On Monday this week I went out for the day. By myself. Totally without company. Sans enfants!
A few weeks ago, Mr Six had suggested that he have the girls for the day one Monday, so that I could go out and have some time to myself. As we home educate, that doesn’t happen very often. It can get complicated enough going to an essential appointment unaccompanied (doctor, dentist, etc) when you are home every day with four children!
But Mr Six was keen for me to have some alone time. Some head space. A bit of time out.
So on Monday morning, without too much advance warning to the girls, off I drove for a day out in a local city. To drink coffee, read some of my book and do a spot of Christmas shopping. The kind of day out where you can potter at leisure, not have to locate the toilets in every cafe and can leave bags lying on the back seat of the car without fear of secrets being discovered!
I had a thoroughly enjoyable few hours out before my body began to feel under the weather again and I headed home. I shopped. I drank good coffee. I had a fab lunch in a brilliant, homely little sandwich bar up a side street in the middle of town. And I bagged most of the girls’ presents that we hadn’t ordered online. Plus a couple for myself. All in all a good day.
I arrived home and thankfully Mr Six and the girls had had a pretty good and fairly uneventful day. He did say that the littlest two had been a bit clingy and fretful, but all ok.
And so Tuesday came. We dropped Mr Six at his wonderful coffee shop workplace and went to meet friends for a play at the local RSPB reserve. It went well, but I was conscious of Little Legs getting cross with Little Bud very quickly and very often. I stayed close and we averted any disasters before they became fully formed.
By the time we arrived home tempers were frayed. Little Legs had tried to get out of her car seat a number of times, I had shouted, Little Bud had been scratched and the bigger two were tense in their seats.
The day degenerated from there. I was feeling decidedly under the weather again (three weeks after first starting to feel poorly) and was struggling to manage the emotions and behaviour flying around.
Sitting here writing this a couple of nights later, I can’t even remember most of the day. Except to say that I cried at least three times before we got to tea time. And when we arrived to collect Mr Six from work, I almost cried again.
It wasn’t a great day. And I was definitely not very therapeutic in my parenting.
And there it is. I hadn’t expected it. Hadn’t seen it coming. Hadn’t thought about it. Hadn’t prepared myself, or Mr Six, or the girls.
I went out.
For a whole day.
On my own.
How dare I!
Little Bud is struggling at the moment, with Little Legs niggling at her pretty constantly. She is fed up of the nasty comments on the sly, often said with a smile on Little Legs’ face. She gets frustrated at being scratched or pinched or hit. We’ve explained why Little Legs often does this and said to just ignore the words, or to come and find us. We try keeping one of them close.
Little Bud is a Mummy’s girl. She was born three short months after my Mum died and she was such an incredible source of joy at a very dark time for us. And she’s always been my Baby. Since Little Legs came home, Mr Six and I have spent time working the implications of this through, with some help from another wonderful post adoption Social Worker at our agency.
Little Legs is only seventeen months into her new family life and doesn’t really understand what has happened to her over the past year and a half. Thankfully we have PAS in place and are having our first meeting with our new PAS Social Worker today (Friday) to start the ball rolling on some support and therapy, both for Little Legs to try and work through some of the anger and hurt and loss and frustration. And for her three sisters, to help them to understand what is going on and why their littlest sister behaves the way she sometimes does.
To help us all to name, understand and manage these Big Feelings that are currently dominating our days.
And so my response is to tell Mr Six that it isn’t worth it. That I can’t handle the payback. The button pushing. The ticcing. The need for constant physical contact. The anger. The tears. Theirs and mine.
And Mr Six counters with “No, we need to do this more often then”.
Oh how I love that man.
He takes my sadness and frustration and moulds it into something constructive. He ‘turns my frown upside down’, as one of our girls said to me this week!
So watch this space…I’m wondering where to go on my next little adventure!