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What am I called?

(99 Posts)
Bananaketchup Wed 04-Sep-13 14:24:05

First day of intros - only 1 1/2 hours but I think it went well and included a kiss from DS and DD giving me a pile of her toys to bring back with me which seemed like a really good sign!

However - I don't know what my name is. FC, SW and DD's therapist are all calling me Banana, to and in front of DCs. As in, 'show Banana this', 'Banana will be back tomorrow'. Therapist has done DD a chart of the intros plan and on every day there are parts with 'FCs name' and parts with 'Banana' written down. When I met FCs we talked very briefly about me being called mummy or mummy Banana, but it wasn't discussed at the intros planning meeting. FCs are first time FCs and LAC SW is new to adoption - my SW isn't but is on holiday. Don't know about the therapist.

I'm not sure if I'm over thinking it, or expecting too much for a first day, I just feel uncomfortable with the adults calling by my name to DCs I think. I know DD has talked about me as her 'forever mummy' but I'm being called by my name by the adults to her. Today she showed me photos and keepsakes from mummy and daddy and of course I'm not going to push her to call me mummy if she doesn't want to, but am I wrong in thinking the adults concerned should be having a go at referring to me as mummy to her?

Sorry if this is a bit muddled, I'm trying to process. Thoughts please.

Moomoomie Sun 15-Sep-13 15:27:02

So glad you are home.
I'm a little confused, have you just adopted a son and daughter or did you already have your son? I thought you were adopting a little girl, probably missed reading something.
Hope things continue to go well. As Lilka suggested batch cooking is a good idea, also a slow cooker is good to use, especially if you have a bit of time in the morning to throw all the ingredients in.

Happiestinwellybobs Sun 15-Sep-13 15:58:19

Glad it's all going well. I remember DD (who was 10 mo) going to my mum, and seemingly preferring her to me. It clicked - she looked a bit like DD's FC.

I would second batch cooking, slow cooker etc. I don't know I'd have managed to cool proper meals. Our first weeks were baby ready meals for DD (i should have had shares in Ella's Kitchen!!) and whatever we could manage to throw together for DH and I whilst utterly exhausted!!

Wishing you the best of luck smile

Kewcumber Sun 15-Sep-13 16:26:39

HeyJudith (and by extension Faeries) - if its any consolation to you the preparation for and common practice around adoption today is probably significantly different to what it might have when you were adopted (unless you are exceptionally younger than the average mumsnetter!).

Airbrushing out of birth parents would be rare these days and certainly on my prep course a lot of focus was spent of how to talk to your child about certain things like birth parents. I think most people these days would expect a child as old as five to take some time to transition to "Mummy" via (as people have suggested "Mummy Kewcumber" if necessary.

I don't know many adoptive parents who need to "get past" not being a birth parent - most of us have had to take some time after failed fertility treatment before even being allowed to apply for adoption and when you add the time the approval process takes, most parents are well over the lack of birth child. Although I must admit there are days I totally forget that DS has not been with me forever but I don't try to airbrush out his birth mother at all. In fact I would give my eye teeth for him to have some contact (although that isn't possible).

I don;t know if that reassures you but I can tell you the adoption has evolved quite significantly over the last 30 years.

Of course we're not perfect and certainly I look back at things I wished I'd done differently.

Bananaketchup Sun 15-Sep-13 21:57:01

Not sure if I'm in the right frame of mind to answer re 'airbrushing birth family'. DD has been angry and defiant and rejecting all day, which is completely understandable, but hard to live with. Upthread you may have read I have lots of photos etc from birth family, including an album with 'until you come back to us' written inside, like I'm an unpaid FC babysitting til 18 when the 'real' family will reclaim DD. I've also got DD innocently telling me that her 'old mummy' said to try to find her as soon as she knows how to work a computer. Birth family have also taught DD nursery rhymes and things and changed the words to identifying details about the birth family, in the hopes it will make her remember names, addresses etc so she can find them sooner. And I deal with that by saying yes, you can find your first mummy when you're 18 if you want to, I will help you, and by encouraging DD that it's okay to miss her birth family and FC and to talk about them. I am tired and vulnerable and unlike the birth family who can be as selfish as they like, I have to and will put DDs needs first and support her with her history and her wishes. So please help me by not assuming I will try to end her connection to birth family, I will not.

