Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Where is the life that late I led?

There is a line from 'Sleepless in Seattle' that has stayed with me for many years. Tom Hanks says to Dr Marcia Fieldstone when asked what he is going to do about the fact that he is grieving the death of his wife. He says:

 Well, I'm gonna get out of bed every morning... breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won't have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out... 

I remember that line a lot. Not necessarily in the context it was used but it is a good metaphor for life and the various challenges that arise. 

Why am I quoting it here you may ask? Well to answer that I will use a quote from a song sung by Howard Keel from another film 'Kiss me Kate" 

Where is the life that late I led? 
Where is it now? 
Virtually dead!  

I'm struggling to write this because I feel like I'm whingeing and I don't like whingeing. I'm an independent lady who gets on with things.  I'm not even sure how to write it with any clarity because I'm not really sure what the issue is yet. So please bear with me whilst I gather my jumbled thoughts.

When we first adopted Katie. I didn't bond with the knowledge of her at first. we got to our matching panel and I had a knot in my stomach until I saw a new photo of her and I fell in love. I felt very confused about my feelings. The bond happened though. With Pip the bond was forming from the moment I knew he might be matched with us. I was excited about him coming to join us.   Now the bond is definitely there, I'm not worried about that. I'm more worried that I'm feeling quite indifferent to everything at the moment, including Pip. I feel flat and disinterested. I'm exhausted and finding everything a physical struggle. I don't feel on top of anything. I'm missing things that need to be completed at Katie's school. If I miss a day's washing then it feels like the washing basket overflows within minutes. The house feels like a constant mess. I feel like there is always something that needs my attention. I feel like a failure.

Oh and the dishwasher has broken down!

Pip is lovely. He's gorgeous and funny and he is so chilled and so good it is amazing. He sleeps through the night. He eats everything I give him.  I'm so bloody lucky. Everyone constantly tells me how thrilled I must be feeling. And that's the problem. I don't feel thrilled. I don't feel much of anything at all. 

I feel tired. 

Actually that's not the full story. I've also been feeling frustrated and overwhelmed at the increase of requirements on my time and the lack of time I have to actually do any of those things because babies need constant supervision when they are awake. I get moments where I can pop him in his playpen for half an hour or when he's napping but, for the most part, he needs me. He needs me to play with him and help him explore. To provide him with stimulation. To cuddle him and reassure him. To let him crawl and make sure he doesn't come to any harm.  And I do all those things but....

I feel like my brain has atrophied.  I have no memory to speak of at the moment. I feel that I'm letting Katie down because I'm not meeting her needs and she needs me too. I feel angry with her for not understanding that Mummy is tired and can she please stop arguing with me all the time. Daddy needs me. The cats need me. Heck I need me too! I'm frustrated with myself for not just getting on with it all. 

My body is so stiff from lack of yoga that I'm in pain. My neck is so painful that my head is hurting.  It doesn't help that we've currently got a sickness bug and I'm weak and exhausted from being sick. I told Daddy that I could happily get in the car and just drive away. Not because I want to leave them all but because I just want to remember who I am for 5 minutes and maybe just sleep, for a day or so. 

I was worried that a bout of depression was sneaking up on me. I'm not so sure at the moment although I will keep an eye on myself. I then worried that maybe I wasn't bonding with Pip but I don't think that's the problem either. I think I'm just tired. Tired after a long and gruelling adoption process, preparations and introductions. Tired after lots of battles with Katie. Tired from all the demands on me. Tired from the massive change that's happened. Worried I'm not going to be cut out to be a good mum to two. Tired from thinking about it too much.

And guilty for feeling all those things. I should be feeling happy. On top of the world. 

I am lucky to have lots of friends but I don't have much family to help me. I'm envious of all the help from their mums that many of my friends get.  I'd love to have that sort of mum. I'm not great at asking for help. I'm independent (I've really had to be).  I've always had to be the big sister. The one who sorts everything out. I put far too much pressure on myself to be able to get on with things and sort everything out.

I know it has only been a month since Pip has become part of our family. It's not long. We're still adjusting. I'm probably like a new mum with a newborn baby but I feel guilty of making that comparison because I do get full nights sleep.... mostly. 

