Thursday, 28 February 2013

Shame-busting

So by now you've probably read that Mini wets himself...often. He does it at night (usually before something different at school, or when we have something exciting or different planned for the weekend), and from January up until half term he was also wetting nearly every day at school too.

We know his wetting is anxiety based. We know when he's feeling secure at school as we get drier beds more often than wet ones, and dry days too (this week, he's had no daytime accidents - big well done Mini!), and only 1 night time accident.

For me, wetting is one of the hardest things I deal with. It sounds pretty minor in the grand scheme of things....the violence, shouting, hurting, threatening, the destruction. But, my house is so often full of stinky sheets, pjs and clothes that need washing, damp sheets, pjs and clothes that are drying and a stinky mattress drying out, plus a stinky, yet stubborn child who refuses to shower or get cleaned up. My house pretty much smells of pee all the time. It gets me down. It doesn't seem to get Mini down. Sometimes he doesn't notice that he's wet himself. Sometimes he denies it. Sometimes he's ashamed and tries to cover it up. But mostly he just seems to accept that it's how things are.

But enough about me.

Mini came home from school quite regularly at the start of term in wet trousers. School hadn't noticed. Mini hadn't noticed, and if he had, he hadn't told anyone. He started to get rashes...nappy style from sitting in wet things, despite always having a spare set of clothes at school.
Now to be clear, Mini really really does not notice sometimes. The look on his face when it's gently pointed out that he needs to change is one of surprise and amazement.
But I was getting worried that sometimes he did know, and was just too ashamed to ask to go to the toilet or ask to change. I had to talk to school about it, to save Mini's skin from getting sore if nothing else!

I must say, school have been brilliant with this one.
Using various resources, they found some poems about going to the toilet, and I now have a copy of one of them at home. Mini and one of the teaching assistants look at it together sometimes, and it's to reassure him that as long as he asks, he can go whenever he wants/needs to. When I looked at it with Mini at home one day he confided that often he doesn't go because the other children are only allowed to go at break and lunchtime. Not only was it fantastic that he opened up to me, but it meant I could reiterate the poem and reassure him that he could go whenever he needed to as long as he checked with a teacher first.
They've also invented a special fake job for Mini, a 'shame-buster'. This is so Mini feels able to go and change when he is wet, without it being obvious to everyone where he's going. So if Mini asks or is told to do his 'blue star job', he wears a sticky blue star and takes himself off to the accessible toilet where he can change without any of his friends/classmates knowing - they all think he's off doing something to help the teacher.
Inventive of them really. It does feel a bit gimmicky, but for now it seems to be working, and even on the wetter days, his skin has been rash-free, so he's definitely been changing quicker.

We've still got a long way to go, but now one aspect is being addressed, we can look at other areas of his emotional well-being and school-life. At the moment, thankfully academically he's doing well...above average in every area except for his handwriting and letter formation, and we're working on that at home, and it was built into his IEP too. The first review for the IEP is next week so we'll see how that goes. Watch this space!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Lego, movies, and marshmallow pops

Wow, so that half term holiday is over already?! Where did it go?

Regular readers will know I plan holidays - during the Summer I had spreadsheets for every week and planned in homemade activity packs (with the help of Pinterest) and during the Christmas Holiday we have an Elf on the Shelf, who brings activities, gifts and mischief...this I also plan with the help of a spreadsheet. I sound like a control freak, but I like to have an idea of what we're doing so I can ensure a) my finances stretch and b) so I'm not caught short by the 'I'm bored' declarations. I'd go mad if I didn't have a broad idea of what I was up to!

I've previously planned half term hols too, but Mini has seemed so tired recently that I kinda planned to not plan anything this time. So Monday during holidays is always film afternoon. I make popcorn and we watch movies all afternoon...usually just 2, but we've been known to have a Shrek-a-thon, even if it's just in the background. Tuesday and Wednesday were quiet - a trip out for new colouring pens and a birthday present for a party Mini was due to attend this last weekend of the holiday, and then another trip to Toys R Us for Mini to spend the last of his birthday money. Actually the biggest excitement on the Wednesday was Mini's tooth coming out, after spending 6 weeks wobbling away!

