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, 12 June 2016

Second Interview

So, on Tuesday I had child 4's entrance into school planning meeting. This meeting has been hanging over me the past couple of weeks. I've been really worried that the staff would think that I was some kind of loonie tune mother and that I would do more harm than good for my sons start into school.
So I wore smart clothes, had my folder full of information about attachment along with research examples to back my request and held my head high when I walked in.

The meeting was with child 4's teacher to be, the SenCo and two members of staff from his preschool, his key worker and the assistant manager.
Well, what a fantastic meeting. Everyone was so very supportive, the school have already put in place plans to help child 4 settle in. They are creating a sensory corner in the foundation stage classroom and in a small fenced off part of the playground for during play time and lunch times. Perfect for when child 4 is struggling with his emotions. They are going to ensure that he has a constant staff member to link with and build an attachment too.
His pre-school key worker is going to take child 4 around the school over the next couple of weeks to create a book of where his classroom is, where he will eat his lunch, where the toilets are and so on. All the children who will be moving to school in September will have the opportunity to have lunch in the school hall as a practice before they start. This will be huge as currently there are 16 children who have lunch together, in school it will be 75 children.  The plan is for them to have their own table, near the door for a quick escape if it's too noisy and too chaotic.
Everyone listened to my concerns and the pre schools advice in what behaviours to look out for and how best to manage them. No thinking chairs or reward charts. Distraction, frequent praise, instant and appropriate natural consequences if anything goes wrong with a heavy dose of oxytocin releasing   support. A real understanding that consequences can be given, whilst in the arms of the nearest care giver.
Obviously most of my concerns and therefore discussion was around misbehaviour, anger and the negative stuff, the pre school talked about so much positive stuff it made me feel proud of my little man.
With all this support and obvious love for him, he will have the best start in school I think I could have dreamed of.

I no longer worry or wake in the night worrying about how the school will manage his "red" moments, or that they will undo the good work we have been doing. The school will help him avoid those "red" moments and when they do happen they will help him calm down, help him make amends and help him learn to manage himself in the future. What more can I ask?

Now I can relax and we can just enjoy our last few weeks of this special time before our lives change and we turn the page on a new exciting chapter in our story.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Walking in my shoes

There has been a lot about parenting in the news this week, the 4 year old boy who managed to get into the gorilla enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo and the young 7 year old whose parents left him in woods in Hokkaido Japan. It seems that much of society jump on the judge the parents social media debate.
We only know what the press deem important to share, we, the general public don't know all the facts that led to these two children ending up in a dangerous situations.
Last summer I lost child 4 in a zoo,  I found him happily playing on a climbing frame not far from where I was buying him and his siblings ice creams, he of course, completely oblivious to the gut searing panic that had smashed through me as I hunted for him amongst what felt like thousands of people, I was just buying ice creams, he was with me and then he wasn't.And I am sure that many of us have walked on when our children are tantruming, because they are too tired to walk or their legs don't work anymore. I often sit at the gate at the top of the field on the way home from school waiting for child 4 to give up waiting for me to walk back to him and piggy back him all the way home. It can take a very very long time, but heyho at least the sun is shining at the moment and I can catch up on Twitter and Facebook news whilst I wait.
I know that my examples are not quite what happened in the publicised cases but I can appreciate how easily a parent can take their eye off a young child or have those buttons pushed over and over again that you make a poor parenting choice. We are after all human and with that comes a number of frailties and unfortunately none of us can predict what our children will do day after day, talk about in the next few minutes.

It is this judgment of my parenting, that I have had ticking away at the back of my mind this week. Just before the holidays child 4 was involved in an incident, where a child was very rude to an adult. There were a small group of boys running around, letting off steam after pre-school, child 4 was one of them. One of child 4's little friends came running over to me, to tell me that my young son had been very rude to a mum on the playground and I should tell him off. I went off to find the mum involved to investigate exactly what had happened, to be told that it wasn't child 4 at all! After determining what had happened I headed off to collect him, when this same little boy came up to check that I was going to tell him off. When I explained that lying about some one was unkind and as he was my sons friend I thought it was sad that he wanted to get him in to trouble, he responded with he didn't care and laughed!!

I have always been scared that child 4 is going to be "that child" the one who is always in trouble, the one who is alienated by other parents and children, the one that doesn't get invited to birthday parties or after school teas. As a family we have worked so hard at ensuring that his behaviour doesn't spill out of control when we are out and about. But by doing this, by keeping him close, by pro-actively managing his anger, in a way we have created a mindset in some that he is a problem. He is being alienated because within this little "gang" the other boys are allowed to play in the forest school area unsupervised, it's too dangerous for child 4, there are big sticks, stones and rope all possible weapons if another child presses his buttons and all of this is out of sight of the playground and other adults. People are aware of him because we will remove him from the scene of an altercation that is building, regardless of whether he is actually involved, because he is likely to involve himself. Or we will call to him, to remind him that we are nearby making sure that he is ok.
I cannot change our parenting techniques as that will make things worse, if we are not watchful all manner of things can happen, I have removed big sticks being wielded as an axe or a sword, a threatening tennis racquet being raised to batter someone with, if I had not the child on the receiving end could have been really hurt, it doesn't matter that they were being mean or snatched a toy or pushed child 4 first.
I am sure that some people enjoy causing upset and anguish to others because they are unhappy with their lives or they are jealous of what someone else has, so I guess we need to surround ourselves with people who understand, who help, not who sit idly by judging others for what they do. This is obviously going to be a little tougher than we realised but with the right people with us, we will be ok. I hope that the families in the news this week are surrounded by people who love them and can help support them so that the right outcomes for them all are reached.