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A Foster Carer’s Diary – 29th February

Monday

After a full weekend of activities including hovercraft ride, walks along some seashores and in the new forest I sit down and reflect.

J had been at times difficult and needed precise direction on what the day’s plans were.
7.30am the alarm goes, time to get up and prepare lunch boxes, school uniforms and breakfast, not necessary in this order. As I come down the stairs the first thing I see is the sign on the hall wall “Let the Stress Begin”. J comes down stairs shouting, so I go to meet him at the bottom of the stairs and ask “what’s up?” but am met with no response. Taking a stand and showing him that I was doing deep breathing, he joins in and soon becomes calm.
After a few minutes this is as long as J can contain himself so we make our way to the dining room.

J sits at the table and excitably telling me what he would like for breakfast. Whilst I was in the kitchen preparing the cereals, it goes quite in the dinning room. This silence normally only means one thing; J is up to something. I decide to investigate and find J standing on the work tops saying he was going to jump off onto the floor. Speaking in a low voice and moving slowly towards him I say to “just stand there don’t jump you may hurt yourself. Your taxi will be here soon and you know how you like going in the taxi and singing songs on the way to school.”
I reach J and put my arms out and he responds by putting his arms around my neck. Lifting him down, he sits back at the table. Panic over and J is soon eating his cornflakes!

Breakfast over, it’s time to get washed and dressed. This can be a trying time as J does not like the feel of the toothbrush in his mouth. We get over this by making a game of it, singing ‘this is the way we brush our teeth’ song. This sometimes works then it’s time to get dressed.

“I’m not wearing my uniform today” says J, “No one else wears theirs!”
“You must wear your school uniform” I replied, “it makes you look so smart and I’m sure the other boys and girls will be in their uniforms today.”
Reluctantly he puts his it on.
“We have some time before the taxi arrives, shall we go and sing some songs or do you want to do some reading?” I ask.
“Yes Brian let’s go and sing some songs!” He replies excitedly, running down the landing, sitting on the top step. I sat beside him and asked what we should sing.
“I know,” replied J, going into his own rendition of ‘the wheels on the bus go round and round’ replacing the word bus with taxi. Sitting there on the top step we sang this song over and over at least ten times.

“Ok, let’s go and get your shoes on.” I say at last. J is in a happy mood now and is complying with my requests. Shoes on, then the doorbell rings to announce the taxi has arrived. I take J to the taxi, see him into his seat then close the taxi door.
Taking in a big breath, I walk back indoors and put the kettle on. Time for a nice cup of tea!
I sit down in the lounge and put on sixties number ones bliss. Time to write up the start of the daily records. This is one of the most important parts of fostering; your records will not only help the child but will also help protect you should anything be said about the care you are providing for the child. Don’t panic, although this does sometimes happen, most carers will never experience this.

Once done I busy myself with housework, shopping and cleaning the car – is it that time already? J will be returning home soon, so I get his snack ready which he eats then time to take the dogs for a walk. J likes to hold the lead of our small dog Luna we walk through the woods down to the park where I hold the dogs while he plays in the park. We’re home in time to prepare dinner. He likes to help which is a good way to keep him occupied. We lay the table and ten minutes before dinner is ready, J starts to run up and down the stairs shouting “look at me I can jump from here!” whilst pulling the stair gate down. I take a deep breath and ask J to come down, saying “you know the rules about climbing and playing on the stairs, comes down!”
After a long talk he needs some time to take in what is being said.

Once dinner is over it’s time for a cuddle and to watch some Cbeebies. At 6.30 it’s time for J to have a bath and then bedtime story. After 10 minutes he falls asleep.

It can be a long day being a foster carer but to watch a child grow and develop is the biggest reward there is any foster carer will tell you this. Time to have another cup of tea and write up the daily reports!

To be continued…