Archive | May 2013

Sports Day Pride

welcome to sportsday

I will be the first to admit that when my boy’s schools mess up, I can be hard on them because I am frustrated with them constantly not “getting it” and yes, sometimes it feels like they are not even trying to understand what is driving a specific behaviour or action but this week I have to give credit where credit is due.

This week was Buzzbee’s school sports day and he and they have done him proud.

Sports days in the past 2 years have been stressful, humiliating and emotionally charged for all.

• Buzzbee would be desperate to win everything to prove that he is the best and as a result end up either making a ‘poor choice’ during a race or going all out without really concentrating and ending up falling over shortly before the winning line. Which then further fed into his belief that he is a ‘rubbish child’.
• Buzzbee has fidgeted, thrown himself around the floor doing acrobatic tricks oblivious to the dangers to others around him or has begun to get overly physical with the children he is sitting with.
• 1:1 TA has failed to pick up on his signals until it was too late or ignored my discreet attempts to alert them to a possible issue.
• Staff had been insensitive with their handling of issues that arose during the afternoons resulting in Buzz being filled with shame and publically humiliated.
• Parents at the school (or witches coven as I privately call them) took great pride in openly criticising and demonising him for the behaviours they were seeing and further cemented their view point of me being a weak, inept mother.

So what is different this year? Why was this year so much better for him?

Well in the words of Buzzbee “I wasn’t a wiz-cracker this year when I was racing. I won one race and came 3rd in two more, AND I was on the winning team. I HELPED THEM WIN BECAUSE I SLOWED DOWN!” (Choked mummy moment)

placing

His self-esteem was given a massive boost yesterday and I can’t describe how proud I was of him! I wasn’t proud because he won a race – I was proud because he had learnt from previous years and succeeded in doing it differently this year.
He was given the chance to succeed through the sensitivity of his new 1:1 TAs. They were on the ball. They encouraged and praised him when he needed it and distracted/engaged him when they felt it was necessary, and on the one occasion they nearly missed the signal because one had to nip inside and the other had been distracted by Buzz’s friends, they were not offended by me catching their eye to redirect their attention. Actually it was lovely because I got to see first-hand how far they will go to help him re-centre. He was right – he was noticeably calmer throughout the afternoon.

For some time I have been worried that his needs were too great and maybe that this school is not right for him, but yesterday I saw the first signs that maybe I am premature with my fears. The 1:1 TAs hard work and perseverance in gaining his trust is finally paying off and, after watching them interacting and responding to his needs, I am left not only feeling quite emotional, but also feeling more confident that eventually we will get him to a point where he will feel safe enough to engage with all aspects of school life.

Oh, and on a more selfish note. I can’t tell you how good it felt to hear parents from the school commenting on how well he did and the changes they are noticing in him. Mind you I think they believe it is all down to school and nothing to do with the hard work he is putting in but I don’t care, they are finally getting to see the little boy (sorry young man) I know and love and, more importantly, he is happier.

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Keep calm and keep going

I will start by apologising for any typos in this post. I am as I write this sat on my landing, silently staying near Beeswax while he is in manic state to make sure he comes to no harm.

The whole weekend has been ‘challenging’ for all in the hive. Waxy arrived home from school on Friday in a heightened state of shame due to being pulled up on his attitude to female staff. I kind of wish I could say to school that he is obviously feeling safe finally, as he saves this for only people he feels comfortable with. But, maybe they wouldn’t understand!

I digress.

Waxy has spent a majority of this weekend desperate to prove he can control everything and anyone and cause as many arguments as possible (it is really irritating but that how he copes).
Yesterday when he failed to get q rise out of either Bumble or I, he turned his attentions to Buzzbee (a sure fire candidate for chaos) and as expected by the afternoon he had taken the bait and hell began to break loose.
Verbal and physical battle lines had been drawn and neither were planning to fly the white flag. The peace ambassadors came under heavy fire and attempts for a ceasefire thwarted.
That was until peacekeeper Honey tried to step in and fell (along with hallway stairgate) into cloakroom, and giving her shin/ankle one heck of a whack.

And, so back to this evening and Waxy’s mania. Why is he falling apart? My guess is after his school issue and couple of days of shame filled behaviour, the last thing he needed was to see me hobbling around all day, knowing he had inadvertently played a part in my clumsiness.

For nearly 2 hours I have sat nearby while he throws things, sings the same song several times over and repeats the same sentence from a film (I lost count at 50 time).
I tried distraction. I tried calmly talking to him, but in the end all I could do is sit and wait in silence until he was ready.