On Thursday we went to Nanna and Grandad's for playtime, lunch and a catch up. Mini was delighted to show Nanna how to do Ninjitzu with his Ninjago figures (what his birthday money had been spent on!).



And then Friday we had Mini's first playdate here...I wrote about it before here, and this is the after:
So it went OK. We picked Domino up from hers (she only lives a minute or two down our road), and then walked to the supermarket to pick up some supplies I needed for an activity I'd planned.
Whilst I prepared the chocolate and sprinkles for Marshmallow Pops (a favourite here), the children were happy to do some drawing and colouring. They all loved making the Pops and especially licking the chocolate bowl. After that they played Guess Who and Booby Trap, even letting Dollop join in and then it was lunchtime. And after lunch we took Domino home as her mum needed her back early-ish.

Mini had never had a friend over like this, without their parents being here too. He did brilliantly. He wasn't nervous, he was happy for Domino to take the lead and choose what to do, he was really well behaved until we got back from dropping her off that is...

I guess the important bit is that he was good whilst she was here. He didn't show himself or me up and really enjoyed himself. But afterwards we had several wetting accidents, defiance, rudeness and attempts to bring him close were rejected.
Saturday was the same...more defiance, wetting, refusals, rudeness and aggression. So the NC and I made the decision that Mini wouldn't be going to his school friend's birthday party. Despite one or two whines, we were surprised that actually Mini didn't object and instead we went for a walk, had a long slow lunch, and family time at home. Check out the photo here of Mini and the NC having boys game time together - Day #54. Perhaps the thought of the party was too much, because after we'd said he wasn't going, he visibly relaxed, his behaviour changed and he chilled out.

So all in all, the first half of the holiday was a success...dry beds, relaxed child, more sleep. The second half wasn't quite as good...a few wet beds, wetting on several days, anxiety and stress but we fixed it just in time for the final day. Phew. It'll be interesting to see if Mini is dry come the morning, or whether the return to school is also adding to his anxieties...I'll keep you posted.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 5

Week 5 already of the Weekly Adoption Shout Out, and we’re pleased that so many of you are linking up. We hope you’re clicking through and finding new blogs to read as well?

If you’ve missed any from last week, then do click through – you’ll find them all still here.

Next week we’ll be adding a little something new to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out - a theme. You won’t have to link posts that go with the theme, but in case you want some inspiration for a post, it’ll be there to perhaps give you a nudge. As I say, it’s not compulsory as we enjoy reading ALL your posts. If you’ve got any suggestions for themes, do get in touch either in the comments box, via Twitter or email, and we’ll try to incorporate your ideas.

But for now…if you’ve written a blog post this last week that is related to adoption in any way then you can add it to our blog link up. As both The Puffin Diaries and The Boy’s Behaviour are hosting, this linky will appear in both places but you only need to add it once.
If you do visit the other blogs, please leave a comment to let them know how you found them. And let your friends know…RT our tweets, use the hashtag #WASO, or click the Tweet button here…

And you can also grab our badge and pop it on your site...
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Thursday, 21 February 2013

The plight of the headless soldiers...

Something that I haven't shared here before is Mini's habit of chewing.

He does it a lot. There doesn't seem to be a pattern, and I'm not therefore sure if it occurs just when he's anxious and stressed and is an attempt at regulation or whether it's just a bad habit or if it's some kind of sensory processing disorder. It might even be related to having a bottle for too long, or it just might be because he's Mini...there are so many possible reasons and I know lots of children chew - pencil tops, jumper sleeves, but how do you stop it?

I'm starting to find it difficult to deal with as I find myself so often calling out "take that out of your mouth Mini". And then in response I get a mumbled "No", as chewing becomes more important than refusing to chew! Dollop is starting to copy, and it's bad enough keeping things out of her mouth anyway. And it's becoming so much more frequent.

