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Mr. Excuse Me’s February Visit

February 21, 2010

Mr. EM and I had a great weekend together.  His regular foster mom warned me that he had been a handful lately, but he settled right into our routine here at Casa Juice.

Saturday we tried a new arts and crafts class at our local library.  I had low expectations (and a back up plan) but this teacher Sandy was really terrific.  She immediately grasped that EM was not going to follow the typical lets-create-a-still-life-and-paint-it track.  Instead EM found a cardboard sculptural piece left over from a former class and he attacked it with a huge paint brush and bold colors.  Sandy kept a class filled with all levels and ages (toddler to adult!) moving smoothly.  We learned color theory and later the students described their work.  EM enjoyed himself so much that we stayed for two hours.  Then we popped upstairs to the library while waiting for EM’s paint to dry.  Anytime I can get a foster kid in the library I consider it a personal victory.

That afternoon we stayed close to home.  EM is the only kid I know who actually requests to vacuum.

Hey Feeder, how come you never do that?

We vacuumed, shoveled snow, shop-vac’d the basement (yes, I still have water), washed salt off the wood floors and generally made ourselves useful.  After a quiet hour with some reading EM started on another craft, this time a wooden tractor kit from Michael’s.  I picked up a few of them for a dollar each – such a deal!   Unfortunately, our tractor had a slight defect.  One of the wheels had the hole drilled off center.  So I pulled out my manual hand drill to fix it. 

You would have thought EM had died and gone to heaven.  A drill!

I bet Dad never realized how happy he would make an 11 year old when he purchased this drill for me.

Needless to say, by the end of the weekend that tractor was polka dotted.   And now I’m racking my brain to figure out a way to let him drill more next visit without compromising my dining room table.  I guess we’ll be hitting those kids workshops at Home Depot.  Dad, any other ideas?

Saturday night I made this recipe from PW. 

I gotta say:

Meh.

EM loved it and went back for fourths.  I thought it was a lot  of time and energy for an average recipe.  I might make it again, but I’d definitely streamline it using leftover chicken, premade broth and no turmeric.  For some reason we (me and turmeric) just don’t agree. 

Oh well. 

Sunday we attended church.  I coached EM on how to greet people and wondered how many people have taught him this skill before.  Or how many have not when they ought to have. 

After lunch we headed to the inner harbor.  I thought a walk and ice cream might be a nice way to spend a sunny afternoon.  As we headed away from home EM would take my hand as we crossed streets.  Then as we approached the harbor his hand stayed attached to mine.  Not typical behavior for an 11 year old, right?  I didn’t want to make a big deal of it at the time, but I brought it up later. 

Turns out, EM was afraid of getting separated from me.  He didn’t know what to do if that happened. 

Gulp.

I think I’m teaching these kids, but really they’re teaching me.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2010 10:10 am

    What a PERFECT weekend! That’s enough to warm up even the coldest winter! Lucky you.

  2. Brooklyn_Friend permalink
    February 22, 2010 1:10 pm

    I cracked up at the line “EM is the only kid I know who actually requests to vacuum” and the attached pic of him actually vacuuming with Cecilia saying “Hey Feeder, how come you never do that?” 🙂 TOO CUTE!

  3. February 22, 2010 6:34 pm

    Mr. EM sounds like such a sweetheart. Is he? I mean, he held your hand! Even if it was just so he wouldn’t get lost, still!! An 11 year old boy held your hand! So sweet.

    Go to a hardware store and get a sheet of tin metal – he can drill to his heart’s content and maybe even make a piece of art! That is a very cool drill btw. 🙂

    • Juice permalink*
      February 22, 2010 6:50 pm

      Sometimes he is sweet and funny and giving and cuddly. Sometimes he is whiney, manipulative, sullen, and moody. The constant whininess gives me the crazies sometimes. That’s when I offer him the alternative of changing his attitude or going upstairs to his room. He’s pretty good at switching it off when he wants to.

  4. February 22, 2010 10:54 pm

    what a great thing you are doing!! i bet you’ll be remembered by EM as the cool juice i stayed with once in awhile when i was growing up!

    very cool. is the inner harbor the one with the museum and the large boat docked for visiting?

  5. February 23, 2010 2:11 pm

    What you do is amazing and perfect. You don’t have the time to commit to a full time foster child but in awhile I am sure you are making a much bigger impact on them for just the weekend. By only seeing the kids once in a while you truly devote your whole weekend to them and make the kiddo feel extra special.

  6. debby permalink
    February 23, 2010 3:12 pm

    Juice I am so in awe of what you do. And I think I am a little jealous that you have made the time to do this with your life. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    My dad bought me a drill like that too! And a whole box of basic tools. Which I used for many years.

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