Little L. went to another foster home last week. A long term one.
This is the first time I've had to give a child up to non-family. Apparently, the judge saw some wisdom in releasing her 4 older sisters so they can be adopted by the foster family who has had them for the past 2 years, but letting little L have the benefit of trying to reunite with her mom but not her dad. Mom has not left Dad in the last 2 years of county run scrutiny, let alone the last 12. I don't know how that will change in the next 4 months, and in the meantime, little L's lost the opportunity to be adopted with her siblings. (although it could still happen sometime in the more distant future - my fingers are crossed!) But that's what the ruling was, and we couldn't continue the foster care arrangement with both of us working, so we did not get to place her directly with either an adoptive family or her mom. This is so not what we got into this deal for. But we know she got a good, healthy, stable and secure start. We know we got her to the point where she will sleep through the night on occasion, where she will smile when she hears my voice or sees my face. (The others had to work a little harder.) And that has to be enough. big sigh.

In comparison, my stealthy little one can't stay in bed for more than 2 hours straight - ANY night. And she wants Daddy to put her back to bed. Sucks to be the favorite at 11pm, 1,2,4&6am. I haven't figured out how to get her to just stay in bed and let herself fall back asleep when she wakes up. I know putting plastic spiders around will not work this time! I read somewhere that one family made a chart and every night the child stayed in bed was worth a sticker. After a certain amount of stickers, a trip to the zoo or some other fun place was awarded. Nice idea, but for the instant reward/consequence 3s, I'm not sure it will work just yet. I might try it anyway. In the meantime, I'm taking my opportunities when they show up. Watching "Nevergood" the other night ("Everwood" for the non-initiated - I just renamed it because I can't stand the main character. But for the record, the show itself is a kind of guilty pleasure and I do watch it more than not), Amy scoots herself onto her bed to be by herself for a while. She gets a phone call which she does not answer, and curls up. I know it's a solemn, even sad moment where she's thinking about her graduation and her mother's cancer which is progressing despite chemo, and my comment is "I bet she stays in her bed all night". Just seizing the opportunity, folks! Pan to Ephraim, who placed the unanswered phone call, sitting on his bed with his half packed backpack, and S. and K. both chime in (after delivering a shocked and appalled look at me after my comment) "I bet he stays in his bed all night, too." Guess they saw the opportunity.

Speaking of my stealth snuggler, there were a handful of times through the sleep deprived nights of little L where I'd wake up because my arm was asleep and look over to find a cute little head on my arm, or snuggled into the space between me and the edge of the bed. This was different from her barreling days when she'd run in and climb OVER me to sleep in the middle. She was definitely being sneaky. And she'd found that I might not wake up if she just climbed in and snuggled. Have to admit, she had a good plan. Not only was she able to sneak an hour or two in my bed before I'd wake up, I had a hell of a time telling her she had to go back to her own bed when she was snuggled so cute and sweet next to me. Truth is, we probably would just let her sleep with us as long as she needs if it weren't for her gymnastics and kick boxing nights which come far more often than the snuggly ones. Oh well - any and all ideas are welcome!
A Challenge and an Opportunity.

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