Category Archives: Parenting

When’s the right time to send your children away (again)

When I started to plan going back to work I started to plan what the kids were going to do in the summer holidays.

I’d accrued loads of leave and planned to take the majority off in the school holidays, but there were a couple of weeks that I wouldn’t be able to.

So we planned to take Big Pig down to his grandparents for the week.

Now the last few weeks have been tricky for Big Pig in hindsight (the arse that you are) it was his Chicken Pox that turned him in to a different version of himself and not a very nice one at that.

So as the time approached I felt a mixture of relief followed by immense guilt. Relief that we would get a break from each other then guilt because I felt relief.

Also,  was he ready to be apart from me, was he ready to be apart from Piglet? All I knew was that he adored his grandparents, who are fabulous with him and that he would have lovely time. I also reasoned that my husband and I would both be at work so he wouldn’t of seen much of us  anyway.

I also think it’s important for him to go somewhere and come back again, building the trust that he’s here forever which he doubts all the time.

The morning he left I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. The house was calm, eerily quiet, it was weird!

Ill be honest. Piglet was immensely calmer without her brother around with the lack of sibling rivalry she just did what she wanted to do and although she asked almost every day “where’s my (name)” she was content.

I missed him! I missed his eyes and his hair and his hugs. I missed watching the way he eats, which is pretty rank! I missed all the things that I didn’t think I’d miss!

We FaceTimed a lot and he had the most amazing time. He swam, he played, he baked, he shot his grandad with a £1 bow and arrow.

And when he came home I just couldn’t stop hugging him, no one got a look in for at least 20 minutes whilst I smothered him (poor Big Pig).

He’d grown a bit in every way, and one of the first things he said to me was; “I’m with you forever and when I go to grandma’s I always come back”.

And with that I was reassured that I’d made the right decision.

 

 

 

A survival guide…

(What the opposite of a P.S? Well I need one to say apologies for the ridiculous photo! What’s a girl to do when she hasn’t mastered the art of Snapchat!)

I’m off to work this weekend and I was thinking how lucky I am that my husband is great with the kids and my Mum will be around as a back up!

But what advise would I give to someone who didn’t know the kids as well as they do.

I say advice. It’s actual a survival guide. One I fail at most days. But hindsight and reflection are a friend of mine..

So here goes…

1. Remain positive at all times – they will
Pick up on any negativity and quadruple fire back bad behaviour which consists of grumpiness, throwing, hitting and genuinely being horrible

2.You won’t be able to pee alone. You may as well leave the door open, if you shut it they’ll hear from anywhere in the house and come directly to the bathroom.

3. Be ready with snacks. ALWAYS.

4. Don’t sit down, when you sit down, like when you go to the toilet they will know.

5. Noise is good, if they are silent and the tele isn’t on then they are usually doing something wrong.

6. Don’t worry too much about tidying up, they’ll make a mess a few seconds later

7. Try to say yes more than no, you think it’s going to cause more hassle to get out a weird toy that you’ve stashed away but if they are distracted then they are happier

8. Wet wipes – have a pack in each room, each toilet, take some out with you.

9.Get out – with the kids obviously. They are better outside. Even if it’s raining.

10. Did I mention snacks – honestly they dissolve most tense situations.

11. If they want chocolate give them those Swiss miniature ones- it takes them about 5 minutes to get in to.

  THIS IS A GREAT TIME TO MAKE COFFEE OR PEE

12. They will want everything the other one has – I don’t really have any advice on this you need to be aware of it though

13. Get their boxes out. They will play in them for ages.

  ANOTHER GREAT TIME TO MAKE    COFFEE OR PEE

14. If possible give them the same colour cutlery, cups, plates, food!

15. Tickling- getting them to laugh solves many a drama occurring.

16. If they talk about the fart gun, the noisy kitty or the clock. Divert divert divert, they are the noisiest most annoying and slightly scary (noisy robot kitty) on this planet.

17. make sure you don’t run out of the following:
– blueberries
– strawberries
– yoghurts
– wet wipes (yes i know I’m repeating myself but wetwipes and snacks are key)

18. Kiss is smetter – kiss it better
Smoreberries – strawberries
Shoclate – chocolate
Sore- straw
Blue crisps – wotsits
Barry – the baby with the hat
Bernard – the tiny baby
Big baby – the biggest (always naked) baby

☝🏻these are the only things that I can think of. If she says anything else you don’t understand call me!

19. Balloons and balls – favourite toys, will solve any situation (as well as or in addition to snacks)

20. If all else fails stick on the weird mermaid program on Netflix kids.. for some reason they both love it!

So there you go. This should get you through about an hour!

What would be on your survival guide?

 

 

My Mum said to me last night that I had sad eyes.

I felt sad. Genuinely.

Sad for me. Sad for Big Pig. I don’t know whether his behaviour is spurred by testing the boundaries or what he has been through or that he has chicken pox. Or that he has moved rooms, or that he is a 5yo boy who has so many feelings he doesn’t quite know what to do with them.

