Wednesday 31 December 2014

Looking back on 2014 and ahead to 2015

I've just looked back at my blog post describing my aims for 2014. If I were a teacher I'd mark my year end report as 'Satisfactory but could try harder'.

Improve my health - I didn't, in fact it nosedived. I'll try much harder in 2015, particularly as I've joined a gym now. In fact I've already been to my first yoga class in ten years. I can confirm I am as flexible as a plank of wood.

Meet other adopters - I did pretty well here. At the Adoption UK conference and the inaugural Open Nest conference I met some of the lovely adopters and foster carers who I know from FB and Twitter. 

Get Daddy to read an adoption book - nope, although he did attend the AUK conference with me so that's ok.

Look on the bright side - I was pretty good for the first few months of the year but anxiety and mild depression seemed to overwhelm me over the last two or three months.

Make time for myself - done ok I reckon. With Missy at school I can do a fair bit during the day and I can now pop out for an hour or so at weekends to the gym without it bothering her. Plus the night away in York for the Open Nest conference went well.

Improve our therapeutic parenting skills - actually I think we've done alright here. Still got lots to learn, of course, but we learnt lots through the PAC programme, at the conferences and getting ideas through chatting with other adopters.

Despite my low moods of late (I'm sure SAD plays a part) on the whole 2014 has been ok. Daddy got a new job which meant he's home at weekends, Missy has done really well in school, we had a great time on holiday in Greece and at the music festival, Missy learnt to ride her bike, her food anxiety is decreasing, attachment is growing and I had great success with my kitchen garden.

So onto 2015.

I think my main aims are to:

Get fit and improve my health - mainly I want to get my hip sorted so I can start running again. I WILL do a 5k before the end of 2015.
Continue to add to our therapeutic parenting skills.
Play more - I don't think we play enough with Missy and I know from the PAC course that playing, even just 15 mins a day, tops up Missy's self esteem and attention deficit a lot. Must do more.
Increase my confidence - it's taken a hammering lately and needs a kick up the behind.
Learn how to use a sewing machine that's been stuck in the cupboard for a year!!

So that's it for this year. See you on the other side. I wish you a happy, healthy and calm New Year.


Monday 29 December 2014

So that was Christmas

This year really felt like a family Christmas.  This year we could carry on with traditions that we started over the last two Christmasses which was fun. Missy was a lot more excited this year, counting down the days, talking about Santa, enjoying helping to decorate the tree. I don't know what age children begin to stop believing in Santa but Missy is still in full believe mode which is so lovely.

Of course the excitement was not without it negative side. More excitement meant more overwhelm, tears and tiredness in the few days before the big day, but on the whole Missy has been fine. She slept ok on Christmas Eve and only came into us at 6.45am, excited that Father Christmas had left a stocking. In this house, it's ok to leave a stocking in her room, although I can understand why many of our children cannot cope with this.

After breaky we headed to my mum for two nights. Christmas Day saw a few strops, cheekiness and tears - plus I didn't feel well, so not the best day ever but I can't complain really. Boxing Day at mum's was better and  included a visit from my cousin and two of her three grown up children, meaning new family members for Missy to meet. She was shy for ooooh two minutes and then felt completely comfortable with them - a little too comfortable on occasion, for Missy can be like a limpet sometimes and we have to prise her off people, which she hates - a reminder that we must continue to emphasise our role as primary carers.  Three words from my cousin that made my heart sing was "I get her".  I only learnt very recently that my amazing cousin had had a pretty shitty childhood and can understand some of Missy's issues and anxieties. Despite this, my lovely cousin has brought up three wonderful children. She is such a lovely genuine funny person with a real heart and it gives me great hope for Missy in the future.

The following day Missy met even more family members for the first time at a family lunch we had with my brother's family. There were eleven adults and four children. Missy was great and played so nicely with the other children, all younger than her. The adults had starters whilst the children had their main course, then the children had their puddings whilst we had our main courses followed by our puddings.  I'm quite sure that a year ago Missy would have got exceedingly grumpy over the fact we had three courses whereas she didn't.  As her food anxiety continues to decrease, on Saturday this meant she accepted the situation pretty well (although I noticed she was eyeing up Daddy's chips).  Instead, she played whilst we ate our puddings. I was really quite proud of her although we kept a little eye on her as she can, at times, begin to 'parent' other children.

Yesterday we had a lovely day, which mostly consisted of a very long 4 mile walk through the frost-covered woods near our house.  Slightly over midway is a pub so we stopped their for a quick refuel and then off we went again.  It was great to get out in the fresh air and sunshine on a perfect winter's day, the type of winter's day I absolutely love.

There have been times over Christmas when therapeutic parenting has got lost amongst the screwed up wrapping paper but I think we've all done really well on the whole (says me as Missy erupts upstairs, oh dear).  No, really, it's been a pretty good Christmas.  Some regression, some great humour, some hilarious moments and some loving times too.  I think as we move into 2015 we are on the up.

Now, where's my Baileys.

