Saturday 26 October 2013

One Year Ago Today .....

This post links up with #WASO on The Adoption Social and this week's theme is the Future.

One year ago today Missy came home to us.

One year ago my and Daddy's life changed beyond anything we could imagine.

We've survived, just about in tact.  Healthwise, it's been a crap year for me.  For someone generally pretty healthy, I've had so many colds, D&V, depression and back pain.  Daddy got to the end of his tether with his job (and so did I) and tomorrow is his last day - hurrah!

Missy had grown in so many years, not just physically.  In fact this morning both Daddy and I commented that she seems to have had a growth spurt recently.  Even though her emotions are up and down, she's come on leaps and bounds in so many other ways - she understands more about right and wrong, she is funny, she's stopped telling whopping lies (the odd one or two sneak in), she can be delightful, she is thoughtful, her reading has improved no end, her anxiety about certain things is lessening, she is catching up with her peers in terms of social behaviour and she copes with change pretty well for the most part.    The graph below is how I see the last year - some ups, some downs all the way along, but the overall result at the end is up.

As Daddy is working today and not home til after Missy's tea time, we are going to celebrate with a family meal next week but for today I've said that Missy can choose her favourite thing for her tea.  Pizza, of course.  We were also so proud of her this morning as she did a brilliant run of 1.7 miles and beat her PB by 3 minutes.   I'm not sure how other people celebrate this time, if indeed they do.  Once the adoption order goes through, we might end up celebrating that day instead, not sure.  One friend very thoughtfully sent a One Year Anniversary card which was lovely, particularly as I haven't heard from her much this year.  I don't suppose anyone else will remember it's been one whole year.

But what of the future?   I hope her anger is a 'phase', maybe Year 1-itis (I'm sure I didn't get this much homework when I was 6).   I hope her anger doesn't get in her way as she grows up as she has so much potential.  I hope her self-esteem improves and doesn't hold her back.  I hope her relationship with food doesn't impact on her life.  I hope we can build a great mother-daughter relationship. I also hope we can build a positive relationship with her much older half-siblings when the time is right.

For me and Daddy, I hope he can find a great job that is Monday to Friday although I'm really not sure what I want to do.  Being self-employed is too hard for me at the moment as I don't feel emotionally strong enough, but I lack so much confidence to go back to being an employee.

I think we just need to continue month by month, year by year at the moment.  Maybe we should live by the quote from Buddha - "Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present".

Thursday 17 October 2013

It's Party Time

Did you see in the news this week the report about a teacher banning party invitations being given out at school unless it was the whole class?   Even though Missy has been invited to several whole-class parties, I felt for her it would be too overwhelming (and us too, lets be honest!).  Instead I suggested she invite 5 friends from her class.  This meant I had to surreptitiusoy give out the invitations - or at least it felt like it - in the playground.  I do hope no-one was offended, but if Missy doesn't get invited to a couple of birthdays then I'll probably know why.

Missy had been out of sorts of late and one of the reaons could have been her birthday - not knowing what a birthday means in this house, would she get a present, would it be fun?   We found it easier to involve her and not let there be any big surprises so she knew exactly what her cake was like, the games we would be playing, what we were doing on her actual birthday, that we had got her a Birthday badge etc.   On the birthday itself we got up a little earlier so she could open her presents - not too many, just one big one from us and close family plus the neighbours.  Pizza was chosen by Missy for her birthday tea and I decorated some muffins with icing and stuck a few candles in as I thought it would be nice that she didn't have to wait for her party to blow some out.

Party-day arrived and Missy was brimming with excitement.  We had a semi-Hello Kitty theme and the girls wore their best party dresses, which makes a change from Princess or Pirate outfits to be honest.  Daddy and my Mum were here and the school gate friend offered to help out as well.