Mini's mouth can be a treasure trove and on many occasions I have removed lego men, uninflated balloons, whoopee cushions, marbles, sleeves, straws, pens, coins, fingers with virtually no nail left, empty toilet rolls, toy cars and little green toy soldiers - sadly many have become limbless and/or headless and have gone to recycling bin heaven. All this from his mouth, or even worse, covered in saliva and held in a firm grasp as Mini refuses to give up his gnawing bone. Then when I finally retrieve said chew toy, it slips from my grasp leaving a trail of wet gobby gloop across the floor, and I am left with a screaming, disregulated, dramatic child declaring his 'need' for the slimy headless soldier.

Clearly in these situations he does need something to chew on, it helps him and doesn't appear to be doing any damage to his teeth. But the above items aren't safe and I have visions of x-rays showing poor lost lego man heads, or even worse a marble run around his vital organs!

So tangles for children who fidget or need stress relief. But what about children who have an oral fixation? Mini would happily chew on toffees or chocolate eclairs if I let him, but then there really  would be some damage to his newly forming adult teeth He could have gum, but at 6, I'd really rather he didn't. I don't think he'd go for a teething ring and in any case, with big teeth coming through I don't suppose it'd be too long before he was through it. Perhaps with the Theraplay it might just resolve itself as Mini becomes more able to regulate and more in control of his emotions.

Any ideas?


Eek - a date!

Eek! Mini has a date! Alright, a playdate but...it's still a date right?

This is not Mini's first playdate, indeed in the Summer holidays he went to his friend's house and had a great time with her. The same friend, we'll call her Domino, is coming here tomorrow for a few hours and lunch.

However, this is Mini's first playdate here at home. 

Mini is thrilled, he's keen to show off his gappy gob to Domino (who is also gappy right now!) and looking forward to playing with someone other than his 2 year old sister. I'm not sure how well battling Lego Ninjago will go down with Domino who seems quite a girly girl, but he's keen to show it to her anyway!
I'm a bit nervous. Will she eat the food I make? Will she be warm enough? (in our freezing cold unheated house). But this is a little girl that I've walked to and from school occasionally to help out her mum, have talked to lots in the playground, and she's a really great kid with tons of personality.
How will he be before and after she's here? Will he cope whilst she's here? Can he hold it together?

I hope that my awareness of potential problems will be enough, and I'll breathe a sigh of relief after because it's gone swimmingly. But to me this isn't *just* a playdate, this is an opportunity to see Mini is full social mode, a chance to see whether he can cope with this and an opportunity for him to experience something new in the comfort and safety of home. And it's also my chance to be a good mummy...not embarrassing him, and making sure they've got what they want and need.

Domino will only be here a few hours, but I have got one of Mini's favourite activities planned...something that we'd intended to do yesterday but ran out of time, and something that Domino can easily take home and share with her brother. I hope it'll be a success for them all, and will post 'after' pics once I have them.

So keep your fingers crossed that it goes well for Mini (and me), and that he and Domino have a lovely time. And keep an eye out for the 'after' post.


Monday, 18 February 2013

Holding on...

You know those 'doh' moments? The ones where you've been walking around for days, weeks, months or even years and something suddenly dawns on you.

I had one of those today. And I'm beating myself up a bit because of it.

In the beginning, when Mini started walking, rather than needing the buggy the whole time I'd still take it out sometimes, so if he got tired he could climb in (although in reality I don't think the stubborn little wotsit ever did!). I'd have him walk with me but holding onto the buggy. That way I always knew where he was, he always knew where to hold, I could keep him away from the road. It worked for us and kept him safe. He didn't often let go, and a quick reminder would see him grab on again.

We had a short period where we stopped using the buggy altogether when Mini was about 3, but he would still ALWAYS hold my hand.

Then Dollop was born and we went back to having a buggy again. Mini was still only 3 and a half, so held onto the buggy whilst we walked.