Friday 19 December 2014

A Message From Santa

A couple of years ago I heard about Portable North Pole, whereby you can get a video message from Santa sent by email addressed to your child. The message can be personalised using your child's name and you have the option to include various phrases that mean something to your child eg Santa will say "I know you've been asked to work hard at school/practice on your bike/be nice to your sibling" and such like. You can also add a phrase so Santa shows he knows what was on your child's list. During the video Santa will also, via his elves, check if your child is on the naughty or nice list (I certainly hope parents put nice!).

Much as I wanted to, I didn't feel able to do it the last two years.  I wasn't sure what Missy would make of a Santa on a video knowing real stuff about her. He shows a huge book that says in it is everything he needs to know about her. I wasn't sure if it would be a trigger. I wasn't sure if her self esteem was up to it. Christmas can be a strong trigger for many adopted/looked after children and so I resisted the urge to do this. Our first two Christmasses with Missy have been fairly low key but we're learning what she can cope with, what she will love, enjoy and what won't overwhelm her.  

This Christmas I felt the time was right and it would be a fun thing to so.  I wasn't wrong. Missy loved it! Her face was a picture, if only I could share it with you. She genuinely believed it was a message from the real Santa (she realises some people dress up as him but still believes in the real deal).

The video really is lovely, great quality and does give you a sense that it really does come from the North Pole. The elves are there working hard and helping Santa too and the reindeers are gearing up for the big night. Of course, you don't just have to do it for a child - you could send it to your partner if you want and the adult option is quite a giggle.  There's also a video you can do on Christmas Eve so I'm looking forward to doing that one.

If you want to take a look at it, you can always set one up and watch it before deciding if your child should see it. I understand why it might not be right for many of our children but for Missy it worked and it will definitely become a tradition in this house.  The Classic video is 3 minutes long, or you can upgrade for a small cost to a video which is a little longer with some extra options.

If you'd like to have a look, go to To receive a 20% discount off digital products (not including in-app) then put in this code BLG20BKP.  

Friday 12 December 2014

Feeling Christmassy but with a dose of anxiety thrown in

I am feeling a teeny bit Christmassy.  I think it's the Christmas Gingerbread Latte from M&S.   I'm certainly enjoying the run up to Christmas more this year than the past two years though it's been a stressful couple of weeks. Well, I say enjoying but that's probably a bit over the top.

I've been practising saying 'No'.  I do like lending a hand, especially where charity is concerned but at the moment charity needs to begin at home.  I remember Sally Donovan once writing "Step away from the PTA!".  I didn't take any notice I'm afraid, more because I felt doing something would help me feel useful, give me a sense of purpose.  It just made me feel stressed.

We had the school Christmas Fayre recently and my job was to coordinate getting raffle prizes.  I did pretty well but in the end had to pass it over to someone else as the stress was making me very anxious - I nearly burst into tears in Homebase!  I helped on the day and that was ok. Now the Christmas Fayre is over, I feel a bit better. Missy on the other the other hand was absolutely fine.  She's been rather overwhelmed the last two years but this year had a great time, even when she had to stay by my side whilst I had a manic 5 minutes on the cake stall until the person who was meant to be serving turned up.  She was very very tired in the evening but coped so much better this year.  In fact her stress levels have been a little lower recently - I wonder if its the homeopathic remedies she is taking?  She was brilliant in her school play and spoke up loud and clear.  She's been very understanding at home whilst the lounge and dining room has been in a right mess whilst we've been decorating.  The School Christmas panto brought up some anxieties - she's scared of the mean characters in it, obviously, but we've had some chats about it and I think she'll be ok, she'll be sitting next to her teacher who 'gets it'. 

Recently whilst we were painting, she spent some time, off her own back, deciding which toys she didn't want any more and wants to give them to charity so that "other children in need can have some toys".  Bless, she is really quite caring.  She then discussed what she'd like to do when she grows up.  She said she would be busy going to Africa to help children out there but, "oh my gosh" she just wouldn't have time to do her other jobs (being a vet, running a cafe and a nurse!).

My anxiety levels are pretty high at the moment. The slightest thing sends my heart raising and that sick feeling in my stomach to appear. I had to stop still in M&S yesterday and take some deep breaths. I'm not really sure why (secondary trauma has been mentioned to me a couple of times) because on the whole Missy's behaviour and emotions have been ok, school is good. Perhaps it's worrying about money (thanks HMRC for messing up!), perhaps it's a bad case of SAD this year, perhaps it's a mix of things. I'm looking at getting a SAD lamp again - it really helped the first time I had one and then I felt much better, started running (so was outside a lot dosing up on sunlight) and sold the lamp. But at the moment I can't run so I'm not outside much.  I've just joined the local gym (a lovely birthday prezzy for me) and am looking forward to a few hours a week down there.

Right, time for a cuppa, a mince pie and the next chapter in Sally Donovan's new book, then after school it's time to get a Christmas tree (got to be real, can't bring myself to get a plastic one).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...