Archive for October, 2013

Leaps and Bounds

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

In the ten weeks Pickle has been with us she’s amazed us every day 

It’s been ten weeks, to the day, that she moved in. Ten weeks ago we were settling in to bed on our first night. We’d put her to bed with no issues and had a good early night, preceded by chocolate cake to celebrate our little girl moving in. Ten weeks ago she could crawl and pull herself up on to the furniture. Ten weeks ago she barely squeaked. Ten weeks ago she looked like a startled baby sparrow who didn’t know what had happened. She was so brave, and still is. But at that point, ten weeks ago, as a 15 month old, she was brave, startled, scared, shocked, confused and a baby.

Ten weeks on we have a little girl. Ten weeks on she has lost the startled look and is more relaxed. She smiles with her entire face. She’s always smiled with her eyes but she now glows. She’s learned to walk. She’s learned to dance. She’s learned to chatter, albeit in her own little language. She makes lovely cute noises, squeaks and little “rrrrrrr” noises at the back of her throat which make her sound like a little ewok. She has learned about books and likes to be read to, especially “Toddle Waddle” and “Greedy Goose and Chocolate Mousse”. She has learned to not throw food and put her unwanted bits back on her plate. She has learned not to touch the tv. She’s learned to love Jack….we’ve just got to work on Jack, he’s getting there, he’ll now come and sit on the other side of me when she’s having cuddles.

She’s learned she likes Iggle Piggle on “In the night Garden”. She’s learned to say “thank you” in makaton sign language. She’s been swimming and to playgroup. She’s tried all sorts of different foods and loved some unusual stuff (Olives! Sun dried tomatoes! Gherkins!)  She’s learned to put her cat ear head band on. She’s learned about spiders. She’s learned to put the top on her bottle. She’s learned to turn pages in books. She’s learned to run. She’s learned to have proper tantrums. She’s learned to say sorry. She’s learned that hitting is naughty. She’s learned that Nanny and PaPa are important people. She’s learned that I’m not going anywhere if I have to nip upstairs for 2 minutes. She’s learned to put dirty washing in the laundry basket. She’s learned all the different animal names of her finger puppets. She’s learned to say “no” and “yes”, “jack jack”, “Ba”, “Da” and “mama”. That’s the clearest word of them all. She says “mama” all the time now. We’re just not sure if it’s “mama” or a version of “more more”! She’s learned to reach up when I go in her room in the morning. She’s learned to speak on the phone. She’s learned to use the remote control (it’s now on a high shelf !) She’s learned about Thomas the Tank Engine and Postman Pat. She has a few dozen fantastic facial expression now ranging from gleeful to frowning, frustrated, fed up,  questioning, cheeky, caring and concentrating. Her hands and fingers are so intricate and delicate she’s learned to use them for delicate operations and inspects the smallest things with them. She’s learned to “play” the piano. She’s learned to really listen to music. She’s learned to climb up the stairs…and back down again…with help.

But, most importantly she’s learning that we are Mummy and Daddy. The connection is there. She seeks us out in unusual situations and places, she looks for us when we’re at someone else’s house, she comes for comfort when she’s upset and doesn’t seek that from other people and she stays close and snuggles in when someone she hasn’t met before arrives. All that in ten weeks! But the hard work and the time together has proved invaluable!

She’s an amazing little girl and we are lucky to have her in our lives. 
© 2013 All Rights Reserved

Feeling Damaged

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Consider this “perfect” scenario;

Your 18 month old wakes up every morning happy, bright, calm and cheery. She plays with her toys in her cot, she chatters, sings, kisses her teddies and sometimes will even just sit there quietly looking around. I bet you’re thinking “oh my god, what a joy! How lucky am I as a parent to have a child like that”

Now, consider this;

I’m an adoptive parent who has had, for the last 12 months, attachment theories, negative behavioural situations and all sorts of horror stories crammed so deep in to my brain that I can’t push them to one side.

