Tag Archives: love

What does Acceptance actually mean?

I blogged about acceptance before, in fact you can read my blog here. That was 2 years ago now. And I think acceptance for me is changing.

Recently I had a break from social media for a few weeks to give myself time and space to think. I wanted to be sure that I am able to manage the girls long term. And I am. I know I am. My lovely GP has been helpful in talking through these issues and making me realise that I am doing a good job and I should stop putting pressure on myself or allowing others to do so. FullSizeRender

Parenting Small can be draining. The older she gets the more pronounced her difficulties seem. She is clingy with an insatiable need to be near me or on me. Her sensory issues, inflexibility, need for control and obsessions all seem to be getting steadily worse. I am accepting that this is just the way she is, and it’s ok for me to find it a little claustrophobic sometimes. I know how to prioritise my girls’ needs and do what is best for them. But I need to do the same for myself too.

But perhaps the biggest part of acceptance for me has to be learning to accept the status quo with my eldest. Many kind adopters have messaged me saying that it is fear that stops Eldest from showing love to me, that it will come in time if I persist with therapeutic parenting, that parenting children with trauma is a long game and if I keep it up eventually there will be a breakthrough. All those things are true for many adopters and many children. All those messages are sent with love, care and a desire to give me hope.

But what if it isn’t true for my family? What if Eldest does not have the ability to develop love or empathy for anyone? What if, in her eyes, people are like are objects or possessions, and she just isn’t able to develop beyond that? And what if she is unable to modify her negative behaviours in any significant way? Then all I am doing is putting pressure on her with my expectations. And pressure on myself too. I believe that is the case for us. There are a few who know us well who think I may be right.

I am still parenting therapeutically. I know we can have happy times, and I can make positive memories for us as a family. But I am no longer waiting for that elusive magical breakthrough with Eldest. I am trying to accept her limitations and love her for who she is and accepting that this is who she will always be.

I’m not there yet on this journey to acceptance but I’m getting there. I feel generally at peace and that can only be a good thing.

 

24 hours in 250 words

Positives

  • Bought a swimming pass for the summer today and they gave me an extra week free. Their cleaner said she’d bring a cuppa to poolside for me when I come on my own.
  • Spent a few hours with my friend and her funny toddlers while the girls were at school; stress free and a chance for a good chat.
  • DD1 managed to tell her new LSA she doesn’t like being tickled. Wow!
  • Took the girls out for tea tonight and they were in great moods. When we left not only did we get vouchers for a local attraction but they also gave me the girls’ meals for free.
  • In the restaurant DD2 said “I’m full. Can I leave some ice cream?” Wow again!

thumbs up and down

And the other stuff…

  • In DD1’s memory book of Year 2 they’d staged a photo of her sitting on her class ‘pupil of the week’ chair. DD1 said “that’ll always remind me that my teacher never thought I was good enough to really sit there”. Grrrr
  • This morning I was greeted by the sight of a decapitated wild rabbit in the living room. Guilty cat nearby. Lucky me getting to pick up a bunny head and bunny body before breakfast.
  • DD1 ate a huge amount without chewing, even when I pointed out she was full. Came home, spent an hour kicking off in her room and is throwing up every 10 minutes 😦

Love letters

Most school days I write a short note and pop it in the girls’ lunch bags. I know lots of other adopters who do this and I know my girls look forward to them.

Most of the time they are very straightforward like these:

photo(1)

But some days when I know the girls are struggling more than usual I write in our ‘secret code’. By that I mean I write in Spanish. The girls aren’t fluent by any means but certainly know enough to understand the notes especially as I tend to use words from familiar stories etc. This isn’t to be pretentious or a pushy parent. Using Spanish means their friends and teachers won’t understand what I’ve written; it’s our private ‘3girlstogether’ way of communicating, reinforcing our family unit and giving us something special that we share just us three. So on tough days I write a Spanish love letter like this:

photo(3)

 

But last week I came downstairs and was surprised to find these waiting for me:

photo(4)

My girls had decided to surprise me and had written notes for me to read at lunchtime – that is the stuff that dreams are made of!

This post was written to link up with the Adoption Social Memory Box:

Memory Box

But what if…

Today Kitten said ‘But what if‘ to me. It’s the first time she has managed that. Yes, another first! I received a note in Kitten’s home school book to say that she had had a tricky afternoon. Tomorrow the school have an Artsmark inspector coming in to school and he will be going in to classes and talking to children. Her class practised for the visit this morning in case he comes into her class tomorrow.

That doesn’t sound SO bad does it? But this is a huge problem for my little girl because she is petrified of men. Not scared, not frightened, she is utterly terrified of all men. To be fair to the school this is one thing they generally try to get right as they have witnessed the effects of getting it wrong. The teacher has ensured that the inspector will not be taken into Kitten’s classroom at all. But she could see that Kitten was very worried this afternoon, starting to bite herself again.

So after school I had a chat with Kitten and told her that the man would definitely not come in her room. I reminded her of a few other times when I had promised things wouldn’t happen and they didn’t.

