Archive for December, 2013

Revelation Day

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Today has been a good day. Today I have realised we’re doing alright.

It’s been a tough old slog this gaining confidence malarkey and I’m almost positive I’ll have days to come where I don’t feel so confident, but today wasn’t one of them.

I’m not sure what’s happened but I just feel like something has clicked in to place. We all feel much more connected. I feel like we’re doing a good job and that Pickle trusts us and wants to be around us. We have fun, we can make her laugh and she makes us laugh. We can tell her off without feeling guilty about it or feeling like we’re not allowed to. We feel confident with the boundaries we have in place and are consistent. In fact, I think I can say that, we are the definition of consistency. And I don’t get bored of my own voice, which is unfortunate for Pickle because she will never be able to throw food or hit the tv without me telling her “no” very firmly. She stops doing it for a while then tests again but the reaction is always the same.

Today we went for a gorgeous walk to blow the Christmas cobwebs away and I think I blew some of the adoption process cobwebs away too. The confidence is growing and the feeling of being scrutinised, judged and watched is diminishing, slowly but finally.

We are doing a great job of being parents, I am proud of how we handle situations that arise and I feel we’ve got, no I KNOW we’ve got, a very confident, independent, bright, sparky and funny little girl that we are very proud to call our daughter. That’s down to her and it’s down to us. It wouldn’t be that way if it weren’t.

We can do this, we can!




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Christmas Laziness

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Today has been the laziest day ever! Pj’s ’til 13:00 and then only got dressed because I felt bad!

But it’s what we all desperately needed! Even Pickle had a huge 2 hour nap at 10:00 in the morning having woken at 08:00. She looked tired, little dark circles under her eyes and we weren’t much better. Goes to show how much a change effects anyone, especially a child. But today was bliss. We’ve stayed in all day, not done anything, we’ve had the tv on all day, eaten nice food and chilled out. Pickle has taken herself off to her toys all day and had fun while we’ve chilled out on the sofa….and we all needed it. This is a massive hurdle to get over! As an adopter one of the first things you feel you have to be ALL the time is a 24/7 parent. Or, in other words, be on that child from the moment they wake to the moment they go to sleep. But that’s an impossible way of life. I’ve managed it for nearly 4 months but today was an eye opener. We just relaxed and she was fine! We were all in the same room but we just did our own things and it was lovely. Relaxed family life at its best.

Now, pass me the chocolates!





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Boxing Day

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

We did it, we got through the family Christmas get together and survived!

Reading that I bet you think that it’s always a terrible affair, something that we suffer every year through gritted teeth. It’s not. Far from it. Yes it’s mad and loud and can be a bit over the top at times but that’s what Christmas is for, yes? Well, no actually. Not this year. *whispers* and not any year, really, it can be a bit of an endurance test….anyway, moving on…..

It’s been a funny time for us because, as a parent, you just want to get stuck in to “normal” and exciting stuff with the family. But I could feel my anxiety levels reaching a peak thinking about how to keep Pickle’s routine going, trying to keep her calm and level yet, at the same time, allowing the fun to happen without spoiling it with “rules” and “Do’s and do nots”.

However, as it happens, I had very little to worry about and actually I quite enjoyed it. I even had 1 glass of bubbly which I think helped settle my nerves. I can’t explain really what I was worried about because it was all sorts of little things. Will it confuse Pickle having lots of people round and then it just being us again. Will people respect her space and not keep picking her up. Will she be ok being the centre of attention. Will she be ok going for a nap. What if she doesn’t go for a nap. Will I cope with keeping those boundaries and rules in place the way we do when we’re on our own. Will she cope with all the presents. Will I cope with all the presents. Will we be able to space it out without looking like stick in the muds. Will I fall apart with emotion. Will I cope with a house full of people….even though they are close family?

Ridiculous right? All those worries and anxieties. For what? Nothing as it happens. Everyone was absolutely brilliant. The 4 months since Pickle moved in has obviously been a very very steep learning curve, not just for us but our families too. It’s very tough once you’ve started the journey you’re about to take for the rest of your life, the journey of adoption. Even you, the adopter, thinks that things will become normal relatively quickly but it’s just not like that. And we’ve been blessed with a little girl who copes immensely well with lots of people and lots of change. She’s a strong, confident, independent, humorous, funny, loveable little girl and she copes better than me! What you don’t take in to account is yourself, the adopters. You take in to account your child’s feelings all the time and then you (we) suddenly realise that actually it’s not just her we have to think about, it’s us too. If you don’t look after the adopters feelings how on earth are they ever going to trust you to look after their child’s feelings and needs? You have to read the signs and, fortunately, on boxing day everyone came together to support us. It was a great day full of love, laughter and, above all else, understanding.