Yesterday it seemed his mission to upset his sister. When I asked him why, he said she wasn’t upset that they’d moved rooms and he was angry he wanted her to be sad too! I think this is pretty advanced for a 5yo. Match that with early trauma his little mind probably doesn’t know what to do with itself.

So when at the end of the day I think about how cross he can make me. How I have to walk away and count to 10 sometimes 20 to calm down I feel incredibly guilty. He can’t help it but I should be able to not rise to it.

We had a horrific day on Monday everything spiralled out of control and we all ended up in tears at one point or another. Since then I’ve really tried to be as calm and as level headed as possible. But when he swears at me, calls me stupid, slaps me, I admit for a few seconds I take it personally. He’ll have been playing or we’ll have been laughing moments before and then something so small; normally me having to ask him not
to do something will end up with him lashing out.

Yesterday was better. But by the end of the day I was drained. I felt desperately sorry for him, I’ll be honest; I felt a bit sorry for myself. I felt sorry for Piglet who had got the brunt of it that day and who when I comforted her Big Pig gave me the look that he often gives. It’s not really jealousy, it’s more disappointment that I’ve chosen to spend that moment with her and not him.

He loves the bones of Piglet and she him. But the other night he asked me if I liked her more than him. When I said no and explained I loved them both so much and listed all the things I liked about him. He then said but I love you more than anyone. Who do you love more? And then listed all our close friends and family.

It’s at moments like these that I realise just how vulnerable he is. So yesterday I was sad because I worry that I’m not doing enough for him. Maybe we should get some intervention to help him. But new people unsettle him so much that would that not lead him to feel even more anxious.

If anyone has gone through similar parenting issues adoption or not and has any suggestions I would love to hear from you.

And today is another day. We never hold grudges and we move on and try a little bit harder than the day before. I’m still convinced that love will get us through. A few bumps or massive hurdles along the way but we will get there. Wherever there is!

10 ways you know you’re a parent

 

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I often thank the universe for wet wipes! Whether it’s a quick clean around the house before friends come or actually using them to wipe your children’a faces! They are a blessing and when you forget to take them out with you.. #shockhorror!

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5yo “my (noisy, drive you crazy) toy’s not working”

Me “oh, must of run out of batteries, I’ll go and see if there are some”

I actually go and look, there may even be some batteries, but on my return..”sorry poppet, we’ve run out”.

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Ever! Or you will get “the look” which is what happens when your child tells you that they’re hungry and you tell them that you don’t have any snacks. At this point I’d advise hiding.

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This is not a complaint! I actually quite like that I care less about my appearance! I still put a bit of slap on for work and when I go “out out” but thanks to the kids it’s acceptable to look like slightly dishevelled!

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I used to love shoes, now they can ruin my day, I expressed my feelings through this poem.

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No amount of preparation can solve this problem. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and by the time you’ve left the house it starts to rain! #excellent

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My Mum once said to me, “you’re only going away for a weekend, not a month”. Yes Mother but that makes no difference when you have to factor in; weather changes, car sickness, fussy eaters, favourite toys, night lights, monitors, travel cots.. I could go on!

 

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Without yoghurts life would be harder,  of this I am certain. Peace treaty’s can be negotiated with Toddlers with a simple “shall I get you a yoghurt sweetheart” for me it’s a vodka with a bag of onion rings but that’s another story!

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These above items have actually led me to tears. The lego and happy land people really hurt to stand on. The nerf bullets hurt when they are aimed at your butt and all three have brought me to tears when you have a “sort out” and find 427 of them scattered across the house.

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You don’t sweat the small stuff – you don’t have time! Which has helped my state of mind massively. Children take over pretty much every area of your life. It’s beautiful and exhausting but petty stuff that bothered you before just won’t touch the sides.

 

Naptime Natter

 

Never think that I don’t love you

Things have been really tricky with Big Pig the last few weeks.

We seem to have turned a corner but if im honest I know we will go through it again as his behaviour and boundary testing varies all the time but through it all and however hard he pushes I always make sure he knows that I love him no matter what.

I wrote this for him, love you so much Big Pig.

Never think that I don’t love you
When I shout or cry
Never think that I don’t love you
When you make me so mad I can’t look you in the eye
You see I will always love you until the end of time
I chose you, your everything, you will always be mine
Even when you ask me a question for the 100th time
Even when you hit me, or throw something, or say you wish you weren’t mine
Nothing that you say or do
Will stop me from loving you
No amount of trying to push me away
Will stop me from wanting to always stay
Near to you, loving you and keeping you safe
Your stuck with me now through good times and bad
We’ll laugh together we’ll make each other sad
We’ll probably say things that we don’t mean
We’ll probably shout, we may even scream
But never forget how I chose you
And how much you mean to me
You’re everything I dreamed of when I dreamt of a family

A tale of two cities

Well just one actually but two very different days out!

So last week we went to London twice.

Both days were great but I tell you what hats off to those breezy Mums walking down the Southbank with their buggies – do you know a route we did not? Because we went down three flights of stairs with two buggies and 4 kids 5 and under!

