As I've said here, I like my job doing child-care in a church nursery on Sundays very much. Yesterday, I got an extra $3 an hour since it was Easter. I'd anticipated having more children to play with than the 2 or 3 I normally see.
First service was quiet, as it usually is. I actually relish this hour in my week where I have nothing to do and I'm not shirking any duties by reading "Time" magazine.
Second service, I did have kids to play with including two brothers who had been with their current foster parents for three days only. The boys were 5 and 3 and I was told by one of the foster moms that if the older one could be kept busy to keep him from his thoughts he should be okay.
I gave them a pager from my system that would vibrate if I needed them to come back and told them to enjoy the service.
The boys were okay for about 35 minutes. Then the younger one got into whatever his brother was playing with and the older one placed a foot in his brother's chest and shoved him down before falling on top of him and punching him wherever he could reach.
I knew I wasn't qualified to deal with this. I tried having the older brother sit on my lap while I hugged him and said "It's going to be okay. Shhhhh. It's going to be okay." but he wasn't hearing anything I said so I paged his foster mom. In the single minute it took her to arrive at the nursery, the older brother had attacked his younger brother again.
They took the little guy, clutching his stuffed Mickey Mouse with his thumb firmly in his mouth (exactly what I'd be doing if I found myself in the same situation) into church with them while the older brother stayed to play with me.
Once his brother was out, he was pretty much okay. He didn't interact with any of the other three kids in the nursery with us, but that also meant he wasn't getting aggressive with them either.
The church where I work is a gay church, so foster/adopted children are the norm instead of the exception, but the ones I play with have either been with their foster parents for some time or have been adopted into the family. I rarely see any children that have been with their families less than a week. The last one I can remember was a seven month old baby who just wanted to be held all the time.
After I said goodbye to the boys and their foster parents, I had to try really hard to not cry. I couldn't fault the kid one bit for hitting his brother. It's only been three days in a new house with new adults and when one is only five years old in a frightening situation where control isn't what you have, I can see wanting to hit someone. It's safe to hit your brother.
I'm sure it feels pretty damn good to hit your brother. But you can't be allowed to hit your brother, even if it feels good.
It made my heart hurt to see the anger and hurt pop out like that. But the foster moms are loving, consistent, firm regarding rules and the boys seem comfortable with them.
I have my fingers crossed that they'll get into a better situation and be able to grow up in one place with one family.
Amanda's beauty tip of the day: If it's gotten very hot where you are, as it has here, use extra powder on your face and carry oil absorbing blotter sheets with you to cut down on shine.