Archive | June 2014

‘Forever’ overcoming obstacles

This week’s Adoption Social #WASO post theme is ‘forever’ and in all honesty I was stumped on what I could possibly write for this post.
I thought about writing about having the boys and how we morphed from being just the boys’ respite foster carers, to their forever family
I thought about writing about how the concept of forever for Beeswax is terrifying and almost too painful to think about, let alone trust can ever happen.
Or, I could have begun writing about the feeling of forever hitting my head against a brick wall when it comes to dealing with schools and professionals in the pursuit of getting the needs of my boys’ met. But if I was to start write along those lines, I would possible invented a new cure for insomnia through the length of the post.

So what to write then?

In the course of trying to write this post while sat (finally) having some down time in our Center Parcs Villa, waiting for the water to finish filling up my Jacuzzi bath (Gloat Gloat Gloat) after an unwanted visitor, I started to think about the word forever again and how much of our family day to day life the word is used in conversations – “I am forever hitting my head against a brick wall with the professionals and school” being just one example.
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Eureka!
I have an idea!
Here I go! I will write about the amount of times we use the words.
But, no! Just as I begin, Bumble suggests a shorter and more uplifting idea for this post (although my ramblings have now gone on for sometime now).

More than 6 years ago we met a little boy who was so terrified of water that his foster carer had the most awful time getting him to wash his face and bathtime was just a ‘no go’ area for him. Daffodil (FC) spent days and hours gentle trying to coax him and after almost 6 months she triumphed and got that little boy to sit in 3 inches of bath water (washing his hair, well that is a whole other tale).
As you have probably guessed that little boy was Buzzbee. No one really understands where his anxiety came from with water but anyone who was ever in earshot of him when panic had set in couldn’t help but feel anxious and emotional too – It used to break my heart to hear him (and very nearly my eardrums).
By the time the boys were ready to be placed for adoption Daffodil had made progress with Buzzbee as far as having a bath and washing his hair goes and on one very rare and receptive occasion on an extremely hot day, she along with the help of her grandson convinced him to test out the paddling pool in her back garden (he stood up the entire time but he did get in the water).
Ok so you are getting the idea that Buzz did not like water and it had already taken what felt like to outsiders forever just to get him to paddle his feet in a paddling pool or sit in 3 inches of bath water and taking him to a swimming pool felt like it may never happen.
It has taken us 5 years and an awful lot of trust and bravery from Buzzbee and his determination to forever do it by himself and in his own time – he has gone from a little boy who wouldn’t get into a swimming pool or a bath with a nice amount of water, to a young man who over the past 3 years has slowly grown in confidence in the water and forever pushed himself that little further and this weekend has gone from not only realising that if he tries swimming without a float we won’t let him drown, to swimming confidently around the pool unaided (Bumble and I were the nervous wrecks instead).
But, while for all of us this was something to celebrate, Buzzbee had decided to take his success one step further.
He is no longer afraid of the water slides and not only was he prepared to go down them unsupported by Bumble or Beeswax but he played on our excitement at his success and told us that he had been waiting FOREVER to be allowed to go down the rapids with his daddy and Waxy (OK, now I am not very good with the water slides myself but the rapids just terrify me – I have been down them once this weekend and that was one too many times for me).
Bumble agreed to take him on it and if I am honest I didn’t really put up much of an argument – I thought it was a step too far for him and he would pull out last minute but not only did he not back away from it but he loved it so much he wanted Bumble to keep taking him back down it and announced (not for the first time I must add)
I am going to live here forever”

I could gush on about this but when it comes down to it, Buzzbee’s slow and long transition from being terrified of water to the water baby I have snoring in the bedroom next to me, constantly reminds me that both my boys are forever surprising me with determination to overcome the obstacles that life throws their way.
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This entry was posted on June 28, 2014. 6 Comments

“This was a happy/sad memory week, mummy”

Over the weekend this was Buzzbee’s description after spreading Bumble’s mum’s ashes with the boys and my father-in-law, at a spot where she loved to visit with the boys and Beedog and watch the dragonflies hovering around this time of year.
At the time of my Mother-in-law’s funeral it was felt that it would be too much for the boys to cope with but we wanted the boys to feel they were still included so we planted a rosebush which coincidentally has the same name as her and the boys asked if at a later time when “daddy and grandpa” were ready could we spread roses on the water at their favourite spot to say “goodbye”.

I would be lying if I didn’t say it was emotional and despite neither of my boys outwardly showing their pain. There endless chatter and flip flopping mood swings, spoke volumes.
However, a midst the solemnity of the event, all including my FIL could not help bursting into laughter at Bumble’s expense and agree that where ever ‘granny’ was now, she would have been laughing too.
Bumble slipped on the bank and fell feet first into the water and ended up with very wet trouser, shoes and a muddy bottom (he claims Beedog got the bank wet).

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So, Buzzbee’s statement, I thought was (in Waxy’s words) ‘bang on’ and I told Buzzbee this and he was horrified.
“Mummy you forgot all the other happy memories we had this week!”
He was right – Grandpa’s visit brought happy memories as well sad ones.

