Tag Archives: child

Learning Language in Toddler Time

Language development is one of the most intriguing things I can think of.  I remember as a young child sitting in history class, maybe in sixth or seventh grade listening to my teacher teach on some ancient civilization.  I remember it because of the un-thought out question that I had.  The statement was made that the civilization did not have a written language.  Before the teacher could explain further my hand sprung up and I was called on to ask “if they did not write things down, how did they communicate?”  Yes I very un-thought out question.  Being able to communicate is the the same thing as being able to write.

Read more here: http://www.oaksacorns.com/baby-puzzle/learning-language-in-toddler-time

Advertisements

4 Steps to Take to be a Stay-at-Home Parent – Episode 2

In this episode I talk about the steps we have taken so far to being a single income family and for me to be a stay-at-home dad.  Cheryl and I are goal setters and planners.  Additionally we believe heavily in the family unit.  We are placing the value of family ahead of career in order to give our children more time for the things we think are important.  It has been a 10 month process.  If you are looking at having a parent stay at home.  Think about what you want it to look like.  What will change.  How will the family need to change.  How will the family benefit from this change.  What might be your stumbling blocks.  We concentrated a lot on budget and finances.  We are excited to be able to teach our children values, morals and responsibilities.

Groundhog Day 2016

Today is Groundhog Day.  I cannot go a single Groundhog Day without thinking about Bill Murrey and his desperate to escape living through a day that repeats it’s self without end.  He tried so very hard to get it right, then he tried so very hard to get it wrong and still he would wake to hear Sonny and Cher sing their love ballad.  

Well if you didn’t hear on the news, the groundhog did not see his shadow which tradition and lore tells us it will be an early spring.  Why is that tradition?  Why do we except it as fact?  How in the world does one relate to the other?  I have heard and read sever different explanation, but at the end I still wonder why?  Why except things as fact just because that is how they have been?

As we posted, LR’s bio-parent’s rights were severed.  Cheryl and I have contacted our licensing agency and an adoption attorney.  From the best we can tell it will be about 4 weeks (so around the beginning of March) before our home is an “approved” adoptive home.  It will then be about sixty to ninety days before the adoption date can be set (so somewhere in the start to mid May).

I can say with certainty that I am naive about the process that we were to go to for the adoption.  It feels like the more paperwork we fill out the more we are asked to fill out.  It feels like the closer to the end we walk the further away the date gets.  I don’t believe that my own genius is anywhere close to the comic genius of Mr. Murray, but at the same time it feels a little like I imagined as a young adult that the character it Groundhog Day was experiencing.  

Today we recived an email from our licensing agency with changed to the licensing requirements.  Lots of changes have been happening to AZ foster care system ever since we have been involved. With the changes we see at least two areas that will most likely need to change to maintain our licenses.  For me the safety and well being of the children is the most important thing.  However the changes seem less about a practical application and more about changing things just so it is different.  Why continue to throw hoops and hurdles.  We are trying our hardest.  The changes were supposed to give more support to the families and the children.  The largest change I have seen has been a change it leadership reporting, very little to assist the children.  Why do we settle for things to stay the same just because they are tradition or lore?  Why can’t improvements be made at the practical level?  We don’t need more hoops, we needs more supports.

Thank you for reading.  I will post an update as we hear back from our adoptive lawyer and when we meet our new case worker.  Happy Groundhog Day.

Black Friday 

“It’s different when they are your’s”.  

Two years and a few months ago, Cheryl and I had the fortunate encounter of listening to friends talk about their own experience as foster and later adoptive parents.  Long time readers might remember me writing about them.  They showed us the path to fostering and took our baby puzzle blog in a whole new direction.  They explained to Cheryl when she asked, “when did you feel like they were yours?”  “Oh honey, they were never mine, they were gifts from God, we just got a chance to take care of them for a little while.”

On our Balck Friday we head to the stores in search of new possessions.  New things that we can own.  New things we can manipulate and change.  New things that are ours.  They can be held as a shiny new object.  They can be thrown away without  a second look.  On this glorious discounted day we search for the deal of a life time.  We search for things we can possess, things we can own.

