adoption

Another sort of self care

Self care is a topic that’s often dismissed – whether it’s gently mocked as ‘ladies who lunch’, all about getting massages and painting your nails, or whether it’s a simple belief that “I don’t have time for that”. I used to be one of those people – I thought self care was a nice idea, but I couldn’t see how I could fit it in to my life. I’ve written about self care quite extensively in my book, as learning to look after myself as well as Tickle was the single biggest thing that turned our adoption around from being on the verge of disruption to the relatively ’normal’ family life that we have today.

Read More »

Triggers

The subject of ‘triggers’ has been on my mind a lot today. We all have triggers, things that just ‘push our buttons’, or ‘set us off’. I spend quite a lot of time trying to work out what has triggered certain behaviours in Tickle or Alex, but unusually for me today, it’s not triggers for my children’s behaviour that I have been thinking about – it’s my own. When you’re a parent to a traumatised child, day to day life can be somewhat emotionally fraught. Some days I’m quite good at riding the wave, but other days less so and on those days there are a couple of things that will instantly flip my switch. Borrowing my husband for an example, one of his main triggers is when Tickle goes a bit loopy and starts to chase the cat.

Read More »

Reigning in the emotional brain

This morning, as usual, I was woken up by Tickle shouting at Husband. When I heard Husband start to shout back, I thought I’d better get out of bed. Tickle had thrown a toy at Husband’s face (again) – though thankfully this time it was only a small one and didn’t do any actual damage. Tickle came to sit with me in bed for a bit. He didn’t like this much, which he chose to communicate to me by throwing his glasses on the floor, and then shouting at me because he couldn’t see. I got back in to bed and ignored him until he’d calmed down a bit. We had a chat. We talked about what was worrying him – school, as it turned out, or more specifically, one boy at school who he is worried about. This particular boy actually left school at the end of the summer term, and I’ve spent the last few months trying to help Tickle understand that he isn’t coming back ‘for ever and ever’. However, it seems like it hasn’t quite gone in yet, and he’s still pretty anxious about whether this boy will hurt him. This flowed naturally in to a repeat of the conversation we usually have following an incident like this: “It’s OK to be worried, but it’s not OK to hurt people.”

Read More »

The Christmas Ratio

Over the Christmas holidays so far, I reckon our ‘nice bits’ to ‘hard bits’ ratio is probably about 70:30. Possibly slightly better, if you take in to account the fact that the hard bits are no where near as hard as they used to be. Last year’s Christmas ratio was about 20:80 at best I reckon, and looking back at the blog from this time last year it seems T was going through a bitey phase as well. The worst we’ve had this holiday is hitting, and even then I think it’s only been once or twice. Gosh, it’s so weird writing that, when I think back to posts I’ve written in the past describing the aggression and violence that was happening multiple times per DAY, for anything up to a couple of hours at a time.

Read More »

Reflections on the year

I know it’s a bit early for the traditional ‘looking back over the year’ post, but I’m in a reflective sort of mood this evening, after randomly deciding to re-read a blog post which I wrote just after Christmas last year. Something strange and unprecedented happened this week in our therapy session; the therapist asked us to consider whether we could stop sessions for the moment, because we seem to be – touch wood – doing alright. Unfortunately Tickle hasn’t managed therapy for some weeks now, and it seems that he really isn’t ready for it at the moment, but as his behaviour at home is more or less OK our therapist seems to think that we should just get on with life for a bit, and then maybe come back later when he’s ready. It’s a strange idea, having fought SO hard to get in to therapy, and particularly because we both know that without it our family would have broken apart in a rather spectacular fashion… could we let go of this security blanket?

Read More »

Birthdays

Tickle understands birthdays much more than he used to. We met him for the first time on my birthday; we’d brought cake, and we shared it, and he sang Happy Birthday to me. That’s what birthdays were: cake and singing. Tickle moved in with us about a week before his sixth birthday. I still remember we had to practically drag him in to the toy shop to choose a present, and he literally pointed at the thing right in front of him. (He wasn’t that interested in the presents on the day itself, but he did sing to his cake quite a lot.) It’s my birthday tomorrow. Tickle is quite excited about that, because he knows there will be cake. I’m working early tomorrow, so as there won’t be time for presents in the morning we decided to do them this evening instead. Tickle was *extremely* excited about this, so much so that the excitement tipped right over in to getting really cross that he wasn’t allowed to open anything, and WHY NOT I GOT ANY PRESENTS??

Read More »

Grief

We had to have our cat put down yesterday. She was only two years old, so it came as a huge shock to all of us. We are all coping with it in our own ways; Fairy is distracting herself with books and writing stories, I am crying buckets and welded to my duvet, Husband is musing about getting a memorial wind chime for our apple tree. Tickle, however, has been the biggest surprise. Tickle, is demonstrably and unashamedly sad. Tickle doesn’t spend much time interacting with the cats, but I know he does love them, and considers them part of the family – whenever we go on holiday he tells me he misses them, and he’s still not quite sure why they don’t come with us. But that’s not why I am surprised by his grief. I’m surprised because it’s a really big emotion, and he is allowing it to exist in his body without feeling the need to block it out or run away.

Read More »

I’m dreaming of a peaceful Christmas…

Christmas was never going to be easy, but this year has been the hardest yet. Tickle has been in therapy for a couple of months now. He’s doing really well; by which I mean he hasn’t run out of the room or hit the therapist. Yet. He seems to have understood what therapy is all about – sometimes when he’s having a manic moment at home he will say he wants to go and see our therapist to talk about his ‘wobbly feelings’, but he hasn’t yet got to the stage where he can actually do this during the sessions. We knew it would get worse before it gets better – but we knew that in the same way that we ‘knew’ it would be hard work adopting a child. It’s obvious, but you don’t really fully ‘get’ it until you’re in the thick of it.

Read More »

Moving on

I used to have a different blog. I started it up when we were just starting to think about adoption, when I discovered that actually I *could* get pregnant after all, but just couldn’t do the growing a baby part any more. The first miscarriage came out of the blue, I didn’t even know I was pregnant. The second was expected, but no less painful. I started my blog mostly to keep my friends and family updated with what was going on – much easier than having to talk about it over and over. Writing has always been cathartic, and blogging has helped me immeasurably over the years. But now it’s time to move on. I’ve closed the old blog off (although I haven’t deleted the posts), for a few reasons. Firstly, because it felt appropriate to move on to a new chapter when Tickle’s adoption order was granted. Secondly, because the old blog forms the basis for my new book, so it seemed inappropriate to charge people to buy a book when they could read a lot of it on the internet for free. Thirdly, I’ve outed myself a little more now, with the book, so I was cautious about the blog being a public record of exactly when certain things happened in our adoption – this blog feels closer to me, but a step further away from Tickle.

Read More »

Sleep

Tickle’s Monster has had a severe aversion to sleep for quite some months now. Tickle already has melatonin to get him off to sleep (for which we are eternally grateful) but keeping him asleep is quite a different matter. For most of the summer Tickle’s internal alarm was set to 4.30am, and once he was up, he was up. Some days were better than others. Some days he would play in his room (relatively) quietly, or watch cartoons on my iPad. Other days he would stand by the side of our bed and scream. Or he’d hit us until we woke up and talked to him. Or he’d bang his head against our bedroom wall.

Read More »