Showing posts with the label screaming

Giving up the battle

This morning we gave up the battle. And it felt great. 
Mornings have been a massive battle for control, and last night we decided we just weren't going to do that any more. When we thought about it, *really* thought about it, we realised that all the 'rules' we had been trying to enforce were actually totally arbitrary. You can't go downstairs until six o'clock - why not? What difference would it actually make? 
So Tickle woke at 5am, and Husband got him a drink and snack, and said he could play. We snoozed. Then Tickle wanted the iPad to watch CBeebies, so we gave it to him. We snoozed. Then he wanted to go downstairs and play, so we let him. We snoozed. He sounded like he was getting a bit silly, so we called down and reminded him he'd have to come up if he was going to be silly. He calmed down. We snoozed. Husband had a shower. 
Tickle started asking for breakfast around ten past six, by which time Husband was nearly finished, so he was happy to wait for five …


Saturday started at 5am, as usual.

Husband took the early shift, also as usual. He seems to need less sleep than I do, and is also blessed with one of those brains that will switch off on demand, meaning he drops off within minutes of getting in to bed.

This particular morning we’d agreed the night before that Husband would definitely get up if it was any early one, as I’d been up early quite a lot of the week and was feeling tired to the point of not quite feeling safe to drive. Needless to say, I had then proceeded to wake up at half past four, half past six, and finally at quarter to eight – this time by the absolute racket that was coming from downstairs. Quite apart from the noise Tickle was making, Husband is normally very calm and softly-spoken, so the fact I could even hear his voice from upstairs was an indicator that something wasn’t right. The fact that his voice was saying “Tickle you are not allowed to head butt me” was an even bigger clue.

Thanks to Facebook messenger, I…

Fairy's morning

Here is a post I wrote this morning, but couldn't upload because the internet was down:

It gets worse before it gets better. I know this. But the worse is happening right now, and the better is only a hope for the future.

I want to make a better log of what is happening, and what I’m doing, so I can try to work out what works and what doesn’t. If any of my adoptive, therapeutic friends would like to make any suggestions then I would be delighted to hear them.

This morning Tickle was worried about school, as usual. It doesn’t help that his teacher left with one days notice, and they don’t seem to be actually doing any of the things we discussed that might help him cope a bit better.

At breakfast he was banging the table, and saying he wanted to hurt the cats. Each time I asked him to come in to the sitting room with me, to have a sit in the comfy chair and calm down. The first time I said I had to keep Etta safe, as he’s not allowed to hurt her; he has to come and sit with me unti…

Reflections on this week

It's been a funny old week. (By which I mean I have journeyed through the depths of howling despair and back again.)

Less than a week ago I genuinely thought we might have to disrupt. Weirdly, today I'm feeling more positive about things than I have done in quite some time. This has been achieved, I think, by a few significant shifts in the way I'm thinking.

The first was to do with self care, though actually it's more than that. We all know that we should look after ourselves, do nice things, make sure we get a break now and then. However, this week I realised that what self care actually means is placing my own needs on equal footing with those of my children. Or maybe even above them, sometimes.

For the last 18 months our entire household has been a slave to Tickle's emotions. He has blossomed under this approach, but the rest of us have suffered.  This week we gave ourselves permission to step away from him and focus on ourselves and each other, even at the ti…

It's been a tough week

It's been a tough week for us, my Little Man.
A week in which you've pushed your sister down the stairs
Yet stroked her back while she lay coughing.
"It's ok, sweetheart" you said,
Not three days since launching a missile at her head.

It's been a tough week for us, my Little Man,
As your hard veneer at school has cracked
In spectacular fashion;
Hitting teachers
Throwing plates
Overturning tables and chairs
Pushing, shouting, spitting.

I see you, Little Man.
And I see the Monster you struggle with inside.
I see him rushing to protect you from the danger he senses
but doesn't really understand.

I see him in your board-stiff limbs.
I see him on guard in every vein
I see him shove your sweet nature aside without a second thought,
To attack, bite, spit, and claw
When he thinks he's the only thing
Keeping you safe.

It's been a tough week for us, my Little Man.
Your Monster is close, overpowering you.
Protecting you.
He screams, drowning out the raging …

It's getting difficult again

Today Husband was woken at 2.30 by Tickle. He managed a couple of hours doze on his bedroom floor before T decides to wake the whole house up by banging the wall and screaming - all before 5am. Husband did a fantastic job of calming him down, and I managed to doze until sixish. Love that man.

While Husband was in the shower, T and I had a long chat. He told me he was scared of a kid at school. I told him I knew that he was scared of this child, but I also knew he was much more scared about some other things, and I thought that sometimes it's much easier to pretend that the child is all he's scared about because the other things just *so* big and scary.

