Speaking of mutha uckas

Poor Rebecca at Fosterhood (who’s blog inspired me to start my own) is getting all kinds of shade from her agency about the baby she’s supposed to be adopting. She and baby Clementine (who was born 2 days ago) are stuck in some heartbreaking, bullshit agency drama, to the point that C has been placed in another foster home with no idea when she will be home (“eventually” is all the deets she’s getting). Send her some love, guys. She needs it.

Our cloth diaper routine

The setup:

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I started out using pocket diapers for awhile but transitioned to simple prefolds and covers which I find more absorbent, and easier to care for. As you can see, I also keep a stash of disposable diapers that we use for visits so Squish’s mom doesn’t have to deal with the cloth. Sometimes I use them for overnight as well.

We use a dry pail so wet diapers go right in without rinsing or anything. We EC a little bit and I catch most of the poop in the toilet, but the few poopy diapers we have get dunked in the toilet until all of the solids are off, squeezed out , and put in the pail. And then I scrub the crap out of my hands.

I run laundry every 3 days. We have a front loader and it makes washing a bit of an ordeal, but I start with a cold soak, adding extra water from our hose (our house is 150 years old and the spigot is in the basement, handy).

Then it’s a hot wash on heavy, adding hot water from the handy hot water tap next to the washer.

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I add a small amount of detergent to this load only. I just started using Charlie’s and I’m a little nervous after reading some reviews saying it caused rashes and chemical burns on their babies. Before the Charlie’s I was using ecover delicate liquid, but ended up with detergent buildup and an awful diaper rash on Squish.

Next is a normal cycle on hot, adding extra water again. Lastly one more rinse cycle, again on hot, and again with extra water.

The covers and pail liner get hung up in the bathroom to dry, and the prefolds get tossed in the dryer! Easy peasy!

Good news!

We received word last week that Squish’s mom was approved for her apartment! This means that Squish should be headed home very soon. We should get more information about the timeline at the family team meeting on Wednesday, but I anticipate that they will do a few weekends of overnights before the judge approves the trial home placement.

We are very excited for Squish and his mama, and though I’ll miss having him round all the time I’m still going to see him regularly as I’m providing his child care. I still have paperwork to submit to the state so that I can accept subsidy payments (why, oh why can’t they just transfer the info from my foster file?) but once I get that straightened out it should be smooth sailing!

I’m excited to find out what our next adventure will be, but I think we’ll stay “closed” for a little while after Squish goes home. At least for the 30 days of the trial home placement, just in case something happens and he needs to come back to us. I doubt that would happen, but I wouldn’t want him to go to a different foster home if something came up.

I’ll be sure to follow up after Weds, but this is all good, good news!

V-day

I went to visit my parents earlier this week to get our taxes done and my mom came back with me to spend some time with squish and to celebrate my birthday with me. I called her two weeks ago and proposed the idea for her to come back with me on Wednesday and have dad come get her on Sunday, and she was excited about the extended visit with us. She called a couple of days later concerned about crashing our valentines plans, but we didn’t have any as we have never acknowledged the “holiday”. Squish has a visit with mom on Thursday evening and she was excited to have him on v-day so we made a little card for her, which she enjoyed.

Ugh, squish has a terrible diaper rash and in pretty sure my diapers have detergent build up. It looks like I’m going to have to strip them when I get home (I’m visiting my parents right now). Good thing I brought backup ‘sposies!

On attachment foster parenting

We utilize attachment and natural parenting principles at home to build a secure bond with our foster babies. My background in early childhood development has informed my choices and helped me to develop my own parenting style. I’d like to detail some of the techniques we follow, how they help us be better parents, and why they work for us.

Babywearing

As an already avid babywearer and leader or our local babywearing group I knew I would use this skill with the little ones who come into our life. It is an excellent way to not only build attachment, but also to increase productivity. Cooking dinner, doing dishes, just holding a colicky baby without your arms falling off, babywearing is a lifesaver! I wear Squish a lot when we’re out and about (strollers are an overrated pain in the ass) but I don’t wear him around the house much. He’s the kind of baby who likes his own space and would rather be sitting up, looking around, and dancing. As a nanny I have worked with kids who need to be worn to sleep and its amazing to be able to put them up on your back and still get things done. http://www.thebabywearer.com is a great resource for babywearing how-tos and types of carriers.

