Thursday, 21 November 2013

An update - school, therapy and counselling

I haven't written much recently. I'll be honest, we've just been really busy as a family and nothing much exciting has happened to tell you about!

We're still waiting to move Mini's school. We held on a bit because we didn't want to move schools without the support of our social worker - that was important to us. Our social worker wanted to speak to school before he'd support us. Well, you can guess what happened - school agreed to all sorts with the social worker, a week later it had all been forgotten. Our social worker even chased up, I mean, was curious with school about how things were going and was told 'we MIGHT do those things we agreed to do, but ONLY IF we have time'. So it's all still as stressful and we've now resorted to not sending Mini in on the days where we can see he's struggling.

I'm not entirely comfortable with not sending him to school. I don't want him to be difficult at home just to get a day off, and as manipulation and control is important to him I can see it happening but so far he hasn't tried to do that yet. And I don't really want to antagonise the Headteacher who is working very hard on raising attendance by taking him out of school - BUT...

It feels like the best thing for Mini. If he's needing that time and space with me then so be it. If school aren't going to support him then I feel I have little choice but to keep him close when he needs that.

So after all of that, our application is now in with the local council - has been for a few weeks and we're just waiting now. I've only applied for one other school and I hope they can find space for him.

We've also had a Theraplay review and our therapist seems happy with how far we've come since we last saw him. We spoke to him about moving schools and he was also supportive of the plan. We've even started to mention it to Mini. One of the biggest things that Theraplay helped us with was reinforcing our safe, secure relationship with Mini. The therapist worked hard in sessions to help Mini see that we were looking out for him and taking care of him. So he suggested telling Mini about the new school and reinforcing that it's our job to make sure he's looked after and we don't feel like school is doing that so we're fighting for a school that can. It's not gone down brilliantly so far, but we're taking a softly softly approach...

We're having Attachment Focused Counselling too at the moment - for now just the NC and I, but bringing Mini in later hopefully. It's brought up lots of things which I'll tell you about another time, but suffice to say I think I need some counselling separately and our attachment counsellor agrees and can facilitate it.

So that's us. Sorry for not writing more - and with Christmas approaching I can't guarantee I'll write loads and loads, but if you want to read more about adoption and blogging, then you'll find me over on www.theadoptionsocial.com where I spend much more time...and do drop either myself or Sarah a line at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com if you'd like to contribute to either The Adoption Social or a guest post on The Boy's Behaviour.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Taken to the tower

Do you remember earlier in the year I talked about Mini's enthusiasm for a school project on London? Specifically he was learning about The Great Fire of London, and we'd encouraged that by buying a book about London, and so had Nanny too. He drew some pictures of where he'd like to visit - they're all in this post.

With so much other stuff planned for Summer Holidays, we never got around to London too, so had planned to go in October half term. We gave Mini a choice of where he'd like to visit - The Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral were top of his list.

We're not *too* far from the city and certainly live in what's considered a commuter area, but instead of getting a train down, we drove to an Underground station on the outskirts, paid a bargain £5 for all day parking and got the tube into town. This was a first for Mini and Dollop - and they loved it. Mini took a little while to relax, he seemed really hypervigilant to begin with but that goes with most new experiences. Dollop settled in straight away and was a natural both on the trains, and with the running around stations changing lines!

We headed straight to the Tower of London, which is close to a tube station, several eateries and importantly - a Starbucks. And with our tickets we were able to head straight in (though there were quite long queues for those who didn't have tickets in advance). As we'd gotten there pretty early it was fairly quiet to start with.

Because we wanted to make the most of our day out, we knew we'd only have about 3 hours maximum at the Tower before we'd need to head off for lunch and move onto our next destination, so we started in the bottom of the Wakefield Tower, where we saw some pretty impressive torture equipment - the children didn't think it was quite so impressive though, and didn't really understand the point of it, so we moved rapidly on to look in the Cradle Tower (which was built for Edward III between 1348-55), then some pretty impressive cannons and guns, and then headed up to the White Tower - my favourite of all the buildings at The Tower of London.

The kids were thrilled to see some of the famous ravens, these ones caged, and then we climbed the stairs to start our tour of The White Tower. On the way up to the entrance, we passed a little area where it's said that the remains of two boys were discovered. If you watched, like the NC and I did, the recent series The White Queen - you might take a guess at who those children were...


There was so much to look at inside The White Tower including the Royal Armouries - here are just a few of the photos I took.



