Baby girl and I enjoyed a lovely walk in the ‘dry’ after therapy today, there was no rain, not even a little, but she really wanted an umbrella 😀
So today baby girl is in a grump, we bumped in to some adopter friends whilst we were out for dinner and I pointed out how all their children were adopted just like they were, she wasn’t too happy about this and I’d imagine there are various reasons behind this, so when we got home from lunch she was even more grumpy, we put a film on but because she didn’t get to choose the film (being controlling because she was feeling anxious) she sulked and informed us in a very dramatic and verbal way that she didn’t like the film we had chosen and didn’t want to watch it, poor daddy took the brunt of it.
‘Ok’ I said ‘come in here with me instead and you can play on your DSi’, so she did, and she huffed and puffed and sulked and mumbled and I ignored it. Eventually after calming down she said she wanted to say sorry to daddy and go and watch the film after all, I explained that I was worried she might mess about and spoil it for her sisters because she was in such a grump, and that I needed to know I could trust her to watch it nicely. Our conversation went like this:
Me: how do I know your not going to spoil it for them?
Baby girl: because you will hear me if I shout and spoil the film
Me: what if I’m not listening though?
Babygirl: but you would NEVER take your ears off us and you will NEVER take your sight off us
Me: is that a good thing or a bad thing? (I was curious about how she felt about this)
Babygirl: it’s a good thing of course, you keep us safe and check on us because your a good mummy if you didn’t we might get lost or hurt and that would not be good at all would it!
Me: ok you can go and watch the film, there will be no warnings though so watch it nicely or its back in here with your DSi.
Off she went, tail between her legs to apologise to daddy for giving him a hard time, before going and settling down to watch the remainder of the film. (which went without a hitch by the way).
Now I know she didn’t address my ‘can I trust you to behave’ question, nor did she reassure me that she would be ‘good’ or promise that she would not spoil the film, infact she told me much more than that, she told me that she needs to know I have my eye on her. I’ve always known this, her behaviour over the last 4 years has shown me, she just cant manage independence and freedom yet, it’s too overwhelming for her and she gets scared, besides, she’s still working hard on mastering ‘dependance’, I just hadnt realised that SHE knew this on a conscious level!
Besides, her reply made me feel so lovely that quite frankly I’d have said yes to anything at that moment!
I know that baby girl NEEDS to know that someone is keeping her safe all the time, and she knows this as well now it seems!
“Dependance provides the stepping stones to Independance” – Louise Bomber
There’s a theme over at The Adoption Social this week for their #WASO link up, I won’t deny that my heart sank when I found out that was ‘Recipes’.
Baking days with my girls was something i’d really looked forward too, hell I even practised with some basic cake and biscuit Recipes and bought lots of baking ‘stuff’ before they came home in preparation.
Sadly, for now, it’s just too much. There’s too much competitiveness and controlling for it to be a fun experience. In fact food in general is no fun, their reluctance to ‘try’ new foods, their poor eating habits, their controlling behaviours all make for a pretty miserable dinner time.
However, for some reason eating out always seems to go much better, I suspect it’s their compliance, their need to make sure the world around them doesn’t ‘notice’ them, because if people start ‘noticing’ them, well who knows what they’ll do?!
So our recipe for a happy dinner time is simply to eat out, and we do, often!
A few weeks ago the girls met the new psychotherapist for the first time, you can read about it here.
On Tuesday afternoon they had their 2nd session with him and also the family therapist. I felt a little more prepared this time, or at least I felt I knew what to expect, I didn’t/couldn’t tell the girls about the appointment until I collected them from school, if I’d told them any sooner their anxiety levels would have hit the roof. So once I rounded them up and got them in the car I dropped the bomb shell that we were going to see the nice man and lady at CAMHS again. Baby girl seemed excited, middle girl didn’t comment or react and big girl simply replied with ‘oh yes he did say we’d go again soon didn’t he mummy’.
