Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Manners, confidence and iron levels

If there's one thing that Daddy and I seem to be winning in with Missy, it's teaching her good manners.  People often comment on how polite she is and, no, it's not just a compliance thing.  The lady who lives opposite has just crossed the road to me, whilst I was in the front garden, to say how polite and lovely she thought Missy was.  And the mother of Missy's new friend who lives down the road also commented on how delightful she is.   If only they knew what she can be like!  But to be fair to Missy and not take anything away from her, she does have and continues to learn good manners.  Hurrah!

Something else that Missy has that I certainly didn't have at her age is confidence.  She has lots of it and if I'd had had half of what she has now then I would have been a happier child.  I would have hated going to somewhere like a school holiday club, Brownies or gymnastics if at least one of my friends wasn't going.  I was so shy when I was little and not much changed as I got older.  I'm still shy at times and lack confidence in certain situations.  Missy, however, is  happy to talk to the neighbours, knock on her friends door, go to Brownies where currently no-one from her school goes.  She can get a little shy at first in new places but it doesn't last long - a minute or so - but she soon makes friends.  She is fully aware of stranger danger so I know she won't just talk to any random person.

I came across a song by Little Mix last week when looking up another song for Missy.  It's called Little Me and some of the lyrics are:-
Wish I knew back then
What I know now.
Wish I could somehow
Go back in time and maybe listen to my own advice.

I'd tell her to speak up, tell her to shout out,
Talk a bit louder, be a bit prouder,
Tell her she's beautiful, wonderful,
Everything she doesn't see.

(Know that right here, right now)

If I could speak to little me, I'd definitely use these words.

In other news, the GP has diagnosed iron deficiency anaemia.  Apparently most people have six months store of iron in their bodies.  I have none.  I said to the doc that I tried a 2 mile walk/run last week.  He said "I'm surprised you could run at all with those iron levels!".  Ahhhh, so that probably explains my complete lack of energy over the last few years and I'm not just being a lazy lump.  

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The one and only Daddy

Missy's hand made card for Fathers' Day that brought a tear to my eye.

Dear Daddy,

I LOVE YOU so much because you are SPECIAL!!!

Daddy you are the best because you are the one and only Daddy I wanted in my life!!

Your Dearest Daughter

Friday, 5 June 2015

The Best Bits

Next week The Adoption Social are holding a Twitter chat about #theBestBits as an antidote to last week's chat about child to parent violence.

Readers of my blog may be forgiven in thinking it's all negative in Missy world.  Whilst anger is never far away, I can assure you we do have some good moments.  When Missy's head is filled with anger, red mist, anxieties and worries I wonder how her brain can find space to learn. But she manages it.

So, our Best Bit recently was at the recent parents' evening where and Daddy and I were pleasantly surprised by the progress she has made and how happy her teacher is with her work. Her reading is very good, she loves to write and write and write, she's made huge leaps in her maths, she's now feeling confident enough to put up her hand to answer a question and her artwork is, as usual, to a high standard.  

Her progress started once she had settled in class, not worrying so much about who was coming in and out, who was sitting where and why wasn't so and so on the right chair, was talking to who, who had hurt themselves. Missy is hyper vigilant, she doesn't miss anything. Open the fridge slightly for two seconds and she'll immediately clock all the contents.  Watch Beat the Brain on BBC2 at 6.30pm and you'll do better to beat Missy on certain of the Observation rounds. But at least for now her hyper vigilance is not getting in the way of her school work.

Also at school Missy recently was awarded the weekly class merit for using her initiative and it seems that she has quite a lot of friends.  This week is SATS week and whilst her teacher has very much played them down, I did think Missy would struggle but, no, she was actually looking forward to doing the tests and has been quite chilled out about them.

So they are Missy's best bits for this week.  I'll post some more next week.

My best bits were when Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet followed me on Twitter and Martin Kemp retweeted one of my tweets.  I'm easily pleased.  <sigh>

Sunday, 31 May 2015

I've started but I won't finish

This past week Missy has started a paper mâché thing (not entirely sure what it was meant to be), a crochet owl, a story, a necklace, a picture, several loom band charms and a computer out of a cereal box.  Last week she half made a robot out of boxes, started several crochet items, some drawings, more loom band charms.  She has several kits started and deconstructed.  She played on the trampoline for 15 minutes, she went on her scooter for 20 mins, she read a book for two minutes, she played with her Barbies for five minutes, she wanted to help me in the garden and managed three minutes before she got bored.  She finds it hard to play with her toys, she doesn't read books much.

