I had it all planned. We wanted to mirror Katie's adoption day so that she could revisit her own celebration 4 years later. The day would involved a morning at the Blue Reef Aquarium followed by lunch at Giraffe and then off to court to meet the judge. I knew Pip would love the aquarium because he is very fish crazy at the moment.
Things didn't go quite according to plan though. I should know better than to plan by now, shouldn't I?
One reason why started late afternoon the day before our court day. I popped to the petrol station after
collecting my nephew to top up the petrol. I didn't really need any petrol but the Girl Guide in me always liked to be prepared for any eventuality i.e. Martians landing and I have to drive to Scotland without stopping for petrol. Also it's what we Brits do for any special occasion that involves the car. We wash the car and fill her up with petrol. It's almost cultural!
At the petrol station my lovely daughter decided to repeatedly open and close her car door, despite being told to sit quietly with Pip and my nephew. I was hot and distracted and had to repeatedly ask her to close her door. I filled the car up with petrol and jumped back in the car to drive to the pay booth. As I put the key in the ignition a horrible feeling washed over me. I had just put unleaded petrol in my diesel car. A four letter word washed around my mouth. The words I uttered were "Oh No!".
Thankfully I realised before turning on the engine.
So there I was on the petrol station forecourt, at tea time, in the baking heat, with three children in the back of the car. First port of call was to phone the AA and let the petrol station know. The forecourt attendent
Long story short I was on the forecourt for 2 hours whilst waiting to be picked up and the car returned home. Fuel Assist were booked for 7.30am the following morning to drain the car for me.
So with everything going on we had to reorganise our timetable for the Adoption Day. We decided to
do the aquarium in the afternoon after the court visit and let the children burn off some steam after having to contain their energy whilst in court.
Court day arrived with beautiful sunshine. It was really the most wonderful weather. The reorganised schedule meant I was able to put Pip down for a nap before we left. My sister was able to come with us at the last minute which was lovely that she could be a part of the day but felt ironic because if she had decided to come the day before I wouldn't have been at the petrol station with all the kids in the car at the time I was because my nephew wouldn't have needed to stay overnight with us!
With everything going on the day and the children arguing it felt quite rushed and I was feeling quite stressed about getting to the places we needed in good time. We didn't have as long as we wanted for lunch, although the lunch was lovely. I can thoroughly recommend eating at Giraffe. The food is delicious and the staff we so helpful. The children had loads of plastic giraffes to take home and a balloon each. I had a lovely jambalaya which was gluten-free so I was delighted with that. Pip loved his pasta and enjoyed sharing my lime and soda (his face at the sour taste was a picture!).
We said goodbye to the judge and she asked us if she would be seeing us again in the future. My response was "No way!" I know my parenting limit and two children is definitely it!
We had a few more pictures with our Social Worker and Pip's Foster Carer outside the courts and then we went off to the aquarium.
An ice-cream outside the tearooms ended the day and we put a very tired Pip into the car to drive back home.
I wanted Katie to feel that the day was as much about her as it was about Pip. I hope we succeeded in that. I made them both a beautiful Moonpig card with photos and their adoption dates on each and she brought her adoption teddy that the judge gave her along to the court. Interestingly the bear Pip received was tiny compared to the one she received but Katie generously offered to share her bear with Pip. Katie seemed to be far more bothered by her interplay with our nephew than anything else however. The day was a constant one-up-man-ship event between the two of them that left my nerves frazzled. TCM said to me that my expectations were too high of the day and he is probably right.
Since the adoption day Katie's behaviour has regressed badly again so there are clearly a lot of thoughts dancing through her brain. This isn't really a surprise and I was expecting it although, as always, the reality is difficult to manage. She has been talking about her Birth Mother and generally challenging every single thing she has been asked to do. At her request we have created a smiley face peg chart to move her peg up and down according to how well she has behaved. This is a very instant way of her seeing that she is behaving in an undesirable way although I'm sure she is confused at the moment and I can allow her a certain measure of kicking off because she must be full of confusing emotions. I know many adopters have issues with the peg system used in schools but Katie likes the visual and it seems to be helping her to modify her behaviour a bit more so it will probably be a useful short-term tool whilst we get back on track.
As for me? Well I'm getting back to normal after it all again too. We now have a house move to sort out. We're moving in 2 weeks time and the work to extend our house and rebuild the upstairs will commence. I have nothing organise or packed so I might be a little quiet on the blog for a week or two whilst I galvanise my poor, still exhausted, body and brain into some sort of action. I'm also feeling a little concerned as to how the children (and cats) will handle the house move but will see how it all pans out before I dive into anxiety over that part of it all.
Never a dull moment eh?