Life Hijacking by a Small Boy (Chapter 2)

I’m trying to document this quickly as I’m not sure if the hijacking is over. I am still shaking inside and close to tears but holding it together. Said hijacker is perched tentatively on the sofa edge in front of Peppa Pig. Let’s go back about an hour.

Sunday, family breakfast, daddy makes bacon sandwiches; all is well at this point. Discussion turns to the day ahead,

“We need to do some recycling, let’s go as a family and get it done. Later as a treat daddy says he will take you to the driving range.”

Tink “what if I don’t want to do recycling?”

I say “well if we don’t help with the jobs, then we don’t get to have the treats”

“Oh, I hate jobs”

I smile and comically say “jobs,jobs,jobs, to make light..

In response Tink screams at me “stop it you are insulting me” followed by a hasty retreat to leave the room.

Daddy cuts him off at the door and asks him to apologies to me for screaming at me,

”no never, now let me go”

I say to let him go and calm down, off he stamps leaving myself Mr H and Stig holed up in the kitchen. Having already asked Stig to go upstairs, brush his teeth and make his bed, I now ask him to wait until I can accompany him upstairs.

I find Tink wrapped in his duvet defiantly refusing to recognise that he would owe me any apology when I was the one who insulted him. After about 15 minutes of the common routine of making Tink know I am available to him if he needs me, he does however need to apologies to me in a calm way, with eyes, I get a very quite apology. Right lets go forward, he agrees to dress and go recycling because he does want to go to the driving range. We get as far as shoes and again we get,

“I hate jobs, I’m not going to do it. Why do I have to do it?”

“ Because you want to go to the driving range.” “

You can’t stop me doing sports, sports are good and you won’t stop me doing it.”

I’m trying to get his shoes on but he is not cooperating. Finally I ask please can you put the shoes on because I can’t do it if he won’t help. Walking away a shoe is launched at me.

“I’m not going but you won’t stop me doing sports.”

He’s melting down again. In the end Mr H and Stig head off to do recycling without Tink and I. Now I’m really in for it.

“Why did you let them go?” “It’s all your fault I’ve not gone, you are not in charge of me you will never be in charge of me. I will never do as you say.”

Cue throwing anything in reach at me towels, washing, and then launching himself kicking. At this point I ask him to stop or I will restrain him, he doesn’t we assume the position. Sixty seconds and I request no more kicking and throwing at which he screams “YES”.

Released he heads for the front door and then the back door demanding to be let out. Luckily back door is fully locked and no key insight but front is easily opened. I have to stand against it whilst he tries to push past me. I follow him around calmly stating that I can see he is angry and that I understand, calmly remove him from anything harmful or slightly dangerous (removing pins from notice board, climbing on furniture). He finally locks himself in the downstairs loo. He’s not really locked in I can get in if I need to but I leave him, sitting myself at the kitchen table where I know he can see me through the keyhole. I calmly remind him, when I hear taps turning on, that if he starts making a mess in there I will have to come in. After about 5 minutes when I’ve heard not much muttering or movement for a while I go into the lounge turn on the TV, find something I know he will recognise and turn it up. Returning to the kitchen I say Peppa pig is on flying her kite, “do remember that one?, eventually he makes his way from behind the door into the lounge. Head down no eye contact. And we are back to where I began.

Hubby and Stig have been back and quietly set off for the driving range. No doubt I’m in for more abuse once he discovers this fact. But for now he’s wrapped in the throw watching Ben and Holly.

This is a common occurrence in our house at the moment, Tink is going through it. Once it’s over we can usually move beyond it quite quickly and get on with the day. We don’t go over it, discuss it, we have hugs and kisses and carry on. What we don’t always know is when it might happen again, so we tread carefully and cautiously around the small boy.Don’t’ get me wrong I can see the holes in how we deal with it,seeking apologies, making jokes, but sometimes you just don’t know what to do for the best, so you do the best you can.

Is this the behaviour of a child on the autistic spectrum or is this a child deeply scarred developmentally by their early life trauma? I don’t know the answer, but as we wait for the results from Tink’s ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) assessment I am concerned. The niggling worries that have had me lying awake some nights were clarified by an article I read this week. Sally Donavan discussed the quagmire that is labelling the behavioural issues children in the adoptive environment often display.  Within the article (http://www.communitycare.co.uk/blogs/childrens-services-blog/2012/07/confusing-labels-hinder-support-for-traumatised-children.html)  she relays her concern that children with such behavioural issues are “nudged on to the autistic spectrum and consequently not receiving access to support and therapy, which could potentially help them to make great developmental strides” There it was in black and white and all my worries stated simply. What if they get the diagnosis wrong?

