Well I am 3 weeks into my adoption leave, and am starting to realise how little from my to-do list I am likely to achieve.
I had a plan that once I stopped work I’d be doing all sorts of things like going swimming and painting the doors and skirting boards, and meeting friends for coffee in a relaxed, chilled out sort of way.
Instead I am finding myself waking up profoundly tired and dragging myself through the day, mostly doing laundry and food shopping and meal prep and running the girls around to playdates and activities. S finds it astonishing that I am getting myself ready for bed at 9pm while she is still sneakily trying to read her book in bed instead of going to sleep!
I have a slew of meetings with the social workers in these early days of the placement, the school parents’ evening and meetings with S’s teacher, transition meetings at the new school S will start in September, meeting with the SENCO and play therapist and the virtual school for updates and action planning, meeting with the attachment team supporting us with this adoption, helping out at A’s nursery forest school and taking the elderly cat to the vet to get shaved (don’t ask). Also having appointments at the orthapaedic centre for orthotics to get fitted after months of investigations into my bad knees and giant lump on my toe joint.
There is also an awful lot of new life admin I hadn’t realised would be needed. S’s school sends about 4-5 emails a day about various updates, events, reminders and cancellations. I’ve had no less than 6 emails just about parent’s evening alone (Don’t forget to book your slot for Parent Consultations; Please use XX entrance when you come for your meeting; XX has got Covid so Birch class consultations are postponed to next week; Due to Covid please don’t use the entrance we asked you to enter by previously, please come a different way into school; Don’t forget there are still slots available if you haven’t booked one yet, etc….).
I needed to set up a “Parent Pay” account to pay for her school dinners as she’s decided she wants school dinners on a Friday, and I have sorted her our a GoHenry card for pocket money, there’s the Year 6 leaver’s hoodie to order, and various activities to organise. We are hoping to go camping with friends in the summer so need to get that booked soon, and of course trying to do anything like the zoo or bowling in the school holidays is like trying to get Glastonbury tickets so I am attempting to plan some alternative back up plans in case I can’t get any tickets to anything….
Sadly all this rushing about and feeling exhausted has not led to some of my best parenting moments. This is compounded by the little one who has been very discombobulated by the addition of a big sister and has been regressing behaviourally ever since, so the last three weeks we have seen significantly more grunting and whinging and screaming and tantrums that normal. She’s also exhausted pretty much all the time, both emotional tiredness and generally from all the excitement so she’s tired and grouchy and spends almost every waking moment when she’s not at nursery screaming directly into my face about one thing or another. Mostly the screaming is about not eating whatever it is that I’ve cooked for dinner, or not wearing any vaguely sensible clothes based on the weather, or not wearing sunscreen, or not wearing a jumper, or not taking all her sister’s stuff, or not getting to eat sweets all the time, etc etc. Bless her she’s 4 and a half and attempting to remind me that she is the baby in this family and needs my attention ALL THE TIME in case I have forgotton when I brought this other interloper home (an interloper she adores by the way).
Poor kid is so confused by it all. For months her big sister was visiting on weekends and then leaving again – coming and going and coming and going. Then we explained that she is now moving in and staying with us forever and her big sister will be at home with us always. Except I forgot S has a Year 6 residential school trip coming up so she will actually be going away for a whole week and the little one just got totally hysterical when we tried to explain her big sister is going away again…. Poor kid has no idea what is happening right now.
Monday was once of those days when I was on the go non-stop, here’s what it looked like:
Woke up tired, (have come down with a cold, urgh), chucked the laundry on, dragged the kids out of bed, got breakfast and packed lunch sorted, rushed everyone out the door for school, then headed into town to meet a friend, then went to the supermarket for a “big shop”, got petrol and needed to put air in the tires, raced home to unpack the shopping, hang out the laundry and eat a late lunch, turned straight around to pick up the kids (plus an extra kid as S was having a playdate after school), get home to cook dinner, get everyone changed (and little one bathed and into her PJ’s), little one screamed into my face for most of it, took the oldest to football practice, very tired little one had some more meltdowns while we waited on the sidelines to watch, realised my top has been on backwards all day, trod in some dogshit at the side of the pitch, snapped at the kids on the way home, put the little one to bed almost an hour past her bedtime, older one reminded me at 8pm she needs her football kit washed and dried for tomorrow as she has football at school on a Tuesday, informed her she’d just have to make do without it and promised to buy additional football clothing after payday, and then flopped on the couch with a glass of wine!
Tuesday was calmer – everyone is still shattered so I had to drag them both out of bed in the morning (little one said “No Mama! Go away I’m sleeping!!!” and then cried when I insisted she had to get up anyway). After the school run got my orthotics fitted then came home and made bolognaise as we’re having lasagna tomorrow and I’ve got no time to make anything (Wednesday is forest schoool all morning, meeting with attachment team at 1pm and meeting with the school at 3.30pm). As soon as the bolognaise was cooked I started on the curry for tonight’s dinner….
I have literally no idea how all this stuff is supposed to get done once I go back to work, but I’m grasping the neccessity of meal prep in advance, and have recently invested in a small chest freezer which is going to be a game-changer!