I’ve got a new friend in my class. He is very much like one of my other boys, in appearance, behavior, curiosity, and temperament. However, the original boy has a really stable home life, considering that he was once homeless. The new boy….maybe not. I’ll call my new friend Quail, and the original, Partridge.
Quail sat at journal time yesterday, and wanted to be done after making a picture of his mom that consisted of a head, two legs, and hair all the way around the head.
“Your mom needs eyes,” I said. After a stream of interruptions, I looked at his journal. He had added some scribbles, but it wasn’t clear what they were. “Where are the eyes?”
“Here!” he pointed, to some tiny scribbles located where his mom’s ear should be.
“How about two eyes right here in the middle of her face?”
More interruptions. When I looked back, his mom had two purple eyes and a purple smile.
“She is smiling because my dad’s not saying he wants people to kill us anymore.”
“What, sweetie? What did you say?”
And it all came pouring out. He talked about people busting in through the windows, how his dad said he wanted people to kill them, how his parents were going to get married but now they’re not, how dad doesn’t want to take care of the kids, how dad got mad at mom for “running the streets” all night, how mom would leave him alone with his two year old brother “and she didn’t even lock the door,” how he would fight and hit people if anyone tried to hurt his little brother….
He didn’t want a hug, but he did sit on my lap for his outpouring. He wasn’t upset, and seemed really upbeat and resilient, but also that he was afraid and wanted me to know about it.
Later, he and the social worker had a lovely chat, and she said that she thinks most of it is true, but that it happened in the past. Now they live in a different part of town, and he feels safe.
But it’s so sad. I try to think of one of my sons, at the age of 4 or 5, having experiences or fears like those, and it boggles the mind.
The next day, his wiggles were greatly reduced, and he started settling in happily as a member of the class. I think he feels safe with me, and I am glad.