Do you have a curly tail?

Dibble was telling his Grandpa all about ‘Story Party‘ yesterday, and recounting the exciting story he’d been listening to. It was all about a farm, and Dibble had been given a cuddly pig to look after during the story.

Grandpa asked Dibble if the pig had a curly tail.
Dibble replied ‘Yes’

Grandpa then asked Dibble if he had a curly tail too.
Dibble replied ‘No, I have a willy!’

It took a long time for Grandpa to stop laughing!

Newcastle Maker Faire

We’re planning on going along to Maker Faire on Saturday. The Discovery Museum and the Centre for Life both have loads of cool stuff going on…
… like Racing power tools, challenging the world’s fastest Rubik’s cube solving robot, making your own 3D glasses, getting your photo taken by a six legged robot, dancing with a robot made of recycled bottles…
Fun fun fun!

Proud parents

McGrew and Cuthbert’s parents’ evening tonight.
They’re both marvellous, according to their teachers.
Particularly McGrew.

Those of you who know about education these days will know that children get set targets at the start of each year – these are generally two sub-levels above the level they are working at the end of the previous year.

We’re now half way through the year, and McGrew has blown the targets out of the water.
Since September, he’s moved up 4 sub-levels in his reading (now at 2b), 3 sub-levels in writing (now at 1a) and 3 sub-levels in maths (now 2c).

Mrs DHG struggled to hold back tears of joy when his teacher told us.

The government target is for the average child at the end of Year 2 to be at level 2b in each of the three subjects. So McGrew has already achieved that in reading. And a level 2b in maths and writing is well within his grasp.

In a term and a half, McGrew has made up more than a year.
It is truly fantastic – and we’ve made sure McGrew knows how proud we are of him.

Well done McGrew!

Beyond consequences

For a few months, we’ve been looking for some guidance and help in new approaches to parenting McGrew and Dibble. The traditional ‘Supernanny’ approach just isn’t working!

Some professionals have pointed us in the direction of the ‘Beyond Consequence Institute‘ and in particular one of their books – Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control.

It was the subtitle that really caught our eye – ‘a love based approach to helping children with severe behaviours’.

A love-based approach!
‘Is not all parenting love-based?’, you may ask… That’s what I thought.
But cctually, many of the traditional approaches seem to be based in fear:

  • If you don’t do this, then such and such will happen.
  • If you do x, y and z, then you will get a star on your chart.

It all hinges on fear of what will or won’t happen. And for our boys, more fear is the last thing they need. They’ve had fear in bucket loads in their short lives already.

Beyond Consequences approaches it differently, based on the principle that all negative behaviour arises from an unconcious, fear-based state of stress. And in children who have experienced significant trauma, the unconcious state of stress is high most of the time. It’s had to be that way for them to have survived in the past.

So instead of consequences, Beyond Consequences suggests that we respond to negative behaviours with love, reassurance, calm, soothing and an understanding that in the moment of the behaviour, the child is highly stressed, full of unconcious fear and unable to regulate themselves.

We’ve been trying (and often failing) this approach for just a few days now, but already the results are amazing.
Much more calm.
Much less stress – not only in the boys, but also in Mrs DHG and me…

I’ll let you know how it goes!

I’m back

Here I am.
With a new look to the blog.

I hadn’t intended to be away so long – but days turned into weeks into months, and then suddenly it’s March! Sorry.

Life in the DHG house has been interesting since I was last here.

Mrs DHG has gone back to work part-time.
Which means Dibble has been going to nursery 2 days a week – and loving it (charming the staff most of the time with his singing, jokes and antics).
Which means we all have to be much more organised – particularly when it comes to meal times!

McGrew is coming on in leaps and bounds – academically, emotionally and socially – though he is having some wobbles – at home and school. Lots of insecurities, routed in his past trauma and fear are coming to light in interesting ways. Taking the oddest things from around the house to stash in his room have become almost daily occurrences – but more on that another day!

Cuthbert is also doing very well academically – his reading is fantastic and improving every day. But he too is having wobbles, again routed in past trauma and fear. He often struggles when things don’t go exactly his way – sometimes resulting in up to half-hour long tantrums – not easy to be on the receiving end…

But through all the challenges, we are constantly reassured that God is with us – and ultimately we know that love will drive out all fear – and so we keep on loving.