Archive for January, 2014

Shortest Blog Ever?

Friday, January 24th, 2014

To sum up…

Things that are going really well = Pickle and her relationship with us.
Things that are going really badly = Other people understanding and listening.

The end! 




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Utter Emotional Exhaustion

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

I am forcing myself to do this blog

I don’t want to and I’m not in the mood but it’s been a while and I think I need to write a few bits down to remind myself how brilliant things actually are. I’m tired. No. I’m exhausted. But it’s me who’s exhausting myself. I want to be perfect for Pickle. But I can’t be. Not all the time.

You know how I worked this out? Today I laid down on the sofa. I was so tired I fell asleep while Pickle had her nap and when I woke up I still felt tired. I stumbled upstairs to take her out her cot thinking “I must wake up, I must bounce in to her room ready to be cheery and funny and then bring her downstairs and teach her things and talk all the time and do flash cards and practice words and sounds of letters and sounds of animals and tell her what she’s having for tea and getting straight on it and sitting her at the piano so she can experience music and put music on so we can dance and then I will let her choose several books so I can read to her and then we can play for a bit and maybe even teach her to use a new toy that’s she’s not played with yet because that’ll be really good for her development *takes breath*

Just typing all that out has exhausted me. I bet reading it has!

But I didn’t do any of that. I was SO tired I just gently held her as we walked downstairs, explained that I was tired, that I’d put on CBBees for her and I laid on the sofa. I was too tired to worry about attachment. I was too exhausted to think about having a conversation with her, practicing words or playing. I just lay there, comfy and cosy on the sofa….and you know what, we had the loveliest hour! She didn’t choose to watch the tv on the floor in front of it, she didn’t choose to watch it from the other chair. She didn’t choose to go and play on the other side of the room or cuddle her teddies. Nope! She decided that she would sit with me…, not with me, on me!

She scrambled all over me, sat on my head, lay on my back, danced on my legs, walked up and down my back and bounced on my head! She chose to have that contact with me while we were both relaxed and resting. It was an amazing moment of true attachment and bonding which was born out of me reaching my tipping point for exhaustion. And it was lovely. I loved seeing her tiny little feet keep appearing in front of my face, toes wiggling while she got herself comfy to watch Mr Tumble.

I honestly think that you have to think you’ve reached the end of your reserves before you realise that, in fact, you’re doing an amazing job! I will now no longer feel guilty about just taking it a bit easier and simplifying things a bit. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Imperfection is perfection!

Everything Is Ok…..Right?

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

It’s been 4 and a half months. 19 weeks, 4 days and 13 hours to be precise 

Not that I’m counting, but you never forget the moment you pick your child up and bring her home forever! I can’t believe it really when I look back. I remember it as a fuzzy haze, although that may have been the summer heat! I can’t even begin to tell you what I expected of this journey, of myself, of my feelings, my expectations. I can’t begin because I honestly don’t know what they were and, even if I could remember, they probably wouldn’t be correct now anyway.

The easiest thing for me to work out recently though was what I expected of myself and what others now expect of our situation. The simplest way for me to explain what I mean is that I expect huge things from myself, I expect to be fully attentive all the time, this all singing all dancing parent who has to make absolutely sure I’m getting the attachment ‘stuff’ right all the time and making her happy all the time, 24 hours a day, 6 days a week (I work one of them and, at the moment, it’s a relief…..not from Pickle but from myself) I put so much pressure on myself to be like this that I’m finally becoming exhausted. I can’t relax. There’s always a problem to my solution, a ying to my yang but not in a good way, more like a conflict in what I do and what’s in my head the entire time, from the moment I’m awake to the moment I’m asleep I do not relax. My head whirring, questioning myself, questioning the situation, questioning Pickle’s behaviour, analysing, over analysing, analysing my behaviour, my responses, my feelings. If I do this will it result in that. If Pickle pushes me away does that mean the attachment is failing. Or does it mean, simply, that she’s fed up with me and wants time alone (fair enough) If she hits me and I tell her off and put her down on the floor is that wrecking any attachment we’ve made, will she ever trust me again, will she remember it “bodily” as a bad experience? Or will it enforce the good behaviour and boundries that children need? If she tips the cats water bowl over for the millionth time and I tell her off (for the millionth time) that’s good right? Because its consistent. Or will it damage her and make her feel bad about herself?

