Friday, 31 May 2013

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 19

Have you heard the news? No?
The Weekly Adoption Shout Out is getting a new home. In just a couple of weeks, from the 14th June, The Adoption Social will launch, and from then on, the Weekly Adoption Shout Out will be based at www.theadoptionsocial.com.
It won't change -  it'll still be weekly, it'll still have an optional theme every other week, the way you sign up will be the same, but it will proudly sit amongst other information, blog posts, and linky's that you might find helpful or interesting. It'll also provide a place for the brilliant #WASO community to grow and gain even more support. Here's more information about The Adoption Social (which has been developed by me and Sarah at the Puffin Diaries, so it'll still be us you're in touch with). And although the site isn't quite live yet, we do have a Facebook page, and we're on Twitter too.

For now, let's concentrate on this week and last. You can still see last week's entries here. There was a theme of 'treasured moments' and as usual, we had some great posts with some lovely moments shared. Next week's theme is 'food' - that could be things that you make with your children, food problems and issues, whatever you like. This has been inspired by a conversation with Mini, which I'll share with you next week.

As usual, this linky is live on The Boy's Behaviour and The Puffin Diaries, but you only need to add it once. There are no hard and fast rules, but to keep this community supportive, it'd be great if you could visit at least one of the blogs listed and leave a comment. You can also tweet your favourites, using the hashtag #WASO.

And finally, if you'd like to have a badge to show you take part in the Weekly Adoption Shout Out, the code is here...
Weekly Adoption Shout Out


Thursday, 30 May 2013

A visitor named guilt

The guilt, at times is all consuming.
It moves throughout my body, making me doubt, making me change, making me waiver.
The guilt wipes away perspective and reason.
It's only purpose is to bring me down, and weaken my resolve.

The guilt, it creeps in when I'm not looking.
Then it whispers, and whines, and seeps in, deeper, until doubt comes with every request.
The guilt makes my mind wonder, and my body wander towards unconsidered treats.
It taps away until I change my mind to make up for something I've long forgotten.

The guilt brings hatred, of me and others.
New grudges develop, whilst others become renewed, no room for forgiveness.
The guilt is of what has happened since and what has gone before.
Logic says I cannot change the past, guilt tricks me into believing I could have stepped in sooner.

Guilt. The ultimate flaw.
It breaks the back of seasoned parents.
The guilt is a regular visitor to my house, to my mind.
I cannot change the past, but I can shape the future, a future with less guilt? No, just more acceptance.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Mummy doubts

I'm not sure I can be a mummy anymore.
No, that's not true.
I'm not sure I can be Mini's mummy anymore.

I'm fed up of all the controlling behaviour. The tantrums when he doesn't get his own way. The tantrums when he does, but not quite exactly as he'd wanted. The tantrums and the shouting, and the screaming. And then more tantrums if you don't understand or mis-hear the screamed demands or refusals. And him screaming so much about something he wants, that he doesn't even hear you say yes, because he always believes we'll say no.
And I'm not just fed up, but worn down, crushed under heavy and loud shouts of defiance, fenced in by my own worries about saying or doing the wrong thing, and generally, well, generally feeling like a piece of shit, an annoying turd that Mini can't shake or wipe off his shoes, so he just grinds down and down as he walks on it, trying to rid himself of the vileness.

It feels like the last few months of improvement and positivity have gone down the drain over the space of a long weekend.

I'll explain a little - Mini has been ill. He seems to have had a typical virus, except with a temperature that hasn't gone away despite maximum dose of Calpol, along with a cough, and hayfever at times too. This morning, against his wishes, we took him to the doctors who discovered lots of pus-filled yucky bits at the back of his throat, declaring a throat infection - the cause of the temperature. And the typical viral rash, well, that's a bit worse than normal because it's actually viral eczema - something he's never had before, but thankfully nothing that can't be fixed with liberal applications of E45. The antibiotics will hopefully help the infection, if we can get it down him, which now he's getting bigger, is proving more of an issue.
Mini's cough has kept him up at night, we've had mostly unsettled evenings where he's been up and down all night long. However, despite all of this, and all of the obvious symptoms, Mini has refused to accept that he's ill. Don't get me wrong, he's complained of a few general problems - the cough, occasional tummy ache, occasional head ache, once - just once, he had a sore throat. But everything would come and go - appetite included.

