Jolly Routine

12 Apr

We have a family villa in Spain that Pickle has now been to 3 times. Each time his behaviour has, without doubt, improved.

The first time we boarded a plane as a foursome was just 4 months after he moved in with us. It was against the advice of social workers and how right they were. It was too soon to subject him to such a drastic change in routine, albeit a short-term one. It didn’t matter how much we explained that we would be returning home and that we would all stay together forever. The words ‘home’ and ‘forever’ meant nothing to him. How could they?

The days of that first holiday were at best filled with full-blown, shoe-lobbing tantrums. Door-kicking became the favourite sport along with long-distance, over-the-table spitting. The only blessing was that the inhabitants of the local Spanish village were quite obviously baffled by his intricate use of the English language. The empathetic smiles seem to translate universally, however. I found the aviator shades invaluable for avoiding eye contact, hiding embarrassment and masking the unavoidable watery eyeballs.

We’ve moved on leaps and bounds since then. Of course, his constant need for security is ever prevalent.

Once again, our jolly holiday in Spain – although jollier – was not as jolly as it could have been. Pickle was thrown backwards again with this latest change in his routine His inappropriate bravado and insolence bounced on the surface blanketing his fears and apprehension.

To those who loosely know Pickle, he is the bubbly, less-than-reticent cutie pie with eyelashes like palm fronds. His unconcealed affection, though ridiculously charming and lovable, is uncharacteristic of what you would expect from the average child/almost-stranger relationship. But to a child to whom strangers have always been introduced as ‘friends’ or ‘trusted adults’ (social workers, family finders, contact centre workers), his open friendliness could be considered somewhat understandable. Those who know him more intimately are aware that his terrified interior is in fact just playing out a rather brash, swaggering external role. It’s perplexing, testing and extremely wearisome.

Ashamedly, patience isn’t always the first thing to jump to the fore when his impertinent manners surface. I get frustrated, I over-analyse, I want to scream. In all honesty, I often do. Then I go away and kick myself for my lack of understanding and inability to see the feelings behind the behaviours. I berate myself for my reactions and my undeniable over-reactions.

Then I sigh, and start again.

We’re home. Routine is in full force and today Pickle’s first words were “Mummy, do you like being back home? I do.”

Then I sighed, and smiled.



9 Responses to “Jolly Routine”

  1. Suzy Norman Writes April 13, 2012 at 09:35 #

    So important to be a self-reflective parent and not just with adopted children (but esp so with them). You’re certainly that. Hope you had a lovely holiday for the most part.

    • permanentlyinapickle April 13, 2012 at 09:56 #

      Thanks Suzy. Often it more like self-whipping :). It was indeed a lovely holiday and we are continuing to move forward. We managed to spend several afternoons at the beach, which we haven’t been able to do before. Thanks again.

  2. Jennifer Duncan (@LuvFoodCookFood) April 13, 2012 at 14:06 #

    I think what you are doing is very brave and I think Pickle is very lucky. However I think “Mummy, do you like being back home? I do” sums up your relationship and tells me that you are doing a brilliant job. 🙂

  3. Threebecomefour April 13, 2012 at 17:36 #

    Bless him for being glad to be home and bless you for being able to reflect on your parenting. No-one is a perfect parent but you sound like you do amazingly well and have a huge understanding of your son. Change in routine is hard for all our children. Our first holiday in Spain was a nightmare for the first 36 hours!

    • permanentlyinapickle April 13, 2012 at 19:05 #

      Sometimes inching backwards, but predominantly going forwards. *touches wood 🙂

  4. Stix April 13, 2012 at 19:58 #

    Definite progress! x

  5. ellengantley April 14, 2012 at 18:27 #

    aw claire iv seen such a change as well give yourself a big pat on the back and your two little helpers as well xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  6. twoplusmunch April 15, 2012 at 18:47 #

    Our son has been home just over 2 yeas now and we have been away in this county several times each time getting better, at Feb half term we ventured to Florida for a week and your son asking if you liked being home reminded me of when we arrived at the airport to come home and how excited he was we were coming home.

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