I'd taken a few cues from the party Missy had been to last week plus included a few standard games like Pass The Parcel, Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty, Musical Statues etc.  Of course, One Direction figured as well with dancing to said group several times during the afternoon.  After games it was time for tea - mini burgers and rolls, home made ice cream and cake.  The home made ice cream was a Jamie Oliver recipe and his little ones seemed to love it - not in this house though. No-one really liked it, except of course Missy.  Oh well, it seemed a good idea.  What was a good idea however was decorating cup cakes.  Thankfully not that many hundreds and thousands and silver balls ended up on the carpet as we had forgotten to put a covering down. No sooner were they decorated than they disappeared into tummys.  Then it was time for Birthday Cake and candles and Happy Birthday followed by a bit more dancing and then it was 5pm!  I breathed a sigh of relief at how well the party had gone and Missy seemed to enjoy herself without getting too overwhelmed.  

And, now that's she six, she hasn't hit me or wet her knickers because "six year olds don't do that".  

Wednesday 2 October 2013

"I'll stop hitting you when I'm six"

"I'll stop hitting you when I'm six" said Missy, as we drove to soft play.   Thanks, I thought.

Missy has been off sorts lately.  I've seen a couple of big tantrums, some full-on, throat wretching, ear-piercing screaming with venom in her eyes.  The word 'no' is prevalent, she's been talking about "when I was a baby" a lot and would definitely win Miss Attitude.  She's also been very lovely, sweet, helpful and funny, don't get me wrong, but the negative behaviour is of the like we saw earlier in the year.  

Could be several things that have set her off - perhaps her birthday, bringing back memories, not really knowing whether her new mummy and daddy will actually buy her a present, what happens on birthdays in this house?  Perhaps it's the eye drops she is back on.  I can actually pinpoint the day the tantrums started again and that was the day she started back on the eye drops.  If there was a more natural way to help her eyesight improve, I'd jump at it, but unfortunately the drops are the best solution right now.  One of the side effects is irritability and  I can't imagine what it's like to have one eye's vision blurred out so the lazy eye will work harder.  I think I'd be irritable.  It may be both these issues mixed in with a dose of school stuff.

A couple of times in the last week I had to walk out her room, once after she'd kicked me quite hard.  I was nearly in tears and Daddy took over bedtime duties instead.  Yesterday, she angrily wanted me to choose what she was going to wear, but unfortunately didn't like anything I chose.  I calmly said that it might be better if she chose and when she was ready to let me know and I would help her get ready and then we could have a hug.  I walked downstairs, again nearly in tears because of her venom towards me.  Crying and screaming followed but then silence and she appeared five minutes later in a lovely pink skirt and top, we had a hug and started playing with Lego.

At the beginning we felt we were walking on eggshells around Missy.  I think that feeling has pretty much gone now.  I can, largely, deal with her tantrums, help her make decisions, know when she needs some space, when simply watching Cbeebies is the right thing for her, when she's hit the tiredness wall.  

Missy went to her friends birthday party last week, where her friend had invited five other girls from the class.  Friend's mum invited me to stay and asked if I would like to help out which I was happy too, not necessarily because I wanted to keep an eye on Missy, more to make a few notes on what the heck you do for a girl's birthday party!   There are loads of way in which you can see how Missy has grown up, progressed over the last year, but along side her friends I could also see how socially and behaviorally she is a few months behind.  Not by much at all, not compared to, say, the school disco.   Reading is one area in which she is behind, she's only just reading books for the 4-5 year band, but you know what, I'm not going to stress over this. I doubt she read or was read to much before. Missy shows her flair in other areas: drawing, creating, sport.  In fact she came for a little jog with me yesterday, just half a mile which we'll gradually increase as we've signed up for the Sport Relief Mile next March.  She's also just about got the hang of riding a bike although straight lines are a little difficult at the moment.

I wonder if she'll remember what she said to me in the car.

In other news, I went to a House of Colour open day last weekend and got myself a bright red lippy! Never ever worn bright red before but the make up artist chose just the right colour for me.  I tell you, it does wonders for your confidence.

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