It took some time, but Tickle eventually agreed, and we had a chat about his big scary feelings. He was able to articulate things a bit better than last time; each time we talk I get an extra glimmer of understanding, another piece of the puzzle.

I told him we would keep him safe, that these things will never happen again. "…

I'm very tired.

Sometimes people say things to me like "Oh my kids used to get up at half five, I remember it well. It's exhausting, but it's a phase and it will pass."

I know they mean well, and I know they are trying to comfort me. Sometimes they don't know the reality, sometimes they seem (to me anyway) to be trying to make us realise how normal this behaviour is. I really do understand this comes from a place of love and wanting us to feel better, but what it ends up doing is minimising our feelings. When people say to Fairy "My brother hits me, that's normal." it makes her feel like she shouldn't mind, like she has no reason to feel scared of him.

Sometimes there's no point saying anything, so I just nod and smile, while I cry a bit inside. However if you're reading this, there's a good chance you really want to understand, so for you, I'm going to be really, brutally honest.

Tickle woke up at 5.30 this morning, and shouted at us because he…

Just a brief update...

Heard back from CAMHS today who have initially offered six sessions with me and Husband to talk through what's happening at home and offer us some 'support'. Non-committal about what they are actually going to offer Tickle, even when I pointed out it's all very well asking us how we feel about him punching us in the face but ideally we'd like them to help him deal with his emotions so that he doesn't punch us in the face in the first place. They are expecting us to travel a 2.5 hour round trip for each session (we were initially told they would come to us), plus if we follow their plan it will be two months before they even meet Tickle. I have explained to them that this is not an acceptable solution in any way, shape, or form. Will see what they come back with.

Yesterday had a much more useful meeting with two new social workers who are doing their own assessment of us and are actually planning on speaking to the children as part of that. Their initial reactio…

A day in the life

Today, one of our new Social Workers (the lovely one who is carrying out our assessment of need) emailed to say she needs to include something about the emotional impact all of this is having on our family, what a typical day is like, and the reality of parenting Tickle.

Here is my reply:
Hi Lovely Social Worker,
OK I'll do my best..! It's not always easy to talk about I think, because if we stopped to admit quite how much of an impact it is having on us it would be too overwhelming and we'd struggle to get going again! I think most of our daily life at the moment is gritting our teeth and getting on with it.
A typical day would be Tickle waking around five, when he will come in to our room and ask dad to come back to bed with him as he's scared on his own. Sometimes he wakes in the night but will usually accept being settled back to sleep, though any time after about 4.30 he's unlikely to go to sleep again. Husband will stay with him, sometimes listening to …

More crazy

Our tough time is continuing. Since Tickle made his disclosures his emotions have been consistently heightened; he's scared of everything, all the time. He'll wake up any time between 3am and 5am, and will be too scared to stay in his own bed, so either Husband or I will take a duvet and try and kip on his bedroom floor until about 6, when we really can't contain him any more. If he wakes earlier he will sometimes go back to sleep (though will wake instantly if we dare to leave the room) but after about 4.30 it's basically a write-off and it's just about keeping him quiet and calm. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I worry he's going to wake the whole neighbourhood screaming at the top of his lungs.

This is every day, by the way.

Once we give in and let him get up, he's reasonably OK for 45 mins or so while he's playing and having his breakfast. Sometime towards the end of breakfast the eyes will start to glaze over, the head will …

This is how my afternoon has been:

Tickle arrives home from school in the taxi as usual. I can tell he's not OK as soon as I open the door, and he's yelling at me even as he's crossing the threshold.

"What are we having for dinner?!" He asks, repeatedly, and urgently. This is his 'I really need security, please give it to me by letting me know you have planned to feed me' question. Trouble is, today I had planned to let him choose.

I say "What would you like for dinner?"

"NOOOOOO!!" he screams. "I want you to tell me!!"

This has been a pretty common scenario since the contact visit with Tickle's brother just over a month ago. In the immediate aftermarth T's behaviour deteriorated dramatically (one of the reasons my April blog is so sparse!) and he seemed to be really struggling to cope. He was hyper-vigilant almost all the time, and things that had soothed and calmed him in the past really weren't working. Thankfully, we are pretty much back on an …

Upping the ante

Well I did say I'd be interested to see how the screaming thing developed. (Is to too late to take that back..?)