And then she said it ‘Mummy but what if I need to go to the toilet at school and I meet the man in the corridor?’ What was even lovelier was that when we started to talk it through a bit she said ‘Hey Mummy did I just tell you a worry without even knowing it?!’ She was so proud that she forgot herself and climbed on my knee for a HUG!!! I can count the number of times she has climbed on my knee at home on the fingers of one hand and she has never told me a worry before.

I have blogged before about my struggles with acceptance and how I am trying to find joy in the small things we can achieve as a family. But today this small achievement felt very very big and very very joyful.

Guess How Much I Love You

I think most people have read Guess How Much I love You. It’s one of my children’s favourite stories. It was one of the first stories I ever read to the girls and we still read it regularly at bedtime. As Kitten struggles with being told that I love her, it’s yet another way to let her know how much I care in a less direct way.

Guess How Much

 

Recently Bunny, my little one, has said frequently that she wishes she had grown in my tummy. Then Kitten will ask me to tell them the sorts of things I would have done with them if they had been my little babies.

So today I decided to give the girls a special present each. I decided to give them a gift I might have given if they had been my newborns. I’m always trying to think of new ways to make a connection with both children, but especially Kitten, and thought it might mean something to them. This idea was suggested by a PASW to another adopter I know and had been received positively by her son.

So this evening firstly I read the story to them both at bedtime. As I sat in the middle of them, as usual Kitten was trying to make sure my arm didn’t touch hers.

Then once they were in bed I gave them each a Little Nutbrown Hare from the story:

Caramelo

Bunny was very happy to get a new soft toy and settled down to sleep – her usual Teddy quickly abandoned on the floor.

But with Kitten I sat on her bed and reminded her why I was giving her that toy – that my love is for always, every second of every day, not just when she’s being good or happy or calm. I love her if she’s doing something she shouldn’t, if she’s dysregulated, if she’s angry and even when she doesn’t love me one tiny bit I still love her.

And my little girl got tears in her eyes as I spoke.

Kitten has rarely shown genuine emotion like that. In fact I’m sitting here wondering if it was the first time – and I think it might be. For a few minutes I felt like there was a real connection between us, that she understood that I meant it. She didn’t say I love you back and that’s ok. Tonight at least my 6 year old will go to sleep believing that her mother loves her. That’s enough for me.

 

Barbie caused chaos today

I bought the girls a present today. It was meant to be a statement of how much I love them since it is the antithesis of everything I want my children to aspire to and they know I loath them. However this is what they have been coveting for months so I decided to surprise them with these:

Barbies

This really isn’t worthy of comment in itself. But what is interesting to me is the girls’ reactions to the dolls. Firstly they were both very happy. So that’s great and I’m pleased I bought them the revolting pink plastic monstrosities.

Bunny got out any other dolls of a similar size and type and lined them all up in a row. As she has one more doll than Kitten she did some loud counting every now and again to hammer that message home for her big sister. She collected all the dolls’ accessories and put them in a row too. She plaited all their hair so they looked the same and swapped clothes round then put them all back again repeatedly. Repetitive play but she was content in her own little world and Bunny would have carried on like this for hours.

Kitten felt anxious about her doll. She has said ‘I wish…’ many times since I gave her the doll. I wish I had more bobbles…had more dolls…the shoes were a different colour. She has asked her little sister Is my doll prettier than yours? Are you jealous of my doll? Do you wish you had my doll? For Kitten life is a battle to be won. My girl constantly feels she is not good enough. She doesn’t deserve nice toys, or clothes or love. She had 4 years to learn this before she came to live with me. The anxiety about this permeates everything she does. So she is trying to reassure herself that her doll is the best; really she is trying to reassure herself that she is the best while she has a pit in her stomach that tells her that whatever she says and does she will never be good enough. Perhaps also the fact I had bought her something she knows I don’t like scared her a bit. Being loved that much is very scary to Kitten!

Kitten quickly dysregulated. The doll play became very physical and she drew her little sister into this, skilfully trying to control everything Bunny said and did. Dolls have been slammed into the floor and into the furniture and into each other. Bunny bought in to the battle for control. If Bunny has an idea fixed in her head she finds it hard to swerve from it. If pushed too far she will meltdown on an epic scale. And so we have had dysregulated chaos from both girls.

I shouldn’t have let it get this far. I usually step in to prevent things escalating. So I will attempt to re-establish calm for Bunny and Kitten as they are unable to self calm. They’ve had bananas and warm milk for a snack. I’ve brought their Lego out and they’re playing separately. Bunny has her dummy in and is doing a lot of rocking as she plays. Kitten has her weighted lappad on her knee and is sighing a lot! We have something soothing to listen to while we play. This will be a work in progress till bedtime and beyond. Kitten is VERY angry. Bunny is shell shocked.

Do I regret buying the offending pink items? No not at all. I hope and pray that Kitten and Bunny will look at their Barbies sometimes and remember how much their mummy loves them.