Monday 20 May 2013

What is normal?

On the whole life in the Missy household has been fine for the last week.  It's been normal.  But our normal includes wetting, tears, screaming, kicking, anger, angelic, funny, sweet.   Actually there's been not much on the massive tantrum front for a while, just the daily strops.

Last Tuesday was a tearful afternoon but I put that down to the Theraplay session where the therapist encouraged Missy to think about emotions such as scary, happy, sad and excited and got her to think of times she felt like this with birth mum.  Consequently, she was very tearful later and anything and everything set her off.

Contrast this with last Saturday.  We went into London to Mums Show Live and met up with a friend and her 5 year old.  I wondered how Missy would react but for the most part she was relaxed and really did seem to enjoy herself.  She gets on really well with my friend's daughter which is lovely to see.  Both of them had their faces painted, played in tents, did drawings, made butterflies, had their nails painted, had their hair done and ate ice cream.  Missy was a little quiet during Carrie and David Grant's book launch (I think Carrie is so inspiring - three birth children with seven issues between them - ADHD, Aspergers and Dyspraxia to name three - and one adopted son).  It was a noisy dance-a-long launch and whilst friend's daughter joined in fully, Missy clung to me and was a little overwhelmed. But apart from that, she relaxed, smiled and laughed most of the day.  And the day was long - 10-5 at the show, home at 6.30 which is over an hour after Missy's teatime and then an hour later to bed.

The thing I struggle with with Missy is working out what is normal 5 year old behaviour, what is normal but just that little bit more intense with Missy and what is not 'normal' 5 year old behaviour that is a direct consequence of her background.

Missy has been recognised at school lately on a couple of occasions for being so neat and tidy.  Teacher tells us she is a joy and a quiet member of the class.  Missy?  Tidy?  Quiet?  Now is this being too compliant or is she, like I was at school, just being, well, a good girl?

Sometimes Missy does something, acts in a certain way, but then I see her friend act exactly the same and I think 'oh  good, she's being a 5 year old, nothing more, nothing less'.

I'm still a new mother and still getting to grips with what being 5 means.  I know her wetting and her frustrations are a direct result of her background.  She can be very intense and my friend noticed this a few times on Saturday.  Sometimes, she cries at something that one of her classmates may cry at, like many youngsters she's probably excited yet wary about going on holiday abroad for the first time, but I know with Missy her emotions are heightened.  This may come out in her language - whilst playing hairdressers and with me as a customer, she's asking her 'customer' if she can stay with them forever.  We've done that a lot this week.

I hope one day (and I know it's still early days) that I won't be forever analysing Missy's actions, language, tears and laughter.  It's hard work and I wish we could just be - but we can't - for now anyway.

Friday 10 May 2013

Achieving in Art

Do you ever dream that you know the answer to something, can sing a song all the way through, or have the perfect reply to someone?  I dreamt a fabulous blog post last night.  It was about achieving.  I'm no journalist   so I kinda write as I think but this blog in my dreams was brilliant!

However, you'll have to do with this one as I can't remember what I said in my dream.

When we were going through our assessment, our social worker asked where we thought we'd be in 20 years time.  We'd be 64 and 70 and Missy would be 25.  I said I'd hoped she might have had some further education, working her way through her first job, maybe even a mini-entrepreneur.  Our social worker said we shouldn't hope for much as adoptees are not achievers.  Ooooh, I wanted to blow my top right there!  I don't really get annoyed much but that comment got my goat.  How dare she label children so freely.  And what, anyway, does achieving mean - everyone has different meanings of achieving and success.  Just because she might not want to go to uni does not make her a non-achiever, just because she might not want to be a lawyer, a doctor, a city high flyer does not make her a non-achiever.  Whatever she does she will have achived.  Uni is not the be-all and end-all.  If she's a hairdresser, she will have achieved; if she's a dancer, she will have achieved; if she's a waitress, great!   (I said it far more articularely in my dream).

