We were right about Christmas being emotional for the children. The lead up was difficult as Mum had become rather ‘difficult’ with regards to the children and Christmas. Mum had complained that the gifts that the children had taken over, on the last contact before Christmas, were ‘crap’ and that we could have bought her more with the money we were earning out of her children. The Social Worker explained to Mum that, as Foster Carers, our job was to provide for the children not their family. Nonetheless Mum was upset that her gifts were not more expensive and were bought from Primark not a designer shop. In fact Mum’s upset was so bad that she withheld the gifts she had bought for the children. We weren’t 100% sure that she had actually bought them anything as, again, she felt it was our responsibility to pay for the children’s gifts. Obviously we had bought the children Christmas presents but it was noticeable that there were fewer gifts under the tree for the placement children that there was for our own children. We decided to remove some of our own children’s presents and give them privately so the placement children wouldn’t feel put out. We followed our own usual Christmas routine and the placement children happily fitted in with this. The little girl we had in placement, from our previous placement, was used to our routine, at Christmas, and she was always happy with any gift she received as she had previously received nothing when she was living at home. On Christmas Day it was agreed that Mum would call at 11am.
It wasn’t until 1pm that Mum decided to call, claiming that she had only just got up. She spoke to all the kids on speaker phone and then announced to them that she had a special Christmas surprise them and that was that she was pregnant. Initially the children appeared to be quite excited by this news but, after their call ended, we were asked a number of questions about Mum’s news. Mum had told the children, originally, that they were in care as she couldn’t cope with looking after them. The children were now asking how was Mum going to cope with a baby if she couldn’t cope with four older children. There wasn’t really an answer to their questions and we said that maybe they should ask Mum when they speak next. Christmas Day went ok after the phone call and the children enjoyed their gifts and the large amount of food on offer. We watched some films and allowed the children to have a late night. The children went to bed, stuffed, and excited about their day and with a warning not to get up too early on Boxing Day, which they heeded. We were all up at about 9am and had breakfast and planned our day. None of the kids felt particularly energetic so we had a lazy day in front of the TV and with some family visiting. Family had also bought gifts for all the children so they were very excited about that.
We had a buffet meal and settled down to watch more films and generally relaxed. The kids had asked about phoning Mum again but we said that it had only been organised for Christmas morning and Mum might have plans so we shouldn’t disturb her. The children seemed ok with this and were actually very well behaved and very calm.