If I could give you one gift it would be to see yourself through my eyes and then you would see how special you really are.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

a potty trial

On Wednesday afternoon child 4 decided that he didn't need a nappy anymore. Wahey, celebrations, hand clapping galore, the waiting until he was ready seemed to have worked..........

There have been signs that he was beginning to recognise his nappy, he used to hide when filling it and then deny having had a pooh when the delightful aroma would reach its smelly tendrils up our nostrils. Only a couple of days before, I walked into the bathroom and there he was sitting in the dark on his potty. He sent me away and then did his business and flushed it all away.

Wednesday was a success, he managed all afternoon to use the potty, he wouldn't let any of us help him and certainly didn't want any spectators. A bit of that control Behaviour rearing its head, but he was doing so well we decided to go with the flow. Thursday was nursery, so I packed his bag with spare clothes including new pants, wipes and nappies just in case. J his key worker was excited and more than happy to go with child 4's demands, I wasn't sure how it would go, I was hoping that because toilets in a nursery are a kind of children's community meeting place all would be well. Foolish, foolish, foolish. Child 4 refused to use the potty and had a melt down when the little toilets were suggested. So he came home with bags of wet clothes. J and I attempted to talk to him about what he wanted to do but he just shut us out, talking about anything else but potties. J asked  "Would you like to bring in your potty from home?" Child 4 answered "Can I go outside now"   Today was an exact replica, he wanted to wear pants but just wouldn't use the potty.

We have decided to see how the weekend goes, I've promised to let him buy a new potty to take to nursery on Monday - he of course wants a cow one or maybe a pink one, please please please go for a pink one - Amazon amazingly do have a cow potty but at £25 not sure I really want to go that route - I'll be pushing for a pink one!

I am honestly not worried if he wants to wait a bit or if he wants to keep on trying, the others just got on with it too and when accidents happened they just put their wet clothes in the washing machine. None of the older ones emptied their potty though. They would proudly show me there potty fillings. Child 4 though oh so different and despite being proud that we are making headway I am sad that it's all hidden away and I am having to gently remind him that independence although a good thing isn't always a requirement when you are 3 years old and have a family to help you.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

#Taking Care

I have always been quite open about my life, in fact one of my co-workers has said that she sees it as a gift, the ability of being able to give part of myself so honestly and unashamedly. Can't say that I see it that way, I have always believed that a problem aired is a problem shared. But I find now that I don't share, because when I do, I rarely feel supported. Everyone it seems has pearls of wisdom - you need to put him on the naughty step, it's your own fault you don't discipline him enough, all children do that, my kids did that, you need to start treating him the same way you dealt with the older children. I explain about rejection so we don't have a naughty step, I explain that we keep him close and make sure that he knows that he is loved regardless and help him with any appropriate consequence, yes, I know all children do the things he does but they don't do it with the same force of emotion - I know because the 3 older siblings who are our birth children did some of those things but it wasn't anything like what we deal with, with child 4. I explain that his start in life was so very different to his siblings so it's not right to parent him in the same way. Sometimes I see a glimmer of understanding, but often I see their eyes glaze over or they shrug their shoulders as if to say, well if you don't take my advice then what do you expect, oblivious to the fact that I wasn't really asking for their advice, I just needed a bit of understanding, a hand on my shoulder or a reminder that we are doing ok.

This not sharing is quite alien to me and it makes me feel ashamed, as if I should be ashamed by child 4 or my lack of ability to parent him in the "politically correct" way. This makes me cross, the only way to educate people about children in care is to share actual experience backed up by all the research we adopters have read and studied. If we feel too ashamed to share how can we educate!!!!

Child 2 made dinner tonight : Chicken and Avocado salad followed by Chocolate and Raspberry muffin

Then yesterday on my way to work, I was thinking about #takingcare100, a photo of something that is you taking care of yourself, something that makes you happy and I was, as I have been for the last 10 days thinking of what makes me happy, for me and I seriously couldn't think of anything, I had lost the will. Suffering from a nasty cold virus for 4 weeks, lack of sleep, hospital, ambulance (again) and doctor trips, dealing with the tribulations of a toddler on the war path and trying to organise 2 birthday events for child 2 & 3 and a black tie event to raise money for child 1's Borneo trip has wiped me out. It's amazing how a little negativity each day can affect the whole day, I read somewhere recently that if we looked at our day as a piece of white paper the things that go wrong are in reality just a couple of dots - I need to reclaim me or I am going to just disappear into the black swamp that is currently my life. All those adopters on Twitter and those who link in on The Adoption Social have handed me the lifeline to pull myself out and to encourage me to make the changes so very necessary to my sanity.


So I have shared the negative and the positive of family and friends support via #allchildrendothat and I am planning stuff for me. Child 2 made dinner in his food tech class today, I am off to see Mary Berry care of a friend who saw that I needed some away time. Chinese New Year is just around the corner so I have a feast to create. For my birthday we are going to arrange a city break for adults only,  Mr L, myself , KBS & AS and Mr & Mrs H. Then there is a Sunday morning family and friends walk to a pub in the next village for the bestest ever roast beef and Yorkshire puddings. That will take us through until May, oh and if I am feeling a bit lost or low a Gin and Tonic Board meeting may be called.

 There feeling better already.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Hopes and Dreams

Expectation - "A strong belief that something will happen or be the case"

An interesting word expectation, a word often used by parents, educators and members of the community. Our children are expected to behave in a certain way, they are expected to achieve certain grades they are expected to be respectful, helpful and polite and sadly if they are adopted or fostered they are often expected to be grateful or feel lucky. I had never really thought about my expectations or rather the effect those expectations had on others until I had children. I remember saying once that I believed that my children behaved in a certain way because I expected them too. And there is definitely truth in that however this adoption road has made me re think our futures and for the good.

Ten years ago when I was informed that child 1 was going to remain in the reception class, whilst all her friends moved on into class 1, I wasn't necessarily surprised and actually believed the opportunity for her to have another year in a very play led environment would be a benefit, however many others would/did see this as detrimental to her education, in fact many people's expectations of her academic abilities were based on this and this was so damaging during late primary school and early secondary school. (I can't tell you how wrong they were, she is growing into a beautiful, creative, confident and happy teenager.)

With child 4 I fear that people have flawed expectations and he doesn't have the same foundations that child 1 has to ensure that he can have the same confidence in himself.  In the adoption world we talk of trauma and attachment and the behaviours they trigger, in education it seems that lack of education in the needs of children in care that our children are at worst expected to fail or when their behaviours are not the same as the other children in the class they are isolated or their early years are carefully managed and hidden away like its a dirty secret, they are expected to quietly get on with it - "it doesn't matter if you don't have a photo of you as a baby." Then there are those who expect our children to be happy because they are lucky to have found a family to look after them and love them.

I want to shout from the roof tops "Forget expectations, how can we know how our children feel if we don't ask them, let them try the things they want to try and if they don't succeed so what, help them up and find something new! After all they have to live their own lives not one shaped by the expectations of their parents".
                                                                        Over the last two years I have moved away from expectations and into the world of hopes and dreams.  I hope all my children do the best they can in school and I will help them in anyway I can, I hope they make the right kind of friends, people who like them and respect them and I can help here too by keeping an open house environment, the kids you don't want your children to hang out with will hopefully stay away. I hope that child 4 feels loved and secure enough to talk about how he feels to come to us when things go wrong. I hope that they have the courage to follow their dreams and I will walk with them until they don't need me too.   

 I don't expect any of them to be grateful for having a loving and happy home as they are what makes our house a home but I do hope that they remember growing up here with happy memories and I dream of the day when they and their families come to visit.