Casaubon's Book

The Foster Parent Diet

Given that January is the season for regretting excesses and making new starts, I thought I’d offer Sharon’s patented formula for losing 10lbs fast – absolutely guaranteed to take off the weight like lightning.;

Day 1: Spend most of the day getting ready for a weekend event – running errands, shopping at local markets, prepping to prepare lunch for 20+ people. Run into friends and acquaintances and chat about the upcoming event.

3pm Day 1: Get a call from your caseworker announcing that she has four children, 4, 3, 2 and 1 in need of an emergency placement – can you take them RIGHT NOW? In a fit of insanity, say yes.

4pm Day 1: Race around gathering everything together and installing carseats and drive to collect children in Walmart Parking lot. Call friends organizing lunch the next day and inform them that you will not be bringing food for 20.

5pm Day 1: Receive four terrified children. Take eight children through Walmart to buy a carseat for baby (because we only have two carseats) and to allow kids to pick out some familiar foods. Weight Bearing Exercise: Each parent carries one child and pushes the other in a cart. Say yes to Dora the Explorer Yogurt (because traumatized kids deserve some familiarity). Say no to poparts. Install new carseat and get

Race home with children, rapidly assemble dinner while holding a baby in one arm. Let kids play for a while, then feed them. Feed baby while trying to eat your food. Don’t eat much. Race through the house pulling pajamas in various sizes out of your stash, trying to guess what size the kids are wearing.

8pm Day 1: Bathe four children and spend 3 hours trying to get hysterical, frightened kids reassured and to sleep, Finally collapse into bed at midnight.

6am Day 2: Begin race to get eight kids dressed nicely for synagogue. Bathe other four kids. Gulp half a cup of hot tea while children play contentedly – five minutes later go back to real life, where children need constant attention.

10 am Day 2. Load eight kids between the ages of 11 and 1 into car and booster seats (where relevant) for the second time. It only takes 10 minutes this time. Drive to synagogue.

10:30am – Vaguely aware that there is a service going on somewhere, but spend the time in babysitting keeping children from whacking other children.

Noon, Day 2: Take children in for kiddush (snack time). Wind Sprints: Attempt to eat a brownie. Instead, chase two year old who thinks it is funny to run away from you for a while.

1pm, Day 2 – Playground time. Lots of stretching and running.

2pm Day 2 – Home for lunch. Eat with baby on lap. Discover baby is faster at grabbing your plate of chicken than you are. Note how quickly cats move in on dropped chicken. Wave sadly goodbye to your food and feed baby.

Rest of Day 2 – Race around like maniacs trying (and failing) to keep up with laundry, dishes and eight kids. Calisthenics: Do “baby dance” at high speed for two hours to get cranky infant to sleep,” Finally get panicky children to sleep at 10pm, then face dishes. Collapse at midnight again, wakened at 2am by baby and 5 am by own children who are raring to go.

Day 3, am- Get eight kids out of the house appropriately dressed by 9am this time so my kids can go to Hebrew school, and birthday parties. Entertain non-Hebrew school attending foster children for two hours while husband tutors. Play ring-around-the-rosie and horsie for two hours.

Day 3, pm – One child has birthday party in vicinity of Hebrew school, so decide to take other 7 children to local chinese buffet (you normally would have packed a lunch, but that just wasn’t going to happen today) and to the public library. Wind sprints, part 1: During lunch, baby has diaper disaster and you suddenly realize that the change of outfit you found for her requires socks – but previous outfit had no socks and you haven’t packed any. Abandon hope of lunch and race for van, where wonderful, kind friend has just dropped a pile of outgrown baby clothes with you. Bless friend’s name repeatedly while triumphantly digging out slightly-too-small-but-still-functional socks for baby. Run back to restaurant with socks. Wind sprints part II: When arriving at library (after repeated in and out of carseats which you can now do in 2 1/2 minutes (older son has timed)) decide “we don’t need to haul in the diaper bag (which weighs 20lbs easily with clothes for all these kids and enough snacks to feed a small country), we’re only going to be here a few minutes.” Realize hideous mistake as we are standing in line to check out and 2 year old creates disturbing odor and related mess. Run for diaper bag. Run with diaper bag. Contain child and mess. Arrive 20 minutes late to pick up son from birthday party.

