Monday, 15 November 2010

The change of a name......

I'm so out of synch with writing this blog that I feel like I should start with confessional......it's been 2 months since my last blogging!  A lot has happened over the past two months.  I have such good intentions of writing about it all but then I dream of sleep and that dream tends to over-ride any good intentions I have.

Two big events have taken place over the past few weeks.  Firstly Katie is now legally adopted and is able to use our surname.  We had a ceremony in court last week where we met the judge and Katie was given an official certificate stating her new name.  We tried on the judge's wig etc and had a good (if slightly formal) time.  We started the day with a visit to a nearby sealife centre so that Katie could visit Nemo, Marlin and Dory, which she loved and raced around at olympic speed.  After the ceremony we went out to lunch to celebrate.  It was a surreal sort of day really.  One of the clerks in the chambers was quite emotional which was so sweet and I found myself quite teary as a result.  Katie had a lovely day and won everyone's hearts with her smile and interest in everything going on. We have been trying to decide on a suitable adoption day present for Katie.  Because the event was hot on the heels of her birthday we feel we can delay giving her the present.  I think we have decided on a little charm bracelet which we can add to each year.  We thought it might be nice to buy charms that reflect her age so that they gradually mature over the years, giving a portrayal of her growth over the years.

The second big event (well actually it was before the ceremony) was Katie's 3rd Birthday.  What a party it was!!  There were around 52 people there in total including 23 children.  We hired out a local leisure centre's soft play area with a big bouncy castle.  We had food for both the children and the adults and myself and Lindsey spent the night before baking tons of gluten-free cup cakes which were delicious!!  I was a bit worried that some of the older children might find it all a bit juvenile but they all had an amazing time.  We invited Grandma and all her family down which was lovely.  Katie had a huge Hello Kitty birthday cake and looked gorgeous in her pink and white party dress.  She had more presents than should be legally allowed and she loved every single second of her birthday.  The day was a resounding success.

All the excitement seems to have impacted a bit on Katie and her behaviour has nose-dived a bit at the moment.  She also has the most awful head cold which seems to be bringing out a real little monkey in her at the moment.  She is definitely 3 and getting very good at it.  I've recently completed a parenting course which is proving very useful at the moment although I am trying not the sweat the small stuff!! (no mean feat for a Taurean I can tell you!).  Hopefully it is just one of many of life's little "phases" and we will soon be looking forward to the next little phase she has to offer us!

Looking back to this time last year.  We were just bracing ourselves for our approval panel and wondering what the future was going to hold for us.  I still can't quite believe that we are now a normal family and that I am no longer working but am a full-time stay at home mum.  How on earth did that all happen?

TTFN xxx

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Where has the time gone?

I haven't added anything to this blog since June.  Life has just been so busy and we have just been enjoying life rather than writing about it.  We have settled into a routine now and can't remember a time when Katie wasn't with us.  A friend, who is a fellow adopter, asked me if I had stopped feeling like a long term babysitter yet.  When she asked me I wasn't quite sure whether I had, but I've noticed over the past few weeks that I no longer feel that way at all anymore.  There are so many anxieties, particularly before all the legal paperwork is completed, that remind you that you are caring for this little person without all the rights that a normal parent would have.  You have to tell Children's Services if you want to have a holiday. You can't leave the country.  You have to inform them if your child has an accident.  I can't explain how awful it was to have to email our Social Workers to inform them that Katie had a black eye from falling off the lounge coffee table.  Yes, it was a typical toddler accident, and yes, she knows she shouldn't be climbing on the table!  It made me feel like I had personally hurt my child when I had to email our Social Workers to tell them.  I felt so guilty, like I wasn't able to take care of her properly.  We have been so lucky with our Social Workers, they are wonderful and have never made me feel guilty.  They responded to say they hoped she was ok.  No blame, no recriminations, but parents don't usually have to tell someone when their child has a typical toddler accident.  Little reminders all the time.  Imagine how I felt when I had to email them again two days later to say that she had added to the black eye by falling down some stairs!!

Aside from those sorts of things, life just can't get any better.  Katie is so loving and tender and boisterous and beautiful and cheeky and funny and precocious and hectic and intelligent, all within a 5 minute time span.  I love just hanging out with her all day.  I miss her when she is at pre-school two mornings a week now.  We had planned for her to start going three mornings a week from January but I don't feel that I can share her for any more than two mornings a week for the time being so I think we will delay that until next year now.  It is so hard fitting in fun things to do when she is at pre-school.  I wanted her to start gymnastics but all the classes clash with pre-school or swimming for her age range!  We will rearrange things for next September I think and she can start gymnastics then.  Most of her peer-group will be starting school a year earlier than her because she is younger by only a few months but those months are after the school year cut off.  I think she will miss seeing her friends over that year so we will need to build in some new and exciting things to do in 2011/12 I think.

Katie has developed and matured at an amazing rate over the past 6 months.  I can't believe she has been with us 6 months now. She has grown a huge amount both in height and her feet.  She no longer looks like a toddler but more like a young child.  Her favourite word at the moment is "Why?".  She can keen asking why for a never ending proportion of time!  She is curious about everything and sees things that I haven't even noticed.  It's amazing and I have found I am slowing down a bit and sharing more and more of this with her.  It's hard though.  As an adult we are conditioned to be running at 100 miles per hour to keep up with all the things we need to do.  I am getting better at letting some things slide and trying not to worry about them too much.  We are going to Center Parks next weekend for our first family trip away, just the three of us.  Katie is very excited that she will meet Rupert the Bear for a picnic.  I am hoping and praying she isn't terrified of him.  I am also looking forward to the treat of two spa treatments that my wonderful husband has given me.  I am needing a bit of "me" time and have only had one massage in 6 months, which was previously unheard of.  I am trying to fit in more yoga but it is sporadic at best.  Physically I need to do it to stop myself stiffening up but I've found it hard to motivate myself at the times that I do have available to do it.

Katie had a hearing test recently which revealed that she has slight hearing loss in her right ear from repeated ear infections when she was younger.  We will review it again in six months time and see how she is doing.  We could see during the test how bright and clever she is but could also see how quickly she stopped paying attention once she couldn't hear properly.  I am trying to work on getting her to look at me when we are speaking - no mean feat with a nearly 3 year old though!!

It's not long now until we have our court hearing for the legal adoption of Katie.  I can't wait for this side of things to be over.  Several friends have had complications recently with their legalities and it brings it home that things can become more complicated and stressful.  It doesn't look likely in our case that that will happen but until it is all signed, sealed and delivered, I can't quite relax.  I am looking forward to legally being a regular, normal mum.  I am looking forward to being able to book an overseas holiday for next year.  I will however miss seeing our Social Workers.  They have all been wonderful wonderful people.  I won't miss them having the share in the parental responsibility but I will miss them.  I hope they will stay in touch.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The past few weeks.....

There has been so much going on over the past few weeks that I've not had time to update this blog.  There's not been anything particularly newsworthy happening - just day to day family life.  Just keeping up with Katie and the housework seems to take up most days.  We've been getting out and about and doing all sorts of things as well as trying to get some sort of routine sorted out.  We now have some set weekly activities such as swimming lessons and toddler groups.  Katie is a really sociable young lady and just loves seeing other children so she enjoys the groups.  She particularly enjoys singing.  She is getting used to swimming.  She wasn't particularly keen on having to go under water in week 2's class and has been a bit anxious in the pool since then.  We had a major breakthrough this week however when I managed to help her realise that she can reach the bottom of the pool and can walk through the water unaided.  I am going to try to fit in more general swimming sessions in between classes to help build up her confidence.  We are going swimming with a friend next week to a swimming pool that is more fun-based.  It will be interesting to see how she reacts to the water there.

We have noticed a bit of separation anxiety creeping into Katie just lately.  This is very noticeable when I leave the room.  This has gotten worse since "fly-gate" when a fly landed on her arm in the garden.  She became hysterical and has become quite anxious since then.  She is fascinated and terrified of flies in equal measure.  This incident was worsened when a butterfly landed on her head the same afternoon.  I think I will put off showing her the bats in the garden for a while - I can only imagine what her reaction might be!  We had a few nights of crying at bedtime that a fly was in her room.  We have managed to move on from this by giving her a toy in her cot that speaks to her and she plays with this for a while before sleeping.  This is the first night-time issue we've had since Katie moved in with us nearly 12 weeks ago so we have been very lucky I think.

