Spring Safety

The wonderful weekend has once again flown by. Spring is quickly approaching, and we cleaned up the pollen off our back patio and pool over the weekend. The changing weather can definitely lift your spirits. It’s very amusing to realize that in Australia and New Zealand, the first day of September is their official first day of spring.

I never thought of the world being this way until I had met a friend that resided in Australia. They are experiencing their first week of fall this week! The four seasons are because of the relative position of the sun to the earth. Now in spring, the sun is moving north, and is crossing the equator for us here in the northern hemisphere.

What does spring mean to you? I think of warmer days, flowers everywhere, being able to do more outdoor activities, like as getting your back yard ready for pool parties and barbecues, and spring cleaning. Kind of like a new start. Here it is, the beginning of spring, and I already heard of a poor little 4 year old girl drowning in a pool in Tampa. That is so saddening. It is not very often thought of until you hear stories like this one.

More than nine hundred children between 1 and 14 die every year in drowning accidents. A child safety pool alarm is an absolutely priceless thing to own if you own a pool and have a small child or pet for that matter. The little dog drownings usually do not make the news, but it happens. Even old dogs have been known to fall into the pool and drown because they start to lose their sight and scent in their older age. Some dogs never learn to swim because of absolute fear, and panic, shock and fatigue can all be lethal for them.

If you have kids, grand children, or if you’re a pet parent, make sure you protect them today. Their life depends on you. Don’t procrastinate and wait until something happens to them. Be smart and check out the pool alarm today!

Yours In Safety,

Regina Jacques

Creating a Structured Environment For Your Foster Children

Children really thrive in a structured environment. Interestingly, foster parents are often fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of people. Indeed, foster parents need to be willing to cope with uncertainties in order to do the job of foster parenting at all. Despite foster parents tendency to be very flexible, foster children need to experience the foster home as a structured place. How do you strike a balance between your own flexibility in order to create feelings of security for foster children that only structure can provide?

First of all, in order to answer this question, it helps to think about what it means to be “structured”. When my husband and I first started doing foster parenting, I was concerned about our ability to provide “structure” to foster children. Our lifestyle was filled with a lot of flexibility. We had moved 22 times over 10 years, which made us amenable to changing locations abruptly. Our biological daughter was home schooled, which made us immune to a lot of social restrictions and structure that other families had to adhere to. My husband and I are both creative and so we tended to approach life with a very “go with the flow” kind of attitude.

When I thought of structure, I was actually thinking of what it means to be “strict” (which I’m not). Once we had a few placement under our belt, I started to realize that structure didn’t require a strict adherence to a schedule as much as it required consistency. Flexibility in the way we do things in our home is something that is consistent, for example. But we are consistent in the belief that our foster children need to wake on time for school because education is important. We tend to be somewhat flexible about what time of the day we eat, but we always eat our meals together as a family and typically we cook together too. Our family sits together in the evening and watches TV or we read and my husband I are available all day, every day to our children because we work from home. These things are consistent. They make up the structure of our family.

But our flexibility is what makes room for our foster children in our lives. Flexibility keeps me patient when visitations interrupt dinner or when I’m laying carpet and the caseworker calls to let me know that there is a family meeting that will happen in five minutes that she forgot to tell me about before. There is definitely a consistent ebb and flow in our family that I never really tuned into before we started doing foster care, but the structure is softened by flexibility.

That being said, foster children really need structure in order to be able to integrate into the foster family. Without keeping to a consistent routine, foster children can feel utterly lost in the new environment. Structure and consistency make it possible for your foster child to feel safe and security in an alien environment and begin to learn the comings and goings of your family. Eventually, once your foster child gets more comfortable in the home, it will be easier to be flexible, but structure gives your foster child the ability to wrap her head around what will go on in your foster home each night when she gets home from school.

Foster children may have had some truly horrific after-school experiences and their imagination can run wild. Structure helps your foster child to get the gist of what happens in the foster home and begin to have faith in the whole process. Even though the time of the day may vary for lunch or dinner, your foster child should know after a week or two in your home that there will be lunch and dinner at your house. Lunch and dinner rituals, for example, should be fairly consistent to keep your foster child in the know about how things work in your home. Most foster parents have this kind of structure already built into their home without even realizing it. Foster children need that kind of structure to figure out their role in the lunch or dinner ritual. Perhaps (in this example) you can have them set the table which will help them discover how they fit into your family.

Being structured doesn’t necessarily mean being strict, but it does mean that you should be consistent with things like meal times and rituals, bed times and rituals, bath time, etc. These various rituals will help your foster child feel safe because she will know what to expect in your home. Without a feeling of safety, it can be difficult for your foster child to let her guard down. Without an idea of how your meal and bed time rituals are performed, it can be hard for her to do the right thing in your eyes and integrate into your family. By creating a structured environment you can help bring feelings of security and safety into your foster child’s life for the first time.

Welcome To Motherhood – I Will Tell You The Facts About Being A New Parent

My Daughter is Hannah when she was first placed in my arms I did not feel the over whelming love that I expected to automatically happen. You are led to suspect that when you have your newborn that something incredible happens and your life will never be the same again. Well the second thing is correct your life has changed forever and it has changed so much that you are never quite the same again. From the day I took her home I could not help feel that she had intruded on my life so much that I would never recover. The tiredness you feel to the point of sickness is so awful that nothing can prepare you.

When people say it does get better, at the stretch you wish they would shut up because you feel like you are the only one in this situation and others around you are coping so much better. I used to tour to a playgroup on a Friday morning and appear at some of the Mothers. They all had makeup on and were dressed so well wholly in eradicate. I just sat there worn-out, plump, and miserable wondering if this was how my life was meant to be. Most of the stretch I had not even had a shower and had sick down my top and I did not care.

Just getting out of the house was a chief achievement for me. I suspect back and realise several the difficulty was the fact that because I was a bit older I had a good life before Hannah could get up when I wanted go out when I wanted only my self to please. When you have children in your twenties most people will find that they have not had chance to have luxury vacations and to go out every night etc.

At 35 I had enjoyed my spare time and loved lying in bed on a Sunday morning reading the papers with a cup of tea. This was what I missed my mature life I wanted it back and felt I had made a big mistake. This of course made worse with the PND I was suffering that at the stretch I did not realise I had. The crying all of the time the feeling of helplessness that no-one understood was awful. The stupid thing is that all of this only lasted a few months but it felt like a lifetime and as soon as I saw the doctor everything changed. It took a while but soon I began to feel so much better.

I woke up one morning and looked at her in the cot and felt such joy that I knew I actually must have been so poorly that I could not have realised this earlier. Every day now I believe how lucky I am to have her. She is a constant source of amusement in every way I did not realise how much you could love something and how much it affects you. I would not be without her she means everything to me. The problem now is I dispair on a daily basis about things happening to her and I know this is standard for every Mother but life is a worry and you have to try and not put your fears into your child.