Just Another Day

July 6th, 2014

As the celebration day at court looms on the horizon our lives seem to be a muddle of every day “ordinary”

Some may say they’d be bored. Some may say it makes them stressed. For us it’s the ordinariness that we’ve worked and waited so long for. The getting up in the morning to shouts of “Muuuummeeeeee” from the next bedroom. The “NO” that’s shouted every two seconds (at the moment) in response to just about any request. The trial of trying to get teeth brushed while trying to remain calm and patient. The tantrums and screams because cbbies isn’t on. And the mess, everywhere, all the damn time.

But it’s also the cuddles in the morning. The trips in to town, a lot of the time now without the buggy, with an independent and confident little girl who knows her own mind. It’s the walk up to the park for a morning with friends. It’s the military precision preparation we have to live by when we now go out but which makes life unbelievably easier than if we forget something. It’s the little things which are, in fact, huge milestones which other parents I’ve spoken to seem to take for granted. Learning to talk, learning to say “Mummy” and know she’s talking about me. We’ve taught her so much and I’m bursting with pride that she takes as much as she does in. She can even repeat the entire alphabet back at me, each letter spoken with determination. She’s 2. She says all sorts of words now.  Book, balk (walk), pieow(pillow), house, cat, paw paw, at (hat), shoooo (shoe), beebees (cbbies), botbot (bottle), cheeeeeeeeeeese (when having a photo taken)

She’s learned names. She knows her left from her right. She is learning words using phonetics… and she’s good at it! She loves having her hair cut. She loves choosing clothes and shoes. She loves bangles and hair accessories. She’s got an amazing sense of humour and makes us laugh every single day. She knows what she wants, when she wants it and how.

If this is ordinary I’m gonna take it!

Reciprocal Love

June 26th, 2014

It’s been a while since I wrote anything. Mainly because I’ve been concentrating on the amazing relationship I have going with my beautiful daughter

I went to work today. As is usual now, on a Thursday, the three of us drove to Daddy P’s work to drop him off, then me and Pickle drove to my mum and dads where I sit and have a cup of tea and a piece of toast and get her settled in with her botbot, beebees, blanket, pillow and Nanny & PaPa sitting on the sofa. Bliss!

I then go to work with a kiss and a cuddle that keeps me going all day knowing she’s having a wonderful and cosy day with my mum and dad.

We’ve been telling her we love her now for a long long time. We feel it so we tell her. We use makaton sign language, as we have done from the start (please, thank you, sorry) so we tell her we love her at the same time as signing and she loves it. We always get a little giggle and smile when we say it to her. It’s lovely.

But today we were both blown away.

I’d picked Daddy P up, we’d then gone to pick Pickle up and had a cuppa with the folks. When we got up to leave and she gave PaPa and Nanny a big cuddle and kiss each and even managed a “thank you for having me” (sank ooo sa ain ee) for them and a “night night” (nanigh) which got my mum and dad smiling.

But it was what happened in the car afterwards which blew us out the water. I’d strapped her in and got in the front and Daddy P turned to tell Pickle he loved her and I followed suit. She did the usual of smiling, giggling and looking coy….. but then she took her bottle out of her mouth, pointed to herself in the chest and then to us. “I love you”

I could have cried. Instead we just beamed and said thank you darling, thank you so much and we love you so much too. She is such a special girl. And I love how she says I love you while doing the makaton….

“See sii suuuu” (I love you)

Solid Attachments

May 31st, 2014

Today I went to work all day, from 08:00 until 18:30 and it was a long day….not least because I missed my daughter so much it hurt! I couldn’t wait to get home to her, from about 09:00! And I rushed to get home to get once I’d finished for the day.

As I walked through the door and shouted hello she heard me and shouted “mummy” back and came running to me for the biggest hug. It was glorious and heart warming! She “squiggled” (touched with wiggly fingers) my face for ages while I held her there in my arms.

