It is a uniquely awkward experience to have a child you’ve never laid eyes on be dropped off for you to care for and entertain for the week. I will say during Sunny’s stay here I’ve laughed more than I have in a long time…also worried more.
She’s a funny and smart kid and has been mostly easy to get along with. We went to G.ood W.ill the first day to get some farm clothes for her and she revealed how princessy she is by picking out every sparkly prom dress and glamorous high heel in the place. I let her pick out a magazine at the drug store and she picked a bridal one and has spent hours critiquing every gown and picking what she would like to be wed in as well as what I will wear at my wedding.
She’s pretty wily and you can tell she’s been exposed to way too much. When she told me that her Aunt S told her that “all men want is to get into your pants,” I responded that not all men were like that. She insisted that “MOST” were. It seems she’s used to a junky diet too and it was difficult to strike a balance between easing her into more healthy choices and having a “whatever” attitude because she’s only here for a week.
She also obsessed over milking our cows. She asked over and over what time it was because she knew milking was at 3 and didn’t want to miss it. And she actually stayed in the barn the whole time and “helped”.
Our first day was very busy and we landed in the emergency room at the end of it. Sunny had been complaining about pain during urination but she’d also been spinning wild tales as a way to gain attention, I think. I uncomfortably admit that I thought the complaints were part of that. By the time I decided they were real, it was 8:30 and we were at my cousin T’s house for dinner. If it had been my own child, I would have called the doctor first thing in the morning but when I contacted the social worker she told me to take her to the hospital. We waited and waited. The intake person didn’t seem to know what to do with us or who to call for permission to treat this child. Finally the doctor diagnosed a raging UTI and sent us on our way to the all night pharmacy. It was in the wee hours when we finally got home. Thankfully, after a few doses of medicine and me pushing water down her she improved.
One of the challenges has been keeping her busy and entertained with no other kids around. Dollface came over one day and played and we went swimming over there once but mostly it’s been me and her 24/7. Art projects and baking can only go so far and I believe if she were to stay longer, I would search for a camp or class she could attend to give us both a break from each other.
I’ve had my first stealing experience as a foster parent. She saw that I had money in an envelope in my purse and began begging me to give her ten dollars. I knew she had a little wallet with two dollars and change in it. Today, we had a water balloon fight and she wanted to have another one. “This time the balloons are on me. I have twelve dollars and I can treat you.” So there began a whole discussion, eventually she admitted taking it and after more discussion apologized and seemed to feel badly.
Having this young, excited energy in the house has been joyful though. Things I’ve loved have been small. Hearing her singing in the shower, reading with her at bedtime and hearing her prayers, having our “secret handshake”, her excitement over 4th of July fireworks and even now I’m listening to “The W.izard of O.z” floating up the stairs as I write this and experiencing that story from a different point of view.