Question for you?

What do you do when your child allegedly assaults a teacher?

When you first get the phone call asking you to come to school because “Stig is not having a good day”, you feel a little sick, your heart starts to jump like a jumping bean and the furrows across your forehead deepen. Met by his slightly shaken teacher you try to take in what’s happened and reassure her whilst sympathising with the horrors of the situation. Then ushered into an office you listen to the details of the enormous meltdown your child has experienced. Started by what seems to have been an immaterial comment the situation quickly escalated to a rage where his aggressive actions involve throwing, damaging, and kicking two teachers. Your child then takes flight with a number of staff in pursuit. Once caught he is restrained, feeling trapped he wriggles to free himself and head butts a teacher in the process. He draws blood. At this news, this is when the sickening deepens, the penetration of shock and sadness sends waves of nausea through your being and you blink hoping it will all wash away like a bad dream.

Your broken son is in brought forward, sobbing, frayed and rolling inwards to a shell that doesn’t exist. As his mum you have to restrain every fibre of your being to not reach forward and draw him to you. Instead you adopt the expected straight back stern face position showing the school that you stand beside them. The seriousness of the situation is spelt out to your son and he anxiously apologises to all there and expresses his hurt over the situation. Kindly the school allow him to stay for the rest of the day all be it excluded from his class and in the deputy’s office. You return home and cry.

When collected from school you take him home and explain again the seriousness of his actions and the therefore consequences which need to be adhered to at home. Grounded, he can no longer go to climbing club, enjoy the cinema treat, a reward for a good parents evening, no computers, limited television instead there are apology letters to write, chores to do and reflection to be had. You also explain that you yourself have had to cancel plans to go to the theatre that evening as it is not ok to leave him with anyone other than his parents after such a frightening day. This news upsets him more and he offers to give you the money for the theatre ticket you’ve paid for.

Together you sit at the kitchen table one nursing a cup of tea the other a Capri sun. You probe delicately trying to fathom out how this could have happened. What fears does your child have and who or what created such feelings of vulnerability? Such a fear which required such drastic actions. He doesn’t know. He expresses his own fear in not knowing. You feel helpless but you stay with him, together at that kitchen table, talking, him drawing, you tapping at your laptop. Not wanting him to be alone and retreat into a space where he will start to believe his own hype, the voices telling him how bad he is.

After dinner he has a bath and goes to bed, he makes a small error of judgment at this point and is caught “messing about”. This is the point where you lose it, pushed over the edge by this one clownish move. You shout, and ball about his lack of respect for those trying there hardest for him. You then go downstairs and cry again, mortified and angry that at that final hurdle of the day, the full stop was such a negative one.

The weekend passes as you explained it would and he is calm and helpful, resigned but not too sad, reassured by the support and understanding his parents are trying to show. He is obviously anxious and wary as Monday morning and a meeting with the Headmaster approach.

And there it is that nausea again as you sit waiting to go in with the Head, whilst trying to help your scared son to not worry and reassure him things will be ok. Sat in that office, the Head, the SENCO, the husband and you, there is a false sense of possible hope as smiles are shared.

When asked if your son has thrown any light onto why the situation occurred, you open your heart about the troubles he faces and the remorse he feels. The effort he makes daily to make the right choices over riding his natural instincts time and time again, leaving him shattered by the end of the day. You hope that you are fighting his cause and the cause for children misunderstood everywhere. You hope that the school will support your hopes as you have supported them. Your hopes are shattered.

Two day exclusion. Not for the good of your son, because the headmaster recognises that this action will not benefit him in anyway. No this decision is “the right thing to do” decision. The one that stops parents gossiping at the school gate and keeps the governors happy. The one that reveals the lack of commitment the school has in supporting these misunderstood children. The one that reveals the fear that a lack of tangible label for children who have suffered early life trauma places in the hearts of those who educate them and the one that screams out the misunderstanding of the misunderstood.

Of course the true fault does not lie with this school or any other school that has to open its doors to vulnerable children who move through the care system, countless homes and carers, post a grim and unacceptable start to life. No the true fault lies with the government’s lack of support for these children, their families and those that educate them. Once again I am left feel overwrought with loneliness having for the time being lost one of my only allies in supporting my children. Lost because the supposed allies don’t fully understand how best to support the complex requirements of these children, because no resources and support is offered to them. Lonely because as a parent there is little post adoption support provided. We form our families with these hurt children, we are warned it may be difficult and then come legal adoption day we are near enough left to get on with it. They may make the odd visit but I can assure you this does not mend the gaping wounds this trauma is bringing to our family, my relationship with my husband and some of our friendships.

