Managing Foster Care Trauma in Infants

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Grilling up some bubbles at beach during our staycation.

We met our daughter when she was eight months old (she was in foster care). We were told that she had one rather large medical problem (that could be worked through with years of physical therapy) and a few social emotional issues that caused her to scream in public and have to be carried all the time, yes even when in the house.

None of the information was accurate. Our pediatrician thinks she was manifesting her unhappiness with the family she lived with before (we are her third family).

In adoption class, a social worker told us that it would take twice as long as the trauma to be able to navigate the trauma and behave differently. Since she experienced 8 months of trauma (more if you throw on whatever may have happened during the nine to ten months while she was baking) it will take her around 16 months to be able to behave differently. My plans was give her until her second birthday before I really expected her behaviors to change.

She surprises me every day.

Right now, she’s 20 months old and she’s so different from how she was when we met her. She’s amazing! She’s never had any physical challenges (with us) and her behavior was different from the moment she got her out of that house. This week, we had a staycation and went around visiting touristy places in our city. She’s been smiling and waving to people and wandering around. Strangers in public have ever referred to her as a happy baby! Last night she slept in her own bed all night. She plays with her cousins (running around the house screaming and laughing) and is like any other little kid.

I look at her now and I can’t imagine our lives without her. I’m glad that her record didn’t scare us off. The paperwork does not tell the whole story. Both our kids had some challenges on paper. Both of our kids are perfect. They are absolutely perfect. I’m thrilled every day that I get to help raise such wonderful beings.

Most kids in foster care have experienced trauma but it happened to them, it doesn’t define them. With someone to love on them (we use attachment parenting and gentle parenting) and support them these kids will blossom. Managing foster care trauma in infants is easy: just love them.

Worldschooling Provides Perspective

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A mural about the liberation of South Viet Nam in Saigon 2016.

Most people have heard of homeschooling but few have heard of unschooling (we’re giddy everytime we something about it like here and here) and even fewer have heard of worldschooling.

Homeschooling – doing school stuff at home.

Unschooling – there is no set curriculum. You follow the child’s lead in regard to what they’d like to learn.

Worldschooling – letting the world be your child’s learning environment.

I like to think that we are an unschooling-worldschooling family. We already travel a lot so why not make a conscious effort to educate our children about the world they live in while were’ doing it. When we were in Viet Nam we visited a few museums. It was interesting to see the war from the other side. I’m thrilled that my children will learn about world events from different perspectives.

We’re just getting started but so far my oldest (he’s two) has visited Chicago, Oahu, Dallas, Atlanta, Niagra Falls, South Africa, Brazil, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Singapore. We’ve seen forests and waterfalls. We’ve visited museums.  We’ve eaten new things. We’ve met new people. We’ve experienced lots of new things and we’ve come across TONS of similarities.

I can’t wait to talk with them about  tidbits in history, mathematics, physics, music, and anything else that we might come across! I don’t know what our future holds but I hope it helps shape them into the best versions of themselves.

Climbing Out of …. Everything #ToddlersGonnaToddle

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So this week we’re staying at a new hotel. This hotel has a “kids room” with a door and a tv and bunkbeds. I basically thought it would be a good place to put them when they are playing because our toddler still sleeps in the travel playpen and the baby sleeps in our bed.

When we arrived, the toddler runs over to the bunkbeds and begins playing on it. The little one soon joins in. Both children seem to be enjoying the new toy. The toddler asks to be put on the top bunk and my partner is worried that 1) he wouldn’t be able to climb up 2) he might fall off 3) that he might fall on the baby. I’m a free-range parent and I generally let the toddler make his way in the world (as long as it’s not obviously a risk for death). I will support him emotionally (“Stretch your toe and you’ll be able to feel the ground. You can do it!”) and physically (giving him a “spot” as backup) but I try to leave the decisions about actions he can attempt up to him.

When he tried to climb the ladder, you know he tried to climb the ladder, I encouraged my partner to support the toddler in his attempt. My toddler climbed up, down, back up, and down again with no problem!