Pickle, the coper, the Miss confident independent and funny little girl did show signs of becoming overwrought, fractious and very very tired. She tantrummed in the middle of 10 people, she kept saying “more” every time she opened a gift and then had a mini meltdown when I told her to calm down. I picked her up and sat her facing me, away from everyone else and it was a bit of a magical moment, it was like everyone else had ceased to exist as I chatted to her and she fiddled with my necklace. Daddy P got her milk bottle ready and we took her to bed where she conked out for an hour.

When we got her back up she was (nearly) as right as rain and carried on blissfully and happily. Opening more presents and enjoying it.

Everyone left at 17:00. My mum and dad stayed for a little bit longer, helping us tidy and clean and waited until I’d got Pickle to bed who, at that point, had become overwrought again, over tired, frustrated and a little bit spoilt so she went to bed an hour earlier and it took her an hour to get to sleep. It just goes to show that no matter how well a child “copes” they don’t really and truly. There is a limit and I think routine, on those days, are more important than at any other time. It gives the child a feeling of security that everything stays the same and I’m so glad we hosted boxing day so that we could keep it going.

The most shocking thing to the day was that I didn’t have my usual “after event” where I worry about everything from if people had a good time to if I thought I’d got snippy with anyone (as I often do because I get so anxious about big events) and for me not to have an after event after a boxing day family get together with a child as well is, in itself, a miracle!

We did it. We got through and survived and enjoyed our first family Christmas!

Only 363 days to the next one….thank goodness! 





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Christmas Day

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

We’ve just come downstairs having put the Pickle to bed in her new pj’s and collapsed on the sofa

Not from having a stressful, overwrought day but from feeling immensely proud of ourselves and Pickle for getting through our first Christmas together without any of the over the topness that is usually expected at Christmas.

We’ve had one of the most relaxed Christmases that we can remember, we didn’t wake up until 08:30 and then we had to wake her up! We started the day with croissants and then opened a few presents.

The day went on in that vain, bit of food, bit of present opening and a bit of a nap, until bed time ten minutes ago.

There has been a bit of overwrought hitting (Pickle and Jack) and crying (Me! – Daddy P the calm in the mini storms) but on the whole the entire day has gone swimmingly well and we are so proud of our daughter and the fun she’s brought to Christmas day.

What this day has done for me is made me realise the things I get stressed about around Christmas. The over indulging (I always feel uncomfortable) the manic present opening (I prefer one gift at a time, not ten people ripping open several in one go so you don’t know who’s got what) and the noise levels! But this year we’ve eaten bits and bobs through the day, we haven’t had a Christmas dinner because we chose to have cheese, onion and potato pie, we’ve eaten when we want, we opened one present at a time and it’s been quiet, peaceful, relaxing and calm (for the most part)

That’s not to say we haven’t encouraged the excitement because we have and it’s been great fun. But the evidence was plain to see. Even though we’d kept the day relatively calm she still got overwhelmed and overwrought….well, there is a bloody great tree in the living room for a start, how’s that normal for a toddler! We coped though, she coped brilliantly and she’s gone to bed as she usually does, happy she’s got her milk.

All in all it’s been a perfect day. Merry first Christmas with us Pickle, here’s to many more years of Christmas togetherness…..

Now, to Home Alone 2……not bad for a sequel





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Christmas Eve

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring….not even a Pickle!

After my intense anxiety spelled out in my previous 2 posts I am pleased to say that I am, in fact, feeling fantastic! We’ve had such a wonderful, calm, relaxed, “perfect” day that I don’t know what I’ve been so worried about. The main thing being that we’re actually together again, the 3 of us, how I like it best.

We woke up this morning and were both treated to a lie in as Pickle was happily having, what sounded like, a party in her bedroom! If we’d not known better we’d have thought she’d got about 5 friends in there with her! Squealing with delight, chatting to her teddies, telling them off (or something akin to telling them off but it’s funny to listen to!) and rearranging her entire zoo in her cot (she has a LOT of cuddlies!)

Once we decided to get up we had a lazy morning, got dressed up, Pickle chose to wear her reindeer outfit for a bit until she got annoyed with the head bit and then we had a breakfast of crumpets!

It’s been a beautiful day, if a bit blustery, but what better way to blow away the cobwebs so we got all our coats, scarves and hats on and braved the wind to walk up to the shops and have a wander. Pickle fell asleep on the way up so we did a bit of shopping and then went for lunch where she was a superstar!

When we got back we even had time and the inclination to all have an afternoon catnap, including the cat! Hubby on the sofa with cat, Pickle in her cot and me in bed, it was utter bliss!