Do all new mums feel like this? Is it normal to feel so indifferent and disinterested in life? 

I think it doesn't help that I've not been out much since Pip joined us. I've not yet joined the baby groups I planned to. I wanted some time to find our groove first but I'm wondering whether being home too much is too isolating now? I've not rushed out to introduce Pip to the world but now I'm feeling that people aren't interested in us.  I'm missing the life that I led before Pip.  I'm missing the freedom I had. The time I had. I feel so guilty for even thinking this. We chose this. I chose this. 

So I know this is where Tom Hanks comes in ....once Howard Keel has stopped singing about the life that he once led that is (and it's quite a long song).  Breathe in and out until it feels better. Go through the motions until the enjoyment returns. I know that babies are pretty hard work; highly absorbing yet pretty boring (sorry Pip, it's not your fault). I know that I'm better with older children. Ones who can speak, and converse and interact. Pip and I chat but it's mostly me doing the talking. That gets pretty boring day after day after day. The only converses I have are the ones I wear on my feet too and from school. I've felt very guilty that I've happily let Daddy deal with Pip whilst I've been feeling ill and I feel like the worst mum for saying that.

I know it will get better. I'm old enough and wise enough to know I need time. Time, not just for all the things I'd like to achieve, but time for the dust to settle. Time to learn how to live life as it now is.  Time to adjust. Time to regroup; regain some energy and some interest in life. Time to learn to say NO to some of the stuff in my life The adoption process, amongst other things, has, yet again, sucked the life out of me. I'm missing my spiritual life. My Reiki group. My yoga and meditation. My tap class. All the things that make me, well.... me.

Please just reassure me that's all this is. I'm too tired to do that ...... besides concentrating on the breathing in and out is distracting my tired brain.

Friday, 21 June 2013


We have been friends together
In sunshine and in shade.

~Caroline Sheridan Norton

I am probably one of the luckiest people when it comes to having great friends.  I have several friends that I've known for in excess of 15 years and they have been with me through thick and thin; through hopes and dreams; through misery and despair; through joy and laughter.  My friends have become the extended family that I no longer have in my life.

Each of my closest friends came to me in a different way, through chance meetings and also as a triumph over circumstance.  Each of them have touched and enriched my life in different, yet powerful, ways.

I have friends that I know I can call without question when the fan starts to turn and the brown stuff is being flung.  I can phone one my closest friends just to say hello and spend an hour chatting whilst we do our housework (or more likely fondant fondling these days) together.  My husband wonders what on earth we find to talk about for that length of time.  We have shared holidays and almost live in each others houses.  We speak nearly every day and it feels strange if we don't connect at some point each day.  Another dear friend, who we now joke learnt to love me despite wanting not to even like me, has been with me through my really darkest moment and held my hand when I didn't know if I would ever stand up again. I'm not sure she will ever realise that she really did save my life that night.  I may not speak to her every day, or even every week at the moment (due to my currently falling asleep rather early in the evenings) but she holds such a special place in my heart and always will. I cannot imagine my life without her being a part of it.  I was so honoured (and terrified) to be entrusted with doing her hair and giving a reading at her wedding last year.

One of my friends has currently drifted away which has brought much soul searching and sadness in my heart because I considered her my soul sister and I'm still trying to reconcile how I feel about it. I am hoping that life will bring us back together and trust that we each just have to walk our own path for a while.  The bond that we shared for so long was so close and not having that in my life is a bit like losing a limb. 

My friends have held me up throughout all our pregnancies and miscarriages and celebrated when we finally became parents; loving my children almost as much as I do. One of my friends is the Guardian for our children and I know that they would be in safe hands if anything ever happened to me and she knows I would do the same for her.

I have two lovely friends that I have known for many years with whom I share a love of dancing. Sadly we're all having a break from our Mo-jiving, for various reasons, but we still meet up and chat regularly.  Each brings their own beauty into my life and I learn so much from them.  I can also see friendships forming in the next generation particularly with Katie and Pixie and I hope that they will share a bond throughout their lives.

