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how do we keep ds1 safe- near the end of my tether tbh

(67 Posts)
Jimjams Sun 20-Feb-05 08:34:36

DS1 has spent the last few days climbing on everything. I find him leaning against our dodgy windows particularly worrying, and spent most of Friday afternoon lifting him down (baby strapped onto me). Anyway last night found him trying to climb over the bannisters 3 stories up. I just don't know what to do, I cannot see anyway of making them safe.

The house is in no fit state to sell- needs a lot of cosmetic work (needs a lot of other work as well- but cosmetic to put on market), and I would imagine that any house would have some soort of danger lurking in it.

The whole thing has knocked me for 6. I was thinking back to when we moved in here just under 3 years ago- it was our dream house - which was why we took it on needing the amount of work it needs iyswim. We would never had bought it now (no off street parking for starters so even getting into the car is hell). But 3 years ago I would never have envisaged being in the position we are now- we really thought that by 6 ds1 would be catching up.

Also realised that for the first time ever I feel as if I am losing control over his behaviour. When younger he was very compliant, now he's much less so. Getting cross with him absolutely does not work, he thinks its hilarious and does it all the more, but the constant effort of having to give the "correct" response - which then doesn't alwqays work is wearing me down. I have asked to see a clinical psychologist, but I don't think she'll have any major answers as the people I've spoken to say we are doing the right things anyway.

Think I've been wallowing in it ever since I found him heading over the bannisters. (seemed to set off a cascade of thoughts). Also think my hormones are up the creek- felt very PMTish for the first time in almost a year yesterday. 6 week post baby blues?

Someone give me a kick up the arse please. (or a bright idea on how we can make the stairs safe, or some tips on winning the lottery so we can put in safe windows).

misdee Sun 20-Feb-05 08:37:29

can the bannisters be boxed in? dh dad boxed in the very tempting to climb bannisters at his palce and replastered it.

Jimjams Sun 20-Feb-05 08:39:21

They are (well the decoration is to stop him climbing on that)- he's tall enough now to swing his leg right over. The staircase can't be boxed in iyswim.

misdee Sun 20-Feb-05 08:41:54


i have suggested it b4, and it doesnt look nice, but how about some safety netting. your house is on 3 floors, so may need to put 2 lots up.

Beetroot Sun 20-Feb-05 08:42:25

Message withdrawn

duster Sun 20-Feb-05 08:46:01

That must be terrifying, jimjams. Ds2 has regularly attempted suicide in a similar manner (he's now 8 and recently out of plaster from an escapade involving making a human pyramid). I have now lost count of the times I have had to tell him off then sit down and try not to cry with fright.
I ended up putting stair gates on almost every room, and we had a room that was 'ds2-proof' so that when I had to leave him alone (to answer door etc) I could bung him in there. We put the stair gates about 6" off the floor to make them a bit higher.
A friend suggested to me (of ds2 a few years ago) to send him to gym classes or actively encourage the climbing/acrobatics etc. the reasoning behind this was that the better he is at climbing the less likely he is to fall. In other words, he's going to do it anyway, so why not make sure he does it safely? I thought it was an interesting theory, though not one that was right for ds2. Not sure if this will be any help, but mega sympathies anyway.

Jimjams Sun 20-Feb-05 08:46:18

I was looking at the stair layoout yesterday and I don't think safety netting can be put up- - there are 4 flights of stairs running up to 3 floors (the 4th flight goes up to a roof terrace) but there's nowhere to hang one end of the safety netting iyswim. Also as dh pointed out- he may just try and climb on that.

I've never managed to distract ds1 from anything tbh beetrooot.

Dh suggested following him around the whole time- but not very practical when there are 2 other young children in the house.

Just heard him clomp upstairs, so better go.

sobernow Sun 20-Feb-05 08:47:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

misdee Sun 20-Feb-05 08:49:27

can anyome from NAS come round to make suggestions. i am sure they must have had to deal with similar situations themselves.

Jimjams Sun 20-Feb-05 08:50:35

it's ok it was ds2.

I've tried putting a high travel barrier acrooss his room(to keeep him in bed at night but that's a different story) but he can climb over it. We now have to get 2 travel barriers one on top of the other at bed time - which I hate I feel like we're imprisoning him fgs.

Gym class wouldn't be a possibility for him- he really can't do classes. He does seem to do PE every day at school, but his teacher is having enough problems with that (he's more interested in running madly around the hall, and examining the dooors than doing any sort of group activity- the last note I got about PPE in the home-school link book was rather amusing). His balance is quite good, but he is dyspraxic so he does fall quite a lot.

Jimjams Sun 20-Feb-05 08:53:40

He wouldn't understand a week of not gooing near them = treats. rewards work but they have to be immediate. Immediate sanctions can work as well, but I can't think of one. We tried using putting him outside the room yesterday whenever he climbed up to the windows, he got upset twice then thought it was hilarious and then started to do it to provoke the response. Think langauge skills of 12 month old when working with ds1- luckily babies can't climb bannisters!

No active NAS down here misdee! I'm not sure they do that soort of stuff anyway tbh.

Beetroot Sun 20-Feb-05 08:57:12

Message withdrawn

Jimjams Sun 20-Feb-05 09:01:32

He's been climbing up at the windows for about 9 months (we had to move him to a different bedroom because of it)- but it comes and goes. He's added the ktichen windows to his repertoire but that's in order to look at the house next door from a certain angle - so will be hard to break (he likes angles). I'm hoping the bannisters business was done to be naughty- but no idea really. I know he doesn't understand about the drop iyswim.

