We’re getting there. After having visits three days in a row, each significantly longer than the last, we’re getting there. I’m still like a new buddy to him. He’s still like a new babysitting charge to me. Our relationship is still tentative and exhausting. Yesterday he spent the entire day with me at my house–11.5 hours. My two kittens (9 mo old) love him, and the most laughter I heard from him all day came from playing with them. We defaulted to some movie watching, but also cooked three meals together.
I worry about how much to start pushing things as a parent, like portion control and trying to get him to drink milk–or at the very least water–with meals instead of juice. I did manage to put my foot down and tell him that no, he could not add sugar to his hot chocolate. When he told me his foster mom does it, I told him she probably used actual cocoa, which is not sweetened, unlike the packet, which has 22g of sugar. Um, no, you don’t need more. I took him for a walk around the neighborhood–probably a couple blocks total, and he thought it was long. Clearly physical activity has not been part of his routine. Just one reason I’m hoping to get him playing basketball.
His room is not quite done, but looks like a bedroom. He chose which of the two twin beds he wanted as his, and I made it up (when I went to boarding school, the first thing my mom always did at the beginning of the year was make up my bed). We had conversations about house rules, and touched just slightly on talking to his mom about this move. Unlike what his social worker thought, he wants to tell her after he’s moved in, not as a prerequisite to the move. It sounds like he expects her to push back and try to convince him otherwise, so he wants it already done. The one point in the day I saw some discomfort and maybe even a slight flash of anger or annoyance.
We also talked about Christmas a little bit, and some adjustments that might be made to the house (cable–for his basketball watching; and hopefully a new couch). At some point in the afternoon, I noticed that I called the apartment “our house.” I said grace before dinner, trying to get us into at least one habit/routine/tradition. So much at the moment is dependent on outside things or remains to be figured out as we go along; this was one thing I felt I could say “we do this.”
Things are moving fast. Just today I announced the recent developments to my congregation; next week he’ll probably be in church with me. I think he’d rather move in sooner than later. We have an overnight next weekend, and I think I’ll be discussing what happens after that with the social workers this week. I’ve got to be in touch with the basketball coach and try and connect with a local principal to see whether there might be a spot at her school (a Montessori magnet public school) for him. I don’t know what size clothes he wears. We bought him toothpaste to use when he’s with me.
Step by step…just gotta remember that. Also, I think I might need to take up yoga. Or start running a whole lot more. Otherwise, the stress might just get to me.