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.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

A tough week

On Tuesday I was called into school as child 4 had been struggling for the past couple of days. On Tuesday alone he had hurt 10 children before morning break at 10.40am. By lunchtime the teacher had given up on the early years foundation scheme of free flow play and learn for the class and had structured the afternoon into small groups of children being directed to specific activities for 15 minutes before being moved to the next activity all to minutely manage child 4.
Child 4 had been invited to a birthday party the next afternoon, he was tired, scared and struggling with his emotions, maybe a party wasn't the best idea but still he wanted to go so I went with him. I over heard one little girl say to her friend "oh that's just child 4, he is always in trouble at school and a parent said as he was in full tantrum "oh dear Ben rioting again" Normally these comments roll off me but that day they didn't. All my fears were accumulating. Child 4 being known as the naughty child by his peers, parents seeing him as a trouble maker, teachers struggling to manage him. We had been doing so well.
We have shut ourselves away for the rest of the week, quietly talking about being kind and gentle. Ensuring that when he is angry or struggling with his emotions he knows who to speak to and where his safe space is. I spoke to the ELSA support in school who does Theraplay with child 4 about our weekend so that she could help him. His class teacher has changed their day around so that the structured stuff is in the afternoon when he is more tired so susceptible to behaving erratically.
Our mornings and evenings have been packed with tantrums, demands and loud voices have echoed through the house. Meltdowns because I won't allow meals of sweets, chocolates or biscuits, followed by desperate clingy cuddles with him almost climbing inside me. The nights have been disturbed with him ending up in our bed or me cuddled up with him in his.
All this I think was brought on by a complete meltdown by child 2 on Sunday. He had, had parents evening regarding his upcoming GCSE's think he is just realising that he actually has to do some work and it was his birthday, as he has struggled with friendships at school I think he was worried that no one would mention his birthday and 16 years old is a big step for a teenager. This led to a meltdown of epic proportions where he wanted everyone in the house to feel as bad as he did and didn't care what he did to ensure that happened. Of course my attention was all in child 2's direction, so I completely missed the effect that this event had on the other children, particularily child 4. Now, I am left repairing the damage. Finding appropriate consequences for child 2 and working out how I am going to speak to him about the effects of his behaviour on his siblings, helping him be responsible for his actions without starting another battle. He has lost all electronics for the week and has to clean the bathrooms as he swore, a lot. However, he has actually been revising so that's a positive.

This weekend I am spending time with the children, we are going to make bath bombs, filled with lavendar oil, bake some cookies and walk the dog.  Child 3 has a gym competition so she will need TLC and support as she gets very nervous before, although her last two practice sessions have been amazing.

A time for gentle and quiet structure I think is required.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

A road less travelled

Moving into a New Year doesn't hold the excitement it did when I was young. Gone are the days where a New Year brought exciting decisions, major events, resolutions. Now it is just one day morphing into another. I no longer make resolutions as I know I am unlikely to keep them. I watch the fireworks because the children want to and I enjoy the time with them. This time I wondered about where I intend to end up, eventually, after all life is a journey but it's a journey with no definitive destination. We move from one stop to the next. Teenage years to adult hood, individuals to partnerships, new jobs, careers, new homes, cities and countries, then in our case children.

I was lucky enough to be born into an ordinary family, parents that loved me and supported me. They started me on my life journey, in the beginning they drove, choosing the direction that my life was going to take. Then gradually they encouraged or allowed me to branch out on my own. I began to make my own decisions taking the fork in the road that appealed to me, knowing that they were there to share the driving seat if everything went wrong.
Now I am in the driving seat, a seat I share with Mr L. We have chosen a road much less travelled, this of course means that the road is not so easy or efficient. The road often twists and turns and we can't see more than a few metres in front, we hit pot holes, sometimes the road crumbles beneath the wheels, we make wrong turns and have to decide whether to turn back or keep on going. Sometimes we get hopelessly lost and have to call for help. But then we see a light, the road smooths out, we've climbed a mountain, traversed a cliff side, found our way out of the dark trees, reached the bottom of a death defying hill. We can stop, stretch our legs and enjoy the view. We can picnic in a beautiful valley, lazing in the warm sun. We can stroll around a meadow covered with wild flowers. We can be in a place of contentment. But time doesn't wait for anyone, minutes pass drifting into hours and we once again start our journey. Where we are aiming for I often don't know, life is funny like that we start our lives being totally dependant on our parents, what is our end destination? heaven? We move on from one stop to the next, one Dream realised after another. Everyone's dreams are different and a certainty will be that not all our dreams come true.
What is my next pit stop to be. Seeing child 1 and 2 through their exams, definitely a long hard climb. Helping child 3 achieve her NDP in gymnastics, tip toeing through the grass avoiding the egg shells. Supporting child 4 through his first year in school, which means returning now and then to the busy, well travelled roads praying that we can get to our next stop without any prangs or traffic jams caused by others that intentionally or inadvertently get in our way. The journey we have chosen certainly isn't boring but the hiccups along the way are eclipsed by the moments of joy we are often surprised with.