Right now, Missy is achieving great things in her artwork.  Her pictures often leave me and Daddy speechless, they are so good.  Drawing and making things is her passion and her resourcefullness makes me smile a lot.  I certainly was not that good at art when I was 5.   The school have noticed her talent and we're looking forward to creative art week at school.

Here's a sample of her work:

A peacock (not copied, all from her own little head)

Rapunzel, the prince and his horse

Daddy's breakfast - she painted some sponge to make it look like toast, glued it to a plate and stuck on some coloured paper baked beans and a knife and fork.  Brilliant.

A pony

Thursday 9 May 2013

How I've changed - a SpecialK30 Linky Challenge

I've been lucky enough to be chosen, along with other BritMums bloggers, to try the brand new Special K cereal and be a part of their #SpecialK30 Linky on BritMums.  Special K haven't changed their recipe for 30 years until now.

It got me thinking about the last 30 years and how I've changed.  Looks-wise I actually haven't changed that much.  In fact at a friend's recent 40th the theme was the 70/80s so I dressed as though I was back at school - I still have my old school blazer and it still fits!  I've also still got my old school tie; I backcombed my hair, applied black eyeliner and light pink lip gloss and there I was, back in 1983, not looking a day older!

Duran Duran, Culture Club, Fame, Phil Collns, Spandau were the big things back then.  I was a massive Duran fan back then and would scrapbook anything in Smash Hits or the newspapers that I could find.  These days there's info anywhere and everywhere thanks to the internet.  I can remember years by the music that in the charts - I'm rarely one year out on Radio 2s Pop Master!

Back then I wasn't the quietest but I also wasn't the loudest.  I wasn't a member of the cool crowd at school, in fact I was bullied by one of them.  I was very shy actually.  Still am to some extent but am far more assertive in many situations these days.

I was a good schoolgirl runner back then, winning my year's 100m race at the Sports Day.  They don't do sports days any more at school apparently as it's too competitive, which in my opinion is quite ridiculous.  At least I can run a bit further than 100m these days.

Anyway, back to Special K.  I've always loved Special K, often substituting it for lunch or dinner, and have to admit I was a teeny bit disappointed when I had my first taste of the new recipe.  It was too sweet, reminded me of Frosties.   But then I had another bowl, and another, and another (not at the same time you understand!).  The packet didn't last long and neither Daddy nor Missy got a look in.   Sometimes when you're used to something it takes a while to get used to change.  I'll definitely be looking out for the new recipe when it's on the shelves.

Disclaimer:  I wasn't paid by Special K or anyone else to write this blog, though I did get a free packet.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Walking and learning

It's been a walking and learning weekend for us.

On Saturday, whilst Daddy was at work, I decided Missy and I would go for a drive to a local nature reserve.   I'm no twitcher but I do like it there and it reminds me of when I was little and I loved my bird watching books, ticking off the birds as I saw them.

Earlier in the morning we'd been shopping with my Mum and bought Missy some new summer clothes.  Of course, she immediately wanted to wear her new summer dress when she got home, which was fine by me.  But as it was a little cool outside, I asked Missy to change into leggings and t-shirt when we went out.  Well, that was that, full-on meltdown ensued.  Missy got so enraged that I had to resort to holding, but in the end I had to let her go.  This lasted for half an hour and Missy was screaming so much she was retching.  I had to step away as I didn't want to a) over-react and b) let Missy see I was close to tears.  Eventually she calmed down, changed her clothes, and within 5 minutes it was as if nothing had happened.

The rest of the afternoon was lovely in the Reserve.  Missy was given a little quiz on a clipboard which made her feel very important and she carried it all around, ticking off things the quiz required us to see such as a Kingfisher, RSPB logo and Great Tit.  We probably walked about a mile in total and she also collected a few things along the way; some leaves, pussy willow, feather.  I learnt a few new bird names and Missy learnt lots of new stuff. Back at the main building they provide copious amounts of pens, crayons and coloured pencils and loads of picture of birds to colour in, so Missy was in her element whilst I had a cuppa.