I have other other people in my life that are newer friendships but bring great joy. I owe the addition of our two Maine Coons to my wonderful neighbour who is as cat mad as I am.  Our families have become good friends, our children adore each other, and our love of our furry little friends has given us a strong bond. I am so excited for her today because her first litter of long awaited kittens was born last night.  I have already popped over to have a little peek.

I am lucky to have many friends who share the journey of being adoptive parents. The "A Team" are the most wonderful group of people without whom I probably wouldn't have made it through our first adoption process with any degree of sanity.  We all meet up every year and speak daily to each other via the internet and phone.  We give each other so much support and have become close friends along the way.  Another friend I met through via a mutual work colleague after our first adoptions has become a close friend and we share regular walks in our favourite haunt, and inspires blog posts, and I hope we will be friends for a very, very, long time.

There are lots of other friends in my life. Friends who I chat to online.  Friends I meet for coffee and playdates who bring many happy memories. Friends who are important to me in so many different ways. New friendships that are developing and evolving.

I am an incredibly lucky lady to have so many wonderful women in my life and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge how amazing they all are and how enriched my life is with them in it and to say thank you for their friendship and thank you for all the love and support you have given me throughout the years.

You all know who you are.......

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Lunar Honey?

The "Honeymoon Period" is a well used expression within the adoption fraternity.  It is used to describe the first few weeks of a foster or adoption placement when everything seems perfect.  The theory is that the children behave well during this period and then difficulties can start to be experienced once the child is feeling more settled and more able to express themselves in their usual way.

When we adopted Katie I think we had a honeymoon period of several months.  Katie totally missed out her "terrible twos" and these were delayed until she was well into her "threes". At the time she was very emotional about missing Grandma (who was her FC) but she settled in very easily.  It was about a year later though when I noticed that the relationship Katie and I had had deepened dramatically and felt full of trust. It's a gradual process though and it isn't until you've been together for a while that you notice the difference, even with a smooth, text book, transition such as we had with Katie.

It's  now three weeks since our triangle family became a square.  Pip, bless him, seems to be exactly the same here at home as he was in his foster placement. There has been no change in his personality. He's not been better behaved than he was before. He's eaten and slept well throughout the transition. There appears to be no signs of bereavement as yet although we had a couple of tetchy days in our second week.  I can see him feeling more relaxed and we are noticing his mischievous side being expressed more. He gets a little twinkle in his eye and then does something funny.  He is incredibly engaging.

I had anticipated that our Lunar Honey period might involve Katie being all over her brother like a rash and wanting to play with him all the time (but was a bit worried that she might be jealous and try and pull me away from her brother).

None of that has happened.

For the most part Katie is fairly bored by her brother, but not indifferent.  She can be forgiven for feeling this way. He is a baby and babies generally require the other person to come up with all the entertainment skills.  I find that tough enough at times and I used to be a children's Redcoat!  She likes to do the "mummy" type of things like helping with nappies and feeding bottles but she doesn't actually want to play with him (although yesterday's introduction of our new playpen that we've morphed into a ball pit was a great hit with both children for nearly an hour!).

Katie has been very generous with allowing me time with Pip and having to carry him around.  Hmm maybe this IS a lunar honey period after all?  Watch this space on that one.  Other than that Katie has mostly been putting her energy into having meltdowns and temper tantrums.  Some pretty impressive ones I must say.  She is showing signs of getting frustrated with him during one of her meltdowns and she gets incredibly upset if he is crying as well.  She gets quite angry with him if he is upset and this coincides with her feeling cross at the same time. We've had a couple of times with her trying to out-scream him - that was interesting!

Under other circumstances I would say that this was a direct reaction to Pip arriving, however Katie was having the meltdowns before he arrived (as are most of her friends).  She was the same this time last year during the transition to starting school.  She is exhausted.  She needs the school holidays.  She is probably anxious about moving into Year 1. She's had an enormous change at home and the adoption process has taken its toll on all of us. We are all emotionally exhausted. It does beg the question as to whether the process should leave you feeling that way. I rather feel not.

