Catch them before they fall

This weeks’ The Adoption Social #WASO theme is “So far, we’ve”. I could probably think of 8 or 9 different angles to write from for this theme and maybe I could have blended them all together in a single post but anyone who has regularly read my posts will know I am not known for keeping it brief. You could probably start reading it at breakfast time and still be reading it when supper time comes around, going on past experience.

Instead, I am focusing on one angle that is very current and important to us.

Earlier in the week I tweeted…..

sweettweet

I had dropped both the boys off at their separate holiday club and forest school. Bumble had gone to work and for the first time in weeks, I had the house to myself. Yippeee!!!!

For 5 blissful hours, it was just Beedog and me, oh and a nice big slice of chocolate cake.

While I have to admit that by lunchtime I was starting to miss the noise and chaotic mayhem…….. I know what you are going to say “why on earth would you be missing that? Have you lost your mind?” The few short ‘child-free’ hours I had were most definitely needed and gave me some valuable breathing space to regroup after a tricky week before, and more importantly it is giving the boys the space they need from each other (or in Waxy’s case – space from the pressure of the intimacy of being part of a family).

To be fair, Buzz’s plan for the school holidays hadn’t changed. He was always going to be continuing with his regular forest school day throughout the holidays but as usual we had taken the opportunity to increase it by a day because they run daily holiday clubs during school holidays and the blend of new children with some of the regulars has been great for Buzz, as well as the relationship he has begun to build with the staff.

Now Waxy attending a holiday club was never originally in the immediate plan – lingering in the background – but never a direct plan of action. Now the he is 14, I have found we have come up against some tricky hurdles…

  1. Waxy is 14 years old and doesn’t want to be doing something ‘babyish’ (his words not mine).
  2. There are very few daily holiday club activities that are available to 14 years olds in our area and many of the ones that there are he, has either pooh-poohed our suggestions or they are just a REALLY BAD IDEA FOR HIM.
  3. A couple that we have thought were possible and had caught his attention were either cancelled due to lack of numbers or they suggested they may not have the right staff to support him – just to point out A) He only plays Bumble and I up and would have been a perfect attendee, B) Just because he attends a specialist school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties does not automatically mean they need 1:1 support (that would be a bad idea for him anyway).
  4. Finally, understandably Waxy wants to be like the other teens in the village and do the stuff they do. The problem is… he wants it, but cannot cope with it and lacks the social skills and confidence to successfully achieve it – even with our support and encouragement.

And it is the final hurdle that in fact has been the catalyst for what had been up until recently a positive start to the school break with the boys.

We’ve come ‘so far’ with the boys in the last year in terms of their ability to spend time together without it falling to pieces and Waxy had made huge leaps in managing his discomfort and distrust of being part of a family and at the beginning of this years’ school holidays, he was almost always a joy to be around – something that I haven’t been able to say very often in the past couple of years.

Anyway, getting back to my point. Over the past 10 days or so, Bumble and I couldn’t help noticing that Waxy was slipping back into his old ways and his interaction and responses were rapidly becoming negative and volatile, and this change in mood in our opinion could be directly linked back to his attempts at independence around the village, which have not gone how he hoped they would, or he had pushed himself so far outside of his comfort zone that he couldn’t cope and his frustration was taking over.

if you fall

Watching the boys slowly unravelling with each other (Waxy particularly), my instincts were telling me that I needed to metaphorically ‘catch them before they fell’ or maybe it was just my own ‘secondary trauma’ speaking, but rather than allow Waxy to carry on the path he was on and just wait for him to completely self-destruct before trying to pick the pieces up, Bumble and I agreed that we needed to give Waxy a break from independence and insist that he attended a multi-sport/activity holiday club twice a week and to my surprise he agreed – although he claimed it was because he would rather do that than sit in a waiting room, playing on his phone while Buzzbee had his appointment and then afterwards “drag him off to adventure playground so Buzz can run off his nervous energy”.

And, guess what! He enjoyed his first week so much he has asked to attend 4 days next week. He says he is enjoying the structure, but after meeting the staff, and listening to him talk about a couple of them, I suspect there is a touch of teenage male hormones coming into play too – he is 14 after all – SO not ready for the relationship stage! And neither am I!

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