Fall, Dog Training, Thanksgiving and Adoption Day!

     The transition from warm early Fall days to the frosty days in early November is a bit stressful. You know the routine. I am racing all over the house in the morning while the kids are getting ready for school searching for the one child’s lost mitten, Levi’s lost hat and anything warm that fits our girl. Good grief. I keep thinking about another cup of coffee and the luxury of sitting down for three minutes before I race out the door with our oldest child. No luck. No sitting down this time.

    I know the snow is coming and the snow boot and pants search party better get ready. I guess that is me. I always put the snow gear in a really convenient spot in May. Trouble is…I never remember where that spot is or if the gear will fit the biggest kid this winter. On top of this quest, I am not sure where any of my good gloves are hidden.

   Logan and I had a dog training session for her service pup yesterday. It was about 34 degrees up in Gilford. I have cotton gloves on (yes, I know…all my Explorer Post friends are cringing at the word cotton). There were totally ineffective and did nothing to keep my wet hands warm in any way. We are doing some long lead training with Gidget. This involves a super long leash that we let trail on the ground. Gidget is on one end and I am on the other. She is learning to pay attention to her handler.  This means that the leash spends a good amount of time on the cold, wet ground. I spend a lot of time running the length of the leash through my hands to control the pup. Result- cold, wet hands.

   The other result we are aiming for is a great resource for Logan. We are working with Gidget on heeling, locating Logan, staying, emergency stops, and more. I am learning that everything I do has a meaning to the puppy. She is very observant, so I have to watch what foot I start walking with, where my hands and eyes are, and keep my words limited.  Funny, the same works for all our children, too. Our words mean something Our actions mean more. Keeping my eye on them, priceless.

     So many people are asking why in the world we need a service when it is so clear that our little lady can run and jump and play. Sure, she knows how to run, but she doesn’t know when to stop. She can jump, we just have to be sure it is onto solid ground and not another child on the playground. She plays, but not really with other kids. She is loud and very demanding, not exactly welcoming to other kids on a playground. In comes Gidget! She is a great source of comfort. She is the perfect discussion starter on the playground. Gidget gives Logan a topic that is easy to discuss – having cute, fuzzy puppy. During our training session, our trainer noticed that Logan and Gidget are bonding nicely. Logan got a little cut on her finger and immediately turned to Gidget for comfort. She snuggled right into Gidget and told her all about her booboo. That interaction demonstrates how amazing this pup is for Logan.

    The boys are reminding me, even now, that they still need all the same guidance and care. We get so hyper focused on Logan. The boys see it, and they act out. There is a balance here that is elusive. I am sure families with more than one child experience this, too. In some ways, having two six-year-olds in the house should be nice because, theoretically, they could play together. In reality, we have a 9-year-old, 6-year-old and a two-year-old.  Kids just naturally have different needs based on their developmental ages/stages. Kids in foster care are much more likely to present developmentally younger than their chronological age. Our little lady is functioning somewhere between 18 and 24 months with the vocabulary of a truck driver.

   We have started to have Santa discussions in the house. I guess that comes with the colder weather – and stores being ridiculously early with their Christmas décor. The boys have a list already formulated on my Amazon wish list.  Logan has even greater expectations. I think that she has skewed expectations around gifting from her past foster home experiences. She comes from such a tough place that other homes, social workers, school personnel, and even the bus drivers give her little gifts. She is not shy about telling us that she needs this or that right now! She says (yells at the top of her lungs), “I am being good so you have to give me what I want.” No. Just no. I think I have Oppositional Defiant Disorder, too. As soon as I am told I must do something, my reaction is, “Oh, heck no I don’t!” I may use stronger language than that!!

   Back to the Santa talk..the little lady tells us that she is getting an IPad, a Kindle, a play kitchen, lots of apps and shows for the Kindle and IPad, new clothes, 2 dolls, and more. I am just hoping she bought a winning lottery ticket to fund all this stuff!  This will be our first Christmas with her. This is our first opportunity to share with her the true meaning of Christmas. Hopefully, we will make some inroads into her heart and mind about gifts and Christmas time.

   We are, first, looking forward to Thanksgiving. Having friends over, eating a nice meal, and being thankful for the blessings and challenges this last year has brought to us. Soon after Thanksgiving is Adoption Day. We are scheduled for December 1st.  We have been preparing for that day. Talking about what in the world having a family means to us, to her, to the boys. We are counting down the days. Logan and I went dress shopping for her. We picked out a pretty dress for the occasion for her. I am another story altogether. Sam informed me that he needs a tux. He has decided that this is the dressiest occasion ever. So, he is preparing the best he can. Such a cutie pie. Levi has not made any declaration regarding his outfit. I figure if he wears anything other than sports pants, we will be doing great.

     Clothes are the least of my worries for Adoption Day. I worry that the social workers won’t get their paperwork done in time. I worry that the Judge will be delayed for some reason. I worry that the kids all lose their cool in the courthouse lobby and we can’t regain control. This may be close to reality. We are bringing Gidget for support.

   Here’s to a busy month with lots of preparations being made for the adoption. It is a bit like being 8 months pregnant and knowing you have a ton to do, and, at the same time, having zero energy!

   Happy November, everybody!



Author: deb@halfwaytoninety.com

I am a working mom with 3 great kids. Married to Todd, a stay at home dad. We try to gracefully manage autism, a foster daughter, and a law practice. I am blogging to encourage other families who find themselves in need of some encouragement, ideas, support and perhaps a little humor.

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