A Thrilling Weekend with our Foster Child (Now Pancakes?)

We took a foster child for the weekend. I’m going to call him “Jay”. Jay was a good kid. His social worker described him as an energetic, talkative kid.

Friday

When Jay first came here on Friday afternoon, he was understandably shy. He got settled after he moved around the house and saw everything here. He saw where he would be sleeping and where the snacks were kept. I think he got settled when he saw where the ice cream was. Ice cream seems to help people. It helps me.

laughing child face looking through hole in wooden fence
Photo by Gaurav Ranjitkar on Pexels.com

Wife was out of town on Friday night. It was me and the children. We hit the weekend running, as The Boy had soccer practice on Friday afternoon. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon. This disappointed The Boy, who was hoping for the cold, rainy days we had during the week. He wanted practice to be cancelled. There is a small consolation for The Boy. His game has been cancelled. This pleases him to no end. I’m upset because I won’t be able to wear the cool soccer fan gear I bought for his games.

After practice I went shopping with Jay to get snacks for the weekend. He wanted to get some ice cream. We already had ice cream, but he wanted something a little more in line with his tastes. He decided on rainbow sherbet.

Jay is Looking for People

We returned home after the trip to the store. People sit down to have dinner. After dinner, I retreat to my room for a little reading and a little writing. It’s not long before Jay comes up to see me.

“What’s up, Jay?” I ask.

“Where’s Wife?”

I remind Jay that Wife has gone away for the night, and she’ll be back the next day. Jay asks where she is. Why did she go away? I remind myself the social worker told us Jay could be talkative and likes to ask a lot of questions. So, he does. It’s nice to see he’s warming up to the people in the house.

Saturday

Saturday morning arrives. I’m happily laying in bed. No one needs to be in school. I don’t need to wake anybody up. It’s nice to be able to rest. Kitty is purring on me, keeping me warm. Suddenly, I hear the door open, and my slumber is disturbed by Jay.

“I’m hungry.”

“Okay,” I mumble. “Hold on a second and let me get dressed.

Pancakes (But no Pancakes)

Jay goes downstairs. I’m not far behind. I ask Jay if he will allow me a moment to make some coffee. He begrudgingly obliges. I make my coffee and focus back on Jay, who wants pancakes. I look around, but I’m not able to find any pancake mix.

“Can you look again?” Jay asks.

“Jay,” I patiently explain, “The pantry isn’t magic. If there’s no pancake mix in the pantry the first time I look, there won’t be any when I look again.”

This answer isn’t good enough for Jay, who insists I look again and find pancakes. I check the pantry and, alas, there is no pancake mix.

“Now what?” Jay asks.

cute asian boy eating breakfast at table
Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

I tell Jay he’ll have to slum it and maybe have cereal like my plebian children suffer through in the morning.

“Are you sure you don’t have pancakes?” he asks hopefully. I admire the boy’s enthusiasm as I break the bad news to him. No pancakes. The Boy makes his appearance and sees me getting Jay’s breakfast.

pancake with sliced strawberry
Photo by Ash on Pexels.com

“Do you have pancakes?” Jay asks.

“Dad,” The Boy asks me, “Do we have pancakes?”

I stop what I’m doing. I look at Jay, who suddenly finds the ceiling to be very interesting. The Boy smiles at me and repeats the question.

“We don’t have pancakes,” I say to The Boy and his partner in crime. The Boy leaps off his chair and proceeds to the pantry to confirm this. Jay follows him. He wants to make sure The Boy doesn’t miss anything in the pantry, just as The Boy is making sure I didn’t miss anything in the pantry.

Playtime

After settling for a less-than-ideal breakfast, Jay and The Boy go outside for some fresh air and playtime. I celebrate my time with two less children by picking up around the house and trying to get a hold of the madness that’s been unleashed.

Wife comes home while the boys are out playing. We spend a little time talking about her being away and my time helping Jay get acclimated to our madhouse. The children, inside and outside the house, sense Wife is home, so of course they descend to the kitchen. My time talking to wife has effectively ceased, so I go back to my work around the house.

It’s a relatively laid-back night at home as everyone settles into their pre-bedtime activities. Wife and I are holed up in our bed finishing our recap of our individual days. There is an occasional child that enters, since God forbid, we talk without children intervening.

