Adoption is an Option I decided to choose. I journey into becoming a New Mummy. From being adopted myself, single and older to adopter. A dream fullfilled for a New Mummy and her new daughter. A Family at Last. To last. Forever.
Almost a year ago, when I was meeting PJ for the first time, I was told that PJ rarely said sorry. She would hurt others or break things and would never say sorry. We have worked on this a lot over this year and I guess my continuing to work on the empathy and embed the principle of saying sorry alongside PJ being a year older, has helped.
I often will help her say sorry, similar to how I help her clear up after a meltdown, or simply to tidy up - we do it together.
Sometimes, she has said sorry - often to the cat, Smudge, after his tail has been pulled, or I have seen her say sorry to others when she has accidentally bumped into them and she will now often say sorry spontaneously when she bumps into me - as can often happen as she is still not too spatially aware!
During the summer, we have frequented playgrounds and played with friends and family, so sometimes we have had plenty of opportunity to practise the art of being sorry, with a good degree of success.
These moments are great - other times, have been very funny, even if we have clearly missed the mark, dramatically.
Whilst with family, a cousin got hurt and I asked PJ to say sorry, once I had made sure both PJ and the cousin were OK and suggested to PJ that she might go and say sorry. I watched her sidle over to the other side of the room and watched... and waited...
For a moment, I thought she might clock her cousin, again, as she sometimes does to other children.
She seemed calm and they appeared to just be standing next to each other.
I asked PJ if she had said sorry and she shook her head.
I suggested that as he was near by, that now might be a good time.
There was a pause.
It seemed to last for ages.
Again, I said to PJ: are you ready to say sorry, yet?
Nearly, came the reply.
Most of the adults around the edge of the room, sniggering, as I desperately tried to hold back the laughter and to help my little girl make her peace with her cousin.
this week, we were at a local playground, where PJ was in a tunnel on a climbing frame. Another child had blocked her way through and I talked her out through the other way, successfully avoiding a confrontation. Phew.
A few minutes later, another child did the same, again.
Whether it was frustration or the timing of it happening to PJ again in the same tunnel, I am not sure but it quickly resulted in this other small being kicked in the head by PJ.
I saw it happening and tried to calm PJ quickly and help both the small child and PJ out of the tunnel. The small child, sobbing, was quickly rescued and taken away by her mother and I carried PJ out of the tunnel and began calmly telling her that we don't kick and that I was sorry she couldn't get through the tunnel and that we can' t kick and that she had done well to come with me and to be so calm but we can't hurt other people and that she was only little and was hurt, so we should go and see if she is OK together and say sorry.
PJ was looking a bit shy and so I said we would do this together and suggested that she could perhaps say sorry now?
She hung her head, briefly and then looked up and put her hand to her throat and said in a rather croaky voice:
Err no, I've lost my voice that says sorry.
Once again, I stoically turned to the still crying small child and her parent and said that I would say sorry for her and as I said sorry, I saw the mum had her head down and her shoulders were shaking.
she said it was the funniest comment she had ever heard!
PJ loves her Purple Sparkly Shoes.
After all, we chose them together, when she had her last shoe fitting, along with another similar pair, that we got as a backup, spare pair.
Here they are:
Gorgeous, aren't they?
No wonder she chose them and loves them.
Purple and sparkles, who could ask for more in a shoe?
Anyway, I will sometimes give a limited choice to which pair of shoes might wear by asking: which shoes would you like to wear today, your dotty shoes or your purple sparkly ones?
Usually, the reply is: my Purple Sparkly ones.
Usually, it all goes OK.
Except on this day.
PJ wanted to wear her purple sparkly shoes and I couldn't find them.
I hunted high and low and looked everywhere.
She had to wear different shoes, her spotty ones.
She wasn't happy.
Lots of tears and protests.
With the other shoes successfully on, we went out for the day.
I asked her to have a real good look for the purple sparkly shoes with me, later, but we still didn't find them.
The next day, I asked her again if she knew where the sparkly purple shoes were.
Over the fence, came the reply.
Thankfully, we love books in our house. Bedtime and let's wriggle and sit on the sofa for a little while time and we there is nothing quite like a little book to read.
PJ came with lots of books and she got some for Christmas and Birthday but I spotted two books and thought they would be perfect for the summer holidays, given our success with the news and the impact this tiny baby has had on our wee household!
We have read the Queens Knickers and it has become a loved book to share and I am delighted to say that we love this one too
Our fast becoming favourite one, though is this one. I like the helicopter bits by Wills and the party planning by Harry and Pippa, I have to say.
Does anyone else love camping but hate the trauma of being wet and all that entails? You know the scenario - I have the memory of it firmly imprinted on my mind for a lifetime of camping experiences - you arrive and spend ages pitching your tent and then wake in the night cold and wet, or as once happened to me, you awake to a river seemingly running through your tent, or a storm comes while you are out for the day and your borrowed tent has almost collapsed and now has water on the inside that you have to bail out of all the water and then eventually sleep elsewhere, somewhat defeated. One time, I slept in my parents awning on their caravan but that blew away, so I ended up having to sleep in the caravan. I haven't had great experiences of camping, it has to be said.
Well, I like camping but the memories of getting wet and being miserable, almost outweigh the fun of being with friends, relaxing, turning your friends tent around for fun, beautiful countryside, taking life at a slower pace and singing and telling stories around a bbq and a campfire into the wee hours..... and then the bit where you have to put everything away, wet, only to have to hang it out inside, at home again, to dry. For days. And then pack it all away. Again.