On Friday we administered the Calpol regularly, and tried to gently nurse Mini during a quiet day at home. Saturday he seemed OK, so we had a quick trip into town, and then noticed 'the rash', so headed home to chill. On Sunday he seemed heaps better and requested a trip to the zoo; we all had a pleasant enough time and certainly enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. But we were careful, had several rest stops, and kept him close.
But Sunday afternoon and Monday have been awful. Mini is resolute - he is NOT ILL and JUST FINE. NOTHING HURTS, and the medicine TASTES DISGUSTING. He is absolutely NOT TAKING THAT STUFF.

This is another reason why I'm finding it hard to be Mini's mummy right now. I WANT to look after him, and care for him. I'm his mum, that's my job. I was reminded the other day that TLC can take many forms, but to be honest, Mini's having none of it. I'm being rejected at every turn. Everything I do is wrong, all the food I make is wrong, questioning how he's feeling is wrong, helping him is wrong, offering nice things to do is wrong.

I am WRONG. I am a BAD MUMMY. GRRRRRRRRRR. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRGHGHGHGHGHGHG, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, NNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Tonight has been horrific - like one of the old days.
I know he's ill. And I know this behaviour is mostly because he's feeling crap. And I should probably make allowances because he is ill (no matter what he says).
But I don't know what he's afraid of; why he can't just be ill. I don't know why he won't let us in, or let us care for him.
Tonight I wasn't even allowed to touch him, let alone hug him. He didn't want to hug me either, but then had a massive tantrum when Dollop tried to because...apparently he did want to after all, and wanted to do it before her.
I should have empathised and let him off the hug, I should have just offered a high-five instead - less threatening, less full-on, and more manageable. Should I have cried in front of him? I don't know...he needs to see me upset, but if me being upset make me seems weak and unable to care for him then perhaps he shouldn't see it? Will he feel ashamed for upsetting me?
This therapeutic stuff doesn't come that easily, and it's only on reflection where I see how I could have handled things differently.

Tomorrow, after some reflection with the NC, and some sleep, I will be Mini's mummy again, not only that but I'll want to be Mini's mummy. But right now...honestly, I'm struggling.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Meaningful memory making

When Mini first came home, I didn't dwell on the 'firsts' I'd missed. We just got on with it and started creating our own treasured moments. Many of them are the same as birth parents:

The day he came home.
His first words. (Bus, in case you were interested!)
The first time we were called Mummy and Daddy.
His first unaided steps.
The day he said his name properly, instead of his babyish version of it.
His first day at nursery.
His first day at school.
The time he met his new sister and looked proudly into her eyes.
His first haircut.
His first trip out in the car.
The time Mini spread yoghurt *everywhere*.

But because we adopted him, there are some extra treasured moments that birth parents don't get:

The day it all became official and we were 100% responsible for this little person.
The day we went to court to celebrate.
The fantastic moment when someone said he looked like his daddy. (Because inside, we knew that wasn't quite possible, and it meant so much).
The first meaningful 'I love you' when we knew he'd been struggling to say it.
The day I confused the nurse who asked if his birth had been complicated, by telling her I wasn't there. (Flippant I know, but I couldn't resist).

I know we were lucky enough to have Mini placed with us when he was so young, and perhaps I'd feel differently if he'd been older and we'd missed even more of these firsts. But until I had Dollop and experienced the firsts and the moments that I'd not had with Mini, I really didn't miss them:

The excitement of seeing that first tooth poke through (then the reality of the sleepless nights after).
The first times she rolled over, sat up, and crawled.
Her first birthday and first Christmas.
Her first smile.

In some ways, I still don't feel I've missed them with Mini. I know it's easy for me to say, when I've had all these amazing experiences with both of my children but life is what you make it. Treasured moments don't have to be the firsts. Mini is here now, and we're making memories. And now, they're his memories too. And isn't it more important that we share some amazing times, some proud moments and some massive achievements than me knowing the date his first tooth gave him grief?
I think so.