We introduced Katie to our local theme park last week.  I suspected that my daughter was going to be a thrill seeker and this was proven when she met her first roller-coaster.  She screamed with delight and put her hands up over her head as we went fast down the hill.  We are going again this week and have purchased a season ticket for the park.  We will have to bribe someone to take her to Alton Towers when she gets older because I get motion sickness and can't go on the really big rides.  I can manage a reasonable roller-coaster but anything that goes upside-down is a real no-go area for me!!

We had some welcome news from Social Services this week when a letter arrived informing us that they would be happy for us to apply to adopt Katie formally.  This is excellent news.  We have our 3 month review meeting next week and will set these wheels in motion. I have downloaded the forms from the court to start completing them!!  I hope we get through it all quickly and without any delays.

Katie's speech and strength continues to improve day by day.  Her current favourite word is "probably".  She practices it over and over again.  She repeats things that I say continually and it makes me laugh to hear her saying such grown up sentences.  She has now developed leg muscles and walks far more appropriately for a 2 and a half year old then she did when she arrived.  Her sense of humour and ability to interpet what she is seeing is amazing and I really enjoy spending time with her.  She also has an amazing strength of character, the downside of which means she spends some time on the naughty spot but the upside is that she has the ability to do well in life.  She has started counting really well and adds up how many sweets etc she has.  She can now recognise that things relate to numbers and is starting to recognise a few of the numbers when written down.  She has learned all her colours now. She struggles a bit with blue and brown but is doing really well.  It is fascinating watching her learn and absorb all this information.  She asks questions continually.  I wonder how long it will be before she realises that I don't have all the answers?

Her other big fascination at the moment is people's private parts.  She saw her first willy when my nephew was out with us.  She shocked him by grabbing it and asking what it was!!!  He was mortified as you can imagine.  She was amazed.  She now knows that girls and boys are different.  She was in the queue in the library today saying that "boys have willies".  You should have seen the look on the face of the man in the queue behind us!!! 

Well I better go and get my little lady up so we can head off to toddler group.  TTFN.......

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Keeping up with life....

I have to apologise for not being organised enough to write regular blogs.  Where does the time go?  I barely have enough time to get through the day to day requirements these days!  We are starting to fill our days with lots of things to do including toddler group and swimming lessons and tumble tots.  I feel a huge surge of emotion every time we start a new activity.  I never thought the day would come when I would take my daughter for her first swimming lesson and watch her sheer delight as she splashed about.  Tears threaten every time I watch her doing new things.  I fall on the sofa in the evenings exhausted with trying to keep up with her!! 

Katie has now been with us 8 weeks.  Two months!  It's amazing.  I can't remember life before she arrived now.  I do know that I can never get enough sleep to match the sheer amount of energy she has though.  We are currently on chicken-pox watch after she played with a new friend the day before his spots appeared.  I would imagine there is a very high chance of her catching them, although they did play outside for the whole visit she might miss them this time.  The incubation period is around 11 - 20 days so thankfully I should be able to have my birthday BBQ on Sunday before she shows any symptoms. 

I am hoping that I will get myself organised enough soon to get back to doing my yoga.  My body is screaming out for my regular yoga sessions.  Lunchtime sessions during nap-time are out because we've just had lunch so I need to try and do a session after putting Katie to bed in the evening - rather than relax on the sofa and eat my dinner.  I know I will be a much happier mummy with my body feeling better rather than the tired and headachy mummy that has appeared at the moment.  I am going back to Irish Dancing tomorrow for the first time since Katie arrived and will hopefully get back to Mo-jive as well soon.  I'm not sure I can stay awake beyond 10pm though so it might be that I have to leave earlier than I used to.

I am very excited because I am hopefully picking up my new car tomorrow.  I have been waiting for the right car to come along since Christmas.  I wanted a black Nissan Qashqai but wanted an automatic transmission this time.  They are like golddust.  I finally found one at the end of last week and it is currently being moved down to the south of the country where we live.  Katie is every excited too.  When I showed her the same car today when we were driving she said "Wow mummy".  I will miss my little Beetle very much.  It was my dream car and I'm sad to be selling her but excited to join the realms of the family car!  We need the additional boot space badly (and not just for nappy changes on the hop!).  I need to now spruce up my little car ready to sell.

In a few weeks time we will have our review meeting to agree whether we can formally adopt Katie.  I am going to phone up for the paperwork today.  We have to wait 10 weeks from when she officially joined up to apply but our review meeting isn't until week 12 so we have to wait until then to get it all started.  It will be nice when she shares our surname officially and I know that she can't be taken away from us.  I can't imagine life without our little lady now.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Daddy lions and Mummy lions!

I've not had a chance to write anything for a week or so. It's been quite a tough 10 days really because a friend of mine died from breast cancer aged only 42 years old.  She fought valliantly against this horrible illness.  Her courage was inspirational.  Sadly she lost her battle at 1am on 20th April 2010.  The funeral took place this Wednesday.  It was a really beautiful service and was attended by so many people it was amazing.  It was an emotional day and so sad to see Christine's two beautiful girls who are aged only 10 and 7 years old.  Christine wanted to be a mummy more than anything else and it's sad that she has been torn from her family so early.  It feels so bittersweet as we have just become parents.  I look at Katie and wonder how Chris felt knowing she would be leaving her girls with so much left unfinished and yet to experience.   I spent many hours when going through infertility and miscarriages questioning the purpose of life and whether things happen for a reason.  I came to the conclusion that it was all bad biology.  This is the only sense I can make of Chris passing.  The biology just didn't work right.  Spiritual and theological debates leave the question unanswered.  All I can say is that I believe I will see Chris again and send my love to her.

Katie continues to grow and flourish.  Her speech and vocabulary improve daily.  It's amazing seeing the world as she experiences it.  She is learning the names of some of the spring flowers.  She pointed to a dandylion the other day and said "daddylion".   She then said "mummy, where are the mummy lions?".  A few days later she can now pronounce "dandylion".  Watching her improve her words each day is really fascinating.  To think that we have all been through this experience.  What a shame we don't remember it.  Katie sees things that I miss because she spends her time looking at everything.  I don't have any worries about her eyesight at the moment. She spots the tiniest things in the sky.  I wish I could slow down enough in my head to see the way she sees.  All I see is things to be washed and jobs to be done!!  I prefer what Katie sees to be honest!

Katie has now been with us 6 weeks.  On the one hand it is getting harder to remember life before Katie but on the other hand I sometimes still can't quite believe that she is ours.  A friend of mine asked if I'd reached a point where it all felt normal yet.  I don't think I've reached that point yet.  I sometimes still feel like I'm doing an extended period of babysitting.  I watch our relationship deepen day by day and laugh at Katie's funny little moments and her quirks and can't imagine life without her though.  Today she kept walking up to me and kissing me on the arm.  These are the moments that I knew I was missing out on all the time we battled with infertility.  I am so lucky to have such a beautiful and gorgeous daughter.  I can't quite believe that after all my years of worrying that I wasn't a mother because there was something unworthy about me, that we have been given this wonderful child to be parents to.

I admit that I have had a fair few moments of feeling overwhelmed by everything.  It is very tiring looking after a 2 year old and I do sometimes wonder how I will manage if and when we also adopt Katie's little brother.  It's a huge learning curve. I am trying to learn to balance my life in a different way than I used to.  I am trying to let bit of housework go and not to worry about it all so much.  I am getting there slowly.  Mike has a week off work next week and I am looking forward to having a bit of head-space for a brief interlude.  I want to get back into a routine of doing my yoga.  I am starting to get backache and some migraines again because I've hardly done any yoga for 6 weeks.  I am going to start using some of Katie's nap times to do some yoga during the day.....so if you'll excuse me, that is where I am going now.........

Friday, 16 April 2010

A very cool dude.....