I don’t wake up feeling “lucky” that I can lie in bed reading or catch 30 more minutes sleep. I wake up nervous, anxious, scared, worried that I’m damaging her forever by leaving her in her cot, petrified that I’m ruining all the hard work we’ve put in to achieving the attachments that are so obviously there when you look closely enough through the worry.

People say listen to your instincts. I have none left. The adoption process has destroyed, albeit temporarily, those instincts because every time something happens or doesn’t happen my instincts are in overdrive about every little thing! I feel like a loony and I feel like a wreck. I never wanted to be a parent who was over protective, over thinking, over analysing because it winds me up when other people are like that. But the adoption process, more specifically the stuff you learn through it, really does hinder that “natural” ability to parent. It’s exhausting. And not in the “I’m a parent I never stop” way. It’s the mental exhaustion of over thinking, over analysing and not being able to switch off that SW/psychotherapist voice in your head……ever! I’m sure, in time, I will ease up on myself and, as my husband keeps telling me to do, give myself a break. But for now I’m trying to concentrate, very very hard on separating my natural and good instincts to the “learned, adoption, psychotherapy” instincts which are proving to be more damaging than anything else.

In the middle of all this worry, this morning, I happened to stub my toe really hard and, being a complete wuss, I shouted “ow!” and sat on the floor to rub my foot. Within seconds my 18 month old daughter had walked over to me, offered a kiss (which I gladly accepted) and bent down to rub my throbbing toe.

Now, what was I saying I was worrying about? 
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Making Memories

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Today was a dolly mixture of emotions. Starting badly (ish) and ending superbly!

I’d planned to go to a friends house for them to meet Pickle for the first time. They live in the countryside and the drive out was gorgeous, beautiful sunshine, blue skies again with that gorgeous crispness to the air. There was even mist hovering over fields with burnt orange sunrise, lovely! We dropped Daddy P off at work and continued on our way…..and then Pickle was sick! Not loads but enough for her to look panicked and me to feel panicked! It was odd & I still don’t know why she was sick because she doesn’t get travel sick. Anyway, long story short, we turned around and went home, gutted we couldn’t go on with our plans but knowing that I’d regret not taking her home.

I’m glad we did because she ended up having a 2 hour nap after I gave her some calpol and it restored her loads! I decided that the second plan of the day would be doable so we went to my Mum & Dads, Pickle’s Nanny and PaPa, who she adores! Whenever she goes there she beams and is so relaxed & content. She has a basket of goodies there that my Mum has built up. It was originally the poor cats basket of toys but now Pickle has commandeered it I think he’s given up on ever being allowed near it again…..anyway, he’s happy to sleep 23 hours a day so he’s still happy!

Anyway, this basket of goodies has been added to by my Mum shopping at pound shops and charity shops and is now bursting with interesting bits and bobs such as bangles, handbags, purses, wooden animals, a cloth barn with soft animals, squeaky mice toys, a plastic globe, a knitted ginger bread man which my mum made, a piece of wool, beany bag toys, books, a headband with cat ears, a couple of candles… name it it’s in there! And Pickle loves it! She even adds to it herself every time she goes, picking bits up here and there around the house and pops it in her basket! We were there for 5 hours today. We had lunch, lots of cups of tea and just chilled out. She even had some soup of her own in a little espresso mug with a bit of pitta and contentedly (and very cleverly) ate it herself while dipping her pitta! We had a lovely time, as I always do, but now I do it with my daughter who loves descending on my Mum and Dad just as much as I do.

This is what memories are made from. 




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A Good Day

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

After yesterday I felt like things got better

I woke up today feeling really bright and happy and so did Pickle. She was in a superb mood, not that she very often is in a bad or grumpy mood but it was like we’d both got out the wrong side of the bed (or cot!) yesterday. Today felt very different and the weather helped, that gorgeous crisp autumnal coldness with blue skies and sunshine so I decided to take us on a walk to our gorgeous local park, we shared some cake while sitting on a bench and then walked home. All was right again….apart from the little tantrum she had because I wouldn’t let her play in the mud! But she soon forgot about that when I handed her a bottle for the walk home.

