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.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    Great to find this. I'm at the very start of the adoption process - haven't even decided on an agency, so good to hear how it is day-to-day.
    Thanks for sharing,


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