Katie and her friend have been getting into mischief at school.  They seem to leave their brains at home when they get together. They surpassed themselves yesterday with deciding to wee in the play house in the playground.  Why? No-one knows. I would say both girls have had a tough term.  Maybe they are kindred spirits and sense the emotional need in each other? I also tend to think they are just 5 and putting their quite considerable intelligence into silly activities.  I think they need to be in Year 1 when the learning becomes more formal and they will be more intellectually challenged. Thankfully Katie's teacher has calmed down and we had a good chat about it.  Katie wrote a letter of apology and gave it to her teacher. The plan is to split the girls into different classes next year and they are currently having to earn back their right to play in the Learning Area outside (and sadly won't be allowed out there together again).

At the moment we are just walking away from Katie when she kicks off. Literally taking all our energy away from her and this is working really well with her.  It almost goes against my whole personality to do it but it seems a bit like putting a wet cloth over a fire - walking away just takes all the oxygen away. If we let her rage a bit she seems to calm down much more quickly than if we engage with her tantrum.  Adoption parenting generally supports not leaving the child when they are feeling that way but this seems to be working well with Katie and she soon comes back to get her cuddle and we can chat about what made her cross.

So all in all, I'd say that we're not really having a Lunar Honey Period here at all (I feel quite cheated!).  Part of me thinks that Katie is so completely settled here that the addition of her brother isn't causing her behaviour to change.  I'm finding it tough because I now have two children to look after and that is made considerably more difficult when one of them is melting down.

Pip seems to take it all in his stride - even Katie's meltdowns.

I'm getting better......sometimes.........

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Highs and Lows

Today started about as badly as it could have started at 4.45am with Katie thinking it was time to get up. That's not so much of a problem but the temper tantrum when we told her she had to go back to bed was. In the end everyone bar Pip was awake with little chance of sleep returning.

Things didn't improve when it was actually time to get up, although I thought they seemed to be improving when Katie got dressed herself and ate breakfast nicely. They nosedived ridiculously when I was trying to eat Pip dressed.  Katie has a new penchant for climbing everything. There are enough risks attached to this on their own but Katie is also going through a phase of being incredibly clumsy and tripping up and falling off things. So there am I with a wriggling Pip on the change table with Katie climbing on a stool and hanging off the change table. I asked her repeatedly to stop dangling and climbing and I'm met with rudeness and belligerence. I'm fairly stuck as to what I can do at this point for fear of Pip wriggling off the table and I'm getting very cross indeed. I ended up half sliding and half throwing the small stool out of the bedroom and quickly removing Katie from the room, much to her annoyance and resulting meltdown.  "Meltdown" doesn't describe it sufficiently really.

After sorting Pip put and putting him to play in the travel cot I gave Katie a piece of my mind. Yes I bellowed. No I'm not proud of myself and I think tiredness and hormones played a part but I've had enough of not being listened to and of feeling anxious that she's going to add a serious injury to the array of bumps and bruises she is currently sporting.  After walking back to my bedroom to get dressed I promptly burst into tears feeling very sorry for myself because all my clothes make me look fat and ugly. The fact that I've put on weight is what is making me feel fat but I had no reasoning left in me at that point.  Add to that some delightful hormones; the coming down after a stressful adoption process and a lot to contend with personally I guess, in hindsight, I can forgive myself for feeling crappy. Katie saw me crying and was confused as to why i was upset. She tried to ask questions and make faces at me to cheer me up but I'd had enough by that point and didn't want to know. Part of me hoped that she might see her contribution in upsetting me. If she did, she showed no sign of it. She seemed fascinated that I was upset and remarked that she had never seen me cry before but there was no empathy.  I will say though that she's been nicer to me since so maybe some good might come out of it.

After dropping Katie off at school I felt brighter for being out of the house. I stopped at the chemist to buy some St Johns Wort just in case there is a touch of the blues sneaking in. I would have liked to have gone for a long walk but the builders were due so Pip and I reluctantly headed home.

Pip has had a tetchy day. His gums are getting sore although he likes the Teetha granules and they seem to help. He had a lovely long sleep this morning and I pottered about, sorting out some correspondence. Of course the builders didn't show up until lunchtime so we could have had that walk after all. He wasn't his usual smiley self until about 6pm and I was left feeling bit delicate about my parenting abilities all day. 

