Thursday, 27 November 2014

Knots and Biscuits

I'm sitting downstairs at 6:45am, a woman on the brink of losing her temper so I've come downstairs and made a cup of tea and am dunking gluten-free Rich Tea biscuits to feed the knot that is in my stomach.

It has been yet another early wake up call.  Pip has been waking at around 4:30am-5am most mornings since going into his Big Boy Bed.  I think he must move into a lighter part of his sleep cycle and whereas once he might have fallen back to sleep whilst still in the cot, now he has the freedom to get out of bed he's stumbling into our bed.

It wasn't Pip who woke up early today.  Well not initially. Initially it was Katie but if Katie is awake then the whole planet has to be awake.

I suspect Katie woke up early because we had an awful bedtime last night.

I was supposed to be going to my Reiki healing group.  It's an early evening start, 6:30pm, so I had organised the children to have early baths and Pip was due to go to bed early.  Katie was having a treat and was allowed to go back downstairs after her bath.  That all seems sensible doesn't it?  Well it did until a very tired and not very well Pip decided he didn't want to go to sleep.  That's OK to a point.  I sat in with him until he was slowing down and TCM was around and about with Katie.  He came up to relieve me so that I could get ready, albeit a little later than scheduled but still workable. I got ready and went downstairs to see a snuggly Katie under the blanket watching a film.

Katie has been stealing sweets and biscuits etc for quite some time, I don't have a problem with children having sweets and biscuits in moderation and would happily let her have a biscuit or two each day but the problem is that more than 2 biscuits will make her totally and utterly hyper so we've had to put a serious embargo on sugar products after 5pm.  Katie when she is hyper is unmanageable so she was on a pinky promise that she would simply sit and watch the film. A pinky promise is a big deal  in our house.  It is something that WILL happen.  So I went to kiss her goodbye and caught my breath as I smelled chocolate.  I then saw the tale-tale smear of brown around her mouth.

"What are you eating Katie?" I asked.

She sort of triumphantly pulled back the blanket to reveal the two large bars of dark chocolate I had bought for baking earlier yesterday.  Thankfully she'd been nibbling from one only and also thankfully it was very dark chocolate so she hadn't eaten too much and wasn't too sugary.  She knew though that being caught stealing would mean certain bed.

"Right then it's time for bed Katie" I said.  I also added for the first time that I was very disappointed by her choice because we had trusted her and she had let us down after pinky promising that she would watch the film and not go into the kitchen.  I don't often say things like that to be honest but I'm so fed up with it.  All the other sweet things were on high, locked away, so we take precautions.  Katie will do things like take all the Frubes from the fridge and eat all of them.  You can tell because suddenly she will lose the plot and start running around like a crazy puppy,giggling madly like a person possessed and will not do anything she is asked.  She is literally off her face.  We can't bring any sweets into the house without them being stolen and wrappers found under the cushions or behind the TV.  I am mindful of the reasons why because I was an unhappy child and I used to steal biscuits to numb the pain - see how this blog post started?  Nothing much has changed for me except I don't have to steal them anymore.  I'm not sure that Katie is numbing pain though. I think Katie is doing something because she wants the chocolate or sweets and her impulse control currently is at an all time low.

Me insisting on bedtime led Katie to have the mother of all tantrums which of cause set Pip off as well.  I won't let an argument go out of fear of waking another child in the house because I feel that leads to an air of facilitation when the other child will know that they can get away with things because the parents are fearful of waking up the other child. Katie went to bed and I got changed out of my Reiki clothes (I don't have specific Reiki clothes but I had changed to go out) and went to sit in with Pip until he fell asleep.  I was so cross because I've not made it to Reiki in a while due of Pip's new sleeping arrangements and the impact on the rest of the house (as you can see from this post TCM can't simply sit with Pip whilst he goes to sleep and let Katie watch TV or do anything on her own because she will most definitely utilise that time to do something she isn't allowed to do) and I really need the time-out for myself. We can't put a stair-gate on Pip's door because the frame isn't wide enough in our temporary house.

I gave Katie a goodnight cuddle, after she had stomped downstairs to remind TCM that he had promised I would give her a kiss and a cuddle (I had thought she was asleep at that point in my defence). I told her that I loved her very much but that there are rules that we all follow and that she would be getting no sweets for the next week as a result of her stealing again.  Whilst I am sympathetic to the emotions she is having she really needs to learn that stealing is not acceptable.  I am hopeful that this is just another childhood phase that she will grow out of and we will continue to work on whatever emotions are underlying.  As I said previously I really don't think Katie is stealing to feed emotions per say, I think she is stealing the sweets because she likes them and she feels that she doesn't have to do a single thing that we have asked her to do.  Having said that I feel we really need some guidance on all this so I hope our referral to Post Adoption Support is actually helpful. I'm not holding my breath though.

I did the ironing instead.

So predictably Katie woke up at 5:25am with a voice as loud as a fog-horn.  I tried to shhhh her into our bed for a cuddle but she was wriggling and chatting and fidgeting instantly.  I lay there and counted about 2 minutes until I heard a familiar voice yell out from the other bedroom...


