Tag Archive | independance

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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Home Ed courage

I should be putting the finishing touches to my #WASO100 post but I have had to stop and write this quick post because this morning I was bursting with pride and excitement.

I have had a sore throat and generally been feeling quite washed out for a couple of days, so Bumble left me sleeping this morning when he left for work instead of waking me up.

Bumble thought that Buzzbee was also still asleep so he thought I deserved a lie in but it seems Buzz was not actually asleep and shortly after Bumble left for work, I could hear Buzz moving around and chirping to himself in his room. I assumed he had taken the advantage of my lie in to put on one of his favourite DVDs (Planet Dinosaur) because he had gone quiet or at least I had dozed back off to sleep.

Imagine my joy when I dragged myself out of bed and went over to his room to find Buzzbee sat in bed with his tablet, trying to do one of his science worksheets on the EdPlace website independently.

This is unheard of for him for many reasons but the biggest of these reasons is his fear of reading and getting it wrong. But, here he was sat with his tablet and his new glasses on, trying to sound out words that he wasn’t sure about and although he was cursing and becoming frustrated with himself for not being able to quite understand what the question he was trying to answer was saying, he had managed to read just enough to make a reasonable guess at what the answer should be.

And, much to his surprise he got most of the answers right and I could hear him mumble to himself “beginners luck” – I should add, I remained outside his door, listening to him so not to startle him (OK I thought if I walked into his room, he would stop and try to dismiss the ‘awesomeness’ of what he was really achieving).

Beedog did eventually give my location away and Buzz did rapidly turn the screen off and say “I have only just turned the tablet on. I promise I wasn’t playing Minecraft, daddy said I could watch some YouTube Space clips”, so I said that it was OK I knew what he had been doing and I was so pleased he felt brave enough to practise his reading and do a worksheet without mummy’s help, and nothing more was said about while we had breakfast.

It may have only been one worksheet and but he managed to answer the questions without help reading what was required, and he got most of them right but more importantly he took a massive step, doing it on his own, and I want to celebrate this.

edplace2

New Year. Renewed determination

First of all.  ‘Happy New Year’ to you all.

Over the last couple of weeks I have struggled to put a blog post together. I would like to say that it was because I have been so busy and enjoying myself, that I have not had the time to sit down and write anything but the truth is a little like the reasons I have neglected commenting on other’s blog posts or responding to posts on twitter – I have nothing useful to say!

Okay, maybe that is the wrong chose of wording. What is probably more accurate is I have lost confidence in my own voice and have got myself into a ridiculous headspace where I feel anything I say will come across as completely wrong or unhelpful. It is a completely irrational thought process and completely unhelpful, but yet I seem to be allowing it to overwhelm my private thoughts while continuing to demonstrate an external image of being a strong and in-control mother who is confident in her parenting of her sons.

Don’t worry! This post is not going to be an ‘Eeyore’ style post. I have let the trials and tribulations of parenting Buzz and Waxy overwhelm me for long enough and while I know I still do not have the courage to ask for what I need from the people I need it from for myself, having Bumble home over the Christmas holidays has given me a little more space to regroup and reflect on what I need to do for my boys in order to support them more effectively and help them become the beautiful young men that they are blossoming into in already. And, in the process of doing this, hopefully Bumble and I will feel less like we are permanently living in hostile warzone with the boys and professionals and we can find the time to look after ourselves a little better .

For the past couple of months Buzzbee’s separation anxiety has been overwhelming for all involved and if I am honest because it 90% of it has been directed at me.

To give you an idea of how extreme it has got. I have got the boys back in the car after a supermarket shop and go to put the trolley away (2 cars away and I am still within sight), I return to the car to a hysterical Buzzbee who is inconsolable. Another example is when panic ensues if while out Bumble and I suggest that to save time we split up to get the jobs done quicker – he wants everyone to stay together at all times.

I know there is a huge control dynamic developing here and Bumble and I are working very hard to not allow Buzzbee to control us but we are needing to be very careful because every therapeutic bone in our bodies is saying that something has triggered off this overwhelming fear response in him and until we can identify what that is or we can find a way to help him work through the ‘BIG’ feelings so that they are no longer controlling him anymore, we need to tread carefully.

It breaks my heart to see him in so much pain. He takes 2 steps forwards and progresses in one area and is so proud of himself and then ‘BAMM’ something else comes along and he is thrown into yet another crisis and we have to fight hard to not let all the progress he has already made, become lost.

At the moment I could go on forever about what I believe Buzz needs and should have by now received but rather than go into another rant or tirade about it, I have spent the last few days coming up with a ‘Battle Plan’ and I am determined this year…… I WILL NOT ALLOW PROFESSIONALS TO BRUSH HIS NEEDS UNDER THE CARPET. This year I am going to get him the assessments and support he needs and if that means I have to be a thorn in the side of people until they listen. Then so be it.

As for Beeswax! On paper to most it appears that he has every bit of support he needs and yet last year the majority of my time and energy which I should have been using to find Buzz the support he needs, I spent it dealing with Waxy and the infuriating staff at his school and their inability to understand the effects trauma and complex attachment history can have on a hormonal and emotionally immature, teenage boy and how the complex relational dynamics between how he is at school and how he is at home, is causing an unnecessary rift between us all.

In the coming weeks we will have Waxy’s GCSE options open evening and I know that school, as well as Bumble and I would like to see him cover as many subjects as possible and we are confident he could achieve high standards but at the same time, Bumble and I are concerned!

Waxy is incredibly bright but simply from the conversations I have had with school and Waxy himself, we are aware that there is already a lot of pressure being put onto him when it comes to maturity and independence, especially with him organising himself personally and academically. While we are constantly working alongside Waxy to boost his confidence in this area, he still needs a lot of support. Sadly this is an area we are failing to help school understand and rather than them seeing us as trying to support him and work closely with them, they see it as we are over anxious parents who don’t want to ‘let go of the apron strings’ – which is amusing, considering he boards most of the week and refuses to come home during the week.

School see what Waxy wants them to see and sadly even now, after more than 3 years at the school, he still does not trust the staff enough to let them know what is going on for him, so holds it together all week and lets ‘Mount Vesuvius’ erupt every weekend.

Waxy is torn. He wants to be more independent but when he is put into a situation where he has the opportunity to ‘spread his wings’, fear takes over and he sabotages himself which then results in people becoming ‘reactive’ rather than ‘reassuring’ towards him and we end up back at square one.

My goal this year is to find a way to help school understand that Bumble and I are not the ‘enemy’ and rather than them repeatedly working against us, I need to find a way of helping them to see that we want to work with them and help our son feel supported and confident that he can achieve his full potential, rather than things staying as they are now and risking him slipping through the net and his needs not being identified until it is too late for him.

I have rambled on here and I am sure that none of this will make the slightest bit of sense to anyone reading it, but what I am trying to say is for too long now I have ‘let things slide’, or taken a “softly, softly, catchee monkey” approach and that has got me nowhere. I need to pull myself together, channel a large dose of therapeutic Zen and become a ‘Velvet Bullldozer’ from now on.

Watch this space!

bulldozer