Tag Archive | bonding

Backseat reflections

This is not the #WASO post I intended to post this week but for the moment my original post needs to be put on hold but in doing so, it started me thinking about another topic which keeps rearing it’s head lately.

How many times have you set of on a journey or trip to the local supermarket, and found yourself drawn into a conversation you are unprepared for with one or more backseat passengers, AKA your children“.

If you are anything like me, sometimes you are able to successfully navigate the conversation while still maintaining control over your vehicle and your own emotions, but then there are times when you are completely caught off guard and struggle to find the words you are looking for.

Of course there are also the times when your child(ren) knock your socks off with a fleeting moment of self-awareness.

backseatRecently Buzzbee did exactly this on a car journey home after collecting him from Forest school.

Buzz: “Mummy, do you know. I think I might be quite funny”

Me: “I think you are. You make me laugh all the time”

Buzz: “I didn’t mean that kind of funny.   I know I am ‘funny’ and can make pretty girls laugh but I meant, I am weird” (this was one of those moments when I was glad that I was driving and he was sat in the backseat and couldn’t see my heart sinking and tears pricking my eyes)

Once I regained composure, I returned to the conversation.

Me: “I am curious. Why do you think you are weird”?

Buzz: “Don’t worry mummy I don’t think it is a bad thing. I know I am different to other children. I mean I sometimes think of things differently to other kids my age”

Me: “You are definitely one of a kind Buzz and life is never dull with you around but I am wondering what has made you suddenly think you are funny”

Part of me was a tiny bit afraid to hear his answer but ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’

Buzz: “Nothing really. It is just some of the other boys wanted to dig holes today, climb lots of trees and talk about WWE wrestlers, and they were happy with just doing this and I liked doing it with them but when we were digging I was imagining what amazing treasures I may find or wondering if I will find a prehistoric fossil in the mud. I love climbing trees but I wanted more – treehouses, forts, and ways to get things from the ground into the trees. Oh and when my friends are talking about wrestlers it is not enough. I want to be the wrestler and sometimes I get too rough”

Phew!!! The conversation continued and I would like to think I managed to respond and support him while he reflected on his day – at least I believe I had and by the time we arrived home he was happy to hop out of the car and go on with his afternoon as if we had never had the conversation.

Many years ago during our preparation course, the course leader attempted to prepare us for the unexpected backseat narrative/questioning and while at the time I didn’t see it was of huge importance and had ‘rose tinted’ glasses on about how we would have ‘cosy chats’ and positive ‘bonding times’ on our car journeys and that there would be nothing to it – I would be a ‘normal parent’ but there is nothing normal about some of the conversations I have had with each of my boys at several points over the years, but each and every one of these are important and offer an window into their internal world.

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Tiger Feet

First of all. No! I am not about to break out into a song.

When Bumble returned from visiting his dad and brothers, bringing with him a dusty old pair of tiger feet slippers, which had belonged to my late mother-in-law. Nobody could have imagined these orange and black, fluffy fellows were going to bring about a complete emotional meltdown for Buzzbee that would reduce Bumble to tears also (Yes the tears were flowing for me too but there is nothing new there – if my boys are in pain, it breaks my heart).

Ok let me take a couple of steps back. When Bumble arrived home from work yesterday afternoon, he brought in with him from his car a pair of Tiger slippers which his dad had found while going through boxes of at home and they believed that had been Bumble’s mum’s at some point. Bumble and his dad thought that Buzzbee would like them for his dressing up box as he already owns a Tiger onesie – absolutely wonderful idea, I thought and Buzzbee was delighted with them.

Throughout the day Buzzbee had been….. Well, let us just say. I suggested to Bumble that it might be a good idea to meet up at lunchtime as my therapeutic mummy juice was rapidly running out. So when Buzzbee volunteered to read in the evening with his dad (NEVER happens) and did so while wearing his new “feet”, I couldn’t help but let my guard down and believe that his dark mood had lifted and bedtime would be relaxed and positive before our babysitter arrived.

Silly mummy!!!!

Once Buzz had finished reading with Bumble, the nervous, fizzy energy came out to play. He had done such a wonderful job but struggled with one word and he began to fall apart. He couldn’t tolerate any suggestion that he had done really well considering on how difficult he finds reading and all he could focus on was, the one word he struggled with.

Beedog picking up on his energy began to join in with his ‘bubbling’ and herself begun to get over-excited. In the process of the chaos and madness, Beedog tried to remove the Tiger feet from Buzzbee’s feet which Buzz was finding oddly funny, considering how close her teeth were to his toes. In an attempt to prevent the slippers getting damage or Buzz’s feet being chomped. I slipped the slipper off Buzz’s foot, with the intention of retrieving it from Beedog before putting it back on Buzzbee’s foot.