If you have a treasured memory that you'd like to share, then you'll be pleased to hear that soon, you'll be able to take part in a new blog link-up where you can do just that! The Adoption Social is a new site, launching on Friday 14th June. Each Monday we'll open a new linky called Memory Box where we hope you'll share achievements, memories, and great moments. Read more here...


Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 18

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out arrives again following a very busy week for Vicki and Sarah on the #WASO team. I’ll let you all into a little secret, actually not much of a secret anymore, we are developing a new website called The Adoption Social launching on Friday June 14.

It will be the new home of The Weekly Adoption Shout Out but it will also have so much more to offer, to read the Press Release we sent out this week click here. You can always keep up to date with what is going on via our Facebook page too.

So, exciting times for The Weekly Adoption Shout but for now we are looking forward to reading your posts from the week. Some of you may have taken up our theme of Treasured Moments, but if you haven’t that’s fine please link up your posts as well. The theme is always optional. Again we try our hardest to share your posts on Twitter and on Facebook but you can share yours and other peoples as well with the hashtag #WASO.

Those of you posting blogs will no doubt agree it is always good to get feedback and comments on your posts so if you can remember to comment of some of the other blogs that would be great.

As always both The Puffin Diaries and The Boy’s Behaviour are hosting, so this linky will appear in both places but you only need to add it once below.




This linky list is now closed.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Adoption Social - a brand new website

You might have noticed things have been a little quiet on The Boy's Behaviour recently. That's in part because Sarah at The Puffin Diaries and I have been working on a brand new website for those involved with adoption.
Here's the press release that we sent out yesterday, and be sure to make a note to check out The Adoption Social when it launches on Friday 14 June.


COMING SOON – The Adoption Social!

A new blog to encourage and support those involved in adoption will launch on 14 June.

Developed by two adoptive parent bloggers, The Adoption Social (www.theadoptionsocial.com) is a new site to support and encourage the use of social media as a tool for prospective adoptive parents, adoptive parents, adopted people and professionals involved too.

As well as becoming the home for the already successful ‘The Weekly Adoption Shout Out’ (or #WASO as it’s known on Twitter), The Adoption Social will feature:

Memory Box - A weekly blog link-up to celebrate great moments. This could be good parenting achievements, fab things your children do, good memories and could be text, poetry or even photos. The aim is to share positivity and achievement.

Blogless Blogging – This section provides a space for anonymous posts from bloggers who don’t feel able to post on their own sites, one-off guest posts or those wishing to try their hand at blogging.

Me & My Blog/My Twitter Life - Regular posts from others already using social media; sharing tips, advice and experience.

Adoption Social Connections – Tips on how to get started on Twitter, set up a blog, use other social media resources and also includes lists of useful contacts already on Twitter, Facebook and a blog roll.

A Problem Shared – A spot where people can anonymously or not put forward a particular problem or issue, and others can comment or share experiences and advice.

In time we also hope to launch twitter parties, include reviews of books, programmes and films, and hold a diary of events that might be of interest.

Vicki, who writes The Boy’s Behaviour and is co-founder of The Adoption Social says “As an adoptive parent myself, I’ve found blogging has helped me find others in the same position as our family. There have been times when we’ve had to pretty much lock down and work on healing and repairing our family, but that’s isolating, and so Twitter and Blogging have been my lifelines to the outside world. We’re not experts, but we know what’s helped us. ”

“For me The Adoption Social is about providing support for those living within adoption, through creating social media connections. I’ve found that support myself and I want to share it with others who maybe feel sometimes that they are very much alone. We aim to reach out to these people and by sharing experiences and understanding we hope to create a social media community that can truly help.“ Added Sarah, from The Puffin Diaries, the other founder of The Adoption Social.

It is hoped that adoption agencies, social workers, training providers and advocacy and support organisations  will help promote The Adoption Social to their adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents as a place they can access friendly support. More and more agencies are signing up to Twitter and Facebook and clearly are appreciating the types of connections they can build through such tools, The Adoption Social hopes to build on and develop those connections.

If you require any further information or if you’re interested in contributing to The Adoption Social, then please contact The Adoption Social at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com or via www.facebook.com/theadoptionsocial

Friday, 17 May 2013

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 17

That time of the week already – it’s the Weekly Adoption Shout Out!

