Fostering children older than infants brings it’s own set of issues.
I’ve mentioned Princess Tiana’s (sort of) bonding issues before in a previous post. She doesn’t have a bonding issue so much as a MEMORY issue:
She remembers her mom. She remembers her “dad” (or whatever male was in the home at the time, she’s had several “dads” in her 4 years). She remembers toys she had, and clothes she had, stuffed animals she slept with, the pillowcase on her pillow. She remembers grandma and grandpa, an “Aunt Jxxx” and Uncle “Mxxx”. She remembers the park she played at over at “Aunt Jxxx’s” house and the bathing suit she wore “when the park sprayed water”. She remembers her friends at school and her teachers.
She remembers and she misses it.
For the most part, she has always called me “Dana”, and it’s alright. I understand. I’m not her mom yet. In the grand scheme of her life, I’ve only been in it for a minute anyway! She only came in August, and I know it will take time.
But, I’ve noticed something lately….
sometimes she calls me momma!
And, more and more often now, she is doing it! Now, more often than not, she calls me MOM!
When she stands on her little step stool and helps me cook at night (my sneaky way of spending one-on-one time with her), I’m momma.
At night, when I’m tucking her in, and she calls out to me after her hugs and kisses and bedtime stories….she calls, “Goodnight, momma!”
When I pick her up from her Sunday School class and she sees me at the door….she squeals “MOMMA!”
It wasn’t this hard with Little Man or Baby Boy because they are little, I will be the only momma they ever remember. All the memories they have of mom will be of me. Little Man may remember situations that were scary, and care he did without, but he doesn’t remember the person. But, Princess Tiana is different because she is older.
And every day it gets better. Every day I am building good memories with her. Every day there is a new good experience to help replace the bad ones. She’s never had a bed before. She didn’t know what pajamas were or why we need to wear them to bed. She didn’t know what chocolate chips were or grilled cheese sandwiches. And she LOVES to cook…..so every day, she helps me cook.
And we bond.
It’s up to me to build that bridge, not hers. It’s up to me to find those sneaky ways of spending one-on-one time with her even though I have 6 kids. It’s up to me to build good memories with her.
And then, one day…..you turn around…..
….and sometimes she’ll call me momma.
I do have to add….she told me one day while baking a cake (a new experience for her) that I was the “Good Mom” and her other mom was the “Grumpy Mom”. YAY! Glad that wasn’t reversed. 😉