Saturday morning Marcus* stood in the doorway to his room covered in dried barf. Shortly after he went to bed the night before, I heard a cough that sounded like throwing up. Seems I should have investigated further. Wrongly, I figured if Marcus threw up he’d let me know. In the week he’s been here, I’ve established myself as the one to come to when he needs anything or there’s any conflict with the other kids. Sitting in my room, trying to catch up on emails, I overestimated the connection we’d made.
Marcus threw up in his bed then went to sleep.
“Is that barf on you?” I ask in the morning.
“I don’t know,” Marcus answers. His cute, innocent face makes a lot of appearances – especially when I ask about using the toilet. That was an issue before he arrived. This week I’ve kept him in pull ups. When I ask if he’s wet himself, Marcus answers, “I don’t know,” with a cute, innocent face.
“You do know if you threw up.”
“No, I don’t,” he sincerely replies.
“Yes, you do. You threw up and slept in a bed full of barf.” I must admit my tone wasn’t pleasant. Years of working with special/high needs kids I’ve discovered even the slightest positive tone is an invitation for behavior to continue. I really don’t want Marcus sleeping in barf again, so I’m serious when I say, “That is not allowed.” I explain what should have occurred – telling me right away so I could clean him and his bed up – before sending him into the shower.
There is barf on the floor, walls, and bed. It’s gross. Laundry begins before I get breakfast on the table and continues throughout the day. Elise* pees her pants while playing outside in the snow. Sloane* pees shortly after that. Of course she waits until her sisters’ clothes are nearly done in the washing machine. Another load of laundry goes in. Owing to Marcus’ toileting issues my own girls are becoming lax.
I didn’t shower Saturday which always makes me feel a little less cheery. Flora*, Marcus sister, who arrived with him last Friday is turning 9 on Monday. In the midst of laundry and making meals, I tried very hard to tidy the house. We’re having a small party to celebrate Flora’s birthday. It’s Family Day, the kids are off school. My friend will be coming with her three foster children and I’ve invited the girl next door. I worry about making this special enough for Flora. She was expecting a big party at a nearby indoor playground. Her mom made a lot of promises about this birthday before she came into foster care and since. Twice a week the kids get to have a 1hr supervised visit with their mom.
So I go all out. The kids will make their own personal pizzas – will even get to roll out the dough. I’ve made and iced cupcakes. Flora decorated. She desperately wanted to be involved in the preparations. My friend, the one with the three foster girls, stopped by today.
She asked how Marcus and Flora like living at my house. Being lunch, their mouths were full of food. Their heads bobbed and thumbs popped up before they could swallow to exclaim, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! We like it!”
Another foster mom friend pointed out the possibility of this being a honeymoon phase. I’d not thought of that. In the past with special/high needs foster children there never was a honeymoon phase. I always found the first few weeks the hardest. Whatever the case, I’m glad the children are happy with me. And that Flora is looking forward to spending her birthday here tomorrow.