All posts tagged christmas

Working hard…….

Published December 21, 2015 by thefamilyof5

I just wanted to write a quick update because something wonderful happened today. My big girl, the one that lacks all confidence in her ability and would rather not ‘try’ than risk failure, well, she decided to ‘write a story’ today.

It might not sound like much, but for her, this independant choice to ‘write’ and give story writing a try is huge progress! Especially since we’d decided to ‘break up’ for christmas over a week ago!


Im so proud of how far she has come in such a short period of time, her confidence has grown so much!

She isn’t the only one. My mum today commented on the positive changes she has seen in all of the girls, they’re more focused, more relaxed and are all eager to learn. She also commented on the massive changes in middle girl who’s confidence has really grown, she’s really starting to find her voice more!

I’ll leave you with these pictures of their wonderful Christmas crafts, they may not look like much, but they each, independently carried out their own Google searches to find an idea they liked and then followed the instructions provided, with NO help!! Pretty impressive for kids that didn’t know how to use Google 2 months ago eh!


We send you all warm wishes for a merry Christmas and new year!
See you in 2016!!


The fine line……

Published December 14, 2014 by thefamilyof5

There is a fine line between building resilience and pushing too far I beleive.

My girls are really struggling right now, we’ve had more tantrums in the last fortnight than we have this year, their sleep is at an all time low, I don’t know how to make it all better anymore.

Baby girl and middle girl have both now withdrawn from their on stage rolls in their school christmas plays, opting to sit at the side instead, however, it seems even that is too much for them ‘people are still looking at me’ they’ve sobbed ‘I want to sit where no one can see me’ they say. Big girl has chosen to participate in her play but this hasn’t stopped her reeling off a never ending list of ‘issues’. ‘I’m squashed when we do this bit’, ‘XZY stands too close to me were doing that bit’, ‘I keep getting the actions wrong’ and yes I know that most kids probably go home with a list not dissimilar, and many children get stage fright and worry that people are looking at them or they’ll forget the words or get the actions wrong. What is different though is the profound effect all the ‘stress’ has on their ability to manage their emotions and in-turn behaviour.

I sat all the girls down today and asked ‘what do you need to make it more manageable for you?’ They didn’t know, I knew they wouldn’t but I was getting desperate after a full weekend of tantrums. Big girl is adamant she wants to take part but was able to acknowledge how hard she was finding it. Baby girl would rather not take part at all and stay home and middle girl really wasn’t able to decide or identify exacty what she was finding so hard.

So when does resilience building become too much? When do I decide that this is just to much for them and the benefits have been outweighed by the anxiety and it’s negative effect on their emotional well being and health? Do I continue to push them all to take part and see that it’s ok? Or accept that it’s just not managable for them?!

There is a fine line, but at the moment I just can’t see where that line is………..

My little book of worries…………..

Published December 10, 2014 by thefamilyof5

Inside my head I have a book, it contains all my worries, it seems to be rapidly growing!

I have an appointment tomorrow with the lady co-ordinating the EHC plan for big girl, I must remember to tell her everything!

I have an appointment with the pediatrician next week about all 3 of the girls anxiety levels and the knock on effect its having on their sleep, which seems to be getting worse with age! I need to write an email to the pediatrician so she/he can have all the sensitive information without me having to say it all in front of the girls.

We had a letter today notifying us that middle girls teacher is leaving and a new teacher will be taking her place in January, I knew this was going to be happening, I just didn’t know exactly when. So I need to ensure that school, sometime over the next 7 school days before they break up, do some work with middle girl to prepare her for this transition. Perhaps a photo of the new teacher and an informal meeting with her before school recommences in January!? Middle girl is already worried, ‘what if she shouts’ she asked me tonight. I’d also like them to pass to the new teacher the information (letter to my teacher) that was given to each of the teachers at the start of the school year so that she can also ‘know’ about Middle girl before school commences.

This new teacher (if staff/classes remain the same) might also be Baby girls teacher next September which means they will also need to be thinking about supporting her next year with that transition. I’d also like some thought in how the year 5 teacher (again assuming there are no changes) will support Middle girl next year as I’m not sure the approach she had with Big girl last year, will work with Middle girl next year.

