Romeo has been with us six weeks.
Certain patterns and traits are becoming obvious, and it's interesting to link them to his past.
Food is important, you find this so often with foster children don't you? Of course food is important to all of us, but it's different for children with chaotic backgrounds. Sometimes they were told "No tea for you" because of some real or imagined misbehaviour when the real reason was that people couldn't be bothered or the money had run out. Or spent on something else.
Plus, to be completely nutritious food has to be served with a bit of love and respect. The portions arranged attractively on the plate. Food fads such as nothing touching must be respected.
I don't go as far as saying Grace, but I notice myself respecting the food and the company, and hope it rubs off.
Romeo didn't know how to lay a table. Not because he'd never been given it as a job - he was given plenty of jobs such as helping mum up the stairs to bed some nights. He didn't know about laying the table because people didn't sit at table in his house, ever. "Lap food" was the order of the day, every day. Takeaway or "Ding-Meals" (microwave). Nothing for breakfast, maybe everyone bar Romeo was too hungover or didn't get up until lunchtime.
He's filling out, he was a bit thin when he came, unlike mum, who I've now 'met' twice at Contact. She won't look me in the eye. I don't want her to feel I judge her harshly, I really really hope I don't, I really hope I don't come across judgemental, but a piece of me is getting protective of Romeo and feels like saying; "You be careful with him for the next hour, he's my foster child" but obviously I never would. It's a positive feeling to experience though, it means I'm starting an attachment to the child, and I honestly believe they can sense it when you do, and it's a first step towards them finding some attachment to their foster family.
I've bought him some new clothes. BIG TIP IF YOU'RE NEW TO FOSTERING: for Contact I dress him in the clothes he brought with him when he arrived. Same with haircuts; he needs one but he wants it shaved above the ears, and it'll be a few weeks before I know his mum well enough to mention it to her, which is how I do it. Having your child taken away is traumatic enough without the foster mum kitting them out in their idea of trendy or buying them a salon cut.
Yes, he shows anger sometimes. I try not to rise to the bait, but if I have the argument it blows over quick and he seems very peaceful afterwards, more so than me! Almost like he needs two minutes of raised voices. Maybe he's used to it and kind of needs it.
He also shows new things like full-on politenesses. When he says; "Thank you" it comes out as "I'm grateful for the bag of crisps you've just brought me". In other words it's not the meaningless burp that so many parents insist their children say from the age of about 18 months in the hope onlookers will applaud the well-brought-up child. Sorry, I got a bit het up; I just hate the question "What do you say?" when a tiny tot begs something.
While I'm on my pet hates of parenting what the heck does "Be careful" mean? It's all I hear on the walk to school and in the playground. It's meaningless compared to specifics such as "Try to run around the puddles" or "Do stay on the pavement" It's as useful to the child as "This product may contain nuts" on a packet of nuts. Even the negative "Don't run in the puddles" or "Don't run into the road" is better than the lazy "Be careful".
Romeo also shows signs of being comfortable around the house, fetched himself some juice. It's a type of respect for our respect for his maturity.
He's not afraid of telling the X Box off. I've reminded him that at least two of the words he uses are really not for teacher's ears, or his foster mum's, and that I wish he'd hold them back when the other children are around, but heck they've heard them before and we've talked about it. Romeo's language is what he was taught, you can't un-teach linguistics, only expand vocabulary.
What's next? Just more of the same really.
I find in fostering that as long as you're not too tired you notice they pass little milestones every day and that's the joy of it isn't it?