Praise the Lord for takeaways.
Looked-after children love them to bits.
All children do, of course, but they have an extra magic for children who come into care.
Maybe the arrival of takeaway food in their real home meant a reduction of tension, a sense of togetherness and the fact that a key need, namely food, was available in abundance.
This is what happened this week;
Our new placement, I'm calling him 'Romeo' here, which is more sensible than his real name, had to have a blood test, I'm not going to bore you with the reasons why.
I had to take him to the hospital for it, rather than the usual doctors nurse, again there were reasons.
I phoned the school and said he'd be in a bit late, and took him to the blood department for 9.00am.
There were about twenty other people sitting waiting, so we sat, him about four chairs away from me, I'm used to the 'I don't want to walk with you" and the "I don't want to sit next to you" thing, and I don't mind anymore.
It's only when we're out. When we're in the house he's often following me around.
It must have been incredibly scaring for him, especially because he'd had no breakfast. Nothing to eat since the night before, I'll not go into why.
I'd told school he would probably be coming in about 10.30am, and sure enough we were done just after 10.00am.
So I asked him what he fancied for breakfast as it was important he ate. I said we could go home for a slice of toast or cereal, it was too late for me to do him a full English (his fave). So he looked straight ahead and said;
I'd asked him what he wanted and he told me, so that was that, he'd had a difficult morning.
As we drove onto the forecourt I asked what he wanted and he replied by asking me the time. When I told him he said we'd have to wait for 15 minutes before the meal he wanted was available.
Now, I'm going to hold my hands up here and admit I know very little about the whole takeaway scene, but I knew the school were expecting him by 10.30am, the breakfast menu looked like it met every need, and whilst he'd had a difficult morning there had to be something there he could have.
Argument. No problem, looked-after children sometimes need to let off steam and as long as you keep your mojo it's ok to have a bit of verbal fencing.
I lost. I still don't know why, but for Romeo there was a world of difference between a Mac breakfast and a full Mac.
He won the discussion, he got his full Mac, he ate it all, parked outside the school.
He won an argument with me, he got a big Mac and fries and ate them while the rest of his class were at their desks.
If he was able to see himself as a hero, a winner, all to the good.
He got a takeaway, I took a few things away too...