Fast forward a few years and Mini is now 6, whilst Dollop is still often in a buggy...certainly for the school run and around town whilst shopping. Yet, despite us often telling Mini he's safe to walk beside us or a few steps in front, he insists on holding the buggy, or trolley in the case of the odd supermarket shop. He might step away for a minute or two, but creeps back and grabs on again. Until we stop that is, and then he's climbing, crawling, laying, sitting, looking, touching etc!
When all four of us are out, he'll hold the NC's hand whilst I push Dollop or walk with her. But if the NC were to let go for a second, Mini will revert back to buggy holding. And he even swaps sides automatically without reminders to make sure he's not near the road.
The NC struggles with this more than I do, but I admit that when Mini is in a world of his own, it's frustrating trying to turn a buggy round a corner either dragging Mini behind or pushing against him without running over his feet!

Today it dawned on me why. How could I have been so stupid and not realised that he does this because he needs to be close to us. He'll never admit it of course, but he needs to have the reassurance of us nearby, he needs to feel safe and protected.

The reason I'm beating myself up is because for the last few years I've been trying to encourage Mini to walk beside us, trying to encourage a bit of independence, whilst trying to improve his sense of road safety (although I know he'd stop at the edge of a road if he was walking independently, he's so used to hanging off the buggy he's become lazy and relies on me to stop, go, etc when crossing roads), when I should have realised that he was showing me that he still needed me.My poor boy, no wonder he feels rejected.

If he needs me, he needs me, so I will continue to let him hold on, feel safe and close until we no longer need the buggy and then he'll be able to hold my hand all the time. Wrapping in cotton wool? maybe, but we still have a long way to go in making Mini feel safe and part of this family, and if it means wrapping him in cotton wool for a bit, then so be it. So if you see us out, just ignore those white fluffy bits!

Do your children still stay close when you're out and about, or do you have the opposite??

Friday, 15 February 2013

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 4

Here we are at week four of the Weekly Adoption Shout Out. Many of you are getting the hang of things and joining in regularly and we thank you for that. We love reading all the great posts and sharing them with others, if you missed any from last week they are still here. Someone told me this week how pleased they were to have discovered two new adoption blogs that they are really enjoying reading, so keep up the great work. If you are new here, this is how it works.

If you’ve written a blog post this last week that is related to adoption in any way then you can add it to our blog link up. As both The Puffin Diaries and The Boy’s Behaviour are hosting, this linky will appear in both places but you only need to add it once.

It would be great if you could visit some of the other blogs that link up and please let them know who you are, and how you found them.
And do tweet about it to let your friends know, you can use the hashtag #WASO, We’ve made it easy for you, use our Tweet Button…

Also you can grab our badge and pop it on your site...
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Thursday, 14 February 2013

An adoptive parent's manifesto

As you might have read recently, I'm trying to be more positive at the moment, and have got our Positivity Pot in place at home. As part of this, I've put together this 'manifesto', just some things for me to bear in mind, but not beat myself up on if I can't do them all the time. Please feel free to add more in your comments...

1. I will not judge, or allow myself to be judged on different parenting styles.

2. I will not bow to pressure to tell my child off, just because he is perceived to be naughty.

3. I will support other adopters when they need support.

4. I will believe what other adopters say - I know how unbelievable it sometimes sounds!

5. I can accept that I will make mistakes, but it's OK.

6. I will share my experiences, but not offer advice unless requested.

7. I will not ask about your child's background...you can tell me if you feel it's appropriate.

8. I will not tell you about my child's background, unless I feel it's appropriate.

9. I will remember to focus on the positives...they make me feel better than the negatives.

10. I will remember that random acts of kindness apply to myself as well as others.

11. I will not 'sweat the small stuff'.

12. I will give my children opportunities they can cope with, and not feel guilty for protecting them from situations I know they won't deal with.

13. I will enjoy being a parent.

14. When my children's behaviour is at its worse, I will pull them closer.

15. I will laugh, and have fun. And so will my children.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Cards or cake

Mini: So what's this Valentine's stuff all about then mummy?

Stix: Well, it's a day where we show people that we love them. Sometimes people send cards, and sometimes they do it in secret, and you have to guess who sent it.

Mini: Can we make some cards mummy?

Stix: Of course, how many girls are you going to send cards to?

Mini: No mummy, I want to send one to Robert.