I was over the moon that he had achieved his goal. We did a happy dance. He started to go up again ……  and he fell off. We told him that we all make mistakes and we were proud of him for trying. You know what? Without any encouragement to try again …. he started climbing again. He did it a few more times and didn’t fall.  =)

What I didn’t realize was that this meant he could also crawl out of his travel playpen. We used to be able to pen him in and eventually he’d go to sleep. Those days are gone.   =(  #ToddlersGonnaToddle

 

Two Under Three on a Flight

 

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My babies at a park. A year and a half apart. #DoubleTrouble Lol

We are taking two flights in the next few months. One is a coast to coast flight (baby girl’s first) and one is a short one-hour flight. I’m a bit anxious about it. My biggest concern is what to do with them both while on a long flight.

Usually the boy goes back and forth between our laps. He really enjoys looking out of the window. Well now …. she’ll probably want to go back and forth between our laps. He’ll have his own seat now but I’m not sure if that will be better or worse. Lol

I’m excited that:

  • The toddler has first first airline points account.
  • The toddler will have his own seat.
  • The toddler will be able to have his own bag.
  • Baby girl is taking her first flight.
  • They will be able to entertain each other.

I’m worried that:

  • The toddler will want more attention that we can give.
  • Baby girl will not like flying.
  • It will be hard to juggle two little ones.
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Early morning siblings.

We’ve gone on a few driving trips and we’re getting comfortable traveling as a family. I usually get all worked up about something, try to research and plan, and it’s not as big a deal and I had worked myself up for it to be. Let’s hope that pattern continues. Lol

Anyone have any tips for traveling with two little ones?

 

Toddler Activity Set for Flights

We’re going to be doing lots of traveling this year and I’ve been looking up things for out toddler to do on the plane. We don’t check bags so I need things that are cheap or free, light weight, small, entertaining and non-destructive (no stickers). So far I’ve found:

Felt drawing

I love this idea. I have purchased some felt drawing kits, but they are much too large to take on a flight. Cutting out a few shapes and folding it up into a bag is perfect! I can’t wait to make a few.

The name puzzle? LOVE IT! I’m totally making this one for him.

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Puzzles

Simple, cheap and small! YES! I’m thinking about making mine in a small book format. The small, store-bought puzzles are right up my alley and perfect for tiny hands.

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Building Toys

I have so many Popsicle sticks! I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was to find this cute, light weight homemade toy. I can color and glue the velcro on in an afternoon. How fun!

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Cotton Balls/Pom-Poms

A toddler can throw these around (not very far) or “pour” them from one cup to another cup or …. something. Toddlers can make anything interesting! Lol

Activity-Pom-Poms

 

Maidu Museum & Park

Maidu-Museum-SignWe were looking for things to do with toddlers in Sacramento when we came across several blogs that talked about he fun their kids (both toddlers and older kids) at the Maidu Museum. That lead me to do a little digging and to find out that there is also an awesome themed park called …  you guessed it …. Maidu Park!

Museum Highlights

Storytelling under the stars – Sit under the stars at our outdoor amphitheater to enjoy native stories around the campfire. We’ll provide roasting sticks and marshmallows for a sweet program’s end to this fun family event. Museum doors open at 7pm. Program starts at 7:30pm. Fee: $5/person, $16/family of four, $5 each additional person. Under 2 are free.

Nisenan Maidu village – “Visitors can see the village site as well as petroglyphs and other cultural features along the easy half-mile trail outside the museum.”

Maidu Park

Maidu Park

Park-Maidu-FortThere are tons of photos over at Sacramento Sidetracks.

Park Highlights

Play structures designed like buildings in a old west European American town.

Play structures designed like trains with a little train station.

A little fort-themed maze that’s great for toddlers.

I’d also like to check out the parks at Hillsborough Park (pirate ship theme) and Royer Park (castle theme). You can find more parks listed with photos at Sierra Moms.