I'm quite a settled person, as is TCM. We don't move house very often. In fact we have only owned 2 houses in our 20 years of marriage. Moving is quite a trauma for us - mostly because we have way too much stuff and partly because we like our home and have no plans to leave there. But move we have because we are treating our home to a massive refurb and extension. When it's finished it will be amazing. As with all building work, it's just the interim bit that is the problem.
Our rented house is very small compared to our home so it's all a bit of a squash and a squeeze which I am finding quite claustrophobic. TCM commented it was a bit like being in a holiday home which, with the intense heat we are experiencing here in the south and the fact that this house is very hot, I am tempted to agree with. I am really missing the coolness of our bungalow which, even in the hottest weather, stays very cool downstairs.
I was very worried about moving the children, with good cause it would appear because Katie is really unsettled. To try and help them we visited the new house several times before we actually moved in so it felt familiar to the.. I tried to approach it a bit like our adoption introductions. Pip appears to be coping very well with the move. He took about a week to settle but now seems quite happy and back to his usual cheerful self, if a little more hectic. In fact he loves his new garden because the owners have kindly left the children with a play house and some garden toys. Pip spends as much time as he can down there, tinkering with his toys and playing with his toy kitchen. I've nervously let the cats, Willow and Leo, out and have already had to retrieve Leo from our neighbours house at 10pm when he got over the fence but couldn't get back due to being an enormous Maine Coon and only having one hip. We then had to retrieve him again the following morning so I suspect it won't be the last we see of our neighbours garden! Thankfully they have been lovely about it all and I'll be baking my famous brownies as a thank you to them tomorrow.
To try and help her with everything we are visiting our home after school everyday to see what has been happening there (or not as the current case is). I park at the house and walk to school along our usual route so that Pip still gets the familiarity of seeing his favourite stream and the cat we say hello to every day and Katie is able to scoot back with her best friend as we have done for the past 2 years. We have been slowly bringing extra bits with us but we made sure we brought nearly everything that belonged to the children so that we could create as familiar a surrounding as possible in the new house. We've taken our neighbour's dog for a walk to spend a little time together. One of the things that really helped her was the new series of Topsy and Tim returning on the Monday after we moved house. The first episode was all about the fact that Topsy and Tim had moved house. Seeing how excited they were about it all was useful for Katie, in fact she watched the episode three times in quite succession. We've been talking about the adventure we are having and have been finding new ways to walk to our new house from school and the local park. We have been pleased to meet other friends from school on the new walk to school and I am
We are also trying to remain as calm as possible, which isn't always easy and I feel like I fail at this on a daily basis. Katie isn't a small girl, she is tall for her age and, although she is as skinny as a rake, she is strong. When she lashes out it is a difficult experience for all involved and I find it hard to not react. I am trying very hard to ignore as much of the rudeness as possible but I will admit I find it difficult to accept being spoken to in the way that she often speaks to me. I've bought her an Hello Kitty light to clip onto the side of her cabin bed so she can read in bed (and hopefully stay in bed). This has helped things a bit but she wants to come down and watch the TV programmes that TCM and I are watching so gets up constantly which obviously prevents her from sleeping. I find it hard though to feel loving with someone who is constantly lashing out at me or being rude and feel like I have to pretend those feelings and act in a loving way in the hope that Katie will start to calm down and then it will feel more natural. Internally I feel like a bomb about to explode though and am stress eating chocolate again. Luckily our wonderful SW has organised for some counselling for me with a specialist adoption counsellor so the timing is perfect to discuss all this with her. The counsellor noted that Katie's regression has taken her back to the age she was when we adopted her. Interestingly, when I mentioned that a 1, 2, 3 parenting approach was now working with her, my counsellor noted that she had probably moved forward to being about aged 3. So some progress is being made and I can only hope that maintaining tight boundaries and helping her with her emotions will help her continue to move forward in age.
Of course all of the above is not helped by the fact that I'm still struggling with my energy levels. My body hurts in the joints and I struggle to walk to and from school. I'm plugging away at it but I feel mentally distracted quite often because of the ongoing fatigue. I had a chance conversation with another mum at swimming on Saturday and it transpired she had also had low Vitamin D levels and felt exactly the same as me. We noted to each other, with our eyes swimming with tears, how much of a failure as a parent we felt because we didn't have the energy to be the parents we wanted to be. That shared moment helped us both tremendously I think.
I will keep plugging away as I always do. I am so pleased that I have the opportunity to engage with the lovely counsellor. I felt very strongly after my first session that she will help us all enormously. I felt lighter and calmer after my first session after I unloaded a whole heap of emotions that had built up over the course of two adoptions. I am looking forward to unpicking them all and emerging as my own personal butterfly from the cocoon that is currently restricting me.
So our building adventure has begun. I am writing about that separately on a new blog called "Bricking It! The story of how 5,000 bricks made a home." I am sure that this project will being all sorts of challenges both at the building site and at our temporary home. I'm hoping that things will start to improve here. It's early days yet and I know I'm not feeling settled yet so how can I expect Katie and Pip to feel settled. I hope that it's not going to cause irreparable damage to Katie and hope that it will provide an opportunity for her to work through some of the emotions from her move to us and enable her to shed her cocoon as well.