Where has the Easter break gone?  I can't seem to keep up with time anymore.  My days fly by in a whizz of breakfast; games; napppies; naps; more games; and then collapsing on the sofa after attempting to keep up with the housework!  A thoroughly modern mummy!  I thought work was difficult!! We've had a lovely Easter despite all being unwell and Katie teething and having a few grumpy bugs that needed to be playfully removed!  She is a very sunny and cheerful young lady most of the time so she is easily forgiven her few tantrums.  She seems to accept the word "no" eventually, except regarding food!  If she doesn't want to eat it, it ain't happening.  I am reassured to hear that 0-3 year olds don't need the sort of diet we adults are supposed to aim for and it seems universally accepted that toddlers will scream "Yeeeeuch" at anything remotely related to the vegetable family.  Katie does love yogurt and cheese with the odd bit of ham and also spagetti and sausages, and of course, grapes, grapes and more grapes.  She does like Wotsits as well and today discovered the spicy hot ones which she loves.  That's my girl!  I try her on new things most days alongside the trusted favourites.  She has now eaten some artfully cut sandwiches and today we might even try some honey dew melon for afternoon snack.  Wish me well with that one!

Katie continues to cope amazingly well with getting to know the people in her new family or "bambi" as she pronounces it!  She is a total pickle much of the time. I am learning to recognise the days when she wakes up with a real pickle in her belly and those are the days we are out of the house on a big adventure.  If we stay at home on those days she has been known to do things like turn up the oven when Mummy is making brownies and turn on the grill.  Thankfully the house hasn't burned down just yet!  We can see how much more settled she is because she is exploring her surroundings more.  Of course that usually comes along with me rushing behind her saying "no Katie no!"  She will think that that is her name soon!

We had a lovely day out at our local common with our friend Sophie and her children yesterday.  Katie loves the children and it was so wonderful watching her play with them and also allowing her a bit more freedom with them.

Katie was sent a present from a friend of mine in the USA this week.  She received a gorgeous dress with matching coat, sun glasses and hair clips.  She loves the yellow sun glasses and looks a totally cool dude in them!!

I think I've now come down from the high that accompanied being matched with Katie and bringing her home.  I think tiredness will do that though.  I am still fighting off the remains of the bug and have another low grade infection in my sinuses.  Not bad enough to warrant a trip to the GP but annoying and tiring.  Katie hasn't shaken hers off totally either and that is topped off with her teething some back teeth.  Her poor little face has two little sores on either side of her mouth where she is dribbling constantly.  She is wonderful at letting me put vaseline on it when she sleeps.  We have also discovered that my Soap and Glory Righteous Butter Body Cream works better on her dry skin than the Diprobase we were advised to use.  Her legs look wonderful now.  I am so delighted and Katie loves using Mummy's cream.

Daddy has been working a bit too hard just lately and hasn't been around as much as he would like. We hope this will change once a new person is appointed at work at the end of the month.  He is missing out on a lot at the moment. I have taken to doing little videos for him to watch so he can see the cute things she does.

Katie is getting much more attached to me now.  Today at naptime she finally wanted cuddles before she slept.  That is a real breakthrough.  She is now letting me kiss her as well.  It's so wonderful watching her trust us more and more each day.  Totally amazing.  She is rather amazing without question.  For the first time in many years I am now able to wonder what my child will do during her life and the person she will become.  I can't believe that after 15 years of waiting we have been blessed with such a little treasure.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Guests and colds.....

We've had a hectic, but great week.  A close friend, Lindsey, and her son, Gabe, came to visit for a few days.  We hosted a big get together on Wednesday of friends and children.  We had 9 children on the trampoline at one point.  The older children just took care of the younger children so the adults were able to sit down for a whole 5 minutes and eat their lunch.  I am not very good at sitting down these days.  I have permanent ants in my pants!  The children all played very well together (for the most part) and Katie had a wonderful day.  The weather was dry, finally, so the children were able to play outside all day.  The new playroom also worked well for the children and they kept themselves amused all day.  Katie missed her nap but was a total star, despite the cold.  She is definitely a party girl that's for sure!  It was hard having guests in the house because we are still establishing our routine and tend to do certain things in certain places.  I am sure it will get easier with time though.  Katie struggled a bit with seeing me with other children.  She said several times "That's my mummy" when I hugged another child.  Mind you, she even said that to our neighbours' dog, Mac, yesterday when he sat on my lap!  Katie adores Mac and our neighbour has said we can visit him during the day when they are at work whenever we want.  Mac loves our visits.  He gets so excited he wets himself!!!  Katie loves playing fetch with him, except she forgets to shout "fetch" when she throws his ball and is confused when he doesn't chase it!

Everyone in the house has come down with a cold now.  Katie is really full of cold, poor little thing.  Mike has also come down with it.  I am fighting it off so am just coughing at the moment. I am hoping that the echinaccea and vitamin C tablets that I am downing will help.  We don't need all of us ill!  The Toddler Taming book threatens that toddlers will get a cold every 8 weeks - this is our second cold in a month!!! My daughter is NOT playing by the rules!

We had our big Review Meeting on Tuesday which went extremely well.  One of the Social Workers has known Katie since she was very little and was amazed by how well she is doing.  Katie continues to surprise the Social Workers by her progress and how happy she seems.  Katie's vocabulary is improving on an almost hourly basis.  Her counting has improved as well.  She couldn't count from 1 to 10 when she arrived but is now able to do it confidently when she helps warm her milk up in the microwave for breakfast each morning!  I am very proud of her.  She is very laid back and takes so much in her stride.  I'm not sure I could do it as well as she has.  Children are amazing, that's for sure.  One great thing to come out of the Review Meeting is that we are now down to fortnightly visits from the the Social Workers instead of weekly ones.  It's early days but they've said we can start filling out the formal adoption paperwork ready to send when Katie has been placed with us 10 weeks.

My placement certificate finally arrived this week so Katie and I took it to my work yesterday.  Katie met several of my colleagues and was supremely shy for most of the visit.  Anyone who has met Katie will know that this is not how she usually is.  She is usually a total live wire, running around, enjoying everything around her.  We have a work lunch this week that I will probably pop in with Katie for.  I don't think we will stay long, although Katie loves a pub lunch and did ask today when we could go for another one........

Monday, 5 April 2010

Easter!

We've had a great few days.  Daddy has been home for 4 days and Katie has loved having him home.  It has been great watching their bond deepen.  She allowed him to comfort her tonight which was lovely to see.

Katie has loved the Easter Bunny and the, yet more, presents he brought her.  She has a pile of chocolate eggs to eat, carefully monitored by Mummy and Daddy.  We bought her an Easter puzzle and a huge Chick as well as her favourite Peppa Pig egg with a new bowl and spoon.  Yesterday we cooked a lovely roast lunch for us and Nana and Pops and my sister.  We baked Easter cakes which were a real hit and also brownies for dessert.  Today we went to a friends house for an Easter hunt.  Katie was excited that she found four chicks and a painted egg.  We discovered that she loves garlic bread today.

Katie has a love affair with the Teletubbies (or Tebbetubbies as Katie calls them) going on and we have to watch their song over and over on the "puter".  We find ourselves singing the song as we go about the house!  Singing is a real favourite of Katie's and we have so many different songs we sing, both in the form of the usual nursery rhymes and also some silly songs that we have created.  Another huge favourite is the Winnie the Poo song which I remember from my own childhood.

Katie continues to do so well.  She is such a happy and bright little girl.  She is a real joy to be around.  Today she really made me laugh.  She had gone down for her nap and she was still chatting to herself an hour later so I went up to see what was going on.  She was sat in her cot on the top of a pile of bedding reading a book.  She said "I'm awake" when I went in.  No kidding you're awake little miss!  She has developed another cold so her poor little nose is streaming.  She is on good form despite this however and we've had some lovely moments today.  She spent some time with Daddy on her own yesterday to see how she would cope without me around.  We have bought her a new sand and water play tray so we decided to let her play with it for the first time when I went out.  It was a huge hit and they were both soaked through when I returned!

Our first Easter as a family has been great.  So normal.  She has been here three weeks today, it feels like she's been here forever.  I am feeling more tired some days and I really need to get back to my yoga because my back is feeling the fact that I'm picking up 28 pounds of little pickle on a regular basis. It's all an adjustment though and I'm sure it will sort itself out.