Last week the theme was ‘the early days’ and we had some great posts on that. We also had lots of posts that weren’t related to the theme – so be sure to stop by here and have a read through them. Make sure you leave a comment and let them know you found them through the Weekly Adoption Shout Out or #WASO.

There is no theme this week, but next week we’ll be inviting you to link-up posts about 'Treasured Moments'.
In the meantime, please link-up any blog posts relating to adoption, whether you are an adoptee, a prospective adoptive parent, an adoptive parent or a professional working in adoption.
Remember, all posts that are linked should be related to adoption in some way, but you don’t have to be involved in adoption to read the wonderful blogs that link-up – if you know someone who is considering adoption, or want to support a friend who is adopted, or understand more about what other parents go through, then have a read and share this page with your friends.

We try to read and share as many of the posts as we can throughout the week, you can help by sharing your favourites on Twitter , Facebook or your own website or blog. If you want to include a badge on your blog to show your support then here’s the code:
 Adoption Badge photo BADGE7_zps59df311c.jpg


Thursday, 16 May 2013

The nightmares...

Tonight I put Mini to bed at his usual time...it took a while because he gets so scared about the nightmares. I came down and started writing this piece. Lo and behold, an hour later, Mini has joined me because he can't/won't sleep.

The Nightmares

Nightmares rain down on him every night.
He never drifts off, it's always a fight.

"I can't close my eyes mummy, that's when they come"
So fearful of demons and killers and scum.

Out come excuses for departing from bed.
A wee? A drink? Something funny a friend said...

He lay with his eyes open, staring and wide,
That keeps out the nightmares, they can't come inside.

His body is tense and his heart beats fast.
He wonders and worries about tonight's cast.

Who will it be? Witches or wolves?
Or the man in the hat who stands oh so tall?

Eventually though his eyes betray him.
They close, and rest consumes every limb.

He wakes so often, with cries and with shrieks.
Sometimes the same dream can go on for weeks.

Witches, the man, wolves and a killer,
Mummy and Daddy get eaten for dinner.

It all ends in loss, always the main theme.
It creeps into sleep, taking over the dream.

I hope these soon leave him, he'll rest without fear.
But for now, through the nightmares, we'll hold him near.

Linking up with this week's 'Prose for Thought'
Prose for Thought

Friday, 10 May 2013

The early days

In the early days, as husband and wife:
We planned.
We saved.
We moved house.
We worked.
We had fun.

In the early days, as prospective adoptive parents:
We learnt.
We read.
We fretted.
We prepared.
We waited.

In the early days, as parents:
We changed.
We panicked.
We cried.
We laughed.
We fell in love.

Now, as a family:
We love. We laugh. We cry. We learn. We fail. We succeed. We move forward.





Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 16

This week has gone very quickly and here we are again at Friday and it’s The Weekly Adoption Shout Out. Plenty of people joined in again last week and we had some great posts. Remember if you know someone else who blogs about adoption to let them know about #WASO and invite them to join in. It’s good to have new blogs to read as well as all our wonderful regulars.

The theme this week is “The Early Days” and we look forward to reading your interpretations of this. It’s interesting the way the themes are often perceived differently by you all, providing lots of diverse reading. There is no need to write about the theme, it will always be optional, you can link up any posts your written this week.

The link up is on both The Puffin Diaries and The Boys Behaviour, you need only add your post on one of these sites but it will still appear on both.

Please come and visit our Facebook page where we are sharing your posts and other WASO snippets so please hop over and LIKE us and join in.

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 even share your favourites on twitter or tweet your own post with the hashtag #WASO, we will try and share as many as possible too.


Thursday, 9 May 2013

Sunshine and safety

Looking back through some of my posts, I see how I swing from happy and celebrating our achievements to low and feeling shit, and sorry for myself. I hope I don't show those mood swings to my kids...there are only a few people that I totally relax in front of when I'm feeling crappy.
Today, I'm swinging towards happy.