I wrap myself in knots on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. I know I need perspective. I am totally aware of my own anxieties and worries that, although normal for me, are not healthy, logical or true to the situations I find myself in. And all this, all these anxieties, worries and not being able to think straight is all from what we’ve learned along the way. But it’s getting me down now. I need to start thinking more logically.

But what I also struggle with is the expectation from people (friends and, even, family) of everything to be just fine now. And it can’t be. Not after this short time. I want it to be. I need it to be. But it’s me who’s not fine & that’s not taken in to account. I have friends who pick her up, carrying her off. I have friends who tell me “but all children are like that” in response to whatever I’m saying. It’s dismissive and it’s leading me to not want to tell them how it’s going and how I’m feeling. It makes me extra vigilant about where Pickle is when I’m with other people because I don’t want her picked up by anyone else for no reason other than for their own satisfaction. We’re supposed to be working hard at securing her attachment to us and us to her, how can that happen around other people if they refuse to encourage that attachment. I’m tempted to just don a smile and say “brilliant, everything is going really well”. And really, it is, it’s going well. It’s just hard when you’re this anxious all the time and worried about doing it right all the time.

How much pressure can I put on myself before things start to crumble?

Must remember to smile! 

First Illness

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

I have amazed myself that I haven’t been ill before now! 

We’re 4 months in and I’ve not had even a whiff of a cold. This is how my body is and always will be. It keeps on going, much like the Duracell bunny, and then all of a sudden it’ll stop, dead in its tracks, with no power left. And that’s how it’s felt for the last couple of days.

I’ve obviously had some sort of virus and, god, has it sapped me of all energy. It picked a good time. Just in the new year, very quiet, nothing to do…and sods law feeling better just in time for my 10 hour day at work tomorrow – typical. But I feel like it [my body] wanted to get me over some rather large hurdles and challenges before it crashed; Meeting Pickle, moving in, settling her in, settling her in some more, connecting, working hard to make her feel safe and secure, settling her in even more, introducing her to certain people, settling her a little bit more…..and then Christmas!

We got through it though, my body and me, but this was the time it wanted to go “hey, my turn for a rest”. And it got what it wanted.

What’s surprised me, more than anything, is that when you don’t feel you can do it (parent perfectly) it’s amazing how when you’re ill that you realise you are, in fact, doing a bloody marvellous job! When you feel you’ve got no reserve left there’s a little bit more left, right at the back somewhere, that you pluck out when you most need it. And that’s what I realised the adoption process is looking for in someone.

No I’m not perfect. Yes I may have snapped a little when Pickle chose to moan at me for an entire day when I was ill and I felt I didn’t have the energy to do anything about it other than snap back. But, you know what, it wasn’t all day and it wasn’t bad. It was just a moment or two where I acted, god forbid, like a human being.

I moaned because I was tired and I whined because I was ill. It happens. It just made me realise that, most of the time, I do a much better job than a lot of people and I don’t assume I’m doing a great job all the time. It also reminded me to ease up on myself and stop applying pressure all the time to be so fantastic that I’ll wear myself out.

And finally (but not least) it reminded me just how lucky we are to have Pickle in our lives. She is absolutely amazing, even when I’ve been ill. And she’s human too so she’s had her moments but on the whole she’s brilliant! And I need to keep going if only for her, even if I get ill, I know now that I can do it.

Now, pass me a couple of new batteries and I’ll be on my way! 

Going It Alone…(a second time)

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Today Daddy P went back to work….and I hated it!

