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Monday started off like most days. I woke up with Steven standing looking at me.  As soon as I opened my eyes, he pounced on me like a cat on its pray.  We did our morning wrestling and tickling routine ending in hugs all around.  Finally, I told him I loved him, for which I got a kiss on the cheek, and sent him off to get ready for school.  I also got ready for the day and met up with Steven in the kitchen.  As this was a special morning, I made his favorite breakfast, blueberry pancakes with toast and jam, orange juice and a glass of milk.  Even after all this time I am amazed at how much this little guy can eat.  I am glad however, as I am still worried about his health.  We cleared off the table, washed the dishes and put them away.  I then proceeded to make us both a lunch.  I had bought Steven a Batman lunch basket which I was fairly sure he would love since this was one of his favorite cartoons. I sent him back to the bathroom to brush his teeth which I also did and then we packed up everything we needed, and headed out to the car.

The ride to school was only 25 minutes and during this time it was evident that Steven was nervous.  He asked about making friends, who his teacher would be, and if she was nice.  I told him that he was a great guy, friendly and smart.  All the things I thought would make a great start to be a friend.  I was not sure which teacher would be his as there were 4 grade two teachers.  Most of the ride was very quiet and subdued.  As we entered the parking lot, I thought I detected some sobbing from Steven.

I parked the car, went around to open the passenger door and when he hopped out, I grabbed him in a big tight hug.  I told him I loved him and would always be there for him.  He hugged me back and this seemed to end the sobbing.  He grabbed his soccer backpack and as we walked to the school hand in hand, two boys ran over, said hello to me, and told Steven how cool his backpack was.  This broke the ice and the three of them took off to the playground.  I stood and stared for 5 minutes at the great fun the three boys were having.  This time it was me who teared up.  If this was separation anxiety, then I was fully involved.  I wiped my eyes and headed to my room to get ready for the day.

When it was time to start the day, I went outside to get my class and to get Steven into his class line.  I found out that Lynne Morrison was going to be his teacher, so I found Steven and showed him which line to be in.  I told him to remember this, as it is where he would line up every morning for the rest of this year.  I went to get my class and start the new school year. The rest of the day went without a hitch.

Steven and I decided that he would come to my room after school was over since I always had a few things to get done before it was time to go home.  It was less than 10 minutes after the bell when I heard voices outside my room.  Steven was saying goodbye to his friends and then he entered my room.  Without even asking, he began to regale me with his first day in grade two.  Absolutely everything was positive, and I was happy to hear it all.  They had done some reading and Math, Mrs. Morrison had read to them and they even did some sing songs, all of which Steven obviously enjoyed. 

I asked him about the two boys in the morning and he told me that Joey and Michael were also in grade two, but not in his room.  Apparently, they also met up at recess and lunch.  They played games and enjoyed the playground when it was recess time.  They both told Steven that he was really lucky to get Mrs. Morrison, as she was the best grade two teacher.  I am not sure what they were basing this on, but it helped Steven to have a real positive attitude toward his new school.

On the way home I continued to hear all about Steven's day.  I don't think I got a single word in the whole way home.  It was truly satisfying to know all that he had done and how he felt.  When we got home, Steven said he was hungry, so I cut up a banana and put some whip cream on top.  I added in a glass of milk and was surprised by how fast both disappeared.  

As there was still over two hours to dinner, I told Steven to go change into his soccer clothes so that we could go to the field to practice.  He ran off and was back in a flash all dressed in his uniform.  He was having troubles with this soccer shoes, so I helped him with these.  We then ran to the field as a warm up and then did some soccer drills and practice.  It was comforting to see Steven take to this so naturally.  I was sure he would do well in the soccer camp I had signed him up for.  I was also feeling better about his health since he had no troubles with the constant exercise for the entire time we were on the field.  Both of us were too tired to run home however.  When we got home, I sent him off for a shower reminding him to wash with soap and comb his hair neatly.  I did the same and then proceeded to make us dinner.  Steven came into the kitchen without his shirt on asking if I wanted to see how clean his armpits were.  I laughed at this and told him to put his shirt on for dinner.  Seeing him this way still reminded me we had a long road ahead to get him to a level of safe health.  He still looked very frail.

When the meal was over and the kitchen cleaned up, it was time for homework.  I asked him if he had any and was reminded it was only the first day of school.  So, we decided to cuddle on the couch, and I would read him a story.  We had done this off and on over the summer and he really enjoyed it.  I made a mental note to go to the school library and sign out some books for us to read together.  I had him read some of the pages as a practice for him.

I saw Steven start to yawn so I sent him to change into his pajamas and brush his teeth.  I only got a short whine and then he was off. Two minutes later he came back and sat on my lap.  I cuddled him close to me in a tight hug.  He told me that he was lucky to have me as his dad and that he really had a good day at school.  I told him how proud I was of him and that I loved him a great deal.  It was only a short time later that I felt his body start to relax so I took him to his bedroom, tucked him into bed and kissed him on the forehead.  I told him that I loved him one more time, turned out the light and closed the door.  I think Steven was fast asleep before I even shut off the light.

I returned to the dining room table to look over today's mail and listen to any telephone messages.  There was a message from Doctor Phillips.  It was way too late to return the call, but I made a note to do so tomorrow.  One thing I did want to do was schedule a dentist appointment for Steven, so I called the local clinic and set one up for a week Wednesday, after school.  I then went to the kitchen to prepare lunch for tomorrow.  When I opened Steven's lunch basket, I was relieved to see that all the food I had sent with him was gone.  He had put the plastic containers back into the basket so they could be reused again.  I cleaned them and then left them out in preparation for tomorrow morning.  I then prepared for bed and turned in myself.

The next day was much the same routine in the morning.  Since it was only the second day of school there was still an air of excitement in Steven.  I was pleased when he hopped out of the car, gave me a hug and took off for his friends.  Once again, I watched him play with his friends then I went to my classroom.  When I went out to get my class, I saw that Steven had remembered which line to be in, and was already there talking with his fellow classmates.

At lunch I called Dr. Phillips and the news was not all good.  Steven had passed all the tests including the AIDS test, but Dr. Brian was very worried about his over all health.  He was considerably underweight and there were signs of undernourishment in his liver and kidneys.  We talked about this for a while and the good doctor gave me some ways to improve his overall health.  I told him I would do everything in my power to see to it. He also asked me to bring Steven to see him once every six weeks.  He wanted to watch over his health closely.  I agreed with him on this.

We went back to the field after school today to continue practicing soccer skills and just for general exercise. Steven did have some printing homework to complete as well as a single math problem.  I asked if he wanted some help, but he just sat at the kitchen tabled and worked steadily on it.  He and I checked it over and then retired to the sofa to read.

After Steven was in bed and I had completed all that I needed, I took a shower and headed to bed myself.  It was not long before sleep overtook me.

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Harold Daw
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