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How can I help him?

14 replies

MintyLizzy9 · 12/07/2016 13:49

Hi all

Looking for some advice/shared experiences.

DS is 2 and a half, we have been a family for 8 months.

We recently had a play date with his last foster carer (we can't see the other one) this is the first time. It went really well, no indication if he remembered them or not but he was comfortable because I was IUSWIM.

Within 24 hours he became VERY clingy, started having nightmares and so far a couple of night terrors. He can't go to sleep alone either when first put to bed or when he wakes in the night, he just screams and looks terrified (normally goes to bed really really easily and sleeps through). Same at nap time.

He can be playing happily then all of a sudden is screaming/crying and his whole body trembles for a good while afterwards.

I'm going with the clingy phase and giving lots of cuddles etc and I'm sitting with him until he falls asleep and back in again when he wakes.

It doesn't feel enough but I'm at a loss what else I can do for him. His speech and language isn't great so there's no talking about it other than me asking if he would like a hug and asking if he feels scared. Nursery are also working with him on feelings to try and help put words to feelings (started well before this)

I'm assuming this is linked to seeing FC's but maybe it isn't. We are due to see them again in a few weeks at a large family event but now I don't know if I'm doing right from wrong. I think it's good in the long run that he sees them and at this event he will be surrounded by friends and family that he knows well and is comfortable with.

He's also having a development spurt this past fortnight, so learning new words, finally linking two words and I know this can impact sleep but doesn't account for the nightmares or his terrified little face Sad

We're both exhausted which I'm sure just makes everything feel 10 times worse than it really is and is what's making me cry every bloody hour

I'm keeping it bright and breezy with DS and Inbetween these episodes he seems to be his usual happy cheeky self just a clingy version!

Sorry for the essay.

OP posts:
Mrscollydog · 12/07/2016 15:48

We are 5 months in with our dot who is 22 months. We met with her FC at the weekend, again a very similar experience on the day and we all seemed to enjoy.
meeting. Dot has not slept properly since and clinging to me all day. I kind if expected it as we have a similar reaction post her SW visit. In my mind she is processing all these experiences and by doing that drags up some of the horrid feelings of loss and anxiety.
I don't think I have any advice but just wanted you to know we are going through similar. I am doing the hugs and just being very close at the moment.I also remind myself that this age is pretty volatile even without the trauma our babies have been through.
Fingers crossed he settles

MintyLizzy9 · 12/07/2016 16:05

Hi Mrs. I know what you mean....he had a full on tantrum this afternoon head butting the floor and everything because I put the wrong shoes on him even though I put the shoes on that he brought over

Fingers crossed it all settles down in the next few days for both of us, it's just an awful feeling isn't it knowing they are trying to process such big feelings as such a young age X

OP posts:
RatherBeIndoors · 12/07/2016 16:34

I think you're both already doing great, offering lots of comfort and consistency. You can narrate for DS, even if he can't yet verbalise, so you can say "I'm wondering whether you feel a bit worried and mixed up after seeing X. It's OK to feel like that, and it's OK to need extra cuddles. This will always be your home, you are safe, and I'm here..." At 2.5 it may also be worth trying some picture cards of different feelings, in case he might use them? We used Mr men, for happy, sad, worried, angry, tired and hurting, just to get LO used to expressing their feelings and what they needed. It also prompted some useful "I wonder..." chats about how it's hard when you feel lots of different feelings at once.

MintyLizzy9 · 12/07/2016 16:42

Thanks rather. I'm going to look for some cards similar to what they use at nursery.

OP posts:
PoppyStellar · 12/07/2016 18:45

Hi minty I've no direct experience of this as we don't have any contact with FC (despite them being very nice) but I do recognise the behaviour you're talking about from the SW visits before AO. DD used to get really anxious when her SW had visited and would need lots and lots of reassurance, cuddles, mummy is always here etc. I would second everything that rather has said, particularly around the narrative idea, this worked really well with my DD at that age.

You're doing the right thing. Fwiw I think not seeing FCs was best for DD - we've always talked about them and looked at photos and we may meet up with them in the next couple of years if DD wants to - but she has a friend adopted at same age who has seen FCs fairly regularly (once or twice a year) since being adopted at 2 and he hasn't been adversely affected by it. He seems to enjoy it although he initially had exactly the same reactions as your LO.

Re the sleep or lack of it, I hear ya! No great words of wisdom other than just do whatever it takes to get some rest, co sleeping, comfy chair, kindle, headphones, duvet on the sofa (for you to snuggle into for a quick nap when LO engrossed in whatever rubbish is on telly). Oh and have a good old cry if that helps. I often feel a bit better when things are tough after I've had a good blub - a proper shoulder wrenching snot filled one. Look after yourself you are doing a great job being comforting, consistent and reassuring with LO.

My mantra at the moment is 'this too will pass' and it will, even if at the moment it feels like it won't.

NavyandWhite · 12/07/2016 19:31

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MintyLizzy9 · 12/07/2016 20:41

Thanks Poppy.

No, we don't have to see them but I always thought we would. DS has spent most of his life with BM and then had A LOT of changes within 6 months (removed, two foster placements then adoption). I didn't want him to think that all of these people didn't want him (first FC was within extended birth family so we can't see them and ultimatly they didn't want him and don't want letterbox Sad )so I feel it's important that he has some interaction and sees just how much his last FC adored him. To be honest I feel it was always expected as it seems to be a good thing in many cases though I appreciate this isn't always the case.

The next visit will be very diluted as there will be lots of people and kids so I fully expect to only see DS as he runs past me squealing with his friends.