Only to repeat this, all over again, the following year!
So, now I have PJ and thought I ought to attempt re-new my friendship with camping again, as I haven't been camping for a couple of years - and have even tent my tent to some friends, in denial of going again. I have tossed and turned over it and decided that I couldn't pitch a tent myself. My tent is not easy to put up on your own. Especially with PJ, at the moment, she would try and help for a few minutes, I am sure and then probably run off with some poles and use them to fish with, in the nearest available puddle. I couldn't bear the thought of it all and the stress and the getting wet.... but maybe there was a fun way to do it - at least as a trial - and to stay dry?
Then I got inspired and my creative juices got going....
Indoor Glamping at home!
We both got new sleeping bags, which I found here, and I also got us a funky collapsible bucket and a scrunchy bucket each so we could each practise carrying water to do the washing up outside, just like real camping. the company delivered really fast too - so I had no excuses!
Then I built our indoor tent.
I used 3 x double sheets
2x indoor clothes dryers/airers.
battery LED pretty fairy lights.
I used 1 x sheet over each dryer/airer on each side, which helped cover the sides of our tent and seemed to help the tent top sheet over the top of the dryer/airer to not slip. This top sheet we folded up in top during the day and then hung it over the dryer/airer at night to give a darker effect.
I hung 2x small sets of funky butterfly indoor lights over the clothes airer.
We used camping lanterns and torches at night.
I cooked on top of the oven as I don't have a camping stove, we used the bbq and ate outside and washed up in a bowl outside, just like real camping.
We even tried smores...
I have to say, the hardest part was the going to sleep part and after the first night we were both tired the next day and for me, the lounge floor seemed to be really uncomfortable. It wasn't as bad the second night!
It was really, really, enjoyable. And dry. Our tent was very easy to put up and to take down and we had our luxury item too - telly - as our special treat - and watched a DVD on the floor in our new sleeping bags at night - which made the settling down and going to sleep a little easier!
anyone else done some indoor glamping?
Or have an easy idea for pitching a tent single handed?
I'm thinking of trying a log pod/wigwam on a campsite.....
We have been having fun dressing up as pirates at a local Fun Day!
A brilliantly run drop in day, with lots of activities to try and to join in with.
I didn't have to plan anything.
I just went with the flow.
We went with friends and had a picnic in the park.
And it was free.
And no tidying up to do.
Pj loves gardening. Well, she loves digging, to be precise. We went to a local Gardening club and came home with this lovely wee garden that we made together!
It has a cardboard turret tower covered with foil, which is then decorated with a permanent marker pen.
We put soil in the base of the seed tray and then placed our tower into the garden.
We added some ivy for the princess ladder and another flowering plant in the garden.
We used gravel to make a gravel path and added some bark chips and some grass seed.
PJ loved the digging and adding the soil and needed a lot of persuasion to complete the rest.
It is fit for a Prince or a Princess.
Beware of the dragons, though!
Watch this space and I will try and post a photo of the garden as it grows!
The phone rang - it was PJ's social worker 25 minutes after the court hearing for the Adoption Order Hearing was scheduled. Congratulations! they said, It is all done!
Who is it? PJ asked and then asked if they were coming. No, not today, I said but added that they called with some very special news.
Can you tell me?
Yes, I can tell you.
It is very exciting. Every one really does say yes. You really are PJ and you will be forever. I really am your Mummy and will be forever. I will always be your Mummy and you will always be with me now.
Wow. That's amazing, you say.
I love my beautiful name, you say.
When I am a grown up, I won't be PJ anymore. If I get married. Well, yes, you might change your name if you get married, yes, but I will always be your Mummy.
When I am grown up, I will live in a big house and you will come and stay for 6 sleeps and then go back home to your own bed.
We then choose some biscuits together to take to our toddler group to share.
Everyone will be so happy that I really am PJ.
Today is a happy day, you say.
When we get home, you run to stroke the cat, Smudge.
You sit next to him and tell him that we are family now.
Smudge just stares but stays, obligingly, perhaps a little in shock.
We are a family now.
A very happy family, indeed.
We are embarking on the long Summer Holidays, our first together, with our belts fastened and buckles tied. I have decided that with the transition to Big School being imminent, that I would maintain a level of consistency with PJ and so she would still go to Nursery for her usual Nursery days for the few days a week that she goes, throughout the usual 5 week summer break.
My method for this madness is to not break the routine I have fought so hard to create throughout this year, particularly in the areas of getting dressed and getting out of the house and also the routine of being used to having some days without Mummy, as we are about to embark on another change for PJ - the transition from Nursery to Big School.
I have told her, alongside all the visits to Big School, that she will still be living with me when she goes to Big School, that she won't be going to another new family. Oh, she said. She had clearly, and sadly, associated the talk of going to Big school with the move from her previous nursery being with a move to a new Mummy.
We will have some special days out and I have the flexibility to swap a nursery day or to pull her out of a nursery Day if I wanted to, whilst still maintaining some sense of continuity, consistency, routine, the familiar in amongst the hype of change that the school summer holidays brings.
We have days out planned with friends and family and friends coming to stay and we are going to friends to stay for a few overnight stays. I have also planned an indoor camping night which she is very excited about, too!
This summer, our first summer holidays together is not a time to rock the boat!
Day trip with some family, on a boat that was pulled along by a horse along the canal. A great day trip - almost relaxing - added to with the merriment of PJ yelling over the side of the boat excitedly to her cousins that she could see sharks!