There are so many projects started and not finished in this house.  I now ask people not to buy kits for her because she just takes out the pieces and they end up being half used for some other creation rather than the item itself.  Once she is back to school next Tuesday I shall spend the morning sorting out what is worth keeping.

Now, I don't suppose she's too unusual from most 7 year olds with a very short attention span.  She has no diagnosis of ADHD.  In fact the recent experience with CAMHS was over in a flash.  They see no mental or neurological issues at all with Missy and have referred us back to Post Adoption Support who I hope won't gloss over the "I want to kill yous" and the time last week when she tried to stab me with a fork.

I'm actually not too bothered that she wants to do lots of things (although give her a swimming pool in Greece and she'll be happy as larry for the whole day).  It's when she has decided its time to move on and then comes to me saying she is bored - it's then the fireworks start.  I suggest something - "NOOOOOOA". I suggest something else "Nooooooooooooooooo!!".  She asks me for five suggestions which I duly give.  She doesn't like any of them and her anger rises.  "I'm bored!" she yells at me.  I offer to play with her and suggest Lego or drawing but her need for control overtakes any joy that might arise from us playing together. She shouts at me to go away, that she wants to be alone.  I wonder out loud if anything is wrong. Nooooo, just go away!   Then she wants a hug, then she is rude, then she wants more suggestions of what to do.  I suggest things, she hates all of them and by now she is raging.  I try to stay therapeutic but it's hard.  She stomps off upstairs.   Five minutes later she will come down, much calmer, having decided on something to do, which wasn't one of my suggestions.  Hurrah!  This will keep her amused for 15-20 minutes, half an hour if I'm lucky, before she states again that she is bored and asks what she can do. Round and round we go.

It's been a long half term.  We had one lovely day out which I'll blog about separately but the rest has been tough.  I've already started to think how to fill the days of the long summer holidays.

In other news, she absolutely loved her newly decorated bedroom which I did whilst she and Daddy were visiting family.  So much for a restful two days by myself! Phew!  But the look on her face when she saw her room was priceless.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

My heart can never get empty

From Missy to me and Daddy.

"I love you lots. My heart is filled with lots of love from you.

My heart can never get empty! xx "

Thursday, 30 April 2015


Sorry blog for not visiting you for a month, it's very remiss of me.  To be honest, I've just felt, well, meh. Not depressed but just a feeling of 'can't be arsed'.  But I'm back now after a good morning - not only have Take That been confirmed for CarFest, a friend has offered me a ticket to see them in June and I had a lovely meeting with school, so feeling pretty chipper.

Yesterday I wasn't feeling so chipper.  I asked Missy to come over because her behaviour wasn't acceptable. "I don't want to look at your ugly face" she snarled.  Nice.  Then after school yesterday I was the 'most meanest horrible mummy" because I wouldn't take her to the park and then when I said no to some more food (because it was tea time very shortly) she kicked me twice and walked off. Lovely.

But then last Sunday we did have a chipper day because we were in London cheering on the marathon runners in the final few miles.  Missy loves it, screaming and shouting at them, getting high fives and handing out jelly babies.  She was smiling and giggling  on the train there and back and making other people smile with her infectious laughter. It was a good day.

Since I last blogged, we've had an appointment with CAMHS which went ok I think, although I did want to say out loud in a sarcastic tone "Duh! Really?" when the lady looked us triumphantly when Missy mentioned birth mum.  "There, that's it, it's all about her past!".  No shit.

Anyway, that comment aside, the lady at CAMHS seemed quite helpful and understanding and has already made us further appointments as part of the overall assessment.  I just hope some meaningful support comes of it.  The lady briefly mentioned art therapy but I've just found out that school can offer that anyway.  Missy meets once a week with a teacher who is also the pastoral care worker.  She's brilliant, I really love chatting to her, she afforded me over an hour today. She gets it.  I don't talk to the SENCO, I just talk to Missy's main teacher and the pastoral care worker.  They see a very different Missy on the whole, although interestingly some negative stuff  has been bubbling recently in the way of control and manipulation of friends.  I'm beginning to see more and more how Missy can't really cope in a group and it's her social skills that need some assistance.  Unsurprisingly, control is a big thing for Missy and we're still learning how to manage that at home.  I came away from school feeling much happier and supported.

