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Wednesday

So after two snow days all three girls are back to school today. Whilst the temperature has risen slightly and the snow is beginning to melt, I think the conditions are far worse getting to school for the older two. It is without a doubt that getting the wheelchair across ice is much easier than through snow, for Lauren and Annie on foot it is pretty treacherous, although, I think after being confined to the house since Sunday, we are all relieved that school is open today.

Alice can be very difficult to live with when she doesn’t get her own way or if she thinks that something isn’t fair (even when it’s out of our control). We know that we have to play the long game with Alice and giving in to her and letting her what she wants all the time does not help in the long run.

It was the time last year when our boiler broke down and we were sat huddled around an oil filled radiator in one room while the plumber put in a new boiler. We had three days of actually feeling cold and having no hot water to shower. So this year, when the temperature dropped, we really are appreciating that we have a warm home and plenty of hot water for baths and showers! Having no heating was a one off event – because the boiler broke, we are so aware that for so many living in poverty, this can be normal – living in the cold because families have to choose whether to pay for the heating or whether to eat. It is a good reminder, that often foster children come from homes where they have lived in such conditions. They may now live in warm, loving homes, but they carry the emotional (and often physical) scars that came from their life before.

I know when we are dealing with some of these issues with Alice – it is still because of the scars she carries from her past neglect and abuse that are only just under the surface. Her default position is to get angry and lose her temper. Every time we think we are moving forward, it feels like she deliberately sabotages the good things and we take yet another step back. Even after five years, we wonder what progress we are actually making. Every time we meet with other foster carers, or do another training session on fostering or attachment, we know that we are moving forward. We are also reminded of the huge challenge that it is, and things do not change overnight. We realise that meeting together with other foster carers is absolutely vital for us, without that encouragement and acknowledgement that we are often all in the same boat and facing similar challenges, I think the discouragement would be too much.

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Sunday

As I opened the curtains this morning, I was quite shocked to see a snow scene from the window. It had certainly snowed this time. My first thought was that I had not yet found the waterproof spray for my coat, the second thought was that I was going to have to manage Alice’s emotions when she realises it has snowed and its not quite so easy for her to go out and play in the snow as it is for Annie and Lauren. Alice is in a wheelchair and snow is not so easy to get through. She also has problems with her circulation due to the complexities of her physical disabilities, so cold weather is not great. We can usually manage things for a short while, but then we get the fall out from Alice as she really does not understand and to her it simply isn’t fair.

So I take a deep breath before I wake the girls. Annie and Lauren are over the moon, they get straight up, and after wolfing down their breakfast in 5 seconds they get dressed, add layers of warm clothes, and then waterproofs over the top, and put their wellies on. They leave the house to go and call for the neighbours. It was so lovely to see the girls outside playing with their friends in the street, building snow men, snow dogs and cats, a huge a huge snow slide. Most of all they were building memories – these will last a life time.

Then there was Alice, I got her up and dressed and took her down for breakfast. I took my time, as I knew the longer I took then I could probably get away with not being out for so long. Eventually, after I was ready, we went outside. There was no way of getting Alice’s wheelchair out in the thick snow, so Charlie brought a sledge round to the front door.

Alice was pretty happy to be sat in the sledge being pulled round. If she had sat upright then we would have managed to stay outside a little longer, but as she insisted on leaning out of the sledge, gathering in as much snow as she could, she got cold quite quickly, very cold indeed. So with much shouting and tears, we had to take her inside. After getting dried and warm, I put on a movie and made her hot chocolate. I know it wasn’t the same as being out with the girls and their friends, but we know her limits!

It was a couple of hours before Annie and Lauren eventually came in. They too were freezing!! They were glad of a chance to get warm and dry. I have a feeling we might be in for a couple of snow days this time!!

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Fostering Blog | Snow Day

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Friday’s

Although we knew that snow had been forecast today, we were definitely not prepared for the amount of snow that we saw when we woke up. It looked like a blizzard was coming down. I frantically grabbed my phone and started looking at the school websites and various social media to see whether it would be declared a “snow day”. Unfortunately there was no news, so we had to get up and prepare to go to school. The snow was coming down thick and fast but so far the traffic was keeping it from settling on the roads.

Just before leaving the house we had one last check on the school website – but sadly no news. So off we all went, Lauren and Annie left to go to their school and I went with Alice to her primary school, while Charlie left for work. It was one of those days where I was glad to be wearing glasses. The wind was blowing the snow right in our faces. Alice was complaining bitterly. She was not at all happy that she was having to go to school in the snow.

To be honest I wasn’t prepared for a snow day so I was actually relieved. I had plans and was so pleased I could still have the day to myself. No sooner had Alice got into school, and we peeled the layers of waterproof clothes off, that the snow stopped.

As I walked home, it surreal how different the weather was. It was almost as if it had been a dream – and I really would have questioned myself other than that I was soaked to the skin, which reminds me I really need to respray my coat with waterproof spray.

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