Big girl goes to High School next year (hence the application for an EHC plan), there’s been a lots of talk about supporting her with the transition but I think I need to know more, like how and when etc

With big girl changing schools, Middle girl and Baby girl are also going to need a lot of support with this. It will be a big step for them to be in a separate school. The bad dreams about ‘sisters getting lost’ have already started for Middle girl and I’m convinced this is linked to her knowing that Big girl is going to be changing schools.

Then there is all the other day to day stuff, like Christmas Plays, Sats, Therapy, IEP reviews, Letterbox contact with birth family, what to cook for tea!

Oh, and its Christmas soon……………..

I hate being THAT mom!

Published December 4, 2014 by thefamilyof5

I hate being the mom that struggles to find something positive to say, but its getting harder and harder.

Stress levels are soaring here right now, the girls and mine.

I think the trigger (this time) is ‘School Plays’. I’m not sure why these have become an issue the last couple of years, at the previous school they all managed the school plays (minor roles) without a hitch.

Baby girl pulled out of her play altogether last year, at the last minute, this year she’s given some notice and decided again not to participate finding a background (helper/off stage) role more manageable. Big girl has managed to participate in her plays but this year has asked to be excluded from the ‘bows’ at the end as she finds them too overwhelming. Middle girl has told me she’s happy to participate in her play but feels frightened when she’s on the stage.

But in reality they’re not managing……….

Big girl is stroppy and stressed and not sleeping, doesn’t sound any different to any other day but its a bit more intense at the moment, particularly on days after they’ve ‘practiced’ their plays. Tonight she stamped her feet, banged her door and shouted ‘I want to kill myself’. (overwhelmed)

Middle girl had a therapy session today (which is slow going but they seem to be managing it fine), I collected her at lunch time from school, I hadn’t even turned the car around before she was refusing to speak to me (control). I hadn’t bought a medal she wanted to show the therapist, she hadn’t asked me too. She then spent the entire session rocking manically and refusing to speak (dysregulated).

Baby girl, well, tonight she’s stood with her arms folded in a mood, stamped her foot and given me the death stare (control) whilst telling me she’s rubbish and everyone one at school hates her (low self esteem), even though I reminded her that she came out of school this evening chatting and laughing with her 2 friends. She also told me that she’s been participating in part of her play because she thinks her teacher will shout if she doesn’t (insecure). (her teacher wouldn’t shout, this is just an example of how unreasonable her ‘thinking’ is when she’s stressed). She also said the story line scares her, its A Christmas Carol (immature/dysregulated).

They practiced their school plays this morning.

Each morning we’re greeted by a lovely teacher who’s working so hard to help the girls. Every morning I find myself having to tell her about some sort of crisis or drama. Today it was that middle girl is terrified when she’s on the stage and to ask her if she can perhaps give her a little thumbs up, tap on the shoulder, check in with her etc. Tomorrow it will be to tell her that baby girl has been staying on the stage after putting the apparatus in place (her job) because she thinks her teacher will tell her off for sitting back down afterwards. I’ve no doubt Monday there will be something else. There is always something…………..

“Middle girl is worried because her p.e. day has changed and she doesn’t know why, baby girl is worried because she has fallen out with her friend and thinks she has no one to play with now, big girl is worried because someone shouted in class today and it hurt her ears, middle girl is worried because she doesn’t know why there was no science yesterday, baby girl is worried because someone told a dinner lady she pushed them but she didn’t and she thinks she’s in trouble, big girl is worried about the book your reading in class, middle girl was hot in class yesterday and came home angry because no one noticed, baby girl is worried because a man came in to school and she doesn’t know who it is, big girl is worried because she didn’t understand her homework, middle girl is angry because the girls wouldn’t let her join in at lunch time today, baby girl is worried because she thinks she’s going to see a real volcano next week and might die!” This is probably a good representation of a couple of days worth of ‘chats’ I have each morning!

I hate being THAT parent!

In reality it is all anxiety, lots and lots of anxiety about anything and everything and it seems to be getting worse as they get older and I’m not sure why, maybe because they understand more, or maybe because they’re expected to understand more and don’t. You only need to search the word ‘stress’ on my blog to see this is a common theme. Is this Autism? Attachment/Trauma? both?

