Friday, June 14, 2013

Stresshead!

We've got a lot going on at the moment - an impending house move, complete with rafts of builders, plumbers, electricians and decorators to sort out, not to mention fixing up the house we're currently living in, ready to rent out after we move.  Lots of organising, juggling, liaising and writing cheques . . . big, big cheques!

And then, of course, there's the prospect of moving NB on to his new Mummy right in the middle of it all, which will involve several days in a hotel as new Mummy lives a considerable distance away.  Booking the hotel has been a nightmare as it is wedding season, and our stay will include a Saturday night.  In the end we had to settle for a place in the next town, so there will be lots of driving in an unfamiliar environment for me.

So much packing and sorting.  As if packing up the whole house for the move wasn't bad enough, I also need to sort out all of NB's clothes, toys and books, ready for him to take with him.  Then there's his paperwork, memory box, scrapbook, and all the other little things that will need to be prepared for him so that in the future he has some chance of looking back to his past and being able to 'see' it clearly.  And to make it just a little bit more difficult, I'm trying to do all of this packing and sorting in such a way that the boys don't notice everything disappearing so that NB, in particular, is not disrupted any more than he needs to be prior to his big move.

Oh, and our central heating boiler has been intermittently broken for over a week now (I keep hoping it will magically fix itself!) and then the other day my letting agent phoned to say that the tenant that lives in my old house (yes, I'm a property magnate thanks to our sluggish house market!) had reported that the boiler there is broken too.

I'm not normally a stressy person.  I probably come across quite 'on the edge' sometimes just because I'm loud and fast-talking and rather overtly passionate about everything but, in my head, I'm usually pretty sorted and relaxed about things.  I'm the complete opposite of the serene swan paddling madly underwater!  More like a motheaten duck flapping my wings about crazily while my hidden feet are smooth and measured, propelling me along without needing to be tended to.

However, driving over to the new house the other morning, with the text from the boiler repair man fresh on my phone (burnt out circuit board  . . . prepare to write a big cheque!), and knowing that I was going to have to have conversations with my builder where I'd be required to make loads of decisions about fiddly things like what handles I want on my kitchen cupboards, or what paint colours I want on the walls, my head just sort of went BOOM!

It was only a temporary glitch - like a contained explosion in a lead-lined box - and it was over very quickly but, for the first time in all of this hassle, I'll admit that for a moment there I did feel genuinely stressed out!  By the time I arrived at the house, equilibrium was restored and I was able to tell the builder that I have no strong feelings about kitchen door handles but would be happy to look at some samples, and just to paint all the walls white!

I wonder if this is what happens in NB's head sometimes?  I think my life is being turned upside down at the moment, but it's nothing compared to what's about to happen to him.  He's seen the DVD and the photo album that his new Mummy has prepared and he seems to like them.  Sometimes he asks for them again, but sometimes he says, "No like it!".  Sometimes he wants to talk about new Mummy, but sometimes he says "No Mummy!" and puts his sulking face on.

New Mummy emailed me this week and asked me for tips on how to prepare NB for the experience of missing me and OB after he moves.  I have nothing - but any of your suggestions would be gratefully received!  I've made him a scrapbook with photos of us all, and we'll be sending special gifts from us that he can keep as he grows older, but how can I prepare him for that when I'm fairly sure that he doesn't really understand what's going on?

Of course we've watched the DVD and talked about sleeping in his new bed with the train on it, and playing on his bike in the lovely garden.  He likes the idea of these things, but I'm pretty sure that none of that equates to 'I'm leaving here and never coming back' in his head.  In just over two weeks I'm going to drop him off at that house with the train bed and the lovely garden, give him a kiss and say bye bye, and then walk out of his life.  How can I prepare him for that?

NB approaches stressful or unfamiliar situations by going completely quiet and still, like a little frightened dormouse, all motionless and watchful, but with a heart fluttering madly inside.  Then, at some future, unrelated time, he will present me with a series of meltdowns that crash into our family like tsunamis.  So I've no doubt that he will appear to handle all of these changes with complete equanimity, taking everything in his stride and lulling us all into a false sense of security.

But inside his head?  BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

6 comments:

  1. hope that inbetween the boom boom boom in his head you continue to be able to bring calm that his level of understanding will be much deeper than we can ask or imagine. all the best for the hotel stays. I did it last summer for introductions. not easy. xx

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    1. Did you go to introductions on your own? I'm feeling for NB's new Mummy too as she has to travel so far on her own, and then spend much of the first few days alone too. I keep imagining her stressing about the first meeting before it happens, and then going over and over it afterwards with nobody to talk to! How did you cope?