We then watched her play for about half an hour with her dolls house where Jack decided he wanted to be and climbed in! She LOVED that! And when he got out she shouted “Jack Jack!” for him to come back and get back in! He did come back and she tried to push him in, gently, and we were laughing our heads off while Jack just stood patiently wondering what on earth was going on being pushed gently while she grunted like she was pushing a ten ton truck! Eventually he gave in and crawled in again and happily sat in there while Pickle posted stuff to him through the door!

I miss her every time I’m not with her now. Our connection, after only 9 months, is staggering! I enjoy watching her and being with her every single second of every single day. I listen to her, respect her choices, she talks to me and tells me exactly what she wants.

She listens to my explanations of why we have to do things or why she can’t do something or what’s going to happen in the day. She understands everything I say to her and I understand (almost) everything she says to me. She communicates amazingly well her needs, feelings and how she views and experiences situations.

I am head over heels in love with my beautiful daughter and I feel so proud of her. She’s happy, content,  independent, confident, fun loving, silly, kind, gentle, bonkers, crazy, sweet, affectionate, beautiful, amazing, brilliant, clever, bright, sharp, feisty…I could go on and on!

How is it possible to love her more than I do now! My heart is full!

It Must Be Love, Love, Love

May 27th, 2014

4 weeks earlier…….

We were out, Daddy P and I, for his birthday and I suddenly realised something….that I missed our daughter.

She was being looked after by Nanny and PaPa so I knew she was happy, safe, secure, loved and was having the time of her life so it wasn’t worry and it wasn’t anxiety so the feeling threw me. I always thought I missed her when I wasn’t with her but this felt different. I suddenly realised that what I had probably been feeling was actually attachment anxiety. That feeling of “am I doing the right thing by leaving her with anyone but me and Daddy P” and “what if I’m damaging the attachment between us we’ve worked so hard to achieve”? I’d always felt that tight knot in my chest as I left her with my mum and dad (the only people we ever leave her with apart from each other) not because of their capabilities but just intense attachment anxiety.

But while we sat having lunch and I said to Daddy P “I really miss Pickle being here” I knew in that moment that I loved her, that I’d do anything for her and that she was our daughter. It’s very very hard (in fact impossible) to say at the time “I don’t miss her” or “I don’t love her” because you think you do, and we did. We loved her from the moment we set eyes on her but it would be odd to say it was a deep love because, for most people, that just doesn’t happen. The guilt then that comes with that is profound and heartbreaking.

But here I was, in the middle of a restaurant wishing our daughter was with us, we missed her and she actually felt like our daughter. It was an amazing realisation and one that was quite mind blowing. And I felt happier than I had in a very long time. I felt more relaxed and more connected to her.

It’s hard to admit when things aren’t quite as expected at the time and, in fact you don’t admit it. But when the time comes that you suddenly realise you are totally and utterly and head over heels in love it hits you like a happy juggernaut out of nowhere, BOOM!

Love! Nothing more, nothing less, love is the best.

Weathering the Storm

May 22nd, 2014

The deafening sound of writer’s block had got too loud for me and tonight it’s forced me back on to get things down in writing

After watching another (very good) adoption programme it reminded me of how important it is to write as much down as I possibly can for Pickle to read in the future. I’m writing her diary for her so she knows exactly when and how things happened and if I don’t keep that up how will I remember everything to tell her in the future. Stories are often lost from generations and Pickle’s story is too important to let go of and resign to the back of our memories where they may be, at some point, lost forever from her.

I’d stopped writing because things got so bad. I’m not going to go in to it on here. I was, initially. And a while back I started, several times, writing a blog about how bleak I felt but I just kept deleting it knowing that the instinct of not wanting to share should be listened to. All I’ll say on the matter is this; PMT, exacerbated by the change in our lives, post adoption depression and intense anxiety. That sums up January, February, March and a bit of April up and I want to forget it. I got help, the end.

