Well, as predicted, not much is going on here at the moment. We're just coming down from all the birthday and family day excitement and waiting for a call or a letter letting us know what is going to happen next on the adoption front. I've been writing so much lately that I'm missing having a solid topic to write about. I'm now writing on a lovely new laptop, after our old one was murdered by a virus. Why do people created viruses? All that creative talent put to such negative use. Our old laptop is currently being mended or, should I say, rebuilt?
Other than that all that has been going on really is Katie is getting very good at being 4! She has definitely become a pre-schooler with bags of attitude since her birthday. We've been seeing lots of temper tantrums and shouting and stomping off. I have been watching BBC1's World's Strictest Parents for some tips. Sorry Supernanny but I need something tougher! Ok I'm only joking but it is interesting how children morph from one phase into the next. Sometimes they even like to overlap their phases, just to test you! I have found myself pushed to limits that I never even knew I had since becoming a parent. It's not just because Katie is adopted. It's just because she is a child and is constantly pushing boundaries to see what will happen. Picking those battles and enforcing those boundaries is a real challenge.
I am interested in the temper tantrums Katie is experiencing. She didn't seem to go through the Terrible Two's phase and was remarkably well behaved at that age. I do wonder whether she has been delayed in this due to her changing families at this point in her life. Maybe she didn't feel able to express herself in this way because she was unsure of her boundaries. Thankfully she isn't melting down at every opportunity at the moment but she is having some pretty spectacular emotions, usually linked to the word "no"! It is hard to watch her grabbling with such enormous emotions and anger. It must be quite scary for her and she usually needs a big hug afterwards. Her other new thing is constantly saying "I'm not your friend anymore". This got her into trouble yesterday when she said this to her best friend and he thumped her on the back because he was so upset with her for saying it. She's been saying to me "I'm not your daughter anymore" as well. I know this is a phase that all children go through, but I do wonder if it's harder for an adoptive parent to hear those words? I know she doesn't mean it, and my response is usually "Well I still love you", but I will be honest and say I get a little knot in my stomach when I hear her say it. I am also aware that Katie has been spending time with Grandma (her old Foster Carer) and we are preparing for some of the children there to be adopted and it must really bring home to her that some children get new Mummies and Daddies. How many birth children who are living with their birth families even have a concept of this? It must be unsettling. She also likes calling me a "Poo-head" at every opportunity but I'm ignoring that one.
We have made big progress with Katie's bedtime routine. It has been a hard battle to win (dare I say win?). Katie loves Squinkies so she now gets a Squinky every night she goes to bed nicely and stays in bed until the sun comes up on her Groclock. I am mercilessly firm on this and it seems to be working. I've managed to now set the clock for the sun to come on at 6.30am so this is huge winter progress (I couldn't go back to another winter of 5.30am wake ups).
Katie is extremely bright and we are noticing that when she is bored or unoccupied she will put her energy into, shall we say, less favourable pursuits. This has resulted in Katie and her best friend throwing water and toilet paper (and using the toilet brushes) around the pre-school toilets. This has happened a number of times at school. I do feel for the teachers! At home she is likely to start annoying the cat or drawing on the furniture. School have noticed that most transgressions take place after 11:30am, when Katie has played all the games etc on offer for the day. They are now engaging her in a specific helping activity at that time of day to prevent her getting bored. This seems to be working. We've had a very positive week at school this week and, if I get the all clear at hometime today, Katie will be rewarded with a new Little Pet Shop toy for her collection. If I'm honest, I think she is ready to start full-time big school. She currently only goes to pre-school three mornings a week and I've considered whether to increase this but I feel I've missed out on two years of her life already and once she starts school full-time I will get so little time with her. I want to enjoy this last year before she starts school so I'm getting my thinking cap on for new activities for us to do together. I am also trying to help her live with the feeling of being bored and learning how to find more accceptable things to do when she feels that way. Her imagination is starting to fire up now and she is playing with her Squinkies and Little Pet Shop toys. She is starting to make up games with them. She loves playing "babies" with Milky the Bunny and Joey the Dog and her other toys. It's just that little minx that takes over when she's finished the game that we need to work on.
I don't think we're going to get bored waiting for the Social Worker to get in touch!