So we were now rushing to day 3. This was a special day (aren’t they all…) as we were going to be taking the children out into the wild for the first time…well the local play park.
While we had really enjoyed meeting and playing with the kids in the house, we felt it would be be great to see them stretch their legs and play in a little less ‘gold fish bowl’ atmosphere, so it was going to be an exciting adventure.
We arrived really early (7am – and on time in case you were wondering) so we could see them undertake their morning routine. We let ourselves into the house as we had been trusted with a key – responsibility mounting up already 🙂 and were there when both our kids came down the stairs in their pj’s. Sleepy faces and bed hair in all its glory (No, not me), but smiles that I will never tire of enjoying.
Their morning routine was a little bit of TV while the breakfast was getting ready, then dressed, wash hands and breakfast. They were given a choice of 2 cereals (learning for us that too much choice might overload them) and then toast (Butter or Nutella (other chocolate nutty spreads are also available)). We watched intently like scientists in a lab looking for the out come of the experiment… how did the foster mum managed to keep control, how strict was she with the kids, what were the rules (we were surprised that elbows on the table was one enforced, mainly by the older child who watched like a hawk), how much fun was fun ‘but not misbehaving’ etc? All felt a bit of a mine field and this was only one meal! The breakfast consisted of us doing 70% watching and interacting with the kids and 30% making metal notes on what was happening… well at some point we too would have to fake being competent parents so we wanted to learn from the best 🙂 (more on this later)
MY TIP – try to enjoy the experience, but do try to listen to what the rules are and what is picked up and ignored. While you go through life you will set your own boundaries and do it your way, but at the start it is good to continue what they know, and yes this allows you to feel like you are a REAL parent 🙂 which btw you are !
After breakfast they brushed their teeth and washed their hands again. Our 5 year old was able to do her own teeth without help, but did ask for us to do them…. Should we do it for her, would that mean we letting her regress- more questions? We declined this time but was told that it would be ok to help out in the future (Now must look up how to brush kids teeth).
Our 2 year old of course needed help, so we watched intently as we were very aware that tomorrow we would be taking over some of the routines – how long should we do their teeth and even which angle is the best to get to a wiggly 2 years olds back teeth without damage or the gag reflex kicking in…
MY TIP – Ask how much to get involved and be confident, even if you don’t really feel it. A phrase you might get to know is, fake it until you make it.
After everyone was cleaned and brushed, we got ready to head out to the park – I took another mental note that getting ready takes a LONG time. We chased the kids round putting on coats, wellies and a clean nappies (while reminding the older child to go to toilet – BTW hands washed again.)
MY TIP – Check the children have their shoes and wellies on the right feet 🙂
Finally we were out the door and heading down the street. The younger one was in a push chair and the 5 year old was on her scooter (We were nervous about the scooter and roads, but the foster mum was calm and in control….bless her).
We walked about 20 mins in which we were able to see both their nursery and school, before we reached the park, which was a nice bonus – On the way there our girl was busy babbling away about the school and her friends, while our boy was playing with a stick. It was hard to keep up with the conversation and even understand some of the kids talk – I am sure it made sense to her, but for me it was a little bit confusing…
MY TIP – it sounds a little strange but stock up on a few choice superlatives to trot out when you don’t understand or are asked to admire the stick/some incomprehensible painting or just about anything by the little angels…..S said she favours ‘lovely’ as it can apply to a lot of things, both items and actions, but enjoy making them up for yourself.
Once we got to the park it was snack time – (An apple for her a banana for him, plus some juice) before they headed to play on the swings. Hands washing again, this time with wet wipes.
MY TIP – Order wet wipes….lots of wet wipes
It was interesting to see how well they played, as we had been told that neglected children could be less able to use their imagination or even be very uncoordinated.
We did notice that their running was a little awkward, almost like their legs were a little stiff, but apart from that both seemed to us to be ‘normal’ (Yuck hate that word) little kids. (S may not want me to mention it, (and any social workers/expert parents reading this please be forgiving) but she was the first one to dent one of our kids (hurrah it was not me… is it wrong to feel a little smug????) she managed to turn pushing him on a swing to an acrobatic display as he ended up flying off the seat to land in a pile on the ground – I was very impressed that she did not swear until I realised she was so horrified she had burst into tears and was trying to cover it up (bless her – that is why I love her so much). The foster mum swooped in and gave him and cuddle and some magic cream and S a reassuring ‘don’t worry about these things’ and he was off again – happy as larry….. S took longer to recover and looked much more ‘dented’ by the whole thing 🙂
MY TIP – Kids dent themselves all the time, and falling over is part of life – try not to stress it when it happens. Just shower them with affection and a kids plaster works well too, but buy in bulk 🙂
Our kids continued to play with us at the park for about 45 mins – both were very needy and were keen to get our attention. It was quite surreal to hear the kids calling across the park ‘Mummy, daddy, can you push me on the swing’, ‘Mummy, daddy look at me’, ‘Mummy, daddy did you see that’ – but while surreal it still brought a lump to our throats – this was our first ‘public parenting’.
After what seemed like no time at all, we were heading back to the house, where we would leave them to have lunch and go to school. It was so good to finally see them in the wild and they looked so great. Happy kids who wanted to please…
Next day, we were taking them out on our own…gulp…..I think S needed a stiff drink to get over this day first, but that is another story.