No this is not going to be a #WASO post about childhood stories, or wolves trying to eat little girls who wear red cloaks (or this really cute Fenec Fox) .
Living with hypervigilant boys is a challenge a lot of the time – Ok living with my 2 is a challenge full stop, whether it is their hypervigilance or their 1001 other reasons to feel the need to battle us, or the need for us to provide them with the support even though they don’t want it.
At the moment I could write several posts on the challenges we are having with Beeswax and there are a few I could write about Buzzbee’s need for a detailed assessments of his needs/difficulties, over which we are seeing a different side to CAMHS – gone are the days of exceptional support and service, and ring in a time of ‘complete incompetence’; and don’t get me started on the length of time it is taking to get him an appointment for an OT assessment to investigate his sensory processing difficulties. And, there is most definitely a post floating around on my head about fighting to keep the ‘blocked care’ demon from my door.
But these posts will have to wait because as you may have guessed from the title of this post – my boys have very big ears (in the metaphorical sense of course). Beeswax is the worst culprit for having a radar permanently scanning his environment for ‘information’, no matter if he is supposed to hear it or not, but Buzzbee comes a very close second.
Over the years I have kind of got used to the fact that no matter how much it irritates me (and boy does it), if the boys are within a 5 mile radius of adults having a conversation, they have to get involved (invitations not required in their minds), and of course this means they end up hearing things they shouldn’t, or don’t catch the whole dialogue and so misinterpret what has been said and – well, let’s just say the story/conversation takes legs in a sometimes alarming fashion. You wouldn’t believe how sometimes by the end, the tale they will tell about the conversation is so far from what was discussed that it has now turned into an epic bestseller in all national bookshops (obviously I am joking about the final part but you get the idea).
It doesn’t help that, while Waxy appears to understand that there is light and shade in some conversations, Buzz takes everything very literally and don’t get me started on idioms – they have got me into trouble so many times over the years. A recent example of this was, while talking (OK sobbing) to another adopter on the phone after a particularly difficult few hours with Beeswax (I thought the boys were safely out of earshot playing on the Xbox). I told her about a recent conversation I had had with our PASW and her bizarre initial reaction to me telling her about Waxy’s escalating, unyielding behaviour/distress. The PASW’s first response had been to say “are you thinking of disrupting?” To which I replied (while somewhat taken aback) “Oh gosh No, after what we have been through to get the adoption order, Hell will freeze over before we disrupt the placement”. Later that evening, during bedtime wind down – or should I say wind up as Beeswax had not only began ‘Round: who knows what’ of dysregulated mania, but he was taking Buzzbee along for the ride too, and then it happened! I said to Beeswax that he needed to stop always ‘disrupting’ bedtimes when he is home at the weekend or holidays. Buzzbee perks up and says “Well, then I guess it is true – Hell has frozen over !”
We have a rule in our house that we do not have secrets and if we tell the boys a particular conversation is not for their ears, they are more than happy to remind us of this rule – Cheeky so-and-sos!
What do I have to do to have a private conversation in my own home – or anywhere else on the planet?
While the boys were still LAC we had an awful job trying to have catchups/meetings with SWs at our house, trying to make sure the boys didn’t hear anything that was said.
- Having meetings late at night so that we could make sure the boys were supposedly asleep in bed upstairs
- We put the radio in the kitchen on quite high and shut the lounge door to muffle our voices (and of course talked as low as we could).
- Bumble and I have gone into the garage or car to ‘debrief’ or ‘talk’.
There are plenty more examples of the lengths we have gone to try and prevent the boy’s ears flapping and it is not just Bumble and I who struggle with it. Beeswax’s school have on many occasion been less than successful at preventing him from listening in on conversations and then having to repair the damage that has been done once he has ‘blabbed’, and my poor parents, well OK mostly my mum, who could talk the hind legs off a donkey (although not as much as my late mother-in-law). The times she has “needed” to tell us things or generally have a good gossip and we have had to signal to her about ‘little big ears waggling’.
Sometimes it can be amusing when they are so far off the mark, but how do others manage their children’s need to be involved in every conversation or perception that “they have the right to know everything we are say about them”?
We understand that this is all part of our boy’s hypervigilance and need to keep themselves safe, but I would love just one time to pick up the telephone when it rings and not have the person on the other end of the phone feel the need to say “is it safe to talk?”, or be able to talk with someone without having to stop every 2 seconds to ‘reassure’ one of them that I haven’t forgotten they are there, or ‘remind’ them that were having an adult conversation and it is not one that either of them should be trying to listen in on.
How can you be discrete when it appears that in ours and others home – walls really do have ears and extremely large ones at that!
I will leave this post with Buzzbee’s favourite joke while living with his foster carer.
Why do elephants have big ears?
Because Noddy won’t pay the ransom!