Someone upthread said maybe my mum reminds DD of someone in her past, you may well be right. Or maybe her birth grandmother was less frightening or more of a security figure than her mum, or maybe it's safe to try out pushing me away when my mum is there as in her birth family it was mostly mum and grandma who looked after DD so maybe she feels most safe to show how she feels when both new mum and grandma figures are around. Whichever, it's something she needs to do and I need to let her really.

Thanks for the batch cooking suggestions, I am not a natural cook and am learning a bit! My lovely mum has made and frozen some stuff for us, so that'll help til I get my eye in. As well as the more challenging behaviour, DD has been a gem today as she is every day. Poor DS ran into a table to add an injury to the horrible cough he's got, and burst into tears, and she was so sweet with him. Apparently when she's a grown up she's going to be a doctor, go to work on the bus (not in my car cos apparently it's disgusting), and help people get better grin

Kewcumber Mon 16-Sep-13 12:16:49

"I deal with that by saying yes, you can find your first mummy when you're 18 if you want to, I will help you, and by encouraging DD that it's okay to miss her birth family and FC and to talk about them"

All quite right Banana, though hard to deal with - the most important thing at this stage is to promote bonding with you and your family not to be dealing with how to tackle issues of birth family (I know you may have no choice with DD being old enough to remember).

I would add that its important IMO to anchor yourself firmly even in the discussion of birth family by adding "because I will be your mummy forever now" to "I will help you". I would stop singing the nursery rhymes (if you haven't all ready) or switch back to the normal words because she's going to have access to her file at the appropriate age and its really not fair on her to have that hung on her so young. I am sympathetic, particularly if grandmother had no choice about the adoption.

"I am tired and vulnerable" its so hard isn't it - being the bigger person and doing the right thing for your children despite how you feel at times. But you're doing brilliantly so far.

HeyJudith Mon 16-Sep-13 14:12:29

Nobody's assuming anyone is trying to end connection with birth family or airbrush birth family out. What I was saying (from my personal experience only) was that as time went on my adoptive mother felt so increasingly close to us that she found the concept that we had a birth family increasingly odd, whereas we didn't. It wasn't to do with training, or not having a birth child - it was just that in time she found it a bizarre concept that someone else could have had a hand in mothering us in any way because she felt 100% like our mother. So short term (in the first few years) she was perfectly great re our birth family situation - but the longer term (a few years on from that) the birth mother and adoption date was more and more in the past for her and it became increasingly harder for her to attach any current relevance to it. That's all I was trying to say about that.

It takes a lot of time for a child to adjust to changes, I know everyone knows that but children can apparently accept and then regress, then accept, then regress on a situation. So if DD calls you Mummy, then Banana, then Mummy Banana, even weeks/months on, it isn't deliberate or consciously testing you in the way that an adult knows of as testing. It's almost the same as learning to ride a bike or use a toilet - she will get it, then she doesn't, then she does. Please don't feel rejected if she is fantastic with you for weeks and then she wants nothing but your mum for a week - it isn't a reflection on you, it's just her finding her feet and part of the learning process. Don't be surprised or too upset if (for example) she cries for her FC out of the blue after X amount of happy months with you - it's not that she wants to actually go back, but just her coming to terms with things gradually and in her own time. It's not a sprint, it's a walk for life, hand in hand with your DD smile all the time in the world for things to flow naturally. I know you know this but I thought it might help to hear this from an adult adoptee's POV, just to have in mind for the future. Keep in mind the bigger picture all the way. smile All the best xx

Bananaketchup Mon 16-Sep-13 19:21:51

Sorry I threw my toys out of the pram yesterday sad. I'd had a day of well meaning family saying how well she's settling, and saying I'm being negative if I point out how early it is to think that. Then DD refused to go for a wee before bed, and I snapped at her and she cried. I felt like a war criminal for making a scared little girl cry and I came on MN and snapped at other posters as well, sorry. I do appreciate people taking the time to post.