The day improved though from about 2.30pm. Katie had a school open afternoon so Pip and I went to have a visit. Pip had a nice nap in the buggy so I was able to park him up outside the classroom and play with Katie, just us girls, for a while. I think she really appreciated it. Her good behaviour lasted the rest of the day despite a later night as she goes to gymnastics on a Friday evening until 7pm. After the early start I was concerned about bedtime being another flash point but she was cuddly and relatively compliant. 

Pip and I had a lovely bedtime whilst Katie was at gym. We played on the playmat and my wafting his socks over his head and face had Pip squealing with delight. I watched him building his crawling skills and marvelled at how he's coming along. One of the loveliest moments so far happened during after his bedtime bottle. During his bottle he was playing with my face throughout which felt lovely. He usually gets quite sleepy after his bottle but tonight he was very alert so he was laid on my tummy having a snuggle and head butting me (which he thinks is a great game). All of a sudden he gazed deep in my eyes and regarded me for about 5 minutes. He really took me in as if he was seeing me for the first time. It was really something. Very powerful. And if left me feeling that our bond is there. It is growing and he's ok.

As I write this I can review the day and see the highs and lows and reflect on what I didn't handle well. I don't want to yell. I'm generally very patient for the most part but, oh, there are days when patience seems to desert me. Daddy and I have had a chat about how we are managing Katie's current behaviour and recognised that we've got off track the past few days. It's hardly surprising really. There's been a lot going on.  A plan to reintroduce time-out under the new name of The Thinking Spot complete with bean bag was hatched.  I was reassured though that all is still ok after speaking to Katie's teacher and that she's doing well in school and that most of the children are bolshy little wotsits at the moment as the prepare to start Year 1.  Katie and I are having a girly morning after dancing tomorrow and I'm looking forward to having  some girl time together whilst Daddy has Pip for the morning. 

As for me, I should be asleep. I'm exhausted but I needed to get the day out of my head before I could sleep.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Review Meeting

Why is it that the second I'm in the presence of a Social Worker I morph from a relatively calm and competent person into a bumbling, blathering idiot? I talk nineteen to the dozen and become unbearingly hyper. I'll tell you everything you need to know and some stuff you don't need to know. It's almost like I'm worried that if I stop talking one of the SWs will suddenly look at me, as if seeing me for the first time, point their finger at me and yell .......


They'll instinctively know that I yelled at Katie last night (OMG she was being a total pain and my patience ran out) and know that I am unfit to parent children....

That's how it felt today when three, very lovely, SWs came to do our review. It all went well (unless you count me making Pip, the child who rarely cries, cry twice just from picking him up - I think I caught him with my watch but was able to blame it on the fact that it was nearly 2pm and he needed his bottle!) Pip is doing well. He's settling in well. He's content and happy (as far as we can tell). He's not belly laughing yet but I think that will come. I can certainly elicit some serious, shoulder raising, giggles from him when I tickle his neck. He's not put on any weight, in fact he's trimming up nicely. I felt some muscles forming in his legs and his tummy is flattening down a bit. Everyone is happy with the boy. 

The bigger question is how Katie is reacting. She's fine with Pip. Her nose is definitely a bit put out (as are the cats'). She's not being mean to him. She swings between giving him lots of attention and not wanting a bar of him. Most of the challenges we are experiencing are in Katie's behaviour with us. That's pretty much her default position though if anything changes. She's pretty bolshy and rude at the moment (hence me yelling at her when she refused to let me rinse her hair in the shower). She's lashed out at us a few times, and even smacked me round the face in temper the other night. She's pushing, but we expected this.  I've told the SWs some of this but, to be honest, this is how Katie was before Pip and we're managing it so I don't feel it's newsworthy. Or am I just worried that they'll take Pip away? Not I don't think that but I do know that this all brings up those unresolved childhood/parental issues of not being good enough so instead I babble.