I fall in love a little more with my daughter every single day.  She is just perfect.  One of the best things was that she said "I love you" to me last night for the first time.  Magical!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

We all scream for Ice-cream!

I'm sitting here watching Katie eating a bowl of chocolate ice-cream with some raspberries.  She calls it I-keem at the moment. I must keep a note of all the little words she says because she can't pronounce them properly.  Today she announced that "Daddy is a good girl!!"  She has also picked up that Daddy calls me "Gem" and I realised she was calling me that today.  Katie also decided today that she wanted to learn her colours so we are working on that.  There seem to be different thoughts on how best to introduce colours including everything being either one particular colour and everything else being "not" that colour.  We are going to focus on one colour at a time I think.  Today was pink!  She is getting quite good at recognising pink today. 

We also had a visit from our Social Worker today to check up on Katie and make sure she is doing ok.  She is happy with how it's all going, which is great.  We are formulating a plan to help Katie cope with missing Grandma.  She has been asking for her a lot at the moment, although I am starting to realise that my very clever daughter has cottoned on to the fact that she gets some attention when she mentions Grandma and that she is now saying it a lot of the time, I suspect, to get cuddles. They do keep you on your toes!!!

We went to tumble tots for the first time today.  Katie loved it so we will make that a weekly visit for the time being.  I am looking forward to the Easter holidays because Daddy will  be home for 4 days.  Katie loves spending time with him.  We also have some friends coming to stay for a few days which I am looking forward to.  We have invited lots of friends over for lunch on Wednesday with all their children so it will be a full house but hopefully a fun house!

I am still working on my mission to get Katie eating bread.  Today she tried, and loved, tortillas.  I showed her how to wrap her meat and cheese into it and eat it.  She thought it was a great game and ate nearly the whole tortilla.  We have some brioche to try next.

I have to say that I do like spending my time with Katie.  How often do you spend a whole day with someone with such intensity?

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Luverly Jubberly!!

One of the things I love most about being a parent is the funny things that Katie does each day.  Every day she uses a new word or phrase and does something that makes me laugh.  Today she is saying "Luverly Jubberly".  She got this from me.  I said it in the bath this morning and she has been repeating it ever since.  It's so cute and hilarious to hear her saying it.  She also love blowing bubbles.  She will blow them for hours! We were in the garden for 2 hours yesterday blowing bubbles.  We ended up doing it in shifts so that I could get some housework done. One of the sweetest things she says is "we do it a-gether".  This obviously means "together"  It's so sweet.  She looks at me with these beautiful eyes and smiles at me.  She often says it about having a bath or blowing bubbles and it's clear she means that it is me and her together.

We are fast becoming partners in crime.  This brings wonderful things and also means that any temper tantrums are directed my way.  I am delighted that she feels comfortable enough with me to just be herself.  She is a total joy to take out.  We have been shopping today in the main town and she held onto the pushchair when she walked and behaved beautifully.  She was rewarded with a drive on the pink bus near the pay ticket.  Yes, I hear all those parents now cry, I am setting myself up to have to let her ride every time.  We also reward with lots of huggles and it is lovely to see her enjoying herself so much.  She is a very sociable young lady and loves to wave at everyone and say hello.  It's so sweet and seems to brighten people up wherever we go.  Funnily enough I used to do the same thing when I was the same age.  She sings to herself all the time as well.  I also used to do the same thing and used to sing to people on the bus.  How embarrassing for my parents!! LOL  It doesn't bother me.  I think she is lovely!

It's not all been plain sailing so far.  Katie is a toddler so the bets are always off as to how she might react.  Like most toddlers she likes her own way about things and sometimes we disagree on whose way it will be done.  I said before we brought her home that I pitied her having a Taurean for a mum!  I can out-stubborn any toddler.  Obviously I am picking my battles though.  She is still getting over seeing Grandma and has so many changes going on that giving her a bit of latitude, without letting her get away with too much, seems to be working quite well.  Yesterday she spontaneously came and kissed my arm.  She said to me as she was doing it "I give mummy a kiss".  It was the first time she had voluntarily come and kissed me.  What a wonderful moment.  I gave her a huge beaming smile and a big Thank You!!!

My little pip-squeak is supposed to be having her lunchtime nap at the moment and is hurling her toys out of the cot in play.  Time to intervene I think.......

Saturday, 27 March 2010

An emotional day.....

Yesterday was a difficult day.  Grandma and Grandad came to deliver all Katie's clothes and toys - wow what a lot of toys we now have!!!  I am just sorting out all her clothes.  I'm delighted we now have more trousers and tops in her current size because we have been spending a lot of money building up her wardrobe in the meantime.  Katie was delighted to know that they were going to be visiting and was quite excited.  She was mostly excited about Grandma.  She was also delighted to see the baby that they are also fostering.  He is a real sweetie.  Katie was excited to see all her toys and the presents that Grandma and Grandad had brought with them.

We planned to go for a meal at a local pub to ensure that Grandma and Grandad weren't leaving from our house to hopefully help cushion the blow a bit.  I said to Grandma that I would take Katie to the pub in my car a) to ensure she is clear that she is living with us and b) so we could leave the pub on our own.  Katie sobbed when she knew she wasn't going in Grandma's car.  She tried to get in her usual place.  She calmed down as we were driving to the pub but wanted to know where they were all the way.  We had a lovely lunch which Grandma and Grandad paid for.

When it was time to leave Katie was very upset to know that Grandma and Grandad weren't coming with us.  I asked Grandma to put Katie in my car seat to ensure Katie could see that Grandma was happy and supportive of her being with us.  She sobbed her heart out for about 5 minutes in the car.  I drove off having said we would go to the park. I thought going to a place that it ours would help bond us.  She did calm down and we had a good time at the park.  She had missed her nap so it was a lot of emotion for her on less sleep than usual so I really felt for her.  We talked about seeing Grandma and she said to me "I cried".  We had a chat about how sad it was for her to see Grandma and that she was missing her.  I said to her that we would always be there for her and she could always say anything she wanted to us.  I'm not sure how much she would have taken on board but I really think she understands the general idea.

Grandma sent some pictures through via email this morning.  I let her see them and she wanted to see them over and over again.  We've put on of them on our digital frame so she can see it.  We've decided that we won't visit Grandma's house next week as we originally planned because we feel it's too soon for her.  I have said to Grandma that we will meet regularly at a neutral place though until Katie settles.

I found it very difficult yesterday.  Watching my daughter be that upset and knowing that she will have to feel that pain and grief is horrible.  Yesterday really brought home to me that even some of the great things about adoption i.e. having wonderful foster parents can bring lots of sadness to a little girl.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away!!

I never used to mind rainy days.  They were days for catching up on chores and watching films with a cup of tea and a yummy cake.  If I was working then it didn't matter because I was inside in the dry and I was busy doing my job.  How much my perception has changed in one week!  Rain with a toddler - not great fun at all!!  Toddlers needs to run and climb and generally wear themselves out.  I am learning that this is a key point.  Wear them out so they sleep!!  It's much harder to wear them out when it's raining - unless you go to one of the indoor play parks.  We've been to our local one twice in just over a week!  I've really felt for my little girl today.  She's had a pretty rubbish morning all things considered.  Not only was she unable to go to her favourite park and play on her favourite swing because it was raining, she has had to put up with the man fitting blinds for much of the morning and Mummy not being able to play for the whole time.  Add this to the fact that she was awake with the dawn chorus this morning (hence the new blinds which are blackout blinds) and she's not been in the best humour about it all.  She's coped really well considering she must be really tired but it's fair to say that we've had a few falling outs this morning.  She smacked me today so I put her on her chair for a moment and she cried her little heart out and asked for Grandma.  It was so sad and it broke my heart.  We had a really long hug whilst she sobbed and I told her I understood she was missing Grandma and that it must be so difficult for her.  I explained again that she was living with Mummy and Daddy now and I reassured her that we love her so much and that we will help her with everything.  I think she understood me.  She is a bright little thing emotionally I think.  She seemed to enjoy the cuddle and it is reassuring that she is happy to cuddle me when she is upset and that I am able to comfort her.  She did have an early lunch and is now sound asleep though I should add!!  I'm feeling quite tired myself today. I was hoping to use nap time for a little sit down but I am heading off to make a stew now!

