If I could give you one gift it would be to see yourself through my eyes and then you would see how special you really are.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

"Tiger mum"

One of my biggest fears has been that I would turn into that parent, yeah you know the one.
The helicopter parent that doesn't allow her child the freedom to have a go at anything, for fear of them getting hurt
the authoritarian parent setting strict behaviour rules with no warmth or thought for how their child thinks and the permissive parent allowing her child to get away with misbehaviour.
I am feeling that the perception of me by others is the worst parts of all three.

In the last two weeks I have had a parent in the playground inform me that my child has just punched and bitten her child, I was watching the altercation between the boys, my son being the much smaller and younger one,  although I am very aware that he is a scrapper, more than capable of giving what he gets when he is pushed, and I know that there was definitely a bit of pushing and shoving but definitely no biting. When I highlighted this the other mothers response was "well, if I was his mother I would want to know"  I wanted to respond with yeah, well you're not, but seriously what is the point child 4 is already getting the reputation in the playground as "that" child by a small group of righteous parents.

When I needed to get him seen at the doctors surgery' following a referral from the 111service, as we couldn't get his temperature down below 39* (keep in mind the febrile convulsion he suffered only 8weeks ago) I was made to feel like I would be wasting the doctors time and that I was just being neurotic and then when we arrived to see the on-call doctor, we were left waiting for 40 mins in the waiting room, until child 4 started fitting on the waiting room floor. The on-call doctor didn't have a clue what to do and I have never been so glad to see a paramedic again in my life.
I know that some of child 4's peers parents think I worry too much, that I keep him too close, that I don't allow him to play unsupervised and out of my eye sight. But I am the one that has to calm him down when things don't go right, when someone is mean in the forest school area, my child doesn't just shove back he uses the huge stick in his hand for maximum retaliation. He has absolutely no fear, so although I let him climb the tree, I need to be sure he won't climb too high, get stuck and panic or just show off and fall. 
Yes I know that all boys do the things he does, but with him, emotionally everything is magnified or just ignored. If he falls over, he does not always cry or ask for help, perhaps he is being brave or perhaps he still believes that he has to deal with pain by himself. Some of his peers have already realised that they can wind him up like a little toy, pushing his buttons until he can't cope and he goes off on one like a whirling dervish, be it being really silly or really angry. The staff at the nursery have picked up on this and proactively watch for this happening, removing the instigators rather than child 4.

Fortunately, I have a couple of really, really good friends, the ones that push a bit when you need sorting out and following this latest hospital trip I needed a fair bit of sorting out. For us this is just the beginning, I have to get out the big guns, strap on the armour around my heart and mind, I need to ignore other parents, I have to learn to speak in a language the professionals understand, whether they be doctors, nurses or teachers. We are responsible for child 4 and we have to be in his corner fighting for him - metaphorically at least. So I have learnt words such as hypothalamus and pulse oximeter, I have dusted off the interview stuff that Sally Donavan helped with care of her book The Unofficial Guide to Adoption and I am preparing myself to be a different type of parent that I have always been.
Keeping in mind that I am being the type of parent that my children need me to be, a parent that walks with them on their journey, holding their hands when the road gets tough, allowing them to make mistakes, to take responsibility and preparing them for when it's is time to fly solo.  Well no one else is going to do it are they?

Saturday, 26 March 2016

An overnight bag

I am not a control freak, honest. But I do like to be some what in control.  So when child 4 has a febrile convulsion everything is completely out of my hands and I am powerless to do anything. In traumatic or difficult situations I find that if I have something practical to do I cope so much better.

We were back in an ambulance again this week, this time from the doctors surgery so I didn't have time to grab pjs, a nappy or a drink for child 4 or anything for myself. A hospital sleepover without a toothbrush yuck. 

The hospital staff were once again amazing but the children's ward just aren't set up for a lone parent on an overnighter. They only have enough food for the patient, but you can't leave young patients alone to pop to the cafe, hot drinks aren't allowed on the ward and children aren't allowed in the parents room where the tea and coffee is available. Nightmare. We arrived at the hospital about 7pm, no dinner and I finally got a drink in one of those white plastic disposable cups at 12.30am, I was lucky enough to get some toast at breakfast but nothing else until I got home about 4pm. Wow that cup of tea was heaven.