I only managed to write about our first holiday in March because I knew how incredibly important it was to write it down while it was fresh in my mind. And we did have a wonderful time….but the anxiety was there all the time. Basically I was wrapping myself in knots and applying so much pressure on myself it had become unbearable and, quite frankly, emotionally unsustainable.

But 8 weeks ago that all started to change and I started feeling positive, happy, attached to Pickle, content, excited again and that something quite fundamental was happening.

I had started to love my daughter.

First Family Holiday

May 16th, 2014

At 02:30 on the morning of Friday 9th May the alarm goes off and pierces through the dark cosy slumber of “fast asleep” or, in my case, “dead to the world”

We were heading to Mousehole on our very first family holiday with both sets of grandparents and Pickle’s Uncle. We’d packed the car up the night before, locked the car behind the gates and all we had to do was get ourselves dressed and Pickle in the car.

Fast forward to arriving and it couldn’t have been more successful. It took us 5 hours and 45 minutes. Pickle was awake for an hour then went to sleep under her duvet we’d put over her. I fed her a continental style breakfast and she watched frozen and brave on the ipad at the back of my car seat, she was riveted and loved every minute. She was as good as gold.

Fast forward again when the folks arrived the next day and it resulted in one of the loveliest most wonderful holidays I’ve ever been on. We created so many memories and I took about 1000 photos, which I’ve still to go through, it was just magical. We saw everybody every day. Pickle took a while to settle in to the “normality” of it but once she had she loved every single minute of it.

She loved Mousehole Harbour beach, loved the sand and kept running away from the waters edge with a look of horror mixed with excited glee on her face.

We didn’t actually leave Mousehole that much, it was perfect. Only on the Thursday (the day before our return home) did we all venture out and we went to Praa Sands which is a fantastic beach. Big and wide, it felt safe and Pickle had so much fun. We also went to Porthcurno Bay while the folks went to visit the minack theatre.

The weather was amazing all week and we’ve all come home with tans and having put on a couple of pounds from all the pasties, ice cream and cream teas we kept eating!

We also came home with something else very special. On the Thursday, when we were at Praa Sands something very special was happening in a court a few hundred miles away. Pickle was being made legally a part of our family. She’d already been a part of our family and a huge part of everyone’s hearts for 9 months already but getting that email to say that it had all been finalised topped our holiday so perfectly.

So finally we’re officially a family and we couldn’t be happier.

The Eve of your Second birthday

May 6th, 2014

Tomorrow we will wish you, our beautiful daughter, a Happy 2nd Birthday!

Of course, for us, this is your first birthday and it feels very special and we’ve definitely celebrated in style so far. We threw a big birthday party for you on Sunday with 14 of your friends who you’ve met since being with us and you beamed every time someone turned up, you looked, realised, beamed and laughed and screamed in delight…. only getting as far as the driveway to open the next present you were given. It was a delight to see. That was nothing in comparison to how you greeted your PaPa though, my goodness! We all thought someone famous had turned up. You spotted him arriving and then you ran, squealing in delight, throwing your arms up as you ran and literally jumped in to his arms as he scooped you up for the longest cuddle, your head rested on his shoulder and your arms tight around his neck. It was magic!

There were 30 people at your party in total. All the people who have supported us along the way to finding you and since you moved in. The little friends you have made along the way who you see regularly and always have a lovely time with. The people who have grown to love you and care about you so much that they all turned up for your party to show you and us how much they adore you. Everyone was so proud of you that day, you were a star!

I’d organised a treasure hunt with chocolate money hidden around the garden which you were all fantastic at and found it really exciting. You were in your element at finding just 3 chocolates and plonked yourself down to open each one and enjoy it surrounded by other children still on the hunt for goodies. You, in your beautiful red party dress and little black shoes, with your beautiful curly hair blowing in the wind.