Today Tickle decided that as screaming wasn't really having the desired effect he would up the ante with a good hearty slap round the face. 
We were already mid-sit at the time (second time within twenty minutes) and I had been trying to get Tickle's dinner on the table, so I wasn't in the best of moods to start with. I can't actually remember what prompted the slap - the sit was for screaming at me when I asked him not to leave all of his toys right behind the door that Daddy was due to walk through any minute, but I suspect he was taking issue with the indignity of boundaries actually being enforced, and decided to take it to the next level. I have to say I am immensely proud of my own post-slap self control, as what I really wanted to do was shove him off my lap and scream in his face; however I held it in, and instead managed a kind of strangled grow…

A tiny, tiny glimmer...

We've had a very screamy couple of weeks in our house. Tickle has been trying to show me who's boss (he thinks it's him, poor child... he'll learn eventually!) and has been screaming and shouting at me every time I do or say something that makes him cross. This could be anything from asking him to tidy up his toys, to not replying quickly enough when he asks me something, to needing to go to the toilet when he wants to play with me... you get the picture.

We have a rule in our house, that you're not allowed to shout at anyone else. Tickle knows if he is frustrated he can ask to go to his bedroom and have a good shout, and that is allowed, but he's definitely *not* allowed to shout at Mummy. If he does he gets what he calls a 'sit' - essentially a time out but done with an adult instead of being sent away from them. 
I have done a lot of sitting this week! 
Tickle has been testing to see how far I will go with it - it usually goes something like this:

Today is a difficult day

Today is a difficult day. It is 3pm on a Sunday afternoon, I have gone back to bed, and I'm not moving for love nor money.

Thing #1 that I try to remember today: I chose this, Tickle did not. Thing #2 that I try to remember today: it's ok if I'm not exceptional all the time.
Today I feel about as far from a successful parent as I could possibly be. There are a number of reasons for this - I've been unwell for *ages* and I'm really struggling to bounce back from it; it seems like every time I think I might be getting better the cough comes back, my throat starts to hurt again, and I start going through tissues at a rate of knots. I didn't sleep well at all last night either, and I've been stressing a lot lately about going back to work too soon, particularly as I don't feel 100%.
This morning Husband and I were woken up around 6.30 by a sobbing, screaming Tickle, who climbed in to our bed and cried proper, proper tears, screaming and kicking - because he…


I'm having to slightly rethink the strategy from my last post. I'm ok with that. Flexibility is the key word, learning from your mistakes. (Yeah. Lots of that.) I still think that the main purpose of Tickle's mad moments is attention seeking, but his behaviour is starting to escalate and I'm not comfortable with the things that (under the previous version of my strategy) I was accepting without reacting. No hitting as such this evening, but I did have a variety of things thrown at me, books torn up, clothes pulled, screaming right in my face, hair pulling, spitting, things stuffed inside my clothes etc.

Part of me is wondering whether there is a little part of Tickle which is trying to work out how far he can go before I snap and yell at him. Or perhaps how far he can go before I decide I don't love him after all and send him away. Or how far before I throw something back at him. That is what he's used to, after all.
I was having a lot of difficulty getting thr…

Birthdays, anxiety, and lots of shouting

It's been four days since I didn't quite finish my last post, and once again I've snuck away for a slice of me time, trying to line up my feelings enough to type them in to the tiny keyboard on my phone while Husband entertains Tickle and Fairy at soft play. (Or they entertain him, one of the two.)

Tickle has been with us for nine days now, and today is his sixth birthday. We tried to keep things quite low key, but naturally there was a little pile of presents for him when he came downstairs, as well as a lovingly-Mummy-crafted (if slightly wonky) Thomas the Tank cake. Tickle has been looking forward to his birthday for the last week, and even shouted "I'm excited!" as he came down the stairs, so I wasn't quite prepared for the total lack of reaction as he looked at his cake, presents, and balloons. I don't know what sort of birthdays he's had in the past, but he clearly didn't know what to make of it all. First he sniffed the cake, and had a …

Has it only been a week..?!

I have stolen a few moments to myself, curled up on the sofa whilst Husband, Fairy, and Tickle play in the garden, joyfully buffeted by the wind of 'Storm Desmond' which is about to ravish us all. (I do hope they manage to finish their game of Giant Jenga first.)

It's been five days since we picked Tickle up from his foster carers for the final time and brought him home to stay. I'm struggling to put in to words how I feel about this - lots of cliches like "It's been the longest week of my life" are trying to wriggle their way on to the keyboard, and I really don't want to go there. It is a strange combination though, of *knowing* it's only been a few days, and *feeling* like life has changed so dramatically that time must have somehow warped itself and the last five days have actually taken a month.

There's been a temptation to carefully record every second of the last week, write down everything that Tickle says and does, so that we don'…