adopt and keep calm

my little adopted boy and me.

It seems the holidays are upon us……..

Easter holidays are here.

I am not even vaguely prepared.

We have fairly long holidays – 2.5 weeks, and for some reason – like a very manic child, a busy work week and an even busier week pretending to organise the PTA I haven’t organised any at home control activities.

Luckily, having just looked through my diary, it seems we won’t be at home much anyway!

Boyo is in an entirely different mood to that of last Summer when the holidays began. I was absolutely dreading the 7 long weeks. This time, whilst I can’t say I am ecstatic, I do feel that for now, he is on a slightly more even footing. I am also well aware that with the return to school and the talk of moving to a new class, that this even footing will come to an abrupt halt.

We start the hols tomorrow with a visit to good family friends – 2 older girls who Boyo adores and who are gracious enough to tolerate and answer his every question and jump to his every request. The afternoon will include a long walk and lots of food – both top of Boyo’s list of items needed for a good afternoon. Oh, and a dog – that always helps!

Then we have a couple of playdates. Boyo is becoming good friends with a couple of boys at school and I’ve promised him a morning of junk modelling with Bob.

We have a couple of trips to London planned. These always go down well with Boyo. He just loves a day out. I don’t love the fall out when we return, but time & time again I marvel at how when we are out of our own stomping ground, we have much better days than when we are at home. (unless we go on holiday and then it all goes tits up!).

A couple of days he will go to sports camp and I will lie in a dark room. Or…….. I even thought about visiting the hairdressers. That will be a first since Boyo came home. (I have had my hair cut, just the hairdresser comes here whilst Boyo narrates by my side!)

We have a sleepover planned with his best little friend.

And each day will involve fresh air and exercise.

So, with several fun things planned, some work for me, and some downtime for Boyo, it doesn’t seem too daunting a break. How it actually goes is an entirely different matter.

 

 

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Enough lavender…….

in those bath salts to keep an old people’s home happy.

But it’s the small things that count!

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Mother’s Day meltdowns.

So, for those of us in the UK, this weekend sees us celebrating Mother’s Day.

This week, especially the earlier part, for us, has been meltdown week.

On Monday they started practising the Mother’s Day assembly songs at school.

Monday evening they made lavender bath salts at Beavers.

Wednesday we had Mother’s Day lunch at school.

Thursday we had Mother’s Day secret room at school. (not so much of a secret for those of us running it!)

Friday (today) we had the Mother’s Day assembly.

 

Monday after school we had tantrum after sulking after tantrum.

Tuesday morning his teacher tells me he had been ‘very hyper’ at school the day before.

And it continued.

But we have made some progress. On Monday when I did some wondering whether he was feeling confused about hearing all the wonderful things that Mothers do, he burst into tears.

‘Mummy please can we read Nutmeg gets Adopted’. A lovely(ish) book about a squirrel who neglects her squirrellets, who eventually end up being adopted. It is a story that Boyo requests when he is stressed & anxious. And these days a good outward sign for me that he is asking for help.

So, now we just have the weekend to get through. His bedroom has various things hidden – smelling salts from Beavers, a mystery gift from the secret room and a card from school.

Since reading ‘Nutmeg’ yesterday all has been quite calm. He has just been to a friend’s house for a playdate and come home, all very smooth and normal.

I am hoping that the worst of the trauma is over.

On a non-personal note though, 2 things stood out for me today. At work we had a Mother’s Day ‘cup of tea & cake’. All but 4 children had a Mummy witht them, 1 of the4 is a foster child – he came to me, held tightly to my leg and looked so sad. Too young to really understand, but old enough to know for him it was different.

At school my heart went out to a foster child, only 5 years old, having to sing songs – ‘thank you Mummy for this, thank you Mummy for that’. I suspect he just wanted to scream.

 

And as I have said before. A quick mention here for Boyo’s birthmother. This weekend will be tremdously hard for her too. And without her, there would be no Boyo. As well as the trauma, the drama, the continuous emotional need, I also get the smiles, the joy, the fun – and for that I will always be thankful.

 

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Go Boyo, Go Boyo

This week has been reasonably good. Reasonably calm. Reasonably enjoyable.

But we have had two (that was TWO) massive moments.