So did Pickle. I could tell. For a start I feel like I’ve got some sort of flu virus, body is a wreck. And on top of that I’m having to go it alone again. I say again because I feel that now we’ve been off again together over christmas, which has been lovely, it’s like a repeat of the anxiety I felt from him going back to work the first time round having had 8 weeks off to settle Pickle in with us. I felt like I couldn’t do it on my own again. It’s funny that, through the entire adoption process I always thought of it as a joint venture, something we’d do together. And it certainly has been that way, emotionally. Daddy P is the best husband ever, he’s just the best! And he’s the best Daddy in the world too. He’s attentive, supportive, understanding. I don’t like to call them “hands on Dads” because, quite frankly, both people in the couple should be part of their children’s lives. So, for want of a better phrase, he is very much a “hands on Dad”. Which makes him going back to work that all the more difficult to bear.

It’s great when it’s the 2 of us, Pickle and I. And it’s great when it’s the 2 of them, Pickle and Daddy P. But there’s something really special about the 3 of us being together….and, of course 4 when we’re at home, can’t forget our Jack who, as it happens, is becoming more like her partner in crime every day!

It’s been lovely being together over Christmas (the thing I enjoy the most about the “festive” period!)  spending time together and the bond and connection has increased in leaps and bounds, it’s been amazing. So it was in stark contrast having today on our own.

We managed it though, we have lots of fun and it’s not about me not wanting to do it on my own or that I struggle, me and Pickle are very good at busying ourselves. It’s just that we miss him when he’s not around with us. It’s easier with 2, physically, practically and emotionally. I wish we could do it together all the time.

We just need to win the lottery.

New Years Day 2014

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

I write this on the evening of the first day of the new year. And, my goodness, what a year!

To describe it as a rollercoaster somehow doesn’t cut it. One of my friends has been describing the selling of her house this year as a rollercoaster so I’m loathed to put it in the same category really. But you get my drift.

I don’t even know where to start really because there are very few words to describe the journey we’ve been on but I’ll try.

We started the year not even knowing if we were allowed to adopt. We started the year not even having done any of the training (prep groups) I can’t quite believe I’m saying that because, quite honestly, it feels like a lifetime ago, not just 12 months ago. We did the prep groups in January, in February we continued our home study, in March we had our medicals, in April we were approved and went on holiday and found out about our daughter-to-be (busy month April!) in May we met the social workers and foster carer, in June we waited and had various meetings (quiet month full of anxiety!) and in August, on my birthday incidentally, we were approved for the match! By mid August my husband had been made redundant (on the day we met Pickle!) had another job offer (7 days later!) and we’d met Pickle and 7 days later she’d moved in. September, October, November and most of December have gone by in such a blur I don’t think our feet have touched the ground! I know somewhere in October Daddy P went back to work and I felt bereft after he’d been off for 8 and a half weeks!

It’s been a massive change in our lives and one that being made to visit a nursery for 6 days (ludicrous box ticking exercise!) definitely didn’t prepare us for even though we were “ready”.

We have been blessed with an amazing little girl who, since being with us, has learned to walk, eat nicely, say thank you and please using makaton sign language, say little words such as “papa” (my Dad) “bye bye” and “ack ack” (Jack Jack the cat)

She’s learned to have her teeth brushed, learned what books are and enjoys them, has learned how to come downstairs on her bottom (albeit with me in front, but she’s an independent girl!) and she’s learned to dance which is my favourite part!

Just recently she’s also proving that she understands everything we’re saying, to a degree that’s staggering. I won’t go in to the finer details but she startles us sometimes with her knowledge, awareness, empathy, understanding and communication with us without even using words. She is, quite truly, awesome!

So, I lay here ready to go to sleep on the first night of 2014 and I can’t help but think that things are just going to get better and better. We can absolutely do this. We are doing it and we’re doing ok.

2013 was NOT a “rollercoaster”.

It was a rocket trip to Mars, Venus, Pluto, Saturn and the moon….and then back again!





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