It is reading time at the ESY program. Most of the students are sitting on the carpet in the front of the room, working on an activity where you dig through a box of rice to find a card with a sight word on it. Most of the students are engaged and interested. But not Billy. And not Gia.
I haven't talked much about the other kids in the ESY class, so far. The truth is, I barely interact with the rest of them, because I usually have my hands full, literally, with Billy! But there's this one little kid named Gia, a cute-as-a-button 3rd grade kleptomaniac, who can usually be found running up and down the halls of the school with a piece of folded up construction paper in her hand, declaring that she's with the FBI.
Today Billy is having a hard time. He'll do a little work with me, especially if it involves cut-and-paste so he can eat some of the paste while he thinks I'm not looking. But he wants nothing to do with sitting in a group, and he's refused to go to every group activity so far today, rendering him unable to earn computer time or cell phone time. Billy wants to go home. So, taking matters into his own hands, he gets up and runs towards the door.
I catch Billy just as he gets the door open. It is a battle of wills, with him refusing to shut the door, and me refusing to let him run out. He is strong, and he's able to hold the door open. And that's when Gia darts out. One of the aides runs after her.
Gia turns right and runs down the hallway. The aide follows her. Billy says, "Walk please," and points towards the left. I try to let him take a walk when he actually uses the word, and he always walks right back into the room after a walk, so this is probably the best way to get him back into the class. I take Billy's hand and we go down the hallway. The hallway is a big square. We hang a right, and then another right. And, low and behold, there is Gia, jogging towards us with her FBI badge outstretched in front of her. The aide follows, telling Gia, "We need to go back to class."
The hallway is narrow, so I stick out my free arm to block Gia from running past us. I expect her to try to bust through my arm, Red Rover style. But instead, she takes my free hand in her tiny one, and says something undecipherable about the FBI. (Gia also has a speech impairment, so it can be hard to understand what she's saying.) She walks with me and Billy back to the classroom, with the aide at our heels. I tell Gia and Billy, "We need to stay in our classroom. We need to stay safe." I doubt Gia cares, and I doubt Billy is listening, but maybe it will seep into their subconsciousnesses.
As we enter the classroom, and Gia proceeds to climb onto the top of a file cabinet, the aide tells me, "I met my husband on Match.com!"
"Oh, that's cool!" I reply, peeling Gia off the file cabinet. "I know a few people who met that way." I wait for her to add more to the story, perhaps something that relates Match.com to Billy and Gia, but she just smiles.
"Maybe you should give that a try," says the aide. "You never know who you might find on there! Because you'd make such a great mother!" Then she walks away, leaving me feeling sort of bewildered.
(Also, just so you know, Billy shortly thereafter pulled his diaper out through the leg of his shorts, and then peed in his pants, soaking his pants, his shirt, and the big office chair that spins around, which he was spinning around in at the time. I basically had to strip him down and give him a sponge bath with baby wipes, and then stuff him into a way-too-small T-shirt and shorts set that I borrowed from the nurse's office. TWO MORE DAYS!)