Our New Happy Place

I am a planner…a five-year plan is my happy place. Well, it used to be. Life has a way of humbling us…and the thought of mapping out where I think we should be in five years has become a bit comical. Take the month of May, for example. Today is April 22. Within the next thirty days we will either say goodbye to our Peas; say hello forever to our Peas; just hang out with the Peas a bit longer (til the next court date); perhaps take on a additional Pea…as one is cooking and is due in May; AND welcome a new family member for a spell. So, uh, plans are really…not…ummm…conducive to our current way of life.

This kind of “uncertainty” is our new normal. And though it is true for all of us, we are keenly aware that we have no idea what the future holds. But our hope for our future is secure…because it now rests on the unchangeable shoulders of a good God. And that space of faith is our new happy place. Trusting the One who is immovable, unchangeable…and good. We feel such certainty that all will be well. All will be well. This place of peace beats the pants off a five-year plan.



So, we’ve been fostering for about three years. And in that three years’ time, we’ve been assigned the crème de la crème of case managers. I wish she could say the same for us…or for me. But she has informed me…laughingly, “Jan, you are not a good foster mom. You are a great mom. But you treat these foster babies like they are yours. And they are not. You must remember, they are not yours.” Yep. It is true. I struggle greatly with the disparity in my parenting style for my “own children” versus my parenting style for my precious fosters. Risk management? What’s that? I figure, as long as the consequence is not fatal…or near fatal…let ’em figure stuff out for themselves. Right? Let ’em play, and tumble and climb and explore. Let ’em be bold and courageous in the face of the play scape or the slide or the tree. Yeah. No bueno for my Peas. No. Bueno.

And in my quiet moments, I realize, I am NOT a good foster mom. There are aspects of this gig that I forget time and time again. But I am learning. Slowly. I am learning. The babies belong to another woman. And my haphazard approach to risk management probably leaves her frustrated…and worried. And I am starting to realize, my inattention to detail is…unkind. Sigh.

Though it will feel crazy unnatural, I am going to try to parent in a way that isagainst every instinct I have. Now, I won’t stop being me…and I’ll make mistakes…and the fact that I am currently parenting a dare-devil of a toddler comes into play. Up til now, my focus in parenting has been for the love of the babies in my charge. My passion for their good. I am going to try to parent in a way that is loving to my charges’ mama. A consideration for her vulverable position of leaving the care of her babies to another.

Here’s to becoming a more loving foster mom…a fit foster mom.

Sweet Pea — Eight Months

The girl is on fire! She wants to get up and go, go, go with her older sisters. On top of that, I highly suspect she…much like her beloved Eden…is an extrovert. Though my snuggly-wuggly wee babe has been replaced with this go-getter, Sweet Pea has retained her sweet, gentle, contented yumminess. Everything she does feeds my soul with such peace and joy.

At eight months, Sweet Pea:

  • sits up. All on her own. Just like she’s been doing it her whole life. Oy.
  • wants to play ALL day. She down to only two good naps a day. And so it begins…or rather, ends.
  • holds her own bottle.
  • experienced her first camping trip. She happily played out in the “woods,” mouthing sticks, rocks…any bit of nature she could grasp in those beautifully chubby hands.
  • eats crackers. Sniff, sniff. Crackers. There’s no turning back now.
  • takes a bath in the bathtub now. Oh, this girl! Soooo fast! She’s growing up so fast!!
  • says “dah-dah-dah,” which is great and all. And to be fair, it was her first utterance. But hearing “muh-muh-muh-muh” makes me giddy. Giddy.
  • is everywhere! She is officially crawling. And nothing is beyond her. Sigh.
  • can drink from a sippy cup.
  • lights up the room…not only with her smile, but with her sweet spirit.

Sweet Pea — Seven Months

This sweet, snugly, round baby is doing her best to become a toddler. Within one month, she has moved from reclining to rolling to scooting to bear crawling to tripod-ing! And she’s on the edge of sitting up all by her wee self!