Grandma and Grandad had bought you a little table and chairs which has come in handy for all the play dough you received! And Nanny and PaPa bought you a sand and water tray table which you can’t get enough of!

And I made you a huge Iggle Piggle cake which I made from scratch (I thought I was mad…. but it worked!) and you loved it! But it was funny because I lit the candles and the wind blew them out! You screamed in delight when you saw it. We did a little speech together, you and me, and you even attempted a “thank you” at the end finishing by clunking your water bottle on my glass of bucks fizz and saying “Cheers”.

At 2 years old you never cease to amaze us and astound us. You are bright, sharp, clever, knowing, aware, funny, feisty. You are simply amazing and we are so incredibly proud of you. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love you. My lifelong saying has always been “things happen for a reason” and I believe that me and Daddy met to have you in our lives. We are so blessed to have you, you are the most precious and special person, ever.

We love you very much. Happy birthday my little poppet. Xxxx

Friends

March 7th, 2014

When we were going through home study we had to do an eco tree. 

This is like a family tree but is a support system who you will (hopefully) rely on for support, be it practical, emotional or physical, when you’re child moves in. This may well be the same as your family tree but, unless your family is double the size of the waltons, you’re going to need some friends on there too. I started to do this task thinking it would be easy. I got half way through the task and it got harder. It really makes you analyse your friendships.

The reason I thought I’d find it easy was because we’ve got lots of really good friends who we’ve had some really good times with and who just popped in to my head very easily when thinking about our “support” network. But, of course, we’re not talking about who will be best to go out with for a good meal and wine or for a hike up the hills with a pub lunch to boot. No, it suddenly becomes about something much more serious, much more important.

We had to think about who’d really be there for us emotionally. Who we could count on to, and could practically, drop everything if there was an emergency. And who would pick up the phone at 2am when our daughter woke in the night and we didn’t know what to do.

My head was spinning by the time we’d analysed all our friendships and the eco map looked quite different to what I imagined. But here’s the thing. If I was to re do it now it would look completely different. Friends have drifted away. Other friends have come to the fore. And other friends have been forged through our experience of adoption.

When our SW suggested that friends drift away when you have children I scoffed and said that I wouldn’t let the happen. But, of course, it has. For a long time I grieved for these friends. But recently I’ve found myself being rather thankful for the new friendships which have blossomed through our experience.

Some of the closest friends I have now are ones I’ve found through our adoption journey. But also some existing friends who we didn’t see that much of have really stepped up and are just “there”. We may still not see them that much but if I picked up the phone and said that I really needed a coffee and cake they’d be there like a shot (probably with the mention of cake) It’s been overwhelmingly lovely (friends who have stepped up) and upsetting (the ones disappearing) but I’m beginning to accept that friendships don’t stand still, they change, disappear and grow stronger.

You just might be surprised at which friendships do what. 

First Holiday

March 6th, 2014

We’re on holiday, our first one ever, with our daughter

…and we’ve forgotten half the things we need!

We’ve come to Centre Parcs, the one closest to us which is only 45 minutes from home, and it’s perfect for a first holiday. A tester, if you will, of our capabilities as new parents taking a little one on holiday. And so far so good. We arrived and started with a walk to the village square to have a late lunch where we sat and ate panini’s and cookies, which went down a treat then had a meander back to our posh, 2 story villa with its 2 en suites and spa bubbly bath.

We got settled in and let Pickle help us set up her cot and then she busied herself unpacking all her nappies and “putting them away” (aka unfolding each one and then chucking them on the shelf) We’ve bought a ridiculous amount of stuff with us, even having forgotten some bits and bobs, but I actually think it’s really helped. Her cot, the travel one that’s hers for the week, looks like it does at home and she helped put (throw) all her teddies in ready for the first night. She even lobbed a couple of books in to boot for a bit of morning reading. (Always impressed with my daughters ability to know exactly what she wants at 22 months old)

We then ran her a bath which we put bubble bath in and proceeded to turn the spa bubbles on which escalated in to a half hour bubble fest with us laughing our heads off and Pickle slowly being swamped by the most amount of bubbles I have ever seen. It did the trick though. It relaxed her and, once we put her in the cot, she was asleep within moments. We were amazed.

