A little over a week ago we accepted our first foster placement. A 2-year-old and 3-year-old sibling group would be coming to stay with us. We were nervous and excited to finally get the chance to welcome children into our home. We’d been preparing for this moment for over a year and after many phone calls and placements that fell through, these kids were coming for sure.
I opened the door and was greeted by two adorable little children. With wide eyes, they surveyed the house without making so much as a peep. We introduced ourselves and showed them their room. The 3-year-old went straight for the books. The 2-year-old was a bit more cautious, wanting to explore a bit first. And just like that, we were the parents of two toddlers.
These past few days have felt like a lifetime and we’ve learned a lot. Parenthood is no joke and we’re pretty sure someone, somewhere is laughing at us for thinking it would be easy.
It’s not easy
I am not sure we truly knew what we were getting ourselves into when we said we could take two kids at a time. Going from no children to two toddlers has been a major adjustment. In fact, the kids seem to have adapted far better than we have. Endless free time was all of the sudden filled with castle building, playdough playing, coloring, reading and just about any other thing we could think of to keep two little ones entertained. And that was just in the first two hours. I thought back to when I smugly thought, “I won’t let my kids watch TV for hours on end or play with a tablet. I can’t believe how much those parents let their kids play on their phones.” I would have instantly placed an order for two iPads if it meant I could sit down for two consecutive minutes. I get it parents and I’m sorry.
Showers aren’t necessary
I have considered it a victory if I could just brush my teeth and maybe put on clean clothes. If I have 10 minutes where I don’t have to supervise a child, the last way I want to spend it is in the shower. This is going to be a great way to conserve water.
After a successful trip to the grocery store with two toddlers, I went to put the cart away and passed a mom getting her daughter, who looked about 5, out of the car. The little girl was messing around, of course. The mom snapped, “Hurry up, we still have to get your sister out. I don’t want to be here all day.” Pre-kid me would have thought, relax lady, be nice. Post-kid me smiled and wanted to offer to buy her coffee. I get it parents and I’m sorry.
There’s a new level of tired that I never knew existed
As a low energy person in general, I thought I knew tired. It turns out, I wasn’t even close to understanding. When I got out of the car without turning it off and wondered why it was beeping at me, I realized that sleep or the lack of it, really does mess with your mind.
No one messes with nap time
I’ve had several friends who had to cancel or adjust plans because it would have impacted nap time. I thought, “Can’t you just shift it a bit, just once?” No, you can’t. And no way in hell do you want to. Nap time is sacred and not to be messed with. I get it parents and I’m sorry.
I get why people bring new parents food
Becoming a foster parent is much like bringing a baby home from the hospital for the first time, yet most people don’t really treat it that way. Meal trains are often set up for new moms to help make meal time easy and to be sure they are getting enough to eat in between caring for the baby and being completely exhausted. We quickly learned that preparing a meal for ourselves and then having the chance to eat it was basically an Olympic event that we certainly weren’t getting any medals for. We lost 5 pounds in the first week. Our once hearty diets now consisted of Goldfish crackers and toast. We’re not mad about the weight loss.
It’s like a booze-free hangover
A friend who had just had twins had once told us that he felt like he had a perpetual hangover. We laughed at the time but now I realize that the description is entirely accurate. I’m tired, have a slight headache and I’m a little queasy. All I want to do is eat fatty food and lay in bed.
Even if they are asleep, you probably won’t be. Because anxiety.
Having two little humans sleeping in my house has brought an entirely new level of anxiety into my life. It’s getting better but I am pretty sure I woke up every time the heater came on, every time Kyle turned over, and every time there was even the slightest chance I heard a noise for the first few nights. Not to mention all those times I just got up to make sure they were still breathing.
I’ve never done so much laundry in my life
We have limited supplies so that definitely requires more laundry than normal but still. If clothes aren’t covered in food, sheets are covered in poop, or maybe we just don’t really want to wear this outfit anymore because it’s not pink.
They don’t need a whole lot of stuff
As foster parents it is impossible to prepare for every scenario that might come your way. We have very little in the form of toys or supplies unlike most parents of two toddlers. But it turns out, kids don’t really notice. A few books, a ball or two, and a few other toys have proved to be more than enough. Even with what little we have, they still don’t even play with all of it. They have their favorite items and the rest gets ignored. I hope I remember this when we have children.
Netflix and Amazon Prime are worth every penny
There are a few things I have considered to be gifts from God; Netflix, Amazon Prime and well, daycare. Although these kiddos don’t love watching TV, having the option of endless TV shows is still a must. And the ability to buy 500 wipes for 10 bucks and get them the next day without having to put anyone in a car seat is worth every dollar I ever paid for Amazon Prime.
Kids are amazing
Despite the major challenge and exhaustion of it all, these two little people amaze me daily. I’ve always loved kids but to watch two kids come into our home, who don’t know us and don’t really know why they are here, adapt, bond, and be incredibly sweet and loving is a humbling process to witness. I have already learned so much from them and I’ll always be grateful to them for what they’ve taught me in such a short time.
We don’t know how long they’ll stay but I can say that they’ve given us a new appreciation and respect for parents. The judgment trap is an easy one to fall into and I’m glad these two little people have officially slapped the judgment right out of us in the form of sleepless nights, a trashed house, and more poop than I ever thought possible. I get you parents and I’m sorry.