Fight, flight or freeze…our Little Legs is a proper feisty little monkey! Ever since she came home just over a year ago, Little Legs’ response to a threat, an unknown, a lack of sleep, an emotional experience, has been to fight. Now she isn’t a violent child at all. We get rumbling low level aggression, usually targetted at one of her big sisters, occasionally at me or Mr Six. Mostly hitting, scratching, hair pulling, some biting.
Her go to for expressing her fear is usually raging meltdowns. Screaming, spitting, crying, shouting. Bless her, she often rages with eyes glistening with fear. She definitely scares herself with the depth of her emotion. Birthdays have triggered the raging. Too much socialising with friends or meeting new friends often sets it off. Tiredness can cause a meltdown.
This last couple of weeks have been tricky, to say the least. We’re off on holiday very soon. it seems to be causing major rumblings, bless her. This week we had an afternoon of her lying on the (tiled) kitchen floor in her pants, screaming and complaining that it was too cold, but refusing to move because I dared to suggest she get up and put her clothes back on. I put the radio on and sang along loudly, which seems to have a calming effect. Am sure it’s the amusement at me belting out songs, rather than my ’therapeutic’ singing voice!
We’ve already managed a fantastic first family holiday to Center Parcs five months ago. We managed to strike a balance between building up excitement for our big three girls, which is really important for them, and preparing Little Legs for the relative unknown of a new home for five days, a new bedroom which she will share with her biggest sister, eating out together, lots and lots and lots of swimming and generally just making different family memories in a new place. We had already been to that Centre Parcs twice before Little Legs came home, so the girls’ advance knowledge and experiences definitely helped calm and prepare her.
This time we are staying in a friend’s flat, while they are away on holiday. In a city we’ve never been to. The girls are excited, as it’s a holiday and the flat complex has a swimming pool! They are hoping to swim every day. At least once 😉
But Little Legs is letting us know that she is worried. Nervous. She’s firing off all over the place. Today we’ve kept her close and everything has been simple and uncomplicated. She has chosen the food she wants to eat. She has picked toys and games to play. And she has still found everything hard. And wrong. And frustrating. And exhausting.
We’ve cancelled social activities and visits to meet up with friends this last week or so. The thought of accepting offers to meet up with other adopters and friends who live near our holiday location is so tempting. And a really really lovely thought. But right now, we’re
just about keeping Little Legs’ anxiety contained. We’re not helping to get rid of it, because we can’t. Until we get there.