Sibs day

Day 11
I missed the fact that it was international siblings day (or whatever it’s called) yesterday. I’ve got 4 of ’em plus the outlaws and they’ve always played an important role in my life.
L has had quite a lot of siblings. Foster siblings, but siblings in every sense of the word. They have all grown up loving and adoring their older brother. Do they care if he’s noisy? Nope. Do they care if he pushes them out of his personal space? Nope. Do they care if he has autism? Not in the least.
So this one is for all the beautiful kids who have been siblings to L. I love your willingness, your ability to see his beautiful, playful soul, your persistence in getting his attention. Most of all I love the love you share.

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Baby B

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks in my world. Changes.
It is impossible to even know where to start on exactly what has been happening. There is so much I simply cannot write about and that has been a stumbling block. That and being a wee bit tired.
So…what can I say?
I am no longer just a foster carer. I am also a kinship carer. For those who aren’t familiar with the terminology, this means I am now caring for a member of my family. The very newest member.
Baby B has come to stay for a bit. Not sure how long.
So I’m back on the 3 hourly bottle feeds, the pre-dawn tete a tete’s with this beautiful little girl.
The boys have all been very interested in her. J gives her kisses at every opportunity. N (when he is here) reports on her every move, delighting in her tinyness. L has a sweet little smile for her – when she is not in his way, intruding on his space or making noise.
He, on the other hand is making SO MUCH noise!
That’s it for now.

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2 years

A letter for your 2nd birthday

Dear N,

It was your birthday on the weekend. Another big milestone for you little man. You have been living with me for 18 months now – how lucky am I? At 2 you are a real little character: totally loveable, incredibly good looking, extremely intelligent, super musical and with a sweet and charming personality. What an amazing boy you are!!

You’ve had a very busy weekend. You had a sleep over with your cousins and a lovely birthday cake with them on Saturday (your actual birthday). After that you came back home and then on Sunday afternoon we had a birthday party here with your friends.

You had such a lot of fun even though it was a rainy day. There were 10 kids here all together and you made the most enormous mess. You drank lemonade and ate little sausages with sauce (your favourite!) and then we had the birthday cake. It was a chocolate monkey cake with chocolate doughnut ears and mint pattie eyes. Everyone stood around and sang ‘happy birthday to you’ while you ate the brown m&m nostrils and then they helped you to blow out the two candles.

It was so funny cutting the cake, some kids were saying ‘I want some eye’ or can I have some ear?’ and pretty soon there was just a few crumbs left on the plate.

We gave you a red ukelele for your birthday. You call it your ‘tah’, like guitar only easier to say. You were so happy to get it you sat down and played it for about 20 minutes non-stop – not bad for a 2yo boy! I sent a photo of you playing it to your mum and it made her so happy. You really love music and you are getting more and more interested in singing songs, dancing and playing any instrument you can get your hands on.

You have a few favourite shows. You love the Wiggles and anything they do will keep you entertained. You are just starting to join in and sing some of the songs and do the actions. You also love Fireman Sam. You often come up to me during the day to say ‘Wiggles’ or ‘Sam’ or ‘teeeveeeeee, teeeveeeeeee’ and hand me the remote control. I try to limit how much tv you watch, so we do lots of play downstairs in the garden. You love the sandpit, where there are lots of trucks and things to dig with.

You really love everything to do with cars and transport. Each morning as we wait for L’s school bus to come and pick him up, we all sit on the front step to watch the cars, trucks, bikes and people. Although our street isn’t too busy, we get enough traffic to keep it interesting. You name each vehicle as it goes by.

But your favourite day is rubbish day. When you hear the truck coming we must STOP EVERYTHING and run to the front door to watch the rubbish truck come to empty our bins. We wave at the driver and he waves back at you. We say ‘bye bye rubbish, don’t come back!’

What a wonderful little brother to L and big brother to J you are. They both love you so much. Sometimes L is hard to play with, but you don’t care and you just get in there and make him play with you as much as possible. Even though he often pushes you away, you love to give him a big cuddle and because you are a very clever little guy, you have worked out that if you cuddle him from behind, then he can’t push you away. So smart! You have a fun running game that you play together that involves running, screaming and giggling your heads off from one end of the house to the other. You also love to get in and have a good rough & tumble wrestle. Every, single time – you come out on the losing end. But that doesn’t stop you – oh no!

With little J you are very sweet and gentle. You stop to give him a kiss or to pat him on the head. You also enjoy sitting on him, which J doesn’t like at all, so it’s lucky you don’t do that too often. At the moment you are both enjoying playing in the ball pit. It’s a blow up contraption that holds a whole pile of balls. You guys have so much fun in there chuckling and rolling around, sticking your hand through the holes in the wall.

fun in the ball pit

Well beautiful, happy second birthday. Love you

Brother!

I felt the need to post today because, being February 29, I won’t have the chance to do this for another four years. So here we go.

Today, as I went to pick up baby J from his cot after his afternoon nap, N followed me into the bedroom. When J looked up and saw his (foster) brother through the bars of his cot, he was so thrilled, his smile just burst out of him. They reached out towards each other and touched hands. I smiled and thought, ‘brothers!’

They are not related. They share no genetic code. They are from two very different cultures on opposite sides of the world. But here in my home, they are brothers. In the truest sense of the word. Bound by love.

It’s relatively early days for these two with J only 8 months old and N about to turn 2 (on Saturday). There’s a lot of wrestling and rough and tumble that goes with being brothers. Somehow through all that body contact, that pushing and testing their limits a bond is formed and it is formative.

Together with L, they make up my crew. My noises with dirt on them.

Then I read this beautiful, heartwarming and hopeful post from Try Defying Gravity

I hope you do too.

Here’s to brothers…happy leap year!

three brothers!

When The Going Gets Tough

It’s been a tough week or so. I’ve been trying to let life settle into a predictable routine – and have made some progress there, but man oh man I’m feeling a bit tired.

L has a communication book that goes with him to school each day. It’s good to hear how he has been going and by all accounts, he’s doing great. Problem is after being such an angel all day, he’s ready to cut loose by the time he gets home and the devil in him emerges just in time for the arsenic hour. When I finally get him to sleep (after I’ve gotten the other two to sleep)… I’m a wreck.

I try to get him out into the back yard where he can play with water, jump on the trampoline, play in the sand etc. None of this will do, he’s straight onto N – pushing him over, pinching, scratching, spitting and screaming at the top of his voice. If I turn my back on him for a second, he’s at it again. So back to the hyper-vigilant, eyes in the back of my head, take him everywhere I go, room to room. Back to the blocking, the planned ignoring, the one warning only, the time in, the time out. But most important of all, the praise for good behaviour, those rare precious moments when he displays some self-restraint.

We started with a new OT this week, hoping they can provide some guidance. Well, he (yes…a he) saw the full gamut of behaviours. I didn’t intervene during the session, so L just escalated and escalated. The OT said ‘well, at least I got the opportunity to see him in action and I don’t have rely on just being told about what is happening’. So I guess that’s one positive thing.

I know it’s a phase. We’ve been here before. But I want the phase to be over. I want my lovely little boy back feeling settled, happy and calm.