Humans cannot be owned.  “It’s different when they are your’s”.  I was raised by an adopted mom.  My dad was raised by adopted dad.  The children who are placements in our home cannot be thrown away without a second look, therefore they are not our possession, but gifts from God.  

Today, yes even on Black Friday, I am happy for things that I still long for.  Many of my things are not able to be bought at a store.  Today I am happy to know that God has given me many gifts.  Today, I am happy to be reminded that family and friends alike, have given goods examples of the gifts I have been afforded.  While others still believe “It’s different when they are your’s”, I know the things that truly matter in life are not those things that I own, they are not things I can throw away or dismiss, they are something much different then any Black Friday sale can provide

Today, remember what you were thankful for yesterday.  Happy Black Friday!

Turkey Tuesday Thanks

As we prepare for the holiday coming this Thursday, it leads me to be introspective about the things we have experienced and are thankful for.  2015 has been another unique year.  I am thankful for many things and I am sure that if I sat listing them all it may sound like everything in my life.  Here are three things for our “Turkey Tuesday”.

Since last Thanksgiving, Cheryl and I have said goodbye to two of our three placements, hello to two new kiddos and grown closer to our three current placements.  I am very thankful for the many gifts that each child gives us.  They all have their own personalities, but in their own unique way they show us what it means to love and be loved.  They grow and discover the world around them and as they do they remind me of the simple things in our lives that are just as important as the more complicated ones.  Seeing the world through a child’s eye has a certain level of innocence and can un-complicate a complicated decision without even trying.  I am very thankful for our three little ones with us and the two littles back home with their families.

My second Turkey Tuesday Thanks is from back in April. I spent 16 days in the hospital and another two weeks on “couch rest”.  During that time a lot of the slack I left behind had to be picked up.  Some of the slack was by family, some by co-workers and a whole lot by my loving wife.  Cheryl was a rock who went to work, came home and took care of our kiddos and found time to take care of her emotionally fragile husband.  I am thankful for the family and friends who lent her a hand in taking care of the kiddos, of the house, the dogs, and her.  Cheryl went to bat for me, making sure the doctors were on track, she slept on hard chairs and she held me up.  This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all of the slack pickers in my time of need.

The third Turkey Tuesday Thanks is for the many coming changes that Cheryl and I anticipate in the coming year.  We feel like we will have a more clear understanding what our “baby puzzle” picture will look like.  We have been working feverishly to set ourselves up for our “domestic dad” plan and we will have a more active role in forming the people our littles are becoming.  Every year there is change and I know that nothing is ever static.  Having a chance to live out our goals and our plans makes me thankful.

So, from the Covert’s house and my own blogging desk, I want to wish you a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving.  And that you may remember to remember the many blessings in your life.  Happy Thanksgiving.

One Year with LR

One year ago today LR came to live with us.

We did not know her, we did not know where she had been and who she had seen.  We did not know her personality.  Her had not experienced her laugh.  We had not experienced her active tendencies.    She came to our home and changed our year and our lives.

Today we still live in limbo.  Today she has a grasp of our heart.  Today Cheryl and I wish her a very happy one year fostering anniversary.  We are very excited to see what the next year holds.

It is in the Little Things

On facebook today I saw a post of a baby climbing on the top of a fence.  The caption read something like, “this is what happens to the baby when I am watching them and also trying to make dinner”. (I may have mis-quoted that, but it is the gist of the message).  Many week day evenings I find myself trying to balance the time with the kiddos with the ever pressing need to feed, bathe, change and all of the other little things that goes along with caring for two one-year-olds and a three year old.

Most days after work looks something like this… leave work right at 3:30 with a slew of stares from fellow co-workers wondering why I leave right at quttin’ time.  I can’t stay any later, the three young minds deserve contact time with their parenting unit.  Not an excuse, just my priority.