These outbursts are not dissimilar to those that Stig displayed when he and his brother first arrived. Pushing us, testing us, wanting to know if we could still love him when he had so much anger inside. Stig has come a long way but on the whole he is becoming a settled child who is starting to understand his and other people’s emotions. Tink sat quietly in the background smiling, complying, whilst we worked with Stig to calm, form boundaries, and show him how to love and be loved.  So is this behaviour a delayed reaction? Has Tink stored and hidden all his emotions for nearly six years and now it’s finally time for us to help him through. Or is this a clever child that’s masked their social short coming and lack of social understanding for nearly six years and now finds he is no longer able to conceal his autistic traits? I have a gut feeling, but at the end of the day I don’t really know the answer.

We hopefully only have a week to go until we hear what CAMHS have to say on the matter but I’m preparing myself for the fact that I might not be in total agreement.

Traditional Comforts

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ImageWell Dressing is a beautiful Derbyshire Tradition which occurs annually. Petals and natural materials are pressed into clay to create images and designs. These plaques are then placed at the source of springs and wells in thanks for the water provided.

I have been very fortunate in being involved in this creative activity in which different parts of our local community participate. The school, the boys’ brigade, the church and a local hospice have all produced plaques this year. I very much enjoyed the few peaceful hours I spent pressing peppercorns and petals into the Wallace and Gromit plaque. Sharing tea and conversation with new and old friends whilst participating in a therapeutic activity away from the chaos and strain of home seemed like heaven. This is when being part of such a wonderful community means so much to me, the strength you gain from familiar faces, traditions, solidarity in your actions, keeps me strong. I’m fairly new to this activity but I am already looking forward to next year when I hope to be even more involved.

The theme this year was iconic items from the queens 60 year reign.

Comfort Food

In a week when I’m feeling a bit blue, and possibly a bit grumpy, post party and embarking on my new challenge (see post “Let’s Start with a Party”) I looked to one of my other great passions for comfort, food. For me the holy grail of meals is the one the whole family can enjoy, the one that takes  minimum effort,  with maximum taste and creates no exclamations of “uugggh I don’t like that”. Although meal times can sometimes be stressful in our household and I’m sure around tables up and down the country, food is an important part of our family bonding.

My husband and I love food, I love cooking it and he’s learning to love cooking it, we both love eating it, at home, in restaurants, on holiday, locally, with friends, as a couple and now as our family of four.  It delights me that the children enjoy a wide variety of food styles and flavours and although Tink’s vegetable preferences are still a little limited, they are both very interested. Interested in” how is it made, what’s in it, can I try it, and can I help make it?” So today I decided to bring us all together over a family meal, and despite Tink struggling to be polite and unaggressive, we all tucked into a meal that everyone enjoyed eating. Mr H exclaimed at how yummy it was, Tink ate half (good result) and Stig remarked “this meal has lost me in flavour”. Happy families for that moment and comfort for almost all achieved.

So combined with my new favourite thing to do, play with my birthday present camera I have documented tonight’s meal…let’s call it….

Salmon Surprise (as named by Stig) or Roasted Salmon and Balsamic Vegetables.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Skinless Salmon Fillets
  • 500g small potatoes
  • olive oil
  • sea Salt
  • 300g mushrooms chopped in half
  • 2 large leeks sliced into inch thick chunks
  • 4-5 good size tomatoes halved
  • ground black pepper
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 4 slices parma ham (optional)
  • 1 lemon sliced into 4 slices
  • basil leaves

METHOD

Set the oven to 200C/400F. Then place the potatoes to par boil in salted water.

Chop all the vegetables as instructed above. Place a roasting tin in the oven with a couple of glugs of olive oil.

Drain potatoes and transfer to heated tin, shaking it around coating all potatoes. Sprinkle with sea salt and pop back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Season the salmon fillets, wrap in parma ham (optional) and top with a slice of lemon.

Remove tin from oven and turn down to 180C/350F. Add all the remaining vegetables, drizzle with a little more olive oil and balsamic vinegar, season and return to the oven. Cook for 30minutes.

Remove tin from oven and scatter vegetables with basil leaves, top with salmon fillets and return to oven for 10 more minutes.

After 10 minutes or when fish is cooked and feels firm to the touch serve. Spoon out vegetables, top with salmon and pour over the tin juices.

ENJOY!