HeyJudith Mon 16-Sep-13 20:12:21

I know
cake
brew
it'll all be fine x

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 16-Sep-13 20:52:58

Hey Banana, feel free to snap away at us here!

DD has always got on very well with my parents. Sometimes almost better than me and DH. We think that a) they remind her of her FC, who were a similar age; and b) they aren't a "replacement mummy" to the one she already had. It must be so frightening for a little one to go to a new family practically overnight, no matter how well planned and executed the introductions.

And although you might have snapped at DD, show me a parent who hasn't, and better that she went rather than wet her bed and get distressed from that.

Hope today went well

Lilka Mon 16-Sep-13 23:43:31

You will have bad days and ALL of us snap sometimes - that ultimately doesn't matter - in fact it just makes you a normal parent. A normaal adoptive parent too.

Have some cake wine brew try and catch a few minutes rest, and tell yourself how well you are doing. Look in a mirror and tell yourself what a good mum you are

Bananaketchup Tue 17-Sep-13 20:42:21

Okay day today, some lovely moments and some 'I don't want you leave me alone' moments. I had to post in response to Lilka's saying 'tell yourself what a good mum you are'. At dinner I told DS off for throwing food and then followed that up by snapping 'what sort of face have you got on?' for good measure when he sulked. Which resulted in DD saying 'maybe he's thinking you're a bad mummy' in such a baleful voice that I laughed instead of crying. It's still making me smile now grin. Didn't get any wine but there was cake and also a cornetto once they'd gone to bed!

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 17-Sep-13 21:06:21

A post bedtime Cornetto! Awesome!!

By the way, the other thing you might notice is saying things your mother used to say... (sorry, don't know what the cure is for that!)

Bananaketchup Thu 19-Sep-13 20:48:38

DD wanted to be a baby today - as in, have me rock her. pretend to change her nappy, had her evening milk in a bottle, had me pretend her bed had cot sides. I usually leave DD in the bath while I get DS dried and today I did it the other way round. When I was drying her (while she was being a baby) I dried her toes and she said 'nanny usually counts them' so we did that a few times and she loved it. I felt sad because it made me notice I dry DS after a bath but DD dries herself and I felt sad I'd not made the effort to do that sooner cos it was lovely. It's just the reality of me being outnumbered by them I know. And by bathtime I tend to be a bit ... depleted. And also up til now she's not seemed to want my help but then maybe that was because she was afraid to ask in case I said no? She pushes me away if I put my arm round her or most affectionate gestures I think she just finds too much or confusing, but it reminded me I need to always offer.

First SW visit tomorrow, we'll see how that goes!

Lilka Thu 19-Sep-13 21:54:05

That sounds wonderful smile My girls have both really benefited from babying. Giving a 12/13 year old DD2 bedtime hot chocolate in a baby bottle (she went through a real 'baby' phase then) was an odd experience at first but was really therapeutic, and helped our attachment. Hope your DD also finds being babied comforting and helpful

It's very normal to alternate between rejecting affection and actively seeking it out. Keep offering and doing what you're doing, she will probably need lots of time till she feels comfortable accepting your hugs and kisses.

Also its completely normal to be very depleted by bathtime. If you aren't completely shattered you're doing fantastic IMHO!

Hope the meeting tomorrow goes well

Bananaketchup Fri 20-Sep-13 21:47:22

DD found SW visit hard. She cried and cried, ostensibly for a toy but she was still crying long after she had it. I think it just brought up too much for her for SW to be here. Also I find SW really wet, she just really ineffectually says 'oh don't you want to talk to me' (answer from DD - NO!) 'oh that's rude DD, you can't speak to people like that...' (DD starts up crying again) etc etc, very wearing and just generally disruptive. Sigh. Also she asked me to make sure I have both children registered with an optician by next week - seriously? Who does that? And when on earth does she think I have time to be ringing opticians when the children are awake?? SWs seem to live on another planet.

