Archive | April 2014

Our ‘Shamrock’

This weeks’ #WASO theme is ‘professionals’ and in a way this post is a post about continuity of support from a professional.

Last year I wrote a What do you call a collection of professionals which detailed at the time of writing how many professionals we had already been involved with in ours and the boy’s lives.

I could probably add to that list now – although like with the last post, my head would probably start spinning with the thought of the sheer volume. But I won’t!

In my previous post I mentioned that we have been in the fortunate position of having the same social worker (or as Beewax calls her ‘Social Stalker’) –Shamrock, before and throughout the entire process and once the Adoption Order was in place, we all believed we had reached the end of the line and Shamrock would be moving on, and out support if needed would come from the Post Adoption Support Service.

Our family would finally be flying solo and Shamrock would be free to support new families in the way she has for us most of the time.

Well, that was the plan and what we all believed would happen.  However, destiny had different plans for Shamrock and our family – Shamrock was asked to move from the adoption family placement team and join the post adoption support team, and now she is our PASW.

Buzzbee believes she is part of the family because she has been his life since day one of being taken into care.  Was it fate or just clever planning?  Maybe it is not that unusual for a supervising foster care SW to also be someone’s FPO.

I won’t say Shamrock is perfect. She has her faults and some of them drive me nuts (smile through gritted teeth when the age of answer “All children do that” or “Do you think maybe you are being to oversensitive about Waxy breaking your glasses”).

But, while I can get a little irritable and feel that I am ‘hitting my head against a brick wall’ with her sometime. Most of the time she is wonderful and nothing is too much trouble for her.

  • If I email her with a problem or just because I really need to get something off my chest. She always makes sure that she makes contact in one way or another as soon as she can.
  • She will sit and listen to me rant and cry (usually a lot)and try not to see it as anything but the ravings of a majorly stressed out mother – sometimes she will end up crying herself (another self-confessed soppy human).
  • If she doesn’t have the answers or we are struggling to find our way past all the ‘redtape’, she will do what she can to help us – currently she is rereading Buzz’s file to see if there is anything we have missed in to that will give us leverage with getting him the correct assessments and support.
  • For me, possibly one of the most important things Shamrock does doesn’t do, is expect us to fit in with her timetable/diary – she goes out of her way to meet us when it is best for us. Even if that means she doesn’t come out until 8.30pm, once Buzzbee is settled.

I dearly hope that she realises how important she has become to our family, and yes, in a way Buzzbee is correct – she does feel like she is part of the family rather than a big scary authority figure.

And, even though there WILL come a day when she will no longer be directly involved with us. I don’t imagine that if there ever should come a time when we needed her, she would help, if she could (even if it is just to help with background history).

shamrocks

 

 

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Sticks and Stones

For some reason for the past few days, the childhood rhyme – “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” has been stuck in my head.

Why I can’t say for sure but obviously my subconscious is trying to tell me something.

No maybe that is a lie!  Currently I seem to be surrounded with both ‘sticks and stones’ and most definitely a lot of ‘words’ that were meant to harm me/Bumble/Buzz and at times Waxy (although in in truth most of the caustic labelling and verbal aggression has been coming our way from him rather than towards him).

Anyway I digress. We are one week into school Easter holidays and if I sat here has started spouting off about how wonderful the week has been and what ‘angelic little angels’ both boys had been all week, I would have to change my name to Pinocchio and watch as my wooden nose grew at a rapid rate.  Ok to be fair to both boys, during their 3 days of holiday club, they coped really well and I was proud of them because this was a new holiday club and neither had ever been to it before.  For Buzzbee it was definitely a big step forward for him. Not only was it his first time attending anything like this, but his anxiety levels currently are at an all-time high, especially around social situations with peers and strange adults, meant that he preferred to shy away from anything that was going to push him outside his comfort zone or challenge his negative view of himself (he believes he is a horrible boy who cannot control himself and ends up hurting people). It was a big step forward for Waxy too, although he doesn’t see it the same way as we do – he did great because he managed to for short periods of time to resist the urge to micro manage every movement or action of his little brother  – I say ‘short periods’ maybe ‘nanoseconds’ would be a better description but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. They have lived with us for nearly 5 years now and still, given half a chance, he will try to ‘parent’ his little brother within an inch of his life.

Ok so the truth is, this week the boys have been more than a challenge and therapeutic mummy has left the building on more occasions than I wish to have happened and has been replaced with punitive, stressed out, shouty mummy – when they have both started their ‘pack’ behaviour (gang up on mummy) or possibly worse still their ‘tag-teaming’, I have found myself on several  occasions being triggered by their distress (I say distress because I know that once they realised they were under my skin, they no longer felt like the adult was in control and so spiralled further out of control).  I am not pleased with myself for allowing them to take me down (on one occasion quite literally) but, as so many people keep telling me lately, we have had so much going on lately it is no wonder our emotional reserves are not where we would like them to be, and as I can’t turn back the clock and redo this week (although if David Tenant aka Dr Who would like to take me for a ride in his little blue box, I wouldn’t say NO). I can forgive myself and move forward in the hope that the second week will be so much calmer and that there will be less ‘sticks and stones’ and more ‘hot chocolate and marshmallows’.

sticks and stones collage

 

This post was written as part of The Adoption Social #WASO.