Stix: OK, that's really sweet, but I think Robert might be a bit embarrassed because he's a bit shy isn't he? What about Sophie or Jade instead?

Mini: No mummy, I really like Robert, he's my friend and I want to send him a card.

Stix: OK, we'll see if we have time to make a card.

Now I know at his age, it's innocent, and he just wants to send a card to his friend. But the trouble is I'm pretty sure a card to Robert won't go down particularly well, and I don't find his mother approachable so can't have a quiet word.
I *could* convince Mini to send it anonymously but I know he can't keep a secret and would probably tell Robert. Robert might be embarrassed, he might tell his other friends and I don't want Mini having the mickey taken out of him for doing something nice.

So what will we do?

Distraction.

Dollop and I have made cakes today and after school the children will ice and decorate them for their daddy. Hopefully Mini will forget about making cards. Does this make me a bad mummy?

The MADS!

Today I'm writing because I'm pretty chuffed that someone (or some people) has taken the time to nominate me in another set of blogging awards...the MAD Blog Awards. The MADS recognise mum and dad bloggers across a number of categories and are voted for by other bloggers. To get through to the next round, I need your nominations too...please.
Looking through the nomination lists, I can see that you lovely people have nominated me in several categories - Best Blog Writer, MAD Blog of the Year, Best Family Life Blog and Best New Blog (which sadly I don't think I fit into as The Boy's Behaviour is over a year old now).

This blog started out just to record our journey, but over the last year it's become more than that - I've met (virtually) some lovely people who know what it's like, who empathise, who support and there are a few of you who I'm happy to say have become friends. There are some out there who are quieter and email every now and then, and I know reading what we're going through has given you some comfort too.
But I'm still thrilled to know that people are actually reading what I write, and are interested enough in our life to keep on reading too. I wanted to just say a big thank you to whoever took the time to nominate me.

So if you think The Boy's Behaviour deserves a nomination, then you can do that here - http://www.the-mads.com/vote/. I'm genuinely thrilled to have just been nominated, so I won't be begging, but I thank you in advance if you decide to take part too. There are lots of great blogs out there, so even if you don't nominate me, do make sure you give your other favourite blogs a vote. You've got until 18th February, so just another few days before shortlisting and then voting begin.

**Edit** Am also in the School Days category too now :-) Thank you **

MAD Blog Awards

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Intrusive?

I've thought hard about whether to write and indeed post this, but after seeking views from a couple of adopter friends about how they'd feel...I've decided to go ahead.This is an honest post based purely on my own experiences.

A few months ago I shared a link on a social media site, which provoked a comment from someone about how intrusive the adoption process was. I responded a little fiercely with a link or two to further reading. I strongly felt the need to defend the process. I'd like to explain why...

Intrusive: coming without invitation or welcome; intruding

When I was pregnant, I was just that - it was a normal situation for a woman of my age. For us it was completely unexpected, and we had the complication of my diabetes, but it was a natural pregnancy.
I spent almost 9 months reading about breastfeeding, colic, reflux, nappies, birthing positions, weaning and formula. I knew that I'd get a brand new baby, I knew she'd be a girl, I knew when she was coming (not just roughly, but within a day or two as I was induced), we'd picked out names and I knew that she would rely on me for everything. But...my pregnancy was such a surprise, I didn't really come to terms with it or believe it until it was over and I held my daughter. Physically I changed, emotionally I had a lot to cope with too (what with being told I'd never have children, and having to back out from adoption number 2 who already had a name and face). Imagine finding out that someone you grieved for, whom you loved very much, was alive all along, or had come back from the dead - that's how I felt with bells on. And I was scared out of my mind about childbirth.

When the NC and I were becoming adopters it was a process - that sounds so much more formal don't you think? We all refer to it as the adoption process, and like any other process, it had certain steps that had to be completed in the correct order to achieve the desired result. I spent 10 months reading about feeding, nappies and milk, but I also read about trauma, support networks, parenting styles, the adoption triad, neglect, abuse, foetal alcohol syndrome, poo smearing, developmental milestones, hereditary mental health issues and attachment.
I had little idea of how old our potential child would be, what gender they'd be, when they'd be coming, what they'd be called, and what preferences and abilities they'd already have. I knew that we could be approached about a child, set our minds on that child, but it could all fall through. It was also emotional, but not a rollercoaster or fuelled by hormones. I was excited about becoming a first time mum, protected somewhat by rose tinted glasses.