Content again. 




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Bad Feelings

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

I’m actually writing this on Wednesday 23rd because I felt so bad yesterday. And the day before.

It was a feeling I couldn’t shake. I felt low, isolated, sad, impatient, like I couldn’t do this any more and it scared me. I now realise that it was hormonal because I feel much better today, more patient and enjoying it again. But even though I feel better I think it’s important I write about it because other people will feel like this and think they can’t do it and feel like they’re not normal. Well it is normal and anyone telling you it isn’t needs shooting! One of the reasons I feel better is because, after the emotionally hard day, I had to go out to work at 6:00 once Daddy P got home and as I drove away I put the radio on and felt “free” again. I actually had a twinge of guilt about not feeling guilt that I was having “me” time! But I soon got over that when I arrived at my friends house who told me in no uncertain terms that everything I was feeling was normal.

The trouble with adoption and its process is that it makes you feel so isolated that sometimes you wonder whether it is the adoption process or just being a parent which makes you feel all these emotions. My friend made some very good points. The main one was that when you become a parent you don’t stop being the person you always have been; This hit me like a rocket! It wasn’t until she said it that I actually thought it and she’s right. When you adopt there’s a part of you (a big part) which feels like you have to become a different person. You are educated so much about attachment and trauma that you feel you’ve got to be this all singing all dancing perfect therapeutic parent 100% of the time. And, quite frankly, it’s exhausting! Anyone who says they do it all the time is either lying or, dare I say it, brain dead! I have another life other than that of a mother. I am a worker, a wife, a friend, a socialite (I love getting together with friends!) and I am ME!

I felt guilty about doing housework when she was up, I felt guilty about sitting down with a cup of tea while she played. Why? It sounds ludicrous when you type it out or talk to someone about it. What I’ve realised, having talked to my friend, is that it’s ok to still be you AND be a parent. It’s ok to enjoy having time away from your child and not feel guilty. It’s ok to want to discipline your child, say no to your child or even, heaven forbid, tell your child off. I always thought I’d be a chilled out, relaxed parent but with strict discipline and boundaries which I know makes children feel secure. I am getting there but I think the adoption process makes you feel like you can’t be the parent you want to be naturally. Sometimes it hinders even the best of our intentions. Maybe it’s just me, maybe all adoptive parents feel like that. But I do feel, because of the scrutiny that you have to undergo to become a parent it carries on way in to placement. But today I feel a lot more relaxed and I think it’s down to the conversation I had last night.

Simply put, everything I’m feeling is normal! 




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Feeling Better (part 2)

Friday, October 18th, 2013

We did it! We went swimming, on our own, with no help from anyone and succeeded!!!!

I was a bit scared but tried to just get on with it and it worked! I let her sleep until I was virtually ready to go. Swimming is at a really awkward time, 12:15, lunch time for most people! So I packed her a little lunch and, using the idea we’d had while walking in the countryside, I put her blue plastic (Tommi Tippee) bib on with the ‘catcher’ bit but used it as a bowl. It works a treat when she’s in her buggy! I’d done her some buttered toast, baby-bel, carrot, rice cakes and fruit. She munched away happily for the 20 minute walk and was tucked up all snugly away from the cold. It was a beautiful day actually but a bit nippy.

We then arrived at the swimming baths and I had a sudden thought….what do I do with the buggy! But instead of panicking (well, ok, just a little bit!) I asked at the desk and they have a key system with a lock so that was the buggy sorted, apart from Pickle trying to run down the corridor giggling her head off as I tried to dismantle the buggy to lock it up! Once that (massive) palaver was done with we then changed and got in the pool for an hour. She loves it! She clings on a bit but within ten minutes she’s fine. This is the 3rd time we’ve been swimming. I missed Daddy P with him not being with us.

Today she learned she could actually stand up on the steps which were under the water…and then she really surprised me……they have these rings which sink, some which lay flat and some which sit up. She managed to grab both from the bottom! She had to crouch/squat, reach with her hand and managed to keep her head just above water to get them! I think at one point her mouth did go under but she still grabbed it! I was clapping like mad and saying how clever she was and she looked chuffed to bits! I was so amazed! She amazes me every day.