The SWs seemed very happy with how it's all going, as they should. It is going well. The Reviewing Officer made an interesting comment when telling me he'd never met a second time adopter before. I couldn't help myself, I commented that that was hardly surprising because the process is is awful (see what I mean about talking too much?)

I'm going to stop now before I start babbling again.....

Monday, 10 June 2013

Underwhelmed? Overwhelmed? (Wombling free....)

 We're fast approaching two weeks since Pip came home and the time seems to have flown by.  I will admit that I was very nervous about having a baby. It's not something I've ever had in my life before and I was a teensy weensy bit worried about how much work would be involved (especially after all the time I've had to myself since Katie started school).  I found myself Googling "How to entertain a 7 month old baby" a few nights before we first met Pip.  I was very relieved to find that all my standard baby entertainment skills were up to date and I wasn't going to be a total novice.

The actual reality of having Pip move in has actually been quite underwhelming compared to the worries I had about it (other than also trying to also nurse my poor cat who had a Femoral Head and Neck Excision on the same day we brought Pip home after fracturing his hip).

Yes he produces a considerable amount of washing and mess, the organisation of which I'm sorting out (I did 4 hours of ironing to catch up last night!). Yes it's actually a bit boring having a baby in the house (it's not the most brain stimulating thing you will ever do with your day). You are pretty tied to being with them unless they are asleep although our bouncy chair has proven really handy and I'm going to get the travel cot out as well to act as a bit of a playpen,  Thankfully I haven't needed to dig out my old Butlins Redcoat and start juggling balls.  The only thing I am juggling is the housework which is less fun!  Pip loves to self entertain and will happily play on his tummy with his toys. He's almost crawling and can pull himself around his mat commando-style very professionally now.  He is now sitting up strongly.  He has achieved an enormous amount in under two weeks and did so well in his development check yesterday. He's managed to not put on any weight over the past 10 days and I think he is responding well to all the stimulation and attention. All in all Pip is a really easy baby to look after.  He's been a bit tetchy because his teeth are starting to come through but it's not been anything I've felt overwhelmed with (so far!).

The hardest adjustment has been being a parent to two children.  Trying to ensure that both children get what
they need from me and hopefully avoiding any meltdowns has been the biggest challenge so far.  Katie is struggling the most with this because Pip has come to us from a house of 6 children, although he does get VERY cross if he's hungry and that food doesn't appear PRONTO!  Katie has decided to take the route of misbehaving to gain her attention.  It's silly because it's really not needed. She gets lots of attention. She has also tried some regression tactics but she gets bored with those quite quickly although seeing her wearing one of Pip's nappies was quite amusing.

I think Pip arriving has corresponded with Katie reaching that point of development where she's realised that there are other adults in the world (i.e. teachers and other parents) who know stuff and she doesn't need to listen to Mummy and Daddy anymore because we don't know ANYTHING!  Katie has always been one to push the boundaries and poke out her tongue so we're not experiencing anything we wouldn't have predicted but it's been a challenge nonetheless.  Katie is arguing about anything and everything and having monumental meltdowns when she doesn't get her own way.  She is very slow to learn that tantrums do not gain anything positive in our household.  From what I have heard much of her behaviour seems very typical Reception Year behaviour though.  Many of her friends are responding to their world with a massive stamp of the foot and lots of screaming and crying.  Add to that a new brother and I guess there is plenty to stamp her foot about. She has had to go through a lot with this process. It was very hard on her and I think it will all take some time to settle into a new normality.

It's not all awful by any stretch of the imagination.  Katie is really lovely with Pip.  They love sharing a bath together and Pip definitely saves his special smiles and giggles for Katie.  She is brilliant at helping to cheer him up when we are getting dressed (he's not keen on getting dressed or coming out of the bath!).  She will grab his dummy (which Mummy doesn't necessarily approve of but is keeping quiet for the moment) and plop it into his mouth and talk silly talk with him until his trademark smile returns.  She has loved taking him to school and to her dancing lesson and showing him off to everyone.  He has smiles for everyone he meets so has charmed all the other mums and children in the playground.  I've been a little overwhelmed by all the attention primarily because I keep forgetting he has only been with us nearly two weeks so is still newsworthy. I'm very proud of my baby so happy to talk about his gorgeousness until the cows come home but it also feels like he's been here for ages so I forget that there are lots of people who still have to meet him.

