Movie Night

Tonight, I was on Acorns Unit, which is where our Year 10s and Year 11s board and  (volunteering my time, as I was on a 7 – 3 shift earlier, so did some unpaid overtime) enjoyed Movie Night with the boys. We decided to watch Kingsmen: The Secret Service;  (In case you did not know, our Boarders are Special Needs, with some behavioral problems; so they live on site all year round.)

The movie is about the recruitment and training of the next special Service Agent, who will stop Valentine from activating a chip, which will cause mass extinction of man from Earth. The chosen Agent, (Eggsy) ends up in a mass battle with Valentine’s henchmen and soon gets stuck. He asks Merlin to activate the mind control chips, leading to Valentine’s henchmen having their heads blow off (Done to the tune of Land Of Hope And Glory!) The death of Valentine, stops the signal to a satellite, which in turn; would activate the chips in the millions of people who have had it implanted in them.

I made sure that the kids had treats, (as it was movie night) so we had crisps, cola and popcorn. (Sweet and salty, which the Boarders helped me prepare; in the unit kitchen) Normally Cola is banned from school property, but on special occasions and on nights like movie night, I bend the rules a little. 🙂

By the way, for those that have not seen Kingsmen: The Secret Service, where have you been hiding!!? One of the best scenes is the “head exploding scene” , trhe scene where Eggsy knicks a car and also the pub fight scene, which is very funny. “Manners Makith Man”

One of those nights!

Well, it’s 02:42 and I am up again, because Kyrlo is having one of those nights again, where he’s had a very bad nightmare and has been really distressed. I have just got him back to sleep and hes fast asleep on the settee in mine and Sam’s Study.

The poor wee lad has been to hell and back but he is slowly getting there. We are teaching him grounding techniques, which help him to deal with flashbacks.  Also he has periods where he stares into outer space and will not respond to you speaking him. So we have been shown another technique, where we hold his hand and say in very calm voice, “Kyrlo it’s Kyle, you are safe and you are at home. I am not going anywhere until I know your are OK. If you can hear me, squeeze my hand”. It does work and it  helps him to safely come out from a flashback, which usually is terrifying.

The top priority is to make sure Kyrlo is safe and that he knows we are there to support and protect him. The other kids know to look for the signs of Kyrlo having a flashback and to find one of us right away. Recovery for someone who has suffered such severe and prolonged trauma is slow, but with the support Kyrlo gets, I know he will be fine; even if it takes years of therapy until the end of his teenage years!)

I am off back to bed now, so I am gonna carry the wee lad back to bed and hopefully get some shut eye, as I am at work at 7am!

New(ish) Laundry Machines!

Today, I bagged me a bargain! Our school is replacing the equipment in the Laundry with more updated equipment. So, that meant 4 Miele Washing Machines and 4 Miele Dryers were heading for the scrap heap.  My very old Hotpoint Aquarius Washing Machine packed up last night, after over 15 years  of service and my dryer does not dry properly anymore, plus I could do with a 2nd washing machine and a 2nd dryer.  As I saw the van, delivering the new machines,  I had an idea. I ran round the exterior of the building, used my pass to open the main doors and made a beeline for the Head’s Office. I explained that I needed a new washing machine and dryer and then I had a 2nd idea.

I live with 7 other people, (If you include my mum who lives in the Annex) which generates a lot of laundry, so I offered to buy 2 of the old washing machines and 2 dryers off the school. I was asked how much I was offering to pay, so I offered £800 for all 4 machines. The Head said that was too much for me to pay, so I bartered and agreed to pay £500 for the both. So, while Karen went to stop the men taking too many machines, I nipped home and got my cheque book. The delivery men even took the machines to my house, where I have now connected them up in my Laundry Room.

These new machines are great, the have better cycles and more options. (IE: I can add starch to the wash if needed (Does anyone still use starch???) or I can change the time the  machine soaks the wash and it has it’s own dosing hoses which means that I don’t need washing powder, just a 5L bottle of detergent and a 5L bottle of Softener , which is automatically pumped into the machine, by pumps fitted on the wall behind the machine.