As it was half term, there were activities for the children to do too.
Here's Mini making a spinner with Henry VIII on one side and Anne Boleyn on the other. When spun it looks like they're holding hands. Both Mini and Dollop got to make these, and enjoyed colouring in as a break from wandering around.











Whilst they did that, I looked at a display of Tower guidebooks - here's the inside of just one of them:


As we wandered around we reached an area with lots of hands on things for the kids to do. Sadly, being half term and with one small child and one who is nervous in busy places, we couldn't get close enough for the children to try much of it out themselves. Though it looked like lots and lots of fun, and if we can go back at a quieter time, they'll definitely enjoy getting involved.

Then we headed on down and out, and over to the queue for The Crown Jewels. It wasn't too long considering it was half term - it took us about an hour and 15 minutes to queue, get in, through and back out again. But it was worth it. The look on Mini's face was priceless - much like the jewels we were looking at. He particularly enjoyed the crowns, and Dollop (as you would expect) liked the sparkliness of it all! Mini also enjoyed watching the guard parade up and down in front of the jewel house, and attempted (as I'm sure many young boys do) to copy him.


So with not much time left, we walked down by Tower Green and the Queen's House. Mini took this photo of a raven sitting out on the green, and if you look carefully you might be able to see one of the guards at the back? Yep by that lamppost!


Finally on our way out we managed to catch a Yeoman Warder for Mini to have his photograph with...and that was Mini's favourite moment.



So that was our trip to the Tower of London. There was so much more to see, but we didn't have time to do anymore, and to be honest although the NC and I would have enjoyed it, I think at 6 and 3, Mini and Dollop had seen enough and were keen to eat and move on.

All in all, a great morning out and enjoyed by everyone.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Kids crafts - Slipper Socks

Over the Summer holidays I wrote a few posts sharing some of the crafts and activities the kids and I had done together - there were Dirt Cup Puddings, our Rice Maze/Story Maker, Bean Bag target toss and Melted Bead Bowls. These posts went down really well, and we really enjoyed both making them, and photographing them for blog posts.

So since then, we've carried on doing some activities and crafts, and today I'd like to share a favourite of the children - homemade non slip socks. So we all remember those Totes Toasties you used to get right? I'm not sure if they're still available but I recall receiving them as Christmas presents when I was young.
In our house we have no carpet at all - a rug on part of our living/dining room laminate flooring, tiles in the kitchen and bathroom, laminate again in our bedroom, and floorboards in the children's room, landing and stairs. As you can imagine, it's pretty slippery especially when the kids are charging around. Slippers just don't stay on but socks are a different story. These could make lovely gifts too...




Slipper Socks

You will need:
Socks to fit your children
Fabric 3D paint/puffy paint in a variety of colours (available from craft stores/online)

Lay all the socks out in pairs.
Let your children go mad with the 3D paint - making sure they draw/write on the bottom part of the sock.

Allow the socks to dry - at least 24 hours to dry properly. Depending on how much paint your child has heaped on, they might take an additional 24 hours.

Wear around the house and revel in the non-slipperiness. Wash in the machine at 40degrees or less.

Mini and Dollop had 5 pairs of socks each, which in retrospect was too many. Just a couple of pairs each would have been fine. I encouraged Mini and Dollop to both draw their designs out first on paper, but in reality it was difficult for them to copy them onto such a small area, with the fine nozzle of the paint. So perhaps just let your child go freestyle...

Beware: when you lay out brand new socks it's not easy to see and draw just on the sole, because of the way they're pressed and packed you'll see the sides of the sole. This is what we decorated and it worked out just fine.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The easy bit and the hard bit - National Adoption Week 2013



It's National Adoption Week. That means that lots of people across the country work hard at trying to recruit more people to adopt some of the many children that are in care. One of the common themes in trying to do this is myth-busting and over on The Adoption Social, we have a number of guest bloggers this week showing how they've overcome some of the things that could be seen as barriers, and indeed - myth busting!

Promoting National Adoption Week always feels a little bit weird, because although there are many children in care, waiting to be adopted, I'm still not convinced that adequate post adoption support exists to help the many adopters that are needed. So I'm not going to sit here and tell you that you simply *must* adopt, and that it's the most wonderful thing we've ever done. I'll just tell you what's it's been like for us...

Adopting our son was the easy bit.
Yes it was a long process from initial enquiry, through home study, to approval and then matching. But every. single. bit. of that process was absolutely necessary and vital to ensure that we were the right people to become adoptive parents and so that we could be matched with the right child.
It was an interesting and reflective process during which the NC and I learnt lots about ourselves and each other. We never saw it as jumping through hoops, we never saw it as invasive - just necessary for us to proceed on the journey towards our ultimate goal of building a family. And despite it taking a while to get there, the speed really wasn't important to us - it's more of an issue to the children who wait in care longer than they should.