At 16:00 we all got up and busied ourselves with little jobs, I made Pickles tea, hubby handmade the Christmas cards (for the folks) and Pickle made sure the Christmas decorations were all ok and checked the remote controls were all in working order – a very important job you know! She had her tea while I sat with her and wrote gift tags for all the presents, getting Pickles approval on them, particularly the ones with cats and dogs on them. And once we’d finished all our jobs and Pickle had finished her tea we let her open one present before her bath. These were new pj’s and it’s a tradition that we mean to carry on. She got so excited it was lovely to see! She had her bath with Daddy P and he brought her down in her new pj’s, she looked gorgeous! We took lots of photos including family ones on the sofa and to top the entire day she put her arms around us both, it was magic! I was sitting next to her while Daddy P set the camera up and she put her arm around me and then once her Daddy sat next to her with the timer beeping away on the camera she put her other arm around him, it was such a special, magical moment. It’s those moments you hold on to in your heart and your mind forever. When I child does something like that, spontaneously, without being asked, you know that it’s real and heartfelt….and it melted me!

This Christmas, our first with Pickle, started out making me anxious, feeling the pressure and wanting to hide from it – I’m still not 100% sure exactly why – but today has made me want to embrace it fully and wholeheartedly because I now realise that it’ll be ok, that everything will be ok and there’s no need to worry about anything. Which leaves me with one thing to say…..

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night. Xxx




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Christmas (cont’)

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

It’s Dec 22nd and, you’ve guessed it, our house still doesn’t look festive!

However, I now realise I’ve been struggling with it. Not the not putting decorations up. But the pressure of it all. I spent the day yesterday being told I “have” to do this and I “have” to do that. Why do people tell you what you “have” to do all the time? The trouble is it just makes me even more stubborn than I already am about *not* doing it. In fact, we were going to do it last night but, having worked a 12 hour day on top of being told what I “had” to do we decided not to.

I also realised we’d just transferred the stress of it all from Christmas day to boxing day which hasn’t helped my anxiety. It all sounds pretty ludicrous when you type it out like this. I mean, for goodness sake, what is there to get stressed about? Getting together with family, spending time together, nice food, a bit of drink, good tv and films snuggled up on the sofa. But that’s it isn’t it, it’s the expectation of the perfect Christmas that just might not happen.

Having been through the emotional ringer this week thinking about it all the time I have come to realise that I do struggle with Christmas anyway. Add a newly adopted child in to that picture and the whole thing magnifies itself by about, well at the risk of being accused of exaggerating, one billion!

It’s the “first” as well. And it’s always the “firsts” which are hard.

What I’m hoping for is a relaxed Christmas, albeit it with an “on the go” amazingly cute 19 month old.

I will report back when I’m on the other side, hopefully unscathed!






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Second Review

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

We’ve just had the second review with the social workers and independent reviewing officer

It went very well, no issues whatsoever and the IRO said he could tell we were all settling in to normal life and to relax in to it. I’d told him that we’d worked really hard to reduce Pickle’s world right down to the core people and to not allow others to pick her up or comfort her. And he was pleased but said he could tell how well things were going so to try and relax. He said we were a family now and that we needed to settle in to our own routine and way of doing things. He was brilliant and made me feel like we were doing really well.

So let normal life resume….whatever that means!





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Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

It’s Wednesday 18th Dec and our house does not look the least bit festive!

The only clue it’s Christmas is the mantelpiece of Christmas cards which we started receiving in November….and that’s my point right there! Boom! TOO EARLY!

We have never followed the socially acceptable way of doing Christmas, not to the extent that other people do, but over our years together we’ve got *worse/better (*delete as you see fit) at not following like sheep to the slaughter…..or those poor turkeys.

Don’t get me wrong, we like Christmas, we like the cheer and the pretty, sparkly lights, the getting together with people when you don’t normally have the time, the (appropriate and not over the top) gift giving, the getting snuggly on the sofa and watching movies, the togetherness and the mulled wine – it is, in my humble opinion, all about the mulled wine. But we can’t stand the commercial side of Christmas. The greed, the gluttony, the manic shopping, grabbing things hungrily off shelves, the over excitement, the frenzied eating, the sense of forced fun and the stupid card giving! We haven’t sent a card to anyone in 8 years and it’s such a freedom. It’s anxiety inducing madness and that’s what I hate about it.

So for us, this year, I wanted to see how I’d feel. It’s our very first Christmas with a child and to be perfectly honest nothing has changed. The run up for us is the same, we aren’t even thinking about it until we both finish work and then we can enjoy it. We haven’t done an advent calendar (we always forget!) and we haven’t sent cards. I’ve done our Christmas present shopping but have been even more frugal than I normally am and the only Christmas food we’ve bought is a jar of pickled onions for the cupboard – a little, unintentional tradition which we seem to do every year, our little nod at getting “organised” for Christmas.