Talk about a bargain and I even got my old machines taken away for free!



Emotional Strain

In this line of work, I often have to deal with the kids emotional needs. This can be the kids at home of the kids at work. The types of problems I deal with can often be about bullying, homesickness, mental health, school or peer issues. Making time for the kids is important, to reassure them and work through their issues.

One of the hardest issues I have to deal with when the kids talk to me about abuse. Some of the kids Sam and I look after, have been through serious abuse, have been neglected, physically and at times sexually abused.  I obviously cannot go into who was involved and what happened, but it does really upset me when the kids talk about what they have been through and it is often difficult for me not to show my emotions. I am a very strongly against abusing of kids and if it was up to me, abusers would be hung drawn and quartered. It angers me that anyone could hurt a child and that there are so many kids who have been abused, which I hate. I strongly believe that more needs to be done to protect kids , with more early intervention to prevent and protect. Yes, this evening I had a good cry and had a good natter with Sam, but crying is natural and often is a good thing. However, Sam and I will probably deal with many more emotionally wrecked kids, because that’s the sort of kids we are specially trained to look after.

Rant over 🙂

Parents Visit

My parents have come down to see me, Sam and the kids. Mum and Dad have not been down for a while and it is nice to have them here, so we can have a good catch up. Mum has been down several times, but this is the 1st time my Dad has been to the house; as he has not been so well with his heart.

My Parents – Angus and Jackie Mcloughlin in our Garden

The kids were very pleased to see them, when Sam went to pick my Mum and Dad from the airport.  As most Grandparents do, Mum and Dad bought down loads of goodies for the kids, which they were so pleased about. I took them over to school this morning and gave them a tour of Junior House, so they could see where I work. Of course, the Borders (those who were not out on activities) were more than happy to show off where they live and my Dad was “drooling” over the Model Railway.

We are having a laid back afternoon and I made a traditional Scottish dish for Lunch, which the kids loved. (I made Stovies, which is is a Scottish dish based on potatoes and meat. Recipes and ingredients vary widely, but the dish always contains potatoes, onions, other vegetables, sausages, roast beef, minced beef or other meat.)

I wish I didn’t have to work 3 – 10, but at least I got tomorrow off and then I am on Earlies all next week, so at least I can spend more time during the day with my parents and the family.

Beware Of the Sun!

Please be very careful outside today, as the heat from the sun is very hot. I collapsed at work this afternoon, due to the heat, as I had been working in the sun. I had sun protection on , plus a hat and my sunglasses, but this doesn’t give you much protection from the heat.

 I’d been working on fixing a jammed  a window that looks out on to the flat roof of C Block, when n I started to feel unwell. I walked across the roof and went down my ladder to go and get a drink of water from the drinking fountain, when I felt really unwell and must of blanked out. The next thing I know, I had one of the Year 6 boys crouched down beside me along with the Teacher on Playground Duty and a crowd of kids watching. The Year 6 in question, had put me into the Recovery Position, opened the top 2 buttons on my polo shirt and sent one of the other kids to get help from a teacher. (Which was the right thing to do) I was checked by Paramedics and did not need to thankfully go to A&E.

One of the lads had run up to the 4th floor of Junior House to get Kyle, while Care Staff looked out the windows of their offices at what was happening below. By this time, the big cheese had found out what was happening. (My boss Karen) I was sent home and given today and tomorrow off, so i am not sure what I am going to do,  as I don’t like sitting around and twiddling my thumbs! (However, I am still doing the Leavers and End of Term Disco with Karaoke tomorrow night – there is no getting out of that!!! ( I am singing The Stereophonics – Dekota with Kyle and Bowling For Soup – Girl All The Bad Guys Want with Josh!

Thank you to the Year 6 Lad for coming to my rescue. I have been back over to school to thank  this particular Year 6, who gave me a massive hug. Also I have to say thank you to Maggie, who was the Teacher who looked after me until help came and thank you to Sister Bev, who came down from Sick Bay and to all the kids and staff who were worried about me.