The sun helps doesn't it? We have had so much good weather over the last week it's been amazing. Dollop and I have cleaned the garden toys in our yard (although we're yet to attack the garden apart from getting rid of the old, second hand trampoline, and ordering the brand new safe one!), we've planted seeds (OK, so it might be a bit late, but they'll still grow), we have chalked all over the ground, blown bubbles, had a BBQ, tidied, swept and rearranged the yard, read in the sun, and just...played. And that's just at home.
We've also been to the beach and built sandcastles, gone for several walks, and been to the cinema (Dollop's first time!). Our moods are all better. The children are playing more happily together.

It's funny. If we go to visit family, the children often play nicely together these days. I'm sure people think we should just be pleased about it. They see two children enjoying each other's company. I wish I could see what they see.
But I see two children, well, one really, trying to hard to keep it together and be good in front of people he loves. He tries to please them, he tries to not cock-up in front of them, and he manages it well. It's tiring for him though because he's trying so hard to protect himself from the shame that will come if he makes a mistake. No-one minds if he makes a mistake...after all, he's only 6 and he's still learning. But, he cannot stop this fierce, in built sense of shame from bubbling over, then controlling his every move and thought, and so he works hard to avoid it. We gently whisper that we're all going home together...hopefully subtly so no-one notices that Mini is beginning to wobble, or is feeling unsure. We offer very gentle, discreet touch - a ruffle of hair, a stroke of his cheek, a reassuring tap on the shoulder, or even just a nod or a wink. He worries about many things, and that's tiring too.

After this comes the journey home. There is the gentle rocking of the car, the (not-so-gentle) rhythmic pattern of the motor turning and the engine running. But, when sleep comes, so do the nightmares and so sleep avoidance is important despite this comforting, gentle, slumbersome place.

Then home. And the tiredness really catches up. It's OK though because home is safe. Mum and Dad are safe. Mum and Dad are always there. In this safe place, it can all come out. We try to soothe and hold, but this antagonises and so it's best to let it all out, doing our best to be safe, keeping us all safe.

We're getting there. We're understanding better. We're parenting differently, and better I hope. The kids are more settled, and happier.

There are still concerns and worries when we're out and about. There is still MUCH reassurance to be done. But we're more confident we can do it, and we know our limitations now as a family, and we know what's best for Mini.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Cooking with Mini

 Today is Cinco de Mayo, a day of celebration in Mexico and the USA. Today in the USA, it's a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. It also commemorates the Mexican Army's victory at the Battle of Puebla, in 1962.

Now I don't know much about Mexican history, but I do like to eat Mexican food. It's probably my favourite cuisine. Dollop was weaned on spices and herbs, and likes her food to be tasty. Mini was weaned on more traditional English fayre, but is slowly coming around to other foods, and now enjoys a Chinese takeaway, or a Korma, mild tacos and recently, chicken fajitas have become quite a firm favourite. The NC will eat pretty much anything ;-)

In order to spend a bit more time together, to develop and nurture this growing interest in food and also as a relatively calm activity when post-school fatigue sets in, Mini and I have begun cooking our evening meal together sometimes. Mini has always been interested in baking, he loves helping out in the kitchen, and is always so proud of his offerings. I will add that he has a lighter touch than I, so his pastry and crumble toppings outshine mine! And his favourite job is grating cheese, which is handy because it's a job that I loathe.

I hadn't heard of Cinco de Mayo until recently, but was thrilled to receive some products from Discovery to review in honour of this celebration.

So, Mini and I set together working out what we could make with the products we received - a Fajita cooking kit, Cajun Season and Serve Sauce, and the new Garlic and Herb soured cream. I'm vegetarian, and so the whole family eats meat-free most of the time. I was pleased to see that everything we were sent is vegetarian friendly and so totally suitable for us. We hit the supermarket together to choose vegetables for our meal, and Mini can be a bit fussy about veg which is why they're a bit eclectic! We decided to use the medium spiced Cajun Season and Serve Sauce to make a spicy, saucy dish to have with plan boiled long grain rice, accompanied by the Garlic and Herb soured cream.
As a confident (in the kitchen at least) 6 year old, Mini is capable of care with a knife. He has his own little chopping board and knife, and I'm happy for him to use them with my careful supervision. He is also wary and safe around the hob and hot saucepans, so again with supervision and assistance, we do the hob-jobs together. Use your own judgement with your own children.
So here's our recipe...