We had a meeting with Katie's Social Worker yesterday and she is delighted at how well it's all going.  She is amazed at how well Katie has settled in.  I do wonder though whether Katie is really only now starting to realise that she doesn't live with Grandma anymore.  Hopefully Grandma will be well enough to bring all Katie's clothes and toys tomorrow.  I don't really want to have to tell Katie that Grandma isn't coming again.  I'm not going to tell her that she's coming this time until I know it's definitely happening.  It will be interesting to see how that goes tomorrow and whether Katie is upset by seeing Grandma.  Wish us luck!!

One really good thing was that we managed to wash Katie's hair without her screaming today.  I have managed to find a way to do it and make it fun!!  Phew!

Monday, 22 March 2010

A song and a party...

I'm not sure if I have already mentioned about my special song.  I have been listening to Michael Buble's "Just Haven't Met You Yet" for the past few months.  The words have become very special and I listened to it in the car dreaming of the day I would meet the child that was going to become mine.  When Katie and I first went out in my car I put the song on the CD player and turned to her and told her what a special song it was and why.  I told her that I listened to it while I was dreaming about her.  I told her it was Mummy's song and now it was Katie and Mummy's song.  She listened and then started playing with her toy phone.  So off we drove and I was listening to the song and driving into town.  The song ended and went on to the next track.  A little voice peeped up from the back of the car "again Mummy".  I asked her if she meant the song and she said "Yes Mummy and Katie's song".  I put it on again. Every time the song ended she asked for it again.  Several days on we still haven't made it any further than that track.  Daddy was in the car yesterday and now it is Daddy; Mummy and Katie's song.  On the first day I had tears in my eyes whilst I was driving.  I listened to the words and realised how much they now meant to me and how much of a promise I was making to her for the rest of her life.

Life is settling down into some sort of normality now.  I am adapting to eating at different times to fit around Katie's routine and am losing a few more pounds as a result. That won't do me any harm.  I need to find some time to send out thank you cards to the people who have sent gifts and cards. I will get there soon I know.

Katie and I are going to try swimming this week.  I've never taken a small child swimming before so that will be interesting.  Grandma is finally well and will be visiting tomorrow with Grandad and bringing all Katie's clothes and toys.  We have weekly review meetings with the social workers so that adds to our week as well.  I want to try to have a quieter week and just potter about and try and get our lives on track.

Yesterday Katie met lots of new friends at a special friend's charity Easter Egg Hunt.  She had met the birthday boy in the morning and loved having birthday cake.  We decided not to join them for lunch to ensure Katie had a good sleep and could cope with everything in the afternoon.  When we arrived at the hall a balloon popped loudly and Katie became hysterical.  She hates balloons popping.  We went outside to calm her down again and I wondered whether we might have to leave.  She sorted herself out though and we went in and met our host.  She loved seeing all the children but seemed to feel better with just a few at a time so we popped outside every now and again so she felt safe.  She shouted bye bye to several new friends and we will see them all again soon.  Today we are going off to meet another friend who is the same age for the first time and she is really excited.  So excited in fact that she is struggling to have her afternoon nap.  I have just been in to get her to lie down again and go "nite nites".  She is finally quiet and has stopped chatting to her toys.  I suspect that now she'll sleep really deeply and I'll struggle to wake her up!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

It feels like she's been here for ages....

I realised this morning, when I was counting on my fingers, that Katie has only been living here since Monday.  6 days.  It is only just over 2 weeks since we first met her.  It feels so much longer.  The days are blurring into each other now and I am finding it harder to find specific things to write for this blog, and I promised no nappy talk!  Life has changed beyond all recognition yet I am the least stressed I have been in years.  The only downside is that Daddy's work is causing him some difficulties and is needing to work a bit more than we planned to get the year end sorted out.  I can't say I'm overly happy about it because we have waited 15 years to become parents.  I don't think he is happy about it either but hopefully it won't last too much longer and we can get down to family life.  I am still getting used to a new routine and I think that will take some time.  It will take time to work out what Katie likes.  We are getting better with food and have been given some other ideas to try out with her.  One of the really interesting things has been the smell of her.  We were told to mirror the washing powder and fabric conditioner of Grandma. This was easy enough.  We already used the same washing powder and the same brand of conditioner - just a different scent.  Now we use the same smells and the idea was to help her settle down and have familiar smells.  For me, the same things has happened.  It's the Katie smell.  It's the smell that's bonded us. At the moment I can't imagine going back to my old conditioner.

Have been having a bit of a worry with Katie the past few days because she likes being spun around but both yesterday and today she has suddenly gone very red in the face and quite rigid and then seems very scared.  She comes for a "huggle" and a little cry and then it is all forgotten.  She doesn't lose consciousness so it doesn't feel like a fit of some kind.  I think I will need to speak to the doctor about it though just to reassure myself.  Hopefully it's just a little head rush making her feel really dizzy and she isn't old enough yet to know when it's coming.  She does like to throw her head back which is probably not helping. It scares her though and I am annoyed with myself for allowing her to spin too much at the indoor play park this morning. I have a thrill seeker for a daughter which for a cautious Taurean is hard to understand.  I bought her a cup which says "Little Miss Daredevil".  I have a feeling that we will need to find ways for her to channel this part of her character as time goes by.

On the upside, we had a lovely lie-in this morning because Katie didn't wake up until 8:30am.  Bliss!!  She is currently supposedly down for her afternoon nap but was singing to herself for an hour.  I was told that she does this every so often so haven't been to get her up.  She was singing "Happy Birthday" to herself just a moment ago although all seems quiet now.  She is very excited because it is a friend's son's birthday tomorrow. He will be 9 years old and we are seeing him for a birthday lunch followed by an Easter Egg hunt.  She is desperate for birthday cake so I have organised that I will have a cake for after lunch tomorrow so we can blow out the candles and she can have her birthday cake.

I am getting pretty good at understanding Katie's speech now but she did throw me for about 2 days with a word that I just couldn't get.  It sounded like "fleecies".  We have sat down and I've been trying to work out what the word was.  It's been funny, I keep showing her things and asking if that is "fleecies" and she says no. I asked for a little divine intervention to help me work it out and the answer came yesterday afternoon.  It is "sweeties".  Katie opened my bag and pulled out a packet of Lockets and said "fleecies".  Aaaaah - the penny finally dropped.  She is used to being given sweets with Grandma but I'm not so keen on lots of sugary sweets because of her teeth.  I don't mind chocolate but not lots of sweets that she will keep in her mouth for a long time.  We've decided to try some candy coated chocolate, like Smarties and also some yoghurt covered raisins to see if this appeases her.

Katie is going to be meeting Nana and Pops for the first time this afternoon. She recognises them from their picture now and understands that they are coming today.  She doesn't miss a trick my daughter, that much I am learning fast. 

Friday, 19 March 2010

We are family!

The good news today is that we have had our placement meeting and we are now officially Katie's prospective adopters!!  This means that we now share parental responsibility with the local authority and Katie's birth mother.  We will have weekly visits from Social Workers for the time being and have a Review Meeting scheduled for 7th April to see how it's all going.  Katie's Social Worker today said that Katie seems to have bonded so well with us.  We need to be careful how many people we introduce to her in a short space of time so we will respect that but also need to acknowledge that Katie is a very sociable little lady and needs children to play with.  We are finding that our digital picture frame is brilliant for introducing people to her.  I have loaded up pictures of the people she is going to meet and every time we go past the frame we see who's there.  She loves running up to see the pictures and often gets me to come and see.

Little Miss Pickle Pie is currently having a nap so I am now off for a sit down and a hot cup of tea!!! Yay!!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Shopping again and meeting new friends...

We are packing a lot into our days at the moment and little miss is tired.  She's still under the weather so I don't want to wear her out.  There are so many people for her to meet and she is being very sociable.

Well we went off to Mothercare yesterday and bought some clothes that finally fit.  She is sporting some extremely cute dungerees today.  She also came home with some bubbles to blow and a dolly car seat for Babba.  Daddy is dreading our shopping trips and the hit on the credit card!!  I indulged her by letting her walk into Mothercare.  It won't be something we'll do very often because she was like a kid in a sweet shop and we did buy some extra things because Mummy couldn't say no!!