Pip was awake too.  We, stupidly, attempted to bring them both in for a cuddle. Pip will do this happily and generally does most mornings but Katie was poking him and prodding him and singing and generally refusing to be quiet when asked.  Eventually TCM put her back in her room amidst screams and shouts but any hope of snoozing was past.  I felt the familiar knot tighten up in my stomach and thought how fed up I am of our house being The Katie Show.  I'm just exhausted currently and my reserves are gone so I got up to make drinks and wash up last night's dishes which I was too exhausted to do after the ironing last night and thought I would make myself a cuppa and have a few biccies and a little writing time to calm myself down.

So here I sit. A bag of knots, feeling tearful and overwhelmed by everything going on in my life currently and dunking my biscuits (well actually they've all gone now but I'm sticking with my metaphor) and wondering what the hell to do about it all.


  1. I feel your overwhelm and tiredness coming through in your writing. Missy hasn't really got into food stealing yet but I suspect she will one day. I can just imagine the response from Katie when you insisted on bedtime, if Missy's tantrums are anything to go by!

    I hope PAS can give you the support you need. When Missy was having daily meltdowns, we found tightening the boundries really helped plus some new strategies we learnt from PAC, but then we don't have a second child in the mix which I guess isn't helping.

    In the meantime, keep dunking those biscuits xx

    1. Thanks Sezz for your very quick reply. Writing to the ether is therapeutic but it's even nicer when a voice comes back from the ether as well. Yes you can well imagine the response to the bedtime request. It was explosive and probably visible from space! Missy and Katie would probably teach each other a few tricks! LOL I'm worried about how much more we can tighten Katie's boundaries. I think she's pushing so much against them now. She sees her friends getting more latitude and wants to be the same but she's just not ready. I hope we do get some support from PAS. I'm not sure I explain it well to them because much of what goes on is attitude and hyperactive driven. It doesn't sound much in the telling but to live with it all is really challenging at times.

      I'd better not dunk too many biscuits. I have a notion that I might shift my baby weight someday...... I'm working on the basis that even adoptive parents can get baby weight! LOL xx

    2. I can confirm that adopters get baby weight (even if baby was 5 years old on arrival) :-) xx

  2. Hi, I've just read your post and I feel your pain and frustration. I have just blogged on the subject of stealing- our daughter has been taking food for the past few months and I don't know how best to deal with it and we are receiving help from PAS. My husband and I are not sure that the SW is giving us the right help (sorry you prob don't want to hear that right now). The suggestion that someone may take food for comfort is a possibility for our daughter - believe it or not this is not something our SW has suggested to date. My hope is that through me sharing our experience of stealing via my blog that an adopter may be able to offer something helpful that we can use. Thanks for sharing and know that you are not on your own.

  3. Oh Gem, I feel for you! We have a totally different set of reasons for stress but that knot in the pit of your stomach that never quite goes away is a very well known feeling in our house at the moment. In fact I was up most of Tuesday night due to being so sick with it. Sometimes when the stress comes from.many directions with no sign of let up it is just so hard to stop and look after ourselves. It is hard...

    Just one thought... Would an extendable stair Gate fit in Pip's bedroom? We have struggled with frames and the stairs in our house as the standard size staircases are all too wide but the extendable ones are actually so flexible most can fit really narrow openings as well as wider ones as you slide them to the right size before fitting... They are also much cheaper than specific narrow fit gates. It may not work but I thought it worth mentioning just in case as it took us ages to figure this solution out for our house!!

  4. Thanks for your blog. I like to read your posts when I'm sad about not having children. My friends who have become parents seem to be totally wrapped up in their kids like having children is the best thing that ever happened, which makes me feel like I'm missing out. But reading about your experiences reminds me that life with children is often hellish on a day-to-day basis, and that probably most people just don't admit that part. It seems all too easy to only think of the good things about having kids, and to forget that the reality is very hard indeed and that there are good things about being childless too, like not being bitten/kicked/shouted at/woken up by screaming/stolen from by someone you look after. If I try to put myself in your shoes, I doubt I would have the emotional resilience to do it. So I try to count myself lucky that I have been spared.

  5. Hi! I often reply but the post never seems to send. I thought id try again today.
    I hope you had time to relax this evening to make up for not gettinf your time last night. You deserve some time for yourself.
    I work with a child who used to steal sweets at night. They eventually gave him his own small tin stuffed full of sweets for him to look after/keep somewhere safe/just for him/to eat whenever he liked. He was so delighted that he had his own tin full of sweets that he rarely eats them cos he is so proud of them! I think it took the thrill out of the chase and he felt he had control over something he loves. He hasnt taken any since. I dont know if it would be worth a try-but perhaps with childrens jelly fruit 'sweets' that are meant to be just fruit juice. Hope the weekend is calmer and you get some time to do something for yourself. X

  6. Have never commented before, but just to say that I am sending positive, healing thoughts to you and your whole family (especially Katie). I am amazed by you emotional resilience, but hope that you won't need as much of it over the next few months and that thinking quiet down.

  7. Thank you so much for your blog, I honestly think you sound like such an amazing parent and that you are doing an amazing job with your two children. My husband and I are in the process of being approved and have panel in a couple of months, we're with Coram too which I think you mentioned in a post. I love reading your blog because you give such a good balance of how things aren't always easy and raising children, especially adopted children and the many challenges but also how much love and happiness they bring you. Thank you for sharing your life in this blog, Sooz xxx