Kewcumber Fri 20-Sep-13 22:32:16

Optician?! Seriously - do they have an eye problem? DS has been with me nearly 7 years and he's never been to an optician yet. I didn;t even know they had to be registered I thought you just turned up and booked an appointment if you think its necessary.

Banana stumbled upon this thread, have no advice or experience to offer. Just want to say that you sound like a really lovely mummy. Best wishes to you all.

Andro Sat 21-Sep-13 18:07:34

I remember SW visits well...only too well! I didn't have the same issues with respect to birth family etc because my two were orphaned (DH and I were family who then adopted them) but we had our own issues. I have vivid memories of the early SW visits that resulted in tears/soiled underwear/aggression on the part of DD, plus the anger/frustration/panic attacks/fear from DS. Their SW had the subtlety of a sledgehammer and the compassion of a nuclear bomb - her response to DS talking about his parents was to tell him that his parents didn't interest her and he needed to grow up, think about what was important and answer the questions she asked without more tears. She did huge amounts of damage to both dc, but DS was older so remembers more of it - he never felt safe when she was here.

All you can do is support your DD, comfort her when she's crying (if she'll let you) and maybe have a special treat for after future SW visits so there's a positive bit after (I used to talk to DS just before a visit, tell him who was coming and that we would have xyz after she had gone) but that does depend a bit on how good your DD's association is.

The early days are hard, good luck and stay strong.

Bananaketchup Sat 21-Sep-13 21:21:41

Kew seriously, register with an optician, by next week. Under age 5, and no known eye problems. Neither of them can even read to read the sodding chart! I also thought you didn't need to register you just booked an appointment when you need one - that's all I've ever done.

Dashing that is very kind thank you. I am doing my best to be as good a mum as I can, sometimes I think I'm doing okay and sometimes I think I'm doing really crap!

Andro your SW sounds much worse, that's appalling. I can so see DD telling SW 'we have a treat when you go' but that's not going to stop me trying it!

Tomorrow is DD's birthday. Not sure if it's going to be overwhelming for her. I've tried to make it nice but not too OTT - birthday tea and presents with my parents, aunt, uncle and 2 cousins. I've asked everyone else not to send presents but if they want to send a card to put a photo of themselves in it, so she can see who it's from cos otherwise it's just a load of cards from strangers. I have a feeling either it'll be too much and she won't cope, or I've been overcautious and she'll be disappointed there isn't more fuss (I think FC and birth family at contact went well overboard at birthdays and xmas). Whichever, I dare say I'll be in the wrong at least some of the day, but hopefully she will have a bit of a nice time.

Andro Sat 21-Sep-13 22:30:57

We ended up putting a complaint in about her, we received an apology and she received training and supervision.

WRT your DD's birthday, don't be afraid to remove her for a while and have some quiet time with just you (maybe a story for example) if she seems overwhelmed, under the circumstances I'm sure your family will understand.

Moomoomie Sun 22-Sep-13 14:06:13

Hope dd has a very happy birthday.
You are doing well, one day at a time, one foot in front of the other.

Lilka Sun 22-Sep-13 16:56:49

Happy birthday to your DD smile

Hope it's been going well

namechangesforthehardstuff Sun 22-Sep-13 20:17:43

'You can't speak to people like that'?

To a child who's just been adopted from a social worker?

Am shock

Banana sounds like you are doing really well and working hard to get the balance very good, lovely bathing and drying toes story. All best wishes.

HeyJudith Lovely to hear your perspective.

Bananaketchup Mon 23-Sep-13 19:58:37

DDs birthday went pretty well, I think she was happy with her presents, she was a bit stressed when attention was on her eg didn't want to blow out her candle, didn't open any presents she was given until they were left on the floor and they'd been there at least half an hour and my mum did it with her, refused to have any photos. But she liked her presents I think and had fun playing with her 2 cousins.

Several times since she has checked there is space for more cards on the shelf, asked if the postman has brought any more cards - I think she is wishing/expecting something from BM but won't say sad Cards aren't part of our contact agreement and I will try to explain this to her.

Thanks for posts it helps!

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