Saturday, 31 August 2019

"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."


Gifts from the pirates blossomed from the early days of becoming a step-dad. I had never been in a relationship with anyone with a child before and it was a real life changing experience for me. One of the hardest things to try and get around was how to react to a child that wasn't mine when they were acting up, in many ways in those early days I was still the guardian as such but there are lines that I feel you don't cross and working out the guidelines for that can be tough.

This is why I created 'The Pirates', a way of communicating with Seth about his behaviour without having to cross any of those lines. He was never a naughty kid but he did know how to throw a tantrum of epic proportions. The Pirates were a crew of magical folk that kept an eye on his behaviour and kept him in check, rewarding him when he deserved it. They visited many times over those first few years but in no time at all Seth had calmed down.


I never really needed to use them with Opeie as he has always been so relaxed, but there was a few times that they visited during the night to leave him something when he had done something awesome. Aside from naming the blog after them, I thought I had long ago got to the point where they were no longer needed. That was until recently. I met up with a friend last week and we got chatting about school etc as the holidays are coming to an end and she started telling me about how much her little boy had changed on the build up to him starting school this year. She said that he had become very anxious and didn't want to talk about it at all and that she was really starting to worry. The conversation got me thinking a lot about the complete change in Opeie's personality during the few weeks that he attended nursery . The whole thing really played on my mind and then a couple of days later I was talking to my friend again and her little boy had accidentally completely destroyed his favourite sword. I felt like the poor kid was having a tough time so later that day I messaged and said ask him what sort of sword he would like and I'll make it for him, but don't tell him.

She messaged back with a drawing that he had done with his mom and he said that he would really love a rainbow sword with an anchor on. As with most creative things I do, I had no idea what I was doing, Its all about the winging it with me. So I searched the shed looking for wood and got to work. While I was In the garden sawing away I started thinking again about his anxiety and Opeie's face over this nursery months and that's when I thought the Pirates might come in handy again, So I wrote a letter from that very famous pirate Captain Rainbow beard...


After a secret stealth mission with the boys today, sneaking the sword and letter around to their house, I received a lovely message that I will never forget from my friend saying how much it meant to her and Euan. As expected he loved the sword but more importantly liked the fact that he was contacted by rainbow beard and was excited about being part of his crew.This of course was lovely to read, but that was topped an hour or so later when she messaged to say that he had packed his school bag ready (despite not starting for another 5 days), and this from an anxious child that didn't even want to talk about going to school. 


It turns out that the newest member of our recently expanding crew couldn't wait to write to his captain and drew a lovely picture of rainbow beard which he dropped in the post box earlier (with a starburst). So I should probably get creating the next letter which I shall probably make sure has arrived on the morning of his first school day, to give him that extra boost of bravery for his big day.

It's situations like this that reinforce my whole philosophy that a little bit of effort and randomness really goes a long way and can have such a great impact on a Childs emotional well being.




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