Weekly Adoption Shout Out 31/05/13

Have you heard the news? No?
The Weekly Adoption Shout Out is getting a new home. In just a couple of weeks, from the 14th June, The Adoption Social will launch, and from then on, the Weekly Adoption Shout Out will be based at www.theadoptionsocial.com.
It won’t change –  it’ll still be weekly, it’ll still have an optional theme every other week, the way you sign up will be the same, but it will proudly sit amongst other information, blog posts, and linky’s that you might find helpful or interesting. It’ll also provide a place for the brilliant #WASO community to grow and gain even more support. Here’s more information about The Adoption Social (which has been developed by me and Sarah at the Puffin Diaries, so it’ll still be us you’re in touch with). And although the site isn’t quite live yet, we do have a Facebook page, and we’re on Twitter too.

For now, let’s concentrate on this week and last. You can still see last week’s entries here. There was a theme of ‘treasured moments’ and as usual, we had some great posts with some lovely moments shared. Next week’s theme is ‘food’ – that could be things that you make with your children, food problems and issues, whatever you like. This has been inspired by a conversation with Mini, which I’ll share with you next week.

As usual, this linky is live on The Boy’s Behaviour and The Puffin Diaries, but you only need to add it once. There are no hard and fast rules, but to keep this community supportive, it’d be great if you could visit at least one of the blogs listed and leave a comment. You can also tweet your favourites, using the hashtag #WASO.

And finally, if you’d like to have a badge to show you take part in the Weekly Adoption Shout Out, the code is here…

Prose for Thought
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Give and Take

056I’m sat on the sofa, laptop on knee and directly above me I can hear the scraping and scratching of toys on wood floor. The boy Stig is ensconced in his bedroom giving me a little of what I want so that he can have a little of what he wants. He’s tidying under his bed, removing all the tiny bits of lego, odd socks and broken toys in a last ditch attempt to secure canoeing tomorrow. It’s one of those deals, those deals that seem to shape and structure my parenting, especially of Stig. “If you do this for me, then you can have the things you want.” Or, as is more often the case “If you don’t do this, then you don’t get that” So am I a parent or have I just become a very keen negotiator?

The word “deal” featured early in our relationships with the boys, in fact Tink took to it in the early stages of conversation forming, “I watch television, deal?” But really it all started with a star chart. Now I know for some adopted children the star chart doesn’t work and in fact Tink has always struggled with the whole concept. Stig, aged 3, however, took to it like a duck to water. His intense desire for attention soon taught him that by brushing his teeth, star, eating breakfast, star, saying please and thank you, star,  got him some very positive attention and balanced with a good heap of ignoring and time out for undesirable behaviour, he soon learnt what the deal was. Again time out is not for all and Tink again never took to it but Stig seemed to understand and grasp that he got a bit of what he wanted if mummy got a little of what she wanted.

So the concept stuck and has grown, each good day in school means computer time in the evening, hurt another child and you will not only be without computers but maybe television too. Eat your dinner you get dessert, do well in your spellings you can have sweets, tidy your room and you can have your pocket money. All these rewards and consequences are really rather normal but I wonder sometimes if it is all too much, not for the children but for me.

I’m getting tired and probably a lot stressed at the constant concern I have about whether these goals are going to be achieved and the possible fallout of having to administer the consequence if they’re not. Don’t get me wrong I know that Stig has learnt well from these firm rules and an understanding of reward versus penalty but I catch myself often doing the “if you don’t behave for Granny then you will be without computers tomorrow”. In other words I’m always expecting the worst of him and indicating that to him too. I know I could flip it on its head and say “if you are good for Granny then we can eat ice-cream tomorrow” but actually I’d just love to walk out the door and say “Have a lovely time”.

The fear is always there that if I don’t remind him to behave that he won’t and his get out clause later will be, that I hadn’t instructed him on what was and wasn’t acceptable. So I continue to stop and giving instructions before leaving them with others, entering restaurants, friend’s homes, shops and always underline the possible consequence for none compliance. Then the game begins, is he doing as I’ve asked or not? Do I phone to make sure they’re behaving or not? You watch or wait in a state of anxiety for it all to go wrong. So if I’m feeling anxious I wonder what it’s doing to him?

I brokered some new deals with him recently. After a few months of terrible anger outbursts, I stopped to thing what this was all about for him. I concluded “control” a word synonymous with the behaviour of those struggling with attachment. He didn’t like the level of control that was being exercised over his life, others making choices for him, his outburst seemed to centre on having choices being denied or changed. So I negotiated some new choices, some freedom and a little more control for him of his own life.

A new clock radio and bedside lamp (had to remove his last lamp after he used it to burn a hole in his mattress) and he is now allowed to chose his own lights out time as long as it’s by eight and he is allowed to get up in the morning and have breakfast at his own leisure as long as he is ready for school on time.

