Tuesday 18 June 2013

A step backwards and Fathers Day

I haven't felt very inspired to write my blog lately.  Not sure why. Maybe it's because I had nothing of significance to write - all was going swimmingly (well for the most part) in our house.   Until this weekend.

Last Saturday Missy was cheeky, belligerent, crying at everything, crying each time I said no to something, kicked me, very nearly bit me, shouting, screaming.   My heart was pounding and whilst I attempted to remain calm, twice I had to lock myself in the bathroom to have a deep breath and a cry.  I haven't felt like this since back early in the year. Daddy was working all weekend so he wasn't around to help.  I know I shouldn't take what she says personally but it's hard not too when all I hear is how nasty I am, how she doesn't love me and wants to go back to her old mummy.  Once Daddy got home, we had tea and I disappeared upstairs and left him to do the parenting.  Of course, all was pretty much fine after that.

I really can't think what was the trigger for last Saturday.  Maybe it's a culmination of things such as preparing for Year 1, Daddy working all weekend, having breakfast early with Daddy and so it was ages til snack and lunchtime, not going to soft play (I changed my mind and decided Sunday would be a better day).  Perhaps we've been a bit too loose lately with boundaries, forward planning etc so I think I'll tighten the reins a bit.

Sunday was calmer.  It's Fathers Day so Missy gave him his cards this morning, one of which included a badge that Daddy wore all day and we visited him at work before soft play to check he was wearing it (he was).   I let her watch TV all morning, not something I usually do but she was much calmer and enjoyed watching the programmes and I had time to catch up on a few things.  I even managed a chapter of my latest book!  The rest of the day was pretty much ok and passed without incident. Sadly we didn't really get to celebrate Fathers' Day as Daddy and I had our tea much later than Missy as I wanted to get her bathed and bed early, but he did take her to one of the local playgrounds (erm,which happens to be in a pub garden!) for some Daddy/Daughter bonding before tea.

Last week ago I had to attend a PEP (Personal Educational Plan) Meeting at the school with Missy's SW, her teacher, her Year 1 teacher and the LA Educational Adviser.  SW started the meeting by talking about Missy's anxiety and about me and Daddy, like I wasn't in the room!  I surprised myself with my reaction - "that's my daughter you're talking about" and felt a little defensive.  This is good!   SW has seen me twice and Missy once in the last 2-3 months, she hasn't seen how Missy has changed! Grrr.  Anyway, I am now warming to her teacher who is certainly keeping an eye on her.  Anxieties appear in the classroom, particularly when she has to change activity or change her book.  She's still wetting herself almost daily too.  The Year 1 teacher is also the school SENCO which is good news. I'm still not convinced that her quietness in the classroom is quite right.  Quiet is not Missy.  I feel a sense of compliance or 'freeze' state, but we'll keep tabs on it.  The SW also let us know that she is moving on in August.  For me and Daddy, that's fine, we haven't warmed to her like our own SW who is fabulous.  But  I think Missy will find it challenging having a new SW to trust and like.

In other news, I went on a course yesterday "Trauma & The Body - How to support yourself using Somatic Experiencing".  More about this in another blog.

Monday 3 June 2013

Our first holiday abroad

Today is the last day of the half term holidays (inset day today) and about time I gave an update.

The week before half term was unsettling for Missy.  She wasn't herself and school noticed this too.  Whilst she wasn't having meltdowns or major tantrums, she was more tearful than useful.  Anything would set her off.  I put this down to a variety of things: forthcoming holiday to Portugal and all that goes with it, not being in the talent show at school, her family finder SW telling her it would be the last time she was visiting and Theraplay.

We did our best to prepare Missy for the holiday - involved her in packing, bought her a book about airports showing what Passenger Pete did at each stage, talked about what we would all do once there, explained about our cats going on their own holiday, talked about what we would do when we all got back home etc etc.  More about the actual holiday later.

The talent show was a learning curve for Missy.  Being in it was optional and although Missy said she did want to participate, she didn't want to rehearse.  Teacher spoke to me about it and I spoke with Missy about it, explaining that it's important to practice and practice when you want to do something new.  In the end I agreed with teacher that Missy wouldn't be in the show - it wasn't fair on those who practiced a lot and Missy would have looked a bit of a lemon on stage.  Lesson learned for next year.

Back to the holiday.  It went well.  Hurrah!!

Missy enjoyed virtually every moment.  She was excited about going, didn't appear apprehensive, was really good at the airport and not overwhelmed.  We had a very early start at 3.50am (when we left the dawn chorus was in full swing and a cuckoo was making his presence well known - such a great sound).  We met my brother, sis-in-law and mum at the airport in time for breakfast. We had bought Missy a Trunki (got a bargain on ebay) which she loved when we showed it to her, and indeed it proved useful for packing her toys, colouring and books for the flights, but pulling the thing along was not of much interest to Missy and Daddy and I ended up carrying it. The flight was good, the long drive to my brother's house passed without incident and once at his house she made herself right at home straight away.  We practiced the night time routine which we always do in a new place; going from her room to bathroom and her room to our room.  Her room was in between both our room and the bathroom and she found her way to the loo in the early hours with no problem, and not a wet bed in sight.

Missy's highlight was the pool.  Previously I'd taken her to the local swimming pool where she hadn't really ventured from the side even with arm bands.  On holiday, however, within minutes she was treading water and doggy paddling with her arm bands on.  The best bit for her though was being thrown and chucked in the water by Daddy.  She absolutely loved it. I wish I could show a video, it's hilarious.  She'd still be in there now if we didn't have to come home.  I'm really pleased she has so much confidence in the water considering she'd only been to a pool a couple of times before.

We visited the beach, which was stunning.  A vastness of sand, the tide out a long way and not another person in sight.  If any of you know Formby in the North West, it reminded me of there. Whilst the weather was sunny, it was very windy and too cold to sunbathe so we paddled, walked, climbed the sanddunes and made sandcastles.

What I valued was having a break from being the centre of attention.  My brother and sis-in-law were brilliant with her and mum is a complete star.  Mum is an early riser and seeing that Missy was also up early, offered to read her a story each morning, which Missy loved.

It was lovely to see Missy so relaxed and care-free.  She has a beautiful smile and a lovely giggle when she's really enjoying herself and we saw this on many occasions.  Yes, there were a few grumpy moments and the food issue was evident though low-key but on the whole it was a great week.  We only went for four nights as we weren't sure how it would go when we arranged the holiday, but it's great to know that Missy enjoyed it and bodes well for future holidays abroad.

Back home, Daddy continued his holiday, going back to work tomorrow.  I love it when he's home as we share the parenting well, it takes the pressure of me and it's important bonding time for him and Missy.  The last few days have been enjoyable too, not least because the sun has been out and it's been really quite warm.  We've played a lot with Missy (she's still very demanding of our time), we've had a picnic as part of national The Big Lunch event (which led us to a local park we never even knew was there!), and we've been bird spotting in a local reserve (saw a kingfisher and a heron fishing).  Today was Parent Consultation time at school which was fine; no major issues from either side, a few things we pointed out but nothing either side are too worried about.  Missy has been stubborn, cheeky and talking back a fair bit the last few days but I think it's because she's in her safe surroundings and feels able to do this.  A couple of adopter friends reckon this is good!  They're a bit more experienced than me so I'll take there word for it at the moment!

So, all in all, a good week and another few steps forward.

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