I don't think its to do with the baby sobernow. I think the ropery bedtimes we have been having may be though. He went very off the planet when ds2 was born- but nt in that way iyswim.

sobernow Sun 20-Feb-05 09:02:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

maddiemo Sun 20-Feb-05 09:06:04

I can only think of barriers on windows and locks on all upstairs doors so that you can keep the doors locked unless you are with him.
Don't know how practical and realsitic that is though, would locked doors make ds1 upset and it would not be fair on ds2.

Is there a branch of Mencap near you? Or maybe ask the school they must have had children with similar problems.

I know social services have not been brilliant but could someone come round to assess safety issues and perhaps you could enquire about funding to help make house safe.

Sorry not got any more helpful advice.

maddiemo Sun 20-Feb-05 09:06:07

I can only think of barriers on windows and locks on all upstairs doors so that you can keep the doors locked unless you are with him.
Don't know how practical and realsitic that is though, would locked doors make ds1 upset and it would not be fair on ds2.

Is there a branch of Mencap near you? Or maybe ask the school they must have had children with similar problems.

I know social services have not been brilliant but could someone come round to assess safety issues and perhaps you could enquire about funding to help make house safe.

Sorry not got any more helpful advice.

WideWebWitch Sun 20-Feb-05 09:20:09

Oh god jimjams, I wish I had an answer but I don't except about the feeling pmt-ish - I felt at my hormonal worst when dd was 8 weeks old and I didn't have any of the other stuff you have to cope with. Well bars on the windows I suppose, they needn't look too hideous, I've seen curly wrought iron ones in other countries that look ok. I cannot imagine what you'd do about the stairs though, apart from stop him going up them. Sorry, that's really not much help, I hope someone who has found the answer sees this.

Eulalia Sun 20-Feb-05 09:25:01

Oh god - nothing much I can think of to add here except is there anything he is afriad of or doesn't like that you could attach to the bannister to stop him going on it in the first place?

We are going through this with dd who climbs on everything - much higher than her own height, runs straight into the road, stops at the edge of sheer drops etc... she's also constantly undoing her car seat. Just bought another one and its just the same.

Our psychologist always says social stories but my ds finds them hard to relate to himself so I guess your ds would be the same.

Jimjams Sun 20-Feb-05 09:25:21

I'm not keen on the locks on everything approach - at least not to keep him in, I'm happy to lock something to keep him out iyswim. The problem with the windows is that they are very flimsy- they have locks, (except the kitchen ones- but that's easily remedied), so we are worried about him going through the windows. A lot of the windows need replacing, the problem as always is £££ (also the kitchen needs a lot of building work so there's no point doing that until we can afford to redo the kitchen). I have been trying to get a carpenter round about the front windows since before xmas, although gave up once ds3 was born- will try again tomorrow. We looked at getting toughened glass put in rather than replacing the whole window, but the frames are originals (100 years old) so aren't going to hold it.

I don't think SS will help. When my friend was told she had to move out of her house immediately as her dd had severe lead poisoning (should have been dead) and her ds's levels were high SS told her it was her problem not theirs. Also they are just too slow. II started the process to get respite last June, was told within weeks I would be entitled to it- still haven't got it.

Jimjams Sun 20-Feb-05 09:29:03

Ds1 doesn't have enough language for social stories unfortunately. We try and reinforce things with symbols. so a symbol strip of "ds1 no climbing" may help. I will put a note in the home school link book tomorrow- his teacher will probably send something home.

ImuststopdrinkingBlossomhill Sun 20-Feb-05 09:33:10

Get back on the phone and shout and scream at ss Jimjams. If you don't unfortunately they will be happy just to forget about you.
Funnily enough I shall be on the phone tomorrow as it has made me realise this week how hard dd can be and she needs something other than mummy to entertain her (especially through the 6 week holidays)

edam Sun 20-Feb-05 09:36:07

Jimjams, this is a real long shot and wouldn't help immediately, but have you thought of applying to go on any of the TV makeover shows? We did and, embarrassing as it was to have the state of our house revealed to the nation (it was cluttered to the max) they did about £3,000 worth of work - redecorating, building furniture, all sorts. They did three rooms for us - the only thing they didn't do was carpet. I've seen shows on daytime TV where they've worked with families with SN kids - I know it could be seen as patronising but I think they like to include these families (seen one with kid with CP). Wouldn't suggest Changing Rooms, they seem a bit cr*p, but we did Life Laundry and there are lots of daytime ones that look as if they actually do something useful.
Probably too much disruption for ds1, I guess, but maybe worth a thought?

edam Sun 20-Feb-05 09:38:10

Also, they put us up in a hotel while the work was going on. Does this rule it out for you? Could they seal off the top floor while working, maybe?

Jimjams Sun 20-Feb-05 10:55:13

I WOULD DO IT EDAM- BUT DH WOULDN'T. woops that's better. Also we couldn't stay anywhere- even my parent's is a nightmare and he will not do hotels (screams and claws at the door of the room to get out) and I srtill don't think there is anything that could be done to omake the stairs safe.

I know I should be chasing up SS BH I'vew been feeling like that for ages- I just know I don't have the enrgy to deal with them at the moment - I did write to my SW a couple ofweeks ago as that seemed easier than trying to track her dwn my phone- but no reply.

dinosaur Sun 20-Feb-05 11:59:36

Jimjams I've absolutely nothing of use to suggest but I just wanted to send you sympathy

Is it worth considering taking out a bank loan and paying some decorator to do enough cosmetic work on the house that you could put it on the market and look for somewhere else? I know it would be a terrible wrench to leave your dream home though; I'd be gutted.

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