Firstly, on Monday after what feels like weeks of preparation at home, Boyo took his ‘Animal Care’ badge work to Beavers. His Beaver leader is brill, and would happily of given him the badge without any presentation, but she gently asked him if he would like to talk to the other Beavers about it.

‘Yes’ he replied.

When it became clear to her that Boyo wasn’t going to be able to wait till the end of the session to do his ‘presentation’ (ie, he didn’t stop interuppting her and asking ‘when can I…’ she asked all the Beavers to sit down and Boyo did his bit. He talked through his charts, he read out the blurb he had written and he answered random peculiar 6-8yr old questions about the rabbit. He constantly checked in with me, looked at me for approval, looked  for a smile, but he did it.

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Then yesterday he was in a swimming gala. A few weeks ago his teacher asked me if they could ask him to compete in a gala. Ha ha ha, I responded. ‘Please’ she pleaded, ‘he’ll love it’. So, I signed the form, and started chatting about galas to Boyo. Then the following week, out of swimming he comes with ‘Mummy, please can I swim in a gala’…….. full of pride and ready to take the plunge.

So, yesterday, Boyo and about 150 other children sat around a huge pool (far bigger than any he has been in before), and a very formal gala began. They did the littlies first, and from the balcony at the other end, I could just about (by counting along the line, using the race list as a guide) work out which was Boyo. Before he even swam I had to get my act together before I made a show of myself being a ‘random woman crying on the balcony’.

The littlies did their warm up (just the warm up was further than he has ever swum in one go), and then the races started. Boyo was heat 2 in each of his races, so had time to see what the others did.

Then he got in, and swam. Race 1 he won, race 2 he lost. Overall he came 4th in his age group.

Proud. Not of his winning or his losing. But in front of 150 children, a balcony full of spectators, and in a very noisy pool, he did his best. (he was also awarded a piece of mock marble with a badge on it – now in his school bag…….)

And, the loveliest thing of all – in his second race I suddenly heard someone shouting ‘Go on Boyo, Go on Boyo’ supporting him the whole length of the race. I hadn’t a clue who it was, but it was someone. Later that evening as I was heading out dressed like a fright from the 1980s (I won’t be blogging about that!), my friend’s lovely 12 year old said to me, ‘I saw Boyo swim’. ‘was it you cheering?’ I asked him. ‘yes, of course, I knew it was his first gala and wanted him to win’. Gotta love that boy.

 

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Friends. #waso

Friends.Friendships for Boyo are a challenge. He loves to have friends to play, but often finds it difficult to react in the accepted way to small incidents. He finds it difficult if I talk to them. He gets extra possesive with everything. He panic that friends may take things away with them (but interestingly is often keen to share and lend things to people – all about control!)

But – he has some good friends. And he has some lovely times with them.

Enough words.

Friends.

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Enjoying the shade in Madrid.

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Silent Sunday

#silentsunday

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Fantastic Miss T…..

Boyo’s teacher is nothing short of brilliant.

This week she approached me to suggest an idea that she had. That each week she would write in a book fantastic things that Boyo had done. He could share it with me over the weekend and I can write the great things that Boyo has done at home, and she will share them with him during the week.

A great idea, maybe something that will help him accept praise, but also emphasise the good, not the bad.

And this is what came home.

cover A personalised, hand made book……..

inside with lots of writing inside, clearly stating great things that he has done.

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A small act of kindness, showing that Miss T is listening, reading about insecure attachment, and doing what she can to make school and home life better.

Thank you Miss T.

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Half Term……..

So, half term, is, thankfully over. For us, anyway. Boyo is in bed, I’d like to say he is fast asleep, but he probably isn’t!

The week has been middling. The first part of the week saw us at grandparents, where the slowest speed Boyo went at anytime was sonic. He spoke fast, he walked fast, he fidgeted fast……. For the first time I really see the issues the school have with concentration. With Granny & Grandad around, he could not concentrate for more than around 3 seconds.

But we did get in a bit of this…..

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We also had a day out to York. We met old friends and Boyo and the girls played along side each other happily for a few hours. Boyo talked for all 3 of them, but we had a  lovely day. Shame the weather was pants.

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Running around the outside of York Minster was the highlight of the day for Boyo & the girls. We didn’t go in – £10 a head seems a bit steep for what would’ve been a 20 minute visit.

