Thursday, 16 April 2015

After-school activities

The school the children are at now, well, for a start is smaller. It's in a village, it's got a PTA/HSA, the staff are approachable (for the most part), and it's just so much nicer than Mini's old school. I was friendly with a couple of mums at old school, but at new school we have our own facebook group to chat in, we've had several meet-ups in the school holidays and regularly meet for coffee. It's closer to my expectations of being mum of a school age child.

We really feel part of the school community, and at Dollop approaches her final term of Reception, I'm not filled with worry and dread about her moving up, and I'm hopeful that the current Year 4 teacher - a man - will remain in Year 4 so Mini will experience a male teacher...and helpful that he idolises Mr B already.

So this week, tomorrow in fact, both children will be attending a movie night after school tomorrow. It's something that the HSA regularly organise, and for a nominal sum the children can watch a movie with their friends, have a drink and a snack, and us parents get an extra hour and a half to ourselves before having the pick the kids up.

I'm telling you all this, not to give hints on fundraising for your own child's school (although, it does seem to be a good earner for our HSA), but to show you how far Mini has come since moving school. Apart from the fact that old school never did anything extra or fun like this, he just never would have felt comfortable being there beyond school hours. And honestly, I wouldn't have felt comfortable leaving him there after school hours.

I often look back and can't really see how things have changed all that much. The challenges are see there - less frequently but more violently, but it's the little things like this that really do show how things have moved on for us as a family.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Diet changes and noodle soup

As some of you might have recently noticed from my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds, I've changed my diet. At the start of this year, I became suspicious about whether I might be becoming intolerant to milk/dairy. So about 2 months ago now, I cut out all milk products completely. After a bit of trial and error for a month or so before that, I discovered that cow's milk products were a definite a no-no, but I was able tolerate goats milk, and also sheeps milk products.

Within weeks, the weight started to slip off, and the horrific stomach problems almost completely stopped. However, I still continued to have a few aches, wind and upset stomach, so after checking through my food diary I realised that wheat or gluten might also be a problem. So, I completely stopped my intake of those too. Again, a bit more trial and error suggests that it's wheat, rather than gluten that's the problem, although I'm having a very low gluten diet anyways.

So, now I've been about 2months milk-free (that's milk, butter, cream, whey and lactose), and about 1 month wheat/gluten free and haven't felt this good for a long time. I'm now a stone lighter and have realised that the bloating feeling that I've had for years wasn't normal and has now gone.

It's not easy I'll tell you but it's making me more adventurous, and since discovering Ella Woodward's 'Deliciously Ella' book and blog, raw food is proving a great basis for my diet.

Last night, after a long busy day, I needed to put together a quick dinner, and I want to share with you a meal that was filling, fresh, healthy, vegan, wheat, gluten and dairy free! And yes, it still tasted good!

Noodle Soup - totally delicious, plenty for 2 (plus seconds) and containing 4 portions of vegetable too:

Stir two vegetable stock pots into 1.2litres of boiling water in a large saucepan.
Throw in 6 sliced mushrooms, and let come to the boil again.
Add in about 10 baby corns, each chopped in half, and half a head of broccoli, divided into small florets. Also add 1/3 pack of King Soba Sweet Potato and Buckwheat Noodles.
Boil for 4-5 minutes, then add in about 12-14 mange tout, each cut in half.
Boil for a further 2 minutes, then serve.
A photo posted by the boy's behaviour (@boysbehaviour) on

Simples. Took ten minutes maximum and even the husband was left feeling full :-) If you try it, let me know what you think?

Monday, 23 March 2015

Highs and lows

We live our lives in extremes. Every aspect of parenting a child who has suffered trauma is in the extreme.

We deal with extreme behaviour as extreme emotions and extreme reactions affect our children. We
have to manage our own extreme emotions - guilt, love, wonder, shock, fear, grief, awe, amazement and so on, extremely quickly as we have to be prepared and available, emotionally and physically when our children need us to be - sometimes on extremely short notice.

This week I've struggled to flip between emotionally available mum and shocked fearful mum as quickly as Mini has managed to flip between frightened, angry 8 year old waving a knife at my face and cuddly, affectionate little boy who loves his mummy. And I've wanted to run away and deal with my feelings before being mummy again. But I couldn't.

It takes time to recognise our own emotions and come to terms with not only what we've experienced but how well we've managed to regulate our children and make them feel safe again. And that's OK.

I talked with another adoptive mum today and she feels the same, and that made me feel normal and better and relieved. If you recognise yourself here, then I hope you too feel reassured - you're not on your own x

Friday, 6 March 2015

Employing circus skills

We had some bad news this week. My 91 year old Nan had a fall and broke her hip. This resulted in (obviously) a hospital trip, and there she remains having undergone surgery to have her hip pinned (phew, not a replacement...she's been battling against knee replacements for years!), and is now recovering from the surgery, but also struggling with kidney problems. I'm worried, really worried about her :-(

We're off to visit her tonight, without children, who are off to the NC's parents after school today, and will be staying overnight. As much as they both want to see their Great-Nan, we don't think it's appropriate, and it's an hour's drive away, and visiting hours are quite late, and we don't even know if children are allowed on the ward.

Mini is struggling with this, and we're grateful he's been able to tell us. He wants to visit, but he's worried about seeing all the other poorly people so he's glad he's not coming. He wants to have a sleepover at his Nanna and Grandad's, but he's going to miss us. He wants to take lots of things, but if he takes too much then it will mean (to him) he'll be staying there a long time. He wants to stay a while and have fun, but he wants to be sure he's coming home again and that we're not leaving him there.
Phew - that's quite a lot of worries and thoughts isn't it...especially for an 8 year old little head to think about.

So whilst the children are at school, I'm packing enough things to keep them occupied, but not too much...enough spares in case of anxiety induced accidents, but not too many to cause excess anxiety about staying too long.

A balancing act if ever there was one...