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The boys had been with us for a couple of weeks when it happened. It had seemed to be going fairly smoothly (apart from thinking I had lost the eldest - top tip: never play hide and seek in a strange playground), and, permanent state of exhaustion aside, we were all adjusting to our new lives. Or in a state of shock... take your pick.
In this age of fake news, perhaps I need to re-evaluate my feelings about lies. I hate them. I have a thing about lying, cheating and everything else to do with falsehood.
And I know we are not supposed to use the L word, but I do. Something that’s dishonestly made up is a lie. I know that’s not therapeutic, but, like I said, I have a thing about it. How can I be therapeutic for something I need therapy about?
Enough of me. This is actually about my otherwise delightful son, who is very much into lies.
I took The Great Behaviour Breakdown course to manage his behaviour. Tell him you know how angry he is, they said in the classroom.
Jump up and down with him when he’s angry, they said.
Try to get him spinning, they said. It regulates the vestibular system in his brain.
I jumped. I spun. I shouted.
“I would be so angry too,” I shouted. And my son screamed at me, so high and shrill and then he hit me harder and opened his jaws as if to bite. It made it worse.
At half term, I decided to put one of my kids in clubs while the other had 1:1 time with me. The elder went first and all was well, as I had expected. After a day away from his brother, with whom he is locked in war, he felt nourished, attended to, happy. I had been able to let him make more choices than usual and he really rose to that.
The youngest, however, presented me with a very different day out.
I am in a really privileged position. Pre-adoption, I made it my mission to travel as much as possible and when I adopted I understood that this part of my life would end. But, surprise surprise, my six year-old came to me with a desire to travel and begging for a passport.
Adopters seem to me to be a particularly squeezed segment of the squeezed generation. Often older parents, they soon care not only for their new child(ren) but also their ailing and aging parents. I’ve been observing this from a safe distance. Marvelling at the resilience and strength of these adopters.