At seven months, Sweet Pea:

  • ate some apple breakfast bar because I was busy talking to someone…not paying attention…and fed Denver’s snack to the wee babe. Ooops! She did not choke…and seemed to rather enjoy it. Whew.
  • sleeps on her side now.
  • can control her pacifier. Ahhhh. This little trick makes napping/sleeping so much easier!
  • is eating so much…and by “eating,” I mean rice cereal. How did we get here?
  • tries to feed herself.
  • is all over the floor. She can roll, scoot…honestly, I don’t know how she does it…as she won’t crawl. Won’t. It’s probably because she does not have to crawl to get all over the floor!
  • can sit in her high chair. I pack the sides with blankets to keep her upright. But she’s in a high chair…sniff, sniff.
  • rolls, and roll, and rolls.
  • visited the Picciuti Crew. She approves.
  • scoots backwards…sorta.
  • when she sleeps on her tummy, she turns her head toward her pacifier…for easy access.
  • has mastered the tripod…two legs and one arm. She is trying so hard to walk! No crawling. Just walking.
  • does a bear crawl…with her eyes on the prize. Must. Walk. Like. Big. Girls.

Sweet Pea — Six Months

Oh Sweet Pea! She is coming into her own. Up til this point, she’s been giggles and coos and joy and sweetness. Now, she’s adding a bit of spunk to the mix…which is utterly delightful. She’s on the verge, folks…she’s started on rice cereal…rolling over…and desperately wants to sit up…and crawl.

At six months, Sweet Pea:

  • reaches for items she notices…top choice being her pacifier. Yea!! Game changer.
  • tries to put her entire fist in her mouth…and can almost do it. Cool party trick.
  • blows raspberries
  • grunts and growls. Sooooo cute.
  • is trying out rice cereal. She’s moved steadily up the consistency ladder…runny gruel to lumpy gruel.
  • she is trying really hard to sit up on her own.
  • wants to crawl! Not yet, missy.
  • has expanded her crying repertoire to ANGRY cries…when she needs help to roll.
  • clasps her hands together…a lot. Cute. Doc said it might be worrisome..an indication of few “syndromes.” Eh. Time will tell. Right??? (I’m totally not freaking out…totally.)
  • is such a delight. Seriously…when I need a break from the cacophony that is our home…I sit alone on my bed with Sweet Pea…and breathe in her preciousness.
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Sweet Pea — Five Months

Oh, our Sweet Pea. She is the very first baby I have fallen in love with. I tend to fall for my kiddos when they hit the eighteen-month mark. You know, when they interact more and their little personalities are shining through. Til that time, I just love on ’em, enjoy their cuteness, and pour into them. But this one! Oh, she has captured me from the get-go. Such a sweet, sweet baby.

Speaking of, she is not a newborn anymore. That’s probably obvious to the outsider. Not so much to me…til I went to visit a newborn. Gulp. Sweet Pea is a beast compared to the wee, tiny, itty, bitty newborn. Sniff, sniff.

At five months, Sweet Pea:

  • has a full, robust cry. Somewhere along the way, she lost her kitten cry. Waaaaaah!
  • enjoys the swimming pool. (What does this kid NOT enjoy though?) She just relaxes and takes in the rhythm of the water.
  • is sporting an amber teething necklace these days. Don’t know if those things work, but it couldn’t hurt. Poor baby is slobbery and mouthy.
  • sticks out her tongue. It is adorable…at this age.
  • can find and put her pacifier in her mouth. Big. Deal.
  • likes to sleep on her tummy.
  • has mastered her jumper unaided. We’ve removed the blankies used to support her…and the girl can go to town on that thing. She’s getting so strong.
  • is enamored with her hands.
  • attended a wedding. She was the cutest baby there!
  • attended VBS…sorta. She did the nursery while her big sisters and I did VBS.
  • was measured for a helmet. Gulp. Back of her head is a tad flat. A tad. She did not qualify. Her head was just not flat enough. Whew.  We’ve been working on alternative positions. (I’ve found holding/wearing and snuggling her works best…for both of us.)

Sweet Pea — Four Months

Oh dear, I am in trouble. This one has captured me heart and soul. She’s the easiest baby ever, which is reason enough to adore her, but she’s so amazingly happy. And she’s at the coo-stage. She coos and giggles…and radiates sweet, sweetness. It doesn’t hurt that she lights up when she sees me…makes me feel like I’m kind of a big deal. I. Love. Her. So.

At four months, Little Miss Sunshine (a.k.a. Sweet Pea):

  • giggles!
  • rolls over.
  • has found her feet.
  • has great neck control.
  • can sit and play in her jumper…with some padding help.
  • is big enough for a front carry with no baby insert. (Woot woot!) Alas, she’s not a big fan…yet.
  • grew and grew and grew while I was away for five days. I can home and BOOM, total neck control and CHUNKY MONKEY!