Katie was delighted that her cousin came over for tea again yesterday and we bought him some bubbles to blow as well.  They both played in the garden together which was very sweet and ate all their dinner up together!

Katie had an early night (I'm so going to have to start doing the same) because she was so tired.  She had a lovely bath and did her first wee wee in the big toilet afterwards.  I was very proud.  She climbed into her cot at 7pm desperate to get to bed and get her nungies. She isn't sleeping as late at our house as she did at Grandma's  We're not yet sure why that is but I have noticed she will play in her cot for quite a long time without calling out.  We let her play there for about 30 minutes this morning before going in to say hello. It's so sweet listening to her chat to herself.

Aunty came over for a walk with her dog this morning.  Sam is a little Lasa Apso and is just fab.  Katie adores her Aunty and she loved walking the dog ("my doggy" she said).  She held the lead tightly all the way there and back and tried to chase Sam in the park before going on her favourite swings.  She met a new friend for lunch today when one of my friends came over with her 2 year old son, Finley.  Katie was a bit shy at first but they were soon playing together really well and enjoyed their dinners followed by chocolate buttons.  I had been warned about Katie eating chocolate and the fact that she would wear it instead of eating it but she ate it really well.  No mess at all!  We've decided that Katie and Finley will get married one day!

Katie's tummy is still pretty upset.  It might be the same bug that Grandma currently has so I'm hoping that passes soon.  It might also be all the change in her life at the moment.  She is smiling and chatty and happy but you do wonder what she is thinking and feeling and making of everything.  Oh I wish I could crawl into her head and see what's going on so that I know what to do to make everything ok for her.

I'm now off to do the ironing and am fondly remembering what a sit down was.  It's great though.  Wouldn't change it for the world.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Our second night and the Review Meeting

Last night sleeptime went well.  Katie was in bed nice and early - just after 7pm but woke up earlier today.  She was unusually awake from about 6:40am.  She woke herself up coughing so we laid in bed listening to her chatting to herself in her mirror.  It was great because this is what she does at Grandma's.  We let her chat for about 20 minutes before heading in to say hello.  We were due to go to Grandma's this morning at 10:30am for our Review Meeting and our official handover from Grandma.  It is an hour's drive to Grandma's so we were up and dressed nice and early today.  We had a call from our Social Worker to say that Grandma was poorly.  I had chatted to her last night so was aware that she wasn't well yesterday.  It was decided to move the meeting to our house instead.  Katie and I headed off to the park for a while because we had so much time to spare and I hoped that would mean she would have her nap quite early today because she'd be tired.

The Review Meeting went really well.  There were four Social Workers at the meeting.  They were delighted at how well it's all been going and how well Katie has settled in. Our Social Worker said you can never really tell with placements and she was surprised at how well it has gone considering how attached Katie was to Grandma and how long they originally thought it would take for her to settle with us. Our official placement date will be on Friday 19th March and Katie is now staying with us. We've got all the paperwork etc now.  Katie was very excited at everyone being at our house so we were very distracted trying to keep her occupied but it worked ok.  Katie's Social Worker will visit us on Friday to do the official handover then.

We are a bit short of clothes because we were supposed to be picking up all her clothes today and the ones I've bought are a bit big (dresses and skirts ok but trousers not) so we are heading off to Mothercare to get some more vests and a few smaller pairs of trousers to tide us over. We need a few woollies as well because I can barely keep up with the washing. We'll get her other clothes from Grandma soon though.

Bless her she was so tired today. She was up early and we were ready to head off to Grandma's so I took her to the park to wear her out a bit. She didn't do a dirty nappy yesterday so I was rewarded with the biggest mess I've ever seen in my life before lunch today!! She had an early lunch and was happy to go for a nap so we'll head off shopping in a few hours. She ran up to bed today - it was so funny!

Well I guess this is the start. We our now a family.  Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly from now on regarding the legal and official side of things.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Overnight!

I'm a bit late in writing today so you can guess that it's been a very busy day!  Katie stayed overnight last night and we've just put her to bed for our second night!  It's been busy and wonderful all rolled into one.

Katie was very happy to come to her new house yesterday and we brought a bag of vests etc but Grandma said Katie would like to wear some of the clothes that were in her wardrobe at her new house.  She waved bye bye to Grandma and was ready to go in her car seat.  We had lots of fun in the car on the drive down.  We have now established several new games that Katie plays with Mummy and Daddy. I am sure I will regret some of these games soon but for now they are fab.  We play "Mummy go sleep" so that Katie can wake me up.  Katie's other favourite game is "Mummy go sad" where Mummy has to pout and cry.  Mummy then does "Mummy happy".  Katie likes reading her Night Garden book in the car and also likes to play with her musical phone.

Katie was still a bit under the weather yesterday and Grandma had had several really bad nappies.  She's obviously run out for a while now because we've not had one dirty nappy today - just several wet ones.  She has been eating for England today though so I suspect it will  be all systems go tomorrow!  Enough talk of nappies, I promised I wouldn't be one of those mums who talked about nappies!!

My sister and nephew came over for tea last night and met Katie for the first time.  Katie loved them both.  My nephew is 5 years old and played quite nicely with Katie.  They bounced well on the trampoline and Katie played like a boy so my nephew was delighted.  Katie had lots of presents and loved her Upsy Daisy wooden toy that collapses when you press the button.

Last night at bedtime we had a bath and played with Katie's toys.  Katie went to bed after her bath without a protest at 7:00pm and slept until 8am this morning.  Mummy didn't sleep very well.  Every time Katie coughed in her sleep I woke up ready for a cry.  Bless her she slept on though and I was up and bathed before she woke up this morning!

Breakfast was a bit of a non-event.  Katie asked for Shreddies but didn't eat them.  She had a yoghurt instead and we then got dressed and managed to make it out of the house by 9:30am to go shopping for some new trainers.  Katie wore her new Upsy Daisy dress which was a present.  Katie had her feet measured and chose a pretty pink pair of trainers with flashing candles on them from Clarks.  She was so good for the lady in the shop and sat on her chair and put her feet out for them to be measured.  She is a 6F on her right leg and a 6.5F on her left.  She is pleased with her new trainers.  Mummy got a bit teary eyed when she bought Katie's first pair of shoes.  We then did a bit of general shopping and bought a birthday present for a certain young man's birthday on Sunday.  We went to Tesco and Katie helped me choose some things for her dinners.  We I was hoping she might actually eat them if we did this.  We also bought a little Iggle Piggle to keep Upsy Daisy company.  After shopping we went to our park and played on Katie's favourite swings.  She made friends with a little girl who was 18 months old.  She loves children.  I think we will need to make sure she sees lots of other children to play with.  We had our first main disagreement on the way back from the park when Katie wanted to play for longer in the car with her dollies in the car seat but Mummy decided after 10 minutes that it was time to go home.  We had some tears but they didn't last long and Mummy got Katie in the car seat and cheered her up again.

We went home for lunch and I did half a tin of Tom and Jerry pasta with sausages (Katie loves spagetti with sausages so I told her it was spagetti!! - naughty Mummy!).  She ate with real gusto and then asked for more so I had to cook the rest of the tin for her. She also ate some breadsticks which Mummy told her were crisps.  Oh how the lying works eh? LOL  She was covered in tomato sauce by the end of lunch but very happy.

She had a long nap today.  I decided to leave her a bit longer because she is just exhausted.  She was bright and ready after 2 hours and Daddy was home from work by then so we went to feed the ducks down the road at the pond.  It was a lovely walk and Katie's legs needed a rest in her pushchair.  We played for a while whilst Daddy cooked some dinner.  Katie had fishfingers and some smiley faces and a few more breadsticks followed by 2 yoghurts!!  Goodness!  We then had a bath and a play and then Katie had some milk and some grapes (and another 2 breadsticks) before Mummy called time and said it was bedtime.  She happily went to bed for her nunga nunga (dummies) at 7pm and is now sound asleep.

Tomorrow we have our review meeting at Grandma's house.  Katie has asked a few times where Grandma is and I've said that we will see her tomorrow.  She was happy with that.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Mothers Day.....

