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Christmas survival thread

(101 Posts)
Jellycatspyjamas Tue 12-Dec-17 16:09:51

So, I'm thinking we could do with a place to vent about the particular joys of parenting adopted children through the Christmas season. For my two it's our first Christmas together so knowing what Christmas "looks like" to them, minefields to side step and general sensory and emotional overload is stretching my patience to it's limits.

So far this week my 6 year old threw an almighty tantrum yesterday because she wanted a snack, didn't want a snack, wanted tv bit not that tv, had to wear uniform to school, didn't want breakfast but did want cereal. She also cried all the way home from school today for no apparent reason other than I hugged her back when she hugged me.

My 4 year old has asked about birth mum for the first time, his foster carers and "what happens when I need another new family".

I suspect it's the emotional onslaught that is Christmas but I could do with some humour to keep me sane.

What's the most endearing, funny, bizarre or just plain hard reaction you're dealing with. winecakeflowers to those of us picking our way through the festive season.

bostonkremekrazy Wed 13-Dec-17 07:37:33

Its 7.30am - can I go back to bed now?
Xmas concert season....need I say more shock

Jellycatspyjamas Wed 13-Dec-17 08:21:03

And Christmas jumper day. For preschool, my uniform wearing P2 was not remotely impressed that she can't wear hers.

exercisejunkie Wed 13-Dec-17 08:41:11

Feel your pain!!

Having a child placed a month before xmas is no picnic either! The "awwww what a magical time" "you will have such precious memories" brigade are all soooo far from the mark it's not funny!!

bostonkremekrazy Wed 13-Dec-17 08:46:22

last year we had a baby placed 10 days before....we went on hols and told nobody grin
the big kids loved it!....family were like shock when we returned with an extra!!!

UnderTheNameOfSanders Wed 13-Dec-17 11:33:21

Jelly Just to let you know that loads of children are struggling through the last 2 weeks of term it has been sooooooo looooooong! (But yes I know yours might be suffering more than most).

We survive Christmas as follows:
- no decorations up until after term has finished
- no unnecessary hype, keep low key
- spread presents out so it doesn't get overwhelming. (the first year we took a week over them)
- some quiet time of Christmas day - eg DVD watching
- be clear to DC what to expect (especially with respect to whether Father Christmas brings stockings, 1 big present etc), as 'expectations' may have been set previously. Do this early, not on Christmas eve!
- we found the first year that we didn't really know what DD1 would want very well, so more cheaper presents meant something would be a hit even if not what we expected

Most importantly take time to enjoy it grin

Kr1st1na Wed 13-Dec-17 12:22:10

I strongly agree with keeping it low key.

I know this is very hard, esp if this is your first Christmas with children at home. If you have spent many Christmases hoping for a family to share it with . So it’s a bit tough when someone comes along and says the words “ low key “.

And it’s hard when all they family members want to visit because they love their new grandkids / nieces and are just SO happy for you. But you have to limit these visits because the kids can’t cope . And people misunderstand your motives for doing so.

I think it helps to recognises our own hopes , dream and expectations for this time of year and to allow ourselves some time and space to grieve these. Its ok to feel that loss and talk about it somewhere safe.

Jellycatspyjamas Wed 13-Dec-17 13:20:31

Yeah, my two are already struggling with overwhelm - low key and flexible are definitely how we're going to play it, which is fine tbh because we're still early days and feeling a bit knackered and overwhelmed ourselves so some family time will be a good thing.

Funny how people just don't get how hard it is for our kids though. My girl had 4 crying spells before she even got to school this morning - yesterday at tea we were doing "best and worst" and her "worst" was crying all the time - poor soul is tearful all the time, doesn't know why and doesn't like crying.

I know I will enjoy parts of it - seeing Christmas through their eyes and spending time with them as a family will be so lovely but with a healthy dose of trauma and upset for good measure!

UnderTheNameOfSanders Wed 13-Dec-17 13:54:40

School is very hectic this time of year. Off timetable, shows, dinners etc. If necessary talk to the school re giving them quiet space, or bringing them home early or whatever if they aren't coping.

My 13yo (home for 10 years) is shattered.

Kr1st1na Wed 13-Dec-17 14:11:09

Jelly cat - it’s good that your 4yo is able to talk about her thinking about moving to another family. Whereas it soduhs like 6yo has to act things out more.

Can you talk about it with 4yo when 6yo is present ? Personally I would talk about concrete things that she can relate to , like when she starts school / goes into P3 / goes to high school / starts rainbows .

I’d also explore her beliefs about why children move families.

“ Forever “ is vey abstract when you are 4.

