He arrived with the clothes he had on, a new coat and new pair of shoes from the home he’d just spent the previous eleven days with, a couple of little trucks and a tiny Buzz Lightyear toy. He loves Buzz. And Elmo. And now he loves Peaches. And four girls whom he’d never seen before today. And the feeling is completely mutual.
Honestly, it still feels a lot like we’re just babysitting a friend’s boy for a bit. It’s really hard to believe that at this moment we’re the responsible party for five kids right now, four who live with us all the time and one on temporary loan. But then I went to Walmart for a bunch of little boy supplies: proof that he’s staying with us for a while. True, not long. We’re stepping into the role of emergency care with the main purpose being to keep babies and toddlers out of the shelter. We’re a stepping stone until a long term placement can be made. And we’re going to have our hearts ripped out over and over and over again in this process. But I have to believe it’s worth it. Children belong in families, not shelters. Always. Period.
Two families from our church dropped off bags of clothes for him and we now have a whole selection of car seats and strollers. A donated rocking horse and now a booster seat for our kitchen table. We needed to snag a potty seat and a step stool so he can reach the sink in the bathroom, so we got those squared away tonight as well. He was with us for a whole 30 minutes before he insisted on taking a bath. While in the bath he kept asking for a duck and a boat. Of course I had to get him a duck and a boat. His other major request? Chocolate milk. In fact, he waited up for me to get back from Walmart so he could have some before bed. In his new Elmo sippy cup. I gave him a little, but said he’d have to wait until tomorrow for more. I’m not sure how much chocolate milk he’s used to having, but I’ll give it to him…in small doses and hopefully weaning him off of an everyday need for it. The little sweet just woke up whimpering in bed, “I want chocolate milk! I want chocolate milk! I want chocolate milk!” I couldn’t actually understand what he was asking for until I went in there. I rubbed his back and promised to give him some more in the morning. He went back to sleep.
And tomorrow we will all wake up and start again.