The first day in London was spontaneous. Big Pig and I went, just the two of us and we had a lovely day. It was tiring but only because we walked around half of London!

The second day was planned we went with friends to the science museum.

I’d never been there before, it was great! But so busy and hot. By the time we got to the maths area and a very chirpy lady caught the eye of Big Pig and reeled him in with talk of board games and building your own dice!

When she also mentioned that there was only “40 spaces” on the board my friend and I both did that nip it in the bud hand across throat action! But it was too late one of the boys had the board the other had the dice! For the next 5 minutes we played the game but luckily they were easily lured away with talk of aeroplanes.

I then suggested we go to Southbank! Big Pig and I had been there on Monday and it was lovely. Strolling along, watching the performers, breezy!

On the second day it was quite
different. As we walked over Waterloo bridge the heavens opened and there was a torrential down pour! We had to get the buggies down three flights of stairs. We took cover in some sort of archway and waited out the rain!

It stopped eventually and in the distance we saw the Snog bus. Piglet’s dreams were about to come true a bus selling yoghurts!!

We then went to the play park where they burnt off a little bit of steam!

On to Giraffe, I hadn’t been there before it was lovely. I needed wine by this point so downed a glass while we juggled the kids and their food and drinks and Piglets sugar high which resulted in her introducing herself to every table around us and then pegging it out of the open side door! She’s developed a new love of “running away” which is so much fun. NOT!

Once we finished dinner we went to the train station! Now I haven’t mentioned the trains. I was surprised every time we got down the bottom of the escalators that we’d all made it without injury. I also got way to excited if I saw a lift, actually not even just the lift but a sign for the lift! But some weren’t working and on a couple of occasions we waited so long for them that it would of been easier to go down the escalators!

By the time we got on the train home we were shattered. But we had had a lovely day, in between the trains and rain and buggy carrying we had loads of laughs and the kids had fun!

And it looks like our next day out will be a bit more local!

 

 

Should we celebrate celebration day?

The reason I started writing the blog is because when we were considering adoption I googled the crap out of it and found very few positive family life type blogs.

I now know that they are out there but at the time what I did find was very negative.

Now this post isn’t alarming but it also isn’t a cheery one about our every day family life.

It’s about the Celebration Day. Now I know there is a lot to celebrate we all adore each other we have grown together as a family and it was a lovely day. But before during and after Big Pig was the most troubled he has ever been.

He’s always testing the boundaries. But the last couple of weeks it has been endless. Every nighttime has been really testing for us and I’m sure him. We’ve tried to (and sometimes failed) to stick to our calm approach. We over praise the good and try to not give the bad much attention but sometimes this is impossible if he is in danger of harming himself or others.

He’s not only had the celebration day coming up but he’s had sports day, an end of year assembly and transition sessions to his new class. All that added to him still getting to grips with me returning to work has left him shaken.

And I tell you what; remaining consistent and setting boundaries is tough, really tough when you just see in his eyes that he is really struggling.

The other night it got to a point where something had to give. He had started to throw things all over the place. Piglet was looking really frightened. When he eventually calmed down. I held him close and this conversation happened:

Me “there’s a lot been going on recently hasn’t there”

Big Pig “yes”

Me “I bet that makes you feel funny”

Big Pig “yes in my tummy I feel sick”

Me “remember when you first lived with us and your social worker came to visit and you used to feel poorly?”

Big Pig “yes”

Me “well eventually you were able to tell me that you felt sick because she was coming”

Big Pig “yes I did, why do I feel like that now. Shall I go to a foster carer”

Me ” no poppet, you are mine and Daddy’s, we are all a family forever now, no more foster carers”

Big Pig “oh, but when will I see the big girls again”

Me “your sisters?”

Big Pig “yes, and my mu… my tummy mummy”

Me “well not for a long time but one day you might be able to. We can always talk about them. I bet you miss them very much. And that’s ok because they do love you”

Big Pig “but why can’t I see them”

Me “because although your tummy Mummy loves you very much she didn’t know how to keep you safe”

Big Pig “but you could show her how to”

Me “well I can’t do that, but we can talk about her, I know she loves you she just didn’t know how to take care of you, but we are so very lucky that she had such lovely children like you and Piglet and I will always talk to you about her if you want me to”

Big Pig “but she will miss me, she will be sad”

Me ” yes she will be, but she knows that you are safe”

He then sobbed like I have never seen him cry before, I only understood a few words which were “I don’t want her to be sad”.

I would be lying if I said my heart wasn’t a little crushed. But also I was so grateful that he trusts me enough to have a conversation like this with me.

I want him to express himself. He was with his birth family for most of his life. Whatever happened, it was love to him and I was of course aware that he might be feeling this way but in retrospect the celebration day wasn’t all celebration.

For Big Pig it signalled perhaps the end to the only life he had known for most of his little life.

After that night his behaviour has radically improved. It will of course happen again when his little mind can’t quite compute what is happening but we will be there to love him through it and hopefully each time he will realise that talking about it or crying about it is better than keeping it in.