Wednesday, 16 July 2014

When I grow up...

It was when I was talking to Dollop in the car about what she wants to be when she grows up, that I realised just how much our children think of us, how much of a role model I am to my children.

And by that I mean more than just modelling good behaviour, or manners, or kindness. And more than helping them develop thoughts, opinions, dreams, aspirations and ideas.

"I don't want to be a ghost anymore, or a chef. I want to be a mummy. Just. Like. You."

And it made me realise that we must be doing something right if our children want to be just like us.

I do mean children by the way, not just Dollop. For as long as I can remember Mini has wanted to be a daddy....as well as a cowboy, building and fireman.

But until Dollop told me she wanted to be a mummy just like me, I hadn't thought about how much of a compliment it was that Mini wanted to be like the NC.

It is a challenge parenting my two, and I'm finding it even harder with the black dog by my side but I love my kids so much and I think it's proof they love us too.

Oh and I just want to tell you about the heart melting moment I had with Dollop yesterday when she stroked my face and told me her heart was full of flowers and her head full of hearts - all because she loves me. Love that girl.

Friday, 4 July 2014

GUEST POST- Natural health: Some ideas for adoptive families

Today I'm thrilled to bring you a post from Sezz who usually writes over at Dear Daughter: Our Adoption Journey. In this guest post Sezz shares information about natural health, and some therapies that I'm keen to try with Mini. And as a depression sufferer, I'll be looking into homeopathy now...

I am delighted to have been invited to write a guest post about natural health.  I’m a big fan of holistic therapies, also referred to as complementary therapies. Therapies look at the root cause of an illness, not just the symptoms.  Note the word ‘complementary’ – they complement traditional medicine and although some people use them exclusively, it’s important to get a diagnosis from a GP if you are unsure at all about any symptoms you or your child are showing.  Complementary therapists do not diagnose and nor should they ever claim to cure. 

Depression is one thing I see talked about a lot amongst adopters.  I’ve had levels of anxiety and depression over the years and through this last winter.  There was also a report out this week about the level of depression rising amongst children.  For me, homeopathy is a winner.  I first tried homeopathy 20 something years ago when I had chronic fatigue and then again 15 years when I first had depression.  It really does lift that dark cloud off my head. I don’t know how it works, but it does for me.  It’s perfectly safe for children too and very easy to administer, you can put a few drops of the remedy in their water bottle.  I recommend seeing a homeopath to get a remedy tailored for you rather than just picking one up at a health food store.

I’ve talked about meditation before, on my blog and also via the book review for Ladybird’s Remarkable Relaxation on The Adoption Social.  It’s something that definitely has a calming effect on me and my daughter.  She often asks for it just before bedtime and, bless her, she decided to do a meditation for me in the back garden last week. It was very relaxing.  You can find lots of YouTube videos with guided meditations on them but with Missy, whilst I’ve learnt to do meditations, she loves listening to a particular CD containing 15 minute meditations and she will listen to one after we’ve read her bedtime story.  It definitely helps her relax and sleep well. For me, although I’ve learnt to meditate, I also use an app called Headspace which will lead you through a 10 minute daily meditation. You can also find local classes and meditation groups.

Bowen Therapy is a fabulous therapy.  It’s still relatively unknown although it’s been around for years.  It’s a very light touch therapy that can be done through light clothing.  I’ve had treatments for back and shoulder pain and many therapists do see lots of physical ailments.  However, it also has great application for children.  There is a wonderful man called Howard Plummer who has done lots of research into Bowen and children, particularly with autism and cerebral palsy.  As the moves are short, it’s ideal for children who can’t lie or sit still for long.  I know of one little boy for whom Bowen just took the edge off his ADHD, so much so he could sit on the classroom carpet and remain calm, and another boy with autism whose balance improved considerably such that he could then learn more things in gymnastics like standing on one leg and hopping.   It’s also a tremendously relaxing treatment and I always come away very much lighter in my head.  A bonus is that many therapists won’t charge for children, or just ask for a donation.

Reflexology, the art of working pressure points on the feet to bring about a positive change in the body, is ideal for stress relief.  It’s not a massage, although the therapist may begin with a few massage strokes to get you relaxed.  If you are feeling stressed and need that all important ‘me-time’ then a reflexology session is ideal.  Additionally, if you have an ongoing issue then weekly treatments over a couple of months may well reduce the symptoms considerably.   As far as children are concerned, reflexology is perfectly safe even for babies.  There was some excellent research done by a Chartered Physiotherapist called Jenny Lee who carried out a 15 year research into effect of reflexology on children with asthma.  The effects on the children included improved sleep, relaxation and child/parent bonding.   Much has also been written about the positive effects of touch on the children in orphanages in Romania, all of whom have some degree of reactive attachment disorder.

The last therapy I want to mention in this post is EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique.  That’s a bit of a mouthful and most people will call it Tapping.  It’s a very simple therapy and one that you can learn for yourself or see a therapist if you need more support – think acupuncture but without the needles.  Negative emotions will create disturbances in the body’s energy systems, leading to physical and mental symptoms when the body is not at ease, ie it’s dis-eased.   Essentially, you tap using two fingers on a set of the body’s energy meridian points, whilst focussing on the negative emotion or anxiety, which helps to restore balance in the body.  There have been two very good pieces of research showing how the stress response is lessened when energy points are stimulated, and how levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, are reduced.   Obviously with our children, you wouldn’t go straight in at the root of the trauma; you start with the top layer of emotion, a bit like peeling the layers of onion away. Perhaps they are feeling  sad, worried or fearful and don’t necessarily understand why or are not ready to remember the trauma.   They might have a general feeling of sadness or perhaps a fear of a spelling test.  For children who have suffered trauma, the fear of the spelling test will be the tip of the iceberg and this is what you start to work away at first.  Adults, who have learnt to understand their feelings and can regulate, can go deeper into their emotions and feelings straight away when they start tapping.  For example, someone who suffers stress, anxiety and pain as a result of a car crash ten years ago could start to work on emotions relating to the car crash.  Equally, they may just want to work on that iceberg tip and that’s fine too. 

Whilst I can take my daughter through a tapping routine, she likes to follow videos by Brad Yates on You Tube.  He’s a worldwide expert in EFT and has three or four videos specifically for kids in which his daughter does the tapping and my daughter particularly likes to watch her.   At the moment we just do five minutes tapping on things like sadness or worry and whilst Missy can’t really measure how she feels, I can certainly see an instant switch in her demeanour to a more positive state once she’s tapped. 

I hope the above has introduced you to a few therapies that you could use for yourself or your children.
If you want to know more, then do drop Sezz a line at adoptiondiary@gmail.com