This time we were referred to a consultant about child 4's febrile convulsions, he was a lovely chap, putting both myself and baby boy at ease as he talked through what we needed to do. He explained that febrile convulsions are caused by the brain realising that the body is under attack from a virus or bacterial infection, the brain tells the body to get hot to burn off the infection but in child 4's case the part of the brain that deals with temperature control, the hypothalamus hasn't matured yet, so the body gets hotter and hotter, the brain can't cope and goes into melt down, which causes the fit. It is believed that the hypothalamus will mature by the time a child is 7 years old - 3 years to go. 

Unfortunately, there is very little we can do to prevent a fit, if child 4 has a temperature we must remove his clothing, give calpol or nurofen, feed him cold fluids or ice lollies and try a fan, however if he is going to have a fit, he will regardless of what we do. 
In child 4's case it isn't the fit that is an issue, 1 in 20 young children suffer febrile convulsions, it's the length of time that they continue for, 30 minutes on Tuesday. So, I have been given a bottle of midazolam so that I can help reduce the length of time the fit takes. We still have to let child 4 fit for 5 minutes before administering the medication but hopefully the midazolam will calm him down quickly once given. There will still be ambulance journeys and probably over night stays in hospital but at least we can do something rather than watch and wait.

On my mums advice, mums are great aren't they? I've made up an overnight bag full of cartons of juice, snacks, chocolate, pjs, nappies, wipes and a toothbrush so we are ready to roll next time. (I was tempted to pop in a can of gun and tonic but felt that might be frowned upon.) My job next week, is to speak to the hospital to see if I can donate a couple of screw top travel mugs so that us parents/guardians can have a much needed cuppa. 

Sunday, 13 March 2016

A Worry Tree

Child 3 struggles with emotions, especially anxiety and apprehension. She will meltdown when she doesn't understand her maths homework, she tantrums if she thinks that she is in trouble and when it's time for gymnastic competition well diva is an under statement. 
I have been managing these "moments" as I always have done, ignoring what I feel is irrelevant, talking thorough what I feel is relevant, allowing time to calm or cuddling and whispering. However, it very, very slowly, dawned on me that child 3 still wasn't managing her emotions so my usual wasn't enough. I had to find another way so after searching through anything that could help I found an interesting article about "The Worry Tree" 

It is a very simple idea:
  1. Get your child to draw a  tree and some leaves to attach to the tree. 
  2. Talk to your child about what is worrying them, and if they are old enough get them to write down their fears on one of the leaves. I asked child 3 to write down her worries, so the list began; what if mummy got ill and died, what would happen if mummy and daddy divorced, what would happen if her friends all hated her, World War III, gymnastic competitions or child 4's birth family finding him. 
  3. First ask if we can actually do anything about the worry. EG World War III, we cannot control that but we talked about the sad things happening around the world and talked about how we vote in our government here in England and that we need to trust that they will look after us, if we disagree with the government we can contact our MP, sign petitions and take part in demonstrations to share our concerns.  Mummy becoming ill, well at the moment I am as healthy as a horse but I can't promise that forever, worrying won't change that but I could promise that if I became ill, I would fight it and I would tell her everything she needed to know, if the worst happened and I did die, her daddy would still be here to look after her as would her Nanna and Grandad and child 1 and 2.  We could help with worries about gymnastic competitions. We talked about what exactly the worry was and then we talked about how we could deal with that. We talked about learning her routines, practising them. We talked about the worst case scenario, if she forgot her routine, if she fell on her face or everyone laughed at her. Then we talked about how to deal with each of those situations. 
Once we had dealt with each one, the leaves could fall to the ground.

I wasn't sure if child 3 had taken the idea on board, she became agitated as we worked through her list and eventually stomped off refusing to talk anymore. Interestingly though child 1 and 2 wanted to share their worries and they found the whole process fascinating and very helpful. In fact it gave me a real insight to their thoughts about today and their futures, opening lots of discussions about many subjects. It also gave me lots of food for thought as to how I could best support them, though that's probably for another blog.

Today, though to my delight, child 3 took part in an area schools tumbling competition, she was nervous but still completed her three routines. At the last meet she was extremely anxious, clingy and weepy. So there was a huge improvement and despite being a little disappointed in her placing (I was really proud of her) she had a great time and is healthily nervous about the next compete - next week!!! Was this due to our worry tree? I don't know but it was definitely worth an afternoons experiment as I think my three older children benefitted from that time to talk and share.