Onto the road down the 303 around to the 10 and into the front doors of daycare by about 3:55.  I go to pick up B-Rad (the oldest).  The “teacher” unloads a few facts about B-Rad’s day and will give me one, or two or three items to take home.  Love the keep sakes, but also get dirty clothes and a sheet about his day.  On a good day I can get B-Rad to carry his few items, on other days he is not in the mood.  Onto the two girl’s room.  We enter after the slow paced walk of B-Rad (no he does not normally walk slow, but for some reason down that hallway he moves like a snail).  LR will almost always run to me and ask to be picked up.  Our other girl walks holding B-Rad’s hand.  As we start to go their teacher will hand me two or four or six things of the girl’s to carry and unload a few facts about their day.  On the good days B-Rad will help carry and LR loves to hold her paper.  On other days I may have up to four plastic bags of things and papers in my hand.  Any way you dice it up we all walk to the van.

Getting three littles in a car is a balancing act.  B-Rad is usually good about standing and waiting while I place one of the girls into their seat.  The other girl is the trick in all of this.  Most of the time we come out to “LR’s side” and I place our other girl on the floor of the van while I buckle in LR.  If it happens to be the other side I place LR on the floor of the van and buckle in sister.  LR is not one to patiently wait and by the time all of the buckles have been buckled LR has taken out DVDs or moved the garage door opener or the remote or tried to drive the van.  Once both girls have been buckled into their seats I will turn my attention to B-Rad.  Almost always he will have gotten himself into his seat.  On really good days he will have also started buckling himself in, however more times than not, this process has not yet begun.  B-Rad throws a large fir each time he needs to be buckled in.  Life returns to a bit of normalcy once we have started the car (and more importantly the DVD).

We drive home back onto the 10, off on Sarivel and up Cotton to our home.  The process of getting out of the car seems much less cumbersome to me… probably because it is happening inside our garage and not in a parking lot where there are lots of other dangers.  Once inside, the baby gates to the kiddos room and into the kitchen go up so I can feed the dogs.  At this point LR has a mini meltdown on most days.  I have tried to let the kiddos into the dog feeding area, but it is shared with too many breakable/pull over on top of one’s self/hot/dog doors in the area.  A little meltdown is better than the alternative.

We are usually in our front room by about 4:15-4:25.  We spend the next hour or so playing, reading, dancing, or what ever comes our way.  Around 5:40 I start dinner.  I have tried this process lots of different ways, but my favorite and least dramatic is getting all of the kiddos into their high chairs.  Giving the kiddos all drinks.  While they start on that I start the oven or the stove top or both.  Once I have that going I bring around fruit to the kiddos (usually bananas).  I go with the back and forth or a little prep and a little interaction so that dinner can be ready for Cheryl when she get home around 6:10.

Once dinner has been eaten Cheryl and I tag team on bath time.  All of the kiddos in the bath, we scrub from end to end.  LR likes to stand in the bath tub which usually results LR slipping into the bath tub.  When she is sitting she often times tries to drink from the bath water.  B-Rad has an affinity for getting soap in his eyes.  No matter how we wash him or poor the water to rinse it always seems to happen.  Those fifteen or so minutes comes through the spare bathroom like a hurricane.  Water all over the floor, but we get clean kiddos.

Changed for bed and it is out to the front room.  Cheryl has commented to me that it is really hard because on many evenings she sees them for less than an hour.  Those minutes after all of the daycare, the driving, the fussing, the eating, the bathing and the changing are the minutes we get to really show the kiddos how much we care for them.

It is in the little things.  The balancing act seems like if you tried to stop and just listen it would fly right passed us.  The other evening, before Cheryl had gotten home and before I had started dinner we had one very precious moment.  Cheryl had called and LR was in my lap.  I answered and after a minute I held the phone up to LR’s ear.  Cheryl must have said something and in the clearest of voices LR said, “hi.”  It is those moments that we treasure so much.  The other things are just things that we get through during the day, but those little moments can last a life time.

Cheryl and I plan to make a few changes in the coming months so we can remove the “hour in the morning and hour in the evening” life and keep the little moments.  We are looking at rearranging the other things in our life so I can stay home to raise the kiddos until it is time for them to start kinder.  Lots of sacrifice.  Our baby puzzle has seen lots of changes to it from when we start this blog.  We are excited to continue down this journey.

