I haven’t written much about the kiddos in a little while, so I’m putting up a brief update on this front.
We’re just past the three months mark with them living with us. I’ve been having a little bit of an existential “crisis” around that benchmark, though it seems I’m pulling out of it now. The series of questions with which that “crisis” was concerned are the most fundamental about kids: Do I really want to be a father? Does it really make sense for me to have kids? What about the opportunity cost with the other things about which I’m passionate–like my writing (I’m getting a lot less time for that to be sure)?
To add to this, Hawkwood’s been having some behavior issues. Nothing too serious, particularly for a toddler who’s just gone through the trauma of a family separation. But it’s given me a constant low level of frustration with him that’s sometimes hard to shake, giving me the unrealistic but still daunting question–is it always going to be like this?
Of course it won’t. Hawkwood will be starting with a play therapist soon, so hopefully that will help. So will time. And me keeping it together, letting go of my frustration with him, and sticking to TBRI. Of course, that’s much easier said than done, and perhaps the reminders that I’m not always as unflappable or possessed of completed self-control as I like to think I am–and the crisis of identity that goes with that–is part of the turbulence.
Since the kids had never been in any kind of school or daycare before, we’re also going through the rounds of all of the commonest communicable diseases–we’ve had bouts of croup, hand/foot/mouth, stomach bugs, and the like. K’s still got her teacher immunities, but even she’s succumbed, at least partially, to one of the waves of pestilence that’s passed through the house. This too shall pass, but assaults on my immune system aren’t helping my calm.
The sweet moments with Hawkwood are there, to be sure, and Marshall, though he’s getting a bit more stubborn and demanding about some things (and on the very verge of walking!) has been relatively easy. It seems to me (though it may be merely a matter of perspective) that Hawkwood’s behavior is somewhat better with K. I’m sure that this in part that K has both formal education and years of experience in working with children, but she tells me that it’s also probably that Hawkwood has especially bonded with me and so feels more comfortable acting out and expressing himself around me. Don’t tell her, but I don’t know her to be often wrong.
We’ve been told that all foster parents go through the “maybe I should quit” phase at about this time, so that knowledge has been somewhat comforting to us–when you have thoughts like this, it’s easy to wonder if you’re just a terrible person or severely broken. Jury’s still out on that, I guess, but nothing good comes from ignoring the way you feel, so we’re confronting everything head on.
At this point, we still don’t know what the kids’ long-term situation will be. CPS has been reticent and we get only snippets of information without any details or explanation from those with more knowledge than us. That’s par for the course, but frustrating nonetheless. All the signs we are getting, however, are pointing to a likelihood that the kiddos will be available for adoption. Whether that’s really the case, and what any timeline on that might be, is beyond us at the moment.
It seems especially that time has been short for anything other than work and the kids lately, so I’m falling behind on my passion projects (which also stresses me out!). I’m still hoping to have my novel fully plotted by the end of the month so that I can get a good start on the first draft for NaNoWriMo. I’m running short sessions of a Shadowrun campaign over a Discord server on Sunday evenings, which so far has been quite enjoyable. On the other hand, I’ve fallen behind on my Frostgrave work and I’ve been really wanting to spend some time further refining and adding to the Avar Narn setting aside from what I need for the novel but, when I can find a few minutes for it, I’m often too tired to focus!
This whole parenting thing is still early, and I know it will continue to get easier (and I’ll therefore be able to turn more attention to writing again).