So you write a letter because you need to have your say and you have some concerns with the way things were handled. You reassure your son that in your opinion the school has on this occasion made an unfair decision and that he is not a bad person and he is much, much loved. And you hope that tomorrow will ease the pain and dull the heightened senses and that your hope will be restored. That is what you do when your child has allegedly assaults a teacher. Or at least that is what I do.

What I also do is let you know that these are obviously all my opinions of this event.

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you…

I wasn’t sure about these meme’s and therefore it has taken me a little time to complete this one. I’m just a bit grumpy about these things, like a chain letter or in the modern world those texts that you are supposed to forward to friends. I don’t like the pressure under which they put you, a guilt that if you don’t take part you are letting the side down. Anyway grump over I thought about it and actually realised it might be a little bit of fun. All I will say to those I tag, please don’t feel you need to do this but maybe in a moment when you’re thin on material or time, it might be a relief to have these prompts and it may also be good for your fellow bloggers to get to know you. So here goes…

Here are the rules:

  1. Post 5 random facts about yourself
  2. Choose 5 other deserving blogs with less than 200 subscribers to nominate and link their blogs in your post
  3. Tell your nominees you have chosen them for this award by leaving a comment on their blogs
  4. Answer the 5 questions the tagger has asked you and ask your own 5 questions to the people you nominate
  5. No tag backs (I think I have already failed this one)

The bloggers I nominate, because I enjoy their blogs and they are very kind to comment on my own offerings, are F.A.B at Forty, 39 and counting, The Oliver’s Madhouse, 92three30 and Corporate Housekeeping. I’m sorry if you’ve already had this meme.

Here are my five random facts….

  1. I was born in South Africa.
  2. I was once in a youth production of Romeo and Juliet which toured around Tuscany, yes the one in Italy.
  3. I spent most of my teenage summer holidays on the island of Gozo, yes the one off Malta.
  4. I am a quarter Italian, my hair and nose is definitely part of that quarter.
  5. I love the song “You are the Wind Beneath My Wings” sung by Bet Midler oh and the film Beaches it comes from, cue tears.

Here are the five questions and my answers…..

Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

My first thought is how old will the kids be? 18 & 19, where will they be?  At home probably. I can’t project myself that far forward without thinking of them. Hopefully my job of bringing them up will be a glowing story of success and they will require minimum input from parents. For me I wish for little, other than to be happy and financially secure enough to live with few worries, not great wealth just stress free. I wish to be able to fill my days with work or activities that I take pleasure in and things that have me wanting to leave my bed in the morning. I would like to fall into bed at night fulfilled and tired from a day well spent. Also I’d like to be free of depression or to at least have gained a greater understanding of the workings of my mind so as to create an impenetrable defence against my foe. To share all the best and worst moments with my wonderful husband who although wonderful now will be completely wonderful in 10 years time because he will have mellowed.

When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?

From about 9 years old I wanted to be a fashion designer. I would spend hours drawing outfits and models. I still have a book full of these funny little characters clothed in my avant-garde creations. This remained my dream into my teens. Even now I’d still quite like to be a fashion designer.

What is your favourite alcoholic drink?

Since I am currently taking a year off drinking alcohol, which I have blogged about here and here I abstain from answering this question.

How long have you been blogging for? and why did you start one?

I have been blogging 5 months. I started reading peoples blogs about adoption when I joined twitter. I thought I’d like to have a go and the rest as they say is history.

Do you still live where you grew up or have you moved to a new location?

I don’t live where I was born and lived for the first 8 years of my life, South Africa. I live about 10 miles from the area where my husband and I schooled and grew up. We live in the hills away from the hustle and bustle but we are not remote. I love the community we are now bringing our children up in. It is full of some wonderful people, we’ve made friends and being involved in a community gives you a true sense of belonging. It’s important for me that my adopted children grow up somewhere they can truly feel they belong.

These are the questions I’d like my tags to answer.

