"My mummy's forgotten me" wept a distraught child 4 on Friday lunchtime when some mums arrived at the nursery to collect their children. "I've lost my child 2" he weeps at bedtime on Sunday evening because child 2 has gone out for his confirmation class. "I'm scared" he whispers as he crawls into my lap, trying to get inside of me. My heart of course cracks a little and my eyes fill with tears, I will never forget my baby anymore than we could lose child 2. What are the thoughts that fill my baby boys head, if I knew I could whisper them away with words of love and comfort but. I don't so I hope for the best and tell him I love him! I'd never forget him, I will keep him safe and he is here forever.
Sometimes he is so full of rage, it takes my breath away. When he is tired, hot and grumpy he just can't cope with the word no. He obviously needs to be curtailed occasionally, after all to always give in and say yes will be of no benefit to him. He really can't eat all 6 ice lollies in the box, in the freezer for breakfast or the whole pack of Jaffa cakes. We have to pick child 3 up from school so feeding the chickens at 3.05pm is out of the question and as he has no road sense at all he has to hold my hand, wear his reins or be in the buggy when we are crossing the road. All these events can cause a tantrum of "defcon 5 "proportions. Before you say it, yes all toddlers suffer the "terrible twos or threes" and having already survived three lots I am so very aware however this IS different. Our child 4 has had to deal with so much loss in his short lifetime. He was taken away from his birth mum at 8 weeks old, a social worker would have removed him, no doubt in environment full of sorrow, perhaps crying, shouting and screaming bundled him into a car and handed him over to a foster carer who had a couple of children of her own. Did he realise that this was to be his home for 18 months, of course not, no one could explain the situation to him. Then every time the foster family went on holiday he would have been handed to a respite foster carer for a week, a fortnight, a long weekend. What would his thoughts have been "where's my "mummy" ?" "Is she coming back?" "Have I been forgotten?" Then life in the foster family became untenable and he was moved to an emergency foster placement! All this in two short years, the only two years he has known.
The only experience my child 4 has had of family life, is one involving being moved, don't misunderstand me the foster carers who have touched his life have loved him and taken care of him but they have all handed him to someone else. Why would he believe that I can offer him anymore. All he has ever known is "being forgotten" "being lost" or "being scared"
I know it's hard to read, when we really try to understand how life has been for this toddler it hurts the heart doesn't it. We live this every day, it's not rubbed in our faces daily but those comments are a cry for reassurance, those rages are not about saying NO they are about, I don't understand and I'm scared. It is only experience that will teach child 4 that he is now one of us, we have to provide him with constant experiences of love, safety, security and fun. We must share the terrors and the fears just as much as the good things. Something I heard a lot on my last course was
"If it's shareable it's bearable"