Mothers Day.  It's an emotive phrase.  For those of us who have experienced infertility and loss, Mothers Day becomes a day of sadness and sorrow.  Yesterday was my first Mothers Day as a mother to a living child.  I thought the day would be incredibly emotional yet oddly it wasn't.  I rather suspect that is because I am so tired that I can barely think straight and also because we are still in the introduction phase with Katie and she isn't living with us full time yet.  We did have a lovely day though.  Daddy and Katie gave me some flowers and a card.  Katie opened the card for me which was really sweet.  In many ways, it was a perfectly ordinary family day.  That is the key word for me: family.  That is what I have been striving for for so many years.  My little family.

When we picked Katie up from Grandma's yesterday it was a bit awkward.  Grandma's family were arriving to celebrate Mothers Day and Katie really wasn't so keen on leaving.  I can't say I blame her really.  We had to get creative and made a game of going to the car.  She happily waved Grandma goodbye at that point.  We left quite late and Katie was tired so we worked hard to keep her awake in the car because it was important that we managed another nap at our house in preparation for our first overnight tonight.  Poor little mite could barely walk straight after her lunch.  She was rather overtired and didn't want her nap.  "No, mummy, no" she tearfully cried to me.  I have watched Grandma manage Katie when she is tearful so was grateful that I knew how to manage her.  I told her that she was very tired and needed her nite nites so we could go and play at the park.  We said nite nite to the garden and the sky (through the skylight) and I reassured her that I would be here when she woke up and that she would have lovely dreams and a wonderful sleep.  I snuggled her down, played her teddy, and she was asleep before I got down the stairs.  Phew!!  We had decided that I would do sleep time for the moment because this is what Grandma usually does and we have noticed that when at home Katie is coming to me more.  When we are out and about she shares us very fairly.

We left her to sleep for about an hour and a half before seeing how she was doing.  She was laying quietly amusing herself in her bed.  She beamed at me when we went in to say hello.  We had a little cuddle and chat about her sleep and changed her nappy.  Then we went to the park.  Boy that girl loves her swing. She must have swung for over 30 minutes before eventually getting off.  We made friends with a 7 year old boy at the park who had a little toy puppy. Katie loved the puppy so the boy very kindly let her play with him.  He was so lovely.

We had an interesting circular conversation with Katie whilst on the swing.  She had heard a baby crying and then she noticed that the baby's parents took him away somewhere.  She said "baby crying" and we acknowledged that he was.  She noticed he had gone and said "baby gone".  So we agreed that yet he had gone and asked her where she thought he had gone.  She decided he had gone home with his mummy and daddy so we asked her what the baby's mummy and daddy would do when they got home.  We decided that baby was having a bottle and his pooey nappy changed and then going to bed.  We made a game of the pooey nappy bit and she was giggling.  She then said again about the baby crying and we repeated the conversation.  She then asked again, and again, and again.  I think we had the same conversation about 25 times.  I think she was trying to understand the relationship between the baby and the baby's mummy and daddy and trying to understand her own situation.  It was fascinating and emotional.  What is she thinking?  What sense is she making of what is happening to her at the moment?

When we said it was time to leave the park and go back to Grandma's house Katie didn't want to go.  She wanted to stay with us at our house and she delayed our departure by wanting to go around the house to look everywhere and play with her toys.  We felt that we could have probably managed an overnight last night because she seemed happy to stay.  Once we were in the car and part of the way home she focused on the fact that we were seeing Grandma and was keen to return there.  All Grandma's grandchildren were at the house when we arrived so our little girl bombed off to play.  She gave us a kiss goodbye when we left but her mind was elsewhere.  We have realised how careful we need to be at the times we leave there and arrive there to make it easier for her to recognise what is happening.

So we are picking Katie up after lunch today and bringing her back home for the night.  We have agreed that if the next few days go ok we won't be taking her back to Grandma's house for a little while but will meet Grandma somewhere neutral each day to break the connection with Grandma's house being Katie's home.  We have a review meeting on Wednesday to assess how things are going.

My sister and 5 year old nephew are coming over for tea tonight.  We have agreed with Grandma that it is ok to introduce Katie to her cousin.  I have added some pictures onto our digital picture frame for her to see them and have also now added some of the other children and their parents she will be meeting soon so I can start introducing her to them.  I think she will love them all to be honest.

Fingers crossed we all sleep tonight!!  I have just put some mirrors on the wall near her bed so she can see herself because she has a huge mirrored wardrobe near her bed at Grandma's house and she chats to herself so we felt we should recreate this as much as possible.  I hope it works.  I've also put together a unit for the bathroom to keep all the bottles etc on because Grandma has warned us that someone likes to open all the bottles and pour things away.  Mummy is prepared!!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A day at home.....

Yesterday we picked Katie up from Grandma and Grandpa's and brought her home in our car for the first time.  We played a game of bounces and bubbles before leaving to ensure Katie was feeling relaxed.  Katie loves bouncing with Mummy on the trampoline.  "Again Mummy" are words I am getting very familiar with now.  It still feels so strange hearing her say "Mummy and Daddy".  Daddy said to me last night that he loves being a Daddy.  I can't believe how lucky we are to be parents to this wonderful little lady.  She is a joy.  She makes us laugh so much with the things she says.

Katie was much chattier in the car yesterday than the day before.  She waved bye bye to Grandma with barely backward glance today and we reassured her that we would see Grandma later.  We had a car full of things she wanted to bring with her so we chatted and played with Babba.  It's a long journey there and back daily for a toddler really.  It takes about 50 minutes from our house to Grandma's so she's getting tired poor love.  It was hard for me yesterday in that my laryngitis is back and my voice is very hoarse.  I was a bit worried that this might unnerve Katie but she's totally fine about it, not anxious at all.  She was excited about playing with her toys and couldn't wait to see Lindy and Sophie.

When we got to our house we played a bit more calmly.  The frenetic excitement of the previous day had calmed and Katie wanted to explore more slowly.  She was excited to look at all her clothes again and she wanted to try some of them on.  She loves her new Upsy Daisy denim dress and her little grey skirt with coordinating tights.  The big hit was her white towelling dressing gown which she wore for a while over her clothes.  It wasn't long before it was lunchtime.  Lunch wasn't such a big hit today but a) she has a cold and b) she is tired.  It's a lot to expect of a toddler to be honest.  She enjoyed a petit filous and then we read her new favourite book "In the night garden".  Mummy then decided it was nap time.  This was the first time we had put her down for a nap on our own.  Would she cry and get upset?  She said she didn't want to go "nite nites" but Mummy said she was a tired little girl and needed some sleeps before we went to the park.  She was happy to go in "her bed" and we had a kiss and a cuddle and some "I love you's" and Mummy walked away bravely.  We stood at the foot of the stairs listening for about 10-15 mins.  We could hear her chatting to herself for a while and then she put her musical bear from Grandma's on a few times.  Mummy didn't realise that Grandma doesn't put it in the cot but turns it on before leaving.  Note for tomorrow!  I think it was reassuring for her to play it though.  We heard her wimpering for a while which was so worrying but we stayed calm and waited and soon enough she was sound asleep!  Success!!  She slept for nearly an hour and a half before her cough woke her up.  Mummy and Daddy went up to say hello and she beamed at us.  Phew!! We were worried she might cry when she woke up in an unfamiliar house.  We got up and had a chance to the Bear Cha Cha Cha and then got our shoes on to go to the park.  Mummy and Katie needed to go to the shops first so we two plus Babba and a baby pushchair (I thought I would indulge her as I knew that Mummy would end up pushing it!) went to Boots.  We survived our first trip to a shop and then Daddy picked us up and took us all to the park.

Katie really loves the swings.  I think we will need to buy one for the garden.  She is a bit of a thrill seeker I think!  We had a long push on the swing until we felt her eyes were far too watery from the cold and then played on the climbing frame and slide before heading off to meet Grandma and Grandad at a pub about 3/4 of the way back to their house.  We stayed for a drink and a natter and Mummy braved another pooey nappy.  We chatted with Grandma and Grandad about how things were going and our plans for the next few days.  We agreed that it was important that Katie spends as much time as possible at our house now so as not to confuse her with mixed messages.  We will be picking her up tomorow morning for our first Mother's Day together and hopefully doing our first overnight on Monday!!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Our first day at home.....