Both of these situations were emotionally difficult, one involved physical changes too. But which one was more intrusive? Well...

In my pregnancy I had fortnightly prods and pokes to measure baby's length, fortnightly blood tests, fortnightly scans (exposing my belly to a stranger each time), heart rate monitors strapped to my tummy, injections for my blood type, physiotherapy to help with symphysis pubis dysfunction, 2 short stays in hospital and random people stroking my belly. I had raging hormones, awful morning sickness for 18 weeks and all the other unpleasant side effects of pregnancy, and to this day cannot stomach certain smells without gagging, or even think about those smells without feeling sick.
And then in childbirth I had several pessaries inserted to induce me, fingers inserted to establish dilation, fingers inserted to attach a clip to baby's head, straps around my belly to monitor heart rate, I was shaved in preparation for surgery, had to wear a clip on my finger, more fiddling to insert a catheter, double cannulas inserted into each hand, a needle inserted in my back for an epidural (whilst being barked at to sit still during extremely painful contractions, surrounded by strangers), an anaesthetist rubbing ice cubes around my breasts to ensure the epidural was strong enough to see me through a c-section, weird inflatable tubes put on my legs, strangers seeing me naked (inside and out) as I had the c-section, being sewn back up, and then more injections, a bed bath, more injections, and midwives trying to shove my breasts in my daughter's mouth as I struggled with breastfeeding.
Very intrusive and not all very nice, but I'm not complaining, everything was necessary to keep Dollop and I safe. (I do appreciate not all birthing experiences are like mine, many are easier but many are much more complicated and difficult).

During the adoption process, we were asked about all sorts - our feelings about our infertility, grief for my dad, the way we were parented, our own parenting ideals, expectations, our financial situation, morals, and our sex life, in so much as were we using contraception (to be on the safe side)? And were we prepared for our time together to change? I don't recall it being intrusive - at times a little uncomfortable maybe, almost always enlightening and reflective. And as an honest, emotional person I was happy to talk about those things. We had a brilliant social worker who explained why she had to ask those questions, and we were very comfortable with her. And like in childbirth, everything was necessary to ensure that us, and our potential family were safe.
And not only safe, but we had to prove that we were able to parent a child who'd experienced trauma, or that we were at least able to find help and support if we needed it in the future. We also had to be assessed so we could be matched with the right child. The 'process' might have flaws and need some areas overhauled, but ultimately it is for the well-being and safety of the child, and we totally understood it and accepted it. And though frustrating for those around us, I'm so glad we spent that time learning and being prepared - we needed it (and more if I'm honest!). I've said before that we never saw it as jumping through hoops. We didn't just answer questions etc for the sake of it or to please social services. We answered those questions and learnt about ourselves with interest and enthusiasm for the sake of our family.

These are the reasons that I don't feel 'the process' is any more intrusive than having a baby. I applied to adopt, I knew what I was letting myself in for, and I wanted it...at the time, more than anything in the world. Personal questions were asked, but I still don't feel they were intrusive.
Perhaps because my pregnancy was unplanned a miracle, unexpected and a shock it felt more intrusive...I didn't ask for it, I didn't enjoy it, perhaps that's why adoption seems different to me?

I know there are women out there who would give *anything* to have experienced pregnancy and childbirth - even like mine, and I know I'm lucky to have experienced it at all (though it didn't feel that way at the time!). I love looking at Dollop and knowing she's mine, thinking about where her temper comes from, and who she'll take after, and seeing her facial features shift between mine and the NC's as she grows, but..I found it traumatic having her.

