Sunday, November 29, 2020

TOBLERONE AND THE SWEETNESS OF FOSTERING

 Having been in fostering a while I sometimes risk getting to think I know most of it.

That silly notion comes up and bites me every time.

So what happened a few weeks before the first lockdown was this;

Youngest foster child, who has been with us about 15 months, says they're ready to go into town on their own on a Saturday morning, hook up with school friends and come home as and when.

Didn't actually say "As and when".

The exact phrase was more like; "I'll come home when I'm ready, alright?"

Many foster children need to show a bit of attitude to aid their self-respect, I roll with the little punches;

Me; "Yeah, only it's pizza tonight so you want to text me what you want?"

Answer; "Maybe."

All children reach an age when they start to cross the bridge away from their parents and strike out on their own. It's difficult enough with you own kith and kin, much more complicated when you're managing it with somebody else's child.

I let the child go into town. I talked to our Blue Sky Social Worker and we reckoned it was about right for the child; right for their age and development. Anyway…what you going to do if you want to keep the child home, put a lock on the door?

My own feeling was that it was a bit early for the child. The child is, in my guess, a tad too young, too unstreetwise to deal with being in town without a parent/guardian.

I told the child my misgivings and said that if the child wanted to prove me wrong, stay out of trouble and be home before dark. (I know you see what I did there, it's not rocket science). I told the child I'd worry all the while, and the reason I'd worry is because I don't just care about the child, I love the child). I told the child I don't worry that the child will get it wrong, I worry about other people who can make mistakes about children's behaviour and attitude.

The child went. Walked in. And was gone about four hours. Where the child went and with who was their business, and late afternoon I got a phone call;

"Er yeah can you pick me up?"

"Where will you be?"

"Er yeah like..by the bus stop."

"Which bus stop?"

"The one by the lay by! Obviously!"

I drove down.

Child got in car in silence unless a grunt counts as "Good evening and thank you for picking me up."

When we got home child jumped out of the car, slammed the door and dashed for the front door.

I noticed some forgotten shopping the child had done; not much, a Toblerone. I picked it up and stood it on the kitchen table. Child had disappeared upstairs, not to be seen until tea time. The family began gathering and when he showed up I said;

"You forgot your Toblerone, it's on the table."

And the child shot a look at me like I'd said something ruinous.

After tea everyone dispersed and I was left alone to deal with the debris as is often the case (I find it less hard work doing it myself than trying to commandeer an army of reluctant 'helpers').

The child appeared, or at least poked a head round the kitchen door to whisper;

"The Toblerone is for you innit?"

Child then added;

"Don't get emotional alright?"

And then was gone.

Can't bring myself to eat it yet, it's on the window sill above the kitchen sink so I see it every time I'm there...





0 comments:

Post a comment