A weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.
Something stirred me, a sound of something dropping on wood floors. Through fuzzy eyes I tried to focus on the alarm clock. 3AM on the dot, what could that noise have been?
Was it the fearless protector inside me that got me out of bed to investigate? No, more a mother who trusts her own instinct.
Gently pushing open Tall’s bedroom door, I knew immediately something was not right. For a boy who usually sleeps face down, burrowed into the excessive amount of pillows he likes to have, his half propped up, face forward sleep position didn’t ring true.
“Tall are you awake?”
A very good impression of a sleepy person came from the bed.
“What, what, what’s happening?” muttered the performer.
As I got closer this turned suddenly to alert and awake. I folded back his duvet and there was the offending item. A laptop.
The day before, Sunday had been an edgy day full of bickering siblings, moody moments and plenty of attention seeking. Oh yes the back to school train was well and truly on the tracks.
We had placated, hugged, indulged a little and tried our best to ease the obvious anxiety. Made more palpable by the continuing declarations from Tall of,
“I don’t want to go to school tomorrow” “Do I have to go?” “ I hate school”
Yes it was Tall who was worried and anxious and surprisingly, Small seemed to be taking things in his stride. It could have been that Small knew he had one more day of freedom (an inset day) or maybe it was because we’d had such a good week off, Tall didn’t like the contrast of what his week ahead would involve.
All these heightened levels of anxiety would lead to a 3AM wake up call for me.
I removed the laptop, obviously and didn’t get into any discussion about the incident there and then. I tried a little chat about feeling nervous about school and reached for a hug but the darkness of being caught out had taken hold. I was rebuffed.
After doing a quick sweep of the downstairs for any other electronic devises available for smuggling, I returned to my bed. I’d noticed, as I passed his room, Tall had his light on and was now defiantly reading.
At 7.30AM Monday morning I tried to stir the now pillow covered figure from his slumber. He didn’t move but grunted at me. I tried again but got a “get off” and “no” for my troubles.
Fifteen minutes later I pulled the duvet from the coiled boy, “I’m not going” was the angry reply.
Repeatedly I tried, repeatedly I failed and the boy became more agitated. Rightly or wrongly I removed his duvet from his room and instantly felt the cold front of defiance set in. I knew now it was not going to be easy.
I made a phone call to school to explain that Tall might not make it in on time, I wasn’t sure what time he’d be there but I would get him there.
I decided I needed to set deadlines, again rightly or wrongly, so I informed Tall that for every lesson he missed that day, a day’s worth of computers would be sacrificed.
Ten minutes later he was down stairs in his uniform. I know that rewards and sanctions are not often advocated but it worked.
I offered to make him a special breakfast, a peace offering. “Fried egg?”
He enjoyed his egg and then we set off for school, well into lesson one but still much earlier than I’d hoped. I delivered an edgy and puddled boy into school.
Six hours later I welcomed a bouncy and happy boy through our front door.
“It was good” he answered when I asked how it had been.
In Other News
Small managed a good week back into school. He moaned lots about going, has taken two hours to get to bed most nights but in school he’s done well.
Tall’s week went on to be brilliant, with him filling a merit card and him feeling much more positive around school.
I had a very positive meeting with the high school and our adoption support worker about Small’s integration into high school. Even this meeting is so much more than they did for Tall (even though I asked for it) so there is a fingers crossed kind of hope for Small’s integration.
Our adoption support funding has been approved, role on our therapeutic training.