Cinco de Mayo spicy Cajun veggies with rice
To feed four adults.


1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
1 large tin of sweetcorn, drained
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 medium onion, chopped into large chunks
4/5 runnerbeans, chopped into diamonds
Cooking oil (we use light and mild olive oil)
Discovery Cajun Season and Serve sauce

To serve:
Cooked long grain rice
Discovery Garlic and Herb Soured Cream



Put the carrots and green beans into a bowl with about 1 tbsp of oil, and stir to coat. Add the contents of the plastic pot that comes on top of the Season and Serve Sauce. Stir again to ensure everything is coated. (Mini loved doing this bit.)


Heat a large pan, add a little oil. When hot, add the onions and stir for a minute. Add the carrots and beans, and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the Season and Serve Sauce to the pan, and leave on a medium heat for 15minutes, stirring occasionally. Don't let the sauce boil.

When the vegetables have started to soften a little, add the sweetcorn and chickpeas. And give it another 5 minutes or so for them to warm through. (We like our vegetables quite fresh and crunchy, if you prefer them softer, cook for longer).

That's it! Simples. Serve with boiled rice and a generous dollop of Discovery Garlic and Herb Soured Cream.

 
It went down brilliantly with the whole family. Mini was chuffed to have helped too. It was slightly spicier than I expected, but wasn't hot, and I was grateful for the cool creaminess of the soured cream.
To be honest, I've never bought soured cream from anywhere other than in a pot from the chilled cream section of the supermarket, so I was a bit wary of trying this - you'll find it with all the other Discovery Products. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. Although it says you can keep it in the cupboard til you need it (then in the fridge once open), I popped it in the fridge for an hour before using it, to chill it off. It has a really nice flavour, with the garlic and herb being just enough - not at all overpowering. Mini doesn't go for creamy, mayonnaisey type sauces but he enjoyed this too and asked for more. It comes in a handy squirty bottle, which meant Mini got it in the bowl, and not blobbed down his clothes, or all over the table!
I always keep Fajita seasoning in the cupboard and flour tortillas in the freezer ready for an unplanned fajita night, but I find that fresh soured cream goes off before we've used it and I really dislike throwing food away. Now I'll be able to keep a bottle in the cupboard for those unexpected requests from Mini for his new favourite fajitas!

Talking of which, there is still that Fajita kit in the kitchen, and half a bottle of soured cream left...guess what we'll be having tomorrow!

Disclaimer: I have not received payment for this review/recipe, but have received the products free of charge.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Tell me how good I am mummy...

I've talked about praise before, but it's rearing it's head again...

I can count to ten too mummy.
I'm eating all my dinner up too mummy.
I've put my pants on myself too mummy.
I washed my hands without any help too mummy.

These are things that Mini often says. Often in the middle of me praising Dollop, or immediately after, before I've even taken a breath. He has to be loved, noticed and praised as much as Dollop or preferably more. The times that Mini gets praise but Dollop doesn't are irrelevant to him. He HAS to have praise when she does, if not, he asks for it.

If you look at what he wants praise for you might think he's regressed a bit, and of course there are times when that is the case, but for the most part I don't think that's why he does this. I think it's because he needs to feel like he's not different...needs to feel perhaps as if he's just like Dollop, and because he needs to know that we love him as much as her.
These are the things that Dollop (being nearly 3) gets praise for, because of course she's still learning to do all of those things. Mini doesn't generally get praise for them because he knows how to do them all, and has for some time. He gets congratulated instead for building Lego things both with instructions and with his imagination, and for sitting still during dinner, and for reading well - that kind of age appropriate thing!

So what about Dollop? There are of course times when Mini is at school and Dollop gets 1:1 attention and time with me. And of course, she gets lots of praise in those times however, whenever Mini is around I always have to treat them exactly the same. I can't even spontaneously say I love you to her, without then feeling forced to say it to him too. Of course I love him, but sometimes in a moment, I want to only say it to Dollop. Just like at times, I just tell him. What is this teaching Dollop and her 3 yr old developing brain? I worry about that.