Jellycatspyjamas Wed 13-Dec-17 14:33:47

Yeah, we do a lot of conversations in front of the other, my DD just doesn't have the words or processing capacity yet, on many ways her little brother is more emotionally literate. The school are good at planning her day to have plenty of quiet time and know the things that tend to challenge her - she's a classic case of "all behaviour is communication" so we hold her tight, set clear boundaries and ride out the storm until she can talk about it. Poor soul, I can't begin to think about how you go about processing her last six months or so.

fatberg Wed 13-Dec-17 15:41:36

Fatberg’s Top Tip: limit sugar.

Also, YY to low key. First year DC were here (placed early Nov) tree went up Xmas eve and came down 27th.

These days we’re able to do Xmas relatively normally, but normal for us is always low key. Too much excitement never ends well so low key is way of life now.

Ketzele Wed 13-Dec-17 16:49:07

It does feel like Christmas has gone a bit beserk now - when I were a nipper it kind of kicked off mid December, now it's end November. There's just too much on: pantos, dance shows, carol services etc. I try to get my two to see Christmas as a month of fun, rather than building their expectations that one day will be the most magical day of the year, and I try to keep that fun lowkey when I can. So going for walks and scoring people's house decorations (quietly!), carols rather than panto, carefully structuring Christmas Day and reminding them what the rituals are etc.

nevermindthebedsocks Wed 13-Dec-17 20:49:03

Being that mum that quietly seethes as people take photos of the various nativities and concerts. The schools are great at being firm with instructions but I twitch at the people that go ahead regardless. They can take photos at the end of their child only.
And the general huge overexcitement and tears; not sure that’s unique to adopted children though!

Kr1st1na Thu 14-Dec-17 13:52:47

Top nativity tip is facepaint. Makes then unrecognisable in photos.

Of course you have to persuade the school to have several animals / angels with facepaint.

I know someone whose adopted 3yo has a sparkly butterfly almost every time she goes to a large shopping centre, the panto etc .

Assuming your child doesn’t have sensory issues / hates facepaint / is allergic ( like mine ).

fatberg Thu 14-Dec-17 16:42:27

If Christmas isn’t raising your blood pressure already, the annual ‘photos in nativity’ AIBU is now live.

Mintylizzy9 Thu 14-Dec-17 20:44:13

face paint for nativity.........................£2.00
Costume for nativity........…................£8.00
Underpants (in bin, full of shit) x2.....£3.00
Tissues for tears n snot.....................£1.50
3 hour meltdown once home............ priceless

It's not just any nativity, it's an adoption nativity.

Just got him to sleep and ordered a pizza and sipping a g & t feeling slightly shellshocked and guilty that I didn't cancel the day at 7 am when he was clearly anxious 😩

PoppyStellar Thu 14-Dec-17 21:27:08

I made the mistake of reading the nativity AIBU. I should have known better and just left it alone but by god some people are stupid and selfish. There were a whole load of regular posters from this board making extremely good points and still the idiots kept coming. It's right raised my blood pressure!!

PoppyStellar Thu 14-Dec-17 21:29:20

And flowers for you minty because that sounds like a hard day. If it's any consolation we've not long had a 20 minute full on meltdown here because I wouldn't let her cuddle a plastic water bottle in bed. I should have picked my battles and let it go...

fatberg Thu 14-Dec-17 21:29:54

I did say it was bad for blood pressure! 😀🤪😉

PoppyStellar Thu 14-Dec-17 21:50:05

I have been enjoying your comments though fatberg grin so every cloud and all that!

fatberg Thu 14-Dec-17 22:16:01

I’ve had a crap day, am venting here instead of home. 😀

B1rdonawire Thu 14-Dec-17 22:38:05

Are we done yet? School snow closure disruption plus all the Christmas stuff = two hour meltdown because I wouldn't let her poke my tummy button for the fiftieth time while I was cooking supper

It is a miracle I haven't stripped all the chocs off the tree as therapy. But there's always tomorrow.

(Sympathies to all those suffering today, esp Minty!)

bostonkremekrazy Thu 14-Dec-17 23:06:46

I've let my biggest one have tomorrow off school...last day and its all too much, school jumpers, xmas dinner, concert - aaargghh......shipped off to grandma's now as all gone to pot, and somehow i have to carry on with the littler ones who are managing just to hold it together....

grrrr

Jellycatspyjamas Fri 15-Dec-17 00:04:59

We still have a full week of school - tomorrow is the nativity and next week is panto and parties - my two already are seriously struggling.

My blood pressure is wonderful, as are the anxiety meds which are keeping it that way.

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