Today has been manic.  It started with me frantically cleaning ready for Katie's first visit to our house.  The house hasn't been this tidy for ages, and won't be again for many years I suspect!!  I'm now totally exhausted.  It hasn't helped that I have been poorly and have now lost my voice again.  The coughing is tiring me out.  I'm off to make some homemade cough medicine in a moment which helped cure my last bought of laryngitis a few weeks ago.

Katie; Grandma and Grandad arrived at around mid-day today.  Grandma and Grandad stayed for a cup of coffee, whilst Katie bombed around the house looking at everything, and then they headed off for lunch at a local pub.  Katie remembered lots about the house from her intro book and was so excited to see her playroom and bedroom.  She was looking for Upsy Daisy.  Of course we have taken Upsy to Katie's house so didn't have her here.

Katie didn't know what to look at or play with first.  She was beside herself with excitement.  She barely registered that Grandma and Grandad had left but asked a few times about them whilst they were gone.  She went around the house naming everything "Katie's bed; Katie's playroom' Katie's bedroom" etc etc  She loved the play kitchen and we spent quite a while cooking dinner and making cups of tea with it.  We took a lovely picture of her wearing her Macha Pacha towel poncho for swimming and she is excited about us going swimming soon.  I can hardly wait myself!!  Her excitement was infectious.  She loved her new "bubba" which is a dolly I bought to go in her new pushchair.  Bless her, she has taken it back with her tonight because she didn't want to be parted from it.  She totally loved the musical Bear from Bear in the Big Blue House which has been living at our house for several years now.  I put some new batteries in him and he is turbo charged with his singing and dancing now.  Katie loved him!! I thought she might be scared but she wasn't at all.  She wasn't even nervous at being in our house.  She was confident and charging up and down the stairs to her bedroom.  The biggest surprise was one of our cats, Lindy, let Katie kiss and stroke her.  She's not really into children but was quite cool with Katie.  A friend suggested that Katie might be part of our smell now which might explain it.  I felt quite emotional watching Katie with Lindy.

We had a bounce on the trampoline before it started to rain.  She loves the trampoline so that was great fun.  Daddy cooked us all our lunch so Katie sat in her booster chair and had her sausages with smiley face potatoes and peas and carrots.  Daddy and I were very proud watching her eating her dinner.  Her first dinner in our house.  I know the novelty will wear off pretty quickly but I am going to savor it whilst it lasts.

It was interesting that Katie wasn't bothered by Grandma and Grandad coming back to pick her up today.  She was pleased to see them but she wanted to carry on playing so they stayed for another coffee and headed off around 4pm.  We agreed that we will pick her up tomorrow from their house and bring her back to us all day.  We will do the same on Sunday as well and then hopefully start our sleep overs.  Who knows, she may be home by Wednesday - will see what happens.

An early night for Mummy and Daddy tonight methinks!!!

Our first day out as a family.....

Yesterday was an exciting day.  It was our first day of taking Katie out in the car without Grandma.  She is very attached to Grandma so the question was "would she come with us on her own"?  We debated the best way to handle the situation on the way down in the car and decided that it would be better if Grandma had already left for her meeting before us so Katie didn't feel she was leaving Grandma behind.  Grandma had been preparing Katie for her time out with us so she knew what was going to happen.

Katie was delighted to greet us when we arrived. She beamed at us both.  Her smiles turned to tears however when Grandma said that she was going to a meeting at school for one of her other foster children.  We distracted Katie with a bounce on the trampoline and suggested that Grandad went inside and we would just go to the car once she was happy again.  Katie willingly came with us to the car without any tears at all and was excited when we showed her her car seat "Katie's seat?" she said.  "Yes, that's Katie's seat for Mummy and Daddy's car; our car; Katie's car" we replied.  She happily allowed me to put her in the car seat and we said we were going to the ball park and she beamed.  She was quiet in the car but we know that this is quite common really so we weren't worried.  We arrived at the ball park and asked her to show us what to do.  We had a wonderful time playing in the ball park.  Katie particularly loves the wind machine that blows the ball in the air.  She sat on top of it for a long time, letting the wind blow through her hair and Mummy's hair and squealing with delight.  We played all around the ball park and climbed up all the big girl ladders etc.  Daddy enjoyed his first ever visit to a ball park and I am sure it won't be his last.  Katie asked about Grandma a few times whilst we were playing and we reminded her that Grandma was at a meeting at school and she accepted this happily.

After the ball park we went to the cafe next door for lunch.  Katie had some nuggets and chips and ate really well.  Daddy told Mummy off for sneaking some cucumber on Katie's plate and said he didn't want to upset her but Mummy had a chuckle at Daddy when Katie picked up and ate it saying "it's like the one on Mummy's plate".  Katie was very chatty over lunch and we had a good time.

We went on the choo choo train after lunch but it was so cold that we didn't want Katie to get too cold.  She feels the cold severely, poor love, and still has a cold.  We had a quick feed of the ducks and geese, which surrounded her.  Daddy had to pick her up out of the way so as not to scare her.  We headed back to the car to drive back to Grandma's but, because they were still out, we went to grab a coffee at Costa.  Katie was sound asleep in the car seat so we stopped at a local service station with a Costa bar and had our coffee in the car watching our little lady sleep.  She woke up just as we got back to Grandma's house and delighted in telling Grandma about her day with us.  We played with Katie for another hour at Grandma's house.  Grandma noticed that she was coming to us more for help rather than going to Grandma.  We were all pleased with this because it shows that her bond with us is growing and we all feel confident that it won't be long before she will come home to us.

We said goodbye at around 3.30pm because Grandma's daughter and grandchildren arrived and we thought it would be nice for Katie to play with them.

Grandma sent me a text around 6:50pm to say that our little girl had had her dinner and fallen sound asleep already.

Today Katie is coming to our house for a few hours.  Grandma and Grandad are coming for a coffee and then heading off for lunch.  I'm hoping the rain stops so we can play in the garden or head up to the park.  I wonder what Katie will think of her new home?

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Bedtime.....

Yesterday was a really busy day for me.  We weren't due to visit Katie until 5pm so we could have dinner with her and Grandma and Grandad and then put her to bed.  I had the gas engineers at home all day putting in a new flue and supposedly fixing my hot water, which is currently going hot and cold preventing me using the shower.  You will notice my use of the word "supposedly" because I realised once they had left that the shower is still going painfully hot to freezing cold.  I will have to get them back again - how much is that going to cost I wonder?

I managed to dismantle the cot we were given for Katie and put up the cot bed which is more similar to the one she is currently using.  I've also cleaned the trampoline after the winter, ready for playing.  I'm not feeling 100% having caught Katie's cold so I'm hoping that doesn't slow me down too much.  This is the 4th illness I've had since December.  I'm never usually unwell so this has been a tough winter.

We went to Katie's for 5pm.  Katie's face lit up when she saw us and said "It's Mummy and Daddy!"  We played for a while and read her new story book that I had taken along "That's not my Dolly".  She loves the book.  We then did bath time.  She loves the water so it was a real joy.  We washed her hair.  Interestingly she suddenly asked to come out and had suddenly gone from being warm to being really cold so we wrapped her up in a towel and dried her really quickly and dressed her in her bedtime clothes.  She is so cute - she sleeps in a vest plus PJs and a fluffy sleepsuit on top.  After hair combing, which Grandma said I did much more gently than she did we were all ready for our fish and chips.  This was a real treat for me because their local chippy goes gluten free fish and chips.  It was the first time in over 2 years I've had anything from a chippy.  Katie ate some of her fish and chips and a bit of sausage.  She stayed in her booster chair with us for ages and we were playing with a paper aeroplane that I made for a long time.  Katie absolutely loved that game and squealed "Again again" with excitement.  We then read our story books again with Katie repeating with me "That's not my Dolly".  At bedtime she was a bit tearful and didn't want to go.  Grandma came up with us so as not to distress her but Katie is basically a happy child and the tears soon stopped and she kissed us goodnight and laid down for sleeps.

We stayed for another hour chatting to Grandma and Grandad about Katie, trying to understand things that she likes to eat.  We will be going back today to take her out for a few hours without Grandma and are going to the local play park which should be great fun.