Oh dear. Bad mummy. Buzzbee suddenly feel completely apart and raced hysterically out of the room and into his bedroom in floods of tears, completely inconsolable.

What had I done that was so wrong? Why was he throwing a wobbly?

Although it took me a minute to realise it. It wasn’t that I had taken the slipper off his foot that upset him. It was that I had taken ‘Granny’s slipper’ off his foot and in doing so I had taken Granny from him again in his mind.

All the grief and loss that he had experienced over the years was suddenly coming crashing to the surface and he had become overwhelmed by it all but he couldn’t let me near – painful as it was to see him in such distress, I needed at the time to remember that he wasn’t trying to reject me. The pain was just too much for him to accept comfort.

In the meantime, Bumble was conspicuous in his absence (usually he is great at stepping in when Buzz is in this state). Again, I didn’t need to think too hard to know the reason why. Bumble was trying his hardest to hide his pain at the realisation of Buzzbee’s connection to the slippers.

Buzzbee needed Bumble and no matter how much Bumble denies it, at that point he needed Buzzbee too. The boys haven’t really seen Bumble cry when it comes to losing his mum (they saw him cry more when our old cat died). Bumble’s has been quite stoic when the boys have been around (Neither of them cope well with seeing myself or Bumble upset. It really upsets their equilibrium and over the years we have subconsciously reined ourselves in when they are present).

Last night was different. Bumble couldn’t hide from it and he knew that Buzzbee needed him at that point and needed to know that it was OK to miss his granny and that Bumble misses her too.

So what started out as an innocent pair of old slipper being brought home to be put into a dressing up box and have some fun with, actually turned into an important but emotional evening, where Bumble had a rare opportunity to be the one to give Buzzbee the support and emotional connection that he needed at that time and strengthen their attachment just that little bit more.

tigerfeet

Many of you will think I am completely crazy but I have long believed that our loved ones are always watching over us and send us what we need, when we need it.

And, boy did they both need it.

The best birthday present

At the weekend my mum celebrated her 60th birthday and, rather than arranging a great big party for her, which she would have hated, instead my dad chose to surprise her and booked them both into a luxury hotel in a picturesque village near Bumble and I for a few days and arranged for us to look after their 2 elderly fur-babies (Yes, my dad really does call his spaniels his fur-babies) during their stay. In order to surprise mum, my dad has had to endure her wrath over the last few weeks because he had led her to believe he had forgotten it was a milestone birthday as well as her first birthday since my nan passed away – he is a glutton for punishment! Earlier in the year he did something similar for their 40th wedding anniversary and arranged several surprises for her at great expense to his ears, but I think he loves seeing her gobsmacked expression every time and “reaping the rewards” (LaLaLaLaLa I don’t want to know what he means by that!)

It goes without saying that dad hit the jackpot with his choice of hotel and all the little flourishes he had arranged, and she was spoilt rotten, but the best birthday present that she received this year, in mum’s opinion came as a surprise to everyone and mum was not the only one to be left with tears in her eyes once the unexpected gift was given.

My sister lives within minute of my parents and is an exceptional cake maker and has always in the past made the family cakes, but this year the boys took advantage of my parents being nearby to make their own birthday cake for mum and have it delivered to her hotel as their own surprise, which she loved, even if it had so much chocolate in it my dad could only eat a slither of it before he started to feel a little woozy (he is diabetic), but it was lovely for her to receive a handmade cake from the boys. She is used to my niece and nephews doing this for her every year.

cake1

No! Her present was a gift from Buzzbee and something she has been waiting for since the first day she met both the boys. It is also a gift that Buzzbee does not even realise he has given her.

Yesterday, when my parents came over to collect their dogs, Buzzbee was playing in his bedroom after working hard all morning on ‘space’ worksheets he is using for part of his home education project. As with anytime they visit, mum called up the stairs to say ‘Hello’ but instead of the usual ‘Hi!’ response being called back, she was greeted with “Nanny!!!!!!!!” and what can only be describe as the sound of a herd of full sized elephants coming thundering down the stairs before LEAPING into her arms and giving her the biggest hug and kiss he has ever given her – I guess you can work out the reason now for the happy tears.

To some that may sound like a perfectly normal response from a grandchild excited to see his nanny but for Buzzbee this is HUGE. It has only been in the last year that Buzz has begun to agree to give her a hug if she asks for one when saying ‘goodbye’ – before then she has had to shake hands like Buzz does with my dad.

As for my mum! Well in her words “no amount of beautiful flowers or fancy presents could ever beat the present Buzzbee has just given me. He has allowed himself to show me how much he loves me!” (she has never been under any illusion that either of my boys are fond of her and dad, but being a ‘cuddly’ kind of nanny, it has killed her at times to have to respect the boys limits and resist the urge to just scoop up either of them and give them a ‘nanny squeeze’).