Parenting our son has been the hard bit.
It's challenging, but that means that it's rewarding too.
It's tiring, but that means I enjoy the rest more.
There is violence, which makes the affection so much sweeter.
It's frustrating, but such an achievement when things go well.
There is often shouting, which makes the peace of term time twice as peaceful.
There is much guess work, but it feels like angels are singing, awooga horns are blaring, and fireworks are popping overhead when you guess right!

Ultimately there is a family. I am mum to a sweet, kind, caring, chatty, gangly, excitable, bouncy, vibrant, inquisitive little man. I'm lucky enough to be mum to a kind, loving, cuddly, energetic, all singing, all dancing Dollop too. And despite all the struggles, I wouldn't be without either of them.

National Adoption Week 2013. www.nationaladoptionweek.org.uk
I'm linking this post up to the #WASO special for National Adoption Week.

Britmums Carnival - After Dark

Remember, remember the 5th of November....isn't that how it starts?

For those involved in adoption the 5th of November means more than just Guy Fawkes and fireworks - it also falls in National Adoption Week, and for us it's just a couple of days before Mini's Adoption Day, the day on which we remember going to court and having a judge rule that we were officially Mini's parents, and officially a family. I don't want to go on too much about National Adoption Week, but if you want to read more then check out my other site www.theadoptionsocial.com where you'll see all sorts of posts supporting this initiative.

But onto the main event...or so I'd hoped. I had thought this Britmums Carnival could celebrate the Guy Fawkes and Fireworks theme of After Dark, especially now the clocks have gone back, the evenings (and the dark) are drawing in, and many of us spent some time out after dark last week with our little ones trick or treating and dressing up for Halloween.

Given the theme, I was hoping for a deluge of posts of your little cuties dressed up, over-sharing of pumpkin carving cleverness, a few cracking squash recipes and maybe even some beautiful firework photos.

But similar to Crewcutandnewt.com's carnival a couple of weeks ago, despite my tweeting, blogging, retweeting and facebooking, it seems few of you are up for a jolly carnival time right now...perhaps too many of you got blown away by the storm last week? Maybe you're all just hunkering down inside away from the cold weather - incidentally have many of you had frost yet? We've woken up to a white shed roof on a few occasions now.



So, this carnival is sadly not very celebratory, or vibrant, or any of the things you'd expect from a carnival. But, we do have a couple of participants to whom I'm grateful for keeping me company (and stopping me eating all the toffee apples and spiced pumpkin soup over there in the corner) -  go and read Tiger Tales who shares what happens after dark in her house...and Yummy Mummy Survival tells us all about her six year old teenager!
And do feel free to help yourself to a toffee apple too, or some soup...it's very nice.


Monday, 4 November 2013

REVIEW: Scooby-Doo! Adventures, The Mystery Map

I don't know about your children but mine are both huge Scooby-Doo! fans. This pleases me because I grew up with Shaggy, Scooby and the gang too, and have fond memories watching and waiting to see who the villain really was.

My kids have watched all sorts of Scooby programmes and films - some with real life actors, mostly as cartoons, so when I was sent this new DVD to review I was interested to see what they'd think, because Scooby-Doo! Adventures, The Mystery Map is a puppet movie.



In this DVD Scooby and the gang have to find pirate Gnarlybeard's hidden treasure, but encounter - as expected - some chilling obstacles during their pizza-fuelled dash!

Mini and Dollop really enjoyed it. 3 year old Dollop was a little confused to start with, and couldn't work out if they were real people, eventually coming to the conclusion that they were talking cuddly toys. Mini took it all in his stride, and enjoyed the story. The first time he watched it, it sort of semi-concluded half way through, and Mini got a bit disappointed thinking it had finished, but he was thrilled when it continued. He's since watched it another couple of times, and has been engrossed each and every time.

From my point of view I found the puppets a little creepy, but then I've never been a big fan (except for The Fraggles!) but the story doesn't disappoint, it's just as I remember - a typical whodunit, full of phantoms, ghosts and monsters, with that line about 'meddling kids', except in this story, the villain is a meddling kid too!

The DVD is available h, and if you've got Scooby-Doo! fans in your house, then I'd suggest buying a copy, settling down with some Scooby snacks and enjoying!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this DVD for free in return for an honest review.