Today Alice has been up to her old tricks again. She has gone “fishing” again. What we mean by this is that she is looking for a fight or a reaction – it’s like she has gone fishing – she has cast her line, laden with the bait. And like a fish we get reeled in. What is annoying – is that you don’t realise you have taken the bait, until you are stuck on that hook and are being reeled in!!
It usually happens with something very simple. Today I had been shopping and I bought Alice a new magazine. Sometimes I like to buy things for the girls as a treat – for no particular reason. While I was shopping I saw this Paw Patrol magazine which happened to have her favourite character Skye on the front. I thought it would be a lovely surprise for Alice after school. I should not have been surprised by her reaction. I guess I still hope for the best and hope that one day she will react well to good things.
She took one look at the magazine and said that she had already read this particular one. I knew there was no way she have possibly seen this one before. This is where I took the bait. I fell for it hook line and sinker. Somehow I could not help myself question her about it. I asked her where she had read it and where had she got it from. It was no use, Alice pushed the magazine aside and carried on with what she was doing. I couldn’t help but feel a little hurt after I had been so thoughtful. I couldn’t help myself telling her how hurtful that was. It was only then that I realised I had been so foolish with my reaction. That reaction is exactly what she was looking for.
All that I have ever learnt at fostering training on attachment suddenly floods into my mind. Why can’t I have those thoughts before I react. After five years of fostering, sometimes I really think it isn’t getting any easier and I fall into the same old traps. I guess we have to remind ourselves that we don’t really know what Alice understands. We don’t think she is doing it deliberately or that she is trying to be unkind. It is just the way her brain works and she has fallen into this pattern of behaviour. I fortunately walked away from the situation before things got too heated. Funnily enough when I went back in the room ten minutes later, Alice was flicking through the magazine – enjoying looking at the pictures. I realise that it is enough for me to see that – I don’t really need her gratitude in words!
A Less Ordinary Family Foster Care Blog