Thursday, 22 January 2015

A new kind of grief

This week, we published a post on The Adoption Social from a lady whose dad walked out on her mum very close to her starting introductions with her second child. It really resonated with me, not because my circumstances are similar - they're not, but it so happens that this week is the anniversary of my dad leaving.

11 years. That's how long it's been since I saw my father. But not because he walked out, because he died. Because he couldn't cope, and he took his own life.

I've been feeling especially sad about it this year, probably because we made the decision to not renew Dad's 'plot' at the crematorium - his memorial plant and plaque. I've been wondering whether it was the right decision; whether we should have scraped together the several hundred pounds to keep it. Common sense tells me it's the right time to walk away and stop visiting. My heart tells me I'm not quite ready to end my twice yearly visits to the peaceful gardens of remembrance and I feel conflicted.

This inner conflict has brought a new kind of grief with it too. No longer do I spend evenings sobbing hysterically in the arms of my husband. But instead I have gentle tears and lip quivering whenever I think of all that my Dad has missed. Now, as I write this, little plops of salty water are slowly, silently crawling down my cheeks and landing on the keyboard...

Dollop calls him her good ghost. She's really brave and never worries about naughty ghosts and witches and ghouls and baddies, because she knows her good ghost will scare them away. It comforts me to know that even though they never met, Dollop trusts her granddad to look out for her.

I'm trying really hard to focus on positive things at the moment, and although we will remember Dad on his 'Angel Day', I'll try also to remember with happiness, that it's also the anniversary of the day we met Mini, we have a litter of 3 day old guinea pigs to cuddle and enjoy, it's nearly the weekend, and we've reached 101 weeks of #WASO - so many things to celebrate, that's where I need to put my head.

Saturday, 17 January 2015


We drove up and down the main street of a quaint rural village - in the end, we had to stop at the little post office for directions...despite this, we still arrived early.
As we walked in the door, there was a strange feeling of trepidation mixed with excitement, nervousness and suspense. We walked past the kitchen, where Mini was just finishing a late lunch, but I daren't look too soon, not wanting to see him until I could take it all in properly.

We waited in the sitting room, and soon after, Mini's social worker unceremoniously plonked him on my lap - my first cuddle with him. That day, we had lots of firsts with Mini - the first book read together, the first play together and that week, even more - the first nappy change, the first bath, the first bottle, first trip to the park, and many, many more. They were our firsts though, not his.

Experiencing his firsts were important to me - we missed so many of Mini's in that first year of his life. I revelled in the ones that we experienced with him...lucky enough to have his first steps, first proper word, first wee in the toilet. And then later - first day at nursery, then school and so on. We took photos and mentally logged so many firsts, that in fact, we probably created unnecessary keen to establish ourselves as the keepers of the important moments.

First baby tooth to go...
As time as passed, we've experienced so many firsts that their importance has faded a little. Of course we still celebrate them with him, in fact recently he learnt to tie his shoelaces and there were congratulations a-plenty. But, there's not the desperate need to record them in the same way as we used to. I think that's down to me - I don't need those experiences to feel like his mum anymore; I just am.
So it seems that those first hundred firsts were the ones that helped me feel like Mini's mum. It gave me a connection to him, and strengthened my own feelings. Now, I can just enjoy them with him (although the recent first nose bleed was not necessarily cause to celebrate!) and look forward, like any other parent, to creating more opportunities for Mini to experience new things, fun times and memory-making events.

I'm linking up to #WASO on The Adoption Social, the theme this week is The First Hundred.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

At this time of year #WASO

I love and loathe this time of year.

I'm a Christmas person - I love it. I take care and time choosing presents. I carefully plan how I'm going to wrap them all and make them look beautiful. The Christmas CDs and DVDs come out mid-November. Every year we go to a gorgeous Christmas tree farm to choose our tree, and we buy a new decoration each year too, it's tradition to go with Auntie H and Baby Whizz. I have the Christmas movie channel on A. LOT. I make my own mincemeat and Christmas cake. And I have fun planning our Elf on the Shelf activities.
I get so involved in it, and get warm fuzzies thinking about it all. And I'm going to make the most of it all whilst the children both still believe in Father Christmas.


It's also that final term of the year.
The rapidly approaching end of term means disruption to routine at school. It means special assemblies, non-uniform days, arts and crafts instead of normal lessons, plays and nativities, church services, Christmas fayres and worrying about whether your friends will send you a card.

It's also that time when grown-ups (well-meaning ones of course) say things like 'You'd better behave else Santa won't come'. It's the time where so much pressure is applied to children to be good. It's the time when the stress and pressure becomes too great and regulation is hard to come by for some.

I hate seeing Mini so disregulated. I have him having to fight with himself to be 'good'. I hate having to explain to teachers that Mini struggles with the change and lack of routine, because it's met with 'But children should enjoy Christmas and all that comes with it'.

We're lucky in that Mini doesn't struggle with Christmas as such, and he loves shopping and wrapping and decorating and movie watching and tree choosing and elf mischief and planning for it all. He struggles with the routine changes at school more than anything.
So this year I shall snatch the festive moments that I can and enjoy those bits, but the rest of the time will be spent helping Mini relax, calm down, process things and feel safe.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Isaac and William do Movember

Today I'm delighted to bring you a guest post from Daisy and Peter, parents of two gorgeous little boys who have had a bit of a journey in their short lives.
You might wonder why I'm publishing this post on what is essentially an adoption blog and the reason is because both of my children were born before their due dates, my niece was born prematurely, and I know a number of adopted children were born early in many cases due to the poor antenatal care their mothers received. The right care and support for premature babies and their families is vital, so please take a moment to read the post, watch the video and check out the fun fundraising initiative that Daisy, Peter, Isaac and William have set up to help Bliss.
We are honoured to be able to write this guest post on such a wonderful blog.
Our boys were born at just over 28 weeks, and have had a rollercoaster of a journey through hospital. William was born at home with the help of a paramedic who arrived just in time (much to the relief of a very worried dad!). Isaac arrived an hour later in the ambulance on the way to hospital. They were born at around 3lbs, which although sounds very small, was a very good weight for their gestation.
What followed was them overcoming every hurdle that was thrown at them - from stomach infections and brain seizures, holes in the hearts to blood transfusions. They were so brave throughout it all, and every day we watched them getting bigger and stronger, until we eventually got to bring them home after 66 days in hospital. We made a video of their experience:

All the help and care both the boys and us received during their hospital stay has prompted us to try and raise as much money as we can for Bliss, the premature baby charity. For the whole of the month of Movember, the boys have been wearing a different style of moustache each day, and have gathered quite a following on Facebook. We are asking people to donate anything they can to this great cause.

A huge thank you for taking the time to read this! Please share the links and help spread the word, and between us all, we really can help make a difference to babies lives.

And from me, a big thank you to Daisy for writing this piece. All of us at The Boy's Behaviour send you all love, and hope that perhaps one day we'll get to meet your beautiful boys.