I do know that some of this is quite normal - I remember getting cross when my brother got something...hugs, sweets, attention, praise, toys or whatever else and I didn't. I'm the first one to admit that I often wailed 'but it's not fair' at my parents, when my brother seemed to get preferential treatment. I know I'm to expect that between Mini and Dollop too. But how I handle it with them is perhaps different to how my mother dealt with it because she didn't have to worry about a traumatised child, or our feelings about difference.

I worry that if I treat them differently then that extends the gap between Mini and Dollop. Or at least the gap in Mini's mind - I don't want to make that any wider. We know Mini already feels different, he's told us so, and the professionals feel it's clear from his reactions and behaviour. I also accept that we can't stop Mini feeling different. I'm sure many adult adoptees grew up feeling different...loved, happy, but different. What we need to do is accept Mini's feelings, and let him become proud of his differences, or at least accepting of them.

So for now, I continue to praise Mini when he asks for it. And I praise him much more when he doesn't ask for it. I dislike how contrived it feels, but I'm hoping that as Mini matures and becomes more confident in himself, more accepting of his strengths and weaknesses, more accepting of his past and present, and more reflective then he'll be happier to just take the genuine praise, and not need to ask for the fake stuff.
And to help him in that we work on making Mini feel confident and proud about himself, we remind him that we love him for who he is, not who he isn't, and we remind him about all the special bits of him that we love. And Dave-the-therapist works on pointing bits out about Mini that are just his...his muscles for example as he punches through ever-increasing amounts of newspaper, getting prouder and feeling stronger each time more paper is added. He always comes out of those sessions standing just a little bit taller.

Are your children like this? What do you do?

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 15

The sun is shining here for the Weekly Adoption Shout Out. We had some really varied posts last week on the theme of regression – if you want to have a look, they’re all still listed here.

As most of you now know, we suggest an optional theme every other week. This week we’re theme free, so please link up any blog post related to adoption whether you’re a prospective adopter, adoption organisation, adoptee, adoptive parent or someone else!

For those of you who like a bit of warning, next week’s optional theme is ‘the early days’. We try to offer a theme that can be interpreted in many ways so you could think about the early days of placement, the start of the approval process, the start of reunion, or even your earliest thoughts about becoming an adoptive parent. Or something completely different if you like!

Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page for links to interesting posts, news and say hi whilst you’re there.

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 below.

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out or #WASO is becoming a really great supportive community, it helps that many of you visit the other blogs that take part – please keep it up. And if you find a post you really like, why not share it on twitter, or tweet your own post with the hashtag #WASO.




This linky list is now closed.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Mummy, Mummy

Mummy! Mummy!
Giggle, whine,
The sounds of my kids, that help pass the time.

Mummy, mummy,
come here please.
A call to patch up scuffed, dirty knees.

Mummy, mummy,
time for dinner?
Mummy's meals are nearly always a winner.

Mummy, mummy,
can we play out?
If you say no, they'll give you that pout.

Mummy, mummy.
Music to my ears.
A word I longed for over the years.

Mummy, mummy?!
Oh, that'll be me,
Better go play then, my kids and me!

Exaggerations, assumptions and realisations

Before Easter, Mini took some of his treasured postcard collection into school to share with his class on Show and Tell day. The particular postcards were from Australia. I had a report back in his home-school book to say how Mini had enjoyed telling the class about his overnight visit to Australia that weekend. A TA tried to catch him out by asking who wrote on the back of the cards, but he had it all worked out and shared how mummy's friend had taken these photos, turned them into postcards and sent them back via super fast post. He later told another teacher that he was visiting Africa the following weekend but he'd be back in time for school on Monday.
At the time, we found it amusing, but the teacher was right in sharing it with us as it's quite out of character for Mini to be so...colourful in his imagination and story-telling. I briefly brought it up with Mini, but the pink of his cheeks and the hurt in his eyes was enough to tell me to back off.

This week I got called over to speak with Mini's teacher after school. She never comes out to see me, but rather sends Mini over to fetch me. She wanted to tell me about another exaggeration that occurred at school.

They were talking initially about birthdays. Mini shared that Dollop's birthday is coming up and we've booked a session at a private swimming pool. Then he said that his other sister is coming. The teacher expressed surprise because she didn't know Mini had another sister. Oh yes, he replies, he's got lots of sisters, about 10.