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This post was written as part of ‘The Adoption Social’ memory box

This entry was posted on June 26, 2014. 2 Comments

Wild Calm

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In England’s green and pleasant land

We live in a beautiful village where you only have to walk 5 minutes in any direction and you are surrounded by peaceful and picturesque scenes of flowing streams, lush and endless woods and farmland to walk along.

Once a week Buzzbee climbs into the car and we head off on our 35 minute trip to Forest school. Our journey will take us through 3 peaceful villages, past 4 sets of traffic lights, over 8 roundabouts and along two very busy bypasses – In Buzzbee’s words “everyone is always in a hurry and no one is noticing the world around them”.

From the backseat of the car a clean and tidy Buzzbee is busy ‘OOOing and AHHHing’ as he entertains himself by looking out of the car window watching the scenery whizz by. He hardly notices the colourful array of vehicles and their fractious drivers. All he can see is the Buzzard soaring in the sky just ahead of us or the Kestrel sitting on the fence patiently watching its prey to make its move.  Buzzbee notices how the surrounding farm land has turned into a green and lush oasis for the cows and their calves. He will spot a ‘lonely bunny’ sat by the hedgerow contemplating whether it should try and cross the road – already Buzzbee is absorbing the euphoria of the ‘great outdoors’ and beginning to relax – anyone who has ever met Buzz would know that he is highly strung, extremely volatile and stressy, and his anxiety/cortisol levels are almost permanently through the roof.

As we reach our destination Buzzbee’s chatter becomes rapid and mindboggling, but not in a negative way. He can no longer contain his excitement for what his day at forest school will bring – “Will the cockerel chase you today mummy?”, “I am not going to swear today and if Boris annoys me I am going to just walk away”, “I’m going to ask Richard if he can help me build a bigger den”, “Last week they taught us how to put out a fire if our clothes caught alight. This week they are going to teach us how to carry someone who is hurt as a team”, “It is a sunny day! I will have to work really hard at showing you I have had a good day” (translation: “I left home clean mummy, if you pick me up and I am not muddy, you may think I had a bad day”) – now I am not naive, some of this is anxiety driven, but in his own funny way this is him telling me that he is unsure about what today will bring, but that he knows whatever it is, he can do it and make the right choices.

So what is different from any other day? What is about his few hours once a week at forest school that has the ability to transform my child from one that had almost completely disconnected with most social situations for fear that he “would hurt somebody” or couldn’t control himself, into a ‘happy go lucky’ chatterbox who will give most things a try?

OK I suppose the fact that Buzzbee and Waxy love the outdoors and they are physically adventurous with their surroundings helps, but there is something truly amazing about how in a few short months, the staff at this wonderful place have not only nurtured and helped begin re-building his self-confidence, self – esteem and self- belief, but they have achieved something that very few adults have ever managed when it comes to Buzz – they have gained his trust enough for him to feel safe enough to admit his mistakes/weaknesses and know that they will still like him (I don’t need to tell the adopters among you, the monumental achievement this is for him).

As this weeks’ #WASO post theme is ‘The Great Outdoors’  and I am getting slightly off track by gushing about Buzz and his rekindled self-belief (even if it is only for one day a week), so, I thought I would leave this post with Buzzbee’s list of what he loves about going to forest school.

  • “It is not school. They like me”
  • “We are NEVER indoors, no matter  how bad the weather is – Ok they have big tents, but I never go in because they smell funny”
  • “I am allowed to go every week, even when it is raining and really, really muddy. So muddy that we all have to change our clothes before lunch time”.
  • “I get to climb trees! I mean real BIG trees!”
  • “We get to play ‘Bulldog’ and ‘Hide and Seek’ as many times as we like.  I am really fast and the staff get tired before the kids”
  • “Lots of the children like playing games that we need to use our imagination for and the big kids don’t call me names like Waxy does.  They like me”
  • “I kind of like the kids that go. They are like me, they don’t go to school but have their mummies teach them”
  • “I don’t like doing the girlie craft stuff, but I love learning how to make a campfire or build a shelter to protect us from the rain”
  • “We go on REALLY long walks to old caves, which have really steep slopes and we are allowed to slide down them when they are wet.  It is SOOO cool!”
  • Everyone is always smiling and they never shout. Well, unless they are telling us they are coming to find us when we are hiding”
  • “Lots of the trees have tyre swings or treehouse bases and there is a big bit that have ropes all around them like an obstacle course”
  • “I nearly forgot!  There are pigs, bunnies and lots of chickens and ducks. I am allowed to help feed them every week”

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‘Me and my EBD school’ – Beeswax style

As you will guess for the title, I have convinced Beeswax to write something for this weeks’ #WASO post in an attempt to try something new with him to try and help him (and Bumble and I) understand why he is struggling so much at weekends at home (Ok, truth be known, I will try anything at the moment to offset his endless rejection, aggression and general teenage angst).

