Showing posts with the label siblings

An amazing thing

An amazing thing just happened. 
Tickle and Fairy have had a nice afternoon playing together (mostly - only one incidence of hitting..!) and then she decided to read him a story before bedtime. 
Next thing I know she runs out of his room crying; it turns out she had asked to borrow one of his books and he'd not only said no, but pretty much shouted it in her face, repeatedly. Bit of a blow when she's been sharing her toys and playing with him all afternoon, poor thing.
I go in to talk to Tickle, who is pretty agitated, saying "My house, my room, my books, I said no!" over and over. He's obviously not ready to share anything, and I tell him that's ok. 
I also tell him that Fairy is upset, not really because of the sharing, but because of the way he refused, shouted at her etc. We have to go over it quite a lot, with various examples of times when Fairy has shared her toys and how it made Tickle feel, times when someone had shouted and how it made Tickle feel, etc …

Blending families: Fairy's story

Fairy was only five or six when we started the adoption process. We did what we could to prepare her, as you do, and being the beautiful, empathetic child that she is, she really got it. She instinctively understood about her future brother being worried, about having to teach him that we are kind, that we would look after him. That it would take a while for him to settle in. Throughout the process, both Husband and I, and various Social Workers periodically used to ask her if she had any questions, but she only ever had the one:
"How long will it take for us to get to know each other?"
She knew it was a question that couldn't be answered, obviously, but regardless, that was the thing she most wanted to know, and she held it clutched to her chest like a talisman. 
Fast-forward nearly four years, and she and I were chatting about this in the car, part way through our half term break. To me it feels like something has slightly shifted this week, like she is starting to find h…

Fairy, Tickle, and the Monster

Fairy and I went for a walk to the park this evening. This is my feet, on the swing. We've decided it's going to be our evening ritual; Tickle goes to bed and we go out for a walk, a bit of fresh air, and to get the step count up on our Fitbits (Fairy has managed to snaffle Gran's old one and is now obsessively tracking everything).

As we were walking I asked how she was feeling about things at home at the moment..

"I decided something yesterday." she says. "I've had enough of the Monster."


 [For those who don't know, the Monster is the name we have given to Tickle's Trauma.]

"But the quickest way to get rid of the Monster would also get rid of Tickle, and I don't want to do that."

We walked some more. We played at the park. I went on the zip wire, which she thought was hilarious. We walked home the long way; it was about quarter to nine and she brought the subject up again.

"I have had enough of the Monst…

LAC review updates and Good News

I've just come out of our LAC review slightly gobsmacked. Not least because it was our first one that clocked in under three hours (by five minutes, but still!) but because it seems that people have actually listened. 
I feel a bit as though my chronic preparation for the meeting may have been a bit unnecessary - nobody mentioned the email I wrote yesterday outlining the main points I wanted to cover, for example - but, sure enough they were discussed, and what's more, people had actually come to the meeting prepared with solutions. 
By far the most surprising was that Social Services said they would like to offer us four hours per week of respite, to take the form of someone coming in to our home after school to give us a hand. We have been asking for respite for the best part of a year and had been told categorically no on many occasions, so this is *huge*. Next step is taking this to their senior managers and resource panel to get it approved; I may have subtly interjected at…

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…

The morning after

It's the morning after. I'm writing because I still haven't quite worked out how I'm feeling. I'm feeling ill, which doesn't help; my endo has flared up and my head feels fuggy from crying so much yesterday.

Husband took Tickle out for the day yesterday, while Fairy went to Gran's and I had a rehearsal for a gig I'm doing next month. The music helped, gave me a focus, but as soon as that had finished everything was waiting for me just under the surface.

Trying to get my head around what I'm feeling is so difficult. In terms of actual, physical harm done to Fairy or myself, it's negligible. I'm sure there are many brothers who have done far worse things to their sisters and everyone has been OK. The emotional damage, on the other hand, is far more complex. Normally, when siblings are fighting, and a parent gets involved, you'd expect the fighting to stop - or at least for the angry child to find some semblance of self-control. Not with Ti…

Happy Mother's Day

Picture the scene. It's Mother's Day. I'm reading a book in bed, Husband is about to get Tickle dressed to take the kids out swimming, and just pops in to the loo. Fairy comes out of her bedroom, and starts to walk downstairs to get herself some breakfast. I hear a shout.

"Tickle! Stop it! Daaad!!"

I jump out of bed. Tickle has tried to push Fairy down the stairs, and is now thumping her on the head. I grab him, and take him upstairs to my room. I know I ought to stay with him, he's obviously in a bad place and needs me to stay close and regulate him.

But Fairy is crying on the stairs.

She has done nothing to deserve this. She was just walking down the stairs.

I go to her, sit on the stairs with her, put my arms round her and kiss her head.

Tickle appears at the top of the stairs. He's holding the bottle of water that was next to my bed, and before I can do anything he has launched it at Fairy's head.

A few days ago, I didn't have a plastic bottle…


I need to get myself in to work mode today, but I need to park something first.

