Boxing Day

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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