Picked up new foster boy, Johnny #36 late this evening. During the thirty-five minute drive home, it became obvious that my new boy isn’t too quick on the up-take, but he smiles thinly during this ride to his new home, and tries hard to keep up a running conversation with me about himself.
In the beginning, I always ask the easy questions: “What’s your favorite food?” “What things do you enjoy doing?” And then, maybe a day or two later, I’ll start asking the harder ones: “How do you feel about coming to my home?” “What happened that got you into this situation?” The fourth question in this line up would shortly become evident and I would have no need to ask it.
Because Johnny #36 has a very hard time sticking to the subject, preferring instead to wander off to tell stories about a bike he once got for Christmas, or an ‘A’ he once received at school, I pretty much let him ping-pong me with his random words. Arrival home again would seem a blessing to me. After we’d gotten his things put away, all I would need to do was make our dinner, or so I thought.
And there he stood in the garage, holding only one small bag to take inside, out of perhaps twenty, giving me the sublime opportunity of playing Sherpa for him. FYI – Plastic garbage bags, instead of actual luggage, are standard fare for foster children.
“Ahhhh, do you think perhaps you could carry in two bags at the same time?” I had said this gently. Didn’t want to seem too bossy on his first day out. Too late!
#36 just stood and looked at me, his smile disappearing entirely. The smile that I had helped put on his round little face in the first place. I could not gage, at this point, what he was thinking. No need!
Within the next ten seconds my new child peed himself in such great quantity that I thought perhaps there might be a grinning Clydesdale crouched directly behind him. Even though he wore clothing, which should have soaked up most of the urine, on the floor beneath him was a ginormo puddle a ten-foot snowman couldn’t make if you dragged him inside a hot house. Awesome, really. Impossible. Never believed one single human being could pee as much as Johnny #36 had just done.
I had scared him, I guessed, but knew that how I responded to this action of his could either make or break our too-new, and profoundly-delicate relationship. It was up to me to fix this.
As simply as I could manage it, I told him how sorry I was that this had happened to him and then carefully scouched him into the house — then to the bathroom for a shower — then for a change of clothes – then a load of laundry – then taking myself back to the garage for a good cleaning of same, and finally the schlepping in of the remainder of his ‘luggage’.
Life is about to get very interesting around here.