Day 4, am: Wonderful, kind Mother in law arrives to help. Magical addition of pair of third hands makes life so much better. Actually have time to do dishes and devour 500 calories without standing up. Meanwhile, eldest son throws up on bus on way to school and is returned to us. Repeats vomiting a couple of times just to make sure we’re full up on laundry. Hear explained by three year old that she was sick and threw up the day before they came. Hmmm…

Day 4, pm: Take five kids (four foster plus sick but good natured oldest son) to visit with extended family. Incredibly heart-warming experience when great-grandmother and grandfather both of whom spent many hours in transit (grandpa spent 30 hours on a bus) to come and get their babies and keep them safe. Feel incredibly good about being foster parents. Wind sprints: Leave kids to visit with family and race out to buy formula, milk and rubber snakes (kids have been fighting over single rubber snake in house). Seek rubber snakes in several locales at high speed. Return, take kids home feed, put to bed, actually get to sleep before midnight, although not much. Eat an actual meal with only a little help from baby.

Day 5: Take all four kids to the doctor, and finally, by the end of the day, to reunite with Grandpa, who is taking them home to another state. Pack from stash four days worth of clothing, diapers, formula, baby food, toys and games for children to take on 30 hour bus ride. Repeatedly bless all the people friends, family and some blog readres who have helped me build said stash because, frankly, if I’d had to take eight kids shopping for clothes I’d be locked in the loony bin right now ;-).

Day 5, evening: Bring home children, including stomach-bug ridden second son. Feed everyone popcorn, apple slices and cocoa, because we’re too tired to do anything else. Get kids into bed at normal bedtime and anticipate a period of relaxation, recovery and laundry doing. Join husband on couch to triumphantly celebrate a job well done with glasses of wine and a lovely local cheese. Talk over the events of the week – exhausting, stressful but also wonderful and well worth it. Miss the kids.

Day 6, 1am. Succumb to stomach virus brought home by some child in residence, whether permanent or temporary. Profoundly regret cheese and wine.

Day 6: Consume nothing but mint tea and toast.

Repeat! A slimmer you is on the horizon!

Sharon

Comments

  1. #1 Susan in NJ
    January 12, 2012

    And you thought this would be a mellow time of year … good work and feel better.

  2. #2 Greenpa
    January 12, 2012

    Thanks for the daily boggle exercise.

    Seriously- do you live in some alternate universe? Has Eric The Physicist arranged some deal where you get 36 hours in each day, instead of 24?

    That seems less impossible to me than that you are still standing up, and still looking for more. :-)

  3. #3 elburto
    January 12, 2012

    Wow, I need a nap after reading that!

    I have to admit (bad, bad me) to laughing at “two hours of speedy baby dancing”, because in a couple of places I frequent “baby dancing” means erm… sex in order to conceive. *cough* So maybe the thought of two frenzied hours of that, rather than two hours of bouncing a baby on up hip, is what’s exhausted me!

    You’re fabulous though. I’m happy that there are people like you in the world,

  4. #4 Sharon Astyk
    January 12, 2012

    Elburto, that’s hysterical! I admit, even were it an option (and it isn’t) that kind of baby dancing wasn’t high on our agenda while the kids were actually here ;-).

    Greenpa, we’re semi-upright at best, and I admit, I probably won’t answer any late night calls for a few days ;-).

    Sharon

  5. #5 Brad K.
    January 12, 2012

    Sharon,

    Blessed be!

    I wonder how the state departments of social services reconcile funding and structure by legislative committee, with dependence on the humanity of foster parents.

    Blessings to you and yours.

  6. #6 Debbie
    January 12, 2012

    God bless you, Sharon! You are a blessing and inspiration to me!
    Debbie

  7. #7 Nicole
    January 12, 2012

    So… what else did you do?

  8. #8 Mary Ellen
    January 12, 2012

    Sharon, you are truly amazing!

  9. #9 craftydabbler
    January 13, 2012

    What a wonderful post. You and your family are the most amazing,giving people. Thank you.

  10. #10 Grandma Misi
    January 13, 2012

    OMG, I laughed out loud over and over, LOVED this post. Am now also tired just from reading it though. Gads girl, and you too Eric, I seriously applaud you and think you are wonderful! The world is incredibly a better place because of you, for so many reasons!

  11. #11 Grandma Misi
    January 13, 2012

    I just had a thought – out of your four boys at least one will probably also become a writer… I would love to read his memoir of life growing up in your household! The comments they make are already priceless (they are SO your children, lol!) Folks, can you imagine? What a hoot!

  12. #12 Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife
    January 13, 2012

    Oh, my! Bless your heart! My hat is off to you for all that you do with grace and good humor that I couldn’t do for love or money. Your dietary method makes the winter exercise regimen I started in order to render springtime garden tasks less devastating to an aging body – well, just ever so relaxing and easy. You are my hero yet again!

  13. #13 Ien van Houten
    January 13, 2012

    What an admirable life. And a good read.

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