Matters of Life and Death

What an eventful day I had on Monday!  It was already planned to be a fairly eventful day as I was due to attend the PAC-UK / Yorkshire Adoption Consortium Conference on Education (more of this in another post).

Whilst ploughing through the usual Monday morning routine, my Littley was a bit of a mess with fussy difficult behaviour.  Often I will stop everything and give her the attention she needs, however, I didn’t really have time, so was doing my best to jolly things along and just get them both to school.  We were nearly there and she breaks down, wailing, weeping, (she’s very dramatic)

I think I’m going die.

Oh god.  Here we go.  Does it really have to be today?  This morning?  Of all mornings? (and some silent swearing …..) Whilst I’m busy drawing breath, composing myself to do some wondering she went on

There’s these big boys at school, keep saying they’re going to kill me …..

I manage to grab her and just cuddle, holding tightly to her shaking sobbing body and she continues

But they can’t really can they …

They would need a gun, it’s really the only way I can think of to kill someone, and you have to be 18 to have a gun don’t you?  So they won’t have a gun, so they won’t be able to kill me, will they?  Oh, I didn’t think of it like that.

Oh darling.  Well done.  You sorted that out yourself, just by talking about it.  Isn’t that amazing.

Inside my head, as I’m sure you are thinking – she hasn’t figured that there are more ways to kill someone, that this is just a saying, that if someone is going to commit murder they are not going to be concerned about whether they are the right age to have that weapon or even if it is legal or not!

So here’s an 11 year old, thinking of things in a 3 year old way, expected to go to secondary school and function, safely, on her own, under threat, fearing for her life because of the stupid phrases that people use and the mindless threats that big boys make.

We avoided death – for that day.

Later, whilst in the conference, I got a text from school asking if I could give them a call.  Erm, no actually I can’t, can they text me?

Oh, just wanted to update you.  Biggey is saying to people she is pregnant.

Marvellous!  School said, we haven’t discussed it with her, cos she hasn’t said it direct to staff.  Oh well, that’ll be fine then.  I suppose you do the same response if one of those big boys is saying he’s got a gun in school????  More silent swearing, mid-conference.

Here is a girl who runs away, associates with the ones we’d rather she didn’t, is a prime target for exploitation and this could (if she ever went anywhere) be true.  Lying is also a classic reaction in attachment difficulties. So they ignored it.  Great.

I sent a long text back with detailed wording of what to say, how to say it.  They did but oh, it needs so much managing that again I wonder if it’s worth it.

 

We are not pregnant.  No new baby.  No choosing baby names.  No knitting.  No reason to keep her off school!!!!!

Death and new life is not happening in the Safehouse just yet.

How ironic that all this happens on the day I’m at a conference about how to help these children in school.

 

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I’m Proud of You

This is what my mum said to me the other day. What a lovely thing for any mum to say to her daughter. Yet, it didn’t sit comfortably with me; I didn’t feel any sort of good, warm, pride-like feeling inside.

Now, Mum pops round regularly to see me and the girls after school, she brings chocolate or sweets and we chat and catch up. It’s lovely.  The other day she was telling me about her time at her sewing group and there is one lady there who always asked about us and how we are getting on. The girls were there at this time so I guess mum’s answer was tailored to be appropriate to all ears, so she simply said I told her

I’m very proud of you

I just kind of smiled – maybe it was more a grimace – I’m not sure, yet it didn’t feel comfortable hearing that. Eventually I was able to say

It doesn’t feel like something to be proud of

Mum nodded, in an understanding way and at the time the conversation moved on and around to other things – because the girls were there.

Later I reflected on this. When I thought again about mum’s words and what was going on in myself. There’s an awful lot I’m not very proud of.

  • I’m not proud that the psychologist in the local CAMHS team told my daughter she is scared of me – because I was having to strong and firm and demanding to get my daughter’s needs met (It didn’t work though).
  • I’m not proud of the fact that we are on first name terms with local police, because my daughter runs away so often.
  • I’m not proud when I crawl the streets in my car, following my run-away, feeling like some sneaky stalker or a sleazy kerb-crawler.
  • I’m not proud that I have to sit on my children when they kick, bite, hit, spit, hiss in the throws of their traumatic fight flight response.
  • I’m not proud when I have to man-handle them into the car or tackle them to the floor in the middle of the street or in supermarkets just so I can half restrain half cuddle them to calm them down.
  • I’m not proud that my parenting very often feels harsh and restrictive, even though I know it’s what they need and what they can cope with.
  • I’m not proud that I swear so much
  • I’m not proud of having to be forthright and demanding of other people – like schools, teacher, social workers.

I’ve blogged before about wearing my stroppy hat and in that I said I wear it with pride, and occasionally I do, yet as with our children, there is only so many times I (and many other adopters) can continue to be knocked down without being left with the negative affect of it all.

I have to remind myself daily that there are things I am proud of – like the fact that I do keep them safe, I do advocate for them, separately and us as a family.

In my work I tell people that it’s important that we work on our own thoughts and feelings, that we are kind to ourselves and have positive self talk.  It’s very important I practice what I preach! (always easier said than done!!)  I do realise that we often spend so much time with our children’s issues we easily forget about ourselves.  Self talk is so important to us too.  So each day, with renewed vigour I will be trying to find something I have done that I am proud of.

I am proud that we are still together.   What about you?

Illness and Insecurity

Littley has a vomiting bug. Whilst these are not nice for anyone – child or adult, it is interesting to notice the wider areas that are affected in our children. She sits near one or both of us and has a needs to chat (as ever); yet as we listen it is clear that she has a need to process what is happening to her. So we get questions that are sweet and funny and cute and also show how she worries and has regressed to a much younger age. Things like: Continue reading