He is allowed to walk home from school on his own one day a week.

He’s allowed to the local shop to spend his pocket money on sweets.

He can walk to and from a couple of friend’s houses on his own as long as he is going in and staying there.

In return I get no arguing over bedroom tidying, it’s part of the big boy responsibility, and they are all offers that can be revoked in the face of undesirable behaviour.

And yes I’ve already had that clock radio out for a couple of nights over a bad bedtime and he’s already been grounded, no shop, no friend’s houses, for rudeness and lying.

But on the other side, the anger outbursts have lessened and when the consequences of further rudeness is given as no walking home from school; it on the whole has the desired effect.

Last night I uttered the immortal words “answer me back one more time and you won’t be going canoeing on Friday”  “Bothered” came the reply. So this morning I offered the one last life line for canoeing, clear and tidy under your bed properly for me and I’ll consider letting you go. It’s a massive job and he’s been at it nearly three hours, I did give him a biscuit and drink break at 10.30 and we’ll stop for lunch soon.  I want him to go canoeing I really do, I found it and booked it for him knowing he’d love it, but the other thing is, he knows and I know, that I’m not afraid to cancel if I don’t get the desired behaviour. So he’s upstairs beavering away and doing a great job of it. “Look how much I’ve done mummy” he said, last time I checked. So as I sit here still listening to the scrapping around of the tidying upstairs, anxiously hoping that the boy can achieve the rather large task that I’ve set, I do wonder is this the way to do it, to teach these lessons of give and take or is there something else I don’t know about?

How Does your Garden Grow? 30/05/13

026

Well even with the lack of warmth and a constant deluge of rain, in the most, my garden is growing…yes growing lots of dandelions. So much so that Tink gathered large bunches of them, on one of our rare sunny days and set a stall at the front gate. You could purchase a beautiful bouquet of yellow for the very reasonable price of a pound. Needless to say I ended up with a large vase of dandelions in the kitchen, although Grandpa, impressed with his entrepreneurial  spirit, did promise down the phone to buy them all for a pound. Something I know Tink will not forget.

However, if we ignore the dandelions there some other lovely blooms starting to appear and the promise of more to come will soon be in evidence. Sorry to say I’m not good with the names so please help out where you can…

028 I love the intense colour of these leaves on this Hazel.

039038This one is unknown to me but I love the striking contrast of the leaves and flowers.052042I love these little heart shapes but don’t know what they’re called. I’m sure the fairies make them into pretty purses though. 058

Blossom and the promise of apples…

024And here is the promise of what’s to come…the Lilac.

Linked up with How does your Garden Grow? at Mammasaurus,

Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?

The Beginning – A Treasured Moment

022As I rack my brain for treasured moments, each memory that pops into my head jostles with the next to be the best. Could it be the “I love you mummy” time, or the first squeezy cuddles times? I especially like the one when the growth specialist Tink was under when he came to us, told us all the love we had given him had made him grow and he was a year later, no longer considered at risk of being abnormally small. For Stig the times are often around the progressive steps, the realisation that a hug when you are sad can make it all better, the meaningful “sorry” and the delight at new experiences. There really are so many but I have managed to pick just one treasured moment to share , the moment it all began for us with the boys.

Mr H and I sat there side by side, our hands interlocked, the grip firm and tight. The shallowness of my breath and tension through my body was not portraying the relaxed confident woman I so wanted to appear. My husband’s leg jiggled up and down and as I always do when his nerves betray him in this way, I leant forward, hopefully inconspicuously, and gently squeezed his knee. Calmly messaging “for god sake hold it together”.

On the sofa opposite us two ladies surrounded by papers and a single photo of two little boys, sat sipping tea and smiling nicely. One we knew well and had shared our most intimate secrets with in the last few months, the other a stranger. The stranger, she held the key that could open the door to the rest of our lives.

We’d talked and talked, answered questions even asked a few ourselves but the meeting was drawing to an end and I could feel the panic setting in. Internally my mind raced “What else could we do to make her give us that key?” Outwardly I forced a wider more ridiculous smile across my face.

Then my brave husband took the plunge “So when do you think you can tell us if we’ve been selected for the boys?”

The stranger smiled, her eyes set on him. “Well as far as I’m concerned it’s a match, they are yours if you would like them”

Exhale, gulp, and reach for air as the salty streams fell. Immediately we fall together, arms entwined sobbing on each other’s shoulders. “Thank you, thank you, thank you” “Thank you, thank you, and thank you”

She handed us the photo of the two little boys, “you can keep this” she said.

We thanked her more as she left and then thanked our social worker as she left.

We stuck the picture on the fridge door and stood and stared at the two wide eyed little urchins before us, our little urchins, our boys Stig and Tink.

To read more Treasured Moments from Adoption Bloggers see The Weekly Adoption Shout Out