Wednesday 19 March 2014

Shaken but not stirred

A few days ago, as we got into the car to go to school, Missy decided that the plait I did in her hair (the same type of plait I do every day) was not good enough.  She started crying, shouting, screaming at me.  For five minutes I had a torrent of abuse hailed at me from the back seat by a 6 year old.

"I've had a fed up morning with my Mummy!!"
"You've done my plait wrong, you do everything wrong!!"
"Don't talk to me, I don't walk to be spoken to!!"
"I hate this family, I don't want to see the judge!!"
"I don't love you!!"
"You're a horrible mummy and I hate my hair!!"

and so on.

I didn't say anything because I would have just got shouted down and she would have screamed even more loudly.  By the time we parked up, I was shaking but I tried to remain as calm as possible and not let her see I was shaking.

Missy got out the car, threw down her bags at my feet and shouted "Carry my bags!!" and ran off in front of me.  I walked fast after her. "Don't follow meeeee!!" she screamed several times.  Nevertheless she waited for me so we could cross the road but didn't want her hand held and dug her nails in hard.  If another parent had said anything to me at this point, even 'Hello', I might have burst into tears.  Then as soon as we got to the playground, Missy saw her friends and instantly changed her mood into the delightful, happy, fun-loving girl that we know she can be.  She even gave me a kiss goodbye.

There's been a lot of shouting lately.  Yesterday I was 'a horrible and ridiculous mummy' because her trainers were still damp after being cleaned the day before (caked in mud from an enjoyable walk) and it meant she couldn't wear them to swimming.

On Sunday, she and Daddy went out for a little run which she normally loves to do. But not on this occasion.  Half way round she started screaming and shouting, sat on ground, kicked and bit Daddy and shouted at him to "Shut it!!".

I can handle these outbursts much better now.  I remain fairly calm and, when I know it's appropriate, I will talk to her, 'wonder' what is wrong, talk about feelings, etc.  Sometimes its best just to leave her calm down in her own space and time and we're getting to know when this is the right thing to do.

The Celebration Hearing is a massive deal for Missy.  She's counting down the days and on the one hand she is excited about it but on the other she thinks the judge is going to say she has to live elsewhere.  Whilst we can try to reassure her that this is not the case, her internal working model is suggesting otherwise.  I've talked about other adoptees that she knows having seen the judge and
she's seen a picture of a friend's Celebration Hearing with the judge.  She still doesn't believe it though and her anxiety levels are through the roof.

It must be exhausting for her little body with all the stress hormones working overtime. At times she is delightful, loving, engaging and then the switch flips and anger, frustration, fear takes over. We try to watch for triggers but something that she's usually been fine could that day be the straw that broke the camels back.  At other times she'll surprise us by taking stuff in her stride. Take yesterday, the school called me at 8.15am to tell me the after school club was being moved to a Wednesday. Talk about short notice and as I was up in London I had to arrange for another parent to pick her up. Missy handled it really well, accepted what was happening and loved going to her friends for tea. I was very proud of her. It's exhausting for us too, not knowing what mood from one minute to the next.

At least Missy is happy about one thing and that's that we are going ice skating two days after the Celebration Hearing.  I got a massive hug for that one.

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