What it is at our house this weekend, is that one of our 3 foster children is having a sister and brother, who are also in care, over for a Sleepover. Or a "Stayawakeover" as I call them.
So that's 5 then, which we've never had under one roof before.
You know fostering is always surprising you?
Well as things stand, it turns out 5 are easier than 3, which is easier than 1.
Right now, early Saturday evening, nobody is arguing about what to watch on TV, or whose turn it is on the laptop. In fact no-one is bothering about technology, toys or snacks at all. Why? They've got much more interesting gizmos to hand. People. People they share the big thing with.
They've all given their early warning system the weekend off. The radar that alerts them when there's an incoming reminder they are different.
Couple of weeks ago I was in the mini-supermarket with one of mine, a child of ethnic background. She was trying to reach down a mini-Toblerone from a high shelf, and a lady shopper helped her, I was watching. The lady is a neighbour, about ten doors along. The lady knows me, and has met the child several times. But she's 83, and I don't blame her for what happened next.
The lady looked around at the customers in the shop and saw a woman aged about mid-thirties. And ethnic. The lady called out to her "Do you mind if I help her get a Toblerone down?" The woman looked understandably confused. The child shot me a glance, one of those pictures that paints a thousand words. Then the lady asked the woman "Sorry, is she yours?"
On the way home, I'd bought the child the Toblerone plus a lolly, and I apologised for the lady.
The child said "Shut up!"
Which I did.
Fostered children are permanently on Red Alert for little nuances that single them out, aren't they?
So it should be no surprise they relax to the end of their toes when the situation is top heavy with people who have the same backstory.
I had to visit a school for disabled children way back, and I'd always been a believer that children in wheelchairs should be in regular schools. But the Head said to me "Here they are normal." And we all need to feel normal.
Blue Sky crank up a bunch of social events during school holidays where carers bring their foster children and stuff happens. The ones I've been too have been brilliant.
All these unique, vulnerable individuals with loads of problems, relaxing and sharing and supporting each other. That's just the foster parents.
The children really bubble, drop their exhausting guard, get stuck in because from start to finish it's a day where they are normal.
And that's what's going in our home this weekend. 5 young people sharing being normal early on a Saturday evening first time in a long time.
2 older people sharing a contented house early on a Saturday evening, first time in a very long time.
The Secret Foster Carer