Friday 26 April 2013

Regression - mother and daughter

This post is part of the Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO where this week's theme is regression.

Mostly this post is about regression as far as Missy is concerned but I'll also touch on it as far as I'm concerned too.

During our training we were told that adopted children often regress to a much younger age.  Apparently it's them filling in parts of their lives that they missed out on before.  It can also represent comfort, something familiar.

Missy is five and a half but in the past six months we've also had a baby and a toddler living with us.  Missy likes to play 'the baby game', although much less so recently.  She pretends to be a baby, crawls along the floor talking in a baby voice, saying 'gaga', 'thirsty' and 'cuddles'.  We have to pretend she is a baby and pretend to feed her a bottle and then usually give her a cuddle on my lap or rock her like a baby.  Daddy doesn't feel comfortable doing this and I didn't at first but I just go with it now as the game doesn't last long. Our SW suggests it's her acting out scenarios and helping herself to understand that Mummy and Daddy do actually do what Mummys and Daddys should do.  This role play is likely to be something she missed out on on several occasions when she was baby.  Our SW also explained that children, however, won't re-enact something for months that they missed out on for months.  They may only do it for a while, a few days even, or everyone now and then.  At least with Missy it's just pretend and I don't actually have to get the sterilisers, or jugs out!

For Missy, there isn't a pattern for her regression, or at least not that I've noticed yet.  It doesn't happen when she is anxious, in fact it's probably more when she is - or appears to us to be - settled in her surroundings.

It's not just Missy that regresses.  I feel I've regressed to a person I was 15 years ago.  That person had little confidence and that's how I feel now.  I feel like a shrinking violet at the school gate.  I felt worried about going into town this evening for a night out, and nearly didn't make it (and cried in the restaurant, oh for goodness sake!).  My self-esteem has taken a nose dive. 14 years ago I went backpacking round the world and it did wonders for my confidence.  I can't do that now of course (though to be honest there are many days when I wish I could).  I've started re-reading the book that helped me make that shift 14 years ago - Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway - bloody brilliant book - you can throw all my other books away but don't touch that one!!  And another good book I'm reading (I have at least 4 books and 3 magazines on the go at the moment) is What to Say When You Talk To Yourself.

It's when I start drinking Martini & Lemonade that I know I've regressed to an 18 year old!

PS.  Saturday -  Baby has appeared today!   Baby turned up half an hour ago wanting bottle (used her Hello Kitty bottle that was on the table), burping and cuddles then sleep.  Now baby wants nappy changed!  Baby wanted pasta for tea not the rice I've put on - that was until I explained that babies do eat rice in their meals, not pasta.  Baby is now climbing the furniture - I'll be climbing the walls shortly!

Tuesday 23 April 2013

A good weekend then back to normality

Since my last blog post, we've had a great weekend.  On Saturday we went to the zoo and the local soft play which was Missy's idea.  In the afternoon our town held a St George's celebration, with a kiddies fairground, stalls, lucky dips, maypole dancing, ice creams and St George re-enactments.   It was a lovely afternoon in the sun.  Back home, Missy and her toys had a picnic in the garden whilst I pottered around.  I can't quite remember (memory is shocking these days) but I'm sure there were some tears and strops at some point.

Sunday, we ventured into London to watch the London Marathon and found a great spot just before mile 25.  I was really proud of Missy as we stood by the barrier, shouting and cheering and getting high fives from those runners who had an ounce of energy left.  We were there for 3.5 hours - a long time to stay in the same place and Missy barely complained.  As she'd been so good, we treated her to a burger and chips at a Grill near Leicester Square.    Sunday evening, I'll put down to tiredness, but I got a lot of chat back and a massive shove backwards whilst she was supposed to be cleaning her teeth.  I had to walk out the bathroom otherwise I would have shouted.  Daddy took over.  But all in all, a really good weekend.

Then we're back at school.  Some tears in the morning, stroppy after school, more tears over things completely contradicting what she'd said or done earlier.   Whilst we were reading her school book, I suggested we both hold a side of the book, otherwise I couldn't see what she was reading.  She tried to pull it away from me and I calmly explained that pulling the book might tear it.  "I'll break you in a minute" she shouted.  I was shocked, so shocked that she had five minutes time-in straight away.  This sounded like an adult talking, not a five year old.   I stayed calm but inside I was seething.   Five minutes later she apologised and we had a hug.  More stroppiness, over what I gave her for tea, over having quiet time, over not being allowed to get the glitter out five minutes before bed.  I'm exhausted.  At bedtime, we read a story, the Little Miss stories for the umpteenth time, and then did a children's meditation on CD.  I nearly fell asleep myself.  She was out like a light.