Apart from a few teething issues we seem to all be doing pretty well.  A close friend commented that
I was very calm when she saw me yesterday.  I'm not sure whether that's because I'm too tired to be stressy or whether because everything has just slotted into place and we're adjusting quickly.  Either that or it's the honeymoon period! I'm most likely to be found stressing in the mornings when we are doing the school run and I need everything to happen quickly (and that's usually when Katie will have her first tantrum of the day).  I do find myself looking at this cheeky little baby and wondering how on earth he got here but I don't feel like the babysitter as I did when Katie joined us.  I suspect that having a second child is less of an event, in some ways, than having a first because your world is turned upside-down with the first one so that doesn't need to happen again. You just accommodate the additional needs that a second child brings with less fanfare.  I also don't feel the need to prove myself quite as much this time around. I am a relatively competent parent - I can do all the necessaries.  I find the bigger challenges lie in the actual parenting difficult behaviour rather than the caring side of things.  Those are pretty big challenges at times for me and there are many days when I kick myself for handling a situation with Katie badly but I'm learning.  Every day it's a learning thing and I'm learning not to beat myself up quite so much (I no longer have the energy to!).

The one thing I do know is that I'm really glad that the main part of the adoption process is now over. I'm not planning on voluntarily doing it again EVER!.  It was incredibly stressful and I now have a case of Psoriasis all over my back from all the stress but it also seems a long time ago now.  I'm starting to calm and my back is slowly starting to heal.  We do still have the legal side of Pip's adoption to sort out but we need to wait 10 weeks before our SWs can tick the box to say that we can apply to the courts for the legal adoption order.  For now I want to just take things quietly and enjoy getting to know Pip and helping Katie adjust.

I can hear my little bundle of gorgeousness starting to wake up from his nap (he's cooing away in his cot) so it's time to put my typing fingers away again for a while and chide myself for typing instead of doing the yoga I promised myself I would do this morning and go and give the young man his lunch.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

One Week plus 20 months....

 Twenty months ago we made a phone call to start the adoption process for a second time. Promises of an eight month process were touted and then failed to materialise. Social Workers in the team were in short supply so we had an Agency SW. Paperwork was misplaced (not by the Agency SW) and our panel date was postponed by 3 months. It was a really frustrating and stressful journey.

About a year ago we heard that Katie's Birth Mother was pregnant. We knew that there was a possibility that we would be approached to adopt the child. That call came just after his birth, whilst we were in the middle of the frustrating and stressful journey mentioned above. There was talk of speeding our paperwork up but then it all went quiet and we didn't hear anything else about it for 5 months. During that time I bonded with the idea of him. I knew his name and it was the name of my Grandfather. The fact that he was a "him" and a baby changed all our original plans to adopt another girl of aged 18 months to 3 years. I was in the difficult situation of being bonded to someone who I wasn't sure would ever be mine but deep inside I knew he would be. I tucked that knowledge away in my heart and waited.

A week ago we brought that little boy home to live with his sister. The look on each of their faces when they met was of recognition. They knew each other. They gazed at each other and the bond was formed. I love watching them together. I love how Pip's eyes light up when he sees his sister. She feigns nonchalance but you can see it on her face as well. 

It's not all as romantic as that but it's been a good first week. Little man has taken everything in his stride, which considering we all have the most horrific colds and he has started teething, is pretty impressive. He's slotted into our lives. He's so easy to care for. Working out how to keep two children under my thumb at the same time is proving interesting and Katie is finding every boundary she can to shove against. She is a fab helper though and loves helping with nappy time and bottle feeding (oh how I love feeding him). It's a big change for her so her baby speak regression was predicted. I've said nothing to her wearing a nappy to be like her brother. I'm (mostly) dealing with her tantrums calmly and remembering how I feel about how long it took to get to this point and trying to imagine that in a 5 year old frame of reference/experience.

It's been one week since the little man came to start his life with us. 

It doesn't feel like a week.

It's really flown by.........