Sunday

I wake up to Sunday, and children are up before me. We begin the daily dance of what’s for breakfast. Some children (Jay and The Boy) begin another quest for pancakes. Again, I tell them there are no pancakes. The two retreat to the living room for a YouTube session as they commiserate over their morning. There is a small silver lining for The Boy’s weekend: There is no soccer game. In spite of this good news, there are no pancakes.

Our Sunday is spent attending to whatever damage is done by the children over the weekend, preparing for the upcoming week, and savoring whatever quiet moments we have before answering the madness of Monday. I’m looking forward to Monday and the children pursuing their academic interests, while the children lament the clock winding down to their doom.

I Want Breakfast (I Don’t Want That)

My children are unhappy with the choices before them when it comes to meals. There are always better options. I just don’t share them with my poor, unhappy children. I keep them locked away while presenting them with the swill they are forced to consume every day.

One morning, The Oppressed wanted Carnation Instant Breakfast, just not the disgusting vanilla we had tucked away in the pantry. I asked what was wrong with the vanilla. She told me, “It’s disgusting.” She wanted chocolate. I told her vanilla was fine and there’s nothing wrong with vanilla. Here we have another obvious example of how I do not love my children. A truly loving parent would go to the store and buy chocolate or strawberry or another flavor of Carnation Instant Breakfast. One that a child would really like.

Vanilla Carnation Instant Breakfast
Disgusting

Much to her chagrin, I informed The Oppressed I would not be buying another flavor of Carnation Instant Breakfast until what we had was finished. This upset the child. It was another vivid example of how I do not love my children and do not see that they are fed and taken care of. She wanted a flavor other than vanilla. She really wanted “Carnation” and now she can’t have it. I remind her that’s not true. She can still have it. “I’m not drinking disgusting vanilla!” she exclaimed.

This brings us to my favorite part of the mealtime stories I share with you. We have cereal. None of the cereals we have taste good. They’re disgusting. We have granola bars. Disgusting. There is fruit. There is always plenty of fruit at our house. Disgusting. Disgusting. Disgusting. Everything is gross. She wants Carnation Instant Breakfast and she doesn’t want vanilla.

Chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast
Acceptable

I inform my children the car will be leaving soon and they will be going to school with or without breakfast. The Oppressed chokes down a granola bar. A nasty, disgusting granola bar and washes it down with a glass of water. The juice we have is disgusting and she won’t drink milk. Disgusting. We drive to school. The Oppressed curses my name for making her eat disgusting subpar, un-tasty food. She asks when I will buy more Carnation. I will do so when the children finish what we already have. She looks forward, hoping someone will take one for the team and choke down the vanilla Carnation so the entire household (her) can get something tasty to have for breakfast soon.

Learning about Valley Forge

Wife needed to travel to Pennsylvania during a long weekend. I, being the history buff, was excited to know we would be relatively close to Valley Forge. I had never been and my favorite excuse for visiting somewhere is: “It’s there.”

The cherubs (The Oppressed and The Boy) and I dropped Wife off and continued to a local place for breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and when you’re going to spend your morning walking around, it’s that much more important.

We filled up on the local fare and proceeded on to Valley Forge. I was excited. Not only was I going to a place that had made me curious for years, but I was also doing this with my children, one of whom would be learning about the American Revolution soon enough in school.

Breakfast before Valley Forge

The cherubs’ enthusiasm waned before we got to the second cabin on the land. The Oppressed wanted to know when we would be leaving and The Boy wanted to know what time it was. He was fairly certain the hotel pool was open by then and he didn’t want to miss it.

I was hoping to make it to the top of the hill where we would see the house where George Washington stayed while the soldiers built the cabins in the ice and snow. The Oppressed was done. She had gone far enough and she was hungry. She demanded more food. I reminded her there were people who were here during the winter with nothing on their feet in the middle of winter. She said I was lying and, if I was telling the truth, they were luckier than she was for not enduring such harsh treatment as her.

The last straw was when she saw a car driving up the hill to the destination I was hoping to reach. She was furious at me for making her walk all this time when we could have driven. She immediately laid down and informed me she wasn’t going anywhere until I agreed to take them back to the hotel so they could swim.

We never made it to the house.

Log cabins that housed the Continental Army. I would liked to have visited them all.