Later last night, our social workers came to visit.  We explained our lives since their last visit and they are really happy that there appears to be progress.  I have to say, on the whole we have really supportive social workers which, hearing from other adopters, isn't the norm.  Chatting to them, it's obvious from our own words that we do care, that we are proud, that progress is certainly being made.  One step backwards, two steps forward.  They broached the subject of the Adoption Order.  It's been six months now since Missy moved in and Daddy and I don't quite feel ready to apply for the AO.  A birth mum has nine months to bond with her child and the idea of being a real mum.  I've had six so far.  So we'll be waiting for a little longer.We don't have any intention of Missy moving on but right now it doesn't feel quite right. It's a little scary to be honest.  Whilst we have access to Post Adoption Support, I'm not ready yet to let go of the social workers who will disappear once the AO goes in. In fact the Family Finder SW is probably only go to be around for another month or so and suggested the next time she comes to see Missy, it will be a goodbye meeting.  Oh joy.  That will produce a few days of high anxiety from Missy no doubt.

In other news, I'm back on the coffee.  Right, time for some meditation.

Friday 19 April 2013

Keep on Running

This week I can feel London Marathon fever setting in.   I'm not running yet I'm still excited by it.  I have several friends who are running, Daddy is working at the Marathon Expo and there's loads of stuff on TV this week, interviewing those running for charity.

I used to run.  I've done several marathons, including London three times, plus many half marathons, 10ks and 5ks.  I started running when I was 35 and could barely run 100m at first without collapsing in a heap, gasping for breath, but I gradually got better, got the right trainers, became part of a brilliant supportive online running community (which is how I met Daddy) and a year later I ran my first marathon.  London Marathon is a fantastic event.  The atmosphere at the start is electric and each time I've crossed the starting line, I've burst into tears.  My name is on my running vest and it's such a pick-me-up to have complete strangers called out your name along the route.  Children stand by the side of the road with hands stretched out, waiting for you to give them a high five.  The noise is incredible all along the route, people cheering, bands playing and I've got goose-pimples now thinking about the last 500m.  Lots of people run in fancy dress and I remember being passed by a Cornish pasty and a bottle of beer at mile 17.

I haven't run properly for nearly 2 years and I miss it.

Many of the runners I know have been stressed or depressed and have found running as a form of therapy.  Running in the fresh air, alone, gives you plenty of thinking time.  Being outside increases your vitamin D levels, which help with the production of serotonin, the feel good hormone, whilst the sense of achievement after you've done a run, be it 2 miles or 13 miles, is a great drug.

I need to go running again.  I need to focus on something, something I know I can do and enjoy.  Whilst I'm feeling brighter, I'm still feeling low at times.  Some days I feel like a mummy, other days I feel like a babysitter.  Daddy has been out the house at 6.15am this week and getting back at 10pm so the parenting has been entirely up to me.  I'm mentally exhausted.  In fact I've been referred by the LA for some counselling for adopters (I'll blog more about this soon).

At the moment though I can't run due to an issue with my back but I'm having some therapy and hope to get out running again in the next month.  Once I get going, however, I'll be a complete beginner again.  One minute run, one minute walk then I'll build up gradually.  Having a goal is good, so I'm going to aim to do a 5k in the summer and maybe, just maybe, a 10k by the end of the year.

The three of us are going up to London on Sunday to cheer on the runners.  We think Missy will enjoy it - she's been to London with us before, is ok in crowds, and loves running.  She went out with Daddy last weekend and ran over half a mile without stopping.  She's been trotting around the house this week, pretending to run a marathon and wearing my marathon medals around her neck.  The next Paula Radcliffe mabye?

If you're running, good luck.  Start off slowly, don't worry what everyone else is doing.  Look up, take it all in. Enjoy it.   We'll be there to cheer you on.

Monday 15 April 2013

Easter Holidays - part 2

Well, I survived (although Missy doesn't actually go back to school until tomorrow as today is an Inset Day).

It's not been easy I can tell you.  I've definitely had moments where I just wanted to walk away, to go back to my old life.  I'm getting very good at cleaning the bathroom and kitchen and I've tried to hide away several times in our spare room where our computer is.  But, on the whole, it's been ok.  Partly made easier by Daddy having four days off last week, thank the Lord.

We've had a few meltdowns, many strops, buckets of tears but really Missy has been fine, if not a little demanding on the attention side of things.  She has periods of time when she just follows me everywhere.

We've kept to a routine as much as possible.  However, we've also been on a playdate, we've gone to the big soft play (I love soft play, I really do, as it means I get nearly two hours to read a magazine - as much as you can read when there are 50 screaming kids around), we've been on a train, we've been to a very large shopping centre, we've been to grandma's, we've been to a restaurant, we've had a BBQ, we've grown cress.  And Missy has behaved brilliantly.

The large shopping centre went really well - she quite likes shopping (may not bode well for when she's older though!) and we treated her to a visit to the Build A Bear Workshop where she got to choose her bear and help bring it to life, adding stuffing, a noise and a heart. She actually chose a dog rather than a bear but at least she chose the least expensive one, good choice Missy.  Thankfully the noise she chose was a woof woof, rather than One Direction singing one of their hits - can you imagine, every time you pressed the dog's paw, One Direction blare out!  After the Workshop, we wandered round the rest of the shops, had a snack, more shops, had lunch, more shops and then came home.  When I was her age, I was whinging about going home as soon as we'd arrived!