I think after the family event I will tell them that we will wait a while at least a year before we think about meeting again but continue with email updates as we have been doing. To be honest I've left it this long as I wanted DS to firmly feel settled and I'm glad I did, I would not have been prepared for the fall out if this was 6 months ago...not that I am now really but I feel more confident in reading DS now than I did then.

Gah I could go round in circles in my head all night.

I've ordered some 'feelings' flash cards so we can work on it together.

Sorry for yet another essay, as a LP I don't like to over share with anyone IRL as it feels I'm breaching his trust Blush

OP posts:
NavyandWhite · 12/07/2016 20:45

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mrscollydog · 12/07/2016 22:05

Our dot falls asleep beautifully but the calls out and screams like she is in nightmare on elm street! By the time I get to her she is angelically sleeping again! Wondering if the baby monitor is possessed. Fingers crossed they settle down minty, its a tough journey but feel so happy to be on it. Will try the narrative idea too.
Love this forum for making it feel a bit more normal

MintyLizzy9 · 12/07/2016 23:10

DS does that as well, usually not long after dropping off, sometimes I think I've imagined it as when I stick my head in he's snoring away!

We're all the same when we scratch the service aren't we.

The full on stuff for us tends to be around 3-4 am after which he thinks it's time to get up. Co sleeping has been a bit hit and miss as he's that wired once it's passed he wants to bounce around and prod me and point out that I have eyes by poking them both before peeling the lid up and bellowing ello Grin I've found setting up camp next to his cot with him in his cot is best for us as he will actually go back to sleep then, my back is ruined from pretend sleeping on the floor!

I've ordered some 'feelings' flash cards off eBay.

Also now I think about it he is asking for milk Throughout the day, normally would have one cup with breakfast, maybe one with morning snack and one after dinner hot chocolate really but this week it's been never ending. Not sure if it's a regression/comfort thing or a growth spurt.

Planning lots of rainy day activities for the next couple of weeks so we can sit together one on one and have some calm time. We seem to rush about everywhere and rarely have a chilled day at home, well as chilled a day you can have with a toddler!

Off to a caravan at the seaside for the weekend, he loves it there (we were there a few weeks ago) and it's an us memory as BM or FC didn't take him on hol so hopefully it might give his little mind a rest with all the distractions and fresh air plus we can do lots of skin on skin at the fab kids pool.

Has anyone done theraplay, is it useful?

OP posts:
fasparent · 13/07/2016 00:05

Call me an OldHand or other but after 40yrs as a Fc and an adoptive parent of 10. have never had contact with numerouse placements, except from advice and regular update,s , letters mails and such with birthday cards,eide greating's and such , with 100% success.
Bumped into many accidental with no problems, Firmly believe ALL KNOW THEIR CHILD BEST. less intrusions the better, though may not apply too the older child.
Most are still in contact with us though none direct.
some 20yrs on.

Italiangreyhound · 13/07/2016 00:44

Minty no idea if the contact with foster carer will be a good one this time or not, you need to decide what is best. I would be tempted to leave it if you can but I was going to say what Rather said, although not as fully or eloquently!

Basically, he will be able to understand some of what you say.

Can I ask if you had warned him in advance that he would be seeing foster carer?

We were advised to see foster carer at 4 weeks in, and then continued to see them every six months or so until present day, for us it has gone well but our ds was older (roughly 3 and 3/4 when we adopted him).

We were advised not to see foster carers as a surprise but to let our ds know when it would happen. This is to avoid 'fear' or 'hope' that it may happen at any time. So child knows it is planned, not a random thing.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

PoppyStellar · 13/07/2016 00:46

The best advice about co sleeping I got was from my mum who suggested instead of me camping out in DDs room (physical agony) or getting annoyed with her in bed with me (have never met anyone who wriggles as much as she does) to get an extra bed next to mine in my room instead. That way I get to sleep in comfort and DD gets to be v close to me if, or should I say when, she wakes up and needs the comfort. DD goes to bed every night in her room but if she wakes up feeling anxious which she does most nights at the moment then she comes into my room and beds down on her extra bed. This set up has saved my back and my sanity. I initially thought I'd need to do it for a few I'm pretty resigned to not getting my room back til she's a teenager and can't stand the sight of me! But you know, that's ok.

DD was mental for milk too when she first arrived and for about 2 years afterwards. At one point we got through 4 X 4 pint cartons a week which was ridiculous as there's only the two of us. It was definitely a regression / comfort thing. She also had a baby bottle for a very long time. That stressed me out for a bit as I thought I was being a crap parent not weaning her off it but with hindsight it was just what she needed to feel safe and secure.

The other thing I tried which helped DD to feel secure was to get a comforter type toy from somewhere like Mothercare. She had loads of toys she liked but nothing that she dragged around with her everywhere. So we bought a snuggle blanket toy and I made sure she slept with it every night and it came everywhere with us during the day. I made it talk to her and the toy would tell me when it was sad or scared (I'm sure I looked utterly crazy talking to an inanimate stuffed animal) but after a few weeks she was very attached to it and it helped to provide a bit of extra comfort at night time and other wobbly times (of which there were many).

Being a lone parent is hard and being sleep deprived is hideous. You have my sympathy. Hope you both have a lovely time and some well deserved respite at the caravan.

This was meant to be a quick post with a few key pointers, it's turned into a mini dissertation, sorry. Must try harder to be more succinct Wink

MintyLizzy9 · 13/07/2016 06:11

Thanks all.

Yes he knew we were meeting them, I started mentioning it to him for a few days before hand.

Last night was a little better, I brought him in with me around midnight and he woke up about 20 min ago.

Off to deal with milk and nappy demands!

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