Its that old chicken and egg question, are they not sleeping because they’re anxious or are they anxious because they’re so tired.

What I do know is that this level of stress isn’t sustainable, for any of us.

I’ve linked this post up with #WASO over at The Adoption Social!

Photo Challenge #FO5photo Day 10

Published November 30, 2014 by thefamilyof5

The theme for today is ‘Childhood’.

Our Christmas Shelf Elf (Shiny Heart, as she was named in December 2012) reappeared today, as if by magic, she is also sporting a new and very fashionable knitted red jumper…….

It took over 2 hours for her to be spotted from her shelf top hiding place by the breakfast table!

Middle Girl: *shreiks There’s an Elf in the kitchen, she’s wearing a jumper!

Big Girl: It’s magic isn’t it, she must be wearing a jumper because it’s cold outside..

Baby Girl: So we had breakfast and didn’t see her, how did that happen?!

Keeping the childhood magic of Christmas alive in the Familyof5 household today…………

Keeping Childhood Christmas Magic Alive!

Keeping Childhood Christmas Magic Alive!


The impact of shame….

Published February 19, 2014 by thefamilyof5

There was quite a big incident with school at Christmas, baby girl had been chosen to be ‘narrator’ in the school play, she did say straight away that she didn’t want to do it but wasn’t offered an alternative role. 1st day of the Christmas play came and baby girl was off school, worry, stress and tiredness as she’d been up half the night. After speaking to school I was assured she would be given a new role and she didn’t need to worry any more. She was happy to go in the next day knowing she had a new role awaiting her.

I’m a special helper mommy, she said when she came out of school. I don’t do much helping though, she added, I’m sure your a fabulous helper and I cant wait to come and see you helping, I reassured her.

Me and my mum had tickets to see the 4th and final showing of her play. I was devastated with what I saw. Baby girl didn’t have an alternative role at all, she was just excluded, sat on the floor beside the teacher, doing nothing. My mum physically wept as she sat and watched her Granddaughter being publicly shamed. My heart broke as I watched her sit there mouthing all the words to ALL the different roles and performing ALL the actions as well. She knew she was being excluded, I could see it all over her face. Right there and then that entire week fell in to place, the behaviors, the odd comments, the anxiety, she’d tried to tell me in her own way lots of times, but I hadn’t heard.

Aside from me and my mum speaking with school immediately after the play and pointing out how she’d been excluded publicly and how this would have effected her, I decided I needed to do something else. This couldn’t happen again. My poor baby girl who already feels she isn’t good enough should never have been made to feel this way and I felt there had been missed opportunity’s on schools behalf to prevent this. I was livid. My mum, who’s worked in education for over 30 years was shocked and devastated that this had been allowed to happen.

I emailed the Education Psychologist and asked for her help, I needed someone in school that understood the massive impact this level of ‘shame’ had on my sweet baby girl and I didn’t feel anyone did. I also set about sourcing a local company that could offer the school some training in the effects of attachment and trauma, the Pupil Premium would be perfect for funding it I thought.

Since Christmas things have improved, the lines of communication are open, baby girls needs are being acknowledged and I’ve put forward my suggestions for specialist training for all the staff, to the school governors.

I worry sometimes that teachers and teaching staff fail to acknowledge a child’s needs because they worry that it will reflect badly upon themselves. I certainly felt this was the case at the last school. Baby girls anxiety was thrust in the face of school, yet it was brushed aside and denied.
I guess birth parents would feel the same, I’d imagine that if their child is struggling with their behavior or emotions, that the parent would feel that this was a reflection on them. My children are not the same, My children don’t struggle in school because of poor teaching (although lack of understanding can exasperate things) or at home because of my parenting. The responsibility for the damage that has been caused to them by trauma and loss, lies with their birth parents and the ‘system’ that failed to protect them, that’s why they struggle.

Baby girls needs are what they are, and they can be difficult and time consuming, especially when there is an entire class of children to contend with. There’s no shame in admitting that we need a little help sometimes. I know I do and I only have 3 to contend with.

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