Let's be clear, life as an adopter is different, even at the very beginning I knew being an adopter was different. The parenting is different, but then parenting any two children will vary. But I'm talking about the process and the journey here, and well, let's just say I haven't entirely ruled out adopting again (though a long way in the future), but the NC has had a vasectomy!


Friday, 8 February 2013

Weekly Adoption Shout-Out #WASO Week 3

Welcome back to the Weekly Adoption Shout-Out hosted by The Boy's Behaviour and The Puffin Diaries.
It's only our third week but we're really pleased that so many of you are linking-up, and we hope that you've found some new blogs to read too. If you want to go back and have another look, you can find them all still listed here.

So this week - more of the same please. If you have a post about any aspect of adoption then add it below. Whether you're an adopter, adoptee, birth parent, social worker, grandparent or sibling...if you write about adoption, then we'd like to read it.

As both The Puffin Diaries and The Boy’s Behaviour are hosting, this linky will appear in both places but you only need to add it once. Like last week, the Shout-Out will be open from Friday to Sunday for you to add your links.
It would be great if you could visit some of the other blogs that link up and please let them know who you are, and how you found them.
You can tweet about it to let your friends know, either by using the hashtag #WASO or click the Tweet It button here.

Don't forget to add our badge code to your blog too...
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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

He's got Minitis!

This weekend was awful. I was starting to feel pretty ill, the NC had been feeling ill, I was frustrated after spending nearly a week on crutches, and Mini was horrific.

He simply cannot cope with the NC and I at the same time. We (including Dave-the-therapist too) don't yet know quite why this is. Perhaps it's the feeling of divided loyalties, too much stimulation, one more person's attention, similar personalities, the different dynamic....I just don't know anymore. But I do know that Mini is nearly always different when the NC is around, and by different I mean  hyperactive, challenging, louder, more defiant and it feels like we walk on eggshells more because we just don't know how he'll react to anything.

After a few hours of shouting (him), distraction attempts and playtime (us) and more shouting (everyone), we decided to go out for a short drive, to a nice food hall where we'd get some nice fresh bread for lunch and fresh fish for dinner.
We got there, and immediately Mini wanted to play on the climbing frame, so off he raced. I decided at that point to think differently about this trip out...

Mini doesn't have a diagnosis of any kind. We know he has 'attachment difficulties' but no-one will commit to anything more than that. Suggestions of ADHD, Attachment Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder have been all been mooted at various points, but a diagnosis will not be made until Mini is older - if ever.

Now I know that having a diagnosis shouldn't make a difference to how I feel about Mini, and it wouldn't in the sense that I'll love him the same, cherish him the same, hug him the same but...would it make me more accepting of these challenging behaviours?
Me? Well, yes and no, although I don't like the way Mini is, I understand and accept why, and I'm trying to change my approach to better deal with the challenges and Mini is about to start theraplay (having already had talk therapy) to help him deal with what's inside.
However, it might help me handle those unpleasant times when I have to deal with those judgemental stares and derogatory remarks i.e at the park because Mini is having a meltdown after being told it's time to go - perhaps being able to say he's got 'x,y,z' would make them less judgemental?
Even if I didn't tell them he's got 'x,y,z', perhaps knowing it would make me feel stronger, less affected by the whispers and tuts.
So what about if I give Mini's behaviour a name? Just in my head? Would it make a difference?
Minitis - a form of developmental trauma, resulting in challenging displays of behaviour and emotion specifically in Mini.

Back to the food hall trip.
Normally taking Mini somewhere like this would fill me with dread - so many things to touch, see, try, smell, climb on, hide behind - sensory overload, and Mini would just have to touch everything, see everything, try everything, smell everything, climb on everything, and hide behind everything!
But this time the different thinking kicked in - when Mini started pointing at every different type of beautifully crafted artisan bread with a very loud "Ergh, what's that?" attracting a few sneering glances I thought two things - "what an inquisitive nature, he's keen to learn, let's let him choose something to eat and we can teach him about it" and "they don't know he's got Minitis".

