“Ben and Johnny” were two little brothers we were asked to provide respite for.
Well, when you’ve seen them in action you can understand why their single foster mum needed respite. They were just full on, standard for their ages I know, but everyone needs a break and that’s what we’re here for. Filling in where grandparents aren’t able to.
“Johnny”, cute as a bug and very hard to say no to. A very affectionate and loving child.
“Ben”, older, not as cute, not as snugly, and generally a little more stand offish.
Our first meeting was at a park, neutral territory. Present were the boys, their “mum”, mum’s PSW, and us. Upon arriving we got greeted with a hug from ‘Johnny’ and well, ‘Ben’, he was in time out already. Not the best way to greet him, as we weren’t supposed to talk to him while he was in time out.
We spent about an hour at the park. We chatted with the boys , and when they were running around, we got the ‘goss’ about each of the boys from mum and PSW. It was a good hour. Time to work out what strategies we might employ with the boys and find out what they love doing.
The following week we had the boys come to our home for an afternoon, only a couple of hours. Just to spend some time with us without “mum” being there. We went to the park, did some jigsaw puzzles and checked out our spare rooms. The ‘boys’ room at that time was set up as a giant tent with sheets hanging from the ceiling and pinned to the walls and both mattresses were on the floor to make it like going camping.
A couple of weeks later they were back but this time for a full day visit.
We started with “Bens” first soccer game for the year. This was followed with a trip home to get changed and have a snack before heading up to the farm. We are so lucky to have the farm to go to. Always a crowd pleaser.
The boys had such a great day.
I had a couple of moments of freaking out, not being used to little boys.
Little boys that wanted to climb all over the hay stack.
Little boys that wanted to run around everywhere, seeming to be everywhere all at once.
Little boys with no fear. “Ben” just wanted to run around and pat all the cows, and yes, they’re quiet cows, but with their size, it’s better to err on the side of caution, so we introduced a new rule “need to hold the hand of an adult in the cow paddock” just to “Ben” down a bit. Nothing like being a human anchor! But, it was good to be able to slow him down and get him to learn to talk to the animals on his approach and teach him that when he’s just running over to them he can scare them, so just walk nice and slow, and they’ll let you give them a cuddle.
A really good first full day together.