Step 17 - First Placement!
My first placement was an absolute rollercoaster of emotions! It was definitely harder than I expected in different ways than I expected and so much easier than I expected in other ways. Overall, I would not change the crazy, challenging, awesome and amazing four days that I had with my first foster placement!
The benefit of having someone for just the weekend is that you can go all out and do a ton of fun activities, without having to commit to this type of lifestyle forever. We genuinely had so much fun! When she first arrive we planned out the weekend. We talked about things she was interested in doing and what we would eat each day.
Then we made a grocery list for everything we would cook and we went to the grocery store. Of course there are so many more good things at a grocery store than just the things on your list so there was a lot of compromising. We decided to get apple juice instead of Kool-Aid and chips instead of pretzels. Since she was only staying for the weekend, it was easy to say we just needed to get one of each type of thing so she had to choose her favorite option. If this were a more long-term situation, I’d like to do the same thing by breaking out shopping trips into regular intervals so that we only need one of each type of thing per shopping trip.
When we got home, she taught me how to make fried chicken. We burned the first piece because we let the oil get too hot, but the other three pieces were so good! Then I taught her how to use a dishwasher (she had never seen one before) and she genuinely wanted to learn how to use it all by herself! She loaded it, put the soap in and started it. The, she helped me clean all of the surfaces.
We also had craft time! She saw my Lola Dart Art bottles in the house and decided that she wanted to make her own. We chose our colors and worked together to make our bottles. I only have one hot glue gun, so we took turns passing it back and forth after each new layer. In the end we had created some really beautiful pieces. It was nice for me too because it reminded me how much I truly love making bead art and I hadn’t made a new piece in such a long time!
Friday when she got home from school she went right to bed. She slept for 4 hours. When she woke up we made dinner and went to the roller skating rink. It was a really fun time! On the way there I turned down the radio each time we passed train tracks. She didn’t understand why until I explained to her that I always like to listen for trains. Getting to know someone new involves learning their quirks as well.
Then came bedtime. She did not appreciate having a bedtime on a weekend night, but we had tons of festival plans in the morning. I definitely regretted letting her sleep for 4 hours in the afternoon. When the morning came, waking her up at 8am on a weekend was a challenge to say the least. There were many temper tantrums thrown throughout the weekend, but I gradually learned to just breathe through them. They all passed in time and I understand the importance of standing my ground.
We went to three festivals in one day on Saturday with my parents. It was a whirlwind and extremely tiring, but it was also extremely fun!! We carved pumpkins at the first one and played on the park merry go round. The second one was where we ate - we had so much good food!! The third one was a pie festival - we all loved the pie. We were exhausted by the end of it and crashed on the couch for a few hours. When we got hungry we made more fried chicken and then more bead art. This time she made one for her foster mom so that her foster mom would know she loved her. Beautiful moments.
We woke up on Sunday and went to get fake nails, something I had promised if she woke up early enough. She woke up at 9am with no complaints. We did our nails together and then she wanted to go help me take care of the car (yes, she asked to do this). We went to the car wash - it took half the time to vacuum the car because she did the passenger side while I did mine. I felt such gratitude. It was the first time she had been in an automatic car wash and it was scary and fun for both of us. Then we went to get gas and fill the tires up with air. The low pressure light had gone on during our first day together and she had been keeping track and wanting us to fix it the entire time.
She was one of the most considerate, helpful and polite children I have ever met. There was also a ton of “no”s and “you can’t make me”s to contend with, as well as some temper tantrums, but the end of the day, I truly couldn’t have asked for anything better. As we were packing her up to go she told me she was really going to miss me. We had one last dance party in the car as I drove her back. Out of no where she turned the radio way down. I looked up and saw train tracks a few blocks ahead. The feelings in my heart were indescribable.
As I got in my car after saying goodbye, I definitely cried. I’m so happy I was able to provide a fun weekend for a wonderful child and I’m already ready to take what I’ve learned and apply it to the next child in my care! Let the next waiting period begin!