Talking of support, the Government' Adoption Support Fund goes live tomorrow - £19m is being made available to help adoptive families.  There was a great piece on BBC Breakfast this morning with lovely Amanda Boorman from The Open Nest Charity and her daughter Jazz, plus the amazing Sally Donovan, author of No Matter What and The Unofficial Guide to Adopting (I'll add the Sally interview when I have a link).  The last I heard, albeit several weeks ago, was that our local authority knew very little about the fund and how it would be administered.  I really hope by now they've got their act in gear because I shall be ringing them soon, if not for Missy then for me.

In other news, I'm loving the horticulture course I'm on.  Being out in the fresh air, learning, talking to people about things other than children!  We're half way through and I'm thinking of signing up to another course that goes towards the overall diploma.   For Missy, I'm looking at Brownies as I think the social interaction will help a lot, the sense of responsibility doing the badges, the uniform she'll love to wear and the fun she'll have. I spoke with the Brown Owl of one pack, sadly too far from us, and they have a grand ol' time.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Rages and Crochet

Lately we've returned to the rollercoaster of rages and calmness and I've no idea what the triggers may be. One recent episode arose from me putting money in Missy's moneybox which had been lying around on her  bedroom floor.  As I was crouched down, she thumped me hard on the back and it bloody hurt.  The rage lasted 10 minutes then it was over, quickly as it started.  Another because, following a two minute fringe cut at the hairdressers, she wasn't offered a lollipop by the stylist as she often is.  Outside the salon her face had anger and disappointment written all over it. I empathised and showed her I understood why but her volume in the car was turned up max and continued back in the house.  I offered her something at home but it wasn't good enough and the rage lasted another 10 minutes before she was distracted by her crochet.

My Mum showed her how to crochet a few weekends ago, starting with a simple stitch and a chain.  By Sunday she had, all by herself (because I have no clue) knitted a small hat fit for a doll complete with bobble on top!  This week she wanted to crochet her own pin cushion in the shape of an apple. Up until yesterday morning she'd happily been crocheting an ever-expanding circle of red wool then I came back from the gym (#takingcare) and an apple shaped appeared before me.  She stuffed it and closed it up all by herself plus crocheted small green leaves on top.  I was pretty much speechless, gobsmacked.  This talent for crochet is one thing sure to keep her calm and engaged.  It also shows me she is able to think about things, find a solution and execute it - because believe me I'd have no idea how to have crocheted that apple, let alone the leaves and attach them.   We need to seriously nurture this talent and think how school can also use this creative strength.

Back in November the GP referred us to CAMHS after I talked to her about my anxiety and Missy's behaviour.  Two weeks ago the appointment came through and we are seeing them soon.  I've no idea what to expect at the first appointment and sometimes I think, when Missy is laughing, loving, singing Gold at the top of her voice in the car and doing her crochet, that I'm over-reacting, but after a lovely chat with a man from the NHS who phoned for the initial triage, I realised that, no, I am not.  He took Missy's behaviour very seriously and I wanted to give him a massive hug.  Just having the chat with this man helped.   So, we shall see what the appointment brings, if anything.  I read so much from others that CAMHS are as useful as a chocolate teapot but I'll reserve judgement until we've seen them.

I've had a break recently from the usual parenting books and have been reading autobiographies (the Kemps, who else! - the concert was brilliant by the way) but today I'm back on the parenting book "Why Can't My Child Behave" by Dr Amber Elliott.  I like this one because in so many ways it is describing Missy and I can relate to many of the case histories.  I ploughed through quite a lot this morning and have bookmarked many pages to highlight to Daddy later on.  This book in particular explains a lot of why a child might be behaving in this way which is so helpful in relation to their background - some things I understand but others ideas I hadn't considered as yet.  Daddy and I need to revisit some of the strategies we have learnt over the last couple of years and also put into practice some of the ideas from this book.  Unfortunately we've been guilty of using too much reward-punishment stuff lately.

In other news, physio is definitely helping my hip and I'm feeling quite excited at the thought of running again (I really want to a do a triathlon, though it probably doesn't help that I sold my bike). In the garden, the potatoes are in, the tomatoes are coming up and I've planned the seeds to be sown.

OK, back to the book and planning for the forthcoming Easter holidays.  Did someone mention chocolate?
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