Sunday, May 10, 2015


Eldest foster child is still in bed with Sunday breakfast on the table.

Unusual. He loves his full English on a Sunday. I say 'full English', he's a No Tomatoes or Mushrooms lad. In other words normal. There's extra beans for anyone whose plate isn't full, the key to a good full English is that the plate is full. We have three sizes of plates so everyone gets an age-appropriate full English. I'm a No Black pudding type, unlike other half. So I guess we're normal all round.

Upstairs eldest foster child is still under the duvet, says he has a tummy ache.

A Sunday morning tummy ache.

In other words, a real tummy ache, perhaps.

A Sunday evening tummy ache is suspect. A Monday morning tummy ache is both suspect and normal.

A Saturday morning tummy ache is as rare as hen's teeth.

But a Sunday morning tummy ache.....?

If it was your own child you'd probably say, cheerfully "Oh well come downstairs and get stuck in and maybe it'll pass". They comply, end up running around laughing and you choose your moment to ask "How's the tummy?" and they shout "Fine!" as they run past.

I always exercise a bit more caution when looking after someone else's child.

I ask "Oh dear, whereabouts exactly?"

"When did you first notice it?"

"Is it an ache or a pain" "Is it constant or does it come and go?" "Have you been to the toilet this morning yet?"

There's reasons, I guess, why I'm a bit more cautious with a foster child.

One is that you don't know your foster child as well as your own. You can't take a risk. You get given certain details of the child's medical past, such as they are, but Blue Sky want to know any and every health issue that comes up when they're in your care, there's a section in the report form we fill in for the child. Common sense is everything.

Two is that in this case the doctor's surgery is closed. My fallback question from Monday to Friday is "Do you think we should go to the doctors?" Obviously if I reckoned there was a proper problem I'd decide myself. But mentioning the doctors usually gets a bit of momentum one way or the other.

By the way, I find foster children get a very good reception at the doctors, that is to say they are well treated. I don't know if it's policy, or just my surgery, but I only have to pick up the phone and say "My looked after child..." I once got an appointment for fifteen minutes after the time of my call. I don't think it's at anyone else's expense, they just don't take risks.

I ask if he felt alright last night.

He replies "Sort of..."

He'd been playing a computer game after dinner. I remembered he'd gone to bed a bit huffy.

I ask him "Did you have a bad time on your game last night?"

He replies "No!"

I ask "You going to play again today?"

He replies "Dunno." Then he adds "It's rubbish" We chatted, short sentences, lots of grunts.

Turns out he'd lost a few lives and some other online kid had called him "Rubbish".

Basically he's feeling a  bit worthless. He thinks the family might have got wind that he was rubbish. (They didn't, of course, how could they?) He's having a bout of low self-esteem.

I say"OK, I could bring you breakfast in bed if you're feeling a bit rough. Or... the thing is..."

He peeks out over the duvet.

"It's just that Bill's talking rubbish about the Chelsea match this afternoon."

"What's he saying?'

"He thinks Liverpool might win"

"No way" 

"You'd better tell him. He never listens to me"

He's downstairs in two minutes.

Bill's letting him win the arguement. Bill confides to me after breakfast the only way Liverpool will win is if Chelsea let them win.

Just for the record, I don't think the lad was fooled by the kiddology at all. He was comforted I spent time on his 'ailment', and sussed that if he came down, far from being thought of as a loser, Bill would let him be a winner. In front of the family, he would beat Bill hollow in a football argument.

I often notice that children who come into care haven't been given a chance to win many things. Makes me wonder whether some parents have such low self-exteem they need to beat their children in play, maybe even rub in in afterwards. If they play with them at all.

Enough to give anyone a tummy ache.


  1. Hi, I wanted to tell you I love this blog. I've struggled to find foster carer blogs that aren't american/religous/baby-focussed so this one has been read and re-read. You all do a great job and help me to focus in the right direction when I'm struggling to see past the emotions of the latest drama!

    Do you take requests? I'd love to hear more about various subjects so if you need inspiration for future blogs -
    Fostering teens
    Children creating drama and arguments all the time as that is what she is used to at "home"
    Your thoughts on Contact and your coping tatics for dealing with the emotions it creates.
    Guardianship - turn long term placments into a Guardianship situtation. Holidays - taking the children V placeing them into respite.
    Finally Siblings- is there ever cause to seperate them, such as when one of the group is causing repeated placement breakdowns.

    Anyway - thank you for sharing so much, its more useful than you would ever believe!!

  2. Thanks anonymous. I'm absolutely not any kind of expert, although come to think of it I've never met an expert on fostering who was a foster carer so maybe there's some things we should all be sharing around, namely what it's like on the inside.
    Some of the things you ask about have been discussed in previous blogs but there's lots of stuff to wade through to find what you're looking for so you've got me thinking about reprising some topics.
    I'm grateful for your comments, thanks.
    And keep up the great work!