Missy has been wetting herself again a lot in the last few days though, sometimes twice in one day.  I haven't sussed what that's all about and I'm very sure it's not to do with any of the activities we've done because they are things she likes doing and has done before, bar the shopping centre.  It might be due to returning to school as they have a new teacher for the summer term.

One thing I've noticed, and she's doing it now as I type, is that she is playing by herself more.  It's only for 10-15 minutes at a time, but this is good, very good.  I think she's playing schools with her array of Hello Kittys at the moment.  Her fave activity is still drawing but in the first few months of her being here, she would rarely play by herself, if at all.    I brought down a lot of her toys from her bedroom and put them in the lounge during the hols and I think this helped her as she could see the toys in front of her and it would trigger her playing.

So, one step backwards, two steps forwards. Slowly, though, slowly.

In other news, I feel the need to learn to sew and use a sewing machine.  Must be my age.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Ooh I do love a delivery..

I do love receiving a delivery.  I get quite a few related to my job but as I'm not doing my job at the moment (technically on adoption leave although there isn't actually such thing when one is self-employed) I'm not getting many deliveries.  However yesterday I got a new delivery from Hello Fresh and couldn't wait to get it open.  I discovered them via Little Bird, the daily discount site.

Hello Fresh boxes are like veg and meat boxes except everything in there is designed to make specific recipes, details of which they include, together with everything else you need to make the meal including just he right amount of herbs, sauce, oil etc.   All the ingredients are fresh and high quality and sourced in Great Britain. What I like is that all the ingredients are measured out so there is no waste.  Tonight's meal includes truffle oil and you can bet your life if  bought a whole (expensive) bottle, it would still be in my cupboard in 10 years time, but doing this way I get just the right amount with no waste.

So, tonight I'm making Cod with Truffle Mash & Roasted Leeks.  Friday we're having Pork Chops with Sage Butter and New Potatoes and we also have ingredients for Chicken Yakitori with crispy red onions and Sweet & Sour Noodles.

For someone who hasn't yet got to grips with meal planning for a family, this is perfect.  I very rarely buy ready meals and love cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients, so am really looking forward to making these meals.  I'm not sure yet if the cost is more than I'd usually spend at the supermarket but I'll work it out and let you know.

If you fancy trying the box and saving £20 on your first delivery, use discount code DRWZ8G.  Oh, and check out the Head Chef, Patrick, if you look at the website :-)

By the way, Hello Fresh haven't paid me to write this blog and the discount I got was because I saw the deal on Little Bird.

Monday 8 April 2013

Easter Holidays - part 1

Whilst I wasn't particularly looking forward to the holidays, I didn't have the same dread as before Christmas.  Nevertheless, I endeavoured to arrange quite a few days where we went out, spent time with friends, did activities, whilst at the same time keeping as much to routine as possible.

Easter Sunday was our first long car journey, over two hours, and first visit to my brother's house.  The car journey went surprisingly well, helped by Missy having one of these .....

The backpack (from Content & Calm) hangs over the front passenger seat, acting like a tray in front of Missy. In her backpack, she had drawing materials, paper, colouring in, small toys and books and this kept her entertained for much of the journey.  Once at my brother's, to get her used to the layout of the house, we did an mini-egg Easter egg hunt around the house and my bro kindly bought her a bigger egg which he left in the greenhouse for her to find.  So far so good.   I'd already explained to bro and sis-in-law about her food issues and on the whole we managed this ok, although she was rather concerned about breakfast on the Monday - when was breakfast, would she get her usual Weetabix, would she have to eat a cooked breaky like we were going to do, when was lunch etc?

Missy spent much of the time there doing her drawings but we also went out for a couple of walks (which she protested against although actually enjoyed).  At night time we spent a while practicising her route from bedroom to bathroom and bedroom to our room.  Unfortunately I forgot to put the waterproof covers on the bed and of course Missy wet the bed for the first time since November.  I think her food anxiety played a big part.   At other times during the weekend, Missy was relaxed and happy although ignored me on a few occasions and at one point I had to disappear into the bedroom sharpish to have a quick cry.   My bro and sis-in-law were brilliant with Missy, having had lots of experience with children themselves.  The two days were like a respite for me in a way.

Last week we've also had two play dates, both where we've gone to their house.  Both times the mums commented how much more relaxed Missy was.  She certainly was more confident and happy to talk to me too whilst there.  What I love hearing is Missy's laughter when she's playing and there was lots of it.  One of the play dates was with an experienced adopter and I always feel much brighter after visiting her - she has been a tower of support.

One of the days we went shopping, including a visit to Ikea.  Missy is really happy to go shopping and loves Ikea, mostly because she likes the meatballs!  As we walked around, she played out a little role play in many of the room sets - so sweet and funny. Takes ages to walk round though!

It's been a tiring week though.  If I've heard the word mummy once, I've heard it a 1000 times.  If I've heard the words 'no,but..', I've heard them a 100 times at least.  There's been tantrums, tears, insolence and backchat but there's also been smiles, engagement, cuddles and copious amounts of artwork.  I'm exhausted though.  Back to school can't come fast enough although this week Daddy is off for four days - yaayy!

In other news, I've won two auctions on ebay. I could get addicted.
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