We are even spending Christmas day on our own with Pickle this year and to be even more “rebellious” we are going to make a cheese, onion and potato pie for Christmas dinner and have a bitty-bobby tea later. I find, over the years, the more people push to have this all singing, all dancing, ludicrously over the top greedfest the less we want to do it and we are going to start some nicer, calmer, kinder, more thoughtful traditions and I can’t wait for that!

Christmas, for us, represents togetherness most of all and that’s what we take from it. Time off together to be a family of 4 (yes, Jack gets a stocking!) and this year is going to be very special, but for all the right reasons.

But don’t, whatever you do, forget the mulled wine!





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Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

So much has happened in the last few days that I don’t quite know where to start

Daddy P had an amazing day with Pickle on Saturday after I’d had an amazing day on the Friday. It did them the world of good! We made Sunday dinner for both sets of grandparents which we all enjoyed, around the table. Pickle even learned to say ‘cheers’ by bopping her water bottle against our glasses. You only have to show her something once and she’s got it!

And then it was a bit downhill on Monday and Tuesday. We were both in a mood and we didn’t help each other. I find that we are like that. Very in tune with each other and we bounce off each other when we’re both happy but if we’re both a bit of a misery guts when we are terrible. She sticks her bottom lip out and I follow suit! I feel like I’ve had to work really hard the last 3 days to make her smile and I really struggle with that sometimes. It’s hard not to take it personally but you can’t. She’s not doing it on purpose, it’s just how she feels. She’s so aware, bright, knowing, intelligent and funny that she has days where she probably just can’t be bothered. I need to tune in to her more on those days than any other time.

And today, Wednesday, was a big milestone. My Mother-in-Law looked after her for the first time. Only for an hour and a half but it was enough. And something lovely happened when I got back. We had lovely cuddles, she sat with me loads and she talked (babbled) to me as if she were telling me what she’d been up to with Grandma. Then Daddy P got home and she gave him a lovely welcome, a long cuddle and then ran between the 2 of us. It was fantastic. At times like this a want to pause our lives. I don’t want it to end or change. I love it and I love Daddy P and Pickle and Jack, it’s great, perfect and exciting! The tantrums are definitely hard to deal with but it’s getting easier to know what to do but the good moments like that make up for it in every way. So, to Pickle I have one thing to say…..






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The Silver Lining of Clouds

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

After the horror that was yesterday, today couldn’t have been more different

Pickle was quite simply amazing! It was like she’d woken up and thought “right, today is going to be a good day”! And she was right. I am always a bit nervous going in to her room the morning after a bad day because, as an adult, I expect her to remember being upset, screaming and in a bad mood and me getting annoyed all day. But no, she greeted me with a lovely smile and that continued all day long (almost!)

We had a cheery day. She ate her breakfast in her big chair, a booster seat at the table which I introduced yesterday and she loved it. She then had a play while I sorted out stuff ready to go out and while I was feeding Jack the cat she managed to grab his treats from the cupboard and then surprised me by running (excitedly) in to the living room while shaking and tapping the treats pot and Jack running after her. She then proceeded to feed him all the treats in the pot….we had a very happy cat at this point! It’s exactly what we do and she’s obviously picked it up, it was very cute. I was just hoping I wouldn’t come back to a bloated sick cat having gorged himself!

Next we went out, on the bus, to playgroup with my friend and her little girl. Pickle busied herself playing with all the toys and getting stuck in. The nicest thing happened there today too, I realised I was a lot more relaxed about her going off and being independent and she obviously knows who I am because our eyes met at one point across the room so I waved and she waved back and smiled…and then carried on with whatever important activity she was doing.

Next was a walk to Nanny and PaPa’s, along the river in the sun, where she had a spot of lunch and threw herself on their bed again (great fun!)

Then we were off again, on the bus, back home to meet a friend who’d come round for coffee and catch up. We all had a piece of cake and then she left and Pickle and I played. All of this she took in her stride. We had a dance, played and she threw herself all over me.

Then the best thing happened. Daddy P came home from work and Pickle was delighted to see him. She ran to him at the front door, had a lovely cuddle and then played with us both for about 20 minutes. She even instigated some eye contact game playing with Daddy P and gave him the hugest cuddle while saying “aaaaah” flinging her arms right around him as far as they’d go! Absolutely gorgeous!

She started rubbing her eyes then and asking for her milk at 5:30, which is still early but we decided to really take note and let her go to bed. Daddy P took her up, read her books and then I was called up to say goodnight. We both got a kiss and a cuddle and then she went down with her bottle. We both came downstairs with smiles on our faces and feeling really proud.

Tonight, I sit here having had an exceptional day and eating cake in celebration!





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