 

 

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To be or not to be – freedom

This week’s #WASO theme is ‘Freedom’ and in many ways I should be able to write a wonderful post about how liberating this word is for my family and myself, but for some reason I am struggling to do this.

I can sit here and write about how Beeswax will repeatedly demand to be able to do what he wants, when he wants, and throw in our faces, as often as possible, his history of being given as much ‘freedom’ as he wanted and being able to do as he pleased when he was living with his birth family. Personally, I don’t see allowing a 5 year old to roam the streets unattended all hours of the day to be a good thing. But hey, in his mind that is what all parents should be doing and not putting in rules and boundaries for his safety.

Beeswax would have people believe that he is locked in a tower and never given anything, especially the Xbox – OK when it comes to computer time I am pretty strict on the amount of time either of my boys are allowed on it (Beeswax especially is absolutely horrible during and after playing on it for even 30 minutes).

Now Buzzbee – well ‘freedom’ for him would probably involve spending copious amounts of time climbing trees, building dens in the woods or getting to run around without having the words like “slow down”, “Watch out”, “Please be careful” constantly being said to him.

One of the boys’ favourite places to go for ‘freedom’ is a local adventure playground, which is situated in a large private estate, where not only is there all the fantastic climbing frames, zip wires and death slides, but there is vast open space for them to play football, have stick battles and use the trees and hedges as hideouts. Best of all, is this is one of the few places we can take the boys and know that they can run around and not have to be in our eye line all of the time.

They are ‘free’ to play and relax! Which means mummy and daddy, on a good day, also have some time to relax too.

As for Bumble, well, there are people who cannot understand or believe how much ‘freedom’ I give him. Let me explain.   Once a month Bumble visits his friends (and usually his family the night before) and spends the weekend playing board games and role playing (Yes, I am a roleplay widow). Now what some find difficult to understand is that, no matter how much I am struggling or the boys may be in a state for one reason or another, I still almost always make Bumble go. The same goes for if there is an evening out friends have invited us too, or Bumble has been asked to be involved with the next show his amateur dramatics/operatic group are doing.

To most it looks like I let him do what he wants and I stay at home like the good wifey keeping house and looking after the children. This is complete nonsense! Bumble always tries to fight me on them and often feels guilty about how much he gets to do, and I do not go out very much simply because I am not always comfortable in social settings, although I do love a nice black tie event.

There are 2 main reasons Bumble does the things he does. 1: I nag him until he agrees to accept invites or agrees to go for his weekends. 2: It is what he needs and it is what I need for him. A stressed out Bumble is not helpful, whereas a Bumble who is relaxed and refreshed is worth his weight in gold.

So rather than, as most people see it, Bumble being selfish, the truth is the selfish one is ME! I need Bumble on top form so he can support me when I need it.

Ok this post is waffling, but I think I kind of know where I am going with this now.

There is part of me that loathes the word ‘freedom’ and maybe it is just my depression speaking, but for me, I have heard it used one too many times when people are trying to be nice or justify something they have said or done.

There is one particular sentence, which I have heard so many times recently, that has me gritting my teeth while having to smile and agree with them – “It must feel wonderful to be free from living out of the social services microscope, now that you have formally adopted the boys and they are legally yours”

I want to scream “Yes, but I don’t feel free and sometimes I can’t help thinking I will never really be free!”

  • Will I ever be free from worrying that I will say or do something that will be misinterpreted again and used against me?
  • Will I ever feel free enough to allow myself to imagine a future where my little family feels like a real family and not like a warring coalition?
  • Will I ever be free from my memories?
  • Will I ever feel free to show Beeswax how much I care from him, without being afraid of what object, limb or verbal abuse will come flying my way?
  • Will I ever feel free and truly happy ever again or will the depression keep coming and coming?
  • Will I ever feel free to be open with my feelings again and not feel that I have to keep them locked inside away from all who don’t/won’t understand?

Ok that list could go on for quite some time and I definitely don’t want to end this post on a sour/negative note.

So this is one area where I am very much like my boys – I love the ‘freedom’ of the outdoors. I am definitely no tree climber and as for high up slides or climbing frames – well let’s just say the boys would be rescuing me not the other way around. One of the beauties of living in a rural area is there is so much open space. I love the early morning walks with Beedog, listening to the birds singing and the gentle distant rumbling of the cars on the motorway – it is one of the few moments in my day when everything feels so peaceful and calm. Being brought up in a part of the country that, not only has the sea, but beautiful moorlands, rivers and lakes, I am drawn to places of natural beauty even if very close by there is a busy road or noisy factory. I like to find my own piece of heaven, to regroup. For years before I moved away from my family home, this was a little secluded jetty near an estuary underneath a busy road and train bridge that connected two counties together. Again I could still hear the rumbling of traffic on the bridge, but underneath that bridge, on that jetty watching the water gently lapping on the sides of the boats and rocks, I felt a million miles away and ‘FREE’.

My little piece of heaven

My little piece of heaven

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