Yesterday, following Missy's suggestion, all three of us went for a lovely walk in the countryside.  This time when Daddy suggested she wear shorts and t-shirt, after having put her summer dress on, she happily went upstairs, explaining that yes it would be a good idea because she might tear the dress on trees.  Wow!  Had she learnt from yesterday?

The walk was absolutely fabulous.  We packed a picnic and walked through the woods and across fields, spotting things on our 'list of things to spo't such as a rabbit, pine cone, tree (!), deer, buttercup and nettles to name a few things.  Missy loved it, we all loved it.  We ended up at a lovely local pub which has a large beer garden and a great playground for kids which Missy enjoys playing on.

An hour later, with the temperature getting much warmer, we set off for home.  I really thought Missy would start to complain about tired legs - but she didn't and two miles later including a few hills through the woods and fields, we were back home.  I was so impressed and proud of Missy for managing the 4 mile walk, and for enjoying herself all the way, pointing out loads of things she'd seen.

One of the things Daddy loves is walking in the Lake District and he's introduced me to some beautiful parts of the Lakes in the time we've been together.  We had worried that it would be many years until we'd be able to go back, but yesterday Daddy said "this gives me hope for the Lake District".  Missy does seem to love the outdoors - not always, sometimes she's not in the mood but that's like any child - but I reckon we'll be back up to the Lakes sooner than we think.

Saturday 4 May 2013


Missy asked if she could see this song on the computer today after hearing it last week.

I think the words and the video are brilliant, so empowering.  In fact I think I may print out the words and pin them up in the house.

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thinLike a house of cards, one blow from caving in?

Six feet under screams, but no one seems to hear a thingDo you know that there's still a chance for you

'Cause there's a spark in you?Just own the night like the 4th of July

Come on, show 'em what you're worthMake 'em go, oh, oh, oh

As you shoot across the skyCome on, let your colors burstMake 'em go, oh, oh, oh

You're gonna leave 'em falling downYou're original, cannot be replacedIf you only knew what the future holdsAfter a hurricane comes a rainbow

So you could open one that leads you to the perfect roadLike a lightning bolt, your heart will blowAnd when it's time, you'll knowJust own the night like the 4th of July

Come on, show 'em what you're worthMake 'em go, oh, oh, ohAs you shoot across the skyCome on, let your colors burst

Make 'em go, oh, oh, ohYou're gonna leave 'em falling downEven brighter than the moon, moon, moonIt's always been inside of you, you, you

And now it's time to let it throughCome on, show 'em what you're worthMake 'em go, oh, oh, ohAs you shoot across the sky

Come on, let your colors burstMake 'em go, oh, oh, ohYou're gonna leave 'em falling down

Even brighter than the moon, moon, moonBoom, boom, boomEven brighter than the moon, moon, moon

Do you ever feel already buried deep?
You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
'Cause baby, you're a firework
Baby, you're a firework
You don't have to feel like a waste of space
Maybe you're reason why all the doors are closed
You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
'Cause baby you're a firework
Baby, you're a firework
Boom, boom, boom
'Cause baby you're a firework
Baby, you're a firework
Boom, boom, boom

Wednesday 1 May 2013

The Positivity Pot

You may be forgiven, from reading my blog,  for thinking there are no good days or positive moments in the Missy household.

We do have good days, positive moments and fun times honest.

Raucous laughter after a water fight with Daddy, days out in London, baking cakes, Missy's superb artwork, going to the park, planting seeds and watching with delight as they grow, round of applause game, massive improvements in reading and counting, learning to do plaits, dancing, playing musical chairs, tickles, running, cuddles, shower time, learning to ride a bike.  And loads more.

To remind myself of those good memories, I'm taking a leaf out of The Boys' Behaviour blog and creating a Positivity Pot which I shall fill with daily positive notes; things that have happened, things that Missy says, places we've been etc.  It will be interesting to look at them at the end of the year (or maybe just dip in and out when we're having some down days).

Today's positivity note was a reminder of our fab day out at a 5* hotel for a spa day and champagne lunch - a Christmas present to us from my Mum :-))

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