about, and how it should be lived.

There’s more I could say, but maybe I’ll save that for another time. For now, I have to get ready for work. It’s my new favourite time of the day. 🙂

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9 responses to “The Things I Have Learned

  1. Takeaway: A few days with foster kids teaches one to appreciate going to Walmart. So glad I get to learn the easy way. 😉

    Good luck with the next few years, or however long you foster parent them.

  2. Good for you! What a loving and giving thing to do.

  3. Kudos for opening your home and hearts to foster kids! It takes a special person to do that.

  4. Culture shock! For you and for them. Hopefully, they’ll get tired of testing your limits once they see just where they all are. And you’ll be able to brush off the bickering like an unwelcome critique.

  5. Parent-hood and Parent-ing might be the worse thing that happens to a person’s life but when you are already at it, you enjoy it that much. I did, despite the sleepless nights and the tiresome days. It is one of the best things that happened to me. 😀

  6. I am so thankful that you are a foster parent!! My mom is a teacher and the foster parents her students have had were unspeakable people. I praise God there are people like you and your wife who genuinely love and WANT children. Thank you both!

  7. You sound pretty heroic, too. And you still have your sense of humor. They don’t talk about it much in the parenting books, but that is a crucial to surviving parenthood! You sound like you guys are doing great.

  8. I have to say, you are pretty heroic and brave to take on two foster kids like that. And you have a great sense of humor, and I’m sure those two will learn a lot from you and your wife. 🙂 Keep your chin up. I guess Walmart isn’t so bad now? Teasing.

  9. Kids! Awesome. That’s the stage when me and my brother fight a lot. He bit me! I bit back! That’s my toy! And all those petty things. 🙂 You’re a good soul.

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