Well today is the 1 year blogoversary of The Boy's Behaviour. I can hardly believe it's been a year since I stepped into the blogosphere (without a clue of what I was doing!) and started writing it all down.
In the last year we've had ups and downs, been shaken around a little bit, and we're still hanging on. Some days it feels like it's just the thinnest string of cotton that's holding us on, but it's as strong as silk and we won't be letting go.
A year ago today I wrote:
'Life with Mini is hard-going - he displays typical 5 year old behaviour.
He says no (quite a lot), he ignores us, he winds up his little sister.
He also does things that I think are not typical - he screams....a lot,
he tantrums, he gets so worked up about small things but can't calm
himself down, he is very defiant, he wets himself (despite being
successfully potty-trained when he was 2 and a half), he is perfect at
school but a switch gets flicked when he gets home - very Jekyll/Hyde
style, he doesn't have any vague understanding of consequences, cannot
follow basic instruction, he doesn't learn from his mistakes, likes to
control conversations, he copies his little sister's bad behaviour even
after seeing her told off, he can't stand silence and has to make noise,
he counts everything....and I mean everything, he is frequently unable
to make choices - even simple ones like whether to have cheese or jam in
his sandwich and he's never been able to occupy himself - he's needed
me or the NC to play with him, and if we've been doing something else
i.e the dusting, he'd rather join in then play on his own.'
Now Mini is 6, and he's still displaying many of these behaviours, and new ones too. But, he doesn't have to make noise all the time anymore, the screaming is much improved, he has stopped counting everything, and sometimes he manages to successfully make a choice, and on some of the occasions when he can't he lets me make the choice for him without having a tantrum.
Some of Mini's behaviour is utterly vile and dangerous, it still drives me mad, and at times I have no idea how to handle what's going on. But, we have a better understanding of where it's coming from, and why. This behaviour is not naughtiness, it's an expression of the mess and anxiety that's in his head. We've learnt that sometimes it doesn't matter what we do, and how we handle him (although obviously some approaches are definite no-no's) because it's inside Mini's head where the difficulties begin. Mini is now having professional help to get inside his head and help him understand what's in there, and we're getting help to support him in it. It's scary for him (it's not the easiest ride for us either), but help is what he needs. Healing has begun.
After years of 'professionals' telling us that he was so young when he moved into foster care, and then to us that he shouldn't remember anything, shouldn't have been affected by his past, we've finally remembered our preparation, our training and our research, and we're strong enough to say 'hold on, actually....' and fight Mini's corner. And it helps that we're surrounding ourselves with different professionals - who know what they're talking about, who can get help, who can support us all.
So there we are, a year in. We don't feel massively further forward, but we're definitely on the right track now. We have no idea how long this journey is going to be, or really where we're headed. We've only got one-way tickets though, so we're certain we won't be going back to the state that we were in just a year ago...
And it's time for a change, so keep an eye out for some subtle and possibly not so subtle changes around here...