Plodding on

Just read through my last few posts – what a bleak picture…! Although it does reflect fairly accurately where things are at.

It’s carried on being tough the last few weeks – the defiance increases, seems to be contagious, has pushed me almost over the edge – but I think much of that is my attitude. am feeling down in the dumps about all this, don’t have a ‘connection’ with the kids, it’s all me me me. And this should not be about me. So let’s focus on some of the positive things that can be talked about…

1) Noticing change

If I think back to those first few weeks, the Least Small Person would rarely give hugs. Now, he happily climbs on my husband’s knee at storytime and frequently comes up to give you a hug (sometimes at the most awkward of times, but again, this is not about me). Middle Small Person’s hair has become thicker and has more life. Smallest Person can now read confidently (if a little reluctantly) and recognise split digraphs and work them out.

2) Achievements

Least Small Person passed Stage One of swimming after 4 weeks of lessons. Middle Small Person now isn’t far off. Least Small Person got Star of the Week. He also is on track to pass a pretty tricky national phonics test in a couple of months time – not somewhere he would have been a couple of months ago.

3) Friendships

The older two in particular have blossomed in their friendships at school. They’re also learning how to interact appropriately with other children their own age (rather than, you know, poking them and pretending to be a cat…).

4) Little Moments

We find ourselves laughing affectionately at the little things that they do, like Smallest Person’s tiptoe-jump-walk, or Middle Small Person cycling with a huge grin on her face through a puddle, or when Least Small Person made it up the climbing wall at the park. These sometimes feel few and far between, but I’m sure I’d see more of them if I only looked.

There is much to be thankful for.  They are doing so well, and with a few turbulent weeks likely to be ahead, it’s good to reflect on how far they’ve come.

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Pass the Tissues

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Oh dear, it just seems to go from bad to worse doesn’t it?! Argh, need to get some positive stuff on here or I’ll look back and remember only the misery and despair… 😉

Seriously though, feeling the weight of what we’re doing at the moment. Just when it feels like you’re getting your head round the practical, daily care of 3 small (but growing!) people, you remember that there’s a whole lot more that you need to be doing.

It began with a meeting with the Inclusion teacher at school, talking about doing some ‘Bonding Through Play’ sessions with the kids. Basically little games and activities that focus on nurture, structure, engagement and challenge (and maybe a few others…). And it is SO GOOD. I can completely understand the importance of it and the reasons to do it. So I left thinking to myself, “Ok, could be tricky to squeeze it in with the activities that they already do and homework, not to mention the 45 minute drive home from school, but we’ll make it happen.” Fab.

Fast forward a few hours and I find myself sitting in a meeting with a class teacher, discussing Smallest Person’s progress at school. He’s doing SO WELL and it settled, doing great, making progress, lots of positivity. She gives me a few things that we could also be doing to boost his maths and writing. “This is good”, I think. “He could get age expected!” Still ok.

Then comes today. Been having a couple of rough mornings with reaallly not being patient as we encourage Smallest Person and Middle Small Person to eat half a satsuma each. No mean feat. Normally I can come back home, have a good nap/rest which rejuvenates me (a little) for the afternoon. Today though, there was some training. Which was SO GOOD. I mean it was inspiring, practical, useful, enlightening…I circled nearly all the positive words on the feedback sheet…! Life Story Work – so so important for them, whatever happens, so that they can make sense of this period in their life and how that affects them.

And yet I left feeling burdened. “Ok…another thing to fit in. When on earth are we going to fit this in? We can’t just do it with them all together, how can we actually do this?!?!” Remembering this side of fostering has hit hard these last few days. All this ‘extra stuff’ that your average parent doesn’t have to think about, or bother with.

I check my messages just before I leave. Our respite afternoon on Saturday isn’t going to happen. Holding back the tears…

School pick up: I realise that there was a parent/grown up thing in class. Which I hadn’t known about (because I didn’t read the whole newsletter), and wouldn’t have been able to go to anyway. So I wasn’t there. My heart sank and I could have cried. How could I have let them down like this?

Least Small Person arrives (early, whilst I am in the midst of feeling anguish) and DOES NOT STOP TALKING. I mean, seriously. He just talked and talked and talked and talked, without stopping, even for breath. Middle Small Person arrives, clearly not in the mood to listen, but quietly proud of something that I can’t hear about because Least Small Person IS STILL TALKING.

Smallest Person arrives and we leave. Not before Middle Small Person has a bout of ‘I will not look at you or listen to you’. And then nearly stops in the middle of the road (when a car is on it’s way towards us) to wave to a friend. Oh man.

I put some music on on the way home, but Least Small Person continues to talk, talk, talk. Beginning to wonder if this is more than just being a confident, chatty child. Most people around us seem so convinced that he’s functioning normally and well, though. I must be wrong…

We arrive, a bit of a rush to get to football. Middle Small Person refuses to leave the car. Brill. On the way to football, when Least Small Person has my full attention…he no longer wants to talk the whole time. ?!?!?!?!. Same story on the way home.

Tea, showers, not too much drama. Smallest Person goes to bed before storytime – not listening to the grown ups means you obviously don’t want to listen to a story, right? :\ So begins the ‘I am naughty, I am not good’ rhetoric which we have been trying to counter in recent weeks. My brain hurts.

Downstairs and it is time to cry. And try to come up with some sort of action plan. And then cry some more. THIS IS HARD.

Not Today

Some days, I just don’t want to. I don’t want to do the 30 mile round trip to school. I don’t want to get a healthy, balanced meal prepared. I don’t want to do the washing, or clean the bathroom, or tidy the lounge. I don’t want to print off the colouring pictures, or do the crafts, or play the games. I find myself thinking, “Not today”.

I’m tired of looking after someone else’s kids. Tired of doing their washing, feeding them, dealing with the defiance and the moaning, making them read their book and do their homework. Fed up of the constant need to tell me things over and over again (I must have heard about 5 times about the sunburn, or the tooth fairy who “brought me £1.50 when I was at home”, or the football tournament), fed up of holding onto my temper (and losing it a couple of times), of questioning my every decision and wondering if it was the right way to respond to a certain behaviour. I need to get the potatoes in the oven so that we can eat on time, I need to buy frozen peas, I need to call the social workers, I need to talk to the inclusion teacher at school, all in the next 25 minutes before I leave for the 45 minute drive to school.

But today, I just want to crawl back into bed, or watch a film, or do anything that is not related to these kids.

There’s no succinct conclusion to this post, but this is where I’m at and how it feels right now. Pretty rubbish. 😦