When we got to the cheese counter, his nose was pressed unattractively against the glass, smearing those lovely snot trails from left to right across the whole counter, he was hopping from foot to foot, eyes bouncing around already seeking out the next target, whilst he continually asked if he could try this, that and the other. I asked him to take a step back, and thought "It's OK, they can clean it" and "he is being like this because he has Minitis".

And finally we got to the fresh fish, Mini began to lean over the stubby glass fascia, attempting to poke the fish eyes out, scoop up handfuls of ice, fake-puke at the sight of a skate wing, and tell all and sundry that pink fish was his favourite, I thought "it's fine, he's a bit hyper now, but he's got Minitis".

All this thinking might be nonsensical. And it doesn't excuse bad behaviour, but it does allow me to remember that much of Mini's behaviour is not intentional, it's not naughty and there is a good reason behind it. It helped me cope with the judgements, it helped me feel calm and in control. And however silly Minitis sounds, it really helped me on a day I needed help. And next time, perhaps I won't need to think of it as Minitis - an illness, perhaps I can just remember that he's experienced early trauma and that is enough of a reason for him to be the way he is.

So anyway, whilst Daddy was paying (he's quite well-trained!) I took Mini and Dollop outside back to the climbing frame, and they played, and laughed, and shouted and were children. And I thought "it's OK - they're being Mini and Dollop" :-)

Saturday, 2 February 2013

My first award nomination

Shameless, important stuff:

I'm really pleased to have been nominated for a SWAN award, in the category of Most Powerful Post for my blog post about Memories that were never made...this post means a lot to me as it's about the loss of my dad, and the things that I feel my children have lost by not having their grandad around. It made me cry writing it, and although it sounds strange, it helped me realise that I haven't finished grieving yet...see it's *that* powerful!

However, in order to win anything for this tear-jerking, heart felt, honest post, I NEED YOU! Voting is not officially open yet, but nominations are. And with so many things in life (chocolate, gin and Matt Smith for starters), the more the better!

So click on the pretty pink badge below to be whisked away to a nomination form where you can enter this link under the Most Powerful Post category:
http://www.theboysbehaviour.co.uk/2013/01/memories-that-were-never-made.html

The SWANs Blog Post Awards

Now the other important bit:

SWAN UK is the only support available in the UK specifically for families of children with undiagnosed genetic conditions. Often without a diagnosis, families have no idea what the future holds for their children. 
Through using social media, SWAN UK has grown, fostered friendships, support and information sharing. The SWAN UK awards therefore hope to celebrate the first Undiagnosed Children's Awareness Day and to highlight the organisation itself.

So, if my post touched you, made your eyes leak just a little bit, if you believe it is the Most Powerful Post you've read recently, then please do click on the badge above and nominate me too!

Vicki x

Friday, 1 February 2013

Weekly Adoption Shout-Out #WASO Week 2

Welcome back to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out, week two, hosted by me - Vicki at The Boy's Behaviour and also the brilliant Sarah at The Puffin Diaries.

First of all I want to just go back to week one and say what a great success we felt it all was. Ten fabulous bloggers linked up with their adoption related blogs, all of which you can still find listed here. We had stories of challenging behaviour from a two year old, reflection on a year gone by and the sad tale of a mother relinquishing her baby amongst other great posts. All fantastic reads.

To this week, we want to read more of your great adoption related posts. If you are looking for inspiration then you could stop by The Puffin Diaries where Sarah's written about the little things we do with our children that make a big different in the long run, or look at my post where I reflect on how my perception of motherhood has changed, and is still changing.

So what have you been writing about? We are really looking forward to finding out. Go ahead link up below. As both The Puffin Diaries and The Boy’s Behaviour are hosting, this linky will appear in both places but you only need to add it once. In our infinite wisdom we have decided to leave the link open longer, until midnight Sunday, so that all you busy bloggers have time to add your posts.
It would be great if you could visit some of the other blogs that link up and please let them know who you are, and how you found them.
And do tweet about it to let your friends know, you can use the hashtag #WASO, We’ve made it easy for you, use our Tweet Button…

Also you can grab our badge and pop it on your site.
Adoption Badge photo BADGE7_zps59df311c.jpg




This linky list is now closed.