Thursday, April 28, 2011

Remembering #1...

Wow! I just realized that it was exactly two years ago this week that my little Immobile Munchkin came and went.  The Munchkin was my very first placement.  She was only with me for a week, but I learned so much from my experience with her! 

When I got the call for an 11-month-old little girl about to be released from the hospital with a broken femur, I specifically asked, "Is she mobile?"  I knew that with little ones, they often completely immobilize them in order to make sure the fractures heal correctly.  Apparently somewhere between HER case manager and MY case manager, she went from "being immobilized from the waist down" to "has a big cast on her leg" (SINGULAR). HER case manager hadn't even seen her... An aide brought her over from the hospital. And being my first placement, I didn't realize I was allowed to say, "Uh... This is NOT what you told me to expect!"

Poor baby girl was in a body cast from the armpits down to her ankles...  BOTH ankles...  and to make matters worse, she had to wear a corrective helmet 23 hours a day to help with a skull malformation. And to top it all off, she either had a cold or was allergic to Tommie because she couldn't breathe!  She couldn't lay down because she couldn't breathe. She couldn't be situated on her stomach because she had a hard time holding her head up from the weight of the helmet. She couldn't even SIT because of the position of the body cast.  I thought there was NO WAY that I (a single, working mom) could give her the undivided attention that she needed, and I couldn't take off of work for the next 6-8 weeks while she was in the cast.  I ended up having to ask that she be moved to a two-parent house with a stay-at-home mom.  I was SO frustrated because she was such a sweet little girl, and I felt like I was letting her down.  :(

The Munchkin was a trooper though!  She was the sweetest little thing, and did SO WELL considering everything she had been through.  She was understandably frustrated at not being able to move, but as long as someone was constantly entertaining her, she was a sweetheart.  :-)

From what I'd learned, she lived in a house with about 15 people, so she seemed to be a bit spoiled as far as needing your undivided attention, and being in a body cast made it pretty much impossible to entertain herself, so you had to get creative with positioning her and playtime.  You always know when she was having fun because she had the most adorable smile.  When she was REALLY excited, she shook her head side to side and shook her fists.  
She didn't like to be left alone at all when she was awake, and if you left her sight she would YELL to get you to come back (especially when it came to bedtime).  “YELL!!!”  (wait a second)  “YELL!!!”  (wait a second)  And she kept it up until you either gave in and got her or won the battle yourself.  It was about 50/50 with the two of us to see who won.  I told her that yelling wasn’t ladylike, but she didn’t seem to care much.  :-)

I hated that I wasn't able to keep her, but I knew that moving her was the best thing for her.  And I was proven right after only a week!  I found out that her new foster parents were friends of mine from my training classes, and they were even able to take in her big sister as well!  I never would have been able to take them both, so having her in a home with two parents and her sister was awesome!   The girls remained with my friends for about 15 months when they were ultimately returned home to their mother, and I pray every day that they are safe, happy, and loved.

Munchkin's Favorite Things:

* Being in the stroller - The stroller was the ONE place where she could feel like she was "sitting up" without me holding her.  She loved to be in whatever room I was in and watch me do whatever I was doing.  Who knew doing the dishes could be so exciting?  ;-)

* Singing, learning animal noises, copying faces and sounds

* Peek-a-boo (She liked to cover her own face with a cloth diaper and "surprise" me.)

* Putting Legos and the little bathtub "squirter" toys into a big bowl over and over and over again.  She would sit in my lap and do that for a solid hour!

* And her ULTIMATE favorite thing was to straddle my leg and pretend that she was riding a horse while I sang the "Bonanza" theme song over and over and over.  Any time I would stop, she'd bounce her head again like she was galloping so I'd start over.

* The Munchkin really liked being with Buddy and Ka-Diva.  You can tell she'd been around kids because she was always very interested in whatever they were doing.  Buddy especially (as always) fell in love with her.  He's always the little protector of my kiddos.  :-)

*  I gave the Munchkin a fluffy white Winnie the Pooh blanket the very first night she was with me, and she was NEVER very far from it (You can see it in most of the pictures that I have of her).  I sent it with her to her new foster home, and her foster mom told me that she had it with her ALL THE TIME.  Ever since then, I make sure that each baby gets a brand new fluffy blanket of their very own almost as soon as they come in my door.  :-)

It's funny how things work out.  That week was so hard (seeing as how I had absolutely no clue what I was doing with babies or foster care at the time.  ;-)  I actually think that if she came to me under the same circumstances now, I would be a lot better prepared and much more capable of being what she needed.), but God's timing was perfect (of course) because that week that the Munchkin spent with me ended up giving everyone involved the time to find the absolute best placement for her.  The Munchkin definitely ended up in the best home for her during the time she was in foster care, and 2 weeks later, I got my Booger Bear!!!  :-)  I learned so much from my experience with my little Immobile Munchkin, and as hard as that week was, I wouldn't change a thing!

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