Tonight I was.not dealing with a 12 year old, I was supporting a fighted 5 year old

Now peace has been restored. Time to put Buzz to bed (in the chaos he fell asleep on the sofa)

Thank You, Mobile Phones

I would love to sit here and write that Beeswax and I have a wonderful ‘mother & son’ relationship but I cannot lie. Beeswax really finds trusting a mum unbearable and the relationship between us is complicated and strained. Waxy goes out of his way to try and prove that he doesn’t need or want a mum and it takes all my energy to not take it personally, but just when I thought communication between Beeswax and I would never improve, an unexpected savour comes to my rescue.

Beeswax’s birthday present – A mobile phone.

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For a very long time now Beeswax has wanted a mobile phone and for us to trust him to go around to the local fields unsupervised. As his is now 12 years old we are feeling pressure from every direction to loosen the apron strings and although I know they are right, our reasons for resisting allowing him out of sight is complicated and probably a whole other blog post but for now I will say that the thought him roaming the streets unsupervised filled me with absolute dread.
Over the past year we have had several incidents with Beeswax running off in a fit of rage and we have had no way of contacting him to check he is ok. So we made the decision we would get him a mobile phone so at least when he does go off, I can contact him.

Last week Beeswax’s school was closed for a few extra days due to circumstances beyond their control and for Waxy this proved very distressing. Not only was his routine unexpectedly changed, but now he had to spend time at home with me without his dad or brother home – his worst nightmare! I saw it as an opportunity for me to spend time with him without any interruptions and give him some much needed one on one time.
Beeswax had other ideas or should I say he thought I had alternative motives and wound himself up so much that he was at risk of self-combusting and doing something he would regret.

Not wanting to push the issue with him or wanting to spend all day ‘treading on eggshells’, I suggested that while it was quiet and most of his peers would still be at school, maybe this was a good time for me to trust him to go around to the playing field on his own if he took his mobile with him. He almost bit my hand off at the idea and quickly sorted himself out before rushing out the door without a ‘bye or leave’. No more than 5 minutes later a text message from Beeswax came through to my phone and for the next 30 minutes text messages were flying back and forth between our phones. It didn’t take me long to work out that he was feeling nervous and completely out of his comfort zone. At the time my first thought was “I am so glad we got him unlimited texts otherwise this is going to cost me a fortune” but at the same time I was feeling quite warm and fuzzy.
He needed me to know he was feeling uncomfortable without having to admit it. He needed his mum to say he was OK and at the same time confirm that I hadn’t forgotten about him (as if I can ever do that with either of my boys and their BIG personalities).

Some of our dialogue went like this: –

Waxy: Mum did you just ring me?
Honey: No why?
Waxy: I thought I heard my phone ring and thought you were telling me to come back
Honey: No you have only just left. Have you got to the park?
Waxy: Yes but I thought you might be lonely and missing me.

Several emoticons and one worded messages followed for the next few minutes and then, picking up on his obvious discomfort and need for reassurance, I made the mistake of trying to emotionally connect with him and with that he quickly cut me short.

Honey: Are you OK?
Waxy: Of course, stop flapping. I am not a baby you know. I will meet you at Buzz’s school at home time.

I left it at that point, knowing that if I pushed the issue he would explode. I decided that I would leave a little earlier in order to meet him at the park before collecting Buzz and on route I ran into one of our neighbours who said that she noticed him over the fields and realised he was looking worried. She said he was glued to the park bench staring at his phone looking very anxious but the moment she asked him if he was ok or wanted to walk back with her, he insisted he was just replying to my incessant messages to him. She told me that she had to admit she had never seen this vulnerable side of Beeswax and suddenly she could understand why for so long we have said he was not ready.

At the beginning I said I cannot lie. Well, maybe I am not averse to using the odd ‘white lie’ when necessary. I knew Waxy would be annoyed if he thought I was checking up on him after the messages, so I told him that I was still on his school hour time and forgot that Buzz finished later. I don’t think for the minute he bought it, but he accepted my company for 5 minutes before walking over to Buzz’s school.

The fact that the moment I tried to show any concern for him he pushed me away again, I don’t care! For me what is important is that, at a time when he was feeling at his most vulnerable, I was the first person he contacted and sought reassurance from and that is something I thought I would never experience from him!

Ok some people may think: “He is a 12 year old boy, they never communicate anyway, he is just being normal”, and I so wish that this was the case, but he has always been like this and I really don’t blame him. I accepted a long time ago that we may never have the kind of ‘mother & son’ relationship that I had hoped for but at least for now we have a way to communicate between us without him feeling uncomfortable by having an intimate connection with me.

It has started me wondering. I cannot be the only mum who struggles getting their child to communicate with them.

How do others find a way over this hurdle?

I have linked this post to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO
Adoption Badge photo BADGE7_zps59df311c.jpg

This entry was posted on May 3, 2013. 4 Comments