1. What is your favourite childhood memory?

2. What would be your last meal?

3. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

4. What are your favourite past times other than blogging?

5. Do you have any regrets and if so what are they?

#Healing4Kerry

This is for a mum I don’t know, have never met and know very little about. What I do know is that she is seriously ill in hospital after she suffered a brain hemorrhage following a ruptured aneurysm three months ago. She has three beautiful children and a loving husband who desperate want her home. Her name is Kerry and she was a keen blogger at Multiply Mummy before she fell ill, and her husband is currently holding the fort for her. Today he has posted some beautiful pictures of her, take a look here.

In support and in a hope to channel some positive and healing energy for Kerry bloggers are coming together to think about her today and provide support for her family. I have lit this candle as my small contribution.

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Red Red Wine

I sniffed a bottle of red wine. Not in a passing it under my nose in order to assess its musky aroma way, no. I plugged it to my nasal passages and inhaled deeply as if I was taking in the memory of a lost loved one. Warmth prickled under my arms whilst my mouth flooded with saliva and my heart palpitated rapidly. Briefly I’m left feeling a little bit wobbly from the surge of this yearning desire. For a single moment there was the “what if?” Quickly however I move on, evolution made, I poured the luscious cherry liquid over the 600 grams of cubed beef, raw onions, garlic and diced celery and popped it in the oven. Cork in wine for husband to enjoy later.

“Are you still not drinking?”, “What’s it like not drinking?”

“Yes” and “its fine, I don’t really think about it”

But I do think about it, I think about it a lot.

There’s a going out night, let’s say a party with a bar; I’ve managed a couple so far. My initial thoughts are what am I going to drink at the party? I’ve come to the conclusion that when surrounded by people drinking alcohol I at least like to give the illusion I’m partaking, fooling myself more than others.  So non- alcoholic beer suites me best, a Becks Blue if they have it, which they probably don’t in my experience. So I hope for a ginger beer and at the very least a lime and soda. Being surrounded by alcohol at a party is actually easier than sitting across the table from a friend nursing a goldfish bowl of Chablis. I’ve discovered that parties have many distractions, numerous guests, sometimes food and often dancing. But an intimate chat with a friend and their wine, no I’m not really comfortable with that, add food and I’m good to go. Come round for a cup of tea, even better.

At home there are beers, with and without alcohol content, in the fridge and an occasional bottle of wine, for drinking and more recently for cooking. There is half a bottle sat on the kitchen side now but it’s not calling me and it has not crossed my mind to engage with it, even though my husband is away! Six months ago the scenario would have been very different. My longing to envelop myself in the fuggy and forgetful world of alcohol has somewhat dwindled and instead a sudden moment of lust, sparked by something on the television, or a memory just passing through is more likely to leave me with a brief pang for the past.

But this is not me thinking about it a lot. The panic of whether I will be able to enjoy social engagement has subsided and as for what to do in an evening, a weekend, why blogging, twittering, crocheting and other hobbies and activities have easily allayed that worry, oh and there is always a family to interact with. No I think about it more first thing in the morning. I wake from my slumber with no regrets, no shuddering gut wrenching loathing, no digging deeper into the duvet hoping the outside world will disappear and forget about me and there are no more derisory thoughts of “oh you didn’t, not again” “You idiot”. Honestly I am extremely thankful every morning that I didn’t drink the night before.

Every day I think about not drinking alcohol, because not drinking alcohol has seriously started to change my life. Not in an I’ve won the lottery sort of overnight changed my life, more a slow and considered reveal. Peeling back the layers, pulling back the dead and dirty leaves to unearth the soft sweet goodness within, the tired years of alcohol dependency shed, leaving a person I have started to recognise again, it’s me.

The person I’ve met is what I remember of myself, glanced occasionally but sadly often absent. Last at her best in her late teens, yes I feel seventeen again. Those days of creative passion a desire for the world and a refutable belief that the universe could be conquered are returning. Add to her some years of worldly experience, emotional development and an increasing understanding of responsibility and this baby is damn near a pretty amazing grown up. Drum roll please, finally I feel that it may be possible to be the person that I’ve always wanted to be.

So whilst I explore all the possibilities that a hangover free life seems to be offering me, thinking about alcohol and how it’s absence is improving my existence tenfold.  I bask in my own sensibility which in turn is fertilising my growing self esteem and occasionally  I wonder if I should celebrate my brilliance with a glass of red wine, what do you think?………I agree, considering the sniffing incident, not ready yet.