Given the previous exaggeration, you could forgive the teacher for not believing this one either. Truth be told, I think Mini got a bit confused, or maybe said sister but meant cousin. Because in fact, it's Baby Whizz's birthday a few days before Dollop's, and so the four of us, Baby Whizz & her mum, and nanna & grandad are all going to the pool together.

As she was telling me about how the conversation had gone, I slowly saw some realisation appear across her face. I think I was probably giving her 'a look' too. She seemed to remember that the family she sees - Mum, Dad, Mini and Dollop isn't the only family that Mini has. Although, she still seemed pretty surprised when I told her that 10 sisters wasn't too much of an exaggeration. I thanked her for telling me, but told her it wasn't really anything to worry about. Given his background and circumstances it's pretty natural that he would get confused about something like this - he still believes that Baby Smiler (the NC's Godson) is his brother. I told her that it highlights that we need to do some more life story work with him, but had been advised to hold off on it at the moment.

Sadly, the lack of teacher's discretion caused a few problems - Mini was ashamed that she thought he was lying, and we didn't have the easiest afternoon afterwards. But it did open up an opportunity for Mini to ask a few questions about his birth family, and I gently answered them until Mini became distracted by the Lollipop man wearing a coat on such a warm day.

So there you go. Should I admit that I was a little amused at the assumption, then the dawning realisation that followed?
It's good that despite knowing how our family came to be, she, like most people I hope, sees us for us and not how we are made.

Tummy-ache

Mini has been complaining of tummy ache. For some months, this mysterious unidentifiable tummy pain has surfaced on a Sunday afternoon, been briefly mentioned again Monday morning, but is always gone again by the time I pick Mini up from school on Monday.

A couple of weeks ago though it appeared at school. All day. Various teachers were told and anyone else who would listen, but lunch was eaten as normal, and Mini appeared fine, running around at play times as usual. The teachers didn't have any cause for concern.
Sunday afternoon tummy ache I can understand, but for it to continue over a few days at school too seemed a bit wrong. I felt I'd better get it checked with the doctor to be sure.

I started off with a 'well, he has this Sunday pain, which we're sure is school related, but he's recently started experiencing it at school too'. I'm pretty sure the doctor decided within those 2 seconds that we were wasting his time and he wasn't going to find a physical problem. But he humoured me (or Mini, not quite sure who) by suggesting a physical examination. Up Mini jumped, onto the bed and of course the doctor found nothing physically wrong. No lumps or bumps to be felt, no wincing from Mini as the doctor pressed down on his belly.
Rather unhelpfully he stated 'It's emotional. You'll have to do something about that. Most children do it at some point'.

And we were sent on our way. Feeling flustered by two young children looking at trying out the doctors equipment, standing on the scales, jumping on the scales, attempting to unroll the blue paper that lays across the bed and shaking hands  and dancing with the model skeleton, I rushed them out of the room and didn't think to ask how I should approach it and who with, given the delicate situation we already have with school.

So we've carried on as we were, with Mini complaining of tummy ache every now and then, and no longer just on Sundays, and still at school too.
There is no doubt that Mini has anxieties relating to school and what goes on there. There is no denying his struggles with routine changes, teacher changes...well, change in general. But after talking to Dave-the-therapist about this emotional tummy ache, he reminded me that if it is because Mini doesn't want to be at school, it means he wants to be with me instead. Attachment-wise, this is HUGE! He wants me, he wants to be with me. I suspect there is an element of not wanting to miss out on the fun things I do with Dollop, but ultimately this is brilliant.

Feeling happier than I have been for weeks by this realisation, I approached Mini the other day when he complained of his tummy pain. And as Dave suggested, I attempted to get in Mini's inner world and empathise...
'I'm sorry your tummy hurts again. You know, sometimes I get this empty feeling in my tummy when you go to school. It's because I miss you when you're there. But I'm so pleased that we have time together when you come home each day'.
Expecting either an angry dispute or a silent agreement, I was shocked to get "But I have to go to school mummy, it's important that I learn you know?!'.

I think that means he accepted what I was saying. More progress.