I feel awful. I feel like a massive ball of tangled up mess, and it's taking all my energy to keep it together. I know that the only way to feel better is - ironically - to let myself unravel, but I can't do it. I've got that thing, where you need to have a really big cry but it's just not coming. Occasionally something tweaks it and a couple of tears escape over something silly, but I just can't seem to let it all go. I suspect it's because I don't quite feel safe enough myself at the moment. There is no one for me to fall apart on, to pick me up afterwards. I'm doing it daily, hourly sometimes, for my two children but there's no one for me.
That sounds a bit silly, even as I write it, because I've got a fantastic support network including a loving Husband and my mum very close by, but they already have to deal with a lot of the same - Husband is the one getting up …

The Power of a Label

I was chatting to Fairy's headteacher the other day, updating her on all the various agencies and their progress, and remarked that (hopefully) it will be a little less complex once we have adopted Tickle - as at least then we are not constrained by Social Services and can make more decisions for ourselves. I said we could probably even set up a Team Around the Family (you may remember we have been refused this a couple of times, for different reasons), half expecting her to say we wouldn't need it once the adoption had gone through.

"Absolutely." She said. "We definitely need one. Fairy is a Young Carer!"

It struck me in that moment that Fairy's status has changed. She is no longer just a sibling who is struggling to cope, she is a Young Carer, with capital letters and everything.

Labels are not always good things, but sometimes they are just what you need to get people to take you seriously.

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 …

Making a choice

I've had a couple of blog posts rumbling around in my head for a while, but this is neither of them. Something happened this evening, and I just need to write it out, to get my head round it. It wasn't really a thing, as such, more of a moment, but I think a fairly significant one.

All of us, me Husband, Fairy, and Tickle have been feeling the strain of the summer holidays. Funnily enough, Tickle is the one who seems the most predictable at the moment - predictably inconsistent, anxious, loopy, angry, but still, all behaviours in line with the Tickle we have come to know and love. In the meantime, Husband has discovered where the end of his tether is (which came as a bit of a shock to him), I am my usual emotional self, and Fairy... well I'm a bit worried about her at the moment.

For those who may read this and not know our back story, Fairy is my birth daughter from my previous marriage. She's just turned nine (she was six when we started the adoption process) and she…

You know that moment..?

You know that moment where you're standing by the side of the road, in the rain, over an hour from home and holding a child who is laughing like a maniac and has been for the last twenty minutes? The reason you're beside the road and not driving home is because that maniac child has just undone his seat belt for the second time since leaving the car park, only this time you were on a main road instead of approaching the car park entrance. The shock of this had made you yell at the child, or perhaps it was the panic that you didn't quite know what the child was going to do next and while you were in sole charge a big lump of metal that is capable of killing people, there was very little you could do about it.

So you yelled at the child, but the child just laughed harder. This child is so embroiled in anxiety that the only safe coping mechanism is to lose oneself in never-ending mirth. This child is waaay past displaying fear of adults. This child knows adults aren't saf…

Preparing for Christmas

It's lovely in my house at the moment. We've got decorations up, strings of cards over the mantlepiece to remind us the wider world still exists and hasn't forgotten us, and a massive and ever-growing pile of presents under the tree. Fairy has returned from a couple of days with her dad, and Tickle has been glued to her side ever since. At the moment they are packing bags to go on a pretend holiday, and it's making my tummy go all funny listening to them - Fairy is being the perfect big sister, supporting Tickle in the game and enjoying herself completely, and Tickle is following her round lapping up her every word. Just now T sounded a bit unsure of something, so I called out to let me know if he wanted help, and Fairy comes straight back with "He's got help Mummy!"

As for me, I'm snuggling up listening to my children play, having sent Husband out for some last minute shopping, and I thought I'd take a few minutes to write about our preparations …

Like a piece of china

The adoption journey is all going well so far, if a little bit slowly. Well, that's not entirely true - it seems to go in fits and starts. When I first made the phone call we got a load of stuff through in the post to read, DVDs to watch, interview with two social workers... and now it's gone a bit quiet!

The interview went very well; the social workers were impressed with how much research and preparation we had done already, which seems funny to me: spontaneous I may be, but I'm not going to dive in head first if I don't already know exactly what I'm letting myself in for!

They have also decided that we need a bit more time to process everything that's happened over the last eight months or so. If I'm completely honest, I can see why they have said that but I do slightly resent the fact that they have taken that decision on our behalf. I have spent two years coming to terms with my inability to bear any more children, and the events of the last few months…


It seems like I only blog these days when I'm feeling miserable. Understandable that I'm drawn to it, as I've always found it quite theraputic to write my feelings down, but it does give the impression to any reader that I'm permanently unhappy, so I'd just like to take a quick moment to reassure you that that's not the case...!

Today's reflective mood came via sympathy for a colleague who has just lost his mum - he volunteers for me on the festival I run, and his admirable juggling of festival responsibilities at a time of great family sadness reminds me of the position I was in nearly two years ago when I lost my darling Granny three weeks before the first festival. I doubt there is a single day that goes past when I don't think of her. She never met my husband; she'll never get to meet the rest of my children.

Aside from my mum, Granny was probably the single most influential person in my life. She was such a caring, kind, and generous person, an…