Co-sleeping

Now before the internet gets all mad at me, let me clear up the distinction between co-sleeping and bed-sharing. Co-sleeping is a practice in which babies and young children sleep close to one or both parents, as opposed to in a separate room. It is standard practice in many parts of the world, and is practiced by a significant minority in countries where cribs are also used. Bed-sharing, a practice in which babies and young children sleep in the same bed with one or both parents, is a subset of co-sleeping. We have a mini crib set up next to our bed that Squish sleeps in and it makes nighttime parenting much easier. When he wakes to be fed I simply turn on the bottle warmer, pick him up, feed him, reswaddle, and he’s back to sleep in under 20 minutes. Co-sleeping also has benefits for the child. Being near the caregiver provides a more stable sleep cycle for the child, including better ability to regulate temperature, better heart rhythms, and fewer incidences of sleep apnea. Co-sleeping also leads to a stronger attachment and a more emotionally healthy child. If you do decide to bed share please do so intentionally and follow these guidelines for safety.

Connected feeding

Just because a child is formula or bottle fed does not mean they have to miss out on all of the emotional benefits of breastfeeding. While you will never be able to fully simulate the breastfeeding experience, you can use some techniques to initiate a secure attachment. Here are some excellent tips from API on how to “bottle nurse”:
-Hold the baby when bottle feeding, positioning the bottle alongside the breast
-Maintain eye contact, talk softly and lovingly
-Switch positions from one side to another
-Feed on cue and avoid schedules
-Pacifiers satisfy a baby’s sucking need. Hold the baby or child in the feeding position when he uses the pacifier
-Wean from the bottle as one would wean from the breast

Gentle and responsive caregiving

An infant’s cry is their most effective form of communication. In order to build a secure connection with the child the caregiver must learn to understand and respond appropriately to the need the baby is trying to express. Often times the need can be quickly understood and met (hungry/wet/tired) and the child is satisfied. Learning to recognize a child’s cues and read their cry is an invaluable skill that takes some time to master, but as you respond consistently and gently a caregiver and child quickly learn to understand and communicate with each other. There is a myth surrounding attachment parenting that we don’t allow our children to cry when quite the opposite is true. Sometimes babies and children just need to experience their emotions and it is our job to provide support and love while they do. This occurs in the form of just holding a crying, colicky infant and providing soothing techniques as tolerated, or helping a toddler identify his feelings and being available for support as requested. We try not to treat the child as an object, and try to remember to do with, not to.

We also cloth diaper, baby-led wean, encourage play based learning, and use natural materials as much as possible.

Taking the night off

I’m going out with friends tonight for the first time since Squish arrived and I am so ready to take a night off!! Andy will be handling bedtime, and though he’s done a fair amount of solo care during the day, this is the first time he’ll be doing the nighttime routine on his own. He’s maybe a little nervous, but I’m not worried at all, Andy is very competent (though still not very confident) and Squish is the absolute easiest baby to put to bed, ever! Swaddle him, give him a paci and he is out in a minute. Crazytown. He is going to ruin me for the next baby(s).

The Road to Reunification

Squish is definitely on track to go home, and soon-ish, but we are still waiting to find out if it will be in the next couple of weeks or the next couple of months. It all hinges on a few things, but mostly on babymama’s search for an apartment. We are currently waiting to hear back from a very promising lead and have all appendages crossed in the hopes that she is able to get the apartment and move in by the end of the month. Then we hope that the judge doesn’t change her mind (again) and give mama a new list of things to accomplish before squish gets to go home (again).

I’ve mentioned previously that squish’s mom and I have a good relationship, but I haven’t expressed how close we’ve become recently. Mom comes over a couple of night a week as part of her visitation schedule and helps out with bath and bedtime. We often spend a lot of this time chatting, sharing stories, talking about squish’s amazing development, and really getting to know each other. She is a wonderfully responsive and attentive mom, and I love seeing her grow as a parent. The other night she told me that the only way she was keeping it together everyday was knowing that squish was so well loved and well taken care of by us. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking this process must be for her, especially with all of the uncertainty and changing timelines, and yet she is working so hard and staying so strong for her baby. While I’m going to miss the little guy when he goes home, I feel so fortunate to be able to help such a sweet little family in a really crappy situation.