Monday, February 17, 2014

Respite #1

Our respite placement arrived around 1:30 when his social worker dropped him off.  He had a visit at 4, so we picked up Matthew from school and drove the 45 minutes downtown.  His siblings were there with their foster parent, but the birth parent no showed.  We waited an hour but no one could get a hold of her.  It was my first time in the waiting room, so I got to kind of take in the environment, staff, foster parents, birth parents, etc.  I talked briefly with another foster parent and got a good vibe overall.  R1 (Respite #1) was upset at first but by the time we left the building he had bounced back and wanted to be engrossed in the boys electronics. I don't know how parents made it before these devices, it was a lifesaver sitting in the waiting room for an hour, LOL!  We got home and had some dinner, the boys introduced R1 to Bey Blades.  They have played them nonstop!  The first night R1 took awhile to fall asleep, but laid nicely in his bed otherwise.   Matthew got up around 3am to go to the bathroom and within 2 minutes he had woken everyone up, or he woke James up and told him to go into R1's room and wake him up.  Ugh!  So sent Matthew up to the 3rd floor bedroom and tried to get everyone back to bed.

Snow day today!  I'm stuck in the house with four boys, fun times :) So far R1 has been polite and fitting in with the boys fairly well. Matthew on the other hand is being his usual controlling bossy self, frequently mean and hostile to play mates without realizing his tone and demeaner come across that way.  I continue to call him over and try and point it out, address it, and help him find better ways to talk/play with friends but he just does not seem to be making the connection.  Its even more apparent right now because R1 calls him right out on it and certainly as he gets more comfortable is not letting Matthew control the situation, whereas his younger brothers are usually pretty passive in this regard.  I'm glad to have this experience so I can pinpoint where and how to work on this with Matthew better.  He had a decent melt down in the afternoon.  After Matthew took a little alone time in his room and we discussed again how his behavior, tone of voice and demeanor were causing people to distance themselves from him, he apologized to everyone and seems to get back on track for the rest of the evening.

Its Valentines Day here so we had pancakes and heart shaped bacon for breakfast and everyone played hide and seek for a good hour!  Everyone was getting a little snippy today, respite is hard on everyone.  I'm planning on writing about that another day.  We went to the Lego movie tonight, stopped at the dollar store first and let everyone pick out one toy for Valentines and a candy to bring to the movie.  Apparently buying Icee's at the movie makes me the "best foster mom" ever, Ill take it (just don't tell him the Icee was free with purchase of popcorn).  They had a good time and by the time we got home it was bedtime.

Matthew had a melt down today, I could feel it brewing and he finally exploded.  Combination of a change in routine with R1, not enough sleep, hadn't eaten breakfast cause he didn't want to stop playing, and R1 continually calling him out on everything even things he didn't do.  Its become apparent that R1 is pretty similar to Matthew in that he seeks out ways to upset others.  I think this will lead to some good talks next week with Matthew, but for now I got him calmed down and in his room for a little rest time.  It doesn't help that we are all cooped up in the house because of snow.  I think if the boys were able to run off their energy things might be going a little smoother. I talked to R1's foster mom today and the plan is to return him on Monday at lunchtime.  She has asked if he can come back next weekend if they need respite again due to their family situation.  I said we could do it if needed.

Went to church and then Chuck E Cheese today.  R1 is definitely getting more comfortable.  He has been "butting" into my conversations/reprimands with the other kids  and repeating directions in a bossy way.  Hmmmm...sounds like Matthew huh?  LOL, he's definitely very similar.  We went to dinner at Grandma's house.  I found out after the fact that Matthew had thrown all his lasagna under the table on the white rug.  The problem was R1 had eaten everything on his plate and the grandparents were making SUCH a big deal about how he was a great eater.  In fact at one point R1 even looked right at Matthew and taunted, "haha Im getting all the attention".  Of course I just get the phone call about the stain and how "I cant let him get away with these things".  None of which is helpful, Im not sure how he is getting away with anything??  I will address it.  There is just no understanding of the part they play in fueling the fire with Matthew. 

We returned R1 on Monday around noon. Matthew had school today as a make up day for the snow despite it being a holiday, so I just had the littles to take along.  We dropped him off and I had a brief conversation with Foster Mom about him coming back this weekend Friday-Sunday.  I didn't get the best feeling from Foster Mom but I'm trying not to judge, they have been through a lot this week.

I definitely think for long term placements I need a younger kid or girls, cause it was too much for my oldest to handle. Maybe if it was a boy who didn't have so many similar issues it wouldn't have been so triggering.  All in all I'm pretty proud of him and think that this really led to some great conversations.
I need to speak with my boys about giving their stuff away, I LOVE that they had such a giving spirit, but the respite kid continually asked for their stuff and they kept giving it away or asking me if they could give it became exhausting...then if I said no or they said no he "wouldn't be their friend". I don't want to crush that generosity, but if we will be having kids in and out they will have no stuff left. My oldest just kept saying he wanted to give him things cause he remembers when he didn't have any toys before he came here, broke my heart and made me proud Just cant afford it!
Weekends and No school days need to have a better schedule in place, otherwise we have too much screen time which leads to everyone arguing and also seems to trigger Matthew's negative attitude and behavior.
I need to call the agency tomorrow and figure out if Im supposed to do anything paperwork wise with Respites....for that matter I really hope I get the stipend for the days he was here.  I never even asked.  In my last agency respite was just worked out between foster parents, no pay was given by the agency.  If that's the case here I don't think I will be getting a stipend from his foster mom, lol!

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