It’s the first ever night she’s had away from home since she moved in 7 months ago. 3 days in and everything is going swimmingly. We’ve kept her, quite rigidly, in her routine which has been nice for us too as we’ve had an afternoon siesta every day. She seems to have coped incredibly well with being somewhere other than home and I’m hoping that’s because she feels safe and sound with us, Mum and Dad.

We’ve been swimming, bike riding with her in a buggy attached to the back which she looked über cute in eating her snacks and wrapped in her quilt. She’s walked loads, which has exhausted her but she’s loved it and we’ve eaten out a few times at different places.

But she’s also been ill. She woke on the second day from her afternoon nap a lot later than usual and she was on fire. Her whole body was baking and she was very floppy…but not distressed or out of it. We quickly realised it was teething and brought her in to our room and allowed her to watch CBBies in bed in her nappy to try and cool down. She then got shivery and had to snuggle then she got hot again and lay herself down on the cool duvet. It was horrid to witness. But she coped so well and was so brave. We dosed her up, she drank 3 bottles of cold milk and stayed on our bed with us for 2 hours. It wasn’t long before she was back in bed but she slept all night, waking occasionally but not distressed, and then we all got up at the normal time.

Our daughter is a coper. She never ceases to amaze me at how brave she is and how well she copes with change. We haven’t change her routine but it’s a big thing for her to not be at home. I’m simultaneously proud of her and a bit anxious for her as I want her to know that where she lives now is home. But I’m optomistic that because we’re still with her she realises that we’re here for her, forever.

For her, I hope, home now is where we are.

Real Connections

March 1st, 2014

What a fantastic week we’ve all had. It’s been a week of feeling better, lovely weather, confidence building and positivity.

The week has gone without any real glitches, we’ve all felt better in ourselves and we’ve managed to get out in the sun and fresh air. More importantly we all feel much more connected. What’s really helped is that I’ve had a plan every day for the 2 of us. Monday we had a day pottering around the house. Tuesday we went to playgroup, a new one, where I braved going on my own. I’m glad I did, as soon as I walked in someone came over to me and introduced herself and said she realised I’d not been before. She was lovely and so was everyone else who made me and Pickle feel very welcome. But the best thing about it was that Pickle kept looking for me and coming back to me. I was so proud of her. I felt she really knew I was Mummy and that she wanted to be with me. It was lovely. When we got home she asked to go in the garden which we did. I believe that a child should be given a voice and she asked so politely (saying please in makaton) that we got her wellies on and Jack the cats harness and lead on and we all had a pootle round the garden. Afterwards we had lunch, I put her to bed and then decided to treat myself to a lovely long soak in the bath while she slept…bliss!

Wednesday we had a friend round for a play date in the morning and would have gone swimming afterwards but I had to stay in for a delivery, but that’s what we plan to do from now on. Thursday she went to Nanny and PaPa’s, who she adores. And Friday we went to playgroup in the morning, with a very good friend and her daughter who we see every Friday, followed by a quick visit and lunch to Nanny and PaPa’s, a sleep in the buggy on the way home and then a second play date in the afternoon.

And today, Saturday, Pickle and Daddy P have had an amazing day together walking in the park and checking out the flowers.

This week she’s wanted me there, really needed comfort from me when she’s fallen and hurt herself and when she was pushed at playgroup she came to tell me all about it so I gave her big cuddles and kisses which she enjoyed. She even got jealous because another child held my hand so she came over and held my hand. It’s all been pretty awesome this week and this is where all my one to one attention work is coming to fruition and I’m so proud of her.

She’s bloody awesome and I love her!