We got out an hour later, I managed to grab all our bags and her, get to the changing room, get us both changed and get out, unscathed, with no tears….and that was just me! Once home, after eating some more lunch and some fruit on the way back (oh, and being followed by a little black cat nearly all the way home! Pickle screaming with delight as he trotted next to the buggy!) I put her to bed and sat with a film and a cup of tea for an hour. Relieved & tired!

The rest of the afternoon was lovely. We played, watched Thomas the Tank Engine, she ran around for a while with the blanket on her head (looking like E.T bumping in to things!) and generally just having fun. We had tea together (vegetable spring roll, beans and coleslaw and she ate the entire plateful!) and then it was bath time. As she played we heard Daddy P get home and it really is one of my favourite moments of the day. Pickle gets so excited! She beams when she sees him and claps but today was something else. She stood up in the bath, hands on the side, staring at the bathroom door, then at me, then at the door, smiling like mad and stomping her feet with excitement…and as he walked in she screamed with delight! It’s lovely! It makes him having to go to work all worthwhile I think…..

Although, winning the lottery and being at home with her would beat that hands down!  




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Feeling Better (part 1)

Friday, October 18th, 2013

I woke up this morning thinking I would feel better from yesterday

Having had a good nights sleep and a 2 hour nap at the same time as Pickle you’d have thought that I would, but I didn’t. I actually woke up feeling sick, really upset and cried. I also felt really panicky. Fortunately I woke up next to my lovely husband who is my rock and we talked it through. He said he thought I’d done a really good job this week on my own and that Pickle looked great when he’d arrived home last night from work. She’s even started running, albeit very comically but the stability in her legs is amazing, to think we thought it would be months before she started walking!

After I’d had my cry and chat I left Pickle to continue to sleep and relaxed in bed checking texts, twitter, emails, just to chill out a bit and then she started stirring. Daddy P had gone to work by this point so I got her up on my own…..and as soon as I went in to her room I felt better again. We’ve had a lovely morning, she’s very happy, looking for Jack the cat under the drying washing and chatting to him. We then went down for breakfast and she ate her Cheerios beautifully while I pottered around in the kitchen getting my own breakfast. She even tips her bowl to get at the milk…..17 months old with that thought process! She amazes me, we are so proud of her.

Then? Then disaster struck! I burnt 5 slices of toast and Jack escaped out the back door! I couldn’t believe it! The fire alarm was going off, smoke everywhere , cat scarpering out the door, me wafting a towel around, Pickle looking worried! It was like a comedy moment but just not funny! However, I’m glad it happened because, guess what? I coped! I grabbed the toast and chucked it in the bin, wafted the smoke away and ran out the door and scooped a very excited but soon to be disappointed Jack up and brought him back in! By this point Pickle was crying but I managed to calm her within seconds and soon we were all relaxed again with her pottering around nattering and me on the sofa breathing a sigh of relief! And now she’s in bed for her morning nap and we plan to go swimming together.

I think, just maybe, that everything is going to be ok! …….




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Busy Days and Meltdowns

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Yesterday I learned a valuable lesson. My life has changed.

Not that I didn’t know that anyway. But I tried to do 3 things today and Pickle seemed to cope really well, as she always does. She only slept for half an hour even though I put her down for 2 naps but she’s gone all day without sleep before and not had a reaction like she did tonight! I had to leave the house at 6pm to go to work and didn’t get home until 9pm so, as far as I was aware we’d done really well, apart from me being shattered from working so late. But when I got home Daddy P told me what had happened.