We also went with Uncle J to see ‘The Lego Movie’. Uncle J thought it was awesome. I thought it was awesome. Boyo sat there looking like he was in a torture chamber (he did laugh 3 times), but has talked lots about it in a positive way since. He was highly concerned about the death of a Lego figure and looked petrified when it came back as a ghost. (complete with woo oo sounds).

We’ve done a lot of this too.

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Getting wet in woods. Boyo and Lilja made this den together. It had been started by some others, but for a 6yr old & 3 yr old, not a bad effort. At one point Boyo was standing on the top of it (don’t ask as I didn’t see him climbing!) shouting ‘Lilja, I’m just checking there are no leaking gas pipes’……..

Boyo also got to meet his foster carer this week. He played beautifully with her little girl, ignored most things that FC said, and said nothing to me at all about the visit. The following day he had a momentous 2.5hr tantrum. Now I don’t know these things were linked, but I think it is fairly safe to say they were.

All in all, not a bad week. But I am really looking forward to work tomorrow and the peace & quiet of 18 children at pre-school.

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What’s this ‘love’ thing all about?

Unless any of you have been hibernating for the past few weeks, it won’t have escaped your notice that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. And for the first time it hasn’t escaped Boyo’s notice either.

Now, clearly, being single, I don’t do a whole lot for Valentine’s Day. But it seems that some of the children in his class are geared up for it to be a ‘big day’. As a school they are doing a quick & easy ‘wear red to school’ fundraiser for the PTA so it will definitely be mentioned one way or another.

In the playground this morning a Mum of Boyo’s friend told me she (the daughter) had made Boyo a Valentine’s card and bought him some chocolate. So, at lunchtime today, in amongst the 3 tantrums and continuous argument (we really don’t live on a mountain!) I asked him if he would like to make anyone a card. ‘oh yes Mummy, I know that Tilly has made me a card and I’d like to make one for Milly too’.

After calm-down number 3 I got a few bits out, quickly drew some hearts with glue and let him do the rest. Very structured, but no way Boyo would take a card that didn’t ‘look right’, and at the moment all his artwork is ‘wrong’. So, a bit of guidance and he had made 2 cards that he thinks look good.

So, I have no problem with this. But what I do have is a slight niggling problem with how commercial & ‘on the surface’ Valentine’s days is, especially for a little boy who can’t get his head around the concept of love in the first place. 4yrs on and he isn’t convinced I love him. Ask him outright and he will say ‘I don’t know’ (not that I have asked him, I just tell him that I do!). Ask him what love is, how does he feel love and he will reply, ‘look at my Lego’ (or something else abstract and irrelevant). So, does giving a card &buying cheap tat from a shop to declare ‘love’ give him confused messages.

I think it probably does.

On the flip side of the coin it does give me more openings to talk about love over the next 24hrs and to assure him that it is significantly deeper than the displays in Tesco.

Meanwhile, he will be happy to get a card from the girl in school, and who wouldn’t be pleased to receive one of these? (the lollipop is for him – even I got taken in by the commerical tat!)

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One Year On #WASO

This week’s theme for #WASO is ‘one year on’.

I have just read back over the post I wrote around about a year ago to see how things have changed. You can read that post here .

So, what has changed, 1 year on?

Well, although he is still negative, we don’t have the continuous moaning about ‘things’. He moans about life, but we don’t get so much of the ‘my socks are too sratchy, my bed is too high’, blah blah blah. So, still negative, but in a different way, and now I look back it is nowhere near as bad as it was. (not this week anyway!)

He still comes home for lunch twice a week and this will remain for sometime. The odd times due to work that he can’t come home for lunch definitely makes the week worse.

Generally though life is pretty much the same – the posts that I have just read for last February are as varied as for the last 6 weeks. Some good, some bad.

Since last February though lots of things have happened.

Boyo has lost 4 teeth – and got 4 new big ones to be very proud of. He has learnt to read. He has learnt to write stories. He can swim on his front & back, front crawl, breast stroke and loves to dive. (all with the finesse of an over eager 6yr old). He 75% of the time comes out of his bed in the morning to see me. Still robotic, but he does it. He has started Beavers and loves it. He has learnt to ice skate (slowly). He is a Year 1 boy and can tie his own tie. He has started to talk about adoption, small & infrequent chats but the doors are opening. He has started Theraplay.

So, quite alot has happened in the past year.

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