October Sixth, Part 1

Peeking through the bedroom door I can see the outline of the crib.  The bumper sheet is a bit pulled down and I hear a peep.  LR is up and she is ready to get ready for her day.  I walked to the closet and turn the light on.  I look over at LR and she is standing with a smile peeped on her face. Her arms are up in atticipation of being picked up.  Finally I walk over to her and pick her up to take her to the changing table. She rests her head on my shoulder for the short four step trip over to her changing table.  LR pats me on my back twice, a general reminder that she is still tired.  I place her down on the changing table and LR arches her back, trying to sit up.  She is not a fan of changing time, but I was ready for that and hand her an Olof doll to district her.

After a few minutes of changing, we head out to the breakfast table for the meal Cheryl has made for the little ones.  Into her green high chair LR sits, apple juice in hand.  

After a few minutes of changing the other littles I come out and Cheryl is finishing LR pig tails.  Right now this is the only hair style that works for two Pfister parents and a kiddo who has no permission to cut hair that is into the kiddos eyes.  A few minutes of eating and hide-n-seek playing and we are off to daycare.

Cheryl drives the van, I drive our other car.  Once in the daycare parking lot Cheryl and I double team the unloading of the car.  Three kiddos all on the side walk.  B-Rad takes his sisters hand and Cheryl takes LR’s hand.  It was just a few weeks ago we were caring the two youngest in.  Now we are five walkers walking in like a flock of geese.  Through one passcoded door and a second passcoded door in through a third door and the kiddos are set.  B-Rad and sister sit down.  LR has realized we are in daycare.  She turns and grabs my pant legs.  She goes limp and starts wailing.  She knows how to throw a fit with the best of them and can pull at the heart strings like a puppet master.  I bend down and pick her up to put her in a chair like B-Rad and sister are sitting.   

 
In my mind she still looks and acts but she is almost a year older than that now.  She is a little girl now, not a baby.

Cheryl and I now sit here waiting for the severance hearing.  In my head I wonder what will the next four hours hold for us, for LR?  What will the judge decide?   Will LR’s mom and dad show? Will the GAL say the things she has told us she will say?  Will the DCS worker say what she said she would say?  Will the judge choose to hear the case today or will it be resch uled?  Foster parents have almost no voice in the court.  We are much like spectators watching the story line play out in front of.  We can follow the story line and the story line plays a part in our lives.

More to come after court.  Thanks for reading.

Curveball

We had a typical monthly visit from our worker last Friday.  This was the first time she had come to our home since the kiddos have come into our care (46 days).  She had to meet earlier than I could make it home for the whole meeting.  By the middle of her visit, I walked into the on going conversation.  By that point the worker had expressed to Cheryl that she need to know by September 8th weather we would adopt the kiddos.  As I said, we have only known them for about six weeks.  We have done very little in the way of discerning and have been concentrating a lot more on LR’s case.  We spent a lot of time over the weekend talking about it.  We know we can’t force a feeling in that short amount of time.  Instead, we are going to respond that we are open to building a relationship with the kiddos and are willing to consider making adoption.  We thought we had more than a year to make this decision with how the courts had been talking.  Changes may be on the way for the Covert’s because if our response is not what the case worker is looking for than she may disrupt placement.  Never a  dull moment.

A Change

One month ago the court hearing was pushed back one month, today we had a hearing for LR.  A change in the case plan from reunification to severance and adoption was issued by the judge.

Cheryl reported that LR’s dad’s attorney requested to be dropped from the case which was not granted.  The judge believes that the attorney’s is still needed for the pre-trial conference.  That attorney reported that the father’s wishes are to have his rights severed.  LR’s mom’s attorney stated that mom does not share the sentiment.  The pre-trial conference was set for September 21st @ 10am and the judge indicated that if both parents do not come that day he may sever at that time.

Cheryl and I plan to take the day off together.  Nothing is set in stone about the future of this case.  However August 24th, 2015 is a change for LR’s life.  We ask that all of our friends, family and faithful readers pray for God’s guidance in the coming month and for whatever is in store for us.