All appeared to be well up to half way through tea and then she kicked off…..big time! Daddy P said he’d never seen anything like it. She was inconsolable, screaming and was crying so hard she got blood shot eyes and a red face! I was horrified, both for Pickle and for Daddy P. the trouble is, it’s this part of things I don’t cope with. Even though logic (and Daddy P!) told me that it was because she was exhausted I then started to over think things, wondering if I’d damaged her by being busy in the day, thinking I’d ruined our attachment forever that we’ve built up and wondering if she’d survive the night, literally “survive”…..I know, madness! I waited to go to sleep until I saw her move on the monitor! I thought I’d made her ill, or that I’d caused her irreparable damage.

Actually, as it happens, she was just tired, she woke up fine and we’ve had a lovely, relaxed day at home seeing nobody and sleeping lots. I actually felt like I was coming down with something so I went to bed at the same time as her in the afternoon and we both slept for 2 and a half hours! I obviously needed it and so did she. I have to admit I’m a bit nervous now of seeing anyone but I can’t let that one experience control me. And I have to be allowed to see other people otherwise I’ll go mad! I’m still not convinced it was ‘just’ because she was tired but maybe we’ll never know.

When Daddy P got home tonight she beamed at him again as he walked in which always makes me happy. But then she was a bit shy around him which I struggle with. He doesn’t, it is my problem. She was fine after about 5 minutes but it’s just that initial coming home bit. Maybe her attachment to me is getting stronger because I’m the one at home now, but she does get Daddy P all to herself for about 8 hours on a Saturday, which is lovely for them. Confusion all round today, I have to admit. I haven’t felt myself but have appreciated the time at home and the sleep.

And tomorrow is always a new day! 




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Spiders and Flowers

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Today Pickle discovered spiders!

And the fact that cats also like spiders! It was Jack the cat who found it. I had to then manage a balancing act between getting Jack away from the spider so he didn’t eat it and get Pickle close to it so she could see it! At one point I wish there’d been a camera above to take a picture of us because we were all in the corner of the room looking at this spider at different angles….the cat, Pickle and me! It was a lovely moment, a small (some would say insignificant) moment but for me it was lovely.

We then went for a lovely walk up to the shops, did some shopping, then walked back with more shopping than I’d planned to get and vowed never to do it again because it made the hill 20 times harder than if I’d just bought the new toothbrush I’d planned on….

….and Pickle carried that anyway! 
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First “normal” day

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Today Daddy P went to work for the first time in 8 and a half weeks!

We didn’t sleep very well last night with worrying about it. Just nervous about him starting a new job and me going it alone. Pickle and I gave him a lift to work for the first day and I felt emotional as he walked away from the car looking good in his new suit. I have to admit I cried a bit while driving away. I’d decided to see a friend in the morning when we got back, just to keep me busy but that went completely wrong! She just screamed the whole time I was there because I wasn’t giving her the 100% attention she’s got used to in the last 8 and a half weeks. But it still took my mind off Daddy P not being here.

We then headed up to the shopping centre to meet a friend for coffee at costa only to discover that she couldn’t make it (she’d had an emergency so I totally didn’t mind) so I decided I would stay and have a hot chocolate while Pickle had her lunch. When we got home she went straight to bed and slept for 2 hours which is when I decided that I was going to have a mad cleaning session, again to keep me busy. And then after all that I thought I’d sit down and congratulate myself with a cup of tea and she woke up! It was 2:00 so I decided to let us have a mini snack picnic on the carpet while watching Wall.E which went down a treat! We had a lovely time.

Then it was time to pick Daddy P up so we drove for the half an hour journey listening to music with Pickle dancing away in her car seat. When we arrived we were a little bit early so I sat with her asking her to say things. She’s started babbling more and saying more letters like mama, baba, dada, lala and she can say hello (erro) so I asked her to say hello daddy. She looked at me, concentrated and said “erro dadda”! I was stunned! Unfortunately she didn’t say it again but, never mind, it’s in there! The nicest thing was that we’d just got out the car to wait for him, she was getting a bit annoyed about being in the car seat, and when he walked up to us she saw him and beamed her widest smile. It made our day! We got home, Daddy P put her to bed and we had tea and a glass of wine. All in all a pretty perfect day for the first day back to “normality”.

Whatever normality is! 
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