May 30 2012 8:23AM
we have known one another for six weeks. Here is a brief review of our highs and lows.
So floreana has been home almost a month. Wow my life has changed!!! I Realise how fast paced and stressful my life used to be and how much slower and relaxed it is now… despite the tantrums and occasional hitting. I have come to the conclusion that being a health professional is not good for my health!!! Although, the slow pace of life with a toddler is not good for my physical fitness either, so whenever I get the chance I jump on the trampoline!
It is time to review how the first month has gone. Certainly It has had its highs and lows.
One of the funniest points was when Floreana complained about a strange noise is my car. It seemed to be coming from the wheel. So we pulled into the garage and asked for the staff to check my wheels and brakes. ‘Ratatat Ratatat’ went the wheels as they spun round. The staff member was lovely. He checked the wheel and found a foreign object…. A snail had somehow got into the wheel hub… poor thing it didn’t make it but we laughed and laughed … I thought the wheel was going to fall off!!!! Floreana took great pleasure in telling everyone what has happened and she points out every snail that we now see, be it in real life or in a book.
The low points have been when Floreana has hit me, re-enacting a situation where she has been hit before. I was not expecting such behaviour from such a calm and kind child so I went into shock. Her language skills are developing at a fast pace so we are able to explore the hitting when it happens. However, she feels shame and always avoids eye contact when she does it. I reinforce that such behaviour is wrong and it’s not nice to hit. She says sorry and we move on. However, I am genuinely worried that these emotive moments could negatively affect her development and increase her chances of developing a disorder for which she has a genetic predisposition. So I always try to be happy and to move onto fun times quickly. It is a real dilemma to which I do not know the answer. Do the normal toddler tantrums cause emotional harm? Do such tantrums and tears reinforce the limbic cycle of pain and negative memories? Will my nurturing enable positive reinforcement and coping strategies to develop? I know the condition that Floreana has a predisposition for certainly has its origins in childhood. Only the future will tell whether she develops it.
So How about my parenting tactics? At first everything went really well. Then the health visitor said to treat her like a normal child and to do the things we would normally do and to ignore the social worker's view that Floreana will regress. So I took her advice, but I should have trusted my instinct. I made the mistake of doing too much and Floreana was terrified. On reflection I recognise the terror but at the time everything was new and I am ashamed to say that I was not so aware of her needs. I now recognise when she needs nurturing as she starts sucking her lips. So at night I give her a bottle as this calms her and in the day we have cuddle time or play attachment style games on the trampoline and giggle together.
Initially, I also made the mistake of calling 'time in' cuddle time and then Floreana didn’t want cuddles so I now call it 'time in' and she likes cuddles again. When she is naughty she talks about the naughty step but we do not use this so I guess she was placed on it before when she was in foster care. Poor wee lamb she is definitely hurting.
Despite the lows, Floreana remains the love of my life. I am eternally grateful for the very good match! J