I haven’t had a chance to blog for a while. Where to start. Turned out Joy couldn’t share my attention with my dog. My dog wanted all my attention too. He bit so had to go. Heart breaking decision to make. Joy decided she needed to push harder and see what would happen if she bit me. Other than a firm telling that it hurts nothing happened to her for biting. We have settled again nicely just the two of us.
I think all adopters are with me in hating the words “All children do that” Not only is it unhelpful I find it pratronizing. No all children don’t do it as most children don’t live with the daily fear of being left again or coping with early trauma.
Anyway bedtime.. We keep it pretty rigid here and very rarely stay out late.
So 7.30 is her offical bedtime. I say offical as all the anxiety wears her out and some days she is ready for bed by 6 so bed time moves and most days I start bedtime by 7.15 at the latest.
We have a 5 minute warning, then up we go if TV is on she likes to turn it off which is her way of keeping control, I’ve kind of fixed this one by saying in 5 minutes you need to turn TV off, then she’s not interested in who does it as I have taken the control and given her the choice.
We go upstairs, I gave up the fight for wearing a nightie for bed long ago, now I ask if she wants to, most times she doesn’t.
Some nights we don’t get teeth cleaned either as she jumps into bed and getting her up again to do them makes the bedtime longer. Most nights we do get them done.
I read a story and it’s battle time. I give her a hug and a kiss and she grabs on so tight I have to wiggle out to leave room, then she tries to grab me for another cuddle, I always go back and say one nice cuddle but usually have to wiggle out again. I sometimes get out of the room before she calls me back. I tell her sleep time and continue downstairs some nights she follows and I have to take her back up. Some nights she just shouts. “Mummy I have worried feelings” “OK write them down and put them in your worry box” “Mummy its an emergency” “ok tell me about it in the morning” “Mummy I love you” “I love you too, its sleep time now”. I go in to living room and close the door occasionaly calling back I love you it’s sleep time, I very rarely actually go back up to her as if I do it can last hours.
I’ve now given her tickets saying I need a hug, I have a worried feeling I need to talk about now and I just need a bit more attention. She is allowed to use one a night, but as she is allowed to use one it is very rare that she does.
She usually falls asleep within 10-20 minutes of me leaving her for the last time, but getting to the point of me leaving her can take up to an hour of us first going up as she tries to drag ot the cuddles and choosing story for so long, oh and the story itself “Mummy I didn’t see that picture can you show me again?” “Mummy you missed a page- oh ok so you didn’t” “Mummy I have a poorly knee so won’t be able to sleep”
Once upstairs is quiet I usally finish the TV program i have put on while she’s shouting down, then have to summon up energy to tidy up a little, truthfully though that doesn’t often happen. I watch tv, text friends and get myself to bed by 9 at the latest.
At around 11 once or twice a week (Sometimes every night for a week if there has been a change to routine) Joy has a nightmare and although she doesn’t wake she calls out until I go in say “Mummy’s here” and come back out. And like clockwork at 1.30 she gets up for the toilet waking me to tell me- a year ago I had to get up and take her so that is much improved. and still improving some nights she doesn’t wake me at all-I wake up anyway.
Then 5.30am it all starts again..
I have some child free time so sitting where I can’t see the mess that needs tidied up..
5.30am The dog decides to wake me by howling, I started to get up so neighbours didn’t complain then found I really like the time alone so get up by choice now. Sometimes I start unloading dishwasher doing washing etc other times I watch TV for a while. Joy usually joins me at around 6. And Childrens TV goes on. We sit together for a while watching it, then time to get ready. Her clothes are always ready for her. Some mornings dressed no problem others I am untangling her arms from around me and telling her she really can get herself dressed. I jump in shower and get my clothes on..asking myself why I didn’t do that when I first got up. We have breakfast but after 2 spoons I need to persuade Joy to eat the rest, often ending up helping her (i.e here comes the train, car, ballerina, horse- an experience I think she missed out on.). Once we have eaten it is teeth time and tv off time. Teeth are always fun to do- the current way is doing it at the same time- which often ends in me going after her with mouthfull of toothpaste to tell her the brush needs to touch the teeth, I help her finish off. Shoe and coat time..they were there the night before how on earth do they disappear??
We finally get to leave house, dog shoots out of door and down the street as I’m on the second word of don’t open the door yet. Chase dog get in car fasten dog in. Realise either my dinner or or book bag in the house. Tell Joy to stay in car for a second, pick up what I need. Chase Joy back downstairs and we are good to go.
Drop dog off at dog sitters, usually Joy happy to wait in car for the 30 seconds it takes. Get to breakfast club for 8ish well before 8.30 anyway. Dog gone Joy gone I head to work to sit in traffic for half an hour. Stay at work for 6 hours- work flexible hours so usually its more like 5. I leave work walk (or jog) the 15 minutes to the car park. Pick Joy up, pick dog up and get home. We start to make tea together as soon as we get in or I try to do it to the background of Mummy watch this..Mummy can you play..,Mummy can I have some chocolate? Mummy is tea ready? Mummy whats for pudding? Mummy can I have a drink? Mummy can you do my drink or Mummy it was an accident but I have milk all over the floor.
Joy always sets the table for tea. We sit to eat but as soon as the plates go down we have this conversation..”Mummy you have more than me” “I’m an adult I need more” “Mummy can I have some of yours please” “Why? you have excatly the same” Once we get that over we have a nice normal chat.
After tea is our calm time, we have snuggle and do her reading then watch a bit of tv.
Bed time needs a blog all of its own..but that will be posted once tonights is over!
Quite simple. I wanted a child. I didn’t want a relationship with an adult to achieve that. I wasn’t interested in Ivf. Why increase population when there are children needing homes.
I started the process and signed up to Be My Parent where I saw Joy. I felt a pull to her straight away even though she ticked as many of my no boxes as yes ones. She came home a few months before her sixth birthday.
She had always had a dog and really missed having one around. I had wanted a dog but had decided to wait until a child came home. 6 months after Joy came home we chose a puppy together.
That’s the short version of our story.
After a rough day yesterday I lay in bed thinking how rubbish post adoption support is and how it should be an automatic right for all adopted children. Then at 2am woke up thinking Am I going to just complain or am I going to do something. Do something won. Next question was- I am exhausted from helping Joy (her blog name) and trying to get help so what can I do? I have loved writing things down so decided to join other bloggers which will raise awareness that parenting traumatised children isn’t the same as parenting birth children and that help is needed for adopters.