From now on, I will not spend as much time in the blistering hot sun, neither will I forget to keep a cold drink with me, when working for prolonged periods outside. The bottom line is, I am OK and I will live!

Using Restraint

We are very cautious about using restraint. We only use restraint in the following circumstances:


  • To stop the boys doing something dangerous – IE I might put my arm out in front of one of the boys, to stop them walking out in front of a car
  • We may catch one of the boys if they are falling
  • If the of the boys is fighting, we may grab hold of them, to break up the fight

The last option was used when the kids decided to have a scrap over the pool table.  Kyle and I retrained the 2 boys, thus preventing the fighting from carrying on. However, while one of the kids was struggling, Kyle got elbowed in the nose, which caused  him to have a nose bleed. (If you remember my earlier post about nosebleeds, you will remember that I use tampons when anyone has one.)

The problem was resolved quickly and the kids warned about fighting over the pool table and the consequences of doing so. (The lid will go on the pool table and no one will be able to use it for the rest of the day)

Remember: We always use restraint as a LAST RESORT, when all other methods have failed.

A Difficult Couple Of Days

It’s been a very difficult couple of days for the family, as we had revived some bad news. Josh’s Social Worker rang yesterday and told me that Josh’s real dad died, after struggling with an illness in Prison. so I put  note in the register asking him to come and see me after Registration.  (To void confusion, I am known during school hours, I am known as Mr. McLaughlin rather than Mr Smith) Anyway, I decided that the best thing to do is to send Josh home, due to his PSTD and his Migralepsy. So, I gave Jenny a ring and drove him home in the the school cars.

Things were OK until one of the other boys at home provoked him and caused him to kick off. Of course, it was up to Sam and I to pick up the pieces. Josh will be OK, as he’s getting plenty of support and loads of cuddles. In some ways he hates his dad for what he did to him, but we cannot blame him if he still feels very upset about his dad. Josh is being encouraged to talk to one of us and is getting plenty of love and support.

The Strangest Thing to Stop A Nosebleed

Have you or your kids ever had a nosebleed that won’t stop? Forget pinching your nose with your thumb and forefinger and reach for the Tampons! Take a tampon and put it into the notarial that is bleeding and ask the person who’s nose is bleeding, to lean forward. The tampon will soak up the blood and help to clot the bleed. If the tampon feels heavy in the person who’s nose is bleeding, remove the tampon and replace with a clean one. As always, if the bleed is uncontrolled or lasts for over 25 minutes, attend your nearest Minor Injuries Unit, Walk In Centre or A&E Department.

I had to reach for Jenny’s Tampons this afternoon, as one of the boys was having a nosebleed, caused by (yes surprise surprise) picking his nose. (YUK! My mum used to say if you pick your nose, your brain will fall out, but this is a wee old wives tale) Actually, the tampon worked and stopped the bleed. Funnily enough, sealed Tampons (In their wrapper) are now kept in our First Aid Kits. You never know when they might be handy, for guys or gals! 🙂

One more quick tip for you, have you ever been out; shoes soaked inside and then you need to go out again, but only have 1 set of shoes? If so, place a nappy sack over your sock and insert your foot into the shoe. Now tuck the nappy sack down so you can’t see it hanging over your shoe, and you’re feet will stay nice and dry! I had to use this tip last week!

Secrets And Lies

Sam and I have just had to deal with the aftermath, after one of the kids decided to snitch about everything bad that the other boys have done. (IE: who put glue on the loo seat and who putt a rubber frog in Jenny’s bed, as well as switching her blonde hair dye for Sam’s bottle of black hair dye – Yes Sam dyes the grays) So this caused the kids to have a massive falling out and they have been in really bad moods all afternoon. Of course, mitigating this situation took Sam and I quite a while, but Sam and I finally got the kids to snap out of it.

Of course, we had words with them all, about how it is wrong to snitch and how it is also wrong to gossip[ about other people. Now the kids are back to normal, there is the sound of laughter again.  (Except for balls hitting thee patio doors!)