I am not suggesting that the EBD boarding school is the cause of his difficult behaviour at home – that responsibility will remain with his significant attachment difficulties as a result of his traumatic early years history mixed in with a mammoth surge of hormones, but I do suspect, knowing the level of mistrust he has in adults, that there is a chance that his daily routine (or specific incidents) have him feeling out of control – and, Beeswax doesn’t ‘DO’ loss of control. To be fair to Waxy for some time now we have suspected that school are missing important signals/triggers that he is then bottling up because he presents as such a ‘well adjusted, mature, intelligent young man’ to most adults who he is not close too.

Anyway enough of my drivel!  With Beeswax’s permission here is his description of an example of a day in his school.

“Beeswax here! I am going to give you a taste of one of my busiest mornings in the week.  I have a 3 hour lesson which is not in the classroom and is always outside somewhere (most of the time even the teachers don’t know where that is, but more about that in a minute)”

“THIS IS HOW MY DAY USUALLY GOES”

7am – They wake us up and tell us to have a wash.  Admittedly I am always already up (mum I am not telling you how early because you will give me the ‘Paddington’). The staff do knock on the door but then run in shouting to get up and wash and we’re like “shut up” (not to their faces of course)

7.15am – OK my mates and I are washed and dressed and we are allowed to go to the games room to play pool but the annoying kids run in and messes up the game normally.

7.25am – I finally get in a decent game and other kids come in and start calling “next game” (for all you adults who are not cool enough to know what that means. It means I can’t play another game I have to give the table up to the others).  Sometimes we get called into the lounge for a group chat before breakfast (FFS!)

8.10am – Finally we get to go down to breakfast and eat something (I have been awake for hours and I am always bloody starving by now). The kids are all so bloody noisy and staff are always shouting “be quiet”, “Stop talking”, “If don’t stop you will be taken from the dining room” (blah blah blah).

8.40am – *wait for it* Breakfast is finished and now I have to wait for about half an hour for staff to get their arses into gear so they can take us out where ever we are going for our 2 hour lesson.

11.50am – We are back and get told by one member of staff not to go upstairs and get out of our dirty clothes, but to be then f**king told by another to go up and change. But when I try to explain what the other staff had said, I get told off and given ‘evils’ and told to do as I’m told and go and change. 

Noon – Get to maths just on time and plonk my arse down just in time to listen to the teacher blabbering for 20 minutes before letting us get on with our work. Apparently if we didn’t make so much noise she wouldn’t take so long explaining things.

1pm – Race over to the dining room for lunch (I am starving again) only for staff to stop me and send me to the toilet to wash my hands first FFS.  Another member of staff is stood outside the toilets watching us kids.  IS IT ME OR IS THAT JUST REALLY WEIRD? 

Break-time – Finish lunch and go out to play football until end of lunch but the kids are getting annoying and messing about so I get bored with playing and stressed. 

2pm – Back to lessons and I have to walk over to the science block and I am 5 minutes late.  I get told off for being late but she won’t listen to the fact I have to walk further at the moment to reach the class (apparently this is not an excuse because it is my first lesson after lunch and I should be better f**king prepared).  I find my seat as LOUDLY as I can and the rest of the lesson is full of fun science stuff. 

3pm – Tutor time (ugggghhhh, here we go).  I walk over to the technology building and go on computers for half an hour or until it is my turn to ‘have a chat’. 

3.30pm – Assembly, yippee! (can you feel my excitement though my writing?). I don’t really listen because they are SOOOO boring! 

3.45pm – School is finished for the day! Yay! Back to unit and oh lucky me I have laundry to put away before I can grab a snack and watch some TV before activities for the next hour before tea. 

5.30pm – Half an hour for tea so we just eat and talk and it gets REALLY LOUD so you have to shout above everyone.

6pm – Back to unit to do homework or play the Xbox unless you are going outside for activities like football or rugby. I can tell you which one of these you won’t find me doing and it is not the Xbox or sports!

 7.30pm – Showers and wind down time (or is that wind up time? It is hard to tell most of the time).  We then watch TV or a DVD until it is time for bed, which could be anytime between 8.30 and 9.30 (it depends on if you have been a little sh*t or not). 

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Pros and cons of boarding during the week

Pros:

  • Have loads of computer time during lessons and on unit
  • Get to be with other kids all the time
  • Get loads of food at mealtimes
  • Get up too early in the morning but not having to go to bed until 9.30pm
  • Some staff are really cool
  • Some people you can have a sensible chat with
  • Get to do lots of sports
  • Get to watch loads of television
  • They have the latest electronics
  • They have cool facilities
  • Get to go on lots of trips

Cons:

  • Lots of people want to go on the computers
  • Don’t know what Buzzbee is getting up to in the week
  • Food is regularly rank
  • Early bedtimes if you have not done what you have been told and the staff are being dicks
  • Some staff are ‘dicks’
  • Some kids find something dirty in anything I say (just because I do it doesn’t mean I think it is funny when they do it)
  • Some of the kids majorly suck at sports and we have to be ‘patient’ with them
  • I am not allowed to use some of the cool facilities
  • The trips are not always fun and we still have to behave ourselves even when it sucks