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  2. Hi! Okay, not sure this will help entirely with missing you, but maybe a small bit on the transition and in the evening as that can be a time when insecurities are prominent.
    I had this idea about starting a story. The story would have absolutely nothing to do with new moms/family or anything like that. I’m thinking more an adventure. It could be based on whatever your little one is obsessed with – fish, dinosaurs, whatever.
    So let’s say it’s based on fish because he likes sharks. So you will have the first half of the story that you will tell each nite for the amount of time you have left with him. Then, his new mom will have the second half of the story.
    So the story will be about an adventure of the wise old shark (dinosaur or whatever). The Wise Shark goes searching magical rocks. (Give the little one a magical rock to hang on to). The magical rock is what makes the Wise Shark wise. He meets other fish. He get trapped. Add in whatever details your little one can handle or will like. But leave a bit of a cliffhanger and tell him that he will get the ending to the story later. The day of the change, have his new mom tell him that she knows the rest of the story.
    Your little one will have the magical rock he got from you. Easy thing to keep in a pocket, easily replaced if lost etc.
    You could do video of you doing the first half of the story, but if that is inappropriate then it’s still okay. His new mom will know exactly how you tell it. (Type it up for her.)
    Second half of the story, the Wise Shark overcomes the cliffhanger etc. She could even have more of the magical rocks to give him.
    Also, if he’s having a difficult time, the Wise Shark could have answers to questions he whispers in his new mom’s ear. Then the Wise Shark answers those questions in a note the next morning after he sleeps. His new mom reads him the note.
    You could do a lot of variations on this to make it work for what you think is appropriate.

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  3. Wow - what an awesome idea! I love, love, love the idea of a story that new Mummy carries on and completes, together with a keepsake to hold on to. I reckon there's just enough time to introduce something before he goes :-)

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  4. I think you seem to be coping really well when your life is exceptionally busy and some very key events are occurring for all of you. The fact that you've had one moment of boom seems completely normal. My youngest sounds very like NB, never cried, complained, was still and quiet for a long time. Now he has massive meltdowns and is finally letting it all out which is good. I'm sure NB will get there one day and the support and care you've given him will have helped.
    Thanks for being part of The Weekly Adoption Shout Out. xx

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  5. Wow, you are BUSY!!!
    Skype is wonderful especially being far away. He will be able to see that you are still there and haven't forgotten him at the same time he'll be able to show you his new house, new toys etc.
    Also, there is a strategy called "Social Stories" It was designed by a lady named Carol Gray specifically for kids on the Autism spectrum but I have used them many times for all kids (including mine) and find they work wonders.
    You basically write your own, very simple, short story on a topic of what is going to happen in a certain situation. It's short and simple and to the point. I usually google images and cut and paste or use photographs you have to add to the story (just a few)
    The idea is that they tell the child what is socially acceptable, or what will happen, and you read it to them as much as suited (once a day for several days leading up to the event, several times a day etc.) but particularly right before the situation.
    They can be about anything..."when I go to the dentist" "how to stand in line" "when I'm adopted"....
    There is a very specific and laid out way by Carol Gray on how to write them, but I find if you read through a few you can get the idea and write them yourself.
    The biggest rule is to avoid using words like must, going to, I will etc. in regards to telling the child how to behave because you don't want them to feel bad if they can't live up to standards but at the same time you need to tell them what is expected sometimes. So instead say things like I will try etc.
    Here's an example of one I wrote for Jonathan because every time we left the hospital from speech therapy he would become, ummm...crazy. Apparently he had some not so great times there with foster parents so I wanted to reassure him he was safe, so I wrote him a story and it worked fabulous!

    Sometimes I go to the hospital to practice talking with Davine.

    Before I go talk with Davine, mom and I eat lunch in the cafeteria.

    After I eat lunch I go upstairs and wait in the waiting area.


    When I go to talk with Davine, I need to try to remember to walk, stay with mom and use my manners.

    These are important rules to keep me safe and be polite.

    If I don't follow the rules, I may get a consequence like a time out or no special treats.
    When I am finished talking with Davine, I leave the hospital with mom.

    I always leave with mom because she is my family and keeps me safe.

    We walk to the car and go home together.


    I hope that helps a bit!!
    Good luck!

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