Knowing how much they’d struggled with the last appointment I wanted the girls to also be prepared and hopefully less anxious. I had no intention of allowing them to unravel again regardless of whether that was what I was supposed to do or not, I still have no clue how they expect me to ‘be’ during these sessions. So in the car on the way there I talked to them about how they’d been a little worried and unsure last time and how they didn’t need to worry because I was there to keep them safe and we go to the session together as a family and we would come home together afterwards as a family. I also reminded them that if someone was talking to them it was generally polite to listen and not talk over them like they did last time. I reminded them that there was a box of activities that had been put together especially for them and that was what they should play with and that the rest of the toys in the cupboards around the room were not for playing with today. I assured them that they didn’t have to do anything they didn’t want too and if they wanted to just sit down and do nothing then that was fine or if they wanted to come and stand by me, hold my hand or sit on my lap then that was also fine. I reminded them that the nice man and lady at camhs were there to help us all with our feelings. I emphasised a lot on the words ‘help’ ‘safe’ ‘family’ ‘mommy will take care of you’, I didn’t want them to feel like they were alone, which is how I think they felt last time due to me ‘sitting back and letting them unravel’. I really wish I hadn’t done that now but I didn’t know what was expected of me. This time I was prepared, we all talked about it together. Big girl talked about being polite and remembering to use manners, middle girl echo’d big girls comments and baby girl commented on how climbing all over me wasn’t a sensible choice. We all appeared quite calm, I felt confident the session would go more smoothly.
The minute we walked in to the room big girls anxious voice reappeared, baby girl became fidgety and wriggly, middle girl just smiled, widely.
After a brief ‘hello again’ introduction the girls busied themselves with the box of activities, well all except baby girl, she chose to climb all over me whining , hugging me so tight she almost choked me and constantly asking for the toys in the cupboard around the room, you know, all the things I told her not to do. The psychotherapist did his usual trick of making me feel utterly incompetent by commenting/wondering out loud, how big girl and middle girl must feel they need to look after themselves whilst mommy is so busy taking care of baby girl. At one point big girl was making something with paper and glue and the psychotherapist commented how it looked like she wanted my help but wasn’t sure how to ask for it, like that was MY fault!? Was I supposed to offer, wait for her to ask, wait for her response, it was all too much to think about, I offered to help her, she declined it, just like she always does. Big girl likes me to help her only when she asks for it, she sometimes likes to notify me that she needs help by standing nearby and showing me her struggle, but if I offer help, she rarely accepts it, instead she’ll wait a while and then ask me to help, which was exactly what happened here.
The whole time this ‘mommy slating’ was taking place baby girl is emotionally sucking the life from me by squirming and wriggling all over my lap with her arms tight around my neck whining down my ear and whimpering like a baby, which incidentally also gave the psychotherapist something to comment on, so all the while I’m trying to soothe her without neglecting her sisters needs and missing something the psychotherapist could ‘wonder out loud’ about. I made a huge point of ‘wowing’ middle girls pictures that she was contently sat on the floor with and tried my best to keep up with big girl flitting back and forth in an attempt to spot her next need before the psychotherapist, all the while my hand is still stroking baby girls back in a pointless attempt to calm her, I say pointless because actually I think she was playing me, She was only interested in doing the things I’d asked her not to and she is clever enough to know that the chances of getting away with it in front of people, was high. I’m confident if I’d told her not to sit on the chairs and pick her nose then that would have been exactly what she would have done. Why? who knows? No really, I haven’t a clue why she does this.
The session ended, we left. We came straight home and I followed the girls to the garden and sent them to bounce it off on the trampoline whilst I stared in to space like a zombie listening to their constant demands of ‘mommy watch me’ ‘mommy look at this’ ‘mommy did you see’. They were anxious, they were struggling, but I could barely keep my eyes open let alone construct a sentence. The life had literally been sucked out of me, chewed up, minced, chucked about a bit and made in to a great big fat black cloud of self pity above my head. I wallowed, they bounced.
Next week the appointment is just for me. Joy!
A conversation that took place today whilst trying to attempt a trip to Sainsburys………
Me: right let’s go, can you carry the bag for me please baby girl
Big girl: do we need 2 bags?
Me: no one will be fine.
*we get in the car
Baby girl: can we get a trolley?
Me: yes a small one
Baby girl: but I wanted to sit in it *sulks
Big girl: can I get the trolley cause she’s carrying the bag, its fair then
Me: yes ok
Baby girl: I didn’t want the bag *sulks
Big girl: can I push the trolley
Me: no I’ll push the trolley
Big girl: oh I thought I could push it *sulks
Baby girl: if we get some shopping can I put it in the trolley
Me: yes you can help me
Big girl: we could take it in turns so its fair
Me: yes ok
Baby girl: can I give the shopping to the lady?
Me: yes you can help me
Big girl: can I put the shopping in the bag?
Me: yes you can help me
Big girl: if we need bread can I choose it?
Me: we don’t need bread
Baby girl: we might need cake?
Me: we don’t need cake
Big girl: can I carry your bag?
Me: no I’ll carry it because it has money inside
Baby girl: can I carry the keys
Me: *insert therapeutic reply (what I said certainly wasn’t therapeutic)
* we arrived at Sainsburys
The conversation continued along the same lines with lots of ‘can we get’ ‘I like’ and ‘those look yummy’ etc.
Next time, I’m going alone! I only needed Cream Eggs!
So it seems my 3 girls did all managed to excuse themselves from class just like they told me! The series of events they described to me actually happened.
The deputy head at school approached me on the playground today, I braced myself for a defensive story. What I got was an admission of guilt and an explanation as to how it had happened.
As I suspected the teachers had each assumed that the girls had been summons by the office to attend their dentist appointment and allowed them to leave class.
We now know this was not the case.
School has assured me that this will never happen again and that ALL staff have been advised that they are not to release a child from class based on the child’s hearsay and that a member of staff or parent should be accompanying them out of the classroom.
I do feel confident that this particular scenario won’t happen again, however it has raised huge concerns within me about the unpredictability of the girls, this wasn’t a group decision, they didn’t collaborate a plan during their lunch break, they each individually made these choices, albeit the same choices.
Something inside them that day told them that they had to be responsible for themselves, they had to make sure they got to the school office ready for their dentist appointment themselves, they couldn’t trust the grown ups around them so needed to take matters in to their own hands in order to survive, just like before.
They did it remarkably well too, not that I’m surprised, not a single bag or lunch box was left behind, they remembered everything themselves, big girl immediately took on the role of carer and the other 2 followed her lead they didn’t NEED anyone’s help, they know how to survive.
Once I arrived at school and took over from big girl they relaxed, they were safe again, and the anxiety they’d held in became obvious almost immediately.
My girls can survive, they can keep themselves safe and they can take care of their own needs. But they need to see that the world is a safe place now and the grown ups around them will take charge and keep them safe.
That day, the school failed to show my already insecure and frightened girls that they would keep them safe. Instead their teachers allowed them to be in control which made them revert to those survival instincts once again.
Needless to say I will be making sure ALL their teachers keep a closer eye on my unpredictable frightened little girls in future!
I love to read, I love books, we have tons of books, so many that I don’t think they’ve even all been read yet, I can’t walk past a book store without bringing at least one home.
I’ve tried so hard to instill my love of books and stories into my girls, I’ve encouraged reading, I’ve taken them to buy books, I’ve let them choose books, I’ve read with them and I’ve read to them.
We have funny stories, heart warming stories, stories with a life lesson and stories to help us understand our feelings. We have big books, small books, short stories and novels, we have ones off’s, collections, traditional stories and modern stories. We have stories for new readers right through to stories for competent readers, we pretty much have a library.
So you’d think they’d at least have a favourite wouldn’t you, a story they like to read or listen to over and over, a story that warms them and makes their hearts smile.
Instead story time is just another opportunity to control. A competition between siblings to see who can ignore me the most and who can talk over me the most. It doesn’t matter that they’d actually like to listen to the story, their need to control the situation and compete is far greater than their need to hear about Baggy Brown, or Albert Le Blanc, or even The Tiger That Came to Tea.
I’ll continue to read, and for now they’ll continue to ignore, but I won’t give